Martin Birrane, a notable member of the International motorsport community and a man close to F1i.com, has passed away at the age of 82.
An accomplished racer, but perhaps better known as the owner of Lola Cars and the Mondello Park circuit in Ireland, Birrane's distinguished career in motorsport spun five decades.
Following his business success as a property developer, Birrane acquired Lola in 1997 and spearhead the company's second life as a supplier of cars to the A1 Grand Prix series and various LMP prototype designs such as the works MG LMP675 racers from 2001-02.
However, Lola Cars also enjoyed a diversification into other segments of the automotive industry as well as into the aerospace sector.
A racer in his own right, Birrane was a regular visitor to Le Mans, competing in the legendary event 10 times between 1973 and 1988, clinching a class win in 1986 driving a BMW M1.
The tireless Irishman was actively involved in arranging the 50th anniversary of Mondello Park, as well setting up the 60th anniversary of Lola Cars at the Goodwood Festival of Speed at the time of his passing.
As a close friend and associate of F1i.com founder Bertrand Gachot, Martin was also a director and former Chairman of Digital Motorsport Media, the holding company of F1i.com.
He leaves behind Susan, his wife of 60 years, as well as four children and five grandchildren.