Paul Newman (1925 – 2008)

Motorsports lost another great ambassador, as Paul Newman died Friday, September 26th of cancer at his home in Westport, Connecticut. He was 83.

Paul Leonard Newman (1925 – 2008) was an American actor and a film director. He won numerous awards, including an Academy Award, two Golden Globe Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Cannes Film Festival Award, and an Emmy award. He was also the founder of Newman’s Own, a food company from which Newman donates all profits and royalties to charity.

Newman was an avid auto racing enthusiast, and first became interested in motorsports (“the first thing that I ever found I had any grace in”) while training for and filming Winning, a 1969 film.

Newman’s first professional event was in 1972, in Thompson, Connecticut. He ran the 24 hours of Le Mans once in 1979 and finished second in a Porsche 935 of Dick Barbour.

Newman drove for the Bob Sharp Racing team from the mid-70s to the early 90s, racing mainly Datsuns and Nissans. He became heavily associated with the brand during the ’80s, even appearing in commercials for them. At the age of 70, he became the oldest driver to be part of a winning team in a major sanctioned race, the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1995.

Newman co-founded Newman/Haas Racing, a Champ Car team, with Carl Haas, in 1983. He was also a partner in the Atlantic Championship team Newman Wachs Racing. The 1996 racing season was chronicled in the IMAX film Super Speedway, which Newman narrates.

His home racing track, Lime Rock Park, was reportedly closed down in August so Newman could say goodbye to the track while driving around in his GT1 Corvette racing car.

Additional Paul Newman Photos:

[Source: Wikipedia; pictures courtesy of Autosports Marketing Assoc., Ltd.]