Martin Willis

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but it’s at the race track where things really get creative.  “Bent pushrods?  Hold my beer. Cam tensioner failure? We’ll fix it with parts from a birdcage (We’re talking about a home for a parrot. Not a Maserati).” If this all sounds like something from an episode of MacGyver, you’re not far off. 

Meet Martin Willis, Mechanical Engineer, race car driver, parts manufacturer and fabricator, suspension guru and transmission boffin.  Martin Willis is a hands-on mechanical engineer out of South Africa. He initially worked in the mining industry while pursuing racing as a hobby. He has built and raced Group one, Sports Car enduros, and Classic cars. He was the newsletter editor for Historic racing and the Porsche Club in South Africa (PCSA). Martin was awarded the PCSA driver of the year in 1981. He was also the safety officer for the PCSA for competitive events. He met his 2nd wife who had a mk1 midget.

Martin started his own race car part manufacturing shop in 1989. He quickly became an authorized supplier to BMW Motor Sport, Nissan, GM dealer teams and Porsche agents in South Africa. Amongst other things, Martin designed and made complete transmissions for touring cars as well as corner components for all classes of car. He worked closely with teams, advising them on how to maximize the rules in the rule books.

Martin and his family moved to Atlanta in 1999. He worked closely with Jack Lewis Enterprises in the Speed Challenge, Daytona 24hrs, Sebring, and HSR racing. Martin served as Chief of Tech with HSR, and as a consultant to Boundless MotorSport, before joining DIRT MotorSports full time in 2004 as Tech Director. In this capacity, Martin oversaw the start up of the World of Outlaws Late Model series in 2004.

As VP of Tech Operations for 2005, Martin headed 14 different sets of Dirt track series rules. He completely revised the DIRT NE Modified rules for 2005, after finding that every car at Super DIRT Week 2004 was racing contrary to the intent of the rules. Martin is a firm believer that fewer rules make better racing but will not compromise racing safety. As a previous exploiter of rule books, Martin is well versed in buttoning loopholes before they appear.

Series rules that fell under Martin were WoO Sprints, WoO Late Models, Mars and UMP Late Models. Ump Modifieds (2), UMP Sportsman, Dirt Modifieds (3) DIRT Pro Stock, Street Stock, and 4 Cylinder enduro.

After gaining USA citizenship and moving to Colorado Springs, in 2006, Martin raced, Chump Cars, NASA, WRL, and RMVR. He owns a Vee, a MG Midget, a F Ford, a F super Vee, an Audi Coupe, amongst others as race cars. 

He runs the Machine Shop Inc. in Colorado Springs, making, and refurbishing parts for MG, Porsche and other fine cars. Both stateside and exporting all over the world. Join Martin for a highly entertaining look at making things work (and work very well) using  the materials at hand.