Created on Friday, 12 October 2007 04:10
Hilton Head Island, October 12, 2007-- –Bob Sharp isn’t much into oval-track car racing, except when he follows the exploits of his son, Scott, who drives Indy for car owners Bobby Rahal and David Letterman. “I’m still a right turn, left turn, right turn, left turn guy,” said Sharp, one of the most successful road racers of the 1960s and ’70s.
Sharp is Grand Marshal of this year’s Hilton Head Concours d'Elegance & Motoring Festival’s Hilton Head/Savannah Historics racing event presented by Porsche of Hilton Head and managed by HSR, Ltd, held Nov. 1-2 at acclaimed Roebling Road Raceway in Bloomingdale, Ga. The Motoring Festival runs a total of four days, through Nov. 4.
Sharp holds six national Sports Car Club of America championships; less than a dozen drivers have won more.
Not only an immensely talented race car driver, Sharp also was a successful race team owner, working with such noted drivers as Jim Fitzgerald, Brad Frisselle and legendary actor/race car driver Paul Newman. Actor Tom Cruise and NFL Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton also have driven Bob Sharp Racing cars. “Newman still races, mostly local courses, and Atlanta – he loves Atlanta,” Sharp said.
Concours Chairman Paul Doerring said he is thrilled by Sharp’s participation in the Hilton Head/Savannah Historics racing event. “He is known in racing circles around the world,” Doerring said. “He also had incredible longevity as a race car driver, nearly 20 years, which is pretty rare. We are very pleased to have him here with us.” Sharp will meet with racing fans and said he will give a few “hot laps” or rides in a race car at racing speeds.
Bob Craig, a long-time friend of Sharp and a Concours committee member and volunteer, approached Sharp last spring while he was vacationing on Hilton Head, and asked him to be Grand Marshal. Craig says he’s known Sharp since college, and the two raced together and against each other in the ’70s. Craig said racing enthusiasts will be treated to one of the all-time great racing legends, yet they will be surprised with Sharp’s friendliness and accessibility.
Sharp, who lives in Connecticut, said he has been to Roebling Road Raceway several times, including with Newman and Cruise. “The first time I was there, in the early ’60s, I was filming a TV commercial for Camel cigarettes,” Sharp said, remembering that the course then was called Savannah-Effingham Raceway.
Before eventually becoming the most successful Datsun race car driver, Sharp nurtured a close relationship with the Japanese auto maker. He broke into racing Datsuns while driving part-time for a Rambler-Datsun dealership.
He was the first racer to drive the famed 240Z in competition. He won five championships with the car.
“It was the finest road racing car of its time,” he said. “We were beating Porsches and Triumphs.”
Today, he’s content giving fans hot laps around a course or watching his son “go ‘round and ‘round” in an Indy.
“But, I’ll always be a road racer.”
For more information on the 6th Annual Hilton Head Concours d'Elegance & Motoring Festival, visit www.hhiconcours.com or call (843) 785-SHOW.