British Steam Car Team manager Frank Swanston dies from lung cancer complications

A bit of sad news from the British Steam Car Team earlier this month: project manager Frank Swanston died unexpectedly of lung cancer complications on the first of August. His funeral will be Wednesday, and the family is asking that no flowers be sent but donations can be made to the Oakhaven Hospice in Lymington. The team released an emotional statement on Swanson's sudden departure, and it's pasted after the jump. Our condolences.
[Source: British Steam Car Team]
Project Manager Frank Swanston Crosses Final Finish Line

WEDNESDAY 15TH AUGUST 2007, 12.30 pm


This will be followed by private cremation attended by the family only.

No flowers but donations to

All guests will be welcome afterwards at
Newtown House
Newtown Park Estate
Portmore, Hampshire

It is with profound sadness, that we announce the sudden passing of Frank Swanston, Project Manager for the British Steam Car Team that died unexpectedly on Wednesday 1st August from complications of lung cancer.

"He was taken so suddenly," said Team Administrator Lynne Angel, "he will be sorely missed. Frank was a dear friend as well as work colleague. When he arrived we all came together; he was the father figure of the team. We relied on him so much."

Team owner/ driver Charles Burnett III, still stunned by the news, remarked, "Frank was such a fount of wisdom; he seems to have driven every kind of race car under the sun. He was a huge resource of experience and knowledge for our land speed records project. This is a heavy hit for all of us."

Frank Swanston was a consulting engineer well known in motor racing circles; his four decade long professional engineering background was firmly rooted in race car design, vehicle development and build programs including prototype work.

From rally to touring cars, or historics to formula one, he was also a track test driver and top-notch fabricator - impeccable credentials to lead the final phases of the vehicle build, testing, development of the steam car record attempt.

His past postings include: Race Engineer at Hexagon, Technical Director at Turbo Tork, Chief Engineer / Race Engineer at Janspeed Motorsport, Technical Engineer at Janspeed Engineering and Consulting Engineer at Powertrain Developments. Further information can be located at:

Peter Candy, engineering consultant to the team, friend and colleague of Frank's since the late 80's, reflected, "Anyone who worked with him benefited from the experience, I could trust whatever he told me. When Frank was Director of Janspeed, they pioneered turbocharging conversions long before the OEM's woke up to power boost potential for engines. He also prepared dozens of MGF sports cars for a race series and helped develop a London taxicab prototype to run on propane that passed all applicable emission tests in force at the time. Frank also campaigned such iconic racing machines as Lister Jaguars and Birdcage Maseratis."

Team mate Peter Prove who also worked with him at Janspeed, shared his observations, "Frank brought credibility to our steam project; he had earned such immense respect from everyone who knew him and worked with him in the motorsports. People knew if Frank were involved, it was a serious project.

He was good engineer, good person and good friend. Frank created a comfortable working environment, one where you could come to him with problems and not feel you were going to be in trouble. Frank had an engineer's analytical mind and could sort out problems properly without fuss or drama. You knew were the lines were drawn yet he trusted you to do whatever job he assigned you. His management style was that of mutual trust."

Frank Swanston spent so many years leading so many racing teams that he could sense when things were off kilter with people. Prove concluded with this insight: "He had the ability to help you through rough patches in your personal life and had wide shoulders that you could lean on if you wanted to."

The Steam Car Team mourns Frank Swanston's passing and extend the deepest sympathies to his entire family. Services are pending.

Perhaps the words of Pam Swanston, Frank's wife, sum up how the team felt when the news slammed home earlier yesterday, "Why do they always take the most kind and generous of this world?"

We have set up a page of condolences on the Steam Car website

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