Davy Jones

Full Name:
Duane Davy Jones
Born:
1st June 1964 (Age 54)
Chicago, Illinois
Nationality:
American
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Which was the greater achievement – winning the 1996 Le Mans 24 Hours or being the first opponent to lead a lap other than Ayrton Senna during the Brazilian’s triumphant 1983 British F3 campaign?

Formula 3 career

Davy Jones arrived in the UK for three Formula 3 races in 1982 as a fresh-faced teenager amid plenty of hype. His time driving Murray Taylor Racing’s Ralt RT3-Toyota in 1983 showed Jones’ promise albeit with an understandable lack of maturity. Still, third in the championship behind Senna and Martin Brundle was no mean feat.

Jones tested for the Brabham Formula 1 team and joined Eddie Jordan Racing for the 1984 European F3 Championship. But two seasons in the series proved erratic and were disappointing when compared to his early promise.

Switch to North America

Twice runner-up in New Zealand’s Formula Pacific series, he also finished second in the 1985 Super Vee series back in America. Jones was a part of BMW North America’s IMSA GTP programme in 1986. He destroyed a car at Elkhart Lake but scored the team’s first victory a month later at Watkins Glen with John Andretti as his co-driver.

He was not finished with open-wheel racing and made his Indianapolis 500 debut in 1987 but the engine in A.J.Foyt’s March 86C-Cosworth expired after 34 laps. One of five Champ Car starts that year, 10th in the Michigan 500 (driving Mike Curb’s March 86C-Cosworth) was his best result.

Jones joined TWR’s Jaguar team for the 1988 IMSA Series and that would be his main professional contract for some years. He also continued in single-seaters and finished seventh in the 1989 Indianapolis 500 with a Euromotorsports Lola T88/00-Cosworth. Third-place in the 1990 GTP standings included victory in the Daytona 24 Hours with a Jaguar XJR-12, Jan Lammers and Andy Wallace. Jones remained an IMSA championship-challenger for the next two seasons.

Success at Indianapolis and Le Mans

Two weeks in 1996 proved exceptional for the American. First, his Galles Racing Lola T95/00-Mercedes-Benz qualified and finished second in the Indianapolis 500. He then won the Le Mans 24 Hours when sharing Joest Racing’s TWR-developed Porsche WSC95 with Alex Wurz and Manuel Reuter.

But Jones was seriously injured during practice for the 1997 Disney World Indycar race and those head injuries meant he could not race for Joest at Le Mans that year. His replacement, Tom Kristensen, scored the first of his record-breaking eight wins in the race as a consequence.