The International Motor Racing Research Center is Watkins Glen announced on Thursday that noted motor sports journalist, Karl Ludvigsen, will be the center's next speaker in its "Conversation" series. Mr. Ludvigsen will make a presentation called "A Lifetime on Wheels" at the center on Saturday, April 13.
The talk will take place at 1 p.m. at the center, located at 610 S. Decatur Street in Watkins Glen and is free and open to all.
Mr. Ludvigsen is the author of dozens of books about motor racing and racers, including his most recent, Porsche: Origin of a Species, that includes a foreword by comedian Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld is an avid car collector, especially of Porsches, and has started a new show on the Internet called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee).
Ludvigsen's racer profiles include books on Sir Jackie Stewart, Sir Stirling Moss, and Fangio.
“Karl Ludvigsen is a celebrated author as well as an important figure in his own right in automotive history,” Racing Research Center President J.C. Argetsinger said. “His books and technical articles set the standard for the best in research and technical insight.”
The IMRRC provides the following information about its upcoming guest:
Ludvigsen, who was born in Michigan and now lives in England’s Suffolk, saw his first road race in 1951 -- at Watkins Glen. In the early years of his writing career, aged 22, Ludvigsen was technical editor of Sports Cars Illustrated and three years later, after service in Germany with the U.S. Army Signal Corps, was its editor, transforming it into Car and Driver. He later served Motor Trend as its East Coast editor.
In the 1960s Karl established Mobility Systems Company and the Motor Racing Safety Society. Ludvigsen also headed a company, Formula 1 Enterprises, that developed the first practical Halon-gas fire extinguishers for racing cars.
Karl worked for both General Motors and Fiat in the United States before moving to Europe to take a vice-presidential position with Ford of Europe. He led both governmental affairs and Ford’s extensive motorsports programs, in charge of several new-car development projects, including a Group C racing Ford.
After leaving Ford in 1983 he started his own management consulting firm, London-based Ludvigsen Associates, and saw it become a leading provider of advice and support services to car and component producers throughout the world. Ludvigsen was a major contributor to his company’s research and analysis in all aspects of vehicle making and selling, from the first germ of a new idea to the reaction of the customer.
Since 2000 Ludvigsen has been concentrating on authorship. His writing career has given Ludvigsen an oeuvre of more than five dozen books on cars and drivers, of which his histories of the Corvette, Porsche and the racing cars of Mercedes-Benz are considered the standard works on those subjects. Ludvigsen’s series on racing drivers now includes such immortals as Alberto Ascari, Dan Gurney, Sir Stirling Moss, Sir Jackie Stewart, Emerson Fittipaldi, Bruce McLaren and the great Juan Manuel Fangio.
“The presence of Karl Ludvigsen at the Research Center has been particularly anticipated because of his demonstrated emphasis on accuracy and detail in his automotive writing,” Argetsinger said.
The popular Center Conversations program has long been a cornerstone of the Racing Research Center’s educational outreach and oral history initiative. Noted authors, race historians, drivers, team owners and track officials have taken listeners behind the scenes of every race series over the years. Speakers have included Donald Davidson, historian at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway; Doug Nye, writer and historian; David Donohue, racer and son of famed driver Mark Donohue; Bobby Rahal, driver and team owner; and the late John Fitch and Bill Milliken, both legendary figures in road racing.
The Racing Research Center is an archival library dedicated to the preservation of the history of motorsports, of all series and all venues, through its collections of books, periodicals, films, photographs, fine art and other materials.
For more information about the Center’s work and its programs, visit www.racingarchives.org or call (607) 535-9044.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Connie Ann Kirk is the author of several books and holds a Ph.D. in English. With Irish historic racer, Dr. John R. T. Monson of Rochester NY, she is writing a book about motor racing.