British touring car legend Vince Woodman dies aged 83

Vince Woodman, a British touring car legend, has died at the age of 83.

British touring car legend Vince Woodman dies aged 83

Woodman passed away last Wednesday (2 June), nine years after suffering a stroke in the British Racing Drivers’ Club Clubhouse at the 2012 British Grand Prix, and was among the most able and best-loved saloon car racers of a golden era.

Businessman-racer Woodman’s ability to engage with clients and commitment to service were reflected in the immaculate preparation standards in the establishment of VMW Motors near Bristol. By 1970, at 33, he was England’s youngest Ford main dealer. Racing showcased this.

After hillclimbing locally, Woodman started circuit racing at Castle Combe in 1965 with a Lotus Cortina, then switched to Broadspeed Escorts. He graduated to the British Saloon Car Championship in 1971, finishing runner-up from the 1300cc class in an Escort-BDA carrying VMW’s blue-and-white livery. He also racked up many club racing victories.

Woodman was a BSCC fan favourite until 1989, winning 12 races. He ran a Chevrolet Camaro in 1974-75, but the three-litre capacity limit presaged a return to Blue Oval products and the most successful era of his driving career. His breakthrough victory came in the 1976 British GP support race at Brands Hatch. Old pal Jonathan Buncombe also won in Esso-sponsored Ford Capri V6s, and they finished third in the 1977 Spa 24 Hours.

Top 10: Best BTCC cars ranked - Ford Capri, RS500, Mini and more

Woodman kept close to his roots, campaigning a Broadspeed-built ‘Cologne-type’ Capri powered by a 3.4-litre 450bhp Ford Cosworth GAA engine. Elsewhere he raced Rover, BMW 635CSi and a Sierra RS500 in the BSCC. In 1982 he matched TWR Rover driver Jeff Allam’s points tally, but Allam took the class title on a tiebreak.

PLUS: The outright tin-top wins achieved by a forgotten tin-top great

Among Woodman’s finest drives was finishing second, at 47 years old, in Donington’s 1984 European Touring Car round with James Weaver in a BMW 635. He and John Cleland won three Thundersaloon titles, in 1986 with a Vauxhall Senator-badged Holden Commodore, then 1989-90 with the mighty Vauxhall Carlton TS6000, a combo rarely defeated.

His final win came at Combe in 2008, fittingly where his racing started 43 years earlier, sharing his beloved Capri-GA with preparer Dan Cox.

shares
comments
Hawkins replaces Neate at Motorbase for Snetterton BTCC round

Previous article

Hawkins replaces Neate at Motorbase for Snetterton BTCC round

Next article

What could have been: The Super Touring near-misses of a Formula Ford great

What could have been: The Super Touring near-misses of a Formula Ford great
Load comments
The outright tin-top wins achieved by a forgotten tin-top great Plus

The outright tin-top wins achieved by a forgotten tin-top great

Already established as a formidable force in the British Saloon Car Championship, the Triumph Dolomite became a legend in 1977 when Tony Dron's Broadspeed machine frequently embarrassed the mighty Capris

BTCC
May 18, 2021
Five key plotlines to follow in the 2021 BTCC Plus

Five key plotlines to follow in the 2021 BTCC

It’s been a busy silly season in the BTCC since the chequered flag fell to end the 2020 campaign last November. While last year’s top two have stayed put, there’s plenty of talking points elsewhere, which should result in another fascinating year of tin-top action

BTCC
May 7, 2021
The giantkilling 'dad and lad' operation taking on the BTCC's best Plus

The giantkilling 'dad and lad' operation taking on the BTCC's best

The Lancashire squad of Ciceley Motorsport has been a BTCC race winner for several years with Adam Morgan and Mercedes. But the switch to WSR-built BMWs and addition of Tom Chilton as a true barometer for Morgan should see the team step up into title contention

BTCC
May 6, 2021
How a returning champion is feeling at home again in the BTCC Plus

How a returning champion is feeling at home again in the BTCC

After topping the times at the end of British Touring Car Championship pre-season testing, it feels like Gordon Shedden has never been away. But after plenty of changes behind the scenes, the three-time champion is bedding himself in to pick up where he left off

BTCC
May 5, 2021
Why a BTCC legend remains defiant at '97 not out' Plus

Why a BTCC legend remains defiant at '97 not out'

After a year of enforced absence from the British Touring Car Championship grid, Jason Plato is back and hungrier than ever. Despite stellar opposition and some familiar challenges, the two-time champion still has his eyes focused on the biggest prizes

BTCC
May 4, 2021
How Ingram's clean slate can end his BTCC title wait Plus

How Ingram's clean slate can end his BTCC title wait

After seven years together, Tom Ingram and Speedworks Motorsport have amicably split and gone down separate paths for the 2021 BTCC season. With engineer Spencer Aldridge joining him at the Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai squad, Ingram is confident he can challenge for titles from the off

BTCC
Apr 30, 2021
How the unlikely Capri-slaying Dolomite triumphed against adversary Plus

How the unlikely Capri-slaying Dolomite triumphed against adversary

The Dolomite Sprint was a potent giantkilling weapon during the 1970s in the British Saloon Car Championship, now known as the BTCC. Tin-top legend Andy Rouse explains how it became such a force

BTCC
Apr 25, 2021
The rollercoaster ride of West Surrey Racing's 40 years Plus

The rollercoaster ride of West Surrey Racing's 40 years

It’s four decades since one of UK motorsport’s most successful teams made its debut at Silverstone in British Formula 3. Now it’s top dog in the BTCC, time to blow out some candles with boss Dick Bennetts

BTCC
Mar 12, 2021