Holden Chairman and managing director, Mike Devereux, today paid tribute to Walkinshaw, whose influence and legacy stretches well beyond Australia’s shores.
“On behalf of the men and women at Holden, I'd like to extend our deepest sympathies to Tom's family, friends and co-workers across the world," Mr Devereux said."For more than 20 years Tom's pursuit of excellence helped forge our brand's reputation as a performance leader both on and off the track through the creation of Holden Special Vehicles and the Holden Racing Team."From the original 1988 Group A Commodore that will forever be known as a "Walkinshaw" to the extraordinary W427 20 years later, Tom's work was truly iconic."His contribution not only to Holden, but the automotive industry is legendary and will never be forgotten."
HSV Chairman, Jeffrey Browne, said Walkinshaw made an incredible contribution to the Australian motor racing landscape and automotive industry over many years, and would be sadly missed.
“Tom was an amazing character, a dedicated family man and a shrewd businessman. His dynamic vision for HSV lives on in all of us who were touched by his brilliance, ambition and seemingly endless energy,” Mr Browne said.“Tom expressed to me during his illness, the need to ensure processes that kept his legacy intact and I am proud that we have successfully achieved that, from Board level to the factory floor.“I will miss a great friend and colleague but I am determined that his life’s work will live on in HSV.”
Walkinshaw Racing CEO, Craig Wilson, also expressed his sympathies.
“As we all know, Tom was very passionate about motor racing and he achieved much success as a driver and team owner in his lifetime,” Mr Wilson said.“Those who know Tom know a tremendous competitor. But having worked for him for over 20 years I also know him as someone with amazing entrepreneurial spirit and someone with real insight into this business.“He will be sadly missed, but we owe it to him to continue the success we have enjoyed under his watchful eye.”
Walkinshaw was born in Scotland in 1946 and began racing in 1968. In 1976 he established Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR) and won the 1984 European Touring Car Championship in a Jaguar XJS.
TWR Jaguar won at Le Mans in 1988 and 1990 under his direction, and Benetton claimed the 1994 Formula One World Championship with Walkinshaw as engineering director.
By 1997, TWR Group employed 1500 people in Australia, Sweden, the US and the UK, and at the same time Walkinshaw was the managing director of Arrows Grand Prix International.
Walkinshaw returned to V8 Supercar racing in Australia in 2005, and lead Holden to its first championship win since 2002 by helping Rick Kelly and Garth Tander to the driver’s championship in 2006 and 2007.