Old 14-12-2010, 10:25 AM
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Default Motorsport boss Walkinshaw dies at 64

Motorsport boss Walkinshaw dies at 64
By Robert Grant, AAP December 13, 2010, 3:24 pm

Scottish motorsport entrepreneur Tom Walkinshaw, who died on Sunday aged 64, was a man whose quiet manner belied a ruthless business mind which extended from Formula One to V8 Supercars.

Walkinshaw's career was one of extreme highs and devastating lows.

He was involved in recruiting superstar Michael Schumacher to Formula One and saw the German win two of his seven world titles at Benetton, where Walkinshaw was technical boss.

And he oversaw a profitable Australian touring car operation which produced nine Bathurst victories and eight Australian titles from 1985-2007.

Walkinshaw began as a driver, winning the Scottish Formula Ford title in 1969 before moving to other classes and eventually touring cars where, in 1984, he captured the European Touring Car Championship in a Jaguar XJS.

The following year Walkinshaw teamed in the Jaguar with Australian John Goss and German Armin Hahne to win the Bathurst 1000.

Under the Tom Walkinshaw Racing banner, his Jaguar Group C cars won three World Sportscar titles and triumphed at Le Mans in 1988 and 1990.

From there Walkinshaw was recruited by Formula One team Benetton as engineering director, bringing with him Ross Brawn, his sportscar designer and the man who would win F1 titles with Benetton, Ferrari and Brawn.

This team was the genesis of Schumacher's success as he took F1 world championships with Benetton in 1994-95 before joining Brawn at Ferrari where he snared five in succession.

But Benetton fell under a cloud in 1994, suspected of using illegal engineering software and Walkinshaw moved briefly to Ligier before acquiring a controlling interest in the Arrows team.

He recruited 1996 world champion Damon Hill to drive for the team in 1997 but, after little success, the team folded in 2002.

In Australia TWR started the Holden Racing Team in 1990 but lost control when Walkinshaw's business empire floundered in 2003.

He made a comeback when he took over Holden Motorsport's Melbourne operation in 2005 and leased cars and engines to the Holden Racing Team for Mark Skaife and to K-Mart Racing for John Kelly, father of drivers Rick and Todd.

Walkinshaw enjoyed success again when Rick Kelly won the 2006 V8 title and Garth Tander won in 2007.

There was controversy over his dealings with multiple touring car and Bathurst champion Skaife, who was leasing the cars, engines and staff from Walkinshaw.

In 2007 Walkinshaw Performance took a 50 per cent stake in HRT and swallowed the remaining half the following year.

The company currently operates the HRT and Bundaberg Red Supercar teams.

Walkinshaw, who last visited Australia two months ago, died of cancer.
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Old 14-12-2010, 03:55 PM
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i wonder what this will mean for HSV?

"Always be yourself... because the people that matter, don't mind and the people that do mind, don't matter".
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