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Johnny O'Connell

24th July 1962 (Age 58)
Poughkeepsie, New York State
Most recent race (in database):

Johnny O’Connell began his professional racing career in 1987 by winning the Western Division of the Formula Atlantic Championship driving a McNiel Motorsports Ralt RT4-Ford. He graduated to the American Racing Series (now Indy Lights) and won the final round of 1989 as he secured seventh for CP Racing.

Indy Racing League

O’Connell made four starts in the Indy Racing League during in 1996 and 1997. His Cunningham Racing Reynard 95I-Ford was fifth at Phoenix that first year but it has been in endurance racing that he has thrived. He made his debut in the Sebring 12 Hours in 1991 and won an IMSA GT race at Laguna Seca two years later with Cunningham’s Nissan 300ZX.

Sports car success

Also fourth overall in the 1993 Daytona 24 Hours, the following season began with outright victory in the Sebring 12 Hours and O’Connell scored further GT successes at Laguna Seca and Phoenix. A subsequent move to Panoz Motorsports included victory at Mosport Park in 1999 and fifth overall in the 2000 Le Mans 24 Hours.

O’Connell joined Corvette Racing in 2001 and won the Daytona 24 Hours on his debut in its Chevrolet Corvette C5.R. He remained with the team for the rest of the decade and won the GTS class at Le Mans in 2001 and 2002 and in the ALMS in 2003 and 2004. He then won the Pirelli World Challenge in successive years from 2012 to 2015.

He made his final start at Le Mans in 2016 and finished sixth in the 2017 World Challenge before retiring from driving. He remains an ambassador for General Motors and works as a television commentator.