Jim Richards (born 2 September 1947) is a New Zealand racing driver who won numerous championships in his home country and in Australia. While now retired from professional racing, Richards continues to compete in the Touring Car Masters series.
He was inducted into the New Zealand Motor-racing Hall of Fame in 1994 After a record number of starts and seven victories in the Bathurst 1000, and four Australian Touring Car Championships, Richards was inducted into the V8 Supercars Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Australian Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2015. He is the father of racing driver Steven Richards, and between them they have achieved 12 Bathurst 1000 wins, most recently in 2018.
Racing career (New Zealand)
Jim Richards grew up in South Auckland. He left school at 16 to start a mechanic's apprenticeship at Speedway Auto Services in Manurewa owned by Brian Yates, who was a top midget-racer in New Zealand. By then Richards had already been successful in junior go-karts in a kart made by his father. At 18 he bought his first car, on hire-purchase, a Ford Anglia 105E, a car known for mechanical reliability that he could get into racing and still drive to work. He was last in his first race, at Pukekohe, and crashed after the end of the race. Painted in distinctive red with yellow trim and the number '105', which became synonymous with his cars in NZ racing, he used the car for two seasons throughout the country, in race meetings, hill-climbs and rally-sprints. He then upgraded to a race-proven and more modified Anglia, his first proper racing-car.
In 1968, when working as a mechanic at Barry Pointon Motors, he bought one of the newly released 1300cc Mark I Ford Escorts. The car was underpowered but it further allowed Richards to improve his race-craft. In 1969 the patronage of amateur racer and fellow competitor, Jim Carney, allowed him to upgrade to his first truly competitive car, a Ford Escort with a new high-performance 1600cc BDA twin-cam engine, capable of 140 bhp. The combination of Richards as driver and mechanic Carney with the funding, and Murray Bunn with reconditioning and tuning expertise, started to produce a number of victories.
In 1970 Carney purchased the Ford Escort TC that Mike Crabtree had raced in that year's British Touring Car Championship for the John Willment Group and this car established Richards as a top racer. Rushed straight off the boat, still in its original livery, he won with it first time out and then went on to win the class championship that year, and again in the following 1971–72 season. By now in popular demand, he would often also race the Escort in the open-class as well, taking on and beating the V8 Mustangs, Camaros and Firebirds. He would also enter his tow-car, a Holden Monaro, in production races, as well as racing in the small class with a Hillman Imp owned by local driver Brian Patrick. It was the latter partnership that first got the sponsorship of the NZ division of Sidchrome – an Australian tool manufacturer – the major financial connection for the next decade.
During this time, as in neighbouring Australia, big-engine production car racing was entering a golden age and drawing big crowds. Competitive cars included, from Holden, the HQ Monaro, and new Torana GTR XU-1; versus the Ford Falcon GT-HO and Chrysler Charger. Richards initially raced a Monaro for major Auckland car-dealer (and his new employer) Jerry Clayton. In 1971 he was regularly battling with Robbie Francevic in the Team McMillan Ford Falcon GT-HO. In the next season's Castrol GTX Championship the two drivers swapped teams. Richards won the 72–73 championship in the Team McMillan GT-HO, with Murray Bunn still doing the engine-preparation. In the following season, his main competition would be from Neville Crichton in a 350 Monaro. For the 73–74 season, Richards and Carney had arranged to buy the John Fitzpatrick Ford Escort (with an 1800cc BDA engine) competing in the British championship to take on the big V8s. However, it was wrecked in the one of the last races and the deal fell through. Instead he and Murray Bunn set up building up a Ford Mustang at a remote farmstead out of Auckland. Sponsored by Sidchrome in red and yellow, it was fitted with the hitherto unreliable, but powerful, Cleveland 351 V8 engine and extra-wide rear tyres. Initially unsuccessful, after its teething troubles were resolved it was impressive enough to win Richards the 73–74 Saloon Car Championship. Changing jobs to work for Sidchrome gave Richards time during the week to work on the car during the next season. In an exciting and close 74–75 championship (including success in a Trans-Tasman series against some of Australia's best drivers) he was narrowly pipped for the championship by Paul Fahey in his ex-European works Ford Capri Cologne V6.
Richards was also having success in endurance racing. The traditional season opener in October was the Benson & Hedges 500 – a 500-mile / 6-hour race run into the night for stock-standard production cars. He won the event in both 1971 and 1972 co-driving with friend and racing rival, Rod Coppins, in a Chrysler Charger. When Coppins wanted to upgrade his choice of car for the 74–75 racing season he decided to pick up a new Holden Torana L34 from the factory in Melbourne. Together he and Jim took it to the 1974 Hardie-Ferodo 1000 for its first race. Racing regulations were moving closer to the Australian Group C rules at the time and marked the demise of the standard production-car racing. Driving a McMillan-Ford Falcon XA in the 74–75 GTX season Richards was unbeatable, winning an unprecedented 17 consecutive wins. His final two races were in the 1975 winter-season co-driving Neville Crichton's Chevrolet Camaro with a win in his last race in New Zealand for some time.
From early in his racing career he had also tried rallying, as the schedules did not conflict with the track-racing season. One of the first formal racing rallies in New Zealand was the 1968 Shell Silver Fern Rally. Richards entered with Jim Carney as co-driver. In the following year's inaugural Heatway Rally he drove a new Triumph 2.5 PI with Carney's wife, Mary, as co-driver. After being one of the leaders the gearbox broke, leaving him with only top gear and finishing down the field. Recognising his talent, for the following year's Heatway, Leyland-New Zealand offered him and Jim Carney a team Morris Marina alongside works driver Andrew Cowan. As expected the suspension was not strong enough and after initially running second behind Cowan he finished mid-field.
In 1973, the Heatway Rally attracted several of the works teams running in the inaugural World Rally Championship, although it was not itself a championship event. Ford offered him a ride as the 3rd driver in their works team alongside rising star Hannu Mikkola and NZ champion Mike Marshall running Ford Escort RS1600s. Richards was running second to Mikkola going into the first mountain stage. Having never driven on ice before his car caught an icy patch in the middle of the night and slid wide off the road and rolled down a bank for 100 metres. He and co-driver Richard Halls were very lucky that they came to rest on a narrow outcrop before tumbling over a deeper gorge. They were hauled out at dawn, and with surprisingly little damage were able to resume the rally, albeit out of contention. Thereafter he was consistently quicker than Mikkola, who had a comfortable race-lead and had eased off. The rally ended with a tarmac stage at Pukekohe, where Richards was back on very familiar territory.
In the early '70s he had also had success doing guest spots on the speedway tracks. But at the end of the 1974–75 racing season, with the opposition getting more professional, he needed to make a choice on one form or motor-racing – racetrack, rallying or speedway – to concentrate on. The decision was made to move across to the more lucrative Australian racing scene.
Racing career (Australia)
Richards first made his mark in Australia at the 1974 Hardie-Ferodo 1000 with a masterful display of wet weather driving during the race, recording lap times fifteen seconds faster than the leaders in the latter part of the event while driving a V8 Holden LH Torana SL/R 5000 with fellow Kiwi Rod Coppins. Driving with essentially standard showroom kit, by the end, their front brakes were gone, but through attrition finished a very credible third place, five laps behind the winner John Goss. This and other wet weather drives over his career gave Richards the reputation of being a 'rainmaster' , and he was called the "web-footed Kiwi", Many Australians humorously attributed it to living in rainy New Zealand, though Richards himself believes it was more from the car control he learned early in his career doing dirt track speedway.
In mid-1975 Richards moved to Australia. With Sidchrome-NZ ending its sponsorship, a deal was arranged with the Australian parent company to pick up the sponsorship for a tilt at the Australian season. Arriving unannounced in Melbourne just days before the first round at Sandown in July, despite minimal preparation time, he won both races at the meet in pouring rain. After this sensational start, he was immediately a popular choice for race promoters to pay appearance money to bring the Kiwi Mustang to take on Australia's best. Originally intending to commute across from Auckland for the races, after two very successful months he made the decision to move to Melbourne with his wife and two young boys to pursue a professional racing career. Through 1975 from 30 starts, he achieved 27 podiums including 13 wins. For Bathurst he re-joined Rod Coppins in his Holden Torana, finishing 9th after gearbox issues.
1976 saw the inaugural Australian Sports Sedan Championship and many drivers upgraded their machinery. However, Richards stuck with the Sidchrome Mustang – now showing its age. Wins were less frequent, however, the late-season arrival of Frank Gardner's all-conquering Chevrolet Corvair helped to limit his opposition getting too many points. Allan Moffat won the series but Richards did get a big payday winning the $100 000 Marlboro sports sedan finals at Calder Park Raceway. In October he was co-driver for John Goss at Bathurst. He outmuscled the HDT polesitter to lead the race after the first corner, but a broken clutch soon stopped the challenge and they ended up finishing 29th. At the end of the year he was invited by Dick Johnson to drive his Torana XU1 in the Brisbane round of the Touring Car series, getting his first Touring Car victory.
With the Mustang now obsolete, and Sidchrome's sponsorship ended, Richards moved across to the Australian Touring Car Championship. Ford provided a Ford Falcon chassis to prepare. However, it proved difficult to get it competitive and as money dried up, the shell was successively leased mid-year to Goss and Johnson whose own cars had been wrecked in accidents. With sponsorship from Melbourne's Melford Motors, Richards debuted the Falcon in September at Sandown, and then onto October's Bathurst race as a privateer with Coppins now as his co-driver. Although fast, the engine proved fragile and unreliable. Suddenly though at the end of the season, after a change of ownership, Melford pulled its sponsorship.
Then in 1978 Richards began a successful stint at the Holden Dealer Team as Peter Brock's co-driver at Bathurst, netting Richards three Bathurst 1000 titles in a row. This was the first time a driver combination had done three-in-a-row at Bathurst. It changed the course of the race into a 6-hour sprint race where the co-driver now had to be as skilled and quick as the lead driver. Brock later recalled that, at the time, he only knew Richards as a casual acquaintance and fellow driver, but after the Wanneroo Park round of the 1978 Australian Touring Car Championship, the pair shared a Ford Falcon panel van for the drive from Perth back to Melbourne (which they allegedly covered in approximately 24 hours for what is normally a 2–3 day trip). Upon returning home to Melbourne, Brock suggested Richards for the job of his co-driver for that years Hardie-Ferodo 1000 at Bathurst. He was hired by HDT team manager John Shepherd, who knew Richards in Melbourne. Together, Brock and Richards drover the perfect, trouble-free race to win Bathurst in 1978 after starting from pole position.
The following year, in 1979 the pair had an even more dominant win, with a record-breaking six-lap margin to their nearest rivals. Just after taking over the car Richards had to drive through treacherous conditions with half the track wet and half dry. He and Brock subsequently took the car back to New Zealand for the end-of-year summer series. For the 1980 race, Brock was now leader of the Holden Dealer Team, in the first year of the new Holden Commodore. Early on in the race, Brock made an uncharacteristic error colliding with a back-marker while lapping it. After a strong comeback drive Brock got back into the lead before handing over to Richards who then drove matching lap-times to take a hard-fought third win. "We didn't know what was going to happen, so we just had to go flat stick. Our times were virtually the same. I actually had the fastest lap of the race until Brockie went out in his last stint and knocked me off by a tenth of a second".
The Mustang was outclassed by the end of 1976 and Richards and Bunn had planned to replace it with the new Ford Falcon. However ongoing delays meant it did not makes its debut until the start of the 1978 season at Surfers Paradise in May. Allan Grice had bought the Corvair from Gardner who had retired. Richards and Grice battled all season, ending on equal points but Grice won the championship on a countback. The following year mechanical unreliability meant he finished a distant second to Grice's Corvair.
The late’70s marked a decline in Australasian motorsports with most drivers stretched for finance. Richards took up a Bob Jane T-Mart's franchise in Preston, Melbourne to provide a regular income, and a degree of sponsorship. It was also during this time he tried racing in F5000 single-seaters as well as the Barclays TR7 Procar single-marque series.
In 1981, Richards bought the Falcon off Bob Jane but although competitive it was getting increasingly unreliable. With new GT regulations coming into force for 1982, it would be too expensive to make it eligible, so it was retired to his T-Mart's foyer while up for sale.
In February 1982, Richards was hired by Frank Gardner, team manager of the new JPS Team BMW, as the team's lead driver to drive the BMW 635 CSi. The team knew results under the locally developed Group C regulations would be very hard against the local Holdens and Fords, and never won a race from 1982 to 1984. Plans to switch to the more competitive M535is, with its far better power-to-weight ratio, were stymied because insufficient numbers had been manufactured by the company.
As Richards commented: "It was more or less known between Frank and I that if the car was good enough to win when I'm driving it well, then it would win. I always knew the preparation was perfect whether the car was coming tenth or first". "I wasn't disappointed, sorry for myself, because I don't when I don't win races. It was the guys I felt for, because the incredible amount of work you put in is the same whether you run first or last". It was a positive attitude matched by the BMW motorsport management and the sponsors that was prepared to wait for the results.
Meanwhile, the Sports Sedan series had been replaced by the GT championship, running to Group 5/IMSA GT rules. The JPS Team BMW entered a turbo-charged 318i for Richards. It was up against Porsche 935s, Holden LX Torana, and an Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV amongst others. 1982 was a learning curve, ending with a surprise pole position in the final race. But going into the 1983 season everything changed. The small and nimble BMW had a much better power-to-weight ratio and won the first two rounds, giving the new JPS team its first victories. But a spectacular televised crash at the start of the next round at Adelaide between Brock, Richards and Tony Hubbard (in Richards' old Falcon) put the BMW on its side and left it very badly damaged and ending Richards' championship. However, the two victories were sufficient to give him second equal in the final standings.
For the 1982 Bathurst race, Richards had British veteran David Hobbs as co-driver (Hobbs had raced with Gardner in his first Le Mans in 1962, winning their class). They finished a creditable 5th, 6 laps behind winners Peter Brock / Larry Perkins, and first non-V8 home. In the 1983 race the car was updated with new Group A engine components from Germany. Now developing 390 bhp the team was encouraged after a 2nd at the immediately preceding Castrol 400 at Sandown, behind Allan Moffat's Mazda RX-7. Richards (co-driven by Gardner himself) qualified fourth on the grid but fuel –contamination issues immediately affected the car, retiring on the 6th lap. Conspiracy theories swirled in the papers about sabotage but nothing was proven. Reliability however meant Richards finished second in the Endurance Championship.
However, when Australian touring car racing changed to the international Group A regulations in 1985, the BMW was suddenly a frequent race winner. International rules removed any bias to any manufacturers and kept the cars far closer to production trim. The car sat lower and had far better weight distribution so it was easier on tyres than the previous Group C counterpart. Richards easily won the 1985 Australian Touring Car Championship getting on the podium in 9 of the 10 rounds, and winning 7 of them. He also won the 1985 Australian Endurance Championship with four wins out of five. However, the big one, at Bathurst, eluded him.
That race was a triumph of the European entrants with the Jaguar XJ-S's of Tom Walkinshaw Racing first and third split by the Schnitzer Motorsport BMW. After leading in the early stages, because of better fuel mileage than the Jaguars, the JPS team's race was undone by oil on the track that put both team cars into the same sandtrap losing them four laps. Despite making back a lap he and up-and-coming co-driver Tony Longhurst could only manage 4th albeit first local entry home.
In recognition of his dominant season and remarkable turnaround, BMW announced Richards as their driver of the year with the 1985 BMW Achievement Award at a formal ceremony in Munich. Richards himself said "At Bathurst it brought it home to me. Like our car was not just a little bit quicker, but a lot quicker than the Schnitzer car and that was the best car they could muster for there. I reckon we had the best BMW that could be fielded anywhere in the world".
In 1986 the dominance of the JPS team was overtaken as other teams developed their cars. The championship was won by fellow-Kiwi Robbie Francevic in the Volvo 240T turbo. Richards finished third in the championship with just a single victory.
The 635 CSi was replaced by the smaller capacity BMW M3 in 1987, and Richards would again come to the fore, winning the 1987 Australian Touring Car Championship. Gardner shut down the JPS team at the end of 1987, and Richards re-joined Peter Brock's team for 1988, with the old HDT now running the BMW M3s after spending the previous 19 years racing Holdens. By 1988, however, the M3 itself had been overtaken as the car to have by the all-powerful Ford Sierra RS500. At the end of the year, Brock's team decided to race Sierras in 1989 while Richards was snapped up by Fred Gibson to race for his factory-backed Nissan team.
Driving for Nissan, Richards won his third ATCC in 1990 driving both the Nissan Skyline HR31 GTS-R and the mighty 4WD, twin-turbo R32 GT-R, affectionately known as "Godzilla". He would repeat as champion in 1991, finishing the ATCC ahead of his young teammate Mark Skaife. Skaife then put the GT-R on pole position at the 1991 Bathurst, before he and Richards cruised to victory in race record time, a lap ahead of the Holden Commodore of defending race winners Win Percy and Allan Grice.
Richards finished second to Skaife in the 1992 ATCC, before the pair then won their second straight Bathurst 1000 in a crash-shortened race which saw Richards crash the GT-R in a downpour on lap 145. However, as there had been a separate crash on that same lap (which Richards later became a part of while trying to drive back to the pits), the red flag was shown and the race was declared. As the rules state that the results would be from the previous lap, this saw a surprised Richards and Skaife declared race winners. On a personal note, the 1992 Tooheys 1000 was also a sad occasion for Richards when his longtime friend and former JPS BMW teammate, 1967 F1 World Champion Denny Hulme died at the wheel of his BMW M3 on lap 32 after suffering a heart attack.
Richards was only informed of Hulme's passing just before he and Skaife took to the podium as winners, and as the unruly crowd below booed the pair (they wanted the second-placed Sierra of Dick Johnson and John Bowe declared winners as they did not like a Japanese car dominating as the GT-R did), the normally gentlemanly Richards let fly with his now famous speech:
"I'm just really stunned for words, I can't believe the reception. I thought Australian race fans had a lot more to go than this, this is bloody disgraceful. I'll keep racing but I tell you what, this is going to remain with me for a long time, you're a pack of arseholes."— Jim Richards – Bathurst 1992.
His other Australian title wins were:
- 1985 Australian Endurance Championship in a BMW 635 CSi
- 1985 AMSCAR Series in a BMW 635 CSi
- 1986 Australian Endurance Championship in a BMW 635 CSi
- 1992 AMSCAR Series in a Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R
- 1995 Australian GT Production Car Series in a Porsche 993 RSCS
- 1996 Australian NASCAR Championship
- 1999 Australian GT Production Car Championship in a Porsche 993 RSCS
- 2000 Australian Nations Cup Championship in a Porsche 996 GT3
- 2001 Australian Nations Cup Championship in a Porsche 996 GT3
- 2002 Australian Nations Cup Championship in a Porsche 996 GT3
- 2003 Australian Carrera Cup Championship in a Porsche 996 GT3 Cup
His Bathurst wins have been:
- 1978 – Peter Brock / Jim Richards (Holden LX Torana SS A9X Hatchback)
- 1979 – Peter Brock / Jim Richards (Holden LX Torana SS A9X Hatchback)
- 1980 – Peter Brock / Jim Richards (Holden VC Commodore)
- 1991 – Mark Skaife / Jim Richards (Nissan R32 GT-R)
- 1992 – Mark Skaife / Jim Richards (Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R)
- 1998 – Rickard Rydell / Jim Richards (Volvo S40)
- 2002 – Mark Skaife / Jim Richards (Holden VX Commodore)
Recently, Richards has driven in the Targa Tasmania as well as numerous other tarmac rallies in the Australian Targa Championship and other tarmac rallies, driving for Porsche. Partnering Richards as a navigator has been motor racing journalist and commentator Barry Oliver. The pairing of Richards and Oliver (affectionately known as Team Grandpa in later years) have together won the Targa Tasmania a record 8 times. Richards and Oliver made their debut in Targa in 1993 in a Porsche 968 CS. His final victory saw him become only the fourth winner of the event in a two-wheel-drive car, and is the last person to do so, holding off more fancied four-wheel-drive rivals over a wet Day 5 to win his last Targa Tasmania title.
Targa Tasmania wins:
- 1996 – Jim Richards / Barry Oliver (Porsche 993 Turbo)
- 1997 – Jim Richards / Barry Oliver (Porsche 993 Turbo)
- 1998 – Jim Richards / Barry Oliver (Porsche 993 Turbo)
- 2000 – Jim Richards / Barry Oliver (Porsche 996 Turbo)
- 2001 – Jim Richards / Barry Oliver (Porsche 996 Turbo)
- 2002 – Jim Richards / Barry Oliver (Porsche 996 Turbo)
- 2003 – Jim Richards / Barry Oliver (Porsche 996 Turbo)
- 2006 – Jim Richards / Barry Oliver (Porsche 997 GT3)
|1972||New Zealand Unlimited Saloon Championship||1st||Ford Falcon GT|
|1974||New Zealand Saloon Championship||1st||Ford Mustang||Sidchrome|
|1974||New Zealand Unlimited Saloon Championship||1st||Ford Falcon GT|
|1975||New Zealand Unlimited Saloon Championship||1st||Ford Falcon GT||Sidchrome|
|1976||Australian Sports Sedan Championship||4th||Ford Mustang||Sidchrome|
|1976||Marlboro Sports Sedan Series||1st||Ford Mustang||Sidchrome|
|1977||Australian Sports Sedan Championship||4th||Ford Mustang||Jim Richards|
|1977||Australian Touring Car Championship||13th||Ford XB Falcon GT|
|1978||Australian Sports Sedan Championship||2nd||Ford XC Falcon||Jim Richards Motor Racing|
|1979||Rothmans International Series||11th||Matich A53 Repco Holden||Jim Richards|
|1979||Australian Sports Sedan Championship||2nd||Ford XC Falcon
Chrysler VH Valiant Charger
|Jim Richards Motor Racing|
|1980||Australian Sports Sedan Championship||3rd||Ford XC Falcon||Jim Richards|
|1982||Australian Touring Car Championship||22nd||BMW 635 CSi||JPS Team BMW|
|1982||Better Brakes AMSCAR Series||9th||BMW 635 CSi||JPS Team BMW|
|1982||Australian Endurance Championship||36th||BMW 635 CSi||JPS Team BMW|
|1982||Australian GT Championship||13th||BMW 318i turbo||JPS Team BMW|
|1983||Australian Endurance Championship||2nd||BMW 635 CSi||JPS Team BMW|
|1983||Australian GT Championship||2nd||BMW 318i turbo||JPS Team BMW|
|1984||Australian Touring Car Championship||5th||BMW 635 CSi||JPS Team BMW|
|1984||Better Brakes AMSCAR Series||3rd||BMW 635 CSi||JPS Team BMW|
|1984||Australian Endurance Championship||NC||BMW 635 CSi||JPS Team BMW|
|1984||World Sportscar Championship||NC||BMW 320i||JPS Team BMW|
|1985||Australian Touring Car Championship||1st||BMW 635 CSi||JPS Team BMW|
|1985||Australian Endurance Championship||1st||BMW 635 CSi||JPS Team BMW|
|1986||Australian Touring Car Championship||3rd||BMW 635 CSi||JPS Team BMW|
|1986||Better Brakes/AMSCAR Series||3rd||BMW 635 CSi||JPS Team BMW|
|1986||Australian Endurance Championship||1st||BMW 635 CSi||JPS Team BMW|
|1987||Australian Touring Car Championship||1st||BMW M3||JPS Team BMW|
|1987/88||Australian Superspeedway Series (AUSCAR)||1st||Ford XF Falcon||Stillwell Ford|
|1988||Australian Touring Car Championship||4th||BMW M3||Mobil 1 Racing|
|1988||Asia-Pacific Touring Car Championship||NC||BMW M3||Mobil 1 Racing|
|1989||Australian Touring Car Championship||4th||Nissan Skyline HR31 GTS-R||Nissan Motorsport Australia|
|1990||Australian Touring Car Championship||1st||Nissan Skyline HR31 GTS-R
Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R
|Nissan Motorsport Australia|
|1991||Australian Touring Car Championship||1st||Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R||Nissan Motorsport Australia|
|1991||Australian Endurance Championship||4th||Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R||Nissan Motor Sport|
|1992||Australian Touring Car Championship||2nd||Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R||Winfield Team Nissan|
|1993||Australian Touring Car Championship||4th||Holden VP Commodore||Winfield Racing|
|1994||Australian Touring Car Championship||6th||Holden VP Commodore||Winfield Racing|
|1994||Australian Super Production Car Series||4th||Porsche 968 CS||Jim Richards|
|1995||Australian Touring Car Championship||12th||Holden VR Commodore||Winfield Racing|
|1995||Australian Super Touring Championship||16th||Hyundai Lantra
Ross Palmer Motorsport
|1995||Australian GT Production Car Series||1st||Porsche 968CS & Porsche 911 RSCS||Bob Jane T Mart|
|1996||Australian Super Touring Championship||8th||Vauxhall Cavalier||Jim Richards|
|1996||Australian GT Production Car Championship||2nd||Porsche 993 RSCS||Jim Richards|
|1996||Australian Superspeedway Series (NASCAR)||1st||Pontiac Grand Prix||Garry Rogers Motorsport|
|1997||Australian Super Touring Championship||5th||Volvo 850||Volvo Dealer Racing|
|1998||Australian Super Touring Championship||3rd||Volvo S40||Volvo Dealer Racing|
|1999||Shell Championship Series||62nd||Ford AU Falcon||John Briggs Motorsport|
|1999||Australian Super Touring Championship||2nd||Volvo S40||Volvo Dealer Racing|
|1999||Australian GT Production Car Championship||1st||Porsche 996 GT3||Jim Richards|
|2000||Shell Championship Series||33rd||Ford AU Falcon||John Briggs Motorsport|
|2000||Australian Nations Cup Championship||1st||Porsche 996 GT3||Jim Richards|
|2001||Shell Championship Series||35th||Ford AU Falcon||Ford Tickford Racing|
|2001||Australian Nations Cup Championship||1st||Porsche 996 GT3||OAMPS Insurance Brokers|
|2002||V8Supercar Championship Series||33rd||Holden VX Commodore||Holden Racing Team|
|2002||Australian Nations Cup Championship||1st||Porsche 996 GT3||OAMPS Insurance|
|2003||V8Supercar Championship Series||37th||Holden VY Commodore||Holden Racing Team|
|2003||Australian Nations Cup Championship||15th||Porsche 911 GT3||OAMPS Insurance|
|2003||Australian Carrera Cup Championship||1st||Porsche 996 GT3 Cup||Jim Richards Racing|
|2004||V8Supercar Championship Series||39th||Holden VY Commodore||Castrol Perkins Racing|
|2004||Australian Carrera Cup Championship||2nd||Porsche 996 GT3 Cup||Jim Richards|
|2005||V8Supercar Championship Series||47th||Holden VZ Commodore||Holden Racing Team|
|2005||Australian Carrera Cup Championship||2nd||Porsche 996 GT3 Cup||OAMPS Insurance|
|2006||V8Supercar Championship Series||58th||Holden VZ Commodore||Holden Racing Team|
|2006||Australian Carrera Cup Championship||4th||Porsche 997 GT3 Cup||OAMPS Insurance Brokers|
|2007||Biante Touring Car Masters||12th||Chevrolet Camaro||Sunliner RV|
|2009||Australian GT Championship||3rd||Porsche 997 GT3 Cup||Jim Richards Racing|
|2009||Touring Car Masters (Group 1)||4th||Ford Falcon Sprint||Jim Richards Racing|
|2010||Touring Car Masters||1st||Ford Falcon Sprint||Jim Richards Racing|
|2011||Touring Car Masters (Class C)||2nd||Ford Falcon Sprint||Jim Richards Racing|
|2012||Australian Touring Car Masters Series (Class A)||2nd||AMC Javelin AMX||Jim Richards Racing|
|2013||Touring Car Masters||1st||Ford Falcon Sprint||Jim Richards Racing|
|2014||Touring Car Masters (Pro Masters Class)||4th||Ford Falcon Sprint||Shannons Insurance|
|2015||Touring Car Masters (Pro Masters Class)||2nd||AMC Javelin||Shannons Insurance|
Complete World Sportscar Championship results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)
|1981||Porsche Cars Australia||Porsche 924 Carrera GTR||DAY||SEB||MUG||MNZ||RIV||SIL||NUR||LMS
|1984||JPS Team BMW||BMW 320i||MNZ||SIL||LMS||NUR||BHT||MOS||SPA||IMO||FJI||KYL||SAN
Complete World Touring Car Championship results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)
|1987||JPS Team BMW||BMW M3||MNZ||JAR||DIJ||NUR||SPA||BNO||SIL||BAT
† Not eligible for series points
Complete Asia-Pacific Touring Car Championship results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)
|1988||Mobil 1 Racing||BMW M3||BAT
Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results
|1981||Porsche Cars Australia|| Peter Brock
|Porsche 924 Carrera GTR||GT||–||DNS||DNS|
Complete Bathurst 24 Hour results
|2002||Prancing Horse Racing Scuderia|| Matt Weiland
|Porsche 996 GT3 R||1||451||15th||3rd|
Complete Bathurst 1000 results
Jim Richards won the Bathurst 1000 seven times. His first three wins were in 1978, 1979 and 1980 with Peter Brock who himself won the race a record nine times (Richard's seven wins puts him second all time to Brock who won 9 times). Richards also had three wins with Mark Skaife and once with Swedish driver Rickard Rydell. Of his record 36 race starts, 22 were with a factory backed team for either Holden, BMW, Nissan or Volvo with only victory in a BMW eluding him. He finished on the podium 13 times with seven wins, three seconds and three thirds, plus one class win.
* Super Touring races
Complete Sandown Endurance results
1992 Bathurst 1000
Due to extremely heavy rain, multiple cars had crashed and were stopped on the side of the track. On lap 144 race leader Richards, whose Nissan was barely driveable due to an earlier crash, slid off the race track and came to rest behind another stopped car. He was overtaken by several cars including Ford driver Dick Johnson who became the new race leader. The race was stopped soon after on lap 145. Normally the race results would have been wound back to the last completed lap, lap 144, and made Johnson the winner. However, due to the large number of crashed and stopped cars the race was wound back an additional lap to allow more cars to place; this made Richards the race winner.
This result was unpopular with fans both because most fans were Ford or Holden supporters and because the winning car was crashed and undriveable. Fans usually greeted the race winners with cheers but instead Richards and Skaife were booed on the podium. Skaife gave a short speech after which Richards said very few words, "I'm just really stunned for words, I can't believe the reception. I thought Australian race fans had a lot more to go than this, this is bloody disgraceful. I'll keep racing but I tell you what this is going to remain with me for a long time. You're a pack of arseholes." Podium MC and Channel 7 commentator Gary Wilkinson then suggested he could cool the crowd down with a champagne bath, to which Richards replied "I wouldn't bother."
Richards later apologised for the outburst, citing the fact that he had been told just before going out onto the podium that his longtime friend and former JPS BMW teammate Denny Hulme had died from a heart attack which he suffered while driving in the early part of the race.
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