Robert Fearnall, who was racing director at Donington Park, died today.
Fearnall first joined the staff of Donington in 1979, just two years after it reopened for racing under the leadership of the late Tom Wheatcroft. It was not a continuous 32 years at the circuit for Fearnall, but he spent the majority of his career there – including under the new regime of Wheatcroft's son Kevin.
Before joining Donington, Fearnall spent some time on the AUTOSPORT staff. As a journalist, he is probably best known for co-driving James Hunt – then the great young hope for Britain in Formula 1 – to victory on the 1973 Tour of Britain in a Chevrolet Camaro.
He remained a modest man, despite his great achievements in promotion and management, and in playing an instrumental part in ensuring that Donington always had a varied and eclectic calendar of international and national motorsport on both two and four wheels.
Above all, he was a great enthusiast, who was just as likely to be found spectating on Donington's expansive grass banks as in race control.
Kevin Wheatcroft said: "Obviously my family and I, as well as the staff here at the circuit and his many friends both in the UK and worldwide, are enormously saddened by this tragic news.
"At this difficult time we would ask that friends and the wider motorsport community allow us time to deal with this great loss. An announcement about funeral and other arrangements will be made in due course."