Another of motorsport’s best-known ‘unknown’ teams was the eponymous Roy Winkelmann Racing squad.

Born in 1930, Winkelmann thrived on being slightly mysterious and began racing a Cooper-Bristol in the early sixties before setting up his own team, first in sportscars in 1961 with Danny Collins driving a Corvette at Goodwood followed by a Lotus 23 in sports-racing events.

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They then did Formula Junior with Alan Rees in 1963 in a Lotus 18 (Rees, of course, was later the ‘AR’ in March Engineering in 1969 and Arrows in 1978). He won three races before having a season-ending shunt at the Nürburgring.

As a team Winkelmann’s squad were in at the start of Formula 2 in 1964 with Rees in a Brabham BT10 with a young Winkelmann discovery, a driver called Jochen Rindt joining in 1965.

The team’s cars were always well turned out in BMC dark green, with a silver nosecone and stripe.

Winkelmann was born in Colorado before moving to the UK as a child where he grew up. He later returned to the USA where he began a business career before coming back to the UK again in the late fifties. He gained a degree in criminology at the University of San Jose. His security origins were founded in the mid-fifties and he worked as a criminal investigator for the US Air Force.

The team’s immediate success came via Jochen Rindt in Formula 2 winning 23 races in 1965, with more following in 1966, 1967 and 1968, with drivers such as Jacky Ickx and Jean-Pierre Beltoise. Due to his success, Rindt was classed as a ‘graded’ driver in F2 as he was racing in F1 with Cooper, so wasn’t eligible to score points in F2.

The team was based in the basement of the Burnham Lanes bowling alley in Slough, that Winkelmann owned. Until the end of 1968, the team manager was Malcolm Leggett before a now retired from driving Alan Rees briefly took over in 1969.

Sadly, that was the year that the team imploded after key personnel, including Rees and Kiwi Phil Kerr, decamped to the new March Engineering team. Following this a certain Bernie Ecclestone set up a Formula 2 team to enable Rindt to continue racing in the championship.


By day, Winkelmann was involved in the security industry via his Armoured Developments company, which provided most of the funding that ran his motorsport team. There has always been conjecture about his security career and the extent of what he did for a living.

Armoured Developments was a big player in its field on both sides of the Atlantic running armoured cash vans that also transported gold bullion. They were also involved in selling and fitting burglar alarms, electronic bugging devices, surveillance and even door staff.

Although not actively operating his own racing team after 1969 Winkelmann was still involved in the industry. He later reappeared in 1974 as team manager of the Jorgenson-Eagle (Eagle 74A) F5000 team owned by Elliott Forbes-Robinson and Brett Lunger for a couple of seasons.

Later in the seventies, he was selling Palliser (made by Hugh Dibley in Clapham) Formula Ford 1600s (He sold them as Winkelmann FF1600s under license) from premises in San Francisco.

He was also intending to run Dick Parsons in an F5000 Talon, before teaming up with his brother Bob and Hugh Dibley as a partner in Robert Winkelmann/Palliser Racing Design.

In 1977, a disco called ‘The King of Clubs’ joined his stable of business interests in Wokingham which is where the offices for his security business was also operated from.

He sold the Armoured Developments business for a lot of money and is then said to have invested it in a new type of anti-bugging device that could find and also destroy similar devices. His device took off with embassies around the world buying them. He also had a counter-intelligence contract with several defence ministries around the globe.


There was a very lucrative gig that saw his company transporting currency from the UK where it had been printed, to Zimbabwe.

His security industry activities kept him very busy and also under his banner was a private eye service, a spy equipment shop in London while he gave lectures on espionage and counter-espionage.

Winkelmann was never far from motorsport, however … and in the mid-eighties, he popped up again trying to get Lotus back to the Indy 500 in a Lotus 96T designed by Gerard Ducarouge and Mike Coughlan. The car was built but never raced. Then there was the plan to turn some land on Staten Island into an F1 circuit.

His brother Bob was Ford’s AVO distributor for several years during the ‘Total Performance’ era.

Roy Winkelmann died of cancer in July 2011.