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Tony Vlassopulos

Tony Vlassopulos, 1971. Copyright Tony Vlassopulos, 2016. Used with Permission.

Tony Vlassopulos, 1971. Copyright Tony Vlassopulos, 2016. Used with Permission.

Tony Vlassopulos, 2016. Copyright Tony Vlassopulos, 2016. Used with Permission.

Tony Vlassopulos, 2016. Copyright Tony Vlassopulos, 2016. Used with Permission.

Born:

13 Nov 1931
Wallington, Surrey

Nationality:

Great Britain

Teams:

Token (1974)

Former shipbroker, now retired, who now lives in Pyrford, Surrey. A larger-than-life character, Tony enjoys the chance to travel and see his family. Vlassopulos was not only the To of Token, but ran the Ippokampos Racing outfit, albeit briefly, in Formula 3 and was Ron Dennis' first main sponsor of Rondel. Through Ippokampos, Vlassopulos also supported James Hunt and the Hesketh team, sponsoring them for a number of races in 1975. With Rondel, Dennis was trying to find sponsorship. Through Ron's then girlfriend, who was the daughter of John Phelps, director of Phelps Antique Furniture in Twickenham, one of its regular customers, (Vlassopulos), was asked to sponsor Rondel. Vlassopulos asked his friend, Ken Grob, if he was interested. Grob said yes, as long as Ken's son, Ian could be involved with the team. From that moment forward, Tony became Dennis' first sponsor.. Tony enjoyed the win the team had at Thruxton with Graham Hill that year. Tony's support to Dennis and Neil Trundle allowed them to advance the team much further than would've otherwise been possible, but also allowed Dennis time to source funds (Ultimately unsuccessfully). However, when Ron announced a Formula 1 attempt, albeit an ultimately doomed one with Rondel, Vlassopulos was not made aware initially, and when it all then collapsed for Dennis and Trundle, Tony took over the team with Grob to make it Token Racing. However this was not an easy process as a £5,000 overdraft had to be paid off, including for a new workshop in Feltham. Vlassopulos was also hugely influential in Tom Pryce's career, especially when he took Buzz Buzaglo out of the Ippokampos Formula 3 team and put Pryce in for the Monaco Formula 3 race after Pryce had supposedly been rejected for the F1 race as he wasn't experienced enough. Tony has also worked in racing in a broadcasting capacity, being a commentator for the BARC, and at one time auditioned for the BBC. Vlassopulos' main line of work though was as a barrister and solicitor. His son, Mark, now runs a large leisure resort business, based in Singapore, ARC Resorts, which has been behind attempts to revive Valencia, including the return of the Grand Prix there. Tony also worked as a barrister, from 1952 to 2001, specialising in criminal law for over twenty-five years, as well as two different spells as a shipbroker, taking up this profession in 1954. Despite his surname, Vlassopulos wasn't directly from Greece or born there; his father was Romanian, his mother English and he has lived in Surrey most of his life.

Biography last updated 27 Jan 2017