Obituary: Neil Cunningham, 1962-2016

Former single-seater ace and British GT winner Neil Cunningham has lost a brave fight against motor neurone disease at the age of just 53

Obituary: Neil Cunningham, 1962-2016

New Zealander Cunningham arrived in Britain after starting his racing in Australia and soon made his name as a rising star of Formula Ford 1600.

Although regularly competing on limited funds, Cunningham showed himself to be a fine racer and his cheerful disposition and hard working attitude won him many friends.

When it became apparent that a career in single-seaters was out of reach, he switched disciplines and enjoyed great success in the ultra-competitive Eurocar movement of the mid-1990s. He was V6 champion in 1996 before stepping up to GT racing.

He then raced extensively in GTs across Europe and capped his career by finishing third in the British GT Championship in 2005 in a Porsche 911 GT2 with Embassy Racing.

He continued in British GT but also raced in Europe and then moved into sports-prototypes and raced in the LMP2 class at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Cunningham proved his versatility and passion for motorsport by racing historic cars with success and even took a driving role in James Bond film Quantum of Solace.

He moved his family to the Gower Peninsula in South Wales where he indulged his love of surfing but, cruelly, at the age of 47 he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.

Over the following years, he worked hard to raise funds for research into the debilitating condition in the hope that a cure would be found in time for him. Sadly, that did not prove to be the case.

Neil Cunningham was a fine racer, a truly likeable character and immensely popular across the sport.

His many racing friends have been fulsome in their praise of Neil as a gentleman, racer, rival, team-mate and friend.

Cunningham established the Racing4MND charity to raise funds to battle the disease.

For more information on, and to donate to the charity, visit www.racing4mnd.org

shares
comments
M-Sport WRC driver Ostberg considering entry for BRC finale
Previous article

M-Sport WRC driver Ostberg considering entry for BRC finale

Next article

Mark Higgins breaks TT lap record for cars with Prodrive Subaru

Mark Higgins breaks TT lap record for cars with Prodrive Subaru
How Lotus emerged as a period Goodwood force Plus

How Lotus emerged as a period Goodwood force

Colin Chapman’s marque was the most successful across Goodwood’s 71 contemporary era Members’ Meetings, from 1949 to 1966. Many of the future Formula 1 pacesetter's finest creations will be in action during this weekend's 2022 event, attempting to re-live an era when period Lotus was gaining unstoppable momentum

Historics
Apr 8, 2022
How to get the best out of amateur racers Plus

How to get the best out of amateur racers

Pro-Am GT racing is booming. But how should drivers approach working with an amateur? Autosport sought out a panel of experts to explain the pitfalls amateur drivers should avoid and how professionals can help them to achieve their goals

GT
Apr 3, 2022
How Radical revamped its record-breaking flagship model Plus

How Radical revamped its record-breaking flagship model

Just over a year ago, Autosport sampled Radical’s newest offering: the SR10. Now upgraded, it’s clear to see why it’s become the manufacturer’s fastest-selling model

National
Jan 16, 2022
The second-generation Can-Am racers that took the UK by storm Plus

The second-generation Can-Am racers that took the UK by storm

When Thundersports was introduced in 1983, few could have predicted that it would bring an army of heavy metal from the United States to British circuits. The awe-inspiring former Can-Am racers became a new domestic flagship category that captivated spectators and drivers alike

National
Jan 14, 2022
The father and son team taking GT racing by storm Plus

The father and son team taking GT racing by storm

GT Cup title winners Richard and Sam Neary emerged as a race-winning force in British GT in 2021. The father-and-son pairing have done it the hard way with their family team – and 19-year-old Sam is only just getting started on a career he hopes will lead to factory opportunities in the near future

National
Jan 9, 2022
Track testing an outgoing stalwart of British motorsport Plus

Track testing an outgoing stalwart of British motorsport

The current GB3 Championship car is due to be replaced next season. Autosport got behind the wheel to discover why it's been a popular machine for drivers making their way up the junior single-seater ladder

National
Dec 15, 2021
Inside the lightweight Czech sportscar making its mark on the UK Plus

Inside the lightweight Czech sportscar making its mark on the UK

Ahead of Praga running its own standalone series in partnership with Britcar, Autosport got behind the wheel of the Czech company’s R1 at Donington – and was left very impressed

National
Dec 5, 2021
How rocket O'Sullivan banished painful memories with GB3 glory Plus

How rocket O'Sullivan banished painful memories with GB3 glory

After missing out on the 2020 British F4 title in astonishing fashion, Zak O'Sullivan was determined to earn his first car racing title stepping up to the BRDC British F3 championship. While the series underwent a mid-year name change to GB3, the Carlin driver was imperious throughout and deservedly claimed the title in his rookie year

National
Dec 1, 2021