PEOPLE: KEITH WIGGINS

Name: Keith Wiggins
Nationality: Great Britain

After trying his hand at racing and then being a mechanic Keith Wiggins established Pacific Racing in 1984 to run Marlboro-backed Norwegian Harald Huysman in the Benelux and European FF1600 Championships. Huysman won both titles and moved to Formula 3, introducing Wiggins to another Marlboro-supported driver called Bertrand Gachot. Wiggins ran the Belgian in the British Formula Ford 1600 series in 1985 and after winning the title moved to Formula Ford 2000 in 1986. This resulted in another championship success and in 1987 Marlboro funded the team again and JJ Lehto won both the British and European FF2000 titles.

In 1988 Wiggins decided to enter the British Formula 3 title and with backing from Marlboro Lehto was able to win the title at his first attempt.

Marlboro agreed to back Wiggins's team in Formula 3000 in 1989 with Lehto and Eddie Irvine but the season was not a success. Marlboro axed the program and the team struggled through 1990 with a series of paying drivers. In 1991, however, Wiggins hired Christian Fittipaldi and Antonio Tamburini and the pair won three races with Fittipaldi becoming European Champion. Marlboro returned in 1992 and Pacific ran Frenchman Laurent Aiello and Spaniard Jordi Gene but without success.

In September 1992 Wiggins set up Pacific Grand Prix but he was unable to fund an F1 program for 1993 and so ran David Coulthard and Michael Bartels in F3000. The Scotsman was in the running for the title until the final race. In the course of the season Wiggins commissioned Reynard Composites to build him a Formula 1 to be powered by an Ilmor V10 engine.

The team entered F1 in 1994 with Gachot and Paul Belmondo as drivers. It was not a success. The team decided to push ahead with own PR02 design for 1994 and switched to Cosworth engines. Frank Coppuck designed the new car. Gachot (who had become a shareholder in the team) drove one car while the other was given to Andrea Montermini. In the end, however, the team did not have the money needed to compete and pay-drivers were taken on. At the end of 1995 the team was forced to leave F1 and returned to F3000. Wiggins also ran a sportscar team using the BRM name but this was not a success and in October 1997 the team closed. Wiggins joined Lola to try to help the company rebuild its sales in CART racing in the United States. He later joined the Bettenhausen Racing team in CART and after Tony Bettenhausen's death became the team principal of the renamed Herdez Competition operation.

Print