Even as a youth Donald knew so much about Indianapolis that on his first visit there in 1964 he made an impact. A year on he left England for good to become USAC’s ‘Mr Memory statistician and is now the Motor Speedway’s official historian, as well as managing the archive, hosting radio shows and writing on Brickyard history. You might say that he is to the Speedway what Bill Boddy is to Brooklands.
In the US they call it chutzpah. It’s what you need to elbow your way into an Indianapolis car crew when you have neither knowledge nor experience, and as Robin tells this month it’s how he got into racing. Since proving a hopeless mechanic, then racing midgets and FFord, he’s written widely on US motor sport for papers, magazines and websites, and is a regular correspondent on Speed Channel TV.
Today’s racing driver is more used to being a spectacle than a spectator heading straight for karts while still in Nomex nappies. But before making it to Le Mans and Formula 1 Tiff did his apprenticeship on the viewing banks of many a UK circuit, and like any enthusiast took his camera. To mark the release of his autobiography the evercheerful racer and TV figure opens up his albums.
Being Silverstone’s press and PR officer on the only occasion that Indy cars ever raced there sparked Ian’s interest in the legendary US event. The fact that it rained then and at the first two 500s he attended has prompted him to look for more connections between America’s greatest spectacle and the British racing industry a subject covered in his book The British at Indianapolis,