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Former F1 team chief Tom Walkinshaw dies

Former Arrows team boss Tom Walkinshaw has died at the age of 64 after a long battle with cancer. Walkinshaw, who was chairman and owner of Gloucester Rugby Club, had also enjoyed success as a racing driver, part-taking in Formula Two and won the European touring car title for Jaguar in 1984, before launching his own team Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR), which won twice at Le Mans in 1988 and 1990. Tom then joined the Benetton team in 1991 and was a key player in recruiting designer Ross Brawn to the team, after he brought the sports car designer with him from Jaguar. Walkinshaw also helped bring Michael Schumacher to Benetton from Jordan. He stayed with Benetton up until 1994, and ran the engineering side of the team. Moving on to run Ligier in 1995 before acquiring a majority stake in the Arrows team, where Walkinshaw persuaded world champion Damon Hill to join the team in 1997, despite interest from bigger teams. However, financial problems saw the outfit fold in 2002, and ended Walkinshaw's involvement in Formula One. However, Walkinshaw did remain involved in motorsport, most notably in Australia's V8 Supercar championship, as well as became the chairman of Gloucester Rugby Club. In April 1997 Tom took over at Kingsholm as the Gloucester owner after buying a majority shareholding. Between 1998 and 2002 he was the chairman of Premier Rugby, the top-flight clubs' governing body, and helped establish stability after a chaotic period for the newly-professional sport.   Although, Gloucester never managed to win the Premiership title under Walkinshaw. They did finish top of the regular-season table three times only to lose in the play-offs. 2003 saw the team finish 15 points clear only to be beaten by Wasps in the first-ever Premiership Grand Final. Sports personalities have been paying their respects on their Twitter pages, with Former Le Mans and F1 driver Mark Blundell posting "Just heard that Tom Walkinshaw passed away today, great loss to the world of motorsport, good driver and team owner, RIP." Meanwhile, Bath's former Gloucester player Olly Barkley said: "Very sorry to hear about the passing of Tom Walkinshaw. Amazing man. My thoughts are with his family and close friends." Image ©Getty Images

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