Driven To Crime: True stories of wrongdoing in motor racing

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Driven To Crime: True stories of wrongdoing in motor racing

Driven To Crime: True stories of wrongdoing in motor racing

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For more than a decade it was hailed as the world’s fastest production road car and immediately became a modern classic with its ground-breaking design. His fellow competitors found him a very ordinary, quiet and unassuming man who made no attempt to mix with them.

Leaving the obligatory driver change until the last moment permissible under the regulations, he then had to watch in frustration as his hard work was undone and Munroe slipped down the field to an eventual fifth place. His ambitions knew no boundaries and he acquired from the Parabolica Motorsport team a McLaren F1 GTR, a spectacular racing car that had won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1995.Inevitably, like most youngsters with similar aspirations, there was neither the money nor the opportunity to fulfil his ambitions. By now, Munroe also possessed other high-performance sportscars, all with personalised registration numbers, and turned up at race meetings in a variety of them. Much of the time I could not believe what I was reading; the scams, the drugs, the vast fortunes built and lost; the deceit, the fraud, the double dealing and the burning ambition to get involved - at any cost. Although AM Racing’s previous experience had been mainly in the preparation and running of historic Le Mans cars, Spires had put together a very strong group of engineers and the operation proved to be well up to the required standard. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice.

Cox was back in the news again as recently as December 2018 when, now aged 54, he absconded from an open prison in Norwich, having been allowed out for a pre-arranged medical appointment that he failed to attend. In front of a huge crowd, Goodwin sprinted into the lead from the front row of the grid as the pack flooded down into Copse Corner on the first lap.

By the time of the next round of the British GT Championship, at Donington Park on 7th August, the AM Racing McLaren F1 GTR had vanished from the entry list. Come the first round of the championship, at Silverstone on 28th March, the pre-season optimism continued when the team’s lead driver put the McLaren on pole position with a lap over eight seconds quicker than the car’s custodian could manage.

We may never fully understand the true reasons why a middle manager living in a mock-Tudor house in Wokingham turned to a life of crime and massive fraud. Goodwin managed to reduce the deficit by one lap and bring the car home fourth, his efforts once again rewarded with fastest lap. Finance is provided by PayPal Credit (a trading name of PayPal UK Ltd, Whittaker House, Whittaker Avenue, Richmond-Upon-Thames, Surrey, United Kingdom, TW9 1EH).During his short appearance, he ill-advisedly boasted to presenter Quentin Willson that he had once driven his McLaren F1 at 170mph on the M40 motorway. In ‘real life’, away from the race circuits, Munroe — real name James Cox — was still a very ordinary accountant, albeit with a little more seniority than in earlier years.

To feed his apparently insatiable appetite for fame and attention, Munroe had hired a public relations specialist, Panic Publicity, at the start of the season, and this company probably organised the original Soho launch. The season comprised 11 races, one of which was a continental excursion to the daunting Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. As the director of accounting he was responsible for the management of the payment system and had detailed knowledge of the payment process. He used these companies to submit bogus invoices to his employer and was perfectly placed to ensure that payments were authorised and made to the respective bank accounts, of which he was the sole beneficiary. As Goodwin’s international career was in the ascendency, this wasn’t a drive he needed or even particularly wanted, but he accepted it on the basis that it would do him no harm, keep him race-sharp and reward him with, in his words, ‘a crazy amount of money’.Munroe was jailed for five years after he admitted 17 charges of transfer by deception and three of procuring the execution of a valuable security. He stayed in front for five laps until encountering a backmarker, a Marcos Mantis, that crossed his path just as he was about to lap it, forcing him to spin in avoidance. In defence of his 36-year-old client, Peter Warne told the court: ‘Munroe describes himself, or his creation, as “a monster which he could not stop”. When Goodwin flew in from America, where he had been racing at Sebring, and topped the official pre-season testing sessions at Silverstone, spirits were high and Spires said: ‘It couldn’t have gone better.

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