Motor Sport inducts Hall of Fame class of 2018

The highlights from a glamorous, memorable, night at the 2018 Motor Sport Hall of Fame

Motor Sport magazine’s Hall of Fame inducted its class of 2018 at the Royal Automobile Club’s stunning Woodcote Park surroundings.

An international array of greats have joined the illustrious roll of honour, with Henri Pescarolo winning the public vote in the sports car category, 1961 Formula 1 world champion Phil Hill voted into the US racing category, Mike Hailwood winning the motorcycling category and Cosworth founders Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth voted in as the Formula 1 winners.

More than 40,000 votes were cast ahead of this year’s event, the most since the Hall of Fame was relaunched in 2016.

Bruce McLaren became the second recipient of the Motor Sport Inspiration Award, following Murray Walker in 2017, and it was Bruce’s daughter Amanda and former team manager Alastair Caldwell who visited the stage to collect the trophy – presented by Damon Hill.

"I'd like to thank the team members, many of them who are here today, for carrying on my father's legacy." said Amanda McLaren. "Damon's father is the only driver to have won the triple crown,  and McLaren is the only company to have done it. My father would have been so proud of that. My father planned to diversify and build road cars, and he would be proud of where McLaren is now.

"The legacy lives on. Thank you all for nominating him for this award."

Alastair Caldwell added: "We were a small compact team and Bruce worked with us all the time. He was a brilliant leader, a fantastic person, and a very, very nice man."

The Austin Ulster McLaren drove to victory in his debut race at the age of 15 was on display around the venue alongside some of McLaren’s recent supercars, and even P1 GTR track-only hypercar.

The 2018 Industry Champion award was presented to Jonathan Palmer, with the inaugural winner David Richards joining him on stage to hand over the mantle to his old friend – and unannounced house guest! Former F1 and sports car driver Palmer was chosen by the Motor Sport editorial team as the 2018 winner for his continued effort in the UK’s motor sport scene as owner of Brands Hatch, Cadwell Park, Oulton Park and Snetterton, and more recently, Donington Park.

As is now customary, the evening began with a series of demonstration runs on the Captain’s Drive. The highlight was a rare chance to see Sir Stirling Moss’s own O.S.C.A, usually on static display at the Club but rarely moving since Moss retired from racing. Derek Bell also took the helm of a McLaren P1 GTR, a car inspired by the last car he drove at Le Mans, the McLaren F1 GTR. Both Damon Hill and Perry McCarthy got behind the wheel of McLarens, too. 

A number of Porsches took to the hill as part of the Hall of Fame car club partner Porsche GB Owners’ Club display, with a 356A and 911 2.7 RS among the runners, so too official charity partner Mission Motorsport’s evocative Jaguar F-type poppy car, with the words of Flanders Fields emblazoned across it.

As dusk began to fall, editor Joe Dunn introduced the evening on stage before handing over to new-for-2018 host Suzi Perry. Mission Motorsport’s founder and CEO James Cameron was then welcomed to the stage to explain the vital work his charity undertakes in using motor racing to aid the recovery and rehabilitation of military personnel.

The first of the awards to be presented was sports cars, unfortunately, four-time Le Mans winner Henri Pescarolo was unable to personally collect. His former team-mate John Watson read aloud Pescarolo's acceptance message: "I'm very sorry to be missing the awards," it said. "I was very surprised and honoured to learn that a magazine with so many British readers voted me for the award, but then I realised that Le Mans feels like a British event!"

Derek Bell joined Watson on stage to look back on the great Frenchman's career, joined by fellow Le Mans winner Mark Blundell.

Phil Hill, who beat AJ Foyt and Richard Petty in the public vote to win the US category, was inducted next, with Doug Nye collecting the award on behalf of his late friend.

Mike Hailwood's former team-mate and friend Stuart Graham presented Mike’s widow Pauline with the motorcycling award, who said: “His legend lives on. There seems to be no sign of it ever fading away. I still get contacted by people all over the world." 

Christopher Ward, the event’s timing partner, introduced its ‘Challenger programme’ drivers, which is aiding the careers of young sportspeople who don't have the backing their talent deserves. Rallycross driver Paige Bellerby and GT racer Jody Fannin this year became the first racing drivers on the programme, having won the company’s ‘Need for Speed’ award.

This year saw the inclusion of a brand new award, celebrating the best new car as chosen by the editorial team. The stunning Alpine A110 has seemingly charmed all in the past 12 months, including Motor Sport road test editor Andrew Frankel. That made it the obvious choice, and it was Frankel who presented the award to Alpine's Régis Fricotte as the inaugural winner.

The Formula 1 award, sponsored by Princess Yachts, celebrated the achievements of two of the sport’s most successful engineers in Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth, the two halves of Cosworth. Jonathan Palmer returned to the stage to present the trophy to Mike Costin and Roger Duckworth, son of Keith, with their combined award. “I would never have imagined the influence it had,” admitted Costin. 

Another new category for this year was the racing car category, sponsored by JBR Capital, its winner voted for by the public. A number of the nominees stood proudly on display around the venue including Jaguar XJR-9 and Porsche 917. The one that ran away with the voting? The Porsche 917, and it was represented on the evening by an ex-David Hobbs, Mike Hailwood, Derek Bell and Jo Siffert Gulf car at the dinner's entrance. Fittingly it was Richard Attwood, who gave the 917 its maiden Le Mans win in 1970, and Jackie Oliver who collected the award.

The evening’s emotional crescendo was afforded to Bruce McLaren, one of the sport’s greatest all-rounders and 2018 Inspiration Award winner. Engineer, Grand Prix winner, Le Mans winner, and creator of one of the team’s most iconic names, the 'Inspiration' category is the one most fitting for such a name and character.

Motor Sport would like to thank timing partner Christopher Ward, auction partner H&H, F1 category partner Princess, Racing car category partner JBR Capital, charity partner Mission Motorsport, event partner Race Retro, print partner Precision Colour Printing, and Grandstand Motor Sports.

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