Tim Schenken

Full Name:
Timothy Theodore Schenken
Born:
26th September 1943 (Age 76)
Gordon, Sydney, New South Wales
Nationality:
Australian
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Grand Prix driver, sports car race winner, team owner, racing car constructor and administrator – Tim Schenken has spanned most facets of motor racing during his long career.

Early racing career

It was with an Austin A30 that he first raced and he showed enough promise in local hillclimbs to invest in a Lotus 18. He was soon winning and so moved to England in 1965. It was a couple of seasons before that decision was vindicated but 1968 was his year – Schenken winning both the Guards Formula Ford 1600 and Lombank Formula 3 titles for the Sports Motors team that season.

Formula 1 with Williams and Brabham

He continued with Sports Motors for the next two seasons in F3 (1969) and Formula 2 (1970). He also made his GP debut in the 1970 Austrian GP – starting four races that year in Frank Williams’ De Tomaso 505-Ford without finishing. Much of his success in the lesser categories had been driving a Brabham and Schenken joined its Formula 1 team as Graham Hill’s team-mate for 1971. With Hill’s star on the wane due to injury and age, Schenken out-performed the double world champion and finished third in Austria with the Ford DFV-powered BT33.

Fourteenth in the 1971 World Championship, he was also fourth in F2 with a Rondel Racing Brabham BT36-Ford. All seemed well for the likable Aussie, although he opted not to stay with Brabham for 1972. The team had a new owner but Schenken was unsure of the impact that would be made by Jochen Rindt’s former manager Bernie Ecclestone.

Formula 1 frustration and sports car race winner

Instead, Schenken joined Surtees for the 1972 F1 season while also racing in F2 (with Rondel) and sports cars (Ferrari). The GP campaign began with his Brooke Bond Oxo Surtees TS9B-Ford fifth in Argentina although that was the only highlight of a frustrating campaign. He did win the final F2 race of the year at Hockenheim and starred as Ronnie Peterson’s co-driver in sports cars. They won twice and were second on four occasions as Ferrari clinched the 1972 World Championship for Makes.

He signed to lead Rondel’s new F1 team in 1973 but Ron Dennis’ first attempt to graduate to GP racing did not come to fruition. Schenken raced a Williams IR01-Ford in the Canadian GP and won the Norisring F2 race in Rondel’s Motul M1-Ford. His F1 career petered out in 1974 with the uncompetitive Trojan T103-Ford and a one-off for Lotus at Watkins Glen – the last of his 34 GP starts.

Subsequent career

He won the 1977 Nürburgring 1000Kms with Georg Loos’ Porsche 935 and raced for Jaguar’s European Touring Car Championship team as John Fitzpatrick’s co-driver. However, Schenken did not see his future only as a racing driver and he formed Tiga Race Cars with Howden Ganley in 1975.

That was a successful venture with its cars winning in both Formula Ford and Sports 2000. They considered launching an F1 team in 1978 and 1980’s F2 Tiga F280-BMW was promising before Hans-Georg Bürger’s untimely death at Zandvoort.

Schenken left the company in 1984 and returned to Australia where he worked for the Confederation of Australian Motor Sports as a much-respected administrator and clerk-of-the-course at the Australian GP.