Maria Teresa de Filippis passed away over the weekend in Italy at the age of 89. She became the first woman to compete in a Formula One race in 1958.
The founders of most automakers aren't still with us. Enzo Ferrari, Ettore Bugatti, Henry Ford, Louis Chevrolet, Kiichiro Toyoda, Soichiro Honda and so many others have long since left this world. Those who are still with us – like Christian von Koenigsegg, Horacio Pagani and Elon Musk – got into the game much later. Brian Lister hit the scene a long time ago, but until just the other day, he was still with us. But now his time on the racing circuit has come to an end.
The motor racing community in North America and around the world is mourning the passing of one of its most influential figures, John M. Bishop, co-founder of the International Motor Sports Association that has developed into the premier sanctioning body for sports car racing in North America.
There have only been about a dozen people who have won multiple Formula One World Championships. Thankfully the lion's share of them are still among us – names like Vettel, Alonso, Hakkinen, Lauda, Prost, Piquet, Fittipaldi and Stewart. Michael Schumacher is hanging on, but Senna, Fangio, Ascari and Graham Hill have all since departed this Earth. And we're bereaved to report that they'll have company as Jack Brabham has passed away.
Watch through the end credits of any movie – an action movie especially – and you're bound to see a whole team of stuntmen involved in the production. But of all the stunties in Hollywood, Hal Needham stood out as one of the most important. And now, we're sad to say, he is no more.
Bad news, it seems, does come in threes, as we're grieved to report the passing of Marco Simoncelli. The MotoGP rider succumbed to injuries sustained this weekend at the Malaysian Grand Prix, his death coming barely a week after those of Indy 500 champion Dan Wheldon and Baja racer Rick Huseman.
NASCAR's VP of communications, Jim Hunter, has passed away after a 12-month bout with cancer. Over six decades of motorsport involvement, he moved from from being a sportswriter and editor to handling PR for Dodge racing in the sixties. From there, we went on to handle PR for two marquee raceways and ultimately went on to lead the press charge at NASCAR itself.