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We regret to inform Members of the death of Richard Williams last Thursday 12 August at the age of 76.  A BRDC Associate Member since 1990, Richard had contracted pneumonia.


Richard will be forever remembered for his long-standing involvement with Aston Martin. He began his association with the company as an apprentice in 1963 when it was still based at Feltham. The celebrated film star, comedian and car fanatic Peter Sellers, then at the height of his fame, used an Aston Martin DB4GT 41DPX, as the means of transport for his character Pearly Gates in the film The Wrong Arm of the Law. The Aston Martin connection brought the two men together and resulted in the formation of the Peter Sellers Racing Team in the mid ‘60s with Richard as team manager running various Lotus models, in particular a couple of Lotus 35s in major Formula 3 races with some success in the hands of the unrelated Brian and Barrie Hart.


When the Sellers team closed its doors, Richard set up his own business which specialised in the restoration and servicing of Aston Martins. His enthusiasm for racing remained and before long he was asked by Viscount Downe to maintain two very special cars - DBR1/1 and Project 212 which were usually raced by Mike Salmon whose Ford GT40 was also prepared by Richard and enjoyed considerable success in historic racing of the time. During the 1980s Richard also created some very special lightweight DB4s which became much sought after and successful.


In 1979 Richard was Team Manager at Le Mans for the Fisons-sponsored De Cadenet Lola LM76 then owned by Simon Phillips who engaged Ray Mallock and Martin Raymond as his co-drivers which was followed by a couple of years running a Ferrari BB512 at Le Mans for Simon. With the advent of the Group C regulations for the World Sports Car Championship in 1982, Viscount Downe agreed to help fund the return of Aston Martin to the world stage and the Nimrod was created. Of the two cars which contested some of the 1982 championship races, the Downe entry with Richard as team manager was much the more successful, finishing sixth on its debut in the Silverstone 6 Hours with Mike Salmon and Ray Mallock as drivers. At Le Mans, where Ray and Mike were joined by Simon Phillips, the car ran as high as fourth during the night and finished seventh while top 10 results in the other two races contested, at Spa Francorchamps and Brands Hatch, brought the team third place in the Manufacturers’ championship.


The Nimrod project was wound up at the end of 1984 following John Sheldon’s shocking accident during the Le Mans 24 Hours. For the next three years Richard was team manager for the very successful Group C2 Ecurie Ecosse team which, with drivers Mike Wilds, David Leslie, Marc Duez and Ray himself won the C2 World Championship for Teams in 1986 and finished second the following year. In 1988 Richard became Managing Director of Proteus Technology which produced the AMR Group C Aston Martins, Ray being the Engineering Director. During the 1989 Group C World Championship season, probably one of the most intensively competitive of them all, the Aston Martin AMR-1 showed promise with a best result of fourth at Brands Hatch with David Leslie and Brian Redman as drivers but plans for the following year were scuppered after Ford acquired Jaguar and chose not to have its two Group C brands competing against each other.


With the AMR project shelved, Richard returned to his Aston Martin business which, in 2002, was appointed a Heritage Specialist for the marque. RS Williams Ltd was involved with the development of the Sanction II and Sanction III DB4GT Zagatos and the engines for the DB7 race cars. Some six years ago, with the onset of dementia, Richard took a back seat in the management of the company and his long-standing business partner Neil Thompson took over as managing director.


To Richard’s wife Carol and their daughters Jacqueline, Helen, Lizzie and Susie, the BRDC extends its most sincere condolences. Richard’s funeral will be held at 12 noon on Friday 10 September at St Andrews Church, Downside Bridge Road, Cobham, Surrey KT11 3EJ followed by a reception at the Brooklands Museum.  As a tribute to Richard as many Aston Martins as possible will be most welcome. Family flowers only but any donations should be made to the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

The Club regrets to report on the death of Neville Hay, who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1993
The Club regrets to report on the death of Alan Minshaw, who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1984
The Club regrets to report on the death of Ray Thackwell who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1957
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