Token Racing

Token Racing was a short-lived Formula One team and constructor from the United Kingdom, participating in four Grands Prix of the 1974 Formula One season.

Token's history effectively began back in 1971. Ron Dennis was trying to find sponsorship for his Rondel racing team. Through Ron's then girlfriend, who was the daughter of John Phelps, director of Phelps Antique Furniture in Twickenham, one of its regular customers Tony Vlassopulos, a barrister son of a Greek Shipowner, was asked to sponsor Rondel. Vlassopulos asked his friend Ken Grob, chairman of Alexander Howden, insurance brokers in London if he was interested in joining in. Grob said yes on the proviso that his young son Ian Grob could be part of the team, which was agreed. From that moment forward, Tony Vlassopulos became Dennis' first sponsor.[1]

In late 1973 Rondel Racing, by now a successful Formula Two team founded by Ron Dennis and Neil Trundle, decided to enter F1. Dennis asked Ray Jessop to design the car, while backing was to come from the French oil company Motul, which had sponsored the team for the previous two years in addition to Vlassopulos and Grob. For 1974, a Ray Jessop-designed F1 car was planned but the energy crisis affected Motul's support. However, in truth, the funds were not there to support a F1 leap even with Motul involved. Trundle continued with the already designed car from Jessop and Vlassopulos and Grob took over the ownership, with the car becoming the Token, the "To" and the "Ken" coming from the backer's first names and the RJ02 in honour of Jessop. [1]

The team made its F1 debut in April 1974 at the non-Championship International Trophy race at Silverstone, with Welshman Tom Pryce at the wheel. Its first Championship race came the following month, at the Belgian Grand Prix, where Pryce qualified 20th but retired at three-quarter distance following a collision with Jody Scheckter's Tyrrell. The team entered the next race at Monaco but was forbidden from taking part on the basis of Pryce's supposed inexperience, prompting the Welshman to move to the Shadow team. However, upset by this, Vlassopulos took out his Formula 3 racer, Buzz Buzaglo and then put in Pryce, who then competed in the Formula 3 race for Ippokampos Racing, Vlassopulos' Formula 3 concern, and subsequently won the race.

After sitting out the next three races, Token reappeared at the British Grand Prix with David Purley in place of Pryce. But after failing to qualify, Purley left and was replaced by fellow Englishman Ian Ashley. At the Nürburgring for the next race in Germany, Ashley qualified 26th and last, and ran as high as 8th before a tyre problem dropped him to 14th at the end. Then in Austria, Ashley qualified 24th, but finished unclassified after more wheel problems.

By this stage, however, the team had run out of money, and Vlassopulos and Grob closed it down. The RJ02 subsequently passed into the hands of the Safir Engineering company.

Token F1 Logo
Full nameToken Racing
BaseUnited Kingdom
Founder(s)Tony Vlassopulos
Ken Grob
Noted driversUnited Kingdom Tom Pryce
United Kingdom David Purley
United Kingdom Ian Ashley
Formula One World Championship career
First entry1974 Belgian Grand Prix
Races entered4
Race victories0
Pole positions0
Fastest laps0
Final entry1974 Austrian Grand Prix

Complete Formula One World Championship results

(key) (results in bold indicate pole position; results in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Chassis Engine Tyres Drivers No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Points WCC
United Kingdom Tom Pryce 42 Ret
United Kingdom David Purley DNQ
United Kingdom Ian Ashley 32 14
35 NC


  1. ^ a b Brown, Allen. "Tony Vlassopulos". Retrieved 21 August 2018.

External links

1974 Formula One season

The 1974 Formula One season was the 28th season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It featured the 1974 World Championship of F1 Drivers and the 1974 International Cup for F1 Manufacturers, contested concurrently over a fifteen-race series which commenced on 13 January and ended on 6 October. The season also included three non-championship races.

Defending champion Jackie Stewart did not drive in 1974, having announced his retirement at the end of the previous season.

Emerson Fittipaldi and Clay Regazzoni went into the last race of the World Championship level on points, but Regazzoni dropped down the field with handling problems, so Fittipaldi's fourth place gave him the championship. This was also the first title for McLaren and the first of many titles for a team sponsored by the Marlboro cigarette brand. Fittipaldi, Ronnie Peterson and Carlos Reutemann each won three races, Jody Scheckter and Niki Lauda two each, Regazzoni and Denny Hulme, who retired at the end of the season, one each. Graham Hill ran a new team of Lolas, the larger-than-life Hesketh team entered its own car after running James Hunt in a March, and Americans Roger Penske and Parnelli Jones entered their own cars late in the season. Chris Amon's own car, like the Token and the Trojan, was not a success. Two F1 drivers died over the course of the season, Peter Revson in a practice session accident at the South African GP in March, then Austrian newcomer Helmuth Koinigg at the US GP in October.

The 1974 season was the first in which teams had permanent racing numbers from race to race, after the system had been instituted in the middle of the previous season. The numbers were based on the teams' finishing positions in the 1973 Constructors' Championship. From this point, each team only changed numbers if they had the driver who had won the World Drivers' Championship - the winning driver taking the number 1 and his teammate the number 2, and the team that had previously had those numbers switching to the newly-vacated ones. (This made 1974 an anomaly, as there was no World Champion, since Jackie Stewart had retired. Ronnie Peterson took the number 1 as he was team leader at Constructors' Champions Lotus; when the situation arose again in 1992 and 1993, the number 0 was used). This system meant that, for example, Tyrrell - who never again won either title - maintained the numbers 3 and 4 right through until the system was changed in 1996.


Cosworth is a British automotive engineering company founded in London in 1958 (1958), specialising in high-performance internal combustion engines, powertrain, and electronics; for automobile racing (motorsport) and mainstream automotive industries. Cosworth is based in Northampton, England, with American facilities in Indianapolis, Shelby Charter Township, Michigan and Mooresville, North Carolina.

Cosworth has collected 176 wins in Formula One (F1) as engine supplier, ranking third with most wins, behind Ferrari and Mercedes.

David Purley

David Charles Purley, GM (26 January 1945 – 2 July 1985) was a British racing driver born in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, who participated in 11 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, debuting at Monaco in 1973.

Purley is best known for his actions at the 1973 Dutch Grand Prix, where he abandoned his own race and attempted to save the life of fellow driver Roger Williamson, whose car was upside down and on fire following a serious accident. Purley was awarded the George Medal for his courage in trying to save Williamson, who suffocated in the blaze.

During pre-qualifying for the 1977 British Grand Prix Purley sustained multiple bone fractures after his car's throttle stuck open and he crashed into a wall. His deceleration from 108 mph (173 km/h) to 0 in a distance of 26 in (66 cm) is one of the highest G-loads survived in a crash. He scored no championship points during his Formula One career. He died in a plane crash, having retired from motorsport and taken up aerobatics, in 1985.

Ian Ashley

Ian Hugh Gordon Ashley (born 26 October 1947 in Wuppertal, Germany) is a British racing driver who raced in Formula One for the Token, Williams, BRM and Hesketh teams.

Ashley began racing in 1966 when he took a course at the Jim Russell Racing School. He was fast but rather erratic, and soon earned the nickname "Crashley". He reached Formula 5000 in 1972 and was a front-runner in 1973. He made his debut in Formula One in 1974, and briefly drove for the Williams team the following year. His luck got worse over the mid-1970s in Formula One. He was to become a victim of two nasty accidents on circuits that were no longer used by Formula One soon after his two accidents. During 1975, at the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring where during practice, he crashed severely at the tricky Pflanzgarten section and broke both his ankles, and during practice for the Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport Park in 1977, he went over a bump, flipped his Hesketh, vaulted the barrier and crashed into a television tower. He never raced in Formula One again.

In 1985 he made his CART Championship Car debut at the Miami Grand Prix. He was entered in the 1986 Indianapolis 500 but the car did not appear on track. However, he did make three CART starts in 1986 and finished ninth at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, enough for 28th in the championship. He failed to finish in his other two 1986 starts. He also made a single Indy Lights start at Pocono Raceway and finished sixth. He made one more CART appearance in 1987, again in Miami but was knocked out by drivetrain trouble.

After Formula One he built a career as a pilot for executive jets in the United States. However, in 1993 he made a return to racing, driving a Vauxhall in the British Touring Car Championship. Following this he briefly raced motorcycle sidecar combinations, before a stint in the TVR Tuscan Challenge one-make series.

In November 2009, he competed in Formula Ford for the first time in over 40 years driving an Elden MK8 in the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone.

Ashley is currently one of many professional drivers taking passengers in 'Hot Rides' as part of the Silverstone Experience, where you get to sit in the passenger seat of a Lotus, Aston Martin, Lamborgini or Ferrari as he takes you through some of the most famous corners in Formula One history at extremely high speeds.

Ian Grob

Ian Grob (born 24 August 1952 in Barnet, Hertfordshire) is a former English racing driver. He father, Ken Grob, of Token Racing fame, ran in his cars, which allowed Ian his opportunity to race. He raced in a number of events, including European Formula 2 and Le Mans 24 Hours. He retired from international motor sport after his last race, 1980 24 Hours of Daytona.

Shadow DN3

The Shadow DN3 was a Formula One car used by the Shadow team during the 1974 Formula One season. It also appeared twice during the early stages of the 1975 Formula One season in an updated DN3B form. Designed by former BRM engineer Tony Southgate, the best finish achieved in a DN3 was Jean-Pierre Jarier's third place at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Tom Pryce

Thomas Maldwyn Pryce (11 June 1949 – 5 March 1977) was a British racing driver from Wales, famous for winning the Brands Hatch Race of Champions, a non-championship Formula One race, in 1975 and for the circumstances surrounding his death. Pryce is the only Welsh driver to have won a Formula One race and is also the only Welshman to lead a Formula One World Championship Grand Prix: two laps of the 1975 British Grand Prix.

Pryce started his career in Formula One with the small Token team, making his only start for them at the 1974 Belgian Grand Prix. Shortly after winning the Formula Three support race for the 1974 Monaco Grand Prix, Pryce joined the Shadow team and scored his first points in Germany in only his fourth race. Pryce later claimed two podium finishes, his first in Austria in 1975 and the second in Brazil a year later. Pryce was considered by his team as a great wet-weather driver. During the practice session for the 1977 South African Grand Prix, run in wet conditions, Pryce was faster than everyone, including world champion drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt. During the race, he collided at high speed with a safety marshal, Frederik Jansen van Vuuren, and both men were killed. A memorial to Pryce was unveiled in 2009 in his home town of Ruthin.

2019 season


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