Chicago-born Burdette Martin began competing in hot rod racing in 1946 and went on to compete in midgets on the dirt ovals and in hydroplane races. In 1950, however, he began a long association with the Sports Car Club of America as a road racer. The following year he completed his studies, graduating from the University of New Mexico and was then drafted into the US Marines and served in Korea, being demobilized with the rank of captain when the war ended. He went back to racing cars and motorcycles and helped to fund his activities by establishing Vogue Motor Imports, which imported and distributed racing cars and parts.Towards the end of racing career he became active as an official with the SCCA and in 1965 became the organization's chief steward. Four years later he was elected head of the SCCA Chicago region and was give the club's highest award, the Wolf Barnato Trophy. At the same time he was active in the administration of ice hockey in Illinois and would later be a director of the United States National Hockey Authority.In the early 1970s Martin acted as chief steward for TransAm, CanAm, SuperVee and all the North American F1 races. By 1974 he was assistant director of the SCCA's racing department and three years later took over the job. His rise through the organizational side of the sport continued in 1983 when he was appointed head of ACCUS, the sporting authority of the United States, and became America's delegate to the FISA Executive Committee.By 1985 he had been elected a FISA Vice-President, was the chairman of several FIA Commissions and was a regular steward in F1, sportscar and rally events. When Max Mosley closed FISA down, Martin became a Vice-President of the FIA and continues to act as a steward at occasional Grands Prix and as a member of the World Motor Sports Council.