Armin Schwarz newsletter 2007-09-05

Martin Christensen Team owner, driver colleague, good buddy During my career I worked together with many team bosses. But Martin Christensen is a team principal like I've never met before. Alone, when I think about offroad driving. Martin has...

Martin Christensen
Team owner, driver colleague, good buddy

During my career I worked together with many team bosses. But Martin Christensen is a team principal like I've never met before.

Alone, when I think about offroad driving. Martin has huge experience, and as the winner of the Baja 1000, the Primm 300 and as a former SCORE champion he is a truly a top pilot. This is one of many factors that make our work together so good and fruitful. When it comes to offroad driving and desert racing, Matthias Kahle and I profit from Martin's knowledge and skills every day.

Martin's competence and his passion for his sport and business are a huge motivation for everybody in our team. So he has us working like crazy - and we feel really good about it. He's a great sportsman, a great team boss and a good buddy.

Fast facts

Born: June 8 1968 in Denmark

Residence: Escondido, California USA

Marital Status: married to Jane, their children: Jacob, Sophia and Laura

Favorite music: pop, jazz and Frank Sinatra

Favorite movies: Top Gun and Better off dead

Favorite food: Shrimp Tacos in Mexico

Favorite beverage: An ice cold Tecate after winning the Baja 1000

Sport: Motorsports, autocross, sking

Hobbies: Playing with our children

Off-road Races Competed in: Too many to count. I started racing motocross in Denmark at age 11. I started racing the SCORE series in 1994. I have competed in the majority of the SCORE car races from 1996 to now. 2002, 2003 Score Cl-10 Champion. 2004 winner of Primm 300 and Baja 1000

How I got involved in off-road racing: I got my first car when I was 10 years old (VW Bug) I raced it in the fields against older friends for fun.

What else do you do besides racing: Manage my business All German Auto, Dinner with friends, Design race parts, Camping, Yearly vacation to Denmark

Special Driver Skills: Anything with wheels, Unicycle, Motorcycle, go-karts and cars

Martin Christensen Interview:

"... nothing as challenging as real off road driving!"

With a driving talent like yours: did you ever try racing on ovals or other circuits?

I started out Moto-Cross racing at 11 years old and liked that physically demanding sport right from the start. Track racing and Go kart racing is very much fun but nothing is as challenging as real off road driving. All the elements added: jumps, ditches, water crossings and extreme terrain make it a super challenge.

What makes a good offroad race driver?

1 Experience: nothing like experience will help you finish and win races. There is a saying: "In order to finish first you must first finish."

2 Good feel for the equipment in order to make it last. It's vital to know where to fast or slow to conserve the car.

3 Car control.

Do you do any sports in order to keep fit for racing?

I work out in the gym and I‘m physically very active.

How would you describe courage in racing?

Tough Question. For me in off road racing every man is racing against himself more than against competitors. If you drive a clean race and you are as fast as possible you usually end up at the top.

Does it bug you for a long time if you had to retire or if problems slow you down in a race?

No. When I go to the race I am 100% prepared if time has allowed it. So if we retire I still feel I have done everything possible to get the best result. Of course I get dis appointed when things go wrong.

Have you got a trick to get rid of frustration quickly?

I don't get fustrated very easy, I am always able to keep my mind on the solution not the problem.

You won the Baja 1000 in '95 with a motorbike. What is the bigger challenge: buggy or bike?

On the bike it is extremely physical. In the car it is still physical and you tend to drive longer in the cars.

Why did you go for All GERMAN motorsports?

I started my repair shop ‘All German Auto‘ in 1991. It is a repair shop that strictly focusses on German cars. Being that I am from Denmark, had I called it ‘All Danish Auto‘ I would have been out of work on my first day in business. All German Motorsports came later when I got heavily involved in the racing.

How did the contact with Armin come?

Wilfried Eibach of Eibach Springs has been a friend of Armin‘s for years and he put us in contact.

Is there something specially "German" about Armin, apart from the Bavarian English?

His mindset in regards to working very hard and being dedicated is typical German. But he has a very positive outlook on things, is willing to learn new things constantly which I think allows him to adapt to the off road driving very fast.

Does he do things differently from US-drivers?

He defiantly has a background as a rally driver and there are some things from there that can be very positive for off road driving.

How many members has your team?

We have 15 regular team members, and ten to 15 more join us to help when we go to the races.

Could you roughly tell us about their functions?

There are many very different tasks: Car preparations, prerunner preparation, trailers, pit support trucks which are all handled by the team members. Bryan Lyttle is the lead Crew Chief on that side. In addition to that there is the Prerunning prior to the race. Chris Ames handles most of the data in regards to GPS. Chris and Brian and myself handle the team logistics. Misty Mallory takes care of hotels and bookings. My wife Jane Christensen handles all the financial, legal and insurance parts of All German Auto as well as All German Motorsports.

How many races do you do per year?

We do the SCORE racing series, and there are six races per year.

How many days of preparation do you need for the Baja 1000 incl. preparing cars, back up, team, and pre-running and whatever you have to do?

This is a never ending job, you prepair all year by making pit equipment better and ready for a race like that. There is more than 2000 man hours spent before the Baja 1000 Race.

How long does an engine in your Class 1 Buggy last?

The BMW V8 Engine we run now we use one to two engines per season.

How long does a JIMCO chassis last, provided there's no accident?

The chassis is constantly crack checked and maintained, the life span of a maintained chassis is approximately five years.

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-credit: Armin Schwarz

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About this article
Series Offroad , Score
Drivers Armin Schwarz , Matthias Kahle