Ultra-successful 1960s team owner Alan Mann dies aged 75
||Thursday, March 22nd 2012, 11:21 GMT
Alan Mann, whose eponymous racing stable was a major force in international touring car and GT racing with Ford in the 1960s, has died at the age of 75 following a long illness
Between 1964 and '69 his Alan Mann Racing squad was one of the best in the business, winning titles in European and British Touring Cars and contributing to a pair of world sportscar manufacturers' crowns for Ford.
Drivers that raced the famous red and gold machines during the period included Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, Bruce McLaren, Jacky Ickx and Frank Gardner.
A notable driver himself in his early twenties, Mann's acumen as a team manager was realised when he initiated a racing programme for the Ford dealership he was working for at the time; Andrews of Southwick.
After running Jimmy Blumer in the Andrews Racing Ford Cortina GT, the team was invited to take part at the 1963 Marlboro 12 Hours in the USA, and shocked the establishment by coming first and second thanks to the efforts of Blumer and John Whitmore.
Alan Mann Racing was set up shortly afterwards as a Ford-contracted team and almost scored a sensational debut victory on the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, but the event's handicapping system meant that the Ford Falcon of Bosse Ljungfeldt was placed second, despite going fastest on every stage.
It was on the racetracks of the world where its biggest successes came however, initially in touring cars. Sir John Whitmore won the up to 1600cc class of the 1965 ETCC in a Lotus Cortina while Gardner used both Escort and Falcon machinery to take back-to-back BTCC crowns in 1967-68.
The team also led the build and preparation programme for the fast but fragile Ford F3L sportscar.
Mann withdrew his team from racing in 1969 as its Ford contract ended and instead switched his focus to the aviation industry, but he revived the squad in 2004 with his son Henry, which continues to compete in high-profile historic events to the present day.