Murray Walker, one of the most iconic broadcasters in the history of motor-racing, has died at the age of 97.
The news was communicated on Saturday evening by the British Racing Drivers’ Club.
“It is with great sadness we share the news of the passing of BRDC Associate Member Murray Walker OBE,” read a statement issued.
“A friend, a true motorsport legend, the nation’s favourite commentator and a contagious smile.
“Murray will be sadly missed, his mark and voice will live on in motorsport and our hearts forever. We thank Murray for all he has done for our community.”
Walker, born in Birmingham in 1923, had served for his country in the Second World War, rising to the rank of captain, and was an enthusiastic motorcycle racer in his spare time, having worked in advertising full-time.
He went on to commentate on motorcycle racing through the 1950s and 1960s, and had spells behind the microphone for rallycross, touring cars and even truck racing, but it was in Formula 1 where he made his name as an iconic broadcaster.
For several decades Walker was the voice of Formula 1 in the United Kingdom and he was recognised worldwide as one of its finest broadcasters and commentators.
Walker was the lead commentator for grand prix racing through its emergence on terrestrial television on the BBC in the late 1970s, forming a well-loved partnership with James Hunt.
Hunt’s wit and sardonic remarks contrasted with the studious professionalism of Walker but despite their differences they became a popular double act until Hunt’s untimely death in 1993.
Walker remained lead commentator when coverage switched to ITV in 1997, striking a partnership with Martin Brundle, before stepping down after the 2001 season.
He remained heavily involved in the motorsport scene even into his 90s, making regular appearances on Formula 1 broadcasts, including at the British Grand Prix.
Walker’s passion for motor-racing was demonstrated through his high-energy commentary style and he was a well-loved figure throughout the entire sporting scene for his humble approach.
His unbridled enthusiasm shone through at iconic moments in Formula 1 history, most notably in Japan in 1990, when Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost collided, and at the same venue six years later, when Damon Hill was crowned World Champion.
Walker also became famous for his verbal errors, which were labelled ‘Murrayisms’, though such was the high esteem in which he was held these were regarded with affection rather than criticism.
MotorsportWeek.com extends its condolences to Walker’s friends and family.
Formula 1 is just not the same without Murray’s voice. He will always be an icon in the sport. Races just seemed to be more exciting when he was commentating. One of the truly greats had taken the checkered flag!