One of the central figures in motor racing, Mike Hewland, has died aged 89. Though he claimed that specialising in gearboxes was accidental, his name has been synonymous with motor racing transmissions for over 50 years.
After leaving school at 14, Hewland learned the engineering business from the inside before starting his own firm in 1957. The racing angle began with adapting VW boxes for racing but the company’s products soon spread across all fields of racing. Between the mid-1960s and the 1980s almost all Formula One teams used Hewland transmissions. Indeed, the `Cosworth DFV/ Hewland’ package was for years a short cut to a competitive slot on the Fl grid, while the firm’s products won countless motor sport events worldwide.
Alongside racing, Mike Hewland worked on sleeve valves and designed a highly successful kart engine and a two-stroke aero engine. He retired in 1991, but ‘boxes he designed raced until recently, and under his son the firm continues to supply transmissions at all levels of the sport.