Sports car veteran, team boss and circuit manager Jackie Epstein died on January 7. He was 74. The son of sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein and his sometime muse, Isabel Nichols, young Jackie was encouraged to follow his father’s lead. But engineering was his great passion. Beginning his competition career in speed events during the mid-1950s, he had success with an ex-Roberta Cowell Alta, including an FTD at Brands Hatch in 1954. His name would come to be intertwined with the Kent track in later years.
During the next decade, Epstein competed up to non-championship F1 level but is remembered best as a sports car driver: he tackled an array of events – from Le Mans to the Targa Florio – while on the start money trail in a Ferrari 250LM, Ford GT40 and Lola T70. His association with Lola led him to debut the coupé variant of the T70 in the ’67 Spa 1000km: he was fourth with Paul Hawkins. His friendship with ‘Hawkeye’ led to him throttling back on his driving career to oversee the Australian’s exploits along with those of ex-motorcycle star Mike Hailwood. In 1972, Epstein ran Dutchman Gijs van Lennep to the Rothmans F5000 drivers’ crown, before taking the entrants’ title in ’73.
Operating out of Brands Hatch, Epstein eventually took over the running of its racing school cars. In 1975 he became track manager and oversaw the development of the pits complex ahead of the ’76 British GP.
We extend our sympathies to his wife Sheila and sons David and Christopher.