Colin McRae enters Hall of Fameposted in RSCOT16 | 02 | 2012

    WORLD RALLYING'S MOST iconic figure, Colin McRae, was today honoured in a glittering ceremony in London by being inducted into the Motor Sport Hall of Fame.

    The Lanark-born Scot, whose swashbuckling style of inch-perfect driving memorably took him to the 1995 World Rally Championship, remains a world figure more than four years after he died in a helicopter crash near his home. The tragedy also claimed the life of his five-year-old son, Johnny.

    "People would trudge miles into forests, in the pouring rain in November, to watch him in action on his home rally. The fans loved him" — Sir Jackie Stewart

    McRae became only the 17th inductee into the Motor Sport Hall of Fame, and the first rally driver. He joins illustrious names, including Enzo Ferrari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Tazio Nuvolari, Sir Stirling Moss and Ayrton Senna.

    Such is the global power of Scottish motorsport, that of the 17 members, McRae is the fourth Scot in the Hall of Fame joining former F1 world champions Jim Clark and Sir Jackie Stewart, and four-times IndyCar champ and double Indy500 winner Dario Franchitti.

    Watch Colin McRae in glorious action

    In an emotional ceremony attended by McRae's wife, Alison, daughter Hollie, and his mother Margaret, dad Jimmy spoke on behalf of the family (watch our video interview with Jimmy McRae).

    "Colin never fully appreciated just how popular he really was," the five-time British rally champion told the invited audience — which included Red Bull F1 team boss Christian Horner, Sir Stirling Moss, F1 world champ Jody Scheckter and Martin Brundle — today.

    "In all truth, neither did we: to us he was just Colin.

    "This is an honour which will live on"

    "To be inducted into the Motor Sport Hall of Fame, and to be the first rally driver, is a real honour. We know he would have been very happy, and quietly chuffed to be acknowledged by his peers.

    "This, like so much of what happened during Colin's life, is an honour which will live on.

    "There are obviously some times when dealing with what happened on September 15, 2007, is very difficult. You wonder how life can be so cruel to you. But these nice gestures certainly help move things along."

    And McRae snr — who received the award on behalf of Colin from Sir Jackie Stewart, and the man so closely involved with McRae's success and who put him into the famous blue 555 Subaru, Prodrive boss Dave Richard — reflected on his son's achievements, and the opportunities denied him.

    "There should have been more success"

    "The record books document what Colin achieved: one world title, 25 WRC wins, double British champ, and not forgetting Scottish Rally Champion," McRae snr continued, "but as a 39-year-old there should have been more.

    "Having twice tackled the Dakar Rally, Colin was 100% signed up to do it again in January 2008 with BMW.

    "But what really excited him was the fact 95% of the work had been done which would have seen him sign to tackle the '08 World Rally Championship with Subaru.

    "That would have been a dream for him. All we're left with now are the thoughts of what might have been.

    "But you look back on his illustrious and very successful career, and realise he did pretty well. And he obviously touched the hearts of millions of people."

    It was a sentiment echoed by Richards, and first Sir Jackie. "Colin just had that something special," the triple F1 world champ said. "He was always, and always will be, the people's champion.

    "We couldn't wait to snap him up"

    "People would trudge miles into forests, in the pouring rain in November, to watch him in action on his home rally. The fans loved him, and I know he is dearly missed by everyone in motorsport." And Richards touched on McRae's early days at Subaru.

    "We saw early on what talent and potential Colin had, and we couldn't wait to snap him up and get him in the Subaru," the Banbury-based Prodrive boss said.

    "Everyone remembers his world title in '95, but what people tend to forget is he was second in '96 and '97 — by just one point in '97 — and third in '99.

    "He also crashed out in the final round in 2001 when he was leading both Rally GB and the championship.

    "Colin was a fantastic talent, but he was also a great friend. This honour is truly deserved for everything he gave to the sport, and for lifting it to a new level."

    Following McRae's induction, three other figures of world motorsport were inducted into the Hall of Fame, organised my Motor Sport magazine.

    F1 designer Adrian Newey, and John Surtees — the only man to win world titles on two wheels and four wheels — were joined by Giacomo Agostini. The Italian dominated world motorcycling in the Sixties and Seventies.

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    Jim McGill

    CAPTION: Jimmy McRae, holding the Motor Sport Hall of Fame Award, flanked by Colin's former co-driver Nicky Grist and triple Formula One World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart.

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