Monday, December 13, 2010

Racing legend Tom Walkinshaw passes away.

On Sunday, December 12th, Former racing driver, team owner and racing innovator passed away at 64 after a long battle with cancer.

Throughout his life, Walkinshaw was in charge of teams such as Benetton, Ligier and Arrows Formula One Teams. Of which he has been credited for Benetton's glorious championship winning rise to power in the 90's. However perhaps his biggest claim to fame was his spectacular technical achievements with Jaguar touring cars and sportscars.

Walkinshaw began his career as a single seat racer, winning the Scottish Formula Ford title in 1969. Eventually he began to really bring his career up in touring cars as a driver and also as a team owner. 

The highlight of his career was his innovations with Jaguar. Along with his own TWR operation, Jaguar saw its rise to a top-level sportscar racing operation.The iconic TWR Jaguar Group C cars went on to win three World Sportscar titles, and to triumph at Le Mans in 1988 and 1990.

Walkinshaw moved into F1 with Benetton as the team's engineering director in 1991. He introduced Ross Brawn, who had been TWR's designer in sportscars, to the team and set it on course for its world championship successes with Michael Schumacher.

Following the controversies of Benetton's 1994 season, Walkinshaw was moved across to the Ligier team, which was at that time also owned by Benetton boss Flavio Briatore, but this arrangement was shortlived and at the start of the following season Walkinshaw acquired a majority stake in Arrows.

He famously recruited reigning world champion Damon Hill to drive for the team in 1997, with the combination nearly winning the Hungarian Grand Prix. Arrows was one of the first to use Bridgestone tyres, with Walkinshaw having been played an integral role in convincing the Japanese company to rejoin F1 a year earlier than it had originally intended.

Walkinshaw had remained active in other forms of motor racing even while involved in F1, with TWR bringing Volvo into the British Touring Car Championship - initially with an estate car - and ultimately winning the title.
Financial problems saw both the Arrows team and TWR fold in 2002, but Walkinshaw remained involved in motorsport, continuing to run a team in V8 Supercars in Australia. He made his final visit to an F1 race at this year's British Grand Prix.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

No comments:

Post a Comment