The specialist travelling very rapidly web site

tvrmonster news
22 July 2009

Peter Wheeler Memorial races.

As I’m sure you all know by now, Peter Wheeler passed away last month after losing his battle with cancer. Particularly respected by the TVR (and general) racing community as the founder of TVR Racing, it has been decided to mark his passing with a memorial race at our next meeting.
Peter attended every round of the then TVR Tuscan Challenge and was always easy to spot in his relex charcoal green Tuscan. Being the owner, his factory car carried no livery, just plain paint and was often the development mule for the racecars.

He was in his 50s before starting his racing career (in a Tuscan) but continued almost to the very end. After selling the Factory, he moved into Historics, campaigning a DB4 for several years and then finally his ballistic 5000M. Working with a small team from the original Challenge car builders – and with Ben Samuelson as co-driver, they developed the “M” using all the skills and techniques they learned through the “Challenge” and onto Le Mans, with many parts to full LM spec! I was fortunate enough to see the car at the Factory whilst in the final stages of build. It looked truly awesome and a real handful with such a short wheelbase! They did manage a couple of outings before Peter was too ill to continue. A racer to the finish.

Standing out like a sore thumb in this age of faceless blue suits and corporate designs, Peter was old school and never seemed to mind listening to others opinions prior to telling them why they were wrong or what it was that they had missed. I don’t mean that in any disrespectful way, just that he knew what he wanted to do and once he had decided on it, he would persue it doggedly, and we are richer for that as TVR owners. What corporate machine would have several sports cars to offer the public all in the same price/power/options bracket and competing with…mainly themselves? Griff, Chim, Cerb, Tuscan? A one point they were all for sale and in almost any spec…a production nightmare…add to that developing their own engines and a Race series...? He must have been a very busy man.
I did meet him once, at the Motor show. He was in the crowd watching it all go on, on his stand. I nearly missed him. Well over 6ft tall and with a fag on (smoking was banned in the NEC in the main areas even then) he watched Ben (Samualson) give a presentation to the media/crowd whilst playing the Top Gear footage of a TVR caning the Porsche until the Porker broke. The gear stick came of I seem to recall.
His list of quotes is almost as impressive as his design credits. Some of my favourites.

On putting an M3 engine in the Cerbera
“I’m not having anything German in MY cars!”

On safety 
(TVRs are…) Relatively safe upside-down, proven by customers".

On a Mercedes Benz product swap…
“When I need a taxi, I'll ring for one.”

John Reid, TVR European Championship boss is now checking the possibilities regarding a permanent “Peter Wheeler Memorial Race” on our calendar. He is checking the feasability of running this at the round closest to the date (11 July) and how best to mark it. For now I guess that a minutes silence and some top racing will have to suffice, and with 20 confirmed runners pushing well over 6500bhp being unleashed in his name, I’m sure he’ll be pleased with this small part of his legacy.

Comment on this news item here

Click for News Archive

Copyright 2006 © tvr Monster Version 1.0