LAMENT­ING THE LOSS OF TOM WALKIN­SHAW

Trib­utes flow for lead­ing light Tom Walkin­shaw, writes Craig Duff

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

MOTORSPORT and mo­tor­ing in­dus­try icon Tom Walkin­shaw has died aged 64. The Scot­tish-born busi­ness­man who once owned the Ar­rows F1 team and founded the race en­gi­neer­ing and de­sign em­pire TWR that spanned three con­ti­nents, has lost a long bat­tle with can­cer.

His Aus­tralian legacy is the con­tin­u­ing strength of the Holden Spe­cial Ve­hi­cles and Holden Rac­ing Team V8 Su­per­car prod­ucts and brands that TWR helped to de­velop.

Walkin­shaw formed a joint ven­ture with Holden in 1987 to cre­ate HSV which led to the ‘‘Walkin­shaw VL Com­modore in 1988 with an aero-kit Su­per­man would have strug­gled to fly with.

He founded the HRT race out­fit in 1988 and, af­ter los­ing the com­pany dur­ing the col­lapse of the Ar­rows F1 team, he re­joined the V8 Su­per­car scene in 2005 and last year re­gained con­trol of HRT from Mark Skaife.

TWR also cam­paigns the Walkin­shaw Rac­ing team in Bund­aberg Red and Team Au­tobarn colours.

His long-time busi­ness as­so­ci­ate and for­mer HSV man­ag­ing di­rec­tor John Cren­nan says: ‘‘I’m a great be­liever — only be­cause I’ve seen it so many times with Holden at a deal­er­ship level — that op­er­a­tors don’t last for­ever, but names do.

‘‘ I saw enough to know that Holden Rac­ing Team and Holden Spe­cial Ve­hi­cles will en­dure. Tom al­ways had a phi­los­o­phy that we were in this busi­ness to make your client’s brand grow and he’s suc­ceeded in do­ing that.

‘‘As coura­geous as he was in his pri­vate bat­tle, he was just as coura­geous in busi­ness to in­vest and per­sist with con­cepts well be­fore we’d taken them to our part­ners for ap­proval.’’

It was a sen­ti­ment re­peated by HSV, whose of­fi­cial re­lease mark­ing Walkin­shaw’s death noted: Tom Walkin­shaw has made an in­cred­i­ble con­tri­bu­tion to the land­scape of Aus­tralian mo­tor rac­ing and au­to­mo­bile in­dus­try over many years and he will be sadly missed by many in the in­dus­try.

HSV man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Phil Hard­ing said: ‘‘Tom was a tremen­dous in­spi­ra­tion to me and the whole team at HSV, and while we will all miss him the HSV busi­ness con­tin­ues as nor­mal.

‘‘ While these events are mo­ments to re­flect and grieve, it is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that it is the con­tin­u­a­tion and suc­cess of the busi­ness that will serve as the best way of hon­our­ing Tom’s me­mory, and we know this was his de­sire and the de­sire of his fam­ily.’’

Holden chair­man and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Mike Dev­ereux was an­other fig­ure quick to pay trib­ute to Walkin­shaw.

‘‘ On be­half of the men and women at Holden, I’d like to ex­tend our deep­est sym­pa­thies to Tom’s fam­ily, friends and cowork­ers across the world,’’ Dev­ereux said.

‘‘For more than 20 years Tom’s pur­suit of ex­cel­lence helped forge our brand’s rep­u­ta­tion as a per- for­mance leader both on and off the track through the cre­ation of Holden Spe­cial Ve­hi­cles and the Holden Rac­ing Team.

‘‘From the orig­i­nal 1988 Group A Com­modore that will for­ever be known as a ‘Walkin­shaw’ to the ex­tra­or­di­nary W427 20 years later, Tom’s work was truly iconic.

‘‘His con­tri­bu­tion not only to Holden but the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try is le­gendary and will never be for­got­ten.’’

Ateco boss Neville Crich­ton grieves not just for the pass­ing of a ma­jor in­dus­try fig­ure but also a mate:

‘‘I re­mem­ber him very fondly. He’s been a good mate for a long time and the mo­tor in­dus­try and mo­tor rac­ing fra­ter­nity have lost a very great man.’’

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