Jack Sears 1930 – 2016
scrupulously polite, with a slow and mellow voice, he was known universally as ‘Gentleman Jack’.
As well as his touring car successes, Sears was a top GT driver. He drove AC Cobras for John Willment, winning the final Autosport 3 Hours at Snetterton in ’64.
Having debuted at Le Mans in 1960 with a works Austin-healey 3000, his first international race in a Ferrari netted a class-winning fifth at La Sarthe in Maranello Concessionaires’ 330LMB in ’63, driving with Mike Salmon. As a Shelby American (Ford-contracted) team driver he also won the big GT class in ’65.
Sears raced works Lotus Cortinas in 1965, winning the Nurburgring 6 Hour race with Sir John Whitmore, but retired following an enormous testing accident in a Lotus 40 sportscar at Silverstone that September. He was fortunate to survive and recovery took a year, by which time he resolved to concentrate on farming in Norfolk.
In later years, Sears appeared at many events, and the Jack Sears Trophy has been awarded for a variety of achievements in the BTCC.
The championship will mark his death with a one minute’s silence at its Knockhill round this weekend.
BTCC series director Alan Gow said: “It is with great regret and sadness to learn of Jack’s death. I liked Jack a lot – not only as an extremely talented and inspirational driver, but more importantly as a popular, humble and impressive human being.
“Jack continued to play an active part in the BTCC right up until his passing. He will be sorely missed by everyone involved in the BTCC, but our immediate thoughts are with his family and closest friends at this time.”