Some of the greatest names in motor sport history make up the shortlist of contenders for this year’s Motor Sport Hall of Fame ceremony. Set to take place at the stunning Royal Automobile Club at Woodcote Park on Wednesday, June 7, the event will add four more legends to those already inducted, which includes Ayrton Senna, Juan Manuel Fangio, Sir Frank Williams and Tazio Nuvolari.
Former Grand Prix driver Karun Chandhok helped to select the 12 contenders in the Formula 1 category, while Le Mans legend – and 2016 inductee – Derek Bell did likewise with the sports car list. More than 20,000 enthusiasts from all over the world then voted for their favorites in those categories, plus those for US racing and motorcycling.
The Motor Sport Hall of Fame contenders are:
Formula 1 Category:
- Mike Costin & Keith Duckworth: Thanks to their Cosworth DFV engine, Costin and Duckworth are two of the most important men not only in F1 but the whole of motor sport. Unmatched between 1967 and the early ’80s, the DFV powered 12 drivers to F1 titles in 14 years.
- Gilles Villeneuve: The record books in no way reflect the flair or talent of the Québecois – fate allowed him to shine brilliantly but only briefly. One of the most gifted, he could even play the perfect number two role. No surprise he made the final three.
- Nigel Mansell: Our Nige, Il Leone – Nigel Mansell might not have been to everyone’s taste, but for many he’s everything that was great about Formula 1. He did it the hard way and would have won more titles had Lady Luck not been on the opposing side.
Sports Cars Category:
- Phil Hill: Sports car racing in the ’50s was hugely competitive, and Phil Hill was a gentle giant among the greats. He and Olivier Gendebien were the standard bearers, winning three Le Mans, and in 1961 he became the only driver to win Le Mans and the Formula 1 world championship in the same year.
- Brian Redman: One of the underrated greats for many, but not for Motor Sport readers who know all about the humble Lancastrian’s formidable talent. He might not have won Le Mans, but he won every other sports car race that mattered.
- Pedro Rodríguez: Frighteningly fast, reliable and enigmatic, yet known to all. Think the Brands Hatch 1000Kms in 1970, or thundering into Eau Rouge just a few weeks later – like Gilles, he had a knack for the spectacular. Truly, few could wrestle a 917 like Pedro.
- Joey Dunlop: With 26 TT wins in 25 visits, Joey Dunlop won more times on the Isle of Man than anyone else in history. That alone is reason enough for his inclusion in the final three. He will forever be considered a legend.
- Mike Hailwood: Hailwood was one of the greatest on two wheels and more than handy on four. Winner of nine world championships, including both 250cc and 350cc titles in 1966 and ’67, plus 14 TTs, he averaged a win every other race on the world stage – and that in an era as deadly as any.
- Barry Sheene: An icon of ’70s sport, he defined the era along with James Hunt. He was a normal Londoner who conquered the world, twice. In 1976 he won five of the first seven Grands Prix, wrapped up the title and promptly went on holiday. As cool as they come.
US Racing Category:
- Mark Donohue: Perhaps not as naturally talented as some of his peers, but one of the toughest to beat. If it had four wheels and an engine Donohue could turn it into a winner. And he also won in IROC, when everyone had the same cars, cementing his status as a genuine great.
- AJ Foyt: The toughest of them all, AJ Foyt’s career is more varied than many realize. He’s the only driver to win the Indy 500, Le Mans, and both Daytona’s showpiece events – the 24 Hours and the 500. First to win four Indy 500s, he took five USAC titles in eight years.
- Roger Penske: The Captain’s eponymous racing team is an American institution with victories in every major four-wheel category, including F1. He and Mark Donohue formed a formidable partnership in the ’60s and ’70s, and Penske is still winning titles 50 years on.
The winners will be announced at this year’s lavish awards ceremony, as will those in the new categories that have been added for 2017. The Hall of Fame Motor Sport Trophy will celebrate outstanding achievement, while the Breakthrough Award will be presented to a previously little-known driver or rider who has recently achieved significant success.
Numerous stars from the world of racing and rallying have already confirmed to be attending, along with displays of famous machinery that will roar into action up the Club’s Captain’s Drive. Guests include commentary legend Murray Walker, Brian Redman, Marino Franchitti, Mike Costin, Jackie Oliver, Nigel Mansell, Tom Kristensen, Jo Ramirez, Freddie Spencer, Jackie Oliver and Ari Vatanen, plus the Finnish great’s former co-driver, and chairman of Prodrive, David Richards. They will be joined by 2007 World Superbike Champion James Toseland, as well as baker-turned-racer Paul Hollywood and motorcycle adventurer Charley Boorman.
The Henry Surtees Foundation is the awards’ official charity partner and is set to display the MV Agusta on which the late, great John Surtees dominated the 500cc World Championship in 1960 – the final year in which he raced motorcycles full-time before making his hugely successful switch to four wheels. Also on show will be a Formula 2 Surtees TS10 in which John won the 1972 Japanese Grand Prix, and one of Henry’s early karts.
An ex-Piers Courage McLaren M4A is set to take part in the demonstration run up the Captain’s Drive. The British brewery heir campaigned chassis M4A/2 for John Coombs in the 1967 Formula 2 championship then, after buying it off Coombs for £4300, the following year’s Tasman series. Against opposition including Chris Amon, Jim Clark and Graham Hill, Courage won the final round in soaking conditions at the daunting Longford circuit.
H&H Classics will host the first Hall of Fame auction on June 6, with a catalog of selected sports and GT cars set to go under the hammer. Tickets for the preview evening on June 5 cost £17 and include access to the following day’s sale.
A limited number of just 150 tickets for the Motor Sport Hall of Fame Awards are available to members of the public, enabling enthusiasts to rub shoulders with stars from the worlds of Formula 1, sports cars and motorcycling over dinner before enjoying the ceremony itself. Tickets start at £360; for further details, auction preview drinks tickets and event news, go to http://www.motorsportmagazine.
Note: Press release courtesy of Motor Sport Magazine.