The International Motor Racing Research Center’s collection documents amateur and professional motor racing in the United States and abroad. It contains material related to racing series held throughout the world including open-wheel series such as Formula One and IndyCar; enclosed wheel series featuring sports, stock and touring cars including Le Mans and NASCAR; various types of endurance racing; and other motorsports encompassing rallying, hill climbing as well as motorcycle and kart racing. The Center’s collections document races held on roads, dirt and paved tracks, airport runways, off road and even on ice.
The records of significant motor racing organizations and sanctioning bodies form an important part of the Center’s collection. Organizations represented include the Automobile Association of America (AAA); International Motor Sports Association (IMSA); Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and its regional clubs; Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA); United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC); and the Vintage Sports Car Club of America (VSCCA). It holds the papers of officials including John M. Bishop, co-founder of IMSA; and John Bornholdt, chief steward for SCCA. The Center serves as the repository for the archives of the Road Racing Drivers’ Club (RRDC) and the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (STPR). The collection also contains materials related to the Race Communication Association including founder Fred German.
The Center holds a strong collection of material related to the history of motorsports in Watkins Glen, the site of the first post-WWII road race in the United States, with collections from American racing pioneers including the Argetsinger family and Bill Milliken. The collection contains the records of the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Committee (later Corporation). It documents local circuits including the Watkins Glen International, the present-day race track.
Other materials in the Center’s collection document the careers of drivers; car owners, designers and engineers; and racing writers and announcers. Notable collections include materials related to the careers of drivers Mark Donohue (1937-1975), John Fitch (1917-2012), Ed Hugus (1923-2006), and Butch Leitzinger (b. 1969). The Center holds design drawings of noted car designer and engineer Lee Dykstra and the archives of NASCAR announcer Al Robinson. The work of authors and motorsports historians are reflected in the research papers of Michael Argetsinger documenting his work on biographies of Walt Hansgen and Mark Donahue; materials related to Gary Doyle’s books on drivers Jimmy Murphy and Ralph De Palma; the manuscript for Alessandro Silva’s book on the history of open wheel racing; and the papers of motorsports journalist Greg Rickes and automotive art historian John J. Zolomij. Other racing notables such as Dr. Frank Falkner (1918-2003), a medical scientist who served on the Cooper and Tyrell formula one teams; racecar owner Chapman S. Root (1925-1990) of Daytona; and motorsports journalist Brock Yates have donated papers, printed materials and graphics compiled over the course of their racing careers.
Graphics depict races, cars, race tracks and circuits, drivers, racing teams and crashes from the early 20th century to the present. Image collections consist of a wide variety of formats capturing still and moving pictures in photographic prints and negatives, born-digital photographs, slides, posters, lithographs, original paintings, postcards and film. Photographers who have donated significant collections to the Center include local Watkins Glen race photographers Bill Bauman and Joe Cali; Art Eastman, editor of Vintage Motorsport from 1988 to 1996; photojournalists Randy Barnett (1927-2006), Robert D. Fischer and Kathie J. Meredith; and free-lance motorsports photographer Al Steinberg. The work of Canadian photographer W.H. Murenbeeld, local motorsports artist Robert Gillespie, and distinguished amateur photographer and filmmaker Lester “Andy” Gerard is also well-represented. Inventories of our dvd and video collections are available.
The Center also holds materials collected and produced by car enthusiasts and clubs focused on specific marques (Bentley, Corvette, Ferrari, MG, Porsche, Rolls-Royce, and Shelby). Other organizations for race fans such as Friends of Auto Racing Seeking Cooperation of Racing Enthusiasts (FOAR SCORE) donated their archives to the Center.
The Research Center has an excellent library collection related to the history of motorsports. It holds published works including reference and rare books, periodicals, race programs, media guides, and rule books. Of the more than 4000 motor racing reference books available to readers at the Center, almost a third relate to marques. IMRRC’s book collection also includes more than 500 biographies of drivers and racing personalities. The Center’s library contains thousands of automotive and motorsports magazines and newspapers with more than 250 unique periodical titles represented. The Center’s collection also contains the archives of racing publications including National Speed Sport News and Area Auto Racing News. The Center holds more than 10,000 programs documenting races from the 1930 to the most recent racing season with examples from different series and tracks around the United States and the world.
A wide range of other genres and formats of material have a place on our shelves. Races tickets, hero and collector cards, sponsor decals, calendars and other types of printed ephemera comprise a substantial part of the Center’s collection. In addition, the Center maintains a small but significant collection of racing artifacts such as helmets, jackets, trophies, flags, pins, patches, dash plaques, glassware, decanters, and model cars.