The Story of...         

Bob Sharp & Bob Sharp Racing
All photographs are   © photo: jan
(except as noted)

Bob Sharp

Bob Sharp was born in Mt. Vernon, NY, and grew up in Westport, CT, which was SCCA's headquarters, and in New Canaan. Many local dads had MG-TC's and TD's, Jaguars, and Porsches, followed by Morgans, Ferraris, Triumphs, and Austin Healys. Bob's first car was a 1949 Ford convertible, followed by a 1952 MG TD. In 1956-57, Bob was the driver for a friend's VW Beatle in the Fairfield County, CT, road rallies.

After graduating from New Canaan High School in 1957, Bob joined the Army. He then went on to Mitchell College, achieving a degree in Marketing from Nichols College. 1958-59 saw Bob autocrossing a 1958 VW Beetle around CT. Turning 21 years old, Bob bought a 1960 Austin Healy Sprite as a go-to-college vehicle and SCCA drivers school and racing vehicle. The HP Sprite was replaced with a GP Sprite, followed by a 1963 Lotus 7.

Bob Sharp Racing Z-car

Newman-Sharp Racing Z-car

Bob did a color TV commercial for Camel Cigarettes with the William Esty Ad Agency. This led to being chosen as one of the two race drivers for a Greenwich, CT, Rambler-Datsun Dealer, which fielded a Datsun 1500 race car. Bob won a few races and was invited to the 1st SCCA Road Race of Champions at Riverside, CA.

1965 saw Bob Sharp Racing chosen as the Datsun factory-assisted East Coast racing team. The next 5 years saw Bob Sharp Motors-Used Cars, run from a Gulf gas station, sell 750 used cars. Fielding Datsun 1500, 1600, and 2000 race cars led to the Datsun 240Z. At this stage, Bob had built a dual-purpose Datsun dealership to run the racing team and sell 200 Datsuns per year. The next 10 years saw sales go from 200 to 2000 per year.

Newman-Sharp Racing Z-car

Bob Sharp Racing Team - 1979

The racing side was growing and needed a larger facility, which was found in Danbury, CT. In 1972, Paul Newman joined Bob Sharp Racing, driving a Datsun 510 B-Sedan in SCCA racing. By 1975, Bob had accumulated a total of 6 SCCA National Championships and an IMSA GTU Championship.

Bob Sharp Racing Team
Photo: Bob Sharp Racing archives

Sam Posey

After Bob broke his wrist in 1976, he used other drivers to pilot the Datsun sedans and Z cars; these included Bruce MacInnes, Sam Posey, Elliott Forbes-Robinson, and in 1978 a returning Paul Newman, who had driven for BSR before buying one of Bob's cars to race on his own.

Bruce MacInnes

Elliott Forbes-Robinson

Tom Cruise joined the Newman-Sharp Racing Group with a Datsun 300 ZX Showroom Stock race car followed with a Datsun GT3 race car. Paul Newman, Jim Fitzgerald, Walter Payton, Sam Posey, and Scott Sharp, were all members of the Newman-Sharp Racing team.

Jim Fitzgerald
Photo: Bob Sharp Racing archives

Paul Newman

At 18 years old, Scott won his 1st SCCA National Championship with a Datsun 280Z GT2 race car, followed with 2 GT-1 Championships.

Paul Newman, with many wins in SCCA Nationals, SCCA Trans Am races, and IMSA Pro races, ran an IMSA AAGT 900+ horsepower race car against Porsche 935 race cars. At the first race in Elkhart Lake against the 935's, he qualified on pole. Paul, even after retirement from professional racing, continued to race a ex-Newman-Sharp Racing Nissan 300ZX Turbo at Lime Rock Park and other local venues. He also ran a ex-Scott Sharp SCCA Trans Am Camaro and Corvette with car numbers reflecting his age and painted in Newman-Sharp Racing team livery; the last one was #83.

Scott Sharp

Bob Sharp's Personal Anecdotes
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