Win Percy in 2012
28 September 1943 |
|Best championship position||1st
(1980, 1981, 1982)
Winston "Win" Percy (born 28 September 1943, near Tolpuddle, Dorset) is a former motor racing driver from England. He competed in many classes of motorsport during his long career, but is perhaps most famous as one of the greats of touring car racing. Joe Saward of Autosport magazine once described him as being "often regarded as the World's Number One Touring Car Driver". Percy was British Touring Car Champion three times, and at the time of his retirement was the most successful non-Antipodean driver ever to compete in Australia's premier national motorsport event: the Bathurst 1000km.
- 1 The early years
- 2 Enter the BTCC
- 3 The World Stage
- 4 Australia
- 5 Accident
- 6 Career Results
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The early years
Percy found his way into motor sport through his first employment as a motor mechanic at his local garage. His first race was in 1964, in a local time-trial event driving his own road-going Ford Anglia 1200. He won, beating drivers of far more powerful cars in the process. While initially he pursued competitive driving as a hobby, his innate talent quickly resulted in many high-placed finishes in national-level races, including taking all three victories in the 1973 televised rallycross races at Cadwell Park. On the back of these results he turned professional in 1974, driving Spike Andersons Samuri Datsun 240Z in the British Modified Sports Car Championship. Once again, he won.
Enter the BTCC
The following year saw Win Percy enter the British Touring Car Championship for the first time, a race series that he would come to dominate in the years ahead. His first race in the BTCC would also be the first time he encountered Tom Walkinshaw, after Percy had not only won his class in the Toyota he was driving, but also put up a spirited attack on Walkinshaw's Ford Escort in the class above. In 1983, Percy won the Willhire 24 Hour in a Porsche 928S.
He stuck with Toyota for the next four years, but the Walkinshaw-Percy partnership finally came together in the same team when Walkinshaw offered Percy a drive in his Tom Walkinshaw Racing-run Mazda RX-7 for the 1980 season. True to form, Percy won the 1980 Championship for TWR, and then went on to repeat the feat in the following year. Owing to a misunderstanding of Walkinshaw's off-beat sense of humour, Percy agreed to move back to Toyota for 1982. This did little to stop his march to championship glory however, as he once again won the BTCC crown for the 1982 season in the Toyota Corolla.
The World Stage
Despite remaining with Toyota during the 1983 BTCC season, Percy maintained his links to TWR with occasional drives in their V12 powered Jaguar XJS coupé which was quickly proving the car to beat in Group A racing, and Walkinshaw managed to tempt him back full-time in 1984. However, rather than a return to the BTCC, TWR entered three of the big Jaguars in the European Touring Car Championship with Percy co-driving the lead car with Walkinshaw. The team won the 1984 ETCC with Walkinshaw also taking the drivers' title while the Walkinshaw, Percy and Hans Heyer Jaguar won the ETCC's blue ribbon event, the Spa 24 Hours. The following year after Jaguar shelved its touring car program to concentrate on racing Sportscars which saw TWR switch to works-backed Rover Vitesse V8's, again competing for the ETCC title. Walkinshaw and Percy this time took joint third in the drivers' championship. Along the way they scored victories in seven of the 500 km rounds: Donington; Silverstone; Monza; Vallelunga; Nogaro; the Österreichring; and Salzburg. 1985 also saw the Walkinshaw-Percy partnership in Australia for the first time, in an XJS, for the 1985 Bathurst 1000 where they finished third (the team's third car driven by Australia's John Goss and West German Armin Hahne won the race).
Once again, the TWR Vitesse cars were entered for the ETCC in 1986 where Percy finished 2nd in the Drivers' Championship. He had originally been declared the champion until a month after the championship the FIA amended the results (suddenly remembering that drivers had to drop their lowest scoring race) which gave the championship to BMW driver Roberto Ravaglia. However, 1986 also saw TWR running Jaguar's works Group C1 entry for the 24 Hours of Le Mans race; Percy was a natural choice for one of the driving slots. Percy's Jaguar XJR-6 lasted for 10 of the 24 hours, partnered by Gianfranco Brancatelli and Hurley Haywood at the wheel, before a drive-shaft failure dropped the car out of the race from second place. Percy entered Le Mans again the following year, but suffered a horrific crash when a tyre exploded at full speed (approximately 240 mph (386 km/h)) on the long Mulsanne Straight, tearing off the rear bodywork and flipping the car into the air "up above the trees". The wreckage finally came to a halt 600 metres down the road but, despite almost obliterating the vehicle, Percy walked away from the crash with nothing more than a badly battered helmet.
With TWR not racing in the 1987 World Touring Car Championship, Percy only drove selected rounds of the series as a driver for hire. This saw him team with fellow Englishman Andy Rouse in a turbo Ford Sierra as well as Australian team Roadways Racing driving a V8 Holden Commodore with Allan Grice, though in his 5 WTCC races Percy failed to finish each time.
Percy contested the 1988 European Touring Car Championship driving a factory backed Nissan Skyline HR31 GTS-R with Allan Grice. The pair, along with Sweden's Anders Olofsson would finish a strong 6th in the Spa 24 Hour. In October, Percy and Grice again drove a Roadways Racing Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV in the Bathurst 1000, though electrical trouble through the race saw them finish in a disappointing 15th place.
He continued to race in national and international competitions with a variety of teams until the end of the decade winning the 1989 Spa 24 Hours race in an Eggenberger Motorsport Ford Sierra RS500.
Percy co-drove in the Australasian rounds of the 1987 World Touring Car Championship with Allan Grice in a Holden Commodore VL, and again at the 1988 Bathurst 1000. In 1989, Percy contested the Australian endurance races with Perkins Engineering under the Holden Racing Team name.
In 1990, at the behest of Holden Special Vehicles owner Tom Walkinshaw, Percy officially formed the works Holden Racing Team to contest the Australian Touring Car Championship. Racing on the largely unfamiliar Australian race tracks, Percy as both team manager and lead driver put in a strong showing against the faster and lighter Ford Sierra RS500s and Nissan Skyline turbos to be the highest placed Commodore driver, finishing 8th in the series with a best finish being 3rd in at the Lakeside round. This was despite being forced to miss Round 6 of the series at Mallala when he and his wife were back home in England following the tragic death of their son in a car accident.
Percy and Allan Grice were surprise, but welcome winners of the 1990 Bathurst 1000 in a Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV, before finished second in 1991 driving the newer Holden VN Commodore SS Group A SV. As a team manager and lead driver, Percy would claim that his hardest decision was to let Grice drive the final stint of the 1990 Bathurst 1000. Percy, who had injured his shoulder a few weeks prior to Bathurst and felt that veteran Grice was the better choice to drive the final stint. Ironically, while Percy wanted Grice as his co-driver, team owner Walkinshaw was initially against the idea due to memories of Grice giving the TWR Rovers hell during the 1986 ETCC and only reluctantly let Percy chose his own co-driver. At the end of the 1991 Australian Touring Car season after two years in charge of the Holden Racing Team, Percy and his wife returned to England. After a relatively quiet year in which he did little racing, Percy returned to Australia and the HRT in 1992 to drive the new 1993 spec Holden VP Commodore alongside Grice at both the Sandown 500 and the Bathurst 1000, finishing 5th outright and first in Class C for the new spec cars at Bathurst.
After 1991 he led a peripatetic lifestyle, with drives in many series around the world. He contested the 1993 BTCC in a Nissan Primera. Despite acting as team manager in the Mazda entry for the 1994 BTCC, and chief tester and latterly team manager for Harrier between 1995 and 1997, he managed to squeeze in the Jaguar XJ220's first race win.
In the late 1990s he became a familiar figure on the historic motorsport stage, often seen getting his Jaguar D-type XKD 505 very sideways in fiercely contested historic sports car races. More often than not Percy would emerge victorious. In 2002, driving XKD 505, he won all four races at the Le Mans Classic meeting. Sadly, this spectacle was not to last long.
In the summer of 2003 Win Percy suffered a serious accident in his garden. He was taken to hospital, where a medical error led to him being paralysed from the waist down. Win Percy sued the West Dorset General Hospital NHS Trust and received an out of court settlement of £1.55 million (estimated General Damages £90,000) in April 2008. No longer able to compete, he is still a regular visitor to motor racing events around Britain.
Results sourced from Driver Database.
Complete World Touring Car Championship results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)
|1987||Andy Rouse Engineering||Ford Sierra RS Cosworth||MNZ||JAR||DIJ||NUR||SPA
|Ford Sierra RS500||SIL
|Roadways Racing||Holden VL Commodore SS Group A||BAT
Complete European Touring Car Championship results
Complete Australian Touring Car Championship results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)
|1990||Holden Racing Team||Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV||AMA
|1991||Holden Racing Team||Holden VN Commodore SS Group A SV||SAN
Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results
|1981||Mazdaspeed Co. Ltd.|| Yojiro Terada
|Mazda RX-7||IMSA GTO||25||DNF||DNF|
|1986|| Silk Cut Jaguar
Tom Walkinshaw Racing
| Gianfranco Brancatelli
|1987|| Silk Cut Jaguar
Tom Walkinshaw Racing
| Jan Lammers
|1988||Nissan Motorsports|| Allan Grice
|1993||TWR Jaguar Racing|| Armin Hahne
|1995||PC Automotive Jaguar|| Bernard Thuner
Complete Spa 24 Hour results
Complete Bathurst 1000 results
|1985||JRA Ltd||Tom Walkinshaw||Jaguar XJS||C||160||3rd||3rd|
|1987||Roadways Racing||Allan Grice||Holden VL Commodore SS Group A||1||96||DNF||DNF|
|1988||ICL Racing||Allan Grice||Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV||A||139||15th||11th|
|1989||Holden Racing Team||Neil Crompton||Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV||A||158||7th||7th|
|1990||Holden Racing Team||Allan Grice||Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV||A||161||1st||1st|
|1991||Holden Racing Team||Allan Grice||Holden VN Commodore SS Group A SV||A||160||2nd||2nd|
|1992||Holden Racing Team||Allan Grice||Holden VP Commodore||C||141||5th||1st|
|1993||Holden Racing Team||Tomas Mezera||Holden VP Commodore||A||107||DNF||DNF|
|1994||Coca-Cola Racing||Russell Ingall||Holden VP Commodore||A||161||5th||5th|
|1995||Coca-Cola Racing||Brad Jones||Holden VR Commodore||161||5th||5th|
|1997||John Faulkner Racing||John Faulkner||Holden VS Commodore||L1||154||5th||5th|
- "BRDC Archive: Percy, Win". BRDC.co.uk. British Racing Drivers' Club. Archived from the original on 4 October 2006.
- http://www.gearwheelsmag.co.uk/archive/win_percy_feature_17.htm[permanent dead link]
- Janet Sayers and Mary Menjou (17 April 2008). "Win Percy v. West Dorset General Hospitals NHS Trust". Lexology - Kennedys Law LLP.
- Win Percy - Driver Database
- European Touring Car Championship at History of Touring Car Racing
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Win Percy.|
- Win Percy's Get Well Soon page
- Interview with Win Percy at Gear Wheels online.
- ETCC results and photos.
|British Touring Car Champion
|Winner of the Bathurst 1000
(with Allan Grice)