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Formula One racing mourns Tom Walkinshaw 13 Dec 2010

Tom Walkinshaw (GBR) Orange Arrows Team Principal. Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Austrian Grand Prix, A1-Ring, Austria. 12 May 2002. L-R: Ross Brawn (GBR) TWR Jaguar Technical Director and Tom Walkinshaw (GBR), TWR Jaguar Team Owner. World Sports Prototype Championship, Suzuka, Japan, 8 April 1990. Michael Schumacher (GER) Benetton with Tom Walkinshaw (GBR) Benetton and Pat Symonds (GBR) Benetton. Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan, 6 November 1994. Tom Walkinshaw (GBR) Arrows Boss with Damon Hill (GBR) Arrows Formula One World Championship, Italian Grand Prix, Rd13, Monza, Italy, 7 September 1997. L-R: Tom Walkinshaw (GBR) and Mark Skaife (Aust) HRT Commodore. Australian V8 Supercars, Rd6, Bigpond 400 Queensland Raceway, Ipswich, Australia, 22-23 July 2006.

Former Formula One team owner and racing driver Tom Walkinshaw passed away over the weekend. Walkinshaw, who had been battling cancer, was 64 years-old.

During the course of a lengthy motorsport career, the Scot enjoyed spells running the Benetton, Ligier and Arrows F1 teams, although he is arguably best remembered for the success of his TWR operation in various touring and sports cars series.

Like many team bosses Walkinshaw started out in the cockpit, racing in Formula Ford, Formula Three and touring cars. As well as winning the 1969 Scottish Formula Ford championship, he took his class title in the British Touring Cars series in 1974 for Ford.

Two years later he became a team owner, setting up TWR. From the mid 1970s to the early 1980s, the team focused its attentions on touring cars and won the British championship in 1980 and 1981 in a Mazda RX7 for Win Percy. In 1984 he scored a European touring car title for Jaguar and the manufacturer charged Walkinshaw with returning the marque to sports car racing - a commission which led TWR to build the legendary TWR Jaguar Group C cars, which would go on to win three world sports car titles and Le Mans in 1988 and 1990.

The next logical step for Walkinshaw was Formula One racing and in 1991 he joined Benetton as the team’s engineering director. He brought Ross Brawn, who had been TWR’s sportscar designer, with him and thus set in motion the team’s journey to the world-championship winning success it would enjoy with Michael Schumacher in 1994 and '95.

After some controversy at Benetton following speculation over technical irregularities, Walkinshaw moved to Ligier in 1995. His spell at the French team, however, was brief and at the start of the next season he bought a majority stake in Arrows.

In 1997 he signed reigning world champion Damon Hill and ensured his team was one of the first to use Bridgestone tyres. Both moves almost paid off spectacularly when Hill came very close to winning the 1997 Hungarian Grand Prix. Although he lost the lead to Jacques Villeneuve because of a technical problem, the Briton eventually finished third. It was a notable achievement for the team, who had last finished on the podium at the 1989 United States Grand Prix, courtesy of Eddie Cheever.

By 2002, however, financial issues saw both Arrows and TWR go into liquidation. Although Walkinshaw’s Formula One dream was over, he stayed involved in motorsport, running a team in the Australian V8 supercar series. He attended several F1 races in recent years, and was amongst the famous faces at this year’s Monaco Grand Prix.