Two more accomplished veterans of sports car and Indy car racing – Davy Jones and Mark Dismore – have filed entries for Sportscar Vintage Racing Association’s (SVRA) inaugural Vintage Race of Champions (VROC) Charity Pro-Am at Road Atlanta on March 29 and 30. Other VROC Series races are planned for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August and Virginia International Raceway in September. Plans call for two points championship trophies to be awarded, one for both an amateur and a professional racer.
“Davy and Mark are top-level champions, really amazing talents,” said SVRA President and CEO Tony Parella. “The accomplishments of the drivers racing with us in VROC make me feel like we are pulling together a new International Race of Champions (IROC) field. It’s that good.”
Dismore and Jones were both selected to compete in the elite IROC series twice. They join a growing list of former IROC drivers entering the SVRA VROC series. Among the others are Al Unser Jr., Geoff Brabham and Max Papis. Dismore and Jones also have 24 Hours of Daytona overall victories, as does another VROC entrant, Ron Fellows. Jones and Brabham are both former overall winners in the 24 Hours of Le Mans while Fellows won two GTS class victories at Le Mans.
Chicago-born Jones first gained notice when he placed third in the 1983 British Formula 3 championship behind Ayrton Senna. Bernie Ecclestone tested him for a Brabham Formula 1 seat the same year. Jones later competed in the New Zealand Formula Atlantic series, winning that country’s grand prix in 1984 and ’87. In 1986 he scored BMW McLaren’s only IMSA GTP victory at Watkins Glen. A top-tier sports car driver, he brought home the overall win in both the 1996 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 1990 24 Hours of Daytona.
Jones’ return to Road Atlanta comes with terrific memories as in 1992 he dominated the IMSA GTP race from pole in his Jaguar XJR-14. His blistering pole speed remains a track record as the course has been modified since his winning performance. In an Indy car career spanning nine seasons, including six Indianapolis 500s, his best finish came at Indy came in 1996 when he was second.
Dismore came back from a devastating accident at IMS in 1991 to challenge for the Indianapolis 500 win 10 years later before gearbox failure dashed his chances. He captured the attention of the American open wheel community in 1990 when he dominated the Toyota Atlantic (Pacific Division) championship, winning eight of 10 races on the schedule. Just two years after his devastating injuries at Indianapolis he won overall at the 1993 24 Hours of Daytona driving Dan Gurney’s All American Racers Toyota prototype with Rocky Moran and P.J. Jones. He returned to Indy car racing in 1996 with Team Menard and eventually became a star driver for Kelley Racing where he won the 1999 Texas Motor Speedway 500-kilometer championship race. Throughout his career, he competed in 64 Indy car races and in addition to his victory in Texas he won four pole positions.
The new Road Atlanta Charity Pro-Am will support Hope For The Warriors, a national nonprofit organization that provides assistance to combat-wounded service members, their families, and families of those killed in action. The organization focuses on those involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and their families. The SVRA race weekend will run during their Month of the Military Child.
SVRA officials have set a goal of expanding the VROC series to five races with a television package and entitlement sponsor by 2020. As with previous pro-am races, the cars are 1963 to 1972 vintage Corvettes, Camaros, and Mustangs of SVRA “Group 6” A and B Production. This year, two points championship trophies to be awarded – one for both an amateur and a professional racer.