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Bob Martin RIP

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#1 lotusno6

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 14:04

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I am sad to share that on February 14, 2013, at the age of 83, Robert Martin passed away.

Bob was best known as the genial Manager of International Racing for Firestone Tyres from 1966 to 1974. In that role he led the company’s Formula One operation based in Brentford, England to 37 wins from 109 starts including three driver’s and constructor’s championships. This record also included 3 wins at Le Mans

He started his career at Firestone while attending the University of Akron and continued in the racing department after graduation. He serviced drag racing, stock cars, world speed record attempts and Indy cars before starting up the European operation.

After Firestone left racing in 1974, Bob brought M&H Racemaster into the European scene in rallycross, sidecars, F3 and F2. He then worked with Yokohama for several years before retiring in 1994. He was very happy to see old friends at the Indy F1 race in 2004.

In retirement, he spent many happy hours with his 10 grandchildren and on the golf course.

Bob will be missed by all.


#2 B Squared

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 08:44

In talking to Mike Argetsinger about Bob Martin he had the following recollection from the year he was part of the Cooper F1 team:

"I remember Bob well and am very saddened to know he is gone. He was a great personality and a fine ambassador for Firestone and America. I recall a dramatic moment at the Nurburgring for the 1966 German GP. Jochen Rindt very badly wanted to run a set of Firestones and an arrangement was made between Jochen, Roy Salvadori, and Bob Martin. Midway through practice Jochen exited the pits and returned to the paddock garage where they quietly fitted a set of Firestones to the Cooper-Maserati. I was there when he drove up the ramp through the tunnel -- set to go directly onto the track for a few laps without even coming back to the Cooper pit. Dunlop had somehow gotten wind of the plan and I will never forget Vic Barlow and Dick Jeffries standing in front of the race car -- with the engine screaming -- bodily blocking Jochen's entrance to the race track. They were having none of it and it was all quite dramatic. Jochen did return to the garage and the Dunlops were refitted before he continued the session. Even though the confrontation happened close by start/finish, I am of the impression that the entire drama passed largely unobserved by other teams and journalists -- all of them being further down in the actual pit area. Vic and Dick were very upset but Roy managed to smooth things over as he always managed to do. Just a memory that comes to mind remembering Bob."

#3 E1pix

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 08:57

Thanks for your service to our sport.


#4 Doug Nye

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 19:26

Amen to that. I interviewed Bob a couple of times at the old art-deco Firestone factory here in Brentford. He was soft-spoken, quite serious-minded, earnest and honest. He will be remembered with respect.


Edited by Doug Nye, 16 March 2013 - 19:26.