After studying accountancy, David became a professional rally co-driver, competing for the factory Leyland, Opel and Ford teams. While with Ford, he co-drove Ari Vatanen to victory in the British and Scandinavian championships, and finished his competition career by winning the World Rally Championship with Vatanen in 1981.
Following this title, David devoted his time to developing his business interests, which led to the formation of his own rally team and the creation of Prodrive in 1984. The company established its headquarters in Banbury, Oxfordshire, where, under David’s direction, it has grown into a world leading motorsport and automotive technology business with 500 staff and annual sales in 2012 of more than £100m.
Since 1984, Prodrive has won six World Rally titles with Subaru; five British Touring Car championships with BMW, Alfa Romeo and Ford; class wins at Le Mans with Ferrari in 2003 and Aston Martin in 2007 and 2008; as well as the Le Mans Series title in 2009. In 2004, the BAR Honda F1 team, managed by Prodrive, finished runners up in the F1 Constructors’ Championship.
Today, Prodrive runs Aston Martin Racing in the World Endurance Championship and MINI in the World Rally Championship and Global Rallycross. In addition to motorsport, Prodrive undertakes a wide range of projects for the automotive, aerospace, marine and defence industries, including the development of innovative low carbon technologies, lightweight composite structures and niche vehicle design and production.
In 2007, David led a consortium that purchased Aston Martin from Ford, resulting in David being appointed as chairman of this iconic British sports car manufacturer.
David sits on the advisory boards of the Warwick Business School and Cranfield School of Management, is a non-executive director of BGC Partners and a member of Coventry University Entrepreneurs’ Fund. He is a trustee of the British Racing Drivers’ Club Benevolent Fund; vice president of BEN and Greenpower; and a director of the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust.
In the 2005 New Years’ honours, he was made a Commander of the British Empire, CBE, for his services to motorsport.