28th May 1947- 18th September 2014
month the world of endurance racing lost some
of its sparkle. Anne Morel, one of the most
enthusiastic, generous and much loved members
of the close-knit motorsport community, lost
her battle with cancer. She had, over the course
of nearly fifteen years, become a familiar
face in the paddock of race circuits all around
the world, diligently fulfilling her role as
team liaison officer or in support of individual
drivers and team members.
elegantly dressed, even when proudly wearing
team uniform, Anne brought with her the aromatic
waft of Chanel, a glint of jewellery, and a
style that was always immaculate. She was the
epitome of French chic.
Although her passion in recent years was motor racing, and most especially the Le Mans 24 Hours, she used her background in international relations and commerce to forge close ties between teams and race organisers – smoothing ruffled feathers and easing tensions. Ever the diplomat, Anne spent ten years as Finance & Administration Manager to the French Chamber of Commerce in London. Her command of languages – she spoke English fluently, and had an exceptional command of both German and Italian, as well of course as her native French – gave her the edge in many situations.
Through her work with the Chamber of Commerce, many French companies eased their way into the British market, aided by her charm and understanding of the differing cultures on both sides of the Channel. Equally, her expertise worked the other way, and when she set up her own company in 2001, International Motorsport Management, she drew together all that experience, in business and commerce, to forge a new career as an intermediary in the competitive and occasionally difficult world of motor racing.
in Surrey, but maintaining close ties with
her French roots, Anne became embroiled in
a way of life that combined her enthusiasm
for motorsport with her understanding of business.
She set out to assist teams, sponsors and individual
drivers as they strove to establish good working
relationships between themselves, and with
the race organisers. Most notably and successfully,
she worked closely with RML (Ray Mallock Limited)
for over ten years, sharing the team’s jubilation
at two class wins in the Le Mans 24 Hours and
two Le Mans Series LMP2 titles. There’s
no doubt that her skills as an intermediary,
acting between the team and the ACO, was sometimes
a crucial component in those successes.
also adept at organising, and helped to coordinate
hospitality events, product launches and, most
famously, the Grande Parade des Pilotes. In
her position as International Representative
of "Classic Automotive", she was a key player
in managing the annual extravaganza that draws
crowds of tens of thousands to the streets
of Le Mans each Friday evening before the start
of the race. In 2008 she was the mastermind
behind arranging RML AD Group’s sponsorship
of the event, and ensuring that Mike, Tommy
and Andy appeared with the team’s MG Lola EX265
on the official posters. She had a subtle but
very persuasive influence.
the past dozen years she not only worked with
RML and AD Group, but her other major clients
included Aston Martin, Jaguar, Lola, Ginetta,
BMW, McLaren, Nissan and Porsche. She also
mentored a number of significant drivers, furthering
their careers and helping them to secure the
drives that would establish them as professionals,
most notably Nicolas Minassian.
RML AD Group withdrew from competition at the end of the 2011 season, but RML retained a significant presence in endurance racing and the Le Mans 24 Hours through its involvement with Nissan, firstly with the DeltaWing project in 2013, and then with the Nissan Zeod in 2014. Once again, Anne proved indispensable. Despite being seriously ill, and much against the advice and instructions of her doctors, she made her way to Le Mans in June 2014 to fulfil her role for the team.
She knew it would be her last chance to enjoy the atmosphere, the friendship, and the challenge of the Vingt
Quatre Heures, and nothing on Earth was going to prevent her from being there. Once or twice the strain broke through, and there would be a look, or a glint in her eye, that betrayed just a little of what she was experiencing, but right to the end she remained unstintingly professional, kindly, and good humoured. She will, indeed, be much missed.
funeral took place this morning in Putney Vale,
London, and was followed by a Memorial Reception,
most appropriately, at the Royal Automobile
Club in Pall Mall. Anne specifically requested
that those present should not wear black, and
rather than flowers, she asked that donations
be made to the Marie Curie Foundation.
"Every driver has distinct memories of Le Mans,
both the circuit and everything around it, more
so than any other circuit in the world. Anne
Morel was always an indelible part of that scene
that will never be forgotten, and she was in
her element supporting any team at Le Mans or
any other endurance racing event."
the first moments of arrival, through the Scrutineering
in the Place des Jacobins, race week,
and the 24 Hours itself, Anne was always there
to ensure every detail was attended to, be it
the team photograph, or ensuring that the drivers
were in the right place and the right time for
signing autographs, interviews on stage or any
of a dozen other details. Equally her contribution
once the action started was invaluable, providing
that vital language and cultural bridge and bond
between the team and the ACO."
and foremost, whatever task Anne applied herself
to was delivered with a unique style and elegance
which will be sorely missed. She considered her
motor racing colleagues as an extended family,
and I was very proud to be considered part of
“We have all been so saddened about Anne. She so
loved being with our team and she was always very loving towards myself, Sheila
and my whole family. Whenever she came to stay at our house, she was full of
joy and such a real pleasure to have around."
and I went down to see her a few weeks ago and
she was already very poorly. It was heart-wrenching
to see her that way. Our “darling
Anne” has gone far too soon, but we can be comforted
in knowing that she was at her happiest when she
was around us at RML."
was a true RML person - full of passion for
the team and what we stood for. She wore the
team gear with great pride and her services as
the team liaison officer were crucial when it
came to communicating with the ACO and organising
all matter of things. She used her French connections
and her innate diplomatic skills to such great
effect, and she played a key role in helping
the team achieve their goals with the full support
of the organisers as well as maximising our exposure
in the French media."
went to Le Mans this year knowing that she may
never go again. She was already in great discomfort
but kept quiet about her illness. She made sure
she was there to help Phil and the entire Nissan
ZEOD crew. She was a true fighter and she loved
our sport so much."
Anne from time to time in the last few weeks
of her life has really upset Sheila and I, as
we knew she was in great discomfort and needed
high levels of morphine to ease the pain. We
are so relieved that she is no longer suffering
and is now resting, in peace."
have now lost another leading light from the RML
first met Anne in 2003 and for the next 12 years
we worked closely together on all of RML’s
ACO Le Mans and FIA Sportscar programmes. Anne
acted as our key liaison with the ACO and our
suppliers, and we spent many hours together
both at work and socially after events."
was the consummate professional and diplomat, She
was also a true friend and supporter of RML and
all its staff, extremely protective and loyal,
with a heart of gold. She was always willing
to help out whenever needed, whether in the office,
at the circuit, in the medical centre or or hospital,
and especially with RML staff abroad. Nothing
was ever a problem, nothing was too much trouble."
were told of Anne’s illness earlier in the year,
but we were all shocked to see how fast and
aggressive the cancer had become before it took
Anne’s life. She will be deeply missed. Anne's
friendship over the last 12 years has been
immense, and she was a good friend to me who
always had time to listen. I consider myself
blessed to have had Anne as a friend and have
many happy memories to cherish."
Bless you Anne. Rest
in peace my friend."
Norstrom, AD Group:
"Working discretely behind the scenes, Anne played
a vital role in the organisation of key elements
of RML and AD's corporate programme at the Le Mans
24 Hours for nearly 10 years. Her work was always
totally focused around racing, a common interest
and passion shared by all."
impeccable organisation behind the Parade, the
spectacular 2008 RML centre piece and many key
PR articles about the team, all had Anne's unique
lived and breathed the LMP programme, working
together with the team through 24-36-48 hours
non stop. We all enjoyed the pace but also the
quiet times; sitting together with the guys at
the end of a long day or in between practice
sessions usually in the Smoking Dog. We reminisced,
shared experiences, shared the unrepeatable and
precious moments. We were bonded by the camaraderie
of aspiring to achieve the goal of excellence
and the unsurpassed high of the win."
contribution to the programme was immense. Most
of all, her warmth, kindness, style and elegance
echoed in her inimitable greeting "Darling, Darling
how are you" will be dearly missed."
in peace lovely lady."
"No words can describe the big space that Anne's passing has left on this world."
have known Anne for over ten years now, initially
on a professional basis and then on a personal
one. Every person I know that ever met Anne
adored her. She always had a story to tell and
she told them so well. She was a woman with
an infectious love for life, friends and motorsport
- all interwoven so wonderfully."
have so many great memories ... parties at home,
trips at Le Mans, lunch in Bruges when Anne had
me, Tommy and Andy Wallace in hysterics with
her fabulousness and her cheeky ways with the
waiter ... :-). The world
will be a smaller place without Anne. We will
miss her so much but will never forget her. She
was a truly wonderful lady - funny, compassionate
and incredibly kind-hearted."
we came together for our socials Ann was one
of the people I looked forward to catching up
with the most. She brought a lot of laughter
into our lives and I am so lucky to be able to
count her as one of my close friends. She will
always missed but never forgotten. x"
Mallock Limited, RML:
"We are greatly saddened at the news of Anne Morel's
worked with RML since 2003 and, as a highly respected
key liaison between us and the ACO, was integral
to our Le Mans success."
true friend and supporter of RML, Anne was fiercely
protective of the RML brand and it’s activities,
particularly at Le Mans. But as well as her professional
role, she was always prepared to work outside
her remit in helping with the team’s welfare
and health needs on event, something which was
greatly appreciated by various team members over
was a vibrant, professional and passionate enthusiast
who loved motorsport and the part she played
within the RML team. She will be very sadly missed
by all at RML."
Cécile Bonardel, ACO:
"Anne Morel was not widely known to the general
public, but everyone in the paddock knew her as
the most British of French ladies. Her passion
for motorsport in general and for endurance racing
in particular compelled her to carry high the colours
of the Le Mans 24 Hours, most notably for the
Grande Parade des Pilotes."
Morel was no stranger to the success of
the British team RML at Le Mans, in the LMP2
category. A former pillar of the French Chamber
of Commerce in London, Anne Morel then turned
to endurance racing. Always smiling and helpful,
the 'Lady in love with the island of Minorca'
was a part of the Nissan ZEOD RC venture at this
year's 24 Hours, despite her illness. Nissan
paid homage to Anne Morel on the No. 35 car entered
in the Blancpain championship (last month)".
than a colleague, it is a friend that the endurance
world mourns today. It is thanks to enthusiasts
like Anne, who work behind the scenes, that fans
of endurance racing can indulge their
her friends and family, the Automobile
Club de l'Ouest offers its sincerest sympathies."