Motorsport Australia is saddened to learn of the passing of prominent motorsport figure and Motorsport Australia Hall of Fame member, Ron Tauranac.
Having been involved in the sport since the 1950s, Ron made a name for himself as a motorsport designer and engineer both here in Australia and internationally.
Born in the United Kingdom in 1925, Ron was just a child when his family migrated to Australia and discovered motorsport with his brother Austin after retiring as a Fighter Pilot with the RAAF in 1949.
Not long after the Tauranac brothers started building race cars under the name ‘Ralt’, they became regulars in the New South Wales hill climb scene, where Ron met a man by the name of Jack Brabham.
After forming a strong friendship, Ron played a small role in assisting Brabham develop his 1960 Formula 1 World Championship winning Cooper T53, with the duo then joining up in the UK not long after to create Motor Racing Developments.
Over the next few years, the business expanded and developed a range of successful open-wheel vehicles, before Brabham was once again Formula 1 champion in 1966, only this time, Motor Racing Developments and Ron played a vital role as the car was his design.
The following year, New Zealander Denny Hulme enlisted the services of Ron and the company and he too became the Formula 1 world champion - the only New Zealander to do so to this day.
Remarkably, the team also won the constructors’ championship, further enhancing the reputation of Ron, Brabham and Motor Racing Developments.
Over the years, Ron also had a number of stints with big Formula 1 teams which included Honda, Arrows Formula 1 team, Trojan and Frank Williams.
Ron’s legacy to the sport didn’t just end at the Formula 1 level, as he also designed the RT1, a car which would be represented in Formula 3, Formula Atlantic and Formula 2 competition, while international superstars Nelson Piquet, Keke Rosberg, and Ayrton Senna also used Tauranac designed cars when they were aspiring young drivers.
Awarded the Order of Australia in 2002, Ron was inducted into the Australian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2017 for his work as a designer and engineer.
Motorsport Australia President Andrew Papadopoulos paid tribute to Ron after learning of the sad news.
“It’s a sad day for motorsport because we have lost someone who was so important to motorsport not just here in Australia, but for the world as well,” Papadopoulos said.
“He played a key role in securing Australia’s first Formula 1 Championship with Jack Brabham and was very prominent in motorsport internationally due to his world-class knowledge and designs.
“On behalf of everyone at Motorsport Australia, I would like to pass on my condolences to the Tauranac family and his friends who I am sure would have many fond memories of Ron.”
Ron Tauranac is survived by his two daughters, Jann and Julie.