Happy Birthday, Jim Richards
AUSTRALIAN Motor Racing legend Jim Richards celebrates his 74th Birthday today, the 2nd of September.
While his remarkable professional racing career is well known, Richards’ role in the Gulf Western Oils Touring Car Masters Series has also been significant.
As well as being a two-time champion, the expat Kiwi great has been responsible for giving TCM fans two of their most popular cars ever to compete in the class, namely the Falcon Sprint and the AMC Javelin.
Richards’ made his TCM debut driving a Chevrolet Camaro for two rounds in TCM’s first ever season in 2007, before shifting briefly to a Ford Mustang the following season.
2008, however, was notable for the debut of his Ford Falcon Sprint which would become one of the iconic TCM cars ever.
The Sprint raced for four seasons – 2008 to 2012 – and delivered the Shannons-supported driver the 2010 title.
It was parked for 2012 when the Javelin made its debut, but following that cars untimely demise it was returned to service for the 2013 championship – where it clinched a second championship.
Javelin Mark II returned in 2015, but the Sprint would continue to race every now and then right through to Richards’ final TCM races in 2018.
The Sprint ultimately completed 47 rounds and 138 races, the Javelin 24 and 70, respectively.
Both cars are iconic in TCM – the Sprint for it’s screaming 289 Ford V8 and the Javelin just for being something completely different to the TCM norm. A credit to Richards’ (and his team), both cars are among the best presented racing cars you’ll ever see.
Richards’ TCM track record is remarkable.
Two times a champion, in 2010 and 2013, he also finished second in 2011, 2012 and 2015.
Richards’ has 74 rounds and 218 races to his credit in the category. His 24 wins place him fourth on the all-time TCM winners list, while John Bowe is the only driver to score more round podiums.
In notable stats, Richards’ has been involved in two of the four TCM rounds decided on a countback – he lost to Bowe at Phillip Island in 2008, but returned the favour at Winton in 2014.
His 34 front-row TCM starts are second on the all-time roster, and to this day no combination have locked out a TCM front row more often than Richards and Bowe.
Stats aside, Richards’ presence in the series, especially in the formative years of TCM, gave the category credibility to live up to the ‘Masters’ name, as few can deliver to that tag as much as Jim Richards can.
It’s a very happy birthday to Jim, from the entire TCM family!