- April 04, 1940
- United Kingdom
- Not Active
Richard 'Dickie' Attwood is a British former racing driver who was active during the 1960s and early 1970s. He achieved the most in sports car racing, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970 and finishing in the second place a year later.
Attwood recorded sixteen starts in the Formula One World Championship between 1965 and 1969, with second place at 1968 Monaco Grand Prix as his best result.
Starting a career in 1960, Le Mans debut in 1963
Born in April 1940, Richard James David Attwood started his racing career in 1960. His first race car was a Triumph TR3 which he was successfully using in national sports car races. In 1961, he started to race in Formula Junior events with Midland Racing Partnership.
In May 1962, Attwood joined David Hobbs in a Lotus Elite at Nurburgring 1000 Km race, a part of the World Sportscar Championship. A year later, in June 1963, Attwood made his Le Mans 24h debut alongside Hobbs, sharing factory-entered Lola Mk VI-Ford. They didn't finish the race due to an accident.
Victory in Formula Junior race at Monte-Carlo
In 1963, Attwood gets to the headlines after he won Monaco Grand Prix Formula Junior support race, driving a Lola Mk5a. That victory earned him the inaugural Grovewood Award, voted for by a Guild of Motoring Writers panel.
In 1964, Attwood was racing with Midland Racing Partnership in Formula 2 races all over Europe. He finished third in the British championship and scored some notable results in other countries, such was a victory in Vienna or second place finishes at Pau Grand Prix, Eifelrennen and Albi Grand Prix.
First Formula One attempts with BRM
Good performances in Formula 2 secured him an offer from BRM to drive for the team in Formula One races. Attwood made his F1 debut in March 1964 in the non-championship News of the World Trophy race at Goodwood. Driving a BRM P57, he finished fourth. In April, Attwood was driving Lola-Cosworth F2 car at Aintree 200 race, opened both for F1 and F2 cars. He was 8th, the third among F2 drivers.
Attwood's second attempt in the Formula One car was in the 1964 British Grand Prix in July at Brands Hatch. He came there with experimental four-wheel-drive BRM P67. After he was the slowest qualifier, BRM decided to withdraw a car from the race.
One of the first drivers of iconic Ford GT40
In 1964, while taking his first steps in Formula One, Attwood also participated in sports car races. He and Jo Schlesser took the GT+3.0 class victory at Nurburgring 1000 km in Shelby Cobra roadster.
Attwood was a part of Ford GT development team and one of the first drivers of that iconic car. In June 1964, he and Jo Schlesser were sharing the #12 Ford GT40 at 24 Hours of Le Mans. After five hours of racing, Attwood had to retire from the sixth place when Ford's engine was caught by fire. Later that year, Attwood and Schlesser recorded one more DNFs in a Ford, at Reims 12 Hours race.
1965 – full F1 season with Reg Parnell Racing
For the 1965 Formula One season, Tim Parnell signed Attwood to his Reg Parnell Racing team. He was driving a Lotus 25-BRM for the almost entire season, in eight races. He took his first F1 Championship point by finishing sixth in the Italian Grand Prix. One more point came to his account when he finished sixth in the Mexican Grand Prix.
Attwood also participated in several non-championship races, finishing best in the sixth place at Sunday Mirror Trophy at Goodwood.
Three victories at Kylami 9 Hours
Parallel to his F1 commitments, Attwood continued to test new versions of Ford GT40 and raced with that car occasionally. In July, he joined David Piper for the first time in his Ferrari 250 LM, finishing fourth at Reims 12 Hours.
And then, in November 1965, Attwood scored his first major international sports car victory at Kyalami 9 Hours in South Africa. He and David Piper were sharing the #1 Ferrari 365 P2. It was Piper's fourth win in that race.
In the following years, Piper and Attwood triumphed two more times at Kyalami. In 1966, they won in a Ferrari 365 P2/3 and then, in 1969, they won in a Porsche 917.
Out of Formula One in 1966
After his first full season in Formula One in 1965, Attwood didn't return to world's premier competition in 1966. He raced in Formula 2 with Midland Racing Partnership and in Tasman Series with BRM factory team. He scored one victory in Tasman Series.
In sports car races, he continued to race with David Piper, making a debut at Daytona 24 Hours in a Ferrari 250 LM. In European races, he scored a class victory at Spa 1000 km in a Ferrari Dino 206 S. At 1966 Le Mans, Attwood and Piper were sharing the #16 Maranello Concessionaries Ferrari 365 P2 Spyder, not finishing the race.
Just one F1 start in 1967
In 1967, Attwood was again sitting out the most of Formula 1 season, participating in just one race with Cooper factory team. He started at Canadian Grand Prix as a replacement for Pedro Rodriguez, bringing his #8 Cooper T81B-Maserati to the tenth place.
During 1967, Attwood repeated a participation in the Tasman Series and some other races 'down under' with BRM, but he raced mostly in sports car events with David Piper. They retired both at Daytona 24h and Sebring 12h. Attwood and Lucien Bianchi finished third at Spa 1000 Km in Ferrari 412 P. Attwood was driving the same car at Le Mans, sharing it with Piers Courage. They retired after 208 laps.
Six starts with BRM in 1968 Formula 1 season
BRM's driver Mike Spence lost a life during practice for the 1968 Indianapolis 500. Chris Irwin was supposed to be his replacement but he suffered severe injuries at Nurburgring 1000 race. That opened a place to Richard Attwood.
He joined the team for the Monaco Grand Prix and scored his greatest Formula 1 result. He set the fastest lap during the race and finished second in the #15 BRM P126, behind Graham Hill's works Lotus. Attwood recorded five more starts in a BRM P126 but scored no points so he was replaced by Bobby Unser for the last four races of the season.
Class podium in a Ferrari 250 LM at 1968 Le Mans 24h
Outside F1, Attwood was driving different cars in the sports car and touring car races during 1968. He raced with Alfa Romeo T33/2 at Brands Hatch 6 Hours (DNF) and then finished second in the ETCC race at Zolder in Alan Mann's Ford Cortina Lotus.
He recorded DNF at Nurburgring 1000 Km in a Ford F3L P68 and finished second at Tourist Trophy, together with David Piper in a Ferrari 412 P. In July, he joined Porsche factory team at Watkins Glen, driving a Porsche 908.
At 1968 Le Mans 24 Hours, Attwood and Piper finished seventh overall and second in S5.0 class in a Ferrari 250 LM.
Two final Formula 1 starts in 1969
Attwood was known as Monaco street circuit specialist so he was invited by Colin Chapman to replace injured Jochen Rindt in the 1969 Monaco Grand Prix. Driving the #2 Lotus 49B-Ford, he finished in the fourth place.
Attwood's final F1 Grand Prix start was in the 1969 German Grand Prix. He was driving Brabham BT30 F2 car for Frank Williams, finishing sixth overall and second among F2 drivers.
Porsche factory driver since 1969
In sports car races, Attwood became Porsche works driver in 1969. He was sharing a car mostly with Vic Elford, finishing best in the second place at Brands Hatch 6 Hours in a Porsche 908/02. At Le Mans 24 Hours, they retired in a Porsche 917 K with a broken gearbox, just two hours before the end.
Attwood scored few more podiums later, finishing second at Watkins Glen 6 Hours (with Vic Elford) and third at Zeltweg 1000 Km (with Brian Redman). As we mentioned already, he won Kyalami 9 Hours in November 1969, together with David Piper in a Porsche 917 K.
Le Mans 24 Hours winner in 1970
In 1970, the highlight of the season but also the highlight of Attwood's career was a victory at 24 Hours of Le Mans. He and Hans Herrmann won the race in the red-white #23 Porsche 917 KH Coupe, beating two Martini Racing Porsches.
Attwood had a wide schedule of races in 1970, scoring few more notable results. He finished second at Nurburgring 1000 and third at Brands Hatch 1000 (with Hans Herrmann), fourth at Zeltweg 1000 (with Vic Elford) and fifth at Targa Florio (with Bjorn Waldegaard). He also won a couple of races in a Lola T70-Chevrolet and one race in a Chevron B16 Spyder.
1971 was the last competitive season
Attwood's continued to race with Porsches in 1971 but was also successful with other manufacturers, winning Goldfield 3 Hours in a Chevron B16 Spyder (together with Brian Redman) or scoring class victory at Targa Florio in a Lola T212-Cosworth (with Jo Bonnier).
At Le Mans 24 Hours, he was on a podium again, finishing in the second place together with Herbert Müller. They were driving the #19 Porsche 917 K, finishing a race two laps behind winners Helmut Marko and Gijs van Lennep in another Porsche 917 K.
Later that year, Attwood won Zeltweg 1000 (with Pedro Rodriguez) and finished third at Watkins Glen 6 Hours (with Derek Bell). His last race in a Porsche 917 K was the Kyalami 9 Hours, where he retired together with Dave Charlton.
First retirement from racing in 1971, second retirement in 1984
At the end of 1971, the 31-year-old Attwood retired from racing. He briefly returned from retirement in 1984 to race at Daytona 24 Hours and Le Mans 24 Hours. At Daytona, he was sharing the #92 Brumos Racing Porsche 928 with Vic Elford, Howard Meister and Bob Hagestad, finishing in the 15th place.
In Europe, he made a debut in Aston Martin-powered Nimrod NRA/C2B prototype at Silverstone 1000 Km race in May. In June, he was driving that car at Le Mans 24 Hours, sharing it with Mike Salmon and John Sheldon. They retired after 92 laps.
Selling a Porsche 917 K for £1 million
After that race, Attwood retired again from racing but stayed a regular guest at historic racing events until today. He was owning a Porsche 917 which Steve McQueen was using in his movie 'Le Mans'. The car was painted in colours of Attwood's victorious Le Mans car. In 2000, he sold a car in an auction for £1 million.