British motor racing was dealt a sharp shock on June 7, when news filtered through that Ian Taylor had lost his life while competing in the Rover 216 GTi Challenge at Spa. He was 45.
Taylor achieved much in a long career. He was the first ever Formula Ford Festival winner, in 1972, and the following year won the Forward Trust F3 Championship in his Baty March. He planned to move up to F5000 with the Dempster March team, but when that fell flat he turned to the then new FF2000 category, winning the championship in 1976. After a spell with the Unipart March F3 team, hamstrung by a Triumph Dolomite engine, he moved on to Sports 2000, Formula Atlantic, Thundersports and, latterly, saloons, taking several national championship titles along the way.
Hand in hand with his racing activities he ran the successful Ian Taylor Motor Racing School at Thruxton, where staff recall with fondness the wry sense of humour that lurked beneath his aura of professionalism. He leaves a widow, Moya, and two sons, James and Oliver. To them, the rest of his family, the staff at the school and to Ian’s countless motor racing friends we extend our heartfelt sympathies. He will be sorely missed.
An accident in the Japanese F3000 round at Suzuka on May 24 took the life of Hitoshi Ogawa, one of Japan’s top professional racers.
Aged 36, Ogawa progressed through F3 and F2 in his homeland, and first raced in F3000 in 1988. The following season, he became Japanese champion.
More recently, he was co-opted onto Toyota’s Sportscar World Championship team, sharing the winning TS010 with Geoff Lees in the opening round of this year’s SWC at Monza.
We mourn the loss of a true gentleman and an accomplished racer.
Bill France Snr
The founding father of NASCAR died recently, aged 82. Bill France’s achievement in turning the downbeat world of stock car racing into the multi-million dollar circus it is today is firmly etched in US racing folklore.
He leaves behind a plethora of racing series and an empire that includes NASCAR superspeedways at Daytona, Talladega and Darlington.
In 1972, he handed everyday running of his empire over to his son, Bill Jnr, under whose guidance it continues to flourish today.