Former racing driver and team owner Tom Walkinshaw has died. The 64-year-old had been suffering from cancer.
During his career Walkinshaw ran the Benetton, Ligier and Arrows Formula 1 teams and was pivotal in Benetton's rise to a championship-winning team in the 1990s. But he was arguably best known for his spectacular achievements with Jaguar in both touring cars and sports cars.
Wakinshaw began as a single-seater racer, winning a Scottish Formula Ford title in 1969, before really making his name in touring cars, where he was highly successful as both a driver and as a team owner with his TWR operation, which would also spread to a network of garages. The highlight of his touring car career was a European title for Jaguar in 1984, and Walkinshaw's success for the manufacturer saw TWR commissioned to run Jaguar's return to top-level sports car racing. The iconic TWR Jaguar Group C cars went on to win three World Sports Car 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 sports cars, 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 short-lived and, at the start of the following season, Walkinshaw acquired a majority stake in Arrows.
He 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 tires, 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 station wagon – 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.