Multiple 24 Hour of Daytona winner, Jim Pace, tragically lost his battle with COVID-19 on November 13, 2020. He was 59.
Jim Pace was born in 1961 in Monticello, Mississippi. At one time in his young life, Pace had decided to become a doctor. He majored in pre-med at Mississippi State, and then entered the University of Mississippi Medical School in 1983. After three years and three days into medical school, he decided that racing cars would be his life and career.
Pace’s racing career began in the Barber Saab Pro Series in 1988. He soon moved to sports car racing and won the GTU class at the 1990 24 Hours of Daytona. Along with co-drivers Scott Sharp and Wayne Taylor, he drove the Riley & Scott Mk III to victory in the 1996 24 Hours of Daytona. Later that season he competed for the same team in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. After years of only driving at the Daytona 24, in which he’d competed 18 times, Pace returned to regular drives in the Rolex Sports Car Series GT class in 2007. In 2008, he drove a Porsche 911 for The Racer’s Group and in 2009 drove for Farnbacher Loles Racing. In recent years, Pace was a regular driver on the historic racing scene behind the wheel of a wide variety of high horsepower racecars
Close friend Byron Defoor, founder of the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival, stated: “We are saddened and heartbroken by the untimely loss of Jim Pace to COVID-19. Jim was my dear friend and racing partner with the Fifty Plus Racing Foundation that helped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Alzheimer’s research. Jim was the President and Chief Operating Officer of our most recent fundraising event, the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival. Not only was he an outstanding racecar driver, he was one of the nicest, most gracious gentlemen in the sport and car collector world.
“As one of the organizers of the Festival, he was a prominent member of our team. His expertise and knowledge were invaluable in the creation of the Festival, and he will be missed.
“This is a terrible disease that should be taken seriously. Jim was a strong, vibrant and healthy man.
“Our hearts go out to his family and to his longtime partner and love of his life, Celeste LaChapelle.”