Christopher Ward is the Official Timing Partner of the Motor Sport Hall of Fame, where the motor racing industry’s greatest are recognised by the Motor Sport-reading public, for their lifetime’s achievements.
2018’s awards saw Motor Sport magazine’s readers voting in higher numbers than ever before to decide the “Class of 2018”. Here’s who came out on top.
Formula 1, sponsored by Princess Yachts
Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth changed the face of Formula 1 when their company, Cosworth, released the DFV engine. It turned Formula 1 into something akin to a spec series, as so many chose the engine.
Only Ferrari has claimed more Grand Prix wins as an engine supplier, with Cosworths powering 155 Grand Prix wins, 12 drivers’ championships and 10 constructors’ championships.
But Cosworth’s impact stretched far beyond, winning Le Mans, multiple Indy 500s and numerous championships in America. It hit the road in the Mercedes 190E, the Ford Sierra, Escort and Focus, and it’s involved with Aston Martin’s Valkyrie hypercar.
It remains an important company in motor racing to this day. All from humble beginnings, 60 years ago.
Racing Car, sponsored by JBR Capital
From the outset, there was only ever one winner in the new-for-2018 racing car category. Devised to recognise the many iconic machines that strike a chord with race fans, the Porsche 917 beat the likes of the Jaguar XJR-9, Audi Quattro and the McLaren MP4/4 with consummate ease.
Twice a Le Mans winner, in 1970 and ’71, it was one of the fastest and most feared cars of its era. It’s the car that typifies sports car racing even now.
The voting for the sports car category proved closest of all, but it was French legend of Le Mans Henri Pescarolo who came out on top. Winner four times at the great race, including three in a row for French marque Matra in the 1970s, his name is synonymous with Le Mans.
Once retired, he returned as a team owner and almost beat the might of Audi.
Good on four wheels, one of the best ever on two, Mike Hailwood was a popular winner in the motorcycling category. He won nine world championships, the third-highest of all time; 14 Isle of Man TTs, including two after he returned to the island in 1978 following his four-wheeled career; and 76 world motorcycle championship Grand Prix wins, putting him fourth in the all-time list.
He was a character, universally popular, and a true star of the sport.
Perhaps not the obvious choice, but Phil Hill’s career was one of success and variety. He won Le Mans three times in the 1950s and ’60s, and is the only man to win Le Mans and the F1 world championship in the same year. Three times a winner in F1, but he is a man whose reputation is far bigger than his record.
He was an engineer as much as a racer, and was motor racing’s real gentlemen.
Inspiration Award, chosen by Motor Sport
Bruce McLaren is a man who simply transcends the sport. A Grand Prix winner, in a car bearing his own name in 1968, Le Mans winner with Ford, dominant in Can-Am with his near-unbeatable McLarens, his name still resonates in racing and on the road.
When he won the 1959 US Grand Prix he became the youngest Grand Prix victor at 22 (not including the Indy 500), a record that stood for almost 50 years. He won three more, his last almost a decade after the first.
Although his life was cut short when he crashed at Goodwood testing the M8D, his legacy continues.
Industry Champion, chosen by Motor Sport
Jonathan Palmer can list the saving of at least five UK racing circuits among his career achievements. As joint owner of MotorSport Vision he bought Brands Hatch, Snetterton, Oulton Park and Cadwell Park when they were at their lowest ebb and has since turned them into some of the best places to watch motor sport in Britain. Despite only buying Donington Park last year, he has already turned a circuit once on the edge of disappearing into the special place it once was.
That we can still visit those circuits is reason alone, and his continued enthusiasm for British racing only adds further weight to his award.