JOHN BRITTEN 1931-2009
It is with regret that the Club has to report the death of Life Member John Britten, who passed away peacefully at his Surrey home on Tuesday24 November 2009, after a long illness.
John was passionate about motor racing and cars in general. After graduating from Cambridge as an engineer, in 1963 he set up a sports car garage business with franchises for MG, Morgan and TVR. In 1970, he designed and launched the Arkley SS kit car, based on the MG Midget, selling many hundreds. The marketing ingenuity that was to underpin his considerable success in business played a part with his creative and amusing advertising campaigns. John was an accomplished driver in sports cars himself and became a Full Member of the BRDC.
Through sports car racing, John became a good friend of Richard Lloyd, who was an accomplished racer in the British Touring Car Championship, famous for his Camaros and then Volkswagen Audi product. Richard's business was GTi Engineering, which specialised in tuning the seminal hot hatch, the Golf GTi in the early eighties. When Richard moved into international sports car racing with the famous Canon Porsche 956, John became involved in the team, initially with some sponsorship from his company Tecno, and then as a joint owner with Richard Lloyd.
Throughout most of this time F1 driver, Jonathan Palmer was driving for the team, and they enjoyed some great successes including finishing second at Le Mans in 1985 and winning the Brands Hatch and Norising 1000km races in the World Endurance championship in 1984 and 1987 respectively. John was involved in every aspect of the team including the engineering.
John became a share holder in Motorsport Vision (MSV) whose Chief Executive and fellow shareholder was his former driver, Jonathan Palmer. Jonathan credits John with being a significant factor in the turning of a loss making group of British motor racing circuits into a profitable business.
John was incredibly active in recent years despite the burden of coping with myeloma, a bone marrow cancer that damages bone and reduces the strength of the immune system. When diagnosed in 1994, John was told he was likely to live just another four years. With typical determination and pragmatism, John organised the best treatment he could find and with regular chemotherapy continued a very active life until fatigue began to increase two years ago.
On behalf of all Members, the Club sends it condolences to John’s wife Diana and their daughters Sophie, Chloe and Fleur.
With thanks to Jonathan Palmer for his considerable contribution to the above.