SVRA - DISMORE, HALSMER, PAPIS JOIN TALENTED INDY LEGENDS PRO-AM FIELD
Daytona 24 Champs To Return To IMS For June 16-18 Brickyard Invitational
Southlake, TX (April 27, 2017) – The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) today announced Mark Dismore, Max Papis and Pete Halsmer – all former winners at the prestigious 24 Hours of Daytona – will again be among the 33 Indy 500 veterans at the June 17 Indy Legends Charity Pro-Am. That race is the Saturday feature of the Fathers’ Day Weekend Brickyard Invitational at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“As I get to know our Indy Legends, it is interesting to see how much they have in common. A lot of our drivers have driven in the 24 Hours of Daytona and in the case of these three, all of them have victories there,” said SVRA President and CEO Tony Parella. “I also find them to be true gentlemen who have embraced and enhanced our form of motorsport and certainly have a home with us at the SVRA.”
Dismore is the ultimate enthusiast for the Brickyard Invitational, calling it the highlight of his year and a chance to settle some unfinished business at the track. Halsmer has raced in other SVRA events, notably at the wheel of a 1960’s Lotus Cortina. Papis, with wife Tatiana, are the owners of Max Papis Innovations a business that markets Max’ signature steering wheels with a booth at the Brickyard Invitational.
A two-time starter in the Indianapolis 500, Pete Halsmer competed in 33 Indy car races from 1980 to 1985 with a best finish of second. He had a highly decorated career in sports car racing, winning six Trans Am races, two International Motorsports Association (IMSA) GTO championships and three class wins in the 24 Hours of Daytona. He drove for Jack Roush from 1986 through 1989 enjoying his Trans Am success as well as the 1989 IMSA GTO championship. Halsmer won his second GTO championship in 1991 while driving for Mazda. The following year he was invited to compete in the prestigious IROC series.
Mark Dismore came back from a devastating accident at IMS in 1991 to nearly win the Indianapolis 500 ten 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 ten 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. Dismore’s success earned him the opportunity to represent Indy car in the elite IROC series in 2000 and 2001. He finished second in the Indy Legends Pro-Am in 2015.
The massively versatile Papis has driven in virtually every major series this side of drag racing. This includes Formula One, NASCAR, Indy car racing, Le Mans as well as V8 Supercars and IROC. He competed in two Indianapolis 500s for 1998 race winner Eddie Cheever and won three Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) races for Bobby Rahal’s team. In NASCAR he raced Sprint Cup, the Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series. He competed in seven 24 Hours of Le Mans contests, scoring a class podium in five of those events along with top-10 overall finishes on four occasions. Papis also won two 24 Hours of Daytona races – including an overall win in 2002 – and started in more NASCAR contests than any European driver in history.
Previously announced Indy 500 veterans include Al Unser and son Al Jr., as well as Jimmy Vasser, Willy T. Ribbs, Sarah Fisher, Davy Jones and last year’s A and B Production winners, Robby Unser and Paul Tracy. All the Indy 500 veterans will practice in a special track session on Friday, June 16. They will be available for autographs and pictures during the pre-race fan pit walk just before their Saturday feature race.
The Pro-Am feature is a 45-minute race on the Speedway’s 2.43-mile Grand Prix road course. The cars are racing machines from the “Group 6” SVRA class. As in previous years that will include 1963 to 1972 vintage Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs but also race officials are considering adding other Group 6 marques such as Porsche and Jaguar for variety. As in the previous three years, the professionals will be paired with amateur drivers, splitting stints at the wheel at their discretion.
In addition to the Pro-Am, there will be a festival of other activities at the Brickyard Invitational, including the Hagerty Insurance “shine and show” car corral, a “Celebration of Vintage Motorcycles” with vintage motorcycle racing and displays, and 500+ vintage racers ranging over 100 years of automotive history racing in SVRA Groups 1 through 12. An oval exhibition featuring a racecar show of judged competition for the A.J. Watson and Sir Jack Brabham trophies led by track historian Donald Davidson will also take place. Also, for the first time ever, the professional Trans Am series will compete as the Sunday afternoon feature race. Heading the pack will be series champion Amy Ruman who has won the crown the last two years.
The Brickyard Invitational will be preceded by a new SVRA event at the Speedway, the World Open Wheel Challenge. It will commemorate 50 years of Formula Ford and will welcome all forms of open wheel racecars, beginning June 8.