The international motor racing community was bereaved this weekend to learn of the untimely passing of Nigel Stepney, a well-known (if controversial) racing mechanic who worked for 30 years in Formula One. The 56-year-old Brit appeared to have pulled his Volkswagen Caddy van over to the side of the road on the M20 at Ashford, UK, when a delivery vehicle struck and killed him on impact.

You may recall his name from the Spygate affair that erupted between Ferrari and McLaren in 2007. The industrial-espionage controversy involved Stepney and McLaren engineer Mike Coughlan, who were accused (and, in Stepney's case, convicted) of illegally trading in secrets pertaining to their respective teams' vehicle designs. Coughlan apologized and moved to Williams, but while Stepney was sentenced to 20 months in prison, he never served any time behind bars. Stepney left F1 and moved to sports car racing, working for the JRM team that fields the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 in various racing series.

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