I was genuinely sad to hear that Peter Wheeler died last night after a short struggle with cancer, aged just 64.
He was a true maverick, was Peter, and I was lucky enough to spend quite a bit of time with him when I raced for the factory team in the TVR Tuscan Championship in 1998, 1999 and 2000.
What I will remember most was his ability to see the funny side of just about any situation, no matter how ridiculous it may have been.
He was an incredibly astute businessman who had a reputation for having a fierce temper. He was quite an imposing character physically as well, towering over most others, often with a wistful look in his eye that said; I know what you’re thinking, and I know why you’re thinking it. And I know I’m right and you are wrong.
But underneath the bravado he was a lovely bloke, one of those people who you just wanted to listen to, and who you hoped didn’t think you were too much of a plonker. On any subject, his opinion mattered. But he was also a remarkably good listener, which is why he would regularly sit opposite me in the motorhome or in some wind swept paddock and just listen to what I thought about the new such-and-such; he wanted to know, basically, what the opposition was up to and how he could make his cars more appealing to his customers.
So here’s to you old man. You were, and remain, one of my personal heroes in life.