Championship-winning sports car racing driver John Paul Jr. has passed away at the age of 60 after battling Huntington’s disease.
A two-time Rolex 24 at Daytona winner, Paul Jr. also won the IMSA GTP championship in 1982 at the wheel of a Porsche 935, the same year he triumphed with his father in the Twelve Hours of Sebring.
While having served time in prison on racketeering charges in his involvement with his father’s criminal ring, Paul Jr. returned to racing in 1988 in both IMSA and Indycar competition.
He would race a variety of prototype and GT machinery, including a Nissan GTP ZX-T, Porsche 962s, and most recently, Riley & Scott Mk. IIIs for Dyson Racing in the mid-to-late 1990s.
Paul Jr.’s last full season of competition came in 2000, with Dyson, prior to his diagnosis of Huntington’s disease, a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain.
There has been an outpouring of tributes from the sports car community upon news of Paul Jr.’s passing on Tuesday.
Sebring 1982, when John Paul Jr. became the youngest driver to win the #Sebring12.
RIP JPJr. pic.twitter.com/xLHS0N2pBt
— Sebring International Raceway (@sebringraceway) December 30, 2020
One of best 500 wins that ever witnessed was John Paul Jr’s @MISpeedway Norton 500 in 83; head-to-head vs Rick Mears; his pass on Rick was epic – he never looked back; entire VDS team led by Phil Casey rode together across USA in an 8-passenger van w/seats to spare! #RIP https://t.co/1ucLYaM6N9
— Mike Hull (@IndyMHull) December 30, 2020
We love you. pic.twitter.com/BjYtdNLzlE
— Chris Dyson (@ChrisDyson16) December 30, 2020
So sad to hear of the passing of former @IMSA champion and @IndyCar race winner John Paul Jr. on Tuesday afternoon. He put up a courageous fight against Huntington's Disease, and dedicated himself to finding a cure. RIP, champ.
— Bob Varsha (@bobvarsha) December 30, 2020