Last night (Thursday 1 March), the Club was delighted to welcome one of Britain’s most revered racing drivers as its star guest to the Annual Motoring Dinner in Pall Mall.
The former Formula 1 driver and Le Mans winner, who started out in Superstocks, Derek Warwick carved out an admirable motor racing career, which included stints at Lotus, Renault, Toleman and Arrows. He raced in 147 Formula 1 Grands Prix in a golden era alongside the likes of Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet, before moving on to claim victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1992 for Peugeot and, that same year, become the World Sportscar Champion.
Derek also competed in the British Touring Car Championship with Alfa Romeo before forming Triple Eight Racing in 1997. He served as an FIA Steward at Formula 1 Grands Prix during 2010 and 2011 and then succeeded Damon Hill as the 10th President of the British Racing Drivers’ Club from 2011 to 2017.
To celebrate Derek’s fruitful career in motorsport, VIP guests included Jackie Oliver, a fellow Formula 1 driver, Le Mans race winner and founder of the Arrows Formula 1 team; David Brabham, Le Mans winner and Derek’s teammate in the 1991 World Sportscar Championship driving the legendary Silk Cut Jaguar XKR-14; and Pat Symonds, an esteemed motorsport engineer who worked with Derek when he raced for Toleman, which later became Benetton and Renault F1.
With media master Henry Hope-Frost in control of the mic, Derek, an extremely humble man to say the least, shared an honest insight into how it felt being on stage at the Club: ‘I’ve never seen myself as someone to be sat on a stage surrounded by people who want to hear what I have to say. I’ve always considered names such as Nigel Mansell, Martin Brundle and Johnny Herbert to be the heroes!’
Throughout the evening, Derek had Club members emotions ebbing and flowing, as he shared with us the many highs and lows of his career, from the excitement of his Formula 1 Grand Prix debut in Montreal to losing his brother Paul in a British F3000 crash at Oulton Park in 1991.
To ensure we greeted Derek with the warmest welcome, the rotunda showcased the Porsche 956 that Derek raced to victory in the 1983 Brands Hatch 1000kms race. A huge thank you to Henry Pearman, owner for the car, who also joined us for the dinner.
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