JRM‘s Team Manager and Technical Director, and former Ferrari F1 Chief Mechanic Nigel Stepney has died at the age of 56 in a road traffic accident, the team have regrettably announced today.
Stepney joined JRM in 2010 after a long career in Formula One, starting with Shadow in 1977 before going on to work for Lotus, Benetton and Ferrari. He was also at the centre of the 2007 spygate scandal.
Under Stepney JRM were awarded the RAC Tourist Trophy after winning the 2011 FIA GT1 World Championship with Michael Krumm and Lucas Luhr. A year later the team moved to the World Endurance Championship, finishing third in the LMP1 standings and claiming sixth place overall at Le Mans.
The 2013 season saw Stepney continue to be the brains behind the development of the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3, a car that took RJN, Nissan’s GT Academy team, to both the PRO AM Driver’s and Team’s titles in the Blancpain Endurance Series.
His latest plans had been for further development on the 2014-specification GT-R Nismo GT3 and was scheduled to head the JRM engineering team to support customer teams across the globe for the 2014 season.
“From the moment Nigel joined JRM in 2010, he was a vitally important member of the team and brought a level of engineering experience to us that was unrivalled,” said the owner of JRM, James Rumsey. “A man that engineered Ayrton Senna at Lotus and helped to guide Michael Schumacher to five Formula One world championships with Ferrari was the perfect candidate to establish JRM as a serious team in circuit-based motorsport and the role that he played in achieving that standard will never be underestimated or forgotten.
“Nigel was an intense and fierce competitor and always strived for excellence in our racing. We certainly could not have achieved our level of success without his leadership and experience. Away from the track, he was a focused, driven and passionate member of the JRM Group, and a loving father to his family.
“The rest of the engineering and race team here at JRM learned an unimaginable amount from Nigel in the four short years he was with us and his death this morning has shocked everyone to the core. Today, the motorsport world has lost one of its greatest characters and competitors. He will be sorely missed and we send our sincere condolences to his family and the many friends he leaves behind. Our prayers and thoughts are with Ash and Sabine [his partner and daughter].”
The thoughts and prayers from everyone at TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk are with Nigel’s family at this time.