In approximately 175 sports car races, John Paul Jr won 20, stood on the podium more than 50 times and scored his biggest victories at Daytona and Sebring. Lost on December 29 after a nearly 20-year battle with Huntington’s disease, ‘Junior’ was among the best all-rounders of his generation.

Victories in the CART IndyCar Series, Indy Racing League, Trans Am and a brief foray into NASCAR were among the highlights for the Indiana native, but it was sports car racing – in IMSA and its successors – where Junior had the most consistent impact. .

1982: Paul Jr./Paul Sr./Stommelen Porsche 935. Murenbeeld/Motorsport Images

And with the 12 Hours of Sebring on our doorstep, which Junior won in 1982 in pursuit of the IMSA GT title, eight of his friends joined in for short conversations about the immense talent and character he possessed for pay homage to one of the sports cars. great racing talents.

We open our series of celebrations of John Paul Jr’s sports car career with veteran IMSA official Mark Raffauf, who saw Jr grow from a teenage assistant in his father’s team to an IMSA champion and master of the Porsche 935 and some of the fastest and craziest GTP machines in the series. product.

Paul Jr. (#16) in the lead at Sebring, 1996. Image by Marshall Pruett

Part two of our eight-part celebration of John Paul Jr’s sports car career features racer and podcaster Ryan Eversley whose life is directly tied to the Paul family.

The third celebration of John Paul Jr’s sports car career features John Morton, Jr’s IMSA GTP teammate in 1984, who along with his partner Sylvia Wilkinson would become lifelong friends and play an important role in supporting Jr throughout his battle with the neurological disorder. Huntington’s disease.

March 85G-Buick at Bayfront Park in Miami in 1985. Murenbeeld/Motorsport Images

Part four of our eight-part celebration of John Paul Jr’s sports car career welcomes Bill Adam, who co-piloted the brutally fast and fragile March-Buick GTP machine with Jr in 1985.

In the fifth installment of John Paul Jr’s sports car career, team owner and co-driver Rob Dyson shares his thoughts on racing with Jr after his release from prison and opens the door to years of racing with its IMSA GTP and WSC programs.

Making up for lost time, driving for Dyson Racing. Image by Marshall Pruett

Part six of our celebration of John Paul Jr’s sports car career brings his legendary teammate James Weaver into the conversation about their time together in the 1990s, most often with Dyson Racing in Riley-Ford World Sports Cars .

The seventh of eight celebrations of John Paul Jr’s sports car career comes courtesy of Butch Leitzinger, who raced and won with Jr in his family’s factory Nissan IMSA GTU program, and again at Dyson Racing in prototypes.

Mosport 1982. Murenbeeld/ Motorsport Images

We close our celebration of John Paul Jr’s sports car racing career with his friend and teammate Chris Kneifel who was there from start to finish, the two sharing a car in Corvette Racing’s inaugural season in 1999, which also turned out to be the last high-profile racing opportunity for Jr before Huntington’s disease set in.

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