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NOTICE OF DEATH - RICHARD CLEARE (1943 - 2019)

We very much regret having to inform Members of the death of Life Member Richard Cleare who passed away last Thursday 6 June at the age of 75 after a long battle with cancer.

Richard will be best remembered for his exploits in international sports car racing in the 1980s although he started competing a decade or so earlier in club events with his road car, an AC Ace 2.6. By the end of the 1970s he was racing Porsches with increasing success. His first international race was the 1979 Brands Hatch 6 Hours in a Porsche Carrera RSR shared with experienced Porsche exponents Paul Edwards and Barry Robinson, the team finishing fifth in the Group 5 category and 21st overall. For 1980 Richard acquired the ex Egon Evertz/Kenneth Leim Group 4 Porsche 934 and was joined by Tony Dron as his co-driver. Although they had to retire from their first race, the Brands Hatch 6 Hours, with suspension failure, a few weeks later in the Silverstone 6 Hours, Richard and Tony finished eighth overall and won the Group 4 category. Further Group 4 category victories followed in the Dijon 6 Hours and the Vallelunga 1000 Ks, the final rounds of the 1980 FIA World Manufacturers’ Championship.

The 934 was retained for two more seasons and, while 1981 was not particularly rewarding with only a handful of races contested, it was the year in which Richard was elected to the BRDC as a result of his successes the previous year. In 1982 Group C was introduced for what was now known as the World Endurance Championship but GT-type cars were still welcome and the Richard Cleare Racing 934 acquitted itself well by finishing every race it contested bar one and taking ninth overall in the Monza 1000 Ks and 13th overall in Richard’s first Le Mans 24 Hours where Richard and Tony were joined by Richard Jones. They also won the GT category in which the 934 was the only starter. After Richard and Tony had won the GT class in the final round of the World Championship at Brands Hatch, the familiar red 934 was sold to the USA where it remains to this day and Richard took on the challenge of Group C by acquiring the Kremer-Porsche CK5-82.

By 1983 the Porsche 956 had become the Group C car of choice for the independent teams which could afford one so that the CK5 was up against it. Nevertheless in the Silverstone 1000 Ks, Richard and Tony persevered to such good effect that they finished sixth overall behind five 956s. Richard and his team continued with the CK5 through to 1985, modifying the car quite extensively but without ever persuading it to finish another race.

For his final foray into world championship sports car racing, Richard bought a second hand March 85G into which was installed a Porsche power unit. A return to Le Mans in 1986, sharing the car with Frenchman Lionel Robert and American Jack Newsum, was rewarded with 14th place overall and victory in the IMSA GTP category. The CK5’s final race in Richard’s hands was the 1987 Silverstone 1000 Ks where, sharing with James Weaver and Andrew Gilbert-Scott, ninth place overall was achieved and victory in the IMSA GTP category. By this time Richard’s resources no longer enabled him to compete at this level so he sold the CK5 and retired from racing cars. He moved to the USA and took up horse-racing on quarter horses, a kind of four-legged equivalent of drag racing, so called because the aim is to be fastest over a quarter mile course.

Richard epitomized the sports car enthusiast who was just about able to afford to participate in sports car racing at the highest level  with an always immaculately turned out car whose mentoring by Tony Dron enabled him to achieve a significant level of success as a driver. To his partner Madeleine, his two daughters and to his family and many friends in motor racing, the BRDC extends its most sincere condolences. Funeral details will be notified when known.

We very much regret having to inform Members of the death of Andrew Cowan on 15 October 2019
David Coulthard MBE becomes the twelfth President of the British Racing Drivers' Club
BRDC SuperStar Enaam Ahmed and BRDC Rising Stars Jamie Chadwick, Johnathan Hoggard and Aryton Simmons selected as Finalists in the inaugural Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Award
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