Carroll Smith dies

The motorsport industry on both sides of the Atlantic is very much poorer this morning for the loss of Carroll Smith, one of America's outstanding race engineers of the 20th century, who succumbed to pancreatic cancer at the weekend at home in California after a short illness. Smith's many books and magazine articles will stand as testimony to his wide-ranging expertise and inexhaustible love and deep knowledge of professional motor racing

Carroll Smith dies

Carroll raced Formula Junior single-seaters and sports cars in Europe in the late 1950s and early 1960s before moving into race engineering and team management. He accepted an offer from John Wyer to work at Ford Advanced Vehicles on the development of the original Ford GT in 1964, but was swiftly 'poached' by Carroll Shelby. His European experience proved invaluable to Shelby American when it took over the GT40 programme in 1965. He was the team manager when the GT40s ran in the Targa Florio and other European events that year, and remained a key member of the works-funded operation that won Le Mans in 1966 and 1967 - his proudest moments, he would say.

When Shelby's factory Ford GT40 project ended, Carroll returned to the USA, where he became involved in CanAm racing and later Formula 5000. In the mid 1970s, he began turning his wealth of practical experience into his renowned '...To Win' series of books on motorsport engineering and technology, which are still best-sellers today.

One of his last hands-on racing programmes was engineering his son, Christopher, to the 1992 Toyota Atlantic championship.

Carroll's illness caused him to pull out of his annual role as the chief judge of the Formula SAE collegiate competition in the USA at the weekend and, ironically, he died while the event was being held. He had also been due in the UK in July to fulfil his similar role in the equivalent Formula Student competition.

Much admired and loved by everyone who met him, Carroll will have a private family gathering at his home tomorrow, rather than a formal funeral.

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