‘Larger than life’ racing driver Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams’ fiancee launches court fight over £1.1million fortune including beloved vehicles that he left to charity in will

  • Racing driver Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams died at 79 after storied career on the track 
  • He has sparked a posthumous legal battle after leaving his fortune to charities 
  • Mr Williams didn’t leave any money to his long term partner Kathryn Marshall
  • He allowed her to live in his £500,000 home for the rest of her life but gave her no cash and she is now suing for financial provision 

The fiancee of a ‘larger than life’ racing driver has launched a court fight over his will after he died and left nearly all his £1.1million fortune to charities.

Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams died in September 2018 after a 60-year racing career behind the wheels of a rich variety of cars, including Mini Coopers in the 1960’s and saloon and touring cars in the 1970’s.

Mr Williams only gave up racing in the year before his death, aged 79, and was a well-loved and respected figure on the British racing circuit.

But he has posthumously sparked a legal dispute after handing the bulk of his £1,150,250 estate to charities and leaving fiancee and long-term partner Kathryn Marshall none of his cash.

Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams died in 2018 but posthumously sparked a legal dispute after handing the bulk of his £1,150,250 estate to charities and leaving fiancee and long-term partner Kathryn Marshall none of his cash

The will gave Ms Marshall the right to live in his £500,000 house in Brackley, near the Silverstone racing track, for the rest of her life, but no hard cash

His estate was made up mainly of his £500,000 home plus motor vehicles worth £120,000, with the remainder being made up of assorted investments. 

The High Court in Bristol heard that Mr Williams’ 2004 will is now at the centre of complex legal wrangle as he left most of his money to charities including the RSPCA, the British Racing Drivers’ Motor Sport Charity, and Cancer Research.

The will gave Ms Marshall the right to live in his £500,000 house in Brackley, near the Silverstone racing track, for the rest of her life, but no hard cash.

She has now gone to court asking for financial provision from his estate under the 1975 Inheritance Act.

As well as leaving most of his fortune to charity, Mr Williams also bequeathed a number of cash legacies, while his classic 1957 Austin A35 and historic Edwell motorbike went to a friend.

He also handed his 105-year-old mum his share in a property in New Road, Bromyard, worth £62,000, explained Judge Paul Matthews this week.

Mr Williams first raced in 1957 and won the 1964 Welsh Rally in a Mini Cooper before drifting into the world of saloon and touring racing, competing for the Colt team in the British Touring Car Championship.

He was a regular winner at Goodwood and was also a legendary figure away from the track and a long-term member of the British Racing Drivers’ Club.

Mr Williams first raced in 1957 and won the 1964 Welsh Rally in a Mini Cooper before drifting into the world of saloon and touring racing, competing for the Colt team in the British Touring Car Championship

His estate was made up mainly of his £500,000 home plus motor vehicles worth £120,000, with the remainder being made up of assorted investments

Ms Marshall’s claim against his estate has yet to be heard, but the case reached the High Court in Bristol as the judge was asked to clarify precisely which charities are set to benefit under Mr Williams’ will.

The court heard Mr Williams’ will left the vast majority of his estate to four charities. 

These were the British Racing Drivers’ Club Benevolent Fund, a scholarship fund for young drivers to be run by the fund, the RSPCA, and the Cancer Research Fund.

But Judge Matthews explained lawyers dealing with the will have been hamstrung due to the fact that, apart from the RSPCA, no such charities existed in name.

Mr Williams’ executor and longtime pal, James Knipe, therefore went to court, asking the judge to clarify the issue and have other valid charities substituted as beneficiaries.

The judge agreed to substitute the British Racing Drivers’ Motor Sport Charity and gave Mr Knipe the green light to distribute the will to cancer research charities such as Cancer Research UK and the World Cancer Research Fund.

‘There is no evidence that Mr Williams had any particular registered charity in mind at the time of making his will, and neither did he have any strong connection to any particular cancer research charity,’ the judge commented.

Ms Marshall’s claim against her dead partner’s estate has yet to be heard or resolved.

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