Paddy Hopkirk – who shot to fame for his win at the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally – has died aged 89.
His death was announced by Mini Sport, who confirmed that Hopkirk had passed away on Thursday evening. In a statement, the group said: “Paddy was a fantastic friend to all of us here at Mini Sport, but so much more than that, he was a part of our Mini family.
“We would like to extend a special thank you to Paddy for everything that he has done throughout his illustrious career, both for Mini Sport & the Mini itself… Paddy achieved the impossible, he cemented the Mini in history & will be forever known as one of the greatest motorsport heroes of all time. He will be sorely missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.
“We would like to send Jenny, Katie, Patrick & William, all of Paddy’s family and loved ones our deepest condolences at this tragic time. We’re keeping you in our thoughts.
We are sad to learn of the death of Paddy Hopkirk. A motoring icon & lifelong ambassador for the automotive industry, he was great fun & hugely respected.
A long-standing member of SMMT committees, both he & his cars were regular visitors to our offices. He will be sadly missed pic.twitter.com/sbGKF0NgSL
— SMMT (@SMMT) July 22, 2022
“Rest in Peace Paddy.”
One of Hopkirk’s most famous moments came behind the wheel of a Mini Cooper S to tackle the legendary Monte Carlo Rally driving alongside Henry Liddon. The Belfast-born driver would also take on the Acropolis Rally in Greece – again in a Mini – achieving victory, while in 1967 he was elected as a life member of the British Racing Drivers Club. He would go on to become president for the BRDC between 2017 and 2019.
We are sad to learn that Paddy Hopkirk has passed away. Such a talented driver & the great character behind the iconic Monte Carlo Rally winning Mini '33 EJB'. A familiar visitor to the Museum, always greeting us with a twinkle in his eye! Our thoughts are with his family. pic.twitter.com/iwKtewyfbO
— British Motor Museum (@BMMuseum) July 22, 2022
Tributes have streamed in for Hopkirk; motorsport’s governing body the FIA has said that its ‘thoughts are with his family and friends’ while the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders called him a ‘motoring icon and a lifelong ambassador for the motoring industry’.
Hopkirk is survived by his wife Jenny, their three children Katie, Patrick and William, and six grandchildren.