David McKay (journalist)

David McKay (14 May 1921 – 26 December 2004) was an Australian journalist and prominent motoring identity.

David McKay
Nationality Australian
Born(1921-05-14)14 May 1921
North Sydney, New South Wales
Died26 December 2004(2004-12-26) (aged 83)
Australian Drivers' Championship
Years active1959–63
TeamsScuderia Veloce
Best finish3rd in 1963
Championship titles
Australian Touring Car Champ.
Australian Tourist Trophy

While most well known as a journalist, specifically as a motoring writer, McKay was also a prominent figure in motor racing as both a driver and a race team owner. That team, Scuderia Veloce, was the first Australian-based professional racing team, and in addition to furthering McKay's own racing career also furthered the careers of many young racing drivers including Spencer Martin, Brian Muir and Greg Cusack amongst others.

One of McKay's first forays into competitive motorsport was following the purchase of the ex-Dick Cobden MG TC, known as The Red Cigar. The single-seat, aluminum-bodied racer with Maserati style lines quickly propelled McKay to on track success finishing as the highest placed MG in the 1952 Australian Grand Prix at Bathurst along with solid wins and placings at events in Gnoo Blas, Nowra and Mount Druitt across the season of 1953.

In 1958 McKay won the Australian Tourist Trophy at Bathurst in an Aston Martin DB3S. Then in 1960 McKay achieved the most memorable victory in his career, winning the inaugural Australian Touring Car Championship at the Gnoo Blas circuit in Orange driving a Jaguar Mark 1. A post-race penalty which was later proven an incorrect judgement for a jump start meant McKay was cheated of victory when he won the 1961 Australian Grand Prix at Mallala in South Australia (he was placed 3rd due to the penalty), only 4 seconds behind Lex Davison and Bib Stillwell. McKay had the right to protest and have his name added to the list of Australian Grand Prix winners when it was found later that day that he had not committed a jump start after all. McKay's background was so deeply ingrained that the act of protesting was unthinkable. McKay drove a Cooper T51-Climax FPF in the Grand Prix.[1]

Despite continuing to race various cars from open wheelers to sports cars and Production Touring Cars until his last race, the 1979 Hardie-Ferodo 1000 in a standard Volvo 242 GT with Spencer Martin where they finished 20th, McKay never again contested the ATCC as a driver following his win in 1960.

McKay was also responsible for the first ever factory backed Holden team in 1968 when he formed the Holden Dealer Racing Team. The team ran 3 brand new Holden Monaro GTS 327's in the 1968 Hardie-Ferodo 500 at Mount Panorama, Bathurst. Jim Palmer and Phil West finished 2nd outright behind the winning Monaro of Bruce McPhee and Barry Mulholland. Brian Muir and 1964 winner George Reynolds finished 5th while the Paul Hawkins / Bill Brown car was disqualified.

McKay also organised a separate team of Holden Monaros to contest the 1968 London-Sydney Marathon.[2] The cars were prepared by Holden,[2] entered under the "Sydney Telegraph" name,[3] and sponsored by the Daily Telegraph, a Sydney newspaper for which McKay was a motoring writer.[2] McKay himself drove the lead car with Sydney's Barry Ferguson the lead driver in the team's second car while three time Australian Grand Prix winner Doug Whiteford was drafted in to drive the third Monaro. McKay failed to finish, Ferguson finished 12th while Whiteford finished 14th.

McKay's career as a writer began in 1949 and he worked for the Sir Frank Packer owned newspapers The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph from 1956 to 1975, first as a writer and later as the motoring editor. It was while working for Packer that McKay convinced him to co-sponsor the London-Sydney Marathon, as well as the Monaros McKay would run in the rally.[4]

McKay died of cancer on 26 December 2004. He was 83.[5]

Career results Edit

Season Series Position Car Entrant / team
1958 Australian Tourist Trophy 1st Aston Martin DB3S D. McKay
1959 Australian Drivers' Championship 10th Cooper T51 Climax Victa Pty Ltd
1960 Australian Touring Car Championship 1st Jaguar Mark 1 D McKay
1961 Australian Drivers' Championship 8th Cooper T51 Climax Scuderia Veloce
Australian GT Championship 2nd Lola Scuderia Veloce
1962 Australian Drivers' Championship 5th Cooper T53 Climax Scuderia Veloce
1963 Australian Drivers' Championship 3rd Brabham BT4 Climax Scuderia Veloce

Complete Phillip Island/Bathurst 500/1000 results Edit

Year Entrant / team Co-drivers Car Class Laps Overall
1960 Lanock Motors Ltd.[6]   Greg Cusack Volkswagen Beetle B 158 16th 6th
1961   York Motors (Sales) Pty Ltd   Brian Foley Studebaker Lark A 166 2nd 1st
1963   Scuderia Veloce   Brian Foley Vauxhall Velox D 20 DNF DNF
1967   Scuderia Veloce   George Reynolds Audi Super 90 D 122 16th 6th
1969   Scuderia Veloce / Alto Ford   Brian Foley Ford XW Falcon GTHO D 78 DNF DNF
1970   Finnie Ford Pty Ltd Ford XW Falcon GTHO Phase II E 23 DNF DNF
1971   Finnie Ford Pty Ltd Ford XY Falcon GT-HO Phase III E 129 3rd 3rd
1979   Scuderia Veloce P/L   Spencer Martin Volvo 242 GT B 129 20th 5th

References Edit

  1. ^ Howard, Graham (1986). "1961". In Howard, Graham (ed.). The Official 50-race history of the Australian Grand Prix. Gordon, NSW: R & T Publishing. pp. 268–275. ISBN 0-9588464-0-5.
  2. ^ a b c Holden Dealer Racing Team, Australian Muscle Car, Issue 67, May/June 2013, pages 40 to 50
  3. ^ Daily Express London-Sydney Marathon (magazine), page 4
  4. ^ McKay, Peter (3 January 2005). "Dashing enthusiast of motor sport". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  5. ^ Barry Lake, Gentleman racer, Motor Racing Australia, No 84, Feb/Mar 2005, pages 75–78
  6. ^ Official Programme, Armstrong 500, Phillip Island, Sunday, 20th November (1960)
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Winner of the Australian Touring Car Championship
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Most ATCC round wins
1st win at the 1960 Australian Touring Car Championship
Succeeded by
Bob Jane
2 wins