Stars of Indy Car, Top-Tier Sports Car Racing Are Expected to Charge To The Front

11 Sep 2019
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Two champions of the Le Mans 24 Hours, Davy Jones and Geoff Brabham, have filed entries for Sportscar Vintage Racing Association’s (SVRA) Vintage Race of Champions (VROC) Charity Pro-Am presented by Chopard Watch at Virginia International Raceway. The September 21 Charity Pro-Am is the deciding round of the VROC series and both legendary drivers feel they have unfinished business. Jones is the points leader in the chase for the B Production (BP) championship and Brabham looked like a sure winner last month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway round of the series before mechanical maladies with his A Production (AP) Corvette dashed his chances.

“With due respect to all the epic sports car races in the world, I think everyone agrees that winning overall at Le Mans is the pinnacle of achievement,” said SVRA CEO Tony Parella. “To think we have not one, but two great drivers who have scaled that mountain is an honor to our series. I know that Davy is determined to take the B Production championship and Geoff feels the racing gods owe him one after coming so close at Indy.”

Brabham was a master of sports car racing and the star driver of the dominant Nissan team that won four successive IMSA GTP championships from 1988 through 1991. During this time, he scored an amazing 27 overall victories.  He also won the 1993 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 1989 and 1991 12 Hours of Sebring and the 1981 Can-Am series championship. Geoff’s outstanding career earned him six invitations to compete in the elite IROC series where he won two races. He began racing Formula Fords in Australia in 1973 and won the 1975 Australian Formula 2 championship and the 1979 Formula Super Vee championship before reaching the top levels of the sport. Geoff was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2004, and the Australian Hall of Fame in 2018. Brabham is a 10-time starter in the Indianapolis 500, with a best finish of fourth in 1983. He was active in the Indy car series during the 1980’s recording eight podium finishes and 31 top tens. Another highlight of his career is his victory at the 1997 Bathurst 1000 in his native country of Australia.

Chicago-born Davy Jones first gained notice when he placed third in the 1983 British Formula 3 championship behind Ayrton Senna. Bernie Ecclestone tested him for a Brabham Formula 1 seat the same year. Jones later competed in the New Zealand Formula Atlantic series, winning that country’s grand prix in 1984 and ’87. In 1986 he scored BMW McLaren’s only IMSA GTP victory at Watkins Glen. A top-tier sports car driver, he brought home the overall win in both the 1996 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 1990 24 Hours of Daytona. In an Indy car career spanning nine seasons, including six Indianapolis 500s, his best finish came at the Greatest Spectacle in Racing in 1996 when he was second. Jones currently holds a two-point lead over Wally Dallenbach, Jr. in the VROC Pro-Am championship.

Chopard, the Swiss artisan of luxury timepieces, and the Official Watch of SVRA, will present an SVRA-branded watch to the champions of AP and BP, both professional and amateur, at VIR. It is modeled after their prestigious Grand Prix De Monaco Historique Race Edition timepiece. Since 2002, Chopard has served as sponsor and official timekeeper at the renowned Grand Prix De Monaco Historique.

The VROC Charity Pro-Am presented by Chopard Watch is a Saturday feature event at VIR and will benefit IGNITE – the Autism Society of North Carolina’s community center for young adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome. The cars are 1963 to 1972 vintage Corvettes, Camaros, and Mustangs of SVRA “Group 6” A and B Production.  The professionals will be paired with amateur drivers. Amateurs will start the race and be required to drive a maximum of seven laps. In addition to the Pro-Am, the Speed Tour VIR weekend is a festival of other activities, including professional Trans Am by Pirelli series races on Saturday and Sunday. The weekend also presents the Hagerty Insurance “cars & caffeine” car corral, and 300+ vintage racers ranging over 100 years of automotive history racing in SVRA Groups 1 through 12.

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Adam Sinclair

Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway almost 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.  

Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.

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