Tom Pryce went motor racing because he loved driving racing cars, not to get rich, famous or admired, and he died in the way he lived; making the most of it with a car that wasn’t always up to scratch. He had been in Formula One for just under three years, remaining loyal to the Shadow team who had recruited him after his victory in the 1974 Formula Three race at Monte Carlo, and won the 1975 Race of Champions at Brands Hatch.
These are the bare facts of Pryce’s career. But what they don’t tell of is his tremendous wet-weather skill, his relaxed style or the way in which he delighted in the drudge of off-season testing, putting miles and miles under his belt in the cold of an unglamorous winter at Silverstone, Goodwood or Snetterton. Neither do they tell of his loyalty to a team that was going through hard times, his modest demeanour or love of his quiet home life in the Kentish countryside. He once said “I wish I’d been born ten years earlier; then I would have been in Formula One before it became overcrowded with commercial sponsorship, when it was pure sport” That attitude summed up the quiet 27-year-old who wanted, so much, to be the first Welshman to win a Grand Prix. Ironically, although Pryce didn’t want much out of life, fate conspired to rob him of everything. This gentle man of motor racing was cut down in his prime, leaving us with but fleeting glimpses of what he one day might have achieved —A. H.