Former Rolex 24 at Daytona and Twelve Hours of Sebring winner Jim Pace has passed away at the age of 59 due to complications from COVID-19.
The Mississippian, who got his start in the Barber Saab Pro Series in 1988, went on to fame in professional sports car racing in the ’90s, participating mostly in IMSA competition.
Pace won the 1996 Rolex 24 and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at the wheel of a Doyle Racing Riley & Scott Mk. II alongside co-drivers Wayne Taylor and Scott Sharp, with Eric van de Poele having taken Sharp’s spot in the team’s Sebring entry that year.
While having switched to the GT ranks in the 2000s, driving for TRG and Farnbacher Loles, Pace made several WeatherTech SportsCar Championship starts in the Highway to Help Riley-BMW DP, his last coming in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen in 2016.
Much of Pace’s recent focus had been on vintage racing, having taken over part ownership of HSR in 2015 where he remained active as a driver.
He escaped a serious airborne accident in a 1974 Can-Am Shadow DN4 during the 1974 Can-Am Shadow DN4 at Road America this summer.
An announcement on Pace’s death was made on HSR’s Facebook page late Friday.
“Racer, Teacher, and Loyal Friend. These are three simple words to describe Jim Pace and the loss our sport feels today due to his passing,” said IMSA President John Doonan.
“When it comes to racing and driving, Jim did it all and saw it all. From a beginner to a champion…Jim counseled drivers on the path to the top after he himself rode that same journey.
“All of us at IMSA are devastated by losing such a great champion and friend.”
Sportscar365 sends its condolences to Pace’s family at this difficult time.