Tom Walkinshaw Racing, also known simply as TWR, was a racing team founded in 1976 by touring car racer Tom Walkinshaw.
TWR started by modifying BMW 3.0 CSLs, but soon was contracted to head Mazda's works program in the British Touring Car Championship. The TWR developed RX-7, with Win Percy in the driving seat, won the title in both 1980 and 1981. Walkinshaw himself also took a win in the Spa 24 Hours.
After preparing the Dakar winning Range Rover for René Metge in 1982, TWR began an association with British Leyland, preparing the Jaguar XJS and Rover 3500 Vitesse for both the BTCC and European Touring Car Championship.
Success in the latter series (as well as the French championship) with both cars lead to an invitation to develop a Jaguar prototype for Group C racing, for use in both the World Endurance Championship and the IMSA GTP Championship. Jaguar cars won the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1988 and 1990. The company also began a short but successful business venture with Jaguar, known as Jaguar Sports.
TWR also started producing road cars, designing and engineering the Jaguar XJ220 and Jaguar XJR-15 and building the Aston Martin DB7, as well as establishing a partnership with General Motors' Australian division Holden, creating its performance and tuning division, Holden Special Vehicles.
In 1994, TWR returned to the BTCC, allied with Volvo. This partnership was responsible for the controversial 850 Estate racing car, which was only rendered uncompetitive when the FIA allowed the use of aerodynamic aids in 1995. TWR then built and ran the works 850 Saloon, six wins in 1995 and five wins in 1996, and S40, one wins in 1997 in the BTCC. In 1998, TWR Volvo won the British Touring Car Championship with Rickard Rydell driving the S40R. TWR also designed and built the road-going Volvo C70. TWR were involved in MG Rover's attempt to build a replacement for the elderly Rover 45/MG ZS; they were re-engineering the Rover 75/MG ZT into a smaller car. The demise of Arrows and TWR and MG Rover's inability to pay its bills meant that RD/X60, as this product was known, never reached production.
TWR also modified its old Jaguar Group C tubs (which had been used by Mazda in the final years of the World Endurance Championship) for their new owner, Joest Racing, turning them into open top prototypes. The Porsche-powered cars won Le Mans in 1996 and 1997.
Tom Walkinshaw has recently returned to Holden's motorsports division, although purely in a managerial role rather than an ownership role, which was the case earlier.
TWR in Formula 1
Tom Walkinshaw Racing was involved in Formula 1 from 1992 to 2002. At first, Walkinshaw became Benetton's engineering director, and was instrumental in developing the car that took Michael Schumacher to his first World Championship title in 1994. A falling out with Benetton boss Flavio Briatore had Walkinshaw move to a position as team manager at Ligier, which had been acquired by Briatore.
After a failed attempt at purchasing Ligier, Walkinshaw instead bought a majority stake in Arrows, in 1996. The following year, Arrows surprised the world by signing World Champion Damon Hill and introducing Bridgestone tyres to F1. Although the team nearly won the 1997 Hungarian Grand Prix, Arrows continued to have trouble attracting sponsorship, and following the liquidation of Arrows, TWR being the major shareholder of the outfit, followed suit, closing its doors in 2002. TWR Australia was quickly acquired by Holden. The TWR technical centre at Leafield was sold and is now the headquarters of the Super Aguri F1 team.
TWR in V8 Supercars
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|Tom Walkinshaw||Corporate website||A brand of the Holden and TWR|