Jason Richards, a New Zealand multiple championship winning motor racing driver, was born on 10 April 1976. Jason started his motor racing career in 1985, karting in his home country, New Zealand. He moved out of karting in 1993 after 35 championship titles. Jason then went to the Mini 7s with much success again. After a short stint in the English Formula Ford Championship, Jason returned to New Zealand to sign with BMW Motorsport NZ as junior driver, winning the 1995/96 Class 1 Touring Car Championships for the team, along with 9 out of 12 series races. Jason won the next 3 New Zealand Touring Car Championships.
In 2001 Jason joined Team Kiwi for a V8 Supercar drive and decided move to Australia to pursue a career in the Australian based V8 Supercar Championship Series. He finished a creditable 19th in the
Jason then joined Team Dynamik in 2003, with some strong results, including a close 2nd in the Sandown 500 just behind Mark Skaife.
He then made the decision to join the newly formed Tasman Motorsport team in 2004 and developed into a driver capable of standing on the top step of the V8 Supercar podium.
After a major rollover in the 2005 round at Queensland Raceway, Jason placed the repaired Commodore into the top 10 at the following round at Oran Park Raceway. His podium results at Sandown and Bathurst in 2005 helped cement his place as a 'coming man’ of the V8 Supercar category. In the 2005 Bathurst 1000, Jason produced a strong performance and nearly won the race.
His only V8 Supercar Championship race win came at Winton in 2006, although he stood on the podium on 6 occasions. Who can forget the massive surf through the sand pit when he went through the Bathurst Chase near 300kph, then went back out but to only crash out again on top of the Mountain.
At the 2007 Bathurst 1000 Jason and Greg Murphy were the best placed Holden team, finishing 4th. Surfers Paradise was his best round that year where he finished 3rd overall, and finished 14th in the
Championship, only 15 points behind his team mate Murphy.
Jason joined Brad Jones Racing in 2009, driving the VE Commodore. He also secured his first V8 Supercar pole position at Hidden Valley Raceway. He also finished third at the 2010 L&H 500 at Phillip
Island Grand Prix Circuit with Andrew Jones.
Jason Richards started 131 V8 Supercars Championship events and 284 individual races after making his debut with Team Kiwi Racing at Bathurst in 2000. His career highlights include finishing 2nd and 3rd
in V8 Supercar's most famous race, the Bathurst 1000.
In November 2010 Jason was admitted to hospital and on 16 November he was diagnosed with an adrenocortical carcinoma. Jason immediately stepped away from V8 Supercar racing to devote his energies to fighting the cancer. Jason continued testing with Brad Jones Racing into the second half of 2011. He also continued to race occasionally with guest appearances in a variety of different categories.
In the Fujitsu V8 Supercar series, Jason won an emotional race in a one off appearance in Adelaide driving one of his old Tasman Commodores for Greg Murphy Racing and he also drove a Ferrari in the
Australian GT Championship on the same weekend in 2011.
His last race appearance in a V8 Supercar was at the 2011 non-championship Albert Park 400, where Jason qualified a gutsy fifth and claimed a brilliant 2nd place in Race 2.
Jason also made special appearances in Group C Historic Touring Cars, driving the old John Harvey A9X Torana (like it was meant to be driven), at Australian Muscle Car Masters on the past few fathers
Jason made his last trip to Mount Panorama in October 2011, driving an HQ Monaro in the Touring Car Masters category. A runner up result to Glenn Seton in the XB Falcon Coupe on the Sunday morning
before the Bathurst 1000 was met with universal respect up and down pit lane.
Jason Richards died on 15 December 2011 at his Melbourne home with his wife Charlotte beside him.
He was a truly inspirational character in many ways and will always be remembered, as a highly respected individual and champion driver on and off the track. His passion for life and his positive attitude and determination in the face of adversity made him an inspiration to us all.
RIP JASON RICHARDS