Racing mentors Manning, Martin return to SVRA Brickyard Invitational

Images by Mark Dill

Racing mentors Manning, Martin return to SVRA Brickyard Invitational

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Racing mentors Manning, Martin return to SVRA Brickyard Invitational

The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) today announced that Darren Manning and John Martin will once again line up at the famous yard of bricks for the June 16 Indy Legends Charity Pro-Am. That race is the Saturday feature of the Fathers’ Day Weekend Brickyard Invitational, June 14-17. The two drivers also have a business relationship through Manning’s company, iAdvance Motorsports.

Manning established iAdvance Motorsports in 2014 with the mission of helping drivers with personalized evaluation, driving essentials such as learning the car and its data, fitness, career guidance, mental aptitude, leading a team to work together for success, and even media relations coaching. Martin, a highly skilled driver-engineer not only has expertise with Indy cars but also special knowledge of vintage race cars. A typical experience includes two full days using the iAdvance Motorsports race simulator under the supervision of Manning and Martin. Clients are not only coached on their driving skills but also learn how to provide superior feedback to their engineers and mechanics to set up their specific car. Martin adds a personal touch by hosting clients in his Indianapolis home and driving them to and from the iAdvance Motorsports facilities. For more information visit iAdvanceMotorsports.com.

“I feel over the past five years of our Brickyard Invitational we have brought a lot of people together who began to create value for themselves,” said SVRA President and CEO Tony Parella. “Al Unser Jr. and Willy T. Ribbs recently announced a vintage racing business. To see Darren and John working together to support aspiring young professionals and even vintage racers and to think that we might have helped them connect is personally gratifying. I love entrepreneurs.”

Like many of the professional drivers, Manning boasts a massively varied resume, starting in karting at age 10. By 18 he was racing Formula Vauxhall scoring two victories. He continued such success when he graduated to British Formula 3 with two wins including the support race for the 1998 British F1 Grand Prix. Moving to Japan in 1999 he captured that country’s Formula 3 championship. These successes garnered him the attention of the Formula 1 paddock as he tested for Williams and was hired as test driver for BAR Honda F1 in 2000. By 2003 he was racing in IndyCar with Walker Racing and then in 2004 he joined the Ganassi Racing. After a stint in A1 Grand Prix, he returned to IndyCar for a ride with the legendary A.J. Foyt. Manning competed in four Indianapolis 500s with a best placement of ninth in 2008. An accomplished sports car driver he led his team to a second-place finish in the 2007 24 Hours of Daytona. This will be Manning’s fourth Brickyard Invitational.

John Martin (pictured above) is a five-time Indy 500 starter and has outstanding credentials in road race competition. An excellent mechanic and engineer he converted his 1963 Corvette Sting Ray into an A-Production race car and went SCCA racing. He was national champion in 1964 and went professional in 1966. He drove an AMC Javelin in the classic days of Trans Am and tackled the Indianapolis 500 in 1972. John has competed in every Indy Legends Pro-Am since the Brickyard Invitational inaugural in 2014.

Among the famous drivers who have already entered the Pro-Am are Al Unser Jr., Willy T. Ribbs, Paul Tracy, and Jimmy Vasser. All the Indy 500 veterans at the Brickyard Invitational will practice in a special track session on Friday, June 15. They will also be available for autographs and pictures during the pre-race fan pit walk just before their Saturday feature race.

The Indy Legends Pro-Am is the Saturday feature event of the Brickyard Invitational. The Indianapolis 500 veterans will be in 1963 to 1972 vintage Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs of SVRA “Group 6” A and B Production. The professionals will be paired with amateur drivers, splitting their stints at the wheel. Additional Indy 500 drivers will be announced as they enter in the coming weeks.

In addition to the Pro-Am, there will be a festival of other activities at the Brickyard Invitational including the Sunday, June 17 feature race by the professional Trans Am series headed by 2017 champion and emerging superstar, 20-year-old Ernie Francis Jr. The weekend also presents the Hagerty Insurance “shine and show” car corral, vintage motorcycle racing, and 500+ vintage racers ranging over 100 years of automotive history racing in SVRA Groups 1 through 12.

An oval exhibition featuring a racecar show of judged competition for the A.J. Watson and Sir Jack Brabham trophies led by track historian Donald Davidson will also take place. Also, the Pre-1920 Race Exhibition cars will be on track along with a paddock area full of in-period equipment displays. The National that finished seventh in the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911 will be driven at speed.

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