Paul Gentilozzi…From Owning IndyCar to Racing Jaguars

gentilozzi-1By David G. Firestone

IndyCar fans hate Tony George with a passion that is hard to describe. In fact, George founded the Indy Racing League after getting kicked out of the CART board of directors. This started the IRL/CART civil war known as “The Split.” The Split, which lasted from 1995 to 2009, more or less devalued the sport to the point that the sport not only lost money during the biggest auto racing boom in history, but also lost sponsors, drivers, and fans to NASCAR. Even today, television and attendance numbers are still down.

I’m convinced that some of the damage could have been prevented in 2003, when Gerald Forsythe, Paul Gentilozzi, and Kevin Kalkhoven purchased the assets of CART. They created Open Wheel Racing Series LLC, which later became Champ Car World Series LLC. From 2004 to 2009 they operated the Champ Car World Series, which kept The Split going, and kept draining the sport. Had Tony George bought CART’s assets, the split could have been eliminated, and maybe the sport could be in a better place. Then again, knowing Tony George, that probably wouldn’t have happened.

Gerald Forsythe is the former owner of Forsythe Championship Racing which was a long time team in IndyCar. Kevin Kalkhoven bought the remains of Pac West Racing, and turned it into KV Racing Technologies, which is still opperational today. Paul Gentilozzi is a real-estate magnate who races cars in his spare time. He won the 1994 24 Hours of Daytona with three other drivers in a Nissan 300ZX. He also won the GTS class in the 2002 24 Hours of Daytona in a Jaguar XKR. He raced Jaguar XKRs for many years, with some success.

From 2009 to 2011, Gentilozzi raced a black and green Jaguar XKR. He did not have much success, with a high finish of 9th at Mid Ohio in 2010. One of his pit crew members wore this Jaguar Green helmet during that time.gentilozzi-1The helmet has numerous scratch marks present, and has obviously been repainted, as the old Savage Designs paint job is still visible underneath the green paint. Some of the scratch marks reveal that the helmet was blue.gentilozzi-1 gentilozzi-2 gentilozzi-3 gentilozzi-4 gentilozzi-5

The inside of the helmet has a radio connection, with the earpieces and wires, but no microphone. The straps are all intact as well.gentilozzi-6While Gentilozzi was primarily a sports car racer. He raced LeMans, and Sebring, in addition to IMSA. While IMSA and other sports car racing groups don’t get the same level of coverage as NASCAR or IndyCar, they have good sized fan bases who are very devoted. Next week, we will examine an undershirt from 2011.

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