Jim Richards (racing driver)

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Jim Richards
Jim Richards.jpg
Nationality New Zealand
Born (1947-09-02) 2 September 1947 (age 66)
Otahuhu
Related to Steven Richards (son)
Touring Car Masters
Years active 2008–13
Teams Jim Richards Racing
Car no. 2
Best champ.
finish
1st in 2010, 2013
Previous series
1976–1980
1977, 1980–1995
1994–1996, 1999
1995–1999
1996
1999–2006
2001–2003
2003–2006
2009
Australian Sports Sedan
Australian Touring Car
Australian GT Production
Australian Super Toruing
NASCAR Australia
V8 Supercar
Australian Nations Cup
Carrera Cup Australia
Australian GT
Championship titles
1985
1985
1986
1987
1990
1991
1995
1996
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2010
2013
Australian Touring Car
Australian Endurance Champ.
Australian Endurance Champ.
Australian Touring Car
Australian Touring Car
Australian Touring Car
Australian GT Production
NASCAR Australia
Australian GT Production
Australian Nations Cup
Australian Nations Cup
Australian Nations Cup
Carrera Cup Australia
Touring Car Masters
Touring Car Masters
Awards
2006 V8 Supercar Hall of Fame

Jim Richards (born 2 September 1947) is a New Zealand racing driver who has spent most of his racing life in Australia. While retired from professional racing, Richards continues to compete in the historic category Touring Car Masters while running a team in the Australian GT Championship. After seven Bathurst 1000 victories and four Australian Touring Car Championships, Richards was inducted into the V8 Supercar Hall of Fame and the Australian Motorsport Hall of Fame[1] in 2006. He is the father of racing driver Steven Richards.

Career[edit]

Richards first made his mark in Australia at the 1974 Hardie-Ferodo 1000 with a masterful display of wet weather driving during the race, recording faster lap times than any of his opposition in the latter part of the event while driving a V8 Holden LH Torana SL/R 5000 L34 with fellow Kiwi Rod Coppins which finished in third place. This and other wet weather drives over his career gave Richards the reputation of being a 'rainmaster' which many Australian's cynically attributed to living in rainy New Zealand, though Richards himself believes it is more from the car control he learned early in his career racing dirt track speedway.

In mid-1975 Richards moved to Australia and was quickly competitive in sports sedan races driving his Sidchrome-sponsored Mustang. He was co-driver for John Goss in 1976 at Bathurst.

Then in 1978 Richards began a successful stint at the Holden Dealer Team as Peter Brock's co-driver at Bathurst, netting Richards three Bathurst 1000 titles in a row. Brock later recalled that at the time he only knew Richards as a casual acquaintance and fellow driver, but after the Wanneroo Park round of the 1978 Australian Touring Car Championship, the pair shared a Ford Falcon panel van for the drive from Perth back to Melbourne (which they allegedly covered in approximately 24 hours for what is normally a 2-3 day trip). Upon returning home to Melbourne, Brock suggested Richards for the job of his co-driver for that years Hardie-Ferodo 1000 at Bathurst. He was hired by HDT team manager John Shepherd and although only driving once a year for the team, the Brock/Richards combination would win Bathurst in 1978, 1979 and 1980.

In 1982, Richards was hired by JPS Team BMW team manager Frank Gardner as the teams lead driver to drive the teams BMW 635 CSi. While results under the locally developed Group C regulations were lacking, when Australian touring car racing changed to the international Group A regulations in 1985, the BMW was suddenly a frequent race winner. Richards easily won the 1985 Australian Touring Car Championship and the 1985 Australian Endurance Championship. The 635 CSi was replaced by the smaller capacity BMW M3 in 1987, and Richard's would again come to the fore, winning the 1987 Australian Touring Car Championship.

Gardner shut down the JPS team at the end of 1987 and Richards re-joined Peter Brock's team for 1988, with the old HDT now running the BMW M3's after spending the previous 19 years racing Holden's. By 1988 however, the M3 had been overtaken as the car to have by the all-powerful Ford Sierra RS500 and the wins of 1987 were now struggles for places. At the end of the year, Brock's team decided to race Sierra's in 1989 while Richards was snapped up by the Fred Gibson to race for his factory backed Nissan team.

Driving for Nissan, Richards won his third ATCC in 1990 driving both the Nissan Skyline HR31 GTS-R and 4WD, twin turbo R32 GT-R, affectionately known as "Godzilla". He would repeat as champion in 1991, finishing the ATCC ahead of his young team mate Mark Skaife. Skaife then put the GT-R on pole position at Bathurst, before he and Richards cruised to victory in race record time, a lap ahead of the Holden Commodore of defending race winners Win Percy and Allan Grice.

Richards finished second to Skaife in the 1992 ATCC, before the pair then won their second straight Bathurst 1000 in a crash shortened race which saw Jim crash the GT-R in a downpour on lap 145. However, as there had been a separate crash on that lap (which Richards later became a part of while trying to drive back to the pits), the red flag was shown and the race was declared. As the rules state that the results would be from the previous lap, this saw a surprised Richards and Skaife declared race winners. On a personal note, the 1992 Tooheys 1000 was a sad occasion for Richards when his long time friend and former JPS BMW team mate, 1967 Formula One World Champion Denny Hulme died at the wheel of his BMW M3 on lap 32 after suffering a heart attack.

Richards was only informed of Hulme's passing just before he and Skaife took to the podium as winners, and as the unruly crowd below booed the pair (they wanted the second placed Sierra of Dick Johnson and John Bowe declared winners as they did not like a Japanese car dominating as the GT-R did), the normally gentlemanly Richards let fly with his now famous speech:

"I'm just really stunned for words, I can't believe the reception. I thought Australian race fans had a lot more to go than this, this is bloody disgraceful. I'll keep racing but I tell you what, this is going to remain with me for a long time, you're a pack of arseholes."

—Jim Richards - Bathurst 1992.

His other Australian title wins were:

  • 1985 Australian Endurance Championship in a BMW 635 CSi
  • 1985 AMSCAR Series in a BMW 635 CSi
  • 1986 Australian Endurance Championship in a BMW 635 CSi
  • 1992 AMSCAR Series in a Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R
  • 1995 Australian GT Production Car Series in a Porsche 993 RSCS
  • 1996 Australian NASCAR Championship
  • 1999 Australian GT Production Car Championship in a Porsche 996 GT3
  • 2000 Australian Nations Cup Championship in a Porsche 996 GT3
  • 2001 Australian Nations Cup Championship in a Porsche 996 GT3
  • 2002 Australian Nations Cup Championship in a Porsche 996 GT3
  • 2003 Australian Carrera Cup Championship in a Porsche 996 GT3 Cup

His Bathurst wins have been:

He has also won the Sandown 500 in 1985 with Tony Longhurst in a BMW 635 CSi, and again in 1989 with Mark Skaife in a Nissan Skyline HR31 GTS-R.

Recently, Richards has driven in the Targa Tasmania as well as numerous other tarmac rallies in the Australian Targa Championship and other tarmac rallies, driving for Porsche. Partnering Richards as navigator has been motor racing journalist and commentator Barry Oliver. The pairing of Richards and Oliver (affectionately known as Team Grandpa in later years) has won the Targa Tasmania a record 8 times. Richards and Oliver made their debut in Targa in 1993 in a Porsche 968 CS.[2] His final victory saw him become only the fourth winner of the event in a two wheel drive car, and is the last person to do so, holding off more fancied four wheel drive rivals over a wet day 5 to win his last Targa Tasmania title.

Targa Tasmania wins:

Career results[edit]

Jim Richards and Barry Oliver competing in the 2005 Targa Tasmania
Richards won the 2010 Touring Car Masters at the wheels of a 1964 Ford Falcon Sprint
Richards placed second in the 2012 Touring Car Masters with an AMC Javelin AMX
Season Series Position Car Team
1976 Australian Sports Sedan Championship 4th Ford Mustang Sidchrome
1976 Marlboro Sports Sedan Series 1st [3] Ford Mustang [3] Sidchrome [3]
1977 Australian Sports Sedan Championship 4th Ford Mustang Jim Richards
1977 Australian Touring Car Championship 13th Ford XB Falcon GT
1978 Australian Sports Sedan Championship 2nd Ford XC Falcon Jim Richards Motor Racing
1979 Rothmans International Series 11th Matich A53 Repco Holden Jim Richards
1979 Australian Sports Sedan Championship 2nd Ford XC Falcon
Chrysler VH Valiant Charger
Chevrolet Monza
Jim Richards Motor Racing
Clem Smith
Rotax Monza
1980 Australian Sports Sedan Championship 3rd Ford XC Falcon Jim Richards
1982 Australian Touring Car Championship 22nd BMW 635 CSi JPS Team BMW
1982 Better Brakes AMSCAR Series 9th BMW 635 CSi JPS Team BMW
1982 Australian Endurance Championship 36th BMW 635 CSi JPS Team BMW
1982 Australian GT Championship 13th BMW 318i turbo JPS Team BMW
1983 Australian Endurance Championship 2nd BMW 635 CSi JPS Team BMW
1983 Australian GT Championship 2nd BMW 318i turbo JPS Team BMW
1984 Australian Touring Car Championship 5th BMW 635 CSi JPS Team BMW
1984 Better Brakes AMSCAR Series 3rd BMW 635 CSi JPS Team BMW
1985 Australian Touring Car Championship 1st BMW 635 CSi JPS Team BMW
1985 Australian Endurance Championship 1st BMW 635 CSi JPS Team BMW
1986 Australian Touring Car Championship 3rd BMW 635 CSi JPS Team BMW
1986 Better Brakes/AMSCAR Series 3rd BMW 635 CSi JPS Team BMW
1986 Australian Endurance Championship 1st BMW 635 CSi JPS Team BMW
1987 Australian Touring Car Championship 1st BMW M3 JPS Team BMW
1987/88 Australian Superspeedway (AUSCAR) Series 1st Ford XF Falcon
1988 Australian Touring Car Championship 4th BMW M3 Mobil 1 Racing
1989 Australian Touring Car Championship 4th Nissan Skyline HR31 GTS-R Nissan Motorsport Australia
1990 Australian Touring Car Championship 1st Nissan Skyline HR31 GTS-R
Nissan Skyline BNR32 GT-R
Nissan Motorsport Australia
1991 Australian Touring Car Championship 1st Nissan Skyline BNR32 GT-R Nissan Motorsport Australia
1991 Australian Endurance Championship 4th Nissan Skyline BNR32 GT-R Nissan Motor Sport
1992 Australian Touring Car Championship 2nd Nissan Skyline BNR32 GT-R Winfield Team Nissan
1993 Australian Touring Car Championship 4th Holden VP Commodore Gibson Motor Sport
1994 Australian Touring Car Championship 6th Holden VP Commodore Gibson Motor Sport
1994 Australian Super Production Car Series 3rd Porsche 968 CS
1995 Australian Touring Car Championship 12th Holden VR Commodore Gibson Motor Sport
1995 Australian Super Touring Championship 16th Hyundai Lantra
Ford Mondeo
Hyundai Automotive
Ross Palmer Motorsport
1995 Australian GT Production Car Series 1st Porsche 993 RSCS
1996 Australian Super Touring Championship 8th Vauxhall Cavalier Jim Richards
1996 Australian GT Production Car Championship 2nd Porsche 993 RSCS Jim Richards
1996 Australian Superspeedway (NASCAR) Series 1st Pontiac Grand Prix Garry Rogers Motorsport
1997 Australian Super Touring Championship 5th Volvo 850 Volvo Dealer Racing
1998 Australian Super Touring Championship 3rd Volvo S40 Volvo Dealer Racing
1999 Shell Championship Series 62nd Ford AU Falcon John Briggs Motorsport
1999 Australian Super Touring Championship 2nd Volvo S40 Volvo Dealer Racing
1999 Australian GT Production Car Championship 1st Porsche 996 GT3 Jim Richards
2000 Shell Championship Series 33rd Ford AU Falcon John Briggs Motorsport
2000 Australian Nations Cup Championship 1st Porsche 996 GT3 Jim Richards
2001 Shell Championship Series 35th Ford AU Falcon Ford Tickford Racing
2001 Australian Nations Cup Championship 1st Porsche 996 GT3 OAMPS Insurance Brokers
2002 V8Supercar Championship Series 33rd Holden VX Commodore Holden Racing Team
2002 Australian Nations Cup Championship 1st Porsche 996 GT3 OAMPS
2003 V8Supercar Championship Series 37th Holden VY Commodore Holden Racing Team
2003 Australian Nations Cup Championship 15th Porsche 911 GT3 OAMPS Insurance
2003 Australian Carrera Cup Championship 1st Porsche 996 GT3 Cup Jim Richards Racing
2004 V8Supercar Championship Series 39th Holden VY Commodore Castrol Perkins Racing
2004 Australian Carrera Cup Championship 2nd Porsche 996 GT3 Cup Jim Richards
2005 V8Supercar Championship Series 47th Holden VZ Commodore Holden Racing Team
2005 Australian Carrera Cup Championship 2nd Porsche 996 GT3 Cup OAMPS Insurance
2006 V8Supercar Championship Series 58th Holden VZ Commodore Holden Racing Team
2006 Australian Carrera Cup Championship 4th Porsche 997 GT3 Cup OAMPS Insurance Brokers
2009 Australian GT Championship 3rd Porsche 997 GT3 Cup Jim Richards Racing
2009 Touring Car Masters 4th Ford Falcon Sprint Jim Richards Racing
2010 Touring Car Masters 1st Ford Falcon Sprint Jim Richards Racing
2011 Touring Car Masters 2nd Ford Falcon Sprint Jim Richards Racing
2012 Touring Car Masters 2nd AMC Javelin AMX Jim Richards Racing
2013 Touring Car Masters 1st Ford Falcon Sprint Jim Richards Racing

1992 Bathurst 1000[edit]

Richards is infamous for his speech after winning the 1992 Bathurst 1000 after crashing his Nissan GT-R in while in the lead. The crash happened during appalling conditions with heavy rain making parts of the circuit almost undriveable, race stewards decided to stop the race and waved the red flag. The Nissan was largely unpopular with Bathurst race fans who mostly wanted to see either a Ford or Holden win. After Richards' crash, crowd favourite Dick Johnson, driving a Ford Sierra, assumed the lead, but the race results were declared at the end of the last completed lap before Jim Richards' accident which saw Richards and Mark Skaife declared race winners. The Nissan won the day and the crowd booed when Richards and his co-driver Mark Skaife went to collect their trophies. After Skaife had voiced his opinion on the unruly mob below, Richards was called to the microphone and said: "I'm just really stunned for words, I can't believe the reception. I thought Australian race fans had a lot more to go than this, this is bloody disgraceful. I'll keep racing but I tell you what this is going to remain with me for a long time. You're a pack of arseholes.".[4] Podium MC and Channel 7 commentator Gary Wilkinson then suggested he could cool the crowd down with a champagne bath, to which Richards replied "I wouldn't bother."

Richards later apologised for the outburst, citing the fact that he had been told just before going out onto the podium that his long time friend and former JPS BMW team mate Denny Hulme had died from a heart attack which he suffered while driving in the early part of the race.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lowndes wins major V8 award". Fox Sports Australia. 12 December 2006. Retrieved 3 January 2007. 
  2. ^ Octagon Australia. "Targa Tasmania Results Archive". 
  3. ^ a b c Tom Naughton, Frank's final, Jimmy's "SS", Racing Car News, January 1977, pages 48 & 49
  4. ^ Bidwell, Peter (2006). V8 Kiwis. Auckland: Hodder Moa. p. 18. ISBN 1-86971-060-6. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Allan Moffat
Jacky Ickx
Winner of the Bathurst 1000
1978, 1979 and 1980
(with Peter Brock)
Succeeded by
Dick Johnson
John French
Preceded by
Dick Johnson
Winner of the Australian Touring Car Championship
1985
Succeeded by
Robbie Francevic
Preceded by
Robbie Francevic
Winner of the Australian Touring Car Championship
1987
Succeeded by
Dick Johnson
Preceded by
Dick Johnson
Winner of the Australian Touring Car Championship
1990 and 1991
Succeeded by
Mark Skaife
Preceded by
Win Percy
Allan Grice
Winner of the Bathurst 1000
1991 and 1992
(with Mark Skaife)
Succeeded by
Larry Perkins
Gregg Hansford
Preceded by
David Brabham
Geoff Brabham
Winner of the Bathurst 1000
1998
(with Rickard Rydell)
Succeeded by
Paul Morris
Preceded by
Mark Skaife
Tony Longhurst
Winner of the Bathurst 1000
2002
(with Mark Skaife)
Succeeded by
Greg Murphy
Rick Kelly