AUGUST 21, 2006

Creighton Brown

Creighton Brown, a wellknown racing entrepreneur and a man who helped Ron Dennis win control of McLaren, has died of cancer.

Educated at Radley College in England, Brown worked as a management trainee for food company Rank Hovis McDougall (RHM) after completing his National Service with the Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment in British Somaliland. He then returned to RHM and began his racing career at around the same time, building his first racing cars. He then decided to go into business on his own and invested in farming and as his business empire grew so too did his involvement in motor racing and in 1972 turned his hobby into a business and started to race semi-professionally with commercial sponsorship, building several very successful Supersports cars. He raced himself in Clubmans and the connection with the Mallock family, which built the Clubmans cars led to the formation of Ardmore Racing in 1975 to run Ray Mallock in Formula 2. The team moved on to run Divina Galica in 1977 and in 1978 landed the works Chevron deal and sponsorship from ICI for drivers Derek Daly and Jochen Mass. At the end of the year Brown joined forces with Ron Dennis's Project Four Racing running ICI Marches for Daly and Stephen South and, while continuing to run an F2 operation, moved into F1 in 1980 in a merger between Project 4 and McLaren Racing. Brown became a shareholder and director of the new McLaren International and would remain a McLaren director until 1992. During that period the team won 15 world titles. In 1990 Brown established McLaren Cars Ltd and oversaw the production of the McLaren F1 road car and the A racing version of the car which won the Le Mans 24 hours race at the first attempt in 1995. Brown's farming assest included a hugely successful business breeding Camborough Pigs and it was this that led him in the end to settle in Brazil.

Brown was always interested in new projects and was involved in a number of different companies including a leisure group in Britain called Leisurebox plc. He was behind a plan to build a sports car factory and racing facility in Brazil, in league with the state government of Santa Catarina and in recent years has also run MRS Management Ltd, promoting young drivers, notably Tarso Marques.