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Spencer Martin announced as Patron of the 2024 Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motorsport.

Australian Motorsport legend of the 1960’s and 1970’s Spencer Martin will be the event patron of this years Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motorsport held March 8-10 at the famed Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.  An incredible open wheel racer from his time and two time Australian Drivers' Gold Star champion from 1966 and 1967.



As a teenager growing up in Epping NSW, Spencer was taken a back by his families neighbour, who had just taken delivery of a V12 Ferrari in 1955. This moment would leave a large and long lasting impression on Spencer and that’s where his passion for cars really started. 



After spectating at Sydney’s Mount Druitt circuit in the late 1950’s he was hooked and believed he had what it took to win. Being a mechanic by trade, he would enter his first motor race in at Gnoo Blas circuit in Orange in 1960 driving a self-built Nota, he built from a kit himself. A mechanic at the time, Martin would use his contacts in the trade and eventually drive a PRAD, which he got from his then employer - car builder Clive Adams.

 

PRAD stood for Prior and Adams. Jackie Prior built the chassis and Clive Adams did the rest. A significant moment in Spencer Martins career was when he was offered to drive a 48 Holden. One race in particular was at Catalina Park in Katoomba where he shocked the establishment beating ‘Stormin Norm’ Beechey, Bob Jane and several others. 



Given his impressive display in the 48/215 that season, winning 17 of 20 races, he caught the attention of David McKay who at the time, was the boss Scuderia Veloce as was very well connected with the Ferrari brand in Italy including key members of the Ferrari Formula One Team. 


David McKay went on to purchase a 250 LM Ferrari which Spencer would race at Sandown Park in the Tasman round sports car race in February 1965. This was a time when lots of international drivers would come to race in Australia. 




McKay would then invite Martin to drive his teams Formula One Brabham in 1964 and also as head mechanic for Graham Hill - this proved to be the biggest break of his career.


At the time, Martin was racing against the greatest racing drivers of all time including Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart, Jim Clark and Bruce McLaren to name a few. Spencer would eventually leave McKay to drive for Bob Jane Racing in 1966 and 1967 in a Repco Brabham BT11A Coventry Climax winning the Gold Star Championship in both years (the Australian Champion award). One of the greatest achievements of his then short lived career. 




Martin would retire from racing at the end of 1967 to concentrate on business and family life.


He would return to racing 10 years later driving works Ferraris in historic events around the world and even wining the Phil Hill trophy at Laguna Seca, for the best presented and driven award. This award was special to Martin because of the close attachment the yanks have to this award. They don’t like giving to foreigners, but Spencer Martin and his team's performance and attention to detail was unmatched and they had no choice! 


Whilst Spencers full time professional career was short-lived it is a magical story in Australian motorsport history and we are honoured to have him as our Patron of the 2024 Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motorsport.


The 2024 Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motorsport will take place on March 8-10th at the famed Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. Tickets at the gate. Patrons under 17 years of age are free to enter if accompanied by an adult.


Visit the event page here.


Author: Trent Collett

 

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