In order to fully appreciate the big picture of respectability that surrounds the Finnish K&N importer Aaltonen Motorsport, we need to go back to the genesis of the family's racing heritage - to August Aaltonen. August began his career in motorcycle racing before World War II. On January 7, 1938, the Aaltonen racing gene pool doubled, with the birth of August's son, Rauno.
In the late '40's, as Rauno was growing up, his father was busy introducing the spectacular sport of speedway racing to Finnish motorsport fans. It was during this period that August also began building race bikes for other racers. Rauno grew up immersed in the adrenaline rush of racing, the clattering roar of engines, and the smell of petroleum. His destiny had been irrefutably imprinted early on.
Rauno began his own career with speedboat racing, winning the Nordic Championship at the age of 16. It wasn't long after that when he turned to motorcycles, encountering a notable amount of success with motorcycles as well. In 1956 in Hedemora, Sweden, Rauno won a TT World Championship event, becoming the first Finn to ever do so. A number of racing accidents however had him reassessing the overall career longevity of a motorcycle racer. In the late '50's he decided to start rallying, driving a Saab.
At first he considered car racing as only a hobby, but based on his immediate and formidable achievements, Mercedes Benz requested that he drive for the factory team. In 1962 Rauno joined forces with BMC, driving a Mini Cooper, and the legend of the Flying Finns was redefined. Teamed up with another Finn, Timo Mäkinen, and an Irishman Paddy Hopkirk, Rauno and the BMC works cars won pretty much everything there was to win on the European rally circuits and racetracks.
Tino raced in the Finnish Production Car Championship and became known as the fastest Touring Car racer in all of Finland
Although Rauno preferred hard surfaces to gravel, and was actually better at racing than rallying, he was never-the-less, the most successful rally driver on the planet in the 1960's - winning more rallies than anybody else. In 1965 he won the European Rally Championship (equivalent of today's WRC). Arguably though, the most recognized single victory in Rauno's career was the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally. Along with his navigator, Timo Mäkinen, he mastered the difficult conditions driving a Mini Cooper S.
Nicknamed "The Rally Professor" Rauno introduced many new techniques to the sport, such as left foot braking. Rauno kept rallying professionally until the mid-80's, but he has participated in many rallies and other forms of racing ever since. Rauno has competed in nearly every venue requiring an engine, and has done so in an astonishing 127 countries. Towards the end of his rally days, Rauno started a new career as a driving instructor. His groundbreaking, innovative notions regarding driving and car dynamics, backed by his vast experience with performance driving, have made him a legend - not only as a driver, but also in the field of driving techniques. In the late '70's he founded the BMW Driver Training program for the Munich, Germany manufacturer. To this day, the "Rally Professor's" ideas and training programs continue to be in high demand worldwide.
Next in line for Aaltonen family motorsport greatness is Rauno's son, Tino. He began his racing career in the late 80's, on the rally special stages. Tino raced in the Finnish Production Car Championship (Sport 2000), and became known as the fastest Touring Car racer in all of Finland. In 1991 he established Aaltonen Motorsport as his own racing team.
Aaltonen Motorsport has prepared countless successful racing cars for the Finnish and European racetracks. Tino has also raced in the German DTC Touring Car Series with good results. After his racing career, Tino also started giving driving lessons to both average motorists and racers.
Today Aaltonen Motorsport Ice Racing School is widely recognized for providing the best training available in all of Europe. Tino has also been conducting instruction programs for several of the most prestige's manufacturers in the world, Ferrari, Porsche, BMW and MINI, to name but a few. In addition to the Ice Racing School, Aaltonen Motorsport is regarded as a respected Finnish importer of preferred performance and motorsports products, such as K&N.
Considering their pure race pedigree, when Tino and Rauno talk cars and performance driving, people tend to listen. According to them, good air filtration is just as important as free airflow.
"Our regulations used to state that we had to use original sized air filters, so we had a real problem with getting the air properly filtered to protect our carefully prepared engines," explains Tino.
"If the airflow was sufficient, then the filtration was poor, and vice versa. K&N air filters give us the ultimate combination of filtration and flow. Also, the airflow stays consistent during even the longest events. Any resistance caused by the air filter means power loss, which again could cost the victory," continues Tino.
"In the 1967 Safari Rally in East Africa, we actually had our car stall and the engine destroyed, because it was unable to breathe through the dirty air filter," explains Rauno.
"Since K&N air filters don't get clogged as easily, engines will have virtually unrestricted airflow and excellent filtration, even on the dustiest roads. With K&N, your engine will produce maximum horsepower under all conditions."
"I pride myself in offering only the best products to my customers," says Tino, adding, "K&N truly make the world's best air filters. All our company cars, including the ice racing cars, and my personal vehicles have K&N filters installed. This way I know they'll get all the clean air their engines require. It's like K&N and Aaltonen Motorsport belong together," smiles Tino.
Find K&N products for your vehicle using the K&N application search then use the K&N dealer search to find a K&N dealer in your part of the world.