Patrick Howitt (1945-2015) obituary by the BRDC:
We regret to report the death on Wednesday 18 November of Patrick Howitt at the age of 71. As owner and chairman for many years of the Nottingham-based John Howitt Group, a printing business which had been started by his great-great-grandfather in 1837 printing tickets and timetables for Thomas Cook, Patrick will be particularly remembered for his enthusiastic support of Donington Park in the years immediately after ‘Tom’ Wheatcroft re-opened the circuit in 1977. His passion for fast cars and motor racing initially led him to support local drivers Frank Sytner (in Formula Ford 2000 and Sports 2000) and Gary Ferriman in the Clubmen’s Formula. Under the Foxwood Sytner Racing banner Frank also contested the 1977 Formula 3 race supporting the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, the circuit where 20 years earlier Patrick reckoned he first caught the motor racing bug when his father took him to the Daily Express International Trophy. Frank may have finished a modest 15th in that F3 race but the following year in a Howitt Racing Lola T492 he was Sports 2000 Champion.
Through the late Robert Fearnall, Patrick was introduced to Kenny Acheson whom he supported through Formula Ford 1600 and Formula 3 into Formula 2, Kenny losing the 1980 British F3 Championship by just two points to Stefan Johansson in a dramatic final round at Thruxton. Martin Brundle and Russell Spence, and on two wheels Ron Haslam and Niall McKenzie also benefited from Patrick’s endlessly enthusiastic and financially beneficial support. In the 1990s Patrick sponsored Damien Faulkner in Formula Vauxhall Junior, the Irishman winning the 1995 Winter Series, and also Carl Breeze.
In 1999 Patrick sold his company to Waddington but, far from retiring, energetically pursued his various other interests which included a Czech-Hungarian restaurant with a reputation for jazz. In recent years he had been living in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, becoming involved in property development. In the words of Kenny Acheson, Patrick was ‘warm hearted, very sociable, kind, generous beyond belief and always the perfect English gentleman’. That is how he will be remembered by all those who knew him and who will for ever retain fond memories of a true motor racing benefactor.