Tim Gibson, the talented engineer who most recently worked for Dunlop in the ELMS and FIA WEC, died last week at the age of thirty.
His early passing will be felt keenly across a large range of friends and colleagues in the endurance world and beyond. Genuinely one of the nicest, most self-effacing professional people you could wish to meet, Tim was also a committed and shrewd engineer who combined his practical knowledge with a pure passion for racing.
Tim graduated from the University of Hertfordshire in 2007 with a first class degree in Motorsport Technology and embarked upon his dream of working in racing. He learnt his trade first with TRL, followed by McLaren Automotive, then with Jaguar Land Rover, before working for Dunlop, via his and his brothers company, TWG Automotive.
A key part of JOTA’s success in that epic 2014 comeback victory at La Sarthe, Tim soaked up significant pressure as the team was forced to go aggressive with what were essentially qualifying stints after earlier issues.
Tim celebrates JOTA’s memorable LMP2 win at Le Mans last year with Dunlop Track support manager Mike McGregor
“The thing I will remember about Tim on a professional level was that he always had the ability to be there at exactly the right time,” recalls JOTA co-owner, Sam Hignett. “He was always on top of what was going on. He was also a great listener and he could process information really quickly.
“Tim was a strong individual, not in the sense of stature particularly, but more his solid character and tenacity. He really was an integral part of our team and he leaves a big hole. It is all hugely sad and he is a great loss to the sport.”
A very talented racer himself, especially in karts, where he competed for the University of Hertfordshire captaining their British Universities Karting Championship winning team in 2007 , Tim was also instrumental in his alma matter’s Formula Student efforts. He enjoyed further success in Easykart over several seasons, finishing 14th in the 2011 World Finals in Italy and went on to race a BMW Compact in the Birkett Relay amongst other races. Up until recently he also competed with success in the Legends series, along with his brother Will.
“He was a good driver and a great friend,” remembers Multimatic’s Pete Mitchell, who was a fellow student at Hertfordshire Uni. “He was always up to something with cars, he completely loved it. He never complained about the health issues he’d had, he just wasn’t that sort of guy.”
Tim was respected throughout the teams he assisted, and especially the drivers with whom he worked closely.
“It’s good to have someone of Tim’s capability at the races on your side, and his love for all forms of motorsport was obvious,” remembered Harry Tincknell this weekend. “I’m absolutely devastated to have heard the news of his passing on Friday night. For me he was just a great guy to work with. He was a proper fighter but a quiet guy too, and his outlook on racing fitted the JOTA approach well. He will be missed by everyone he has worked with over the years.”
“He was a winner in everything he did,” remembered friend and sometime kart rival, Alex Kapadia. “He was always keen to help everyone he could, he helped me a lot too. Racing has lost another top bloke too soon.”
It says much for Tim’s character that I wasn’t even aware of his heart transplant at the age of 15 until earlier this year. Travelling out to Imola for the ELMS race, he talked a little about it but in a completely non-plussed, almost irreverent way. I was completely bowled over by the way he dealt with his health problems, right up until two weeks ago when we had a What’s App gossip about LMP2 and what to watch out for in 2016.
It is especially cruel that next season won’t come for Tim now, and while his many friends and colleagues mourn his loss at the age of just thirty, they will also celebrate a life well lived, one in which he competed at the top level in the 2011 World Transplant Games, finishing 6th in the 800metres in Gothenburg.
I, along with many, will miss Tim Gibson hugely, whether for a chat about his beloved Tottenham Hotspur or a gossip about ELMS and WEC matters.
To his family and many, many friends, DSC would like to express its condolences on Tim’s passing.
The words below are Bruce McLaren’s, but the meaning befits Tim Gibson completely.
“It would be a waste of life to do nothing with one’s ability, for I feel that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone.”
The hashtag #ForTim will be used as tribute to Tim Gibson and DSC asks for all its readers to use it and to show its appreciation for someone who avidly followed the site.