UNVEILED TO ACE WHO WAS 'IN A CLASS OF HIS OWN'
- 31 July 2003
tribute to Roger Williamson was unveiled at the Donington Grand
Prix Collection exactly 30 years to the day the motor-racing ace
was killed in the 1973 Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort.
The life-size bronze statue was commissioned by Donington Park owner
Tom Wheatcroft and his son, Kevin, in tribute to the brilliant Leicestershire
driver, who was Wheatcroft's protege in the early 1970s.
During a moving ceremony, the memorial was unveiled by Tom Wheatcroft
and Williamson's sister, Barbara Upton.
Wheatcroft said: "I still have fond and vivid memories of Roger.
His seasons with my team in Formula 3 and Formula 2 were magical.
"He was in a class of his own and could easily have been the
Ayrton Senna of his day. He was in the same mould. Nobody can take
his place in my heart.
"Williamson was competing in Formula 3 at Monaco in 1971 when
he met Wheatcroft. They became friends and went on to win national
Wheatcroft finally achieved his dream to enter Formula One GP racing,
and entered Williamson in selected events in 1973. But just two
weeks after his World Championship debut in the British GP, Williamson
was killed when his car crashed, overturned and caught fire in Holland.
The depth of affection felt for Williamson was reflected at the
ceremony by the large attendance, which included Jordan GP commercial
director Ian Phillips, who worked with Wheatcroft's team at the
time, and Trevor Foster, who was one of Wheatcroft Racing's mechanics.
"There was no doubt that Roger was a future world champion,"
The statue, created by Scottish sculptor David Annand, is the latest
addition to the Memorial Garden at the Donington Grand Prix Collection,
which also has several of Williamson's cars on display.