John Wyer was an iconic figure in sports car racing. He enjoyed immense respect from both his employees and drivers alike.
He won multiple times at the 24 Hours of Le Mans while working as team manager for Aston Martin. Additionally, he managed the Gulf-sponsored Ford GT40s in 1968 and 1969 as well as Gulf’s Mirage prototype cars in 1975.
Early Life and Education
Early childhood experiences are key in the development of the brain. Children who experience positive and supportive environments during this critical time tend to have better academic successes as adults.
UNESCO has recognized the first eight years of a child’s life as “the most critical window of opportunity for their brain,” noting they are crucial periods in developing cognitive, emotional and social abilities.
Early experiences for children can have profound, lifelong impacts on their physical health and academic success. Fostering positive, stable relationships with caregivers and other adults, providing safe environments, as well as providing them with nutritious food at an early age are all key ingredients in setting them up for long-term growth and development.
In the United States, many states have implemented strong policies that support early childhood education. Studies have demonstrated that these programs, which offer quality care to young children, increase students’ readiness for school and enhance their future academic performance and health.
Wyer was an engineer, manager and team owner who revolutionized sports car racing during the 1960s and ’70s. His meticulous planning, sharp thinking and access to unrivaled information set him apart from his contemporaries, allowing Aston Martin, Ford and Porsche to win at Le Mans, in the World Championship and other endurance races.
He began his career as an apprentice to David Brown Industries, which produced tractors and gearboxes for Aston Martin. Subsequently, he joined John Wyer as his graduate engineering assistant to help launch Aston Martin Lagonda and was an integral part of their highly successful team until 1971.
After Aston Martin shut its doors, Wyer was approached by Ford to develop their sports car racing program. Although initially reluctant, Ford product manager Don Frey persuaded him to change his mind at a hastily arranged meeting in Detroit.
Achievements and Honors
John Wyer was an acclaimed motorsport engineer and team manager who helped win numerous races during his career. He collaborated with multiple car companies, such as Aston Martin and Ford.
His accomplishments included winning multiple 24 Hours of Le Mans races and managing teams in Formula One. He was renowned for his creative ideas and devotion to work, and a pioneer in car development.
Despite his success, he always maintained a humble attitude about his accomplishments and kept a low profile throughout his career. He was often invited to events commemorating one or more of his teams’ victories and enjoyed reconnecting with old colleagues – whether drivers or team engineers – at these celebrations.
John Wyer, affectionately known as “Death Ray” for his arrogant demeanor and sharp one-liners, was an uncompromising team manager whose firmness often went against Ford’s corporate hierarchy. During his tenure with Aston Martin, however, Wyer led them to their first victory at Le Mans and two World Sportscar Championships.
He took the initiative in creating the GT40 program, leading it under Ford’s guidance before handing it off to his own JW Automotive operation. He set high standards for drivers, demanding they perform like special forces units: handsomely equipped and trained in order to practice even when not racing.
After several years, his Gulf-sponsored GT40s that he designed and built won two Le Mans races in 1966 and 1967. Later on, he created the Mirage M-1 prototype with assistance from Gulf Oil and team manager J-O Bockman.
John Wyer enjoyed a storied career in sports car racing. He managed the works team for Aston Martin, helping them win Le Mans in 1959 with Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby driving DBR1s, then worked for Ford as head of their GT40 development program before starting his own Gulf research group to win races using Ford GT40s and Porsche 917s.
Wyer was well known in sports car racing but also held a significant stake in oil exploration and production. He owned Artesian Resources Inc, an oil products company traded on Nasdaq stock market that makes petroleum products. Since 2005 he made 69 trades of ARTNA stock; thus his net worth is estimated to be at least $4.54 million dollars.