Former rally man David Richards to talk safety at Autosport show

MSA and Prodrive chairman David Richards will lead the Motorsport Safety Fund Watkins Lecture at Autosport International on January 12

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Prodrive chairman and recently appointed chairman of the Motor Sports Association David Richards is to deliver the Motorsport Safety Fund Watkins Lecture at Autosport International on January 12.

Richards, who won the 1981 World Rally Championship as co-driver alongside Ari Vatanen in a Ford Escort Mk2, becomes one of only three people to be invited to speak twice at the lecture in its 21-year history.

He previously spoke at the event in 2002, shortly after Richard Burns had won the WRC title while competing for the Subaru World Rally Team, which Richards was running at the time.

FIA president Jean Todt, Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley, along with Ron Dennis, Christian Horner, Niki Lauda and Sir Jackie Stewart have all spoken at the lecture before.

Richards founded engineering company Prodrive in 1984, and was honoured with a CBE for his services to motorsport in 2005. Prodrive is best known for its six World Rally titles won with Subaru. It has also collected four British Touring Car Championships and more recently run Aston Martin’s international sportscar programme where it won the World Endurance Championship GTE Am Teams' title.

Richards was also team principal of the BAR Formula 1 team for three seasons, finsihing in second place in the Constructors' Championship in 2004.

This year he was inducted into the Motor Sport Hall of Fame and received the Spirit of Le Mans award from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest.

Autosport International show director Kate Woodley said: 'It’s great to welcome David Richards back to speak at the renowned Watkins Lecture. With such a wealth of experience across numerous motorsport series, it is sure to be a fascinating and insightful discussion.'

Motorsport Safety Fund chairman Ian Roberts said: 'The Trustees of the Fund are delighted that David has accepted our invitation to be the guest speaker for a second time. It is particularly fitting this year with David just starting his term as Chairman of the MSA.'

Admission to the lecture is free but attendees must register in advance via the Motorsport Safety Fund.

Autosport International will take place at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, from 11-14 January with the lecture taking place at 11:15am on Friday 12 January.

Images courtesy of LAT

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