- July 11, 1972
- New Zealand
- Australian Gt Championship
Steve Richards (or Steven Richards), nicknamed Richo, is a racing driver and team owner from New Zealand, a son of the touring car legend Jim Richards and one of the most decorated drivers at the famous Mount Panorama Circuit.
Steve Richards has won five times at Bathurst 1000 (in 1998, 1999, 2013, 2015 and 2018) with four different co-drivers, and added four more podiums to his account. He also won Bathurst 24 Hour race in 2002 and scored a class victory at Bathurst 12 Hours in 2012.
He won two championship titles in his career which spans over a 25-year period, triumphing as a junior in the in the Formula Ford Australia in 1994 and as a veteran in the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia in 2014. Richards currently competes with his team Steve Richards Motorsport, under the banner of Laser Racing, in the Australian GT Championship.
Growing up with Australian touring car racing legends
Born in July 1972 in Auckland, New Zealand, Steven James Richards was growing up next to his father Jim Richards, the legend of the Australian touring car racing, who scored three consecutive wins at Bathurst 1000 from 1978 to 1980, together with another legend Peter Brock. Later in a career, Jim Richards scored four more wins at Bathurst 1000.
Under father's influence, Steve became a racer at the age of 15, starting a career in karting competitions. He switched to car racing in 1992, entering the Australian Formula Ford Championship.
Australian Formula Ford champion in1994
Steve made a significant progress in 1993, winning four Formula Ford races to finish fourth in the championship with Garry Rogers-operated Team Valvoline. In 1993, Richards was also driving Nissan Pulsar SSS for Garry Rogers Motorsport at Bathurst 12 Hours, finishing 21st overall and third in Class B together with Paul Fordham.
In 1994, at the wheel of the #4 Garry Rogers Motorsport's Van Diemen RF94, Richards scored thirteen wins in sixteen races to dominantly take the Formula Ford title.
Switching to touring car racing in 1995
In 1995, Richards made a move to touring car racing, spending a season in the Australian Super Touring Championship in the #34 Alfa Romeo 155 TS of GRM/Team Valvoline.
Without wins or podiums, he finished ninth in the overall points and third among privateers. He was also driving GRM Alfa in several non-championship races, scoring few podiums and wins.
Debut at Bathurst 1000 as father's teammate
In October 1995, Steve made a debut at Bathurst 1000, sharing the #2 Gibson Motorsport/Winfield Racing Holden VR Commodore with Anders Olofsson.
Their teammate in the #1 car was Steve's father Jim, who was sharing a car with Mark Skaife. Steve finished fourth in his Bathurst 1000 debut, his father didn't finish the race. In that time, Jim already had five wins at Bathurst 1000.
Sharing a car with father at 1995 Bathurst 1000
In 1996, Steve had a double programme with Garry Rogers Motorsport, driving an Alfa Romeo 155 TS and Honda Accord in the Australian Super Touring Championship but also a Holden VR Commodore in the Australian Touring Car Championship.
He won one ASTC race to finish fifth in the points. In the ATCC, he was without wins and finished 12th in the points. At Bathurst 1000, Steve shared the #32 Holden with his father, not finishing the race.
Podium for Steve and Jim Richards at 1997 Bathurst 1000
In 1997, Steve repeated a double programme with Garry Rogers Motorsport. He was driving Nissan Primera and Honda Accord in the Super Touring Championship, finishing seventh in the points. In the ATCC, he was 12th in the #34 Holden VS Commodore.
In 1997, due to a split between organizers, there were two Bathurst 1000 races for the first time and Steve participated in both. In one race, he and Matt Neal retired in a Nissan Primera. In the second race, the Primus 1000 Classic, he and father Jim finished in the second place in the #34 Holden.
Victory and a podium at Mount Panorama in 1998
In 1998, Steve Richards participated again in both Mount Panorama's endurance races, reaching podiums in both. On October 4, he and Matt Neal finished second in the AMP Bathurst 1000 in the #34 Team Dynamics Nissan Primera. The race winners were Jim Richards and Rickard Rydell in a Volvo S40.
On November 15, Steve and Jason Bright were sharing the #4 Stone Brothers Racing Ford EL Falcon, winning the FAI 1000 Classic race against two Holdens. Steve's father finished third in that race.
Over the season, Steve was driving GRM Holden in the Australian Touring Car Championship, finishing just 18th in the points.
Second Bathurst 1000 victory in 1999
In 1999, Steve focused his career in the Shell Championship Series with Gibson Motorsport/K-Mart Racing, driving the #7 Holden VT Commodore. He finished seventh in the points, scoring just one victory, the most important one, at Mount Panorama. His co-driver in the #7 Holden was Greg Murphy.
Steve and Greg returned to Mount Panorama together one more time, in November 2000, again sharing the #7 Holden. This time, they were third. In the championship, Steve finished 12th.
In 2001, Steve changed a manufacturer and joined Glenn Seton's Ford Tickford Racing to drive the #6 Ford AU Falcon. He was 12th in the championship and 9th at Bathurst, sharing a car with Glenn Seton.
2002 – Steve won Bathurst 12 Hour, Jim won his seventh Bathurst 1000
The season 2002 was special in a career for Richards family as both father Jim and son Steve scored great victories. In October, Jim Richards won the Bathurst 1000 for the seventh time, together with Mark Skaife in the #1 HRT Holden VX Commodore. Steve Richards finished in the second place, sharing the #16 Castrol Perkins Holden with Russell Ingall. In the championship, Steve was sixth at the end of the season.
In November, Steve triumphed in the inaugural Bathurst 24 Hour race, sharing the #427 GRM Holden Monaro 427C with Garth Tander, Nathan Pretty and Cameron McConville. A year later, in the second and the last edition of the Bathurst 24 Hour, Steve finished in the second place with same co-drivers.
Racing with Perkins Motorsport until 2006
Steve Richards was driving for Perkins Motorsport in the V8 Supercars Championship until 2006, scoring only two wins in 2005 in the #11 Holden.
Following Bathurst 1000 podium with Perkins in 2002, Richards was 4th in 2003, 21st in 2004, retired in 2005 and fifth in 2006.
Ending a full-time Supercars career in 2010
For the 2007 V8 Supercars season, Steve Richards joined Ford Performance Racing to drive the #6 Ford BF Falcon. He won at Surfers Paradise and finished sixth in the points. He scored one victory again in 2008, at Hidden Valley Raceway, finishing eighth in the points. In 2009, scoring no wins in the #6 Ford, Steve finished 13th in the points. In 2010, what was his last full season in the V8 Supercars Championship, Steve Richards finished 15th in the #6 Ford.
Two more wins at Bathurst with two different teams
After leaving Supercars Championship, Richards stayed with Ford Performance Racing for three more years as an endurance co-driver to Mark Winterbottom. In 2013, they won the race at Mount Panorama in the #5 Ford FG Falcon, defeating Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell in the #1 Triple Eight's Holden.
In 2014, Richards joined Triple Eight Race Engineering as an endurance co-driver to Craig Lowndes in the #888 Holden VF Commodore. The highlight of their cooperation was the victory at Bathurst 1000 in 2015, what was the sixth win for Lowndes and the fourth win for Richards.
Australian Porsche Carrera Cup champion in 2014
Since leaving full-time commitments in the Supercars, Richards was developing a career in other competitions, with Australian Porsche Carrera Cup as his main competition. Driving for a family team, under the banner of Laser Racing, he was fourth in 2011, fifth in 2012 and fourth in 2013, finally winning the title in 2014.
After winning the title, he stayed in the Carrera Cup for two more seasons, finishing fourth in the points in 2015 and fifth in 2016. In total, he won thirteen Carrera Cup races.
Class victory at Bathurst 12 Hour in 2012
Parallel to Carrera Cup and Supercars endurance co-driving duties, Richards regularly participated at Bathurst 12 Hour race at Mount Panorama. In February 2012, he came at the Mountain in the #3 Hunter Sports Group's Porsche 997 GT3 Cup, finishing fourth overall and the first in Class B. He was sharing a car with Steven Johnson and Nathan Tinkler.
Richards was returning to Bathurst 12 Hour race every year between 2013 and 2018 but never repeated such a good result. He raced three times in a Lamborghini Gallardo LP560 and two times in a BMW M6 GT3.
Trying a variety of cars
Of other racing competitions in the recent years, Richards spent one season in 2012 with John McIntyre Racing in New Zealand's V8 SuperTourer series. Then, he was driving Lamborghini Gallardo for M Motorsport in the Australian GT Championship in 2013 and 2014.
In July 2013, he even went to Europe to drive Lago Racing's Lamborghini at 24 Hours of Spa, not finishing the race. In the 2015 Australian GT Championship, he made few starts in a Chevrolet Camaro of DPM Motorsport.
Racing with BMW since 2016
In 2016, while he was still active in the Carrera Cup, Richards started a cooperation with BMW, driving a BMW M6 GT3 in the Australian GT Championship and Australian Endurance Championship.
In 2017, he left Carrera Cup to concentrate on GT programme with BMW. Scoring no wins or podiums in the #100 BMW M6 GT3, he finished 14th in the points. The programme with BMW continues in 2018.
One more Bathurst 1000 win for Richards/Lowndes in 2018
In 2018, Richards is again an endurance co-driver to Craig Lowndes in the Supercars Championship. After they finished on a podium at Sandown 500, the #888 Holden Commodore was the victorious car at Mount Panorama. It was fifth Bathurst 1000 victory for Richards and seventh win for Lowndes. Later in the season, they added podium at Gold Coast to their account and won the Pirtek Enduro Cup.