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  Home > People > Team managers > Richards, David
David Richards
Founder and major shareholder of Prodrive
Chairman, ISC (2000-2007)

At the time of writing, David is easily the most influential man in WRC. With one hand he wields power over television rights and with the other he oversees Subaru's world rally activities via Prodrive. Yet most know him simply as DR.

Like most co-drivers David discovered quite early that he had not what it took to be a rally driver. In his case it meant wrecking Austin Healey Sprite in a rally, just days after David's father had given the car to him on his 17th birthday. After the accident he decided to switch the seat and co-driving went better than driving, in 1975 he and Tony Pond won Tour of Britain. As they beat British Leyland works team on their way to victory, BL swiftly signed the pair to team.

Being ambitious, David was not satisfied to be only a co-driver and so he set up David Richards Autosport, a consulting company. First major client was Rothmans. One unexpected result of this co-operation was pairing up with young Ari Vatanen in a rally, no closer to home than in Jamaica! By 1979, David and Ari were doing WRC events on regular basis and after Ford withdrew from championship, David Sutton picked up running the same cars. And so it happened that in 1981, Ari and David became world champions.

After the title Richards decided to quit professional co-driving and concentrate on his family and business. From consulting his company expanded to running a rally team in 1984, funded by Rothmans and using Porsche 911s in Middle Eastern championship. Team was hoping to move on to 4WD Group B machinery and even recruited Henri Toivonen to drive for them but Porsche cancelled the project. In 1986 the business was reorganised and renamed as Prodrive.

Then came BMW and M3 rally cars with which Bernard Beguin won 1987 Corsica. This was marvelous but by far more important development was deal with Subaru in 1990. Using his sponsorship management skills to a great effect Richards also brought in 555 and so the familiar blue-and-yellow Subaru rally team was born. Most of the things that went on then belong to history of Prodrive (link comes when that's written).

In 2000 he sold part of Prodrive to investors and bought ISC from Ecclestone. A bold move but if he would succeed he could become Bernie of rallying. As if this was not enough, David made a return to F1 for 2002 season as chief of BAR team, second attempt following his unsuccesful involvement with Benetton 1998.

WRC starts:24
first: Great Britain 1975
latest: Great Britain 1981
(Click picture to see larger version in a pop-up window)
David Richards
Nationality: United Kingdom
Birthday: 03-Jun-1952