David Richards awarded CBE

Departing BAR boss David Richards has been awarded a CBE in the New Year's Honours List for his services to the motorsport industry

David Richards awarded CBE

Richards, 52, founded the consultancy and engineering firm Prodrive in 1984, which has since become the world's largest independent motorsport company, employing nearly 900 people with an annual turnover of £110 million.

The firm has long had a major foothold in both road racing and rallying: Prodrive-run teams have won six World Rally Championship titles and five British Touring Car Championships and Prodrive built, developed and raced the Ferrari 550 Maranello cars that competed successfully in American Le Mans Series events from 2001-03, scoring five class wins in the ALMS as well as a GTS class win at Le Mans in 2003.

Richards is best known to Formula 1 fans for his time at the helm of the Benetton and BAR teams. The ebullient, cigar-smoking Briton was hired by BAR's majority owner British American Tobacco to manage the team at the end of 2001, since when he has elevated BAR from the status of midfield also-ran to Ferrari's closest challenger in the 2004 constructors' championship.

Despite his successful record, Richards was ousted from the Brackley-based team in November when Honda bought into BAR and began instituting a new management structure, although he will stay on the scene until the end of February to facilitate a smooth transition to his successor Nick Fry.

Among the many strings to his bow, Richards owns the commercial rights to the World Rally Championship, having acquired them from Bernie Ecclestone in 2000.

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