Barry Playle dies

The projected relaunch of UK marque Hawke Racing Cars has suffered a setback with the sudden death of Barry Playle, who suffered a heart attack on Monday. The principal of UK dotcom retailer 11/10ths Motorsport in Leigh on Sea, Essex, had planned to set up his new Hawke company in a factory adjacent to the UK's Rockingham Motor Speedway, and had secured a deal to build the new Challenge Initiative racecars [Nov 27]

Barry Playle dies

Pending the move to Rockingham, Playle (47) was in the process of setting up Hawke's 370bhp V6 Challenge Initiative single-seater project in Southampton when he died.

Hawke was founded in 1969 in Royston, Hertfordshire, by David Lazenby, who had designed the 1968 Indy 500 winning Lotus. It produced branded single-seaters for Formula Ford (with which it was highly successful), SuperVee and Formula A/B. Vic Hollman (later the founder of PRS and Bowman Karts) became the sales director in 1974, and Lazenby subsequently sold out to airline owner Mike Keegan, who moved the company into premises at Southend Airport.

Hawke ventured into F3 in 1976 with a single chassis designed by the young Adrian Reynard. The company, which also gave F1 designer Pat Symons his first job, ceased production in August 1979 after a disastrous project for the North American Formula Ford market.

Playle raced a Hawke Formula Ford chassis in the 1980s and later acquired the rights to the name. Last year he ran a Formula Renault team for his son, Oliver. The Challenge Initiative contract, placed by Peter Wardle's new company in Broughton, was to have provided a springboard for Hawke to rejoin the brand-name racecar market.

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