21/09/2018

Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams: 1938-2018

Renault Sport UK was saddened to learn of the death earlier this month of one of its UK racing champions, Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams, at the age of 79.
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Whizzo’s first taste of Renaults was in a championship run for the manufacturer’s 5 TL model in 1976 – he took six race wins en route to finishing runner-up to Neil McGrath.

Bigger things were to come, though, as a decade later in 1987 Whizzo, driving for the Goodliff Racing team, went on to become the Renault 5 GT Turbo UK Cup Champion (the forerunner to the inaugural Clio Cup).

But it’s his victory in the Renault Alpine GTA Eurocup round that supported the Formula 1 European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch in 1985 that for many stands out as his most famous win in a Renault.

This was Renault’s premier ‘tin top’ motor racing category in Europe and drew some huge names including ex-F1 drivers. At Brands, Whizzo was a late stand-in for Jan Lammers...

“They only told me on Wednesday I had to use Hans Stuck’s overall,” recalled Barrie a decade or so later in an interview with Motor Sport magazine.

He continued: “Dear old Murray (Walker) hugged me and said he’d lost his voice commentating because of me! And next day my old team mate Nigel Mansell won the GP...”

Thirty years later in 2015 the very same trophy that Whizzo received for his Eurocup win (incidentally he also contested the Alpine GTA race at the 1987 British GP at Silverstone) would make a return at Brands Hatch when he generously donated it to the Clio Cup to pass on to its new Champion.

Whizzo looked just as chuffed that day as title winner Ashley Sutton when he presented it to the youngster (soon to be a BTCC Champion) on the Clio Cup podium... The trophy has been handed to each champion since (Ant Whorton-Eales in 2016 and Mike Bushell in 2017) and will again be presented to whoever lifts 2018’s crown – to be decided this weekend at Brands Hatch.

Ultimately Whizzo’s exploits in leaning, squealing 5 TLs and 5 GT Turbos and that magical win in the Alpine at Brands in October ’85 mean he will always be regarded as a Renault Sport great…

All at the Clio Cup and both Renault Sport UK and Renault UK send their sincerest condolences to Barrie’s partner Cathy and countless friends within motor sport.