Russel Tullius
Russel Tullius
12/29/09 1:44 p.m.

In the world of amateur and professional sports car racing, few combinations have worked together as beautifully as Jaguar and Bob Tullius’s Group 44 Inc. Through the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, this team set the standard for motorsports marketing, sports car race preparation, and race team discipline.

Beginning in 1962 with a single white Triumph TR3, by 1973 Tullius and Group 44 Inc. had delivered hundreds of victories and 10 SCCA national championships to its clients: Triumph, MG, British Leyland, Quaker State and Goodyear. However, when Tullius began racing sports cars in the early 1960s, no such dynamic existed. Race teams did not represent clients in sports car racing—or any other form of motorsport. Sports car racing was basically a rich man’s hobby, and Tullius was not a rich man by anyone’s definition. In 1962, when forced by his boss to choose between his job selling copiers for Eastman Kodak and his hobby of racing sports cars on the weekend, he made the difficult choice to leave his conventional career behind.

With a young family to support, Tullius had to create his own industry, making business decisions with no business model to follow. No books to read. No one to call for help. Not even the Internet, for God’s sake. Fortunately for Tullius, early on he discovered a remarkable but raw young talent. While working as a service manager for a sports car dealership in Arlington, Virginia, he met his eventual partner, Brian Fuerstenau. While a very capable driver with many national championships to his credit, Fuerstenau became truly invaluable to the team for his engineering genius.

Like other engineering giants of the day, such as Mark Donohue, Fuerstenau functioned on a higher level than his peers. Unlike Donohue, however, Fuerstenau was self-taught; he lacked the prestigious Ivy League training and credentials Donohue enjoyed.

But with the addition of crew chief Lanky Foushee in 1970, the duo simply operated on a higher plane than any of their competition from an engineering and implementation standpoint. There is no doubt that Fuerstenau and Foushee would have been successful in any type of racing across the history of the sport—and one of their biggest wins was yet to come.

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