The late and much loved Kiwi driver Jason Richards will be honoured this weekend at the V8 Supercar’s ITM 400 Auckland with a trophy in his name.
The James Richards Memorial Trophy, designed by the artist Frank Watson, has been commissioned by the V8 Supercars Championship and will be presented at the newly upgraded South Auckland circuit at this weekend’s third round of the 2013 championship season.
The one-off award and trophy will be presented to the driver with the most combined points over the four races of the Pukekohe weekend.
"We believe this is an appropriate way for us to recognise Jason’s contribution to our sport and our championship. He was a fierce competitor but at the same time was a true gentleman and a fan favourite," said V8 Supercars chief executive David Malone.
Richards was only 35 when he lost his battle with cancer in December 2011 and was mourned by thousands after his passing.
The popular driver and proud New Zealander had joined the Brad Jones Racing team in 2009, and was seen as one of the up and coming stars of the series, going on to do even bigger and better things.
He also drove for a variety of outfits before BJR, including Team Kiwi Racing, Team Dynamik and Tasman Motorsport. Richards raced in the V8s for eleven seasons and was a three-time podium winner at the Bathurst 1000.
Richards’ widow, Charlotte and his two children will present the trophy with their blessings.
"While Jason raced mostly in Australia, there was no more proud New Zealander," Mrs Richards said.
"I hope this trophy not only recognises what he achieved in the sport and how he went about it but also inspires other young Kiwis that with big dreams and hard work, you can achieve anything."
On his passing, V8 SuperCars boss of the time Tony Cochrane also paid very high respects to the driver.
"Jason Richards was, and will always be remembered, as a highly respected race car driver and champion on and off the race track. Jason will be remembered for his great grin and his love and loyalty to his family. Both of which made him an immensely admired figure in pit lane," Cochrane said in a statement.
It is fantastic to see Jason commemorated in this way, and the team at RichardsF1.com again, pays their respects.