Sebring, FL World Challenge veteran driver Paul Brown was called upon to drive the ...
Sebring, FL World Challenge veteran driver Paul Brown was called upon to drive the #08 Kelly Bradley Enterprises/Greased Lightening Corvette C5 in a last-minute change during the Speedvision World Challenge GT series race at Sebring. Brown, who never turned a single lap in the car, nor had any racing experience at Sebring, charged from 30th to finish a respectable 15th.
Grand Sport Racing driver G.J. Mennen was scheduled to drive the #08 entry. Mennen was doing double duty by also driving for Victoria Motorsports in the Trans Am race immediately prior to the SVWC race. G.J. made heavy contact with the wall at Turn 14 in a high speed head-on impact that resulted when the right front tire blew out. Mennen was wearing the HANS device. Although not seriously hurt, Mennen felt it was best that he not drive the Speedvision World Challenge GT race.
"I would have been hurt much worse if I wasn't wearing the HANS," stated Mennen. "There is no question in my mind about it. I felt it work. I felt it pull my helmet back and I have the marks on my shoulders to show for it."
Paul Brown, who was not contesting the race in his regular Saleen Mustang ride, was on hand assisting the Grand Sports Racing Team. When G.J.'s Trans Am incident occurred, Paul had less than two minutes notice to suit up and be on pre-grid. Team manager Terry Lackey provided a complete debrief during the parade lap.
"Paul did a phenomenal job considering the adversity he faced," stated Lackey. "It took enormous skill and talent to jump cold into a race car with no prior experience on a track he's never raced before, then charge through the field for position and bring the car home without damage. We consider ourselves very lucky to have a friend and ally such as Paul."
Rookie Bobby Sak also endeavored in the Grand Sport Racing #04 car. Mechanical problems plagued him, forcing him to retire early. Sak remains optimistic about the next event.
Grand Sport Racing's next stop will be Mosport, Canada. G.J. Mennen, Bobby Sak and Mark Swain will drive the team cars there May 20, 2001.
Grand Sport Racing