Tom Walkinshaw, founder of Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR), has died at the age of 64. He has been suffering from cancer.
Walkinshaw was a racing driver in his own right, starting in single seaters before entering Touring Cars in the early seventies. The introduction into the British quickly led to the foundation of TWR – just two years after his driving debut in the championship.
A successful relationship with British Leyland – through the Jaguar and Rover brands – led to the call to run the former's endurance racing outfit. The result was the Silk Cut Jaguar squad which won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1988 and 1990 in a pair of the most recognisable cars from the Group-C era of sportscar racing.
TWR would return to the BTCC in 1994 with Volvo, famously running an estate version of the 850 model, and while initially something of a curio following seasons with the 850 saloon, then the S40 ultimately peaked with Rickard Rydell (who was with the team since 94) taking the title in 1998.
Walkinshaw's F1 career included stints at Benetton, Ligier and Arrows. Having already been part of the team that turned Benetton into the team which ran Michael Schumacher to the 1994 F1 drivers' title a spat with team boss Flavio Briatore saw him first go to Ligier, then buy into Arrows.
After a renaissance for the team, including the 1997 season with Damon Hill behind the wheel the team collapsed in 2002, with TWR in close pursuit, having to shed its remaining assets – including the Holden Racing Team in the Australian V8 Supercars series.
After a long public hiatus Walkinshaw re-emerged in team ownership in 2009 with Walkinshaw Racing in Australia. In 2010 the team ran a pair of Holden's under the Bundaberg Red Racing banner. Walkinshaw also owns the Holden Racing Team, having reacquired it from erstwhile owner Mark Skaife, and Walkinshaw Racing is responsible for much of the engineering behind the HRT cars.
Away from racing Walkinshaw was chairman of Rugby Union team Gloucester Rugby.