A DUBLIN-born director of a major Grand Prix team has died from a heart attack at the age of 47.

John 'Boy' Walton, who was sporting director of Minardi at the time of his death, is survived by his partner Louise Goodman, an ITV Grand Prix presenter.

Walton had been involved in racing since the age of 13.

He worked with Eddie Jordan from the early 1970s and helped Jordan win the Irish Formula Atlantic title back in 1978.

Walton later became one of the founding staff of Eddie Jordan Racing before taking the opportunity to work as a mechanic with the Toleman Formula One team.

At the end of 1990, Walton ? a cousin of Irish golf pro Philip Walton ? took the chance to go back to work for Eddie Jordan as chief mechanic with the new 7Up Jordan Formula One team.

He was later appointed manager of the team.

By January 2000, Walton had become the sporting director of the French team, Prost Grand Prix. He moved to Minardi at the start of 2002. He died late on Friday night.