John Wickham, 1949-2023

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John Wickham, 1949-2023

Post by dinizintheoven »

I keep my eye on the Wikipedia obituaries page, and this one jumped out at me. John Wickham didn't have his own page there, because he wasn't a driver - but he was the co-owner of Spirit Racing, the reject team who are nonetheless significant in a greater success story: Honda used them as a no-pressure test bed for their new turbo engine in 1983 before shoving it in the grotesquely ugly Williams FW09. As the Williams cars got better looking, so their success increased with the Honda engine, before McLaren pinched it and did the hatchet job on the 1988 season we all know about. Oh, and Lotus had a couple of wins with the same engine. And it might not have happened if Spirit hadn't been there to provide a chassis to iron out the creases. Who knows, if Honda had tried the same trick and offered their engines to Manor for 2015, who were in much the same position, they might not have come as badly unstuck as they did with McLaren... because nobody expected a year-old backmarker car to be anything except last.

As for John Wickham's later career, that year that the Bentley Speed 12 beat all the competition at Le Mans had him at the helm, delivering another trophy for Tom Kristensen's huge cabinet, Rinaldo Capello's first of three and the only one for Guy Smith. It was the same year England brought the Rugby World Cup to the Northern Hemisphere for the only time ever.

But as for what happened to John Wickham in 2018, what do the following names have in common? Stephen Hawking, Lou Gehrig, Jason Becker, and more recently, Sue Baker... ... /10420882/
James Allen, on his favourite F1 engine of all time:
"...the Life W12, I can't describe the noise to you, but imagine filling your dustbin with nuts and bolts, and then throwing it down the stairs, it was something akin to that!"
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