Rickard Rydell is a retired Swedish racing driver who competed mostly in touring car races all over the world, winning championship titles in the British Touring Car Championship (1998) and Scandinavian Touring Car Championship (2011). Between those two titles, Rydell's most notable result was the GT1 class victory at 24 hours of Le Mans in 2007.
Formula 3 championship debut with Picko Troberg
Rydell was born on September 22nd, 1967, in Vallentuna near Stockholm. He spent teenage years competing in karting races. In 1986, Rickard debuted in the Swedish Formula 3 championship, driving for Picko Troberg's team.
He finished second in the championship standings in 1987 and repeated the same result in 1988. In 1989, Rickard moved to the British Formula 3 championship to drive for Eddie Jordan's team. With one victory in 15 races, Rickard took fourth place in the final classification.
Rickard moved to Japan in 1990
In 1990, Rydell competed for a part of the season in the British Formula 3000, but the main thing was his Japanese adventure. He participated in a few races of the Japanese Formula 3 and a few races of the Japanese Sports Prototype championship, driving Porsche 962C for Takefuji-Team Schuppan.
The highlight of the season was Rickard's debut at 24 hours of Le Mans. He partnered Hurley Haywood and Wayne Taylor in the #33 Schuppan's Porsche 962C and they finished 12th overall.
Victory in Macau and second place in the Japanese Formula 3
The Japanese team TOM's entered the 1991 British Formula 3 championship and Rickard was driving for the team. He took one victory in 16 races to finish 6th. He also competed in the non-championship races at the Macau-Guia circuit and Fuji Speedway, taking the pole at Macau but finishing only in seventh place.
Rickard was much more successful in 1992, taking the third place in the Japanese Formula 3 championship and winning the Macau Grand Prix for Takasu Clinic Racing Team. He moved one place up and finished second in the 1993 Japanese Formula 3, behind Tom Kristensen.
Volvo 850 GLT was a racing sensation
In 1994, Rickard made a major switch in his career. He left single-seaters and entered the British Touring Car Championship. He was a part of the sensational TWR's effort with Volvo 850 estate cars. His best result was fifth place at Oulton Park and he finished 14th in the points.
Maiden BTCC win at Donington Park
In 1995, Tom Walkinshaw Racing replaced the estate version of Volvo 850 with the saloon car and Rickard became one of the favorites in the title fight. With four victories and eleven podiums, Rydell finished third in the championship standings, behind John Cleland and Alain Menu. He took his maiden BTCC victory at Donington Park and later added three more wins at Silverstone, Oulton Park and Knockhill.
Rydell had competitive results, but others took the titles
The results were similar in 1996: Rydell again won four times and again was third in the standings, behind Frank Biela and Alain Menu. Rydell was the winner at Oulton Park, Knockhill, Thruxton and Donington Park.
In 1997, Rydell got a new car, the Volvo S40, and it was victorious only once, at Brands Hatch. He finished fourth in the championship. The highlight of the season was Rickard's travel to Australia, where he competed at Bathurst 1000 races for the first time. He was driving Volvo 850 for the Volvo Dealer Team alongside Jim Richards and they finished fourth.
British touring car champion in 1998
Rickard's first touring car championship title followed in 1998. The #4 Volvo S40 took five wins, three of five at Brands Hatch. At the last round of the championship at Silverstone, Rickard took two podiums and won the title with a 15 points gap ahead of Anthony Reid.
Victory at Bathurst race
In October 1998, Rydell and Jim Richards won the Bathurst 1000 touring car race. It was the second year in a row with two separate Bathurst 1000 races, one for touring cars and another for V8 supercars.
Video : Rickard Rydell qualifies in pole for the 1998 Bathurst
Last BTCC season with Ford Mondeo
In 1999, the sixth and last Rydell's season with Volvo in the BTCC, he won four races driving Volvo S40 and finished third in the championship. In 2000, Rydell joined Prodrive and competed with Ford Mondeo in the British Touring Car Championship, again taking the third place.
Driving for Prodrive in the ETCC and Le Mans
Rydell continued to drive for Prodrive in 2001, competing in the FIA GT Championship and American Le Mans Series with Ferrari 550 Maranello. He won two races at A1 Ring and Jarama to assume the ninth place in the FIA GT classification.
At the end of the year, Rydell had participated in the last round of the Swedish Touring Car Championship with Volvo S40. It was just a preparation for his full season in the 2002 European Touring Car Championship in the Prodrive-prepared Volvo S60. In 20 races, Rydell scored eight podiums and finished fifth in the points.
In June 2002, Rydell participated in the Le Mans 24-hour race, partnering Alain Menu and Tomaš Enge in Prodrive's Ferrari 550 Maranello. They retired after 167 laps.
One more Australian adventure at Sandown and Bathurst
In 2003, Rydell's second season in the European Touring Car Championship finished with his 11th place in the standings, again with Volvo S60. He scored only two podiums in 18 races. In 2003, Rydell again traveled to Australia to participate in the endurance races at Sandown and Bathurst. He joined Paul Radisich in the Triple Eight's Ford BA Falcon and they took seventh place both at Sandown and Bathurst.
Rydell joined Seat Sport in 2004
The change of the manufacturer followed in 2004 when Rydell joined Seat's factory team in the European Touring Car Championship to drive Seat Toledo Cupra. He won one race at Oschersleben to finish 10th in the classification. With the same car, Rydell participated in two races of the Swedish Touring Car Championship and took one victory.
Together with Colin McRae at Le Mans
The highlight of the season was Rydell's third participation at 24 hours of Le Mans. His partners in Prodrive's Ferrari 550 Maranello were Darren Turner and Colin McRace. They ended 9th overall and took the GTS class podium, finishing in the third place.
Two more seasons with Seat in WTCC
In 2005, ETCC was converted to WTCC. Rydell stayed with the Seat Sport team and competed with Toledo Cupra for most of the season. For the last two rounds of the championship, the new Seat Leon came. Rydell scored only one victory with Toledo at Silverstone, finishing 6th in the standings.
In the 2006 World Touring Car Championship season, Rydell continued to drive Seat Leon. With five podiums, he was fifth on the list of the world's best touring car drivers.
Le Mans class victory in the 009 Aston Martin
Rydell lost his seat in the Spanish team for 2007, so he rejoined Prodrive for GT races. Together with Darren Turner and David Brabham, he drove the #009 Aston Martin DBR9 at 24 hours of Le Mans and they won in the GT1 class, finishing fifth overall.
WTCC victory at home soil
Rydell returned to WTCC at the Swedish circuit Anderstorp as a guest driver for Chevrolet. Driving the Chevrolet Lacetti, he won the second race of the day. For the last event of the season, at Macau, he was chosen by Seat to help the team in the fight for at least one championship title, either Manufacturers' or Drivers' title for Yvan Muller. The thing didn't go as planned, so Seat lost both titles, as the champions were Andy Priaulx and BMW.
Last two WTCC seasons with Seat's team
In 2008, Rydell was driving the full WTCC season for Seat Sport. He had a new car: Seat Leon TDI. The Swedish driver won two races at Estoril and Okayama to finish fifth in the championship. It remained his career-best result in the World Touring Car Championship.
Driving the diesel-powered Seat Leon, Rydell had won just one race in 2009 at Mexican Puebla, to finish seventh in the championship. It was Rydell's last full season in the world's competition.
Scandinavian touring car champion in 2011
After leaving WTCC at the end of 2009, Rydell competed for two more full seasons in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship. In 2011, he won three of 18 races driving the Chevrolet Cruze and clinched the title with just a two points advantage ahead of Fredrik Ekblom.
In the 2012 STCC, Rydell again was driving Chevrolet Cruze and he lost the title from Johan Kristoffersson by six points, after Kristoffersson won both races of the last round at the Solvalla circuit.
Goodbye to racing after the 2015 season with Honda
In recent years, Rydell competed occasionally at selected events of the WTCC. In 2012, he competed at the Italian round with Chevrolet Cruze; in 2013, he participated in the Chinese round with NIKA Racing's Cruze, and in 2015, he raced in three rounds with NIKA Racing's Honda Civic.
In February 2016, Rydell announced his retirement from motorsport racing. He said that he would work as an expert TV commentator, would coach the GP2 driver Gustav Malja and help his family in the flower business.