USRRC Race Series Talk Topic at IMRRC on Nov. 8
The USRRC lasted just six seasons, but its impact on racing was enormous, and now the series’ history is reported in detail for the first time in “USRRC, A record of the United States Road Racing Championship 1963-1968” by Mike Martin.
Martin of Seattle, Wash., will speak about the series and its crucial role in the development of professional road racing in America at the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen on Nov. 8. The Center Conversations talk is free and open to all.
The USRRC was the Sports Car Club of America’s first series for professional race drivers.
“Without the USRRC, there could not have been a Can-Am, the better known and fully international series for the same type of car,” said award-winning motorsports author Michael Argetsinger. “The Group 7 category, remembered today as Can-Am, pitted American engineering with the best from Europe and produced some of the most exciting race cars ever built. None of it would have evolved without the USRRC.
“The series, featuring unlimited displacement, two-seat sports cars, brought raw horsepower and speed that captured the imagination of fans, drivers and entrants alike. Scarabs, Porsche RS-61s and King Cobras dominated early years to be supplanted by iconic Chaparrals, Lola T70s and McLarens before the USRRC gave way to the Can-Am which would carry the tradition of unlimited race cars into the mid-’70s,” said Argetsinger, who is a member of the Center’s Governing Council.
John Bishop, SCCA executive director at the time, and his director of professional racing Jim Kaser were the key figures in the series’ creation.
Bishop was instrumental in the founding of the Racing Research Center.
A review in Veloce Today describes Martin’s recently published undertaking as “an enthusiastic book which documents that exciting, noisy, time, in a way reflecting the social changes that were taking place in the nation, while proving that American know-how and muscle would finally prevail, at least on the race track.”
Offering a foreword by 1965 USRRC champion George Follmer, the book has more than 400 photographs, including some by Racing Research Center historian Bill Green.
Though he didn’t see a race until an event at Pacific Raceways in Kent, Wash., when he was 16, Martin was a race fan long before that. Collecting information about racing and writing about racing came naturally. Still a teenager, Martin wrote his first “book” about racing – a 176-page history of the 1.5 liter Formula One years.
“I didn’t think to try to get it published,” Martin says. “However, years later I discovered ‘The Formula One Record Book’ by the Formula One Register guys and realized there must be a market for this sort of thing. A seed was planted.”
Over the years Martin had his eye on a history of Formula Two racing, while helping other authors with their research. He switched gears in the 1990s to USRRC and dedicated 20 years to the project.
When not enjoying the world of racing or researching or writing about racing, Martin has had careers in banking, inventory control and electronics manufacturing.
Martin’s talk is part of the ongoing Center Conversations series.
The final talk of 2014 will be on Dec. 13 on the Carrera Panamericana. Tom Overbaugh and Paul Wendt will speak about the revival of the famous Mexican race that today takes both experienced racers and novices 2,000 miles across that nation in a week.
The Racing Research Center is an archival library dedicated to the preservation of the history of motorsports, of all series and all venues, through its collections of books, periodicals, films, photographs, fine art and other materials.
For more information about the Center’s work and its programs, visit www.racingarchives.org or call (607) 535-9044.
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