No one can quibble with the ‘Mr Karting’ moniker given to Martin Hines, who succumbed to cancer in August at the age of 64. Not only was he a three-time karting World Champion, but together with his father Mark and their ZipKart company he was central in popularising the sport in the UK in the 1960s. Later, he would create the 250cc Formula E category (and would go on to win the first world title, of course, in 1983).
Yet to the wider motor sport world, he was the man who played a key role in the development of a wave of British karting talent.
David Coulthard, Lewis Hamilton, Anthony Davidson, Jason Plato, Gary Paffett and Jamie Green all count themselves as proteges of Hines and acknowledge their debt to the man. Former DTM champion Paffett, whom Hines sponsored in his first year of Formula 3 in Britain, said: “He did so much for me in my early career and he will be sorely missed. Martin did a great deal for young kids trying to make it in karting and his passion for the sport was immense.”
That deep passion encompassed all branches of the sport. You only have to look at the photos he chose for the catalogues of Grand Prix Racewear, a company he rescued in 2009, to understand that. Hines took a lot from the motor sporting arena he helped create, but he put far more back. Consider the British drivers he helped who are still winning in just about every discipline worldwide, from Formula 1 through IndyCars to sports car racing.
Hines is survived by second wife Tina, son Luke and daughter Tuesday.