|Date of Birth||16th February 1930|
|Date of Death||7th August 2016|
|Début||Brands Hatch 1958|
|Championships||2 (1958, 1963)|
|Previous Teams||Equipe Endeavour|
John Willment Automobiles
|Total Entries||52 (52 Starts)|
|Wins||12 (27 in Class)|
Jack Sears, (16th February, 1930 - 7th August, 2016) was a British Saloon Car Championship driver and double winner of the Bonneville Trophy. Popularly known as 'Gentleman Jack', Sears was also noted as the first winner of the BTCC, taking the inaugural championship in 1958, before adding the 1963 title to his achievements.
With over 50 starts to his name, Sears claimed 27 class wins, 12 of which were also overall race wins between 1958 and 1965. He also drove cars in four different classes during his time, and would partner racing legend Jim Clark at Team Lotus during his final season. In 2013, to celebrate Sears' achievements as inaugural Champion, the BTCC introduced the Jack Sears Trophy, which was handed to the best finisher with S2000 equipment.
Sears' career in motorsport began in 1954, when he took his family's Sunbeam TT from 1914 to victory at Silverstone. From this, Sears was offered a drive in sports car racing, as neighbour Brian Lister began building his own sports cars. Sears ran in the championship throughout the rest of the season, while also developing a taste for rallying. Sears would continue to compete in both sports cars and rallying, until he was approached by Austin to compete in the newly created British Saloon Car Championship in 1958.
BTCC HistoryEditSears bought his Austin A105 Westminster from Austin, although this had been arranged by Austin's manager, Marcus Chambers, as a sales driven initiative. Sears' main rival proved to be Tommy Sopwith, who was equipped with a more powerful Jaguar 3.4 litre. The pair went through the season dominating their classes (which often ran in separate races), ultimately tying for the title.
It was decided that the pair would have a one-on-one race in two Riley 1.5s, with the fastest over two races winning the championship (it had originally been decided that the championship would be decided by a coin toss if two drivers were tied). Sears won the showdown, later describing it as "like a shoot-out, walking down the street with six-guns out.", and hence became the first BSCC driver's champion.
Sears decided to switch his A105 for a Austin-Healey rally car, leaving the BSCC for 1959 (although he would appear at two races, running for Equipe Endeavour in their Jaguars). 1960 saw Sears enter the BSCC at three races, although (as he was driving a Jaguar Mk II for his friend Sopwith) he was unable to compete for the overall championship due to 1960's new regulations. Regardless, Sears claimed two more overall victories, proving his year in rallying had not changed his driving style.
1961 saw Sears return to the championship on a more regular basis, competing at five of the nine races that year. Sears could not claim a win, and decided to compete full time in 1962. Due to the competitiveness of the Jaguars that year, Sears could only claim a single victory, although this would see him win the Class D championship, beating the likes of Roy Salvadori and Graham Hill.
A Double ChampionEditIn 1963, Sears decided to leave the ultra competitive Class D, intending to run in Class B instead. Originally running a Ford Cortina on behalf of John Willment Automobiles, the temptation of the seven litre Ford Galaxie saw Sears switch to Class D for four rounds mid-season. For the final three races of the year, Sears changed equipment once again, now using a Lotus built Cortina to round off his second championship winning year.
1964 saw Sears return to his Galaxie, although his season was damaged by three retirements in the first six races. Four class wins resulted from the change, although Sears decided to leave John Willment at the end of the year. Team Lotus acquired Sears' services for 1965, partnering him with BSCC and Formula One champion Jim Clark. Three further wins and some battles with Clark resulted from the change, with Sears beating Clark to fourth in the final standings. This proved to be his final year in the BSCC, as Sears announced his full retirement at the end of 1965.
A table containing Jack Sears's best results in the BTCC. The figures after the information about the car used indicate Jack Sears's best finish at that meeting.
|British Touring Car Championship Record|
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1958_Jack_Sears.JPG - Sears Austin 1958
- http://carbaze.com/car-4811/ford-lotus-cortina/pictures - Sears Cortina 1963
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 http://www.btcc.net/history/in-depth/1958-1990/
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 Gauld, Graham, Gentleman Jack: The Official Biography of Jack Sears, (Veloce Publishing Ltd.: 2008)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 http://touringcarracing.net/Pages/1962%20BSCC.html
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 http://touringcarracing.net/Pages/1963%20BSCC.html
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 http://touringcarracing.net/Pages/1964%20BSCC.html
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 http://touringcarracing.net/Pages/1965%20BSCC.html