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Long-time team owner, manager and engineer Dave Price dies aged 75

Long-time team owner, manager and engineer Dave Price who worked with Nigel Mansell, Martin Brundle and Derek Bell among others over a career spanning six decades has died aged 75.

David Price, David Price Racing Team

The Briton, always known affectionately as ‘Pricey’ in the paddock, ran Mansell and Brundle in the British Formula 3 Championship in 1977 and 1982 respectively, a series his David Price Racing squad would win in 1984 with Johnny Dumfries.

Bell raced for DPR at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1995 and 1996 aboard a McLaren F1 GTR and it was in sportscar racing that Price enjoyed some of his greatest successes.

Price was a jobbing team manager and engineer in a 10-year hiatus from the grid for DPR straddling the late 1980s and early 1990s and in that time worked for British Porsche entrant Richard Lloyd, Sauber and Nissan.

He played a key role as TM, a race engineer and component supplier through his DPS Composites business in turning what had become Team Sauber Mercedes into a Le Mans-winning operation in 1989, one that also dominated that year’s World Sports-Prototype Championship with the C9 Group C car.

DPR enjoyed a successful two years with the McLaren in 1995-96: it won eight races in the Global Endurance GT Series and was on course to win Le Mans in ’95 with Bell, his son Justin and Andy Wallace until transmission problem slowed the car.

Price was also a prime mover in British F3 beyond DPR’s withdrawal from the series at the end of 1985: he was involved in the Formula 3 Teams’ Association known as FOTA that helped run the series from its formation in 1982 through to the demise of the championship in 2014.

Brundle described Price as a “a great leader, a great character and a great bloke”.

“As a team manager he could galvanise the people around him — he was just a good leader,” he told Autosport.

“DP got the fundamentals right because he always took a pragmatic approach and there was never any BS.”

The David Price Racing team lines up with its two McLaren F1 GTRs at Le Mans in 1996

The David Price Racing team lines up with its two McLaren F1 GTRs at Le Mans in 1996

Photo by: Sutton Images

Wallace, who also drove for Price at Panoz, recalled Price as a “master tactician” and “a bloody good team boss”.

“Every car I ever drove for Dave was top notch,” Wallace told Autosport.

“He understood that he needed the best people possible to prepare and run his cars and always made sure that was the case.

“But as deadly serious and as high-pressured as it all was, driving for Pricey was always fun.”

Price began his motorsport career as an apprentice with the John Willment touring car team in the late 1960s.

He established DPR in 1975, the team getting its big break for 1978 when it took over the British F3 programme funded by Unipart, British Leyland’s parts division.

Mansell and Brett Riley were race winners aboard its Triumph-engined Marches in 1979, while Tiff Needell and Ian Flux also drove the cars.

The sister Bracey Price Motorsport operation based in the same Twickenham premises ran a pair of Williams-Cosworth FW06s for bike legend Giacomo Agostini in the Aurora-sponsored British Formula 1 Championship in 1978 and ’80.

Price and his team also had a flirtation with touring cars: it ran the first works Rover SD1s in 1980 in what was then known as the British Saloon Car Championship.

Price ran Calvin Fish to fourth in 1983 British F3 championship

Price ran Calvin Fish to fourth in 1983 British F3 championship

Photo by: Sutton Images

Brundle joined the team for his first proper season of single-seater racing when Price landed a deal with BP.

The partnership yielded a pair of victories and fourth place in the British F3 points in 1982.

DPR’s relationship with BP continued, though without Brundle: the oil company wanted Calvin Fish as a driver, so Pricey smoothed Brundle’s path into the Eddie Jordan Racing team with which he would finish second to Ayrton Senna in 1983.

Pricey effectively built its own version of the all-conquering Ralt RT3 for its 1984 British F3 campaign with Dumfries, who dominated the season with 10 victories from 17 races.

DPR withdrew from F3 after 1985, Price choosing to concentrate on his new composites business.

But he was back in the headphones in 1987 with Lloyd’s Porsche team, before switching to Sauber the following year.

DPR was reformed for 1995 and a sportscar campaign with a pair of McLarens, one run in the colours of Harrods, the other the West tobacco brand.

The Harrods car nearly won Le Mans, while the West example driven by John Nielsen and Thomas Bscher claimed the Global Endurance title.

DPR subsequently ran the works Panoz team in the FIA GT Championship in 1997 at the start of a long relationship with the marque for Price: he would subsequently team manage its US factory operation and, starting in 2013, its DeltaWing squad.

Pla won twice in inaugural season of GP2 in 2005 with DPR

Pla won twice in inaugural season of GP2 in 2005 with DPR

Photo by: Brendon Thorne

The team returned to single-seaters in 2004 in the Formula Renault V6 Eurocup and then GP2 in 2005 where it won two races with Olivier Pla.

Price sold the team in 2009 but it continued to run under the DPR name through to the end of the following year before losing its entries.

Price had one short spell working in the F1 world championship when he was briefly team manager at Brabham in 1991.

Details of a memorial will be announced by his family at a later date.

David Price

David Price

Photo by: Sutton Images

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