RM Motorsports History
RM Motorsports has a long involvement in motor racing dating back into the early 60’s with Bud Bennett racing go karts around the country. Owning Bennett’s Kart shop in Utica, MI, Bud went onto a very successful run in go karts before turning to snowmobile racing in the early 70’s. By then Bud was driving for some of the biggest factory teams out there; Mercury, Polaris, and Rupp. He finally ended up with Manta where he set a world record in cross country and finishing 2nd place in the Sno Pro championship to his teammate Danny Kirts.
Towards the end of Bud’s snowmobile racing career he started getting into stock car racing. While working a full time job in construction, he built and maintained his own car. Sometimes he ran up to four nights a week. As a result of the hard work, he managed to win track championships at Flat Rock and Mt Clemens speedway. By this time his 2 sons, Craig and Kirt were just getting old enough to get hands on experience in helping with the preparation of their dad’s race cars.
In 1980 it was time for Bud to take a break from car racing, so he started with Craig and Kirt. From 1980-1984 they went BMX racing around the country compiling 100’s of trophy’s with Craig taking 7th place in the World Championships in the 13 year old expert class. Craig and Kirt continued in racing by moving into Enduro karts over the next couple of years.
In 1986, Bud gave Craig an opportunity to drive the car at a SCCA driving school as a high school graduation present. The following year Craig won the National division in GT1 and became the first winner of the SCCA Jim Fitzgerald Rookie of the Year.
In 1988 the Bennett’s met Jim Bartel, who had a shop in the same complex in Southfield, MI. Jim was owner of a 1963 289 Cobra and had recently purchased a Lola T-163 Can-Am car that needed a full restoration. Before you knew it Craig had left the family construction business to work on Jim’s vintage race cars.
An opportunity arose where Bud and Jim had the chance to restore the Kimberly Ferrari 375 MM together. Neither one had a background in restoration work, but together they pulled enough resources together; the project was a hit. Once the Ferrari was complete it debuted at the Pebble Beach Concourse in 1989.
A partnership started, over the next couple of years a team was formed consisting of Jim Bartel, Bud, Craig and Kirt called Restored Memories. They ran vintage races across the country with Jim’s Lola T-163. It became very evident early on that the more the car ran up front reliably, the more interest there became in Restored Memories. Even though Restored Memories was a passion of Jim’s and the catalyst to getting the restoration company started, he was working full time in a corporate engineering job helping fund the restoration business. In 1991 Jim chose to leave the restoration business to concentrate on Engineering.
In order to complete the array of projects they work on they keep the design, engineering and fabrication in house. Due to their experience in racing, and extensive resources their business started accepting work on concept and prototype vehicles, thus becoming a solid division of RM. Their ability to re-make, re-create and design parts made this area successful. The Dodge Tomahawk is one of many highlights in the concept vehicle department.
The Prototype business led them to an extension of their restoration division working on streetcar rebuilds. RM has restored over 16 cars for the Thailand royal family alone. RM has rebuilt crashed monocoque and tube chassis without drawings for parts and re-engineered suspensions to make vintage cars drive like a modern streetcar. Their new facility houses everything to complete the job brought to them.
RM’s experience has taken them around the world from the Goodwood Festival of Speed, to events in the Czech Republic, Netherlands, Nurburgring, Mexico, and Canada, along with the great events run throughout the US.
At RM Motorsports we take pride in the quality of our workmanship and strive to continue to deliver complete satisfaction to our customers. Give us a call today and see how we can bring your project to the next level.