Vale Brian Shead
Friday 01 January, 2021
Brian Shead 1937-2020
Motorsport Australia is saddened to hear of the passing of fabled Australian race car designer, driver and Motorsport Australia Life Member Brian Shead.
Shead was a highly successful individual both in and out of the car and was influential within the motorsport world as a designer, engineer, constructor and driver.
Born in 1937, Brian first built the iconic Cheetah race car just over 20 years later which he raced in the Formula Junior category.
It was the start of something special as Brian then went on to build almost 50 Cheetah cars – many of which saw their drivers dominate Australian Formula 3 during the 1970s and Australian Formula 2 in the 1980s.
A fierce driver, Brian claimed the 1979 Australian Formula 2 Championship in the Cheetah Mk6, while Peter Glover, Arthur Abrahams and Jonathan Crooke all won the championship for themselves in the mid 1980s behind the wheel of Cheetahs.
One notable customer of Brian in particular was Rohan Onslow, who steered the Cheetah Mk8-Volkswagen Golf to both the 1988 Formula 2 Championship and the Motorsport Australia Gold Star.
As a driver, Brian managed to notch around 110 wins, 228 podiums, 85 fastest laps and 30 lap records. As a designer and engineer, he picked up an impressive amount of titles – with success not just coming in the open wheelers, but in the sports car racing too – his Peter Jones driven Cheetah Clubman picking up 113 wins and more than 10 national and state Sports 1300 racing titles.
A stalwart of the sport, Brian would go on to hold multiple senior roles for Motorsport Australia throughout his time in the sport – the most notable being the chairman of the National Track Safety Committee.