New Zealand-born V8 Supercar racer Jason Richards has passed away after a 14-month fight against a rare form of cancer. He was 35.
Richards died at his home in Melbourne last night with his family by his side. He is survived by his wife, Charlotte, and two daughters, Sienna and Olivia.
Richards won the New Zealand Touring Car Championship three times before moving to Australia in 2001. He raced in the V8 Supercar Championship Series between 2002 and 2010, and was runner-up at the Bathurst 1000 on three occasions. His single V8 race win came at Winton in Victoria in 2006.
Richards was diagnosed with an aggressive form of adrenal gland cancer (adrenocortical carcinoma) late last year, but was determined to continue racing this year, competing in the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series with Greg Murphy Racing and in the Australian GT Championship with Maranello Motorsport.
Renowned for being a fierce racer on the track and the ultimate nice guy off it, Richards’ passing has attracted an outpouring of messages across social media sites from the racing community and the general public:
“RIP Jason Richards. I am sure he lobbed at the pearly gates & asked, which way does the track go & what's the lap record.” – Garth Tander
“God now has my four favorite drivers in his team, Gilles Villeneuve, Senna, Brock and Jason Richards. RIP buddy.” – Jason Bright
“We are all deeply saddened to hear our mate Jason Richards passed away last night. On behalf of everyone at TeamVodafone and Triple Eight Race Engineering we send our deepest condolences to his family at this difficult time.” – Triple Eight Racing“In the competitive world of V8 Supercars Jason was a rare breed – a driver that could tread the fine line between rivalry and friendship. He will forever be a member of the Jones family and this is a tragic day in the team’s history.” – Brad Jones Racing
“Jason's family is appreciative of the many thousands of people who have offered their love and support during his battle with illness over the past 14 months,” Richards’ family said in a statement.
V8 Supercars Australia confirmed a memorial service to honour Richards and his career will be held at Sandown in the coming weeks.