I recently acquired a book about Stuart Turner entitled “Twice Lucky, My Life In Motorsport”. At this time I am about 3/4 of the way through this book and I have found it to be very interesting and insightful. Stuart Turner starting in rallying in England in the 1950s. He became a very successful rally navigator, for example winning the 1960 RAC as the navigator for Erik Carlsson in a Saab.
Turner gave up his career in accounting to become a writer and jack-of-all-trades for the Motoring News which was a weekly publication that among other things covered rallying. While at Motoring News, in 1961 at the age of 28, Stuart Turner become the Competition Manager for British Motor Corporation (BMC). This was the perfect time to have this job as the BMC Mini was poised to dominate European rallying. And it was during this period that BMC, and other manufacturer teams transitioned from rally crews made up of “gentlemen” drivers to teams made up of professional drivers. Stuart Turner was a leader in this transition. For example, he brought Paddy Hopkirk, Rauno Aaltonen, and Timo Makinen to the BMC team.
Stuart Turner’s Autobiography Is A Great Read
In 1967 Stuart Turner left BMC to take a job doing publicity at Castrol. The job did not last too long, as he was offered another job more directly involved in a motorsports activity. In 1969 Turner took a job with Ford as Director Motor Sports in Europe and Manager of Advanced Vehicle Operations. Again Stuart Turner had the good fortune to be at Ford as the Ford Escort was probably the best rally car of that era.
Turner stayed with Ford until 1999 with jobs in Public Affairs and Motorsports, so he was there through the development of the Sierras and the Escorts.
He had a remarkable career and was right in the middle of the transition of rallying from a gentlemen’s sport to the full-fledged professional sport that it is today. If you want to see how this transition evolved, then I would highly recommend this book. This will be a great reference for some posts that I will be doing in the future.