David McKay

David McKay has died at the age of 83. As a driver, journalist and team owner, McKay played an important role in helping to establish the sport in Australia and bring it to international attention. McKay began his career as a journalist but in 1950 began competing, initially as a rally co-driver and then as the driver of an MG. Even early on he competed internationally, travelling thhe world in his role as motoring editor of the Sydney Daily Telegraph. In 1955 he shared a Astin Martin DB35 with Tony Gaze in the Hyeres 12 Hours in France and later took a similar car home to Australia. He helped to develop sponsorship in the country, landing backing from the oil company Ampol in 1957 and pulling Shell into the sport in the early 1960s. In 1958 he won the Australian sports car title in his Aston Martin and the following year decided to set up Scuderia Veloce, which initially entered cars for races but later became a major dealer in exotic cars, particularly as the agent for Ferrari. In 1960 McKay won the first Australian Touring Car title in a Jaguar in a race at Orange in New South Wales. In the early 1960s McKay's team began to enter cars for others, notably in the Tasman Championship, and in 1962 the team made a big impression with a young New Zealand driver called Chris Amon. This led to Amon's move to Europe where he became a Formula 1 driver with Reg Parnell and later Ferrari. In the mid-1960s Scuderia Veloce entered a variety of cars for Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart in races in Australia.

In 1968 McKay was a key player in the organisation of the London to Sydney Marathon leading the Daily Telegraph-sponsored Holden works team on the event and that same year he managed Holden's first entry into racing at Bathurst. By then he had become Australia's foremost motor racing authority, and one of the country's most experienced drivers. He had also developed close links with Enzo Ferrari and this helped him build up the Scuderia Veloce business. After he retired he moved to Europe for some years but returned to Australia when he was in his seventies and remained a source of inspiration and knowledge about the sport.

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Stories:: DECEMBER 29, 2004