Colne-born Brian Redman was honoured for his huge success in Sports Car Racing as he was recently inducted into the Motor Sport Hall of Fame at a star-studded ceremony.
Redman joined Grand Prix legend Nigel Mansell CBE as one of four greats inducted, while Roger Penske won the US Racing category and Barry Sheene topped the Motorcycle poll.
More than 20,000 enthusiasts voted for their favourites, with the winners announced during the prestigious event at the Royal Automobile Club’s Woodcote Park Clubhouse.
Last year’s inductee Derek Bell helped to decide the shortlist for the Sports Car Racing category, with the ever-popular Redman topping the vote.
Redman won the Targa Florio, Spa 1000km and Sebring 12 Hours in a long and varied career, and beat the likes of Mario Andretti in Formula 5000.
Nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen presented the ace with his award.
“This means a great deal,” said Redman. “It’s a great honour and I’m delighted.
“I drove an awful lot of sports cars, and had a tremendous relationship with Chevron and Lola. The GT40 was one of my favourites, too, then I had two great years with Porsche. I have super memories of sharing with Jacky Ickx – I think he was the best of all those I raced against.”
Mansell topped the Formula 1 category, the shortlist for which also included Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth, plus Gilles Villeneuve.
The 1992 world champion received his award from Patrick Head and spoke about the many highlights from his illustrious career.
“Driving Nelson Piquet’s T-car at Brands Hatch during the 1986 British GP stands out.
“I had one chance to get past him and took it – it was the perfect race.
“Then there was 1987 at Silverstone, and boxing-in Ayrton Senna at Hungary in 1989. So many great memories.
“The (1987) Williams FW11B was awesome. We had different engines at every race, and sometimes got through five in a weekend. The rate of development was enormous. In qualifying, the most we ever got was just over 1500bhp – to get wheelspin in sixth gear while you’re between the barriers at Detroit was fantastic.”
The US Racing award went to Roger Penske, who saw off Mark Donohue and AJ Foyt. John Watson and Dario Franchitti made the announcement. “He’s a human dynamo,” said Franchitti. “He pushes the limits every week, and nobody has a bad word to say about him.”
“This is truly an honour,” said Penske, “any successful business and race team is only as strong as its people so it’s for all those who make Penske what it is today.”
Contenders in the Motorcycle Racing category included Mike ‘The Bike’ Hailwood and road-racing legend Joey Dunlop, but two-time Grand Prix world champion Barry Sheene was selected as this year’s inductee. The Londoner won the 1976 and ’77 500cc titles – becoming a household name in the process.
The award was presented by ‘Fast Freddie’ Spencer, and received by Barry’s sister Margaret Smart and his former mechanic Martyn Ogborne.
“In 1980, I was 18 and had never raced outside the US,” recalled Spencer. “I came over for a match race and won, beating Barry – but he was the first person to come up afterwards and say, ‘Good job’. Then, in 1982, I was signing autographs with him and we’d been there about an hour. I began to stir and he said, ‘Where are you going? We stay until the last person has their signature’.”
Two new prizes for 2017 chosen by Motor Sport’s editorial team. Mansell presented Murray Walker with the Inspiration Award, and David Brabham and Subaru’s Paul Tunnicliffe gave the Industry Champion award to Prodrive boss David Richards.