Bob Akin

Born : March 6 1936
Deceased : April 29 2002

Biography Bob Akin

Bob Akin was borth in North Tarrytown, a small city north of New York and spent his youth in Sleepy Hollow.  After attending school in Tarrytown, Akin went to Columbia University.  There, the versatility of the young Akin showed up. Akin earned both a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a masters’s degree in business administration. The grandfather of Bob Akin was a businessman, and the grandchild wanted to follow his footsteps. Bob Akin joined the Hudson Wire Company, founded by his grandfather just after the turn of the century in 1901.  In 1974, Akin became president of the company until his retirement in 1995. His career at the Hudson Wire Company spanned 40 years.

Bob Akin’s first steps in motorsports

As a youngster, Akin showed interest in racing and speed. He started competing in outboard boat racing and drag racing in 1957. In 1959 Akin acquired his SCCA racing license abd he started road racing.  Money was not really an issue for Akin, so he could hire renowned racer John Fitch as his personal race coach and mentor.

In 1973 Akin visited a club event of the Vintage Sports Club of America at Lime Rock. His  friend invited Akin  to jump behind the wheel of a Mercedes 300SL for a few laps.  Enough to ignite the spark again. Just a few weeks later, Akin bought a Lotus 11  and started racing in vintage races. Soon he switched to a 1959 Cooper-Monaco.

The Porsche 911 Carrera RSR

#32 Porsche Carrera 911 RSR of Rick Knoop, Bob Akin, and Steve Earle 7th place finish, 1978 24 Hours of Daytona, Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL, February 5, 1978. (Photo by Brian Cleary)

In 1978, Akin bought a Porsche 911 Carrera RSR. First goal was just to run the Sebring 12H, and a test run before at the Daytona. It turned out that Akin ran the complete season, including the Le Mans 24H in a Porsche 935. The next years, Akin went on racing, with some nice results.  A victory at Watkins Glen 6H, 2 victories at Sebring 12H in 1979 and 1985. In Daytona, Akin missed twice the highest spot on the podium : 2nd overall in 1981 and 1982. In 1984, Akin had a 4th place at the Le Mans 24H.  He won the IMSA Camel GT series in 1986 and had four top-10 finishes in IMSA Endurance Championship points standings.

In 1991, Bob Akin decided to retire as a professional. However he was still active in racing, and returned to the vintace racing scene he loved so much.  Following his retirement from Hudson Wire Company, in 1995, Akin also devoted his time to the management of Bob Akin Motorsports, which specializes in the restoration and race preparation of historic race cars.

1982 Bob Akin - Porsche 935
1982 Bob Akin – Porsche 935

April 25, fate struck down on Akin, while he was testing a Nissan GTP ZX Turbo for the Walter Mitty Challenge for historic cars at Road Atlanta. With severe injuries, he was airlifted to the hospital. Due to complications, Bob Akin succumbed from his injuries April 29, 2002.

The Bob Akin Memorial Motorsports Award

In memory of Akin, the Road Racing Drivers Club (RRDC) established the Bob Akin Memorial Motorsports Award, in 2003. The selection committee consists of Brian Redman, Judy Stropus and Bob’s son, Bobby Akin. The permanent trophy, designed by Steuben Glass, in Corning, New York, is inscribed with the name and year of award of each annual recipient, and displayed at the International Motor Racing Research Center at Watkins Glen, New York.

Bob Akin in a Porsche 962C at Mid-Ohio