Jim Hall was a leading American sports car driver whose revolutionary Chaparral sports cars made him internationally famous in the 1960s. His innovations included elevated rear wings on vertical struts; a rear wing, the angle of which could be adjusted from the cockpit; automatic transmission; and the controversial J2 vacuum cleaner, featuring two rear-mounted fans designed to create suction beneath the car for superior cornering. As a driver, Hall won the 1962 Road America 500 race at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin; the 1964 United States Road Racing championship; and the 1965 Sebring 12-Hours race in which he co-drove with his longtime partner Hap Sharp.
In international sports car racing, Chaparrals won the 1966 Nürburgring (Germany) 1000-Kilometers (Phil Hill and Joakim Bonnier), and the 1967 BOAC Six-Hours at England’s Brands Hatch (Mike Spence and Phil Hill). Hall’s initial entry at the Indianapolis 500 in 1978 resulted in victory the first time out with Al Unser driving a Lola/Cosworth. The same combination also won that year’s 500-mile races at Pocono (Pennsylvania) and Ontario (California). Two years later, Johnny Rutherford won the Indianapolis 500 race for Hall with a John Barnard-designed Chaparral/ Cosworth, the first car at an Indianapolis 500 race to have “ground effects” built into its design.
Courtesy of Indianapolis Motors Speedway Museum