At just 32, Martin Plowman has already had some great successes within motorsport; most recently being crowned the winner of the GT4 ProAm class in the 2019 British GT Championship in the Beechdean AMR Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4 alongside team-mate Kelvin Fletcher.
His road to success has not always been straight and smooth though, and in his interview with us describes his career so far as filled with ‘opportunities and nearly opportunities where I nearly made it at a certain level and then was faced with a financial brick wall, or opportunities torn from my feet, and then definite pivots in my career’.
Plowman has said he always wanted to be a racing driver, and was very fortunate to have extremely supportive parents who’ve helped him to make that dream a reality.
Martin Plowman’s Early Career.
He began his racing career in karting at the age of eight, and enjoyed several years of success in that field with a number of notable achievements, including French Open Champion, as well as being the youngest and first British driver to ever win the French Formula A Open International in 2003 -gaining the title on his 16th birthday, and being selected as a Rising Star by the British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC) the following year.
Numerous wins and podium finishes led to him being offered a ten year scholarship on a young driver program with Toyota which would take him right the way through to Formula 1, which he describes as being ‘like winning the lottery’ to the then 18 year old.
Unfortunately, Toyota pulled out of Formula 1 barely three years into his tenure with them, but this opened a door in another direction for Plowman, who was invited over to America by Dan Wheldon where he successfully secured a place within Firestone Indy Lights and spent two years in that series with Panther Racing and AFS-Andretti Motorsport respectively. During his time with Andretti he finished third in the Championship, winning the Mid-Ohio 100 whilst also breaking the Indy Lights track record at that circuit.
A Switch to Sportscars.
2011 saw Plowman participate in three races of the IZOD IndyCar Series, including a return to Mid-Ohio, as well as finishing as the top rookie at Baltimore and receiving the Firestone Tire-riffic Award for his performance at Sonoma for some fearless overtakes. But it’s in 2012, having signed to race for Conquest Endurance in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) where he really found his stride. As one of the drivers in the in LMP2 class Morgan-Nissan with three pole positions, two wins (Grand Prix of Mosport and Road America) and podium finishes in every single race.
In 2013, after Conquest Endurance ended their involvement in the ALMS, he moved across to the FIA World Endurance Championship; Racing for OAK Racing in their Morgan LMP2. Here he came from being an underdog to taking top spot in both Driver and Team Championship points within the LMP2 class, as well the as class win at the 6 hours of Fuji and leading home a team one-two at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
2014 saw Plowman racing in both Indycar (AJ Foyt Racing) including in the Indianapolis 500, and the TUDOR United Sports Car Championship (now the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship) with BAR1 Motorsports. The following year he remained with BAR1 in TUDOR, whilst also racing in the second year of the Blancpain GT Endurance Series for MRS GT Racing. In addition to this, 2015 was the first year Plowman took part in the British GT Championship, partnering Richard Taffinder in UltraTek Racing’s GT4 Lotus Evora for a two races at Oulton Park.
2016 saw his partnership with UltraTek and Taffinder in the British GT Championship continue and expand to three rounds, whilst during this year, he took part in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup for Garage 59, racing in a McLaren 650S GT3 car. In addition to this, Plowman was also coaching Kelvin Fletcher over in the British Touring Car Championship helping the actor to his highest qualification of the season at Silverstone.
Plowman remained with UltraTek (now partnered with RJN Motorsport) and Taffinder, now driving a Nissan 370z GT4, for a full season entry in 2017. The highlight of the year was winning at Spa-Francorchamps in the Pro-Am class after beginning in 15th position at the start of the race.
Plowey and Fletcher: A Winning Combination.
By this time he had convinced Fletcher to come on board with UltraTek as the Am in their second car entry. They raced together for the first time in British GT in 2018, where they finished 2nd in the GT4 Pro-Am championship. 2019 saw the Plowman/Fletcher partnership continue to flourish, now racing for Beechdean AMR in the Aston Martin Vantage GT4 where of course they walked away with the ProAm GT4 Championship in addition to finishing 5th overall.
It’s clear from hearing Martin talk about his career in his own words that he takes nothing for granted. He says several times throughout the interview that he believes everything happens for a reason, and it’s how you turn a potential negative into a positive – something he touches on when talking about how he came into contact with Fletcher initially, and it’s clear from the discussion how much admiration and respect he has for his racing partner, and says ‘I feel very very lucky to have met him and now we’re on this journey together’.
That journey continues into the 2020 Intelligent Money British GT Championship with a move into GT3, driving the JRM Racing Bentley Continental GT3. When it comes to the upcoming season, has said that he is in it to win from the off as ‘you have to have a mindset to win – you can’t set yourself any targets of say, top 5, or top 10 as otherwise then you’re setting yourself up for failure. In my opinion I think I’ve got one of the best amateurs in the business, a great team with JRM behind me, and ultimately I’ve got to put the pressure on myself to raise my level up to the Johnny Adam’s, the Scott Malvern’s and those guys and bring my A-game this year and there’s no reason why we can’t compete, and we’ve got to give our all, give our maximum effort and hopefully we’ll be there at the end of the year’
You can hear our full interview with Martin on the British GT Fans Show in episode 3.