Last month I got a chance to catch up with one of our Pro race drivers, Manny Martinez, for a quick interview.
Here’s how it went!
Roni: How did you get started in Motorsport?
Manny: Started racing karts in Southern California as a kid. Then I was a team driver/tire tester for Burris Racing in California. My home track was Adams in Riverside; I also ran at Apex kart track in Parris, Mesa Marin Bakersfield, Willow Springs, Rialto Speedway and Saugus.
Roni: What kind of racing/race related work have you done? (Competition and championships) and for how long?
Manny: I worked 3 years as an engine builder at “Bad Bones”, building IJSBA Jet Ski race engines for World Jet Ski Finals teams.
1 event on an NHRA Top-Fuel dragster at Pomona
1 season Late Model Stock Car
1 season SpeedVision World Challenge crew for a Nissan 240SX team
3 years at Raiser Callis Rennsport (Los Angeles, Ca), 993 Porsche RSR crew, FIA GT, USRRC, ALMS, Grand-Am
5 years at Seikel Motorsport (Frankfurt, Germany)
996 Porsche GT3-R, ALMS, Grand-Am, ACO LeMans, FIA GT. SPA 24hour
4 events with TEAM TAISAN (Tokyo, Japan)
996 Porsche GT3-RSR
4 LeMans 24Hours
1 event STEAM RACING (Nürburg, Germany)
993 Porsche RSR, Nürburgring 24 Hour
1 season at Glenn Ye Motorsports (San Dimas, Ca)
996 Porsche Cup, Motorola Cup
1 season TRG (Sonoma, Ca) Pratt-Miller
Pontiac GTO-R, Grand-Am
1 season ASCO Motorsports (Anaheim, Ca)
996 Porsche Cup, Grand-Am
3 years at Bell Motorsports (Miami, Fl) Doran Daytona Prototype,
BMW GT3, BMW M1, 996 Porsche GT3-RSR
6 years and running at Alex Job Racing (Tavares, Fl) Crawford Daytona Prototype
996/ 997 Porsche GT3-RSR, Audi R8-LMS, Ferrari 458 Italia, Grand-Am, ALMS, Tudor USCC
1 season at GMG (Santa Ana, Ca)
2 wins at LeMans 24hour
2 wins at Rolex Daytona 24 hour
2005 Doran Daytona Prototype
2013 Audi R8-LMS
4 wins at Sebring 12 hour
1 win at Watkins Glen 6 hour FIA-GT
1 win at Thunder Hill 25hour
Hand Full of Team, Car and Driver Championships
In ALMS, GRAND-AM
Roni: Very impressive resume!
Roni: What inspired you to get into motorsport?
Manny: I like to build, fabricate and run things I have made with my own hands. Developing something that becomes successful gives me a great sense of pride and accomplishment! Why buy something when you can build it better.
Roni: Who inspired you?
Manny: As a kid definitely my parents and family were a great inspiration, they showed me the principal of rising up from nothing and not expecting anything to just be handed to you. You are what you make yourself to be! Never expect to get above the clouds if you don’t like getting wet.
Roni: It’s great that they instilled those values at a young age; kids nowadays expect everything to be given to them on a silver platter. Who inspired you in terms of motorsport?
Manny: In Motorsport, I would have to say I looked up to guys like Juan Manuel Fangio, Dan Gurney, Carol Shelby and AJ Foyt.
Roni: Fangio is arguably one of the greatest drivers of all time; I feel everyone should get to know those who have paved the way for the drivers of today.
Roni: What other important positions have you held within the industry?
Manny: Automotive Product Specialist, working with top car brands to market their product. As well as facilitator teaching auto consultants, performance-driving coach, On-camera stunt driving, Film industry product liaison, also English and Spanish SAG actor on automotive commercials.
Roni: What are your greatest accomplishments?
Manny: Working my tail off at everything I do and kicking ass doing it.
Roni: Where do you see the automotive industry in 10 years?
Manny: We are going to see a gigantic leap in design and technology. Engines becoming smaller, but at the same time increasing their output for performance. Safety features so great that they will make us feel sorry for those we have lost due to these features not being around already; unfortunately some of that my take away from the feel of being in complete control of a vehicle.
Roni: What are a few big changes you see in auto racing from when you first started to now in terms of safety and performance?
Manny: In regard to safety, better safety cage systems, Hans devices, Carbon Composite Crash Boxes, Safer Barriers all working out for the best.
Manny: In regard to performance, Direct injection, Turbo Diesel, paddle shifting, Hybrid Kinetic systems, aerodynamic designs have all changed lately making huge improvements in Horsepower outputs and high down force chassis.
Roni: What is your favorite type of auto racing? F1, touring car etc…
Manny: Sedan/Coupe type racing by far! You can’t buy a Formula, Stock car, etc. “Follow the leader” racing like F1 is ok to watch, but I just can’t get into following it on a regular basis; 35 people for a pit stop? No thanks! Also I’m a big fan of GT, Touring car and Australian Supercar racing shows off cars that the common public can relate to.
Manny: If you want me to be specific Porsche!
Roni: LOL I can tell by your extensive history with them!