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Ralph Firman Senior


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#1 HistoryFan

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 21:34

Ralph Firman Senior was co-founder of Van Diemen, a British race car manufacture.
He now ownes Ralph Firman Racing, a race car manufacture for Formula 1000 and Formula 2000.
His son Ralph Firman jr. was racing F1 at Jordan in 2003
His daughter Natasha Firman was second in Formula Woman in 2004.

But is there anything more known about Ralh Firman Senior's career in motorsport?
He was mechanic before he was co-founding Van Diemen. Where was he mechanic?
Was he also racing cars?
Has he also racing parents?

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#2 Vitesse2

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 21:55

Amazing what you can drag out of the memory ....

Ralph Firman was Jim Russell's brother-in-law and began his career at the Jim Russell Racing Driver School. He then prepared cars for Carlos Pace (among others). Van Diemen can trace part of its heritage back to GRD: when GRD folded three ex-employees set up a service operation for the cars and Firman took it over about a year later. The first F3 Van Diemen was actually an update of the unbuilt GRD 375.

http://www.f3history...n/vandiemen.htm

#3 Twin Window

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 23:35

Amazing what you can drag out of the memory ....

Isn't it!

I've always had a lot of time for Ralph, and still do. He's a top man - and I hope he reads this.

:up:

#4 hansfohr

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 00:33

He was mechanic before he was co-founding Van Diemen. Where was he mechanic?

He was Emerson's F3 mechanic in 1969.

Edited by hansfohr, 16 February 2010 - 00:40.


#5 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 06:57

He was also involved in building some of the F3 based 'mock' F1 cars for the film Grand Prix, at Jim Russell's Downham Market base, which later became the Brundle garage. I'll e-mail a link of this to Ralph, he lives very near to me.

#6 HistoryFan

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 12:06

Thank you @ all!

#7 F3Wrench

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 13:46

Ralph was one of the F3 wrenches with me on the last 1-litre F3 Torneio series in Brazil in January 1971, and was Carlos Pace's mechanic for those races ASIR. Great bloke, great times. I paid a visit to Ralph's factory at Snetterton in December 2009 with Barrie Maskell to see if he remembered me; he certainly did and was just the same as ever - even though Barrie told him he still owed me 60 Brazilian Cruzeiros for getting his round of drinks at one of the dodgy clubs in Sao Paulo back in '71...

Really glad he's done well, couldn't happen to a nicer bloke.

#8 llmaurice

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 10:00

He was also involved in building some of the F3 based 'mock' F1 cars for the film Grand Prix, at Jim Russell's Downham Market base, which later became the Brundle garage. I'll e-mail a link of this to Ralph, he lives very near to me.


Ralph did indeed work at the JR race school ,next to Jims Vauxhall(later Mercedes/Alfa Romeo dealership) At the time Rudi Yates was the top mechanic . Mike McKee was one of the instructers back then.
I started at Russells in 1966 having moved up from London and sometimes would help out in the Race school in the evenings and one eveniong ,we had a pair of F3 cars belonging to brian Classic in to have engine swaps for an unknown South American .
It was a bit like the early days at Lotus with various drivers both well known and unknown popping in , many young hopefuls living in digs locally .
Incidentally the whole site is now demolished as the garage ceased trading about 5 years ago when the family didn't want to continue in the Motor Trade after Mercedes decided that one of their best service outlets was no longer needed and handed the local MB franchise to a Norwich based outfit .
The site was never anything to do with John Brundle by the way ,always owned and run solely by the Russell family since the early '50s.It is earmarked for housing now but I'm sure that the land is pretty contaminated from the many years of motor trade "leakages".

#9 HistoryFan

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 11:44

Is John Brundle related to the brothers Martin and Robert Brundle?

#10 Vitesse2

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 11:53

Yes, he was their father. I say "was" as he died two years ago.

#11 llmaurice

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 17:06

Is John Brundle related to the brothers Martin and Robert Brundle?


John was indeed Robin and Martins Dad. He started out selling old bangers in West Lynn and finally became a well established Toya/Lexus dealer in Tottenhill a few miles north of the Jim Russell garage .He was a regular at the Willhire 24hrs in a Toyota with his sons before Martins fame . The sons ran an Audi/VW dealership in North Lynn until a few years ago

#12 HistoryFan

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 19:44

Thank you for the details.