He participated in 7 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on 18 July 1959. He achieved two podiums, and scored a total of 14 championship points. He also secured one pole position. When not racing cars, Parkes worked as an automotive engineer.
Parkes and Maglioli, working together for the first time, finished a considerable distance ahead of the Ferrari of Ludovico Scarfiotti and Nino Vaccarella. Parkes teamed with Jean Guichet in a Ferrari to capture the 1,000 kilometer Classic of Monza, Italy in April 1965. Tommy Spichiger, 30, of Switzerland, died instantly on the 34th lap of the race when his Ferrari 365 prototype went off the track and burst into flames. Parkes and Guichet led from led most of the in their Ferrari prototype after taking the lead from John Surtees and Ludovico Scarfiotti. Parkes and Guichot placed 2nd to Surtees and Scarfiotti in a 620-mile race at the Neurburgring in May 1965. The winning pair led the full 44 laps. It was a 4th consecutive victory for Ferrari. Dan Gurney eclipsed the time of Parkes in the sole factory Ferrari in the final practice for the 1966 12 Hours of Sebring. The blue Ford was clocked at 2:54.6, 2 seconds faster than a lap run by Parkes the previous day. In a Ferrari P3 prototype, Parkes lap was so fast that none of the time-speed conversion charts would accept it. Parkes and Bob Bondurant started 2nd after Gurney and his co-driver, Jerry Grant. Surtees and Parkes were in a Ferrari prototype in their victory in a 620-mile Monza sports car event in April 1966Chris Amon and Lorenzo Bandini were triumphant in a 100 lap, 1,000 kilometer Monza race in April 1967. The drove a 4,000 cubic centimter Ferrari for an average speed of 122.30 m.p.h. Parkes and Scarfiotti placed 2nd with a 5:10:59.2. The winning time was 5 hours seven minutes, 43 seconds. The Ferraris were in front after the Chaparral of Phil Hill and Mike Spence had to make pit stops following the 17th and 18th laps. Parkes competed in a 1,000 kilometer sports car race in Argentina in January 1971. He was paired with Joakim Bonnier in a 5,000 c.c. Ferrari entered and owned by the Swiss Filippinetti stable which maintained operations in Modena.
Formula One competition
Parkes secured 2nd place in the 1966 French Grand Prix at Reims driving a Ferrari. Jack Brabham won the race and his teammate, Denny Hulme, came in 3rd, in a BrabhamRepco. Parkes won an international Formula One race at Silverstone by one third of a lap over Brabham in April 1967. This event was the last prior to the 1967 European rounds of the Formula One World Championship, which began at the 1967 Monaco Grand Prix on 7 May. The 52 lap race was the first Formula One contest for Parkes in his native country. He completed the 152.36 mile competition in 1:19:39.25 with an average speed of 114.65 m.p.h. Ferrari Auto Works chose to enter two cars in the 1967 Syracuse Grand Prix. This was a Formula One race that did not count toward the Formula One World Championship. Parkes and Scarfiotti were assigned 1966 model single seaters.
Parkes' Formula One career ended after he broke both legs in a crash at the 1967 Belgian Grand Prix, but he raced into the 1970s in sports cars. He was killed in a road accident in 1977.
Parkes worked for the Rootes Group from 1950 to 1962, initially as an apprentice. One of his roles at Rootes was as project engineer in the development of the Hillman Imp.
In 1963 Parkes joined Ferrari as development engineer for their road cars, notably the 330 GTC, and also as a GT sports car driver. Following his absence from work after his serious F1 accident, he returned to Ferrari in 1969 to find that the company partly under the control of Fiat and at that point decided to work for Scuderia Filipinetti as engineer as well as driver.
In 1974 Parkes took a job as principal development engineer for the Lancia Stratos.
Jenkins, Richard. "The World Championship drivers - Where are they now?". OldRacingCars.com. Retrieved 2007-07-29.