ALAN MANN........1936 - 2012

Around 1958 I started reading Road & Track which was then owned by John Bond and his wife. That magazine got me interested in sports cars and European racing. I couldn't wait for it to come out every month. It was very personable in those days until he sold it to a big-time publisher. Of course, everything I read was long after the fact. No internet or television coverage of almost any race you want to see. Except for the Indy 500. My childhood friend and I went to see John Bond speak one time and were surprised how tense he was...I guess not tense enough to keep his magazine from being friendly. They made millions from that friendly magazine.

There was a young racing driver, Alan Mann whose name popped up once in a while. In the mid-60's he worked out a deal with Ford and managed their racing teams mostly from England. He started his racing career in 1956 before concentrating on management and then setting up his own team, Alan Mann Racing, in 1964.

Alan Mann Racing, based in Byfleet, won numerous major championships including the British Saloon Car Championship, the European Touring Car Challenge and the FIA World GT Championship for Manufacturers, all with a variety of specially prepared Ford cars. Many of the leading race and rally drivers of the time were employed by Alan Mann Racing, including Sir John Whitmore, Jacky Ickx, Bosse Ljungfeldt, Graham Hill, Frank Gardner, Sir Jackie Stewart and Bruce McLaren.

Hard to believe that he left the racing business in 1970. He was considered one of the best managers. In 2004 he burst on the field with another team which he put together with his son. Their red and gold cars are still racing today. I should have known something was up when I started seeing paintings of his cars and some of his old cars showing up at the auctions. There are a lot of guys not much older than me still hanging around the racing scene. It is in their blood.

upper photo credit: British Racing Drivers Club
lower photo credit: © 2012