Former British Touring Car Champion and Scandinavian Touring Car Champion Rickard Rydell has announced today that he is retiring as a driver. The Swedish driver has had a career that began back in the 1980’s in karting and has seen success in sports cars and Formula 3 as well as in touring car racing.
“I have decided to not compete in 2016 and this also means I’m retiring from racing,” Rydell explained on his website.
“I was a works driver for 20 consecutive years, and I’m very privileged and proud to have represented brands like Toyota, Volvo, Seat and Aston Martin in major championships and races. It was also fun to come home to Sweden and STCC after 21 seasons of international racing.”
Rydell has many highlights to his career, including winning the 1992 Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix and winning the GT1 class at the 2007 Le Mans 24 Hours for the Aston Martin Racing squad. However it is for his exploits in Touring Cars that he is best known to the fans. The Swedish driver first appeared in the BTCC in 1994 in the now infamous TWR Volvo 850 Estate with team-mate Jan Lammers, but success soon followed as he became a force to be reckoned with in the series. Rydell secured the 1998 British Touring Car Championship in the S40 and also went on to win the 1998 2 litre Bathurst 1000kms with Australian Touring Car legend Jim Richards.
After moving to the FIA European Touring Car Championship with Volvo in 2002 and then becoming a works SEAT driver in 2004, Rydell took wins in the competitive FIA World Touring Car Championship until he left in 2010. After a years break where he commentated on the STCC, Rydell returned to action for Chevrolet Motorsport Sweden/Nika Racing in 2011 where he went on to secure the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship. With a couple of brief returns into the WTCC in 2012 and 2013, Rydell returned full time with Nika Racing in 2015 for the WTCC in a Honda Civic TC1, however due to illness, he missed several events during the year.
Rydell will now concentrate on being a driver coach for Gustav Malja in GP2 and as an expert in Viasat Motor’s TV broadcasts. He will also continue in the family flower business Rydells: ”It’s been fantastic years as a driver. Now I can look forward to other projects and roles both inside and outside motorsport!”