John Wickham Death, Obituary – His role with the Spirit team, which brought Honda back into F1 in 1983, and the first of two stints at Bentley as team director of the organization that won at Le Mans with the Speed 8 LM-GTP coupe were just two chapters of a varied and successful motorsport management career spanning five decades. His role with the Spirit team brought Honda back into F1 in 1983. His first stint at Bentley was as team director of the organization that won at Le Mans with the Speed 8 LM-GTP coupe.
Wickham, who was diagnosed with motor neuron disease in 2019, worked for a variety of manufacturers all around the world, participated in numerous racing categories, and competed in a number of various racing events over his career. He was the team manager for March Engineering when Marc Surer won the 1979 European Formula 2 Championship. He was also the team manager for the Audi Sport UK squad when the German manufacturer won the British Touring Car Championship in their very first attempt in 1996 with Frank Biela. Both of these victories occurred while he was employed by March Engineering.
In addition to that, he oversaw all aspects of technical and operational management for the A1 Grand Prix World Cup of Motorsport from its inception in 2005 to the end of its fourth and last season in 2009. He went back to Bentley in the beginning of 2012 in order to plan the brand’s comeback into racing with the Continental GT3 racer, and he later served as the team manager for the factory M-Sport squad in the years 2014 and 2015. Brian Gush, who has been in charge of Bentley motorsport for a very long time, recalls a “great organizer who was always on top of things.”
According to Gush, “That’s why I invited John back when we started the GT3 programme; he was the best individual to handle all of the subtleties of FIA homologation.” Wickham started his career in motorsports as competitions manager for the British Automobile Racing Club. He then moved on to Surtees to run its Formula Two operations for the 1973 season when he was only 23 years old.