John Martin enjoys success after a round of Superleague Formula during 2010.
John Martin enjoys success after a round of Superleague Formula during 2010. Sebastiaan Rozendaal

Martin back on road after pit stop

THERE is no place quite like home for racing sensation John Martin but then again there is also nothing like the thrill of being in control of a racing car.

Former Blackwater and Yeppoon-based racer Martin has been back in Central Queensland resting up before another hectic Superleague Formula series.

Tomorrow the 26-year-old takes off for London to race in a class that is still a mystery to many of us in Australia.

Firstly it is the names taken by the cars that has people wondering what connection premier football teams have with a race car.

“The Superleague started in the dying stage of the A1 GP,” Martin said.

Each of the vehicles adopted a name of a well known football club in order to attract support from an existing fan base.

While this works it can also have the opposite effect with the race team alienated from supporters and financial backers who are tied to a rival football team.

Martin has driven cars named Rangers, Atletico Madrid and more recently the Chinese football club giant Beijing Guoan.

“It is changing, I can see us taking the name of countries rather than clubs,” he said.

The class is to test drivers and race teams rather the amount of money put in to developing the vehicle as all cars have the same type of chassis, engines and tyres.

For a young driver like Martin the ultimate goal is Formula One and he is following on the heels of another famous Australian driver.

“I race with the Alan Dowling Racing team (based at Silverstone) and he is an ex-Australian who settled over there (England),” Martin said.

“He has helped a lot of Australian drivers out."

Mark Webber is just one who has raced in a Dowling team and Martin admits Webber sets a great example, always keeping himself in top condition for competing.

“In Formula One you always need a top car, you are always limited by what the car allows you to do,” he said, “the faster cars let you get that little bit extra out of them.”

Almost since starting his racing career Martin has had one goal.

“Formula One has always been the dream,” he conceded wistfully.

As a driver he knows the level of backing he currently receives would need to be much bigger if he was on the Formula One circuit.

“Their cars are technically more advanced,” he said.

Engine sizes are comparable although his current vehicle has a slightly larger motor.

“I drive a 4.5 litre V12 but the car is much heavier,” Martin said.

“There is not too much difference in the way the gear box operates.”

Martin is one of two drivers in the Alan Dowling racing team with the other being Englishman Craig Dolby.

Although good mates, Martin said the pair don’t hold back on the track.

Last year Dolby, racing as Tottenham Hotspur, was holding second place on the Superleague ladder going into the final race.

“I overtook him, he lost the championship by two points.”

Martin won the race while Dolby had needed the eventual winner to record a DNF (did not finish) to clinch overall victory.

“On the track it is every man for himself,” he said, “don’t take a teammate out – that’s still the only rule.”

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