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Photo: Maureen Magee

For me, my greatest racecar is my current car—the Lotus 79. I love that car. When I first started out I thought I’m gonna drive Formula One, Indycars, and do endurance racing just for fun. Well, it didn’t quite work out that way, financials and whatever got in the way. If I’d made it to Formula One, the Lotus 79 would have been the current car for me to drive. It’s the time when I would have surfaced in Grand Prix racing. The reality is that I ended up in “tin-tops” for most of my racing life. However, I’ve been lucky enough to have driven some amazing cars, each one has its own personal niche in my mind. It wasn’t until I found Lotus and the Esprit program that I really knew I’d found home. I’d worked with many factory-based entrants prior to that, and some wonderful race names, but I’d never worked with a group that understood just what a racer needs to win with. I learned more from Lotus than I had with any of the teams I had before, including prototypes. Lotus really helped me to become a better driver. Now I get to drive the Lotus 79, the car of my dreams, at historic events such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Many remember me for the accident with Lyn St. James and Chip Robinson during the 1986 IMSA Camel GT race at Riverside. Boy, that was a big one! The car I was driving was just phenomenal. I’d say that Chevy Corvette GTP was the fastest thing I ever drove. I never knew how much power it really had because the engine builder wouldn’t tell me, it wasn’t until much later that I found out the true power of that car. I was at Laguna Seca sometime in the ’90s, sitting on the pit wall waiting for my next practice session, when the guy who built that engine sat next to me. I asked if he would tell me the true power of that car.  He said, “For the most part it was tuned to just over 900 hp, but occasionally I’d turn up the wick to give in excess of 1250 hp.” I was amazed and thanked him for not telling me at the time. It was the only car I’d driven that would never quit gaining down a straightaway. I sometimes felt if I’d pulled back on the steering wheel it would simply take off!

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