BIOGRAPHY
Full Name Kenneth Henry Acheson
Nationality
Born 27 November 1957, Cookstown
Died
Website
Twitter
Instagram
PRE-F1 CAREER
Season Series Team Races Poles Wins Podiums F/L Pts Rank
1977 FFord 1600 Northern Ireland
Formula Ford Festival
Privé Crosslé ?
1
?
0
?
0
?
0
?
0
?
0
1st
6th
1978 FFord 1600 – Plastic Padding
British Formula Ford Championship
Royale RP26 1
?
1
?
0
?
0
?
0
?

?
6th
1st
1979 B.A.R.C. Formula 3 TV Race
JPS International F3 Trophy
Formula 3 Radio Trent Trophy
British Formula 3 Championship
RMC Group 1
1
1
18
1
1
1
2
1
1
1
0
1
1
1
6
0
1
1
2



35
1st
1st
1st
6th
1980 British Formula 3 Championship Murray Taylor Racing 20 4 5 12 8 95 2nd
1981 European Formula 2 Championship Toleman 8 0 0 1 0 5 15th
1982 Japanese Formula 2 Championship
European Formula 2 Championship
Ralt Racing Ltd 2
13
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
1
10
12
13th
7th
1983 European Formula 2 Championship Maurer Motorsport 8 0 0 1 0 6 10th
FORMULA 1 CAREER
Entries Races Non-Starts BQ BF Podiums F/L Pts DNFs
10 3 7 23/27 12th 0 0 0 2
First Grand Prix Last Grand Prix
1983 South African Grand Prix 1985 Italian Grand Prix
Season Team Chassis Engine Races Poles Wins Podiums F/L Pts Rank
1983 RAM March 01 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 1 0 0 0 0 0 NC
1985 RAM RAM 03 Hart 415T 1.5 L4 Turbo 2 0 0 0 0 0 NC
POST-F1 CAREER
Season Series Team Races Poles Wins Podiums F/L Pts Rank
1984 PPG Indy Car World Series Forsythe Racing 1 0 0 0 0 0 NC
1985 Japanese Formula 2 Championship
All-Japan Sports Prototype
World Endurance Championship
World Sportscar Championship
Advan Sports
Advan Sports
RLR Porsche
RLR Porsche
8
1
2
3
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
?
0
0
0
66
0
0
0
3rd
NC
NC
NC
1986 All-Japan Sports Prototype
International Formula 3000
TOM’s
Eddie Jordan Racing
5
1
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
27
0
12th
NC
1987 All-Japan Sports Prototype
Japanese Formula 3000
Advan Alpha Nova
Advan Sport Tomei
5
9
0
0
2
0
5
0
0
0
59
8
1st
15th
1988 All-Japan Sports Prototype
Japanese Touring Car C’ship
Fuji Long-Distance Series
Japanese Formula 3000
World Sports Prototype C’ship
Omron Racing
?
Omron Racing
Team Kitamura
Sauber Mercedes
5
?
3
6
1
0
?
?
0
0
0
?
0
0
0
2
?
2
0
0
0
?
?
0
0
35
116
35
0
0
9th
5th
4th
NC
NC
1989 World Sports Prototype C’ship
Le Mans 24 Hours
Japanese Formula 3000
Sauber Mercedes
Sauber Mercedes
Italya Nikkei
8

2
5

0
2

0
6
1
0
0

0
97

0
4th
2nd
NC
1990 World Sports Prototype C’ship
Le Mans 24 Hours
Nissan Motorsports 9
0
0
1
0
11
12th
DNF
1991 Sportscar World Championship
Le Mans 24 Hours
All-Japan Sports Prototype
Silk Cut Jaguar
Silk Cut Jaguar
Team 0123
1

2
0

0
0

0
1
1
0
0

0
12

6
24th
2nd
34th
1992 Daytona 24 Hours
Le Mans 24 Hours
Sportscar World Championship
All American Racers
Toyota Team TOM’s
Toyota Team TOM’s


2
1

0


0

1
1




15
11th
2nd
16th
1993 Le Mans 24 Hours Toyota Team TOM’s DNF
1995 Le Mans 24 Hours SARD Co Ltd. DNF
1996 Daytona 24 Hours Lister Storm DNF

Kenny Acheson, RAM March Ford Cosworth - 1983 British Grand Prix


Biography

Born in Northern Ireland, a young Kenny was keen to emulate the racing exploits of his father Harry, who owned an Ulster brickworks and raced for fun in Formula Ford in the 1970s.  Kenny grew up around racing circuits, and in his first outing in a competition car around the Kirkiston track as an 18-year-old he proved to be quick.

His father agreed to fund his racing ambitions if he quit smoking, and armed with a Crosslé 32F he won the Northern Ireland Formula Ford 1600 title in 1977.

He moved across the Irish Sea in 1978 to contest no less than three FF1600 championships with a Royale RP24. Despite some early-season accidents – one of which fractured a wrist – Acheson proved almost unbeatable and won three titles: the RAC series, the Townsend Thorensen and the BARC-backed Phillips championship. With a record of 28 pole positions, 29 wins and 15 second place finishes in his 56 race starts, he was a clear winner of the prestigious Grovewood Award.

He graduated to Formula 3 in 1979 and after swapping his uncompetitive Ralt for a March he emerged as a championship contender – despite not winning a race – in a tight title fight with Andrea de Cesaris, Mike Thackwell and Chico Serra.

He switched to Murray Taylor Racing for his sophomore Formula 3 season in 1980 and looked to be well-placed for championship honours after leading the points’ standings at mid-season. His rival, Stefan Johansson, subsequently benefited from a late-season switch to a Ralt RT3 and surged into contention, pipping Acheson for the title after a costly error at the final round at Thruxton.

Acheson and Johansson both graduated to the European Formula 2 Championship in 1981, joining the Toleman team. His season started well, but while battling Michele Alboreto for the lead at Pau he was ruthlessly taken out by the Italian and lucky to emerge with no more than two badly broken legs after his car ended up in a tree. He returned for the final round of the season, claiming a gritty podium finish.

He returned to action the following year with the Ralt Honda team, finishing an unconvincing seventh overall in the standings, although he did beat team leader Jonathan Palmer on overall points.  Another switch of teams followed for 1983 – this time to the factory Maurer Motorsport operation – and despite a fine second place at Pau there was little else to celebrate.

Acheson jumped at the opportunity to graduate to the Formula 1 World Championship midway through 1983, but his chance came with the uncompetitive RAM team. He qualified at his seventh attempt at Kyalami, finishing twelfth.

With no offers to remain in the Grand Prix scene in 1984, Acheson headed Stateside to the Indy Car World Series.  A one-off start at Meadowlands went nowhere and so he had to cool his heels in Japan where he finished third in the Japanese Formula 2 Championship.

Kenny Acheson, RAM Ford Cosworth 03 - 1985 Austrian Grand Prix

Acheson’s second and final Grand Prix sojourn saw him return to the hapless RAM squad in 1985 after the death of Manfred Winkelhock.

Another Grand Prix opportunity came knocking midway through 1985. RAM driver Manfred Winkelhock had been killed in a sports car race and Acheson was given the late German’s seat for the Austrian Grand Prix. An engine failure put him out of the race, with a DNQ at Zandvoort and clutch-induced retirement at Monza.  The RAM team’s sponsorship money from Skoal Bandit dried up after that and Acheson’s Grand Prix days were over.

Having shown promise in Japan, Acheson returned and found more success in its lucrative and well-paid sports car racing scene. Winning the 1987 All-Japan Sports Prototype title in a Porsche 962 paved the way for a seat in the Sauber Mercedes Group C sports car team, where he, Mauro Baldi and Gianfranco Brancatelli finished second at the 1989 Le Mans 24 Hours.

Subsequent outings at La Sarthe followed with Nissan, Jaguar, Toyota and the Japanese SARD operation, with Acheson claiming two further podiums in the 1991 and 1992 events.

His final competitive race came at the Daytona 24 Hours in 1996. Piloting a Lister Storm, Acheson suffered a frightening 180mph accident when he collided with a slower car. Lucky to suffer no more than an eye injury and bruising, he retired from the sport.

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