PEOPLE: MORRIS NUNN

Name: Morris Nunn
Nationality: Great Britain

Morris Nunn - known as Mo - came from a family of car dealers and broke into motor racing almost by accident when he saw a Cooper-Climax racing car in a showroom window and decided to buy it. He spent 1963 and 1964 learning with the car and with a Lotus sportscar and in 1965 found backing from Bernard Lewis. He tried his hand at Formula 3 racing in 1965 with an old Lotus entered by Lewis-Nunn Racing and the team expanded to two cars in 1966 for Nunn and Ken Crook. Nunn won his first F3 race at Mallory Park in May. Other results followed in British races and at the end of the year he went to Albi to try his hand against European opposition. He finished fourth. He started 1967 with a privateer Lotus 41 and won several races which earned him sponsorship from Astrali Accessories for the 1968 season. In 1969 he was hired by Team Lotus to race in F3 alongside Roy Pike with occasional F2 outings. At the end of the year he tried to move up to Formula 5000 but the project collapsed and with support from Lewis he decided to become a car builder.

His prototype Formula 3 car - the LNF1 - was built in a garage behind his house in Walsall. It was finished in November 1970, was tested that winter and appeared for the first time at Brands Hatch in March 1971 with Bev Bond finishing second in the first round of the British F3 series. It won the second and third rounds and a second version appeared for Steve Thompson in May. Later in the year Bond's car was sold to David Purley's Lec Refrigeration Team and a third car was built for Mike Walker. The cars were so successful that year that there was no shortage of customers in 1972 when Team Ensign ran Walker and Rikki von Opel in LNF3 chassis and several similar customer cars. Both Team Ensign drivers won races and customers David Purley and Colin Vandervell added to the score. There was also an LNF2 Formula 2 car which was driven by John Burton but without success.

Towards the end of the year von Opel commissioned Nunn to build him a Formula 1 car for 1973. Nunn agreed. Dave Baldwin joined the team to work on F3 customer cars and Nunn designed the N173. It made its debut at the French GP and appeared at six other races that year but failed to score any major results. The 1974 car was a revamped version of the original but von Opel was lured away to the Brabham factory team, leaving Team Ensign to struggle.

Nunn ran Ensign throughout the late 1970s and while the cars were sometimes fast the results were never exceptional. The 1980 season was probably the most promising with Unipart sponsorship and Clay Regazzoni driving. The Swiss was running fourth at Long Beach when he crashed and suffered serious back injuries. The team never recovered and although he struggled on in F1 until the end of 1983 Nunn eventually sold the team to Teddy Yip and went to America to work with Robert Guerrero with the Bignotti-Cotter team. Guerrero finished second in the Indianapolis 500 that year. After a period with Newman Haas Racing, Nunn joined Patrick Racing in 1989 and oversaw Emerson Fittipaldi's season, which resulted in victory in the Indianapolis 500 and the CART title. In 1992 he joined Target Chip Ganassi Racing and oversaw four consecutive CART titles with Jimmy Vasser (1996), Alex Zanardi (1997 and 1998) and Juan-Pablo Montoya (1999).

At the end of 1999 Nunn set up Mo Nunn Racing with partners Bruce McCaw and Rod Campbell running a Reynard-Mercedes for Brazil's Tony Kanaan.

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