David Kennedy

Full Name:
David Paul Kennedy
Born:
15th January 1953 (Age 66)
Sligo, County Sligo
Nationality:
Irish
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

David Kennedy made it to Formula 1 but when he did, it was with hopelessly uncompetitive machinery.

Early racing career

The red-haired Irishman first raced in Irish Formula Ford 1600 in 1972 and he drove a Crosslé 30F to impressive double championship success in British FF1600 during 1976. Also runner-up in the European series that year, he signed to drive for the ambitious AFMP March team in the 1977 European Formula 3 Championship but the team dissolved in financial chaos. Kennedy ended the year in Gary Anderson’s works Argo JM1-Toyota and he finished second in the European Championship races at Kassel-Calden and Járama.

He continued with Argo to finish sixth in the 1978 European F3 Championship thanks to two third place finishes. A stunning debut in the Aurora British F1 series followed in Snetterton’s season finale. His Theodore Racing Wolf WR3-Ford won that day and that success continued in the opening two rounds of 1979. He upgraded to a ground-effect Wolf WR6 chassis but was unable to defend his points lead – losing out to Rupert Keegan when he crashed out of the Silverstone title decider.

Formula 1 with Shadow

Kennedy signed with the Shadow F1 team for 1980 but its DN11 and subsequent DN12 cars were totally uncompetitive. He failed to qualify for any of the seven Grands Prix he entered. Finally on the grid for the Spanish GP, he crashed on the second lap. He only qualified that day because three teams withdrew and the race was later stripped of championship status as part of the ongoing FISA versus FOCA "war".

Success in sports cars

After F1 and a brief stay in Can-Am (that included fourth at Watkins Glen in 1981), Kennedy embarked on a successful career in sports cars. He was instrumental in the development of Mazda’s rotary engine and that programme reached its zenith in the 1991 Le Mans 24 Hours. Johnny Herbert, Volker Weidler and Bertrand Gachot won the race but Kennedy’s sixth place with Stefan Johansson and Maurizio Sandro Sala added to the celebration.

He retired from racing after driving Chamberlain Engineering’s Lotus Esprit in the 1994 Global GT series and has since been Ireland’s F1 commentator. Counting driver management among his various business activities, he formed the Status Grand Prix team in 2005. It ran Ireland’s 2008/09 A1GP-winning team and has since competed in GP2, GP3 and sports cars.