Colin McRae followed in the footsteps of his famous father to become the youngest winner of the World Rally Championship for Drivers.
As the son of five-time British Rally champion Jimmy, his subsequent stellar success was little surprise, with Colin’s brother Alister also becoming a rally driver.
Growing up in Lanark, Colin began his competitive career in motorsport at an early age, riding schoolboy motorcross and trial bikes. Aged 16, he upgraded to a Mini Cooper and started competing in Autotests. The following year he entered his first rally, finishing first in his class and 14th overall in a Hillman Avenger.
In 1988, he won the Scottish Rally Championship, and came sixth in the 1990 RAC Rally, despite several accidents. The following year he turned professional and instantly tasted success, becoming British Rally Champion in 1991 and 1992 and making his debut in the British Touring Car Championship.
In 1995, Colin reached the top of his sport when he became the first Briton to win the World Rally Drivers title aged just 27. He played a crucial role in helping Subaru win the World Rally Championship Manufacturers title in 1995, 1996 and 1997, then moved to the Ford World Rally Sport team. Their four-year partnership yielded nine event wins.
In 2003, he moved to the Citroen World Rally Team and helped them to win the first of three consecutive manufacturers’ titles, before pursuing other interests including the Dakar Rally and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Colin was awarded an MBE in 1996 in recognition of a career which yielded 25 World Rally Championship wins. He died, along with his son Johnny and two family friends, in 2007 when a helicopter he was piloting crashed near his home in Lanark. He was 39.
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