About Michael Thackwell
Michael Thackwell (born 30 March 1961 in Papakura, Auckland, New Zealand ) is a former racing driver, who participated in a number of prominent racing categories, including Formula One. The second youngest driver ever to qualify for a Grand Prix, he participated in five of them, making his first start on 28 September 1980 at the Canadian Grand Prix. He scored no championship points. He had previously attempted unsuccessfully to qualify for the Dutch Grand Prix which was held on 31 August 1980.
Thackwell has been described as a "teenage sensation", a "maverick" and as "something of a cult hero". Outside Formula One, he competed successfully in Formula Three, Formula Two, Formula 3000 and sports cars, amongst other categories.
Thackwell was born into a motor racing family. For many years, his father, Ray, was a successful international speedway rider and racing driver. When Mike was six years old, his family emigrated from New Zealand to Perth, Western Australia, where he spent his formative years, and also began racing. Michael Thackwell has 4 siblings Joan Caccioppoli - Kerry John Thackwell - Lisa Brabham - Heidi Thackwell
Between 1972 and 1976, Thackwell attended Christ Church Grammar School, in Claremont, a suburb of Perth. By the time of his Formula One debut in 1980, he spoke with an Australian accent, and regarded himself as Australian, but he competed, and liked to be known, as a New Zealander.
For three years from the age of nine, Thackwell competed in motocross events on motorcycles supplied by his father an importer of high performance racing & sports cars. He then switched to karts, winning a Western Australian championship at the age of 14. After also winning the Hong Kong Kart Grand Prix in 1975 and 1976, he moved to England.
In the years following his withdrawal from Motor Sport, he has worked among other occupations as a Helicopter Pilot in the North Sea for Bristow Helicopters, a Gold Miner in the North-West of Western Australia and as a Teacher in England. He is widely felt to have been one of the great 'lost talents' - a driver in the wrong place at the wrong time. According to the English MotorSport Magazine Thackwell now lives on the South Coast of England where he still spends his free time surfing summer & winter when waves allow.