The Associated Press

Frank Gardner

GOLD COAST, Australia (AP) - Frank Gardner, an Australian driver who made eight Formula One starts in the 1960s, died Saturday following a long illness. He was 78.

Gardner made his first F1 start at the British Grand Prix in 1964 and his last at the 1968 Italian Grand Prix. His best finish was eighth at the British GP in 1965.

He also won the European Formula 2 championship, three British saloon car titles, the European 5000 championship and made 14 starts in the Le Mans 24-hour race.

After being based in Europe for much of the '60s and '70s, Gardner returned to Australia in 1975 and retired from racing two years later after capturing the Australian sports sedan championship, winning 41 races in 49 starts.

In his early years, Gardner was a swimmer, surf lifesaver and had seven professional boxing matches in 1952. He went on to manage race teams after his retirement from the circuit.