Last year was a good one for David Richards and Prodrive – the motorsport consultancy he founded in 1984.
The company has a turnover well in excess of £100 million, working for some of the world’s most iconic motorsport brands and employing more than 500 people. David Richards is chairman and he is also chairman of another iconic British marque – Aston Martin.
Prodrive has been busy developing the Mini RX, based on the Mini WRC, for the Global Rallycross Series. The Mini WRC took second place in 2012’s Monte Carlo Rally. Aston Martin Racing – run by Prodrive - had five works cars in the World Endurance Championship and at Le Mans.
Away from the track Prodrive is also developing its composites business, developing composite components for a new supercar.
In May 2013, Prodrive’s chief operating officer and finance director Clive Scrivener was appointed chief executive while David Richards remained as chairman.
In 2007 – the year that David Richards led a consortium to buy Aston Martin from Ford - his wife Karen miraculously survived a helicopter crash in Essex while returning from the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa.
The crash was less than 24 hours after his former World Rally Championship driver and close friend Colin McRae died in a similar accident in Scotland.
David Richards, aged 61, trained as an accountant before beginning his motorsport career as a rally co-driver, partnering Ari Vatanen in a Ford Escort from 1979 until 1981 when the pair won the World Rally Championship. After retiring from rallying he founded Prodrive, selling 49 per cent to Apax Partners in 1999.
At that time the business was valued at £150 million. He acquired the television and commercial rights to the World Rally Championship in 2000 when he bought International Sportworld Communicators from Bernie Ecclestone.
He sits on the advisory boards of Warwick Business School and Cranfiled School of Management, is a trustee of the British Racing Drivers’ Club Benevolent Fund and is vice-president of the automotive industry benevolent fund, BEN. He is a director of the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust at Gaydon.
He was awarded the CBE in 2005 for services to motorsport. He has three children and lives near Banbury.