Race driver-turned-journalist Paul Frere has died at the age 91, bringing the curtain down on a varied career that began on two wheels and continued into his eighties.

Despite being born in France in January 1917, Frere was generally accepted as Belgian, and started his racing career on motorcycles at the grand old age of 29 after the end of the Second World War. He turned to four-wheel competition two years later, but was again something of a slow starter and it wasn't until four years later, in 1952, that he finally got a break and debuted in his first F1 event.

After that first outing with Ecurie Belge in the GP des Fronti?res at Chimay - in which he overcame a bad start to overhaul Ken Downing's Connaught to take the win - HWM's John Heath immediately offered Frere a drive in the forthcoming Belgian GP, where he finished fifth in a downpour. After that, he participated in another ten world championship grands prix over the next five years, taking one podium amid a total of eleven championship points.

Sportscar links with Ferrari also saw Frere race the Scuderia's F1 cars, and he took fourth place in the 1955 Belgian GP and then bettered that with second behind Peter Collins at Spa in 1956.

They, however, were to be his last two world championship outings, but Frere also participated in several non-championship F1 races, the last being in South Africa in 1960, when he made a return to single-seaters and won in an Equipe Nationale Belge Cooper, before returning to Europe to take fifth places at Syracuse and Brussels and sixth at Pau.

Sportscars played a large part in Frere's career and, having made his car racing debut with an MG in the Spa 24 Hours, he split his 1954 F1 outings with Gordini with a debut at Le Mans in an Aston Martin.

The Sarthe classic was to become an important race in Frere's career. After finishing second in the tragic 1955 race, again in an Aston Martin, he was involved in a first-lap crash in a works Jaguar in 1956, finished fourth in 1957 and '58, second again in an Aston in 1959, before finally winning the 1960 event at the wheel of the works Ferrari he shared with Olivier Gendebien. The partnership was also victorious in the 1957 Reims 12 Hours, while Frere also enjoyed success with a class win on the Mille Miglia in 1953 and victory at the Spa 1000.

Frere was a rarity, however, in that his intention was never to be a full-time racer, as he preferred to combine his on-track exploits with his other career as an international motoring journalist.

Sadly, it was while prolonging the latter profession that he suffered injuries thought likely to have played a part in his eventual demise. Only weeks before his 90th birthday, he was involved in a road accident near the N?rburgring and spent 14 days in intensive care with a broken pelvis, ribs and punctured lungs. Although he recovered, his health was never the same again, and he eventually succumbed at the age of 91 on 24 February.