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TKART magazine VIP & Kart | Martin Hines: the incredible story of “Mr. Karting”
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Mario Pazos
21 May 2023 • 12 min. read
The beauty of nicknames is that in a few words they can tell a lot about a person, even more than a thousand words: think, for example, of how "Leone" (the lion) fits perfectly with Nigel Mansell's driving style, or how "Kaiser" perfectly represented the dominion of Michael Schumacher's years in Ferrari… Here in this article we will talk about the “Karting guru”: a fine talent scout, great manager, entrepreneur and an excellent driver…. But, above all, a man madly in love with karting. Mario Pazos, who had the opportunity to know personally during his professional career in karting, gives us an unpublished portrait of him. From the way he was responsible for the advent of Bridgestone in the world of karting, up to when he organised a private test in Buckmore for William and Harry of Windsor (and Lady D herself). This is his story.
David Coulthard, Lewis Hamilton, Anthony Davidson, Gary Paffett, Jason Plato, Oliver Turvey, Mike Conway and James Calado: these drivers have in common a person who brought their talent to the fore by supporting them when they found themselves racing karts. That person is Martin Hines. Born in 1948, he gave everything he had to our sport and never stopped loving it unconditionally, until his death on 28 August 2011. But Martin didn't limit himself only to discovering great talent, he was also a personal protagonist of the expansion and evolution of the karting movement: several times, in fact, the CIK-FIA requested his opinion for the definition of various regulatory aspects, both at a technical and sporting level. You will therefore understand why his nickname was “Mr. Karting” (together with “Karting guru”)... And I must say that it is certainly one of the most apt nicknames I have ever heard in my life.

However, the story of Hines is closely linked to that of Zip Kart, the brand founded by his father, Mark, which Martin made one of the most famous in the world between the seventies and nineties. However, in addition to being a great manager, “Mr. Karting" also proved to be an excellent driver, above all at the wheel of Superkarts (find out what this is by reading the article "Dossier | The definitive guide: how to start with go-karts", editor's note), a class strongly promoted by Hines and in which he managed to become world champion three times (1983, 1991 and 1992, editor’s note).
Above, the author of the article: MARIO PAZOS Born in Buenos Aires in 1958, he was team manager in karting and Formula Renault from 1976 to 1982. In Europe he worked for 8 years as a journalist before moving to Comer. From 1990 to 1996 he was Team Manager in the World Championship and in F3, then he returned to karting with Top Kart. From 2010 to 2019 he was in the OTK Group, after which he enjoys a well-deserved retirement. Below, the protagonist: Martin Hines
Born in 1948, Martin Hines joined his father in the management of Zip Kart from the age of 16, quickly making it a successful brand all over the world. As a driver, he won three world titles in the Superkart class (then called "Formula E"). Furthermore, he was one of the pioneers of Indoor Karting, earning himself the title of “Mr. Karting” and “Karting Guru”. He left us in 2011, lost to stomach cancer.
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