- March 24, 1960
- United States
- Not Active
Scott Pruett is an American racing driver who competed in all main American racing series, such were NASCAR, CART, IMSA, Trans-Am or Grand-Am.
During more than 30 years of his career, he achieved many notable victories and championship titles. Five overall wins at 24 Hours of Daytona, five Grand-Am titles, three Trans-Am titles or two IMSA GTO titles are just part of his CV.
Karting debut at the age of 8, race car debut at the age of 24
Scott Donald Pruett was born on March 24th, 1960, in Roseville, California. He began racing in karts at the age of eight. He spent a long period in karting, winning numerous championships, and then he switched to race cars in 1984.
He debuted with Mazda RX-7 in the 1985 IMSA GTU Championship. Next year he continued to race with Mazda but also debuted with Roush Racing's Fords in the GTO category.
First championship title with GTO-class Mustang
In 1986, Pruett became IMSA GTO champion, driving Ford Mustang and winning seven races. In two victorious races, he shared a car with Bruce Jenner, who later became a famous TV personality and the most famous transgender woman in the world.
Pruett also participated in three races of GTP category, driving Ford Mustang Probe and Porsche 962. He won a race in GTP category at Columbus, Ohio, alongside Bob Wollek.
Next victorious car was Merkur XR4Ti
In 1987, Pruett participated in the IMSA GT Championship driving for Roush Racing in ten races of GTP class and nine races of GTO class. With such a diverse program he had average results in both categories, with just one victory in 19 races. He took a class win at Daytona 24-hour race.
He was much more successful in the 1987 Trans-Am Series, winning the title with seven victories in 13 races. He was driving Roush Racing's Merkur XR4Ti.
Pruett grabbed third championship title in three years by winning the 1988 IMSA GTO Championship. The victorious car again was Roush Racing's Merkur. Part of the championship was Daytona 24-hour race and he again took the class victory.
Successful Indy 500 debut
In 1988, Pruett debuted in the PPG Indy Car World Series, participating in three races for Machinists Union Racing and Dick Simon Racing. It was just a prelude to 1989 season, in which Scott competed full season with Truesports. He debuted at Indianapolis 500 and became the second best rookie, with 10th place finish. It remained his best Indy 500 races in four starts during his career. Pruett scored two podiums during the season and finished the championship in 8th place.
Scott skipped 1990 Indy season because he was involved in a serious crash at West Palm Beach, Florida, during a pre-season testing. He injured both legs and spent the entire year recovering. He occasionally worked as a TV commentator. After recovery, Pruett participated in some races of IMSA GTP and GTO classes.
First Daytona overall win with Nissan 300ZX
His full comeback followed in the 1991 Indy Car season, again with Truesports team. He finished 10th in the championship, with 12th place at Indianapolis 500. His best results were two fourth places. In 1992, Pruett's results were similar and he finished 11th in the championship.
In 1993, Scott had a combined program of races in the Indy Car World Series with ProFormance Motorsports and in the IMSA GT Series with Rocketsports.
In 1994, Pruett returned to Trans-Am Series to take the title. He was driving Chevrolet Camaro and won three of 13 races. He was also successful at 24 Hours of Daytona, where he took GTS class and overall victory driving Cunningham Racing's Nissan 300ZX. His co-drivers were Paul Gentilozzi, Butch Leitzinger and Steve Millen.
CART victories at Michigan and Surfers Paradise
During 1994, Pruett joined Patrick Racing CART team. He was testing Firestone tires for them and in the next season, he became a full-time driver. Season 1995 was the most successful so far because Scott finally took his first victory in the series. He won Marlboro 500 race at Michigan International Speedway, after a thrilling last lap duel with Al Unser Jr. Pruett added three more podiums and finished 7th in the championship.
Pruett continued to race for Patrick Racing in the 1996 season and scored three podiums, finishing tenth in the championship. In 1997, Pruett and Patrick Racing raced in the Champ Car World Series and he scored his last victory in the CART races. He won at Surfers Paradise Street Circuit in Australia. Scott took two more podiums and finished 9th in the final classification.
Bathurst attempt alongside F1 champion
In October 1997 Scott travelled one more time to Australia, to participate in the famous Bathurst 1000 race for V8 Supercars. He joined a former F1 champion Alan Jones and V8 racer Jason Bright to race with Ford EL Falcon. They finished 11th overall.
Scott spent two more seasons in the CART Champ Car World Series, in 1998 with Patrick Racing and in 1999 with Arciero-Wells Racing. With three podiums in 1998, he recorded his best season finish at 6th place, while in 1999 he finished 20th in the standings.
Full NASCAR season for Pruett in 2000
In the new millenium it was time for a new challenge and Scott switched to NASCAR in 2000. He participated in the Winston Cup with PPI Motorsports' Ford, competing in 28 races and achieving just one top 10 finish. He participated also in three races of NASCAR Busch Series. One season in NASCAR was enough to figure out that it wasn't the right racing series for him, so Scott returned to sports car racing.
Class victory at Le Mans
During 2001, Scott had just a few races, without a full-time job. He had few one-off appearances in the Grand American Rolex Series, American Le Mans Series, NASCAR Busch Series and two races in the NASCAR Winston Cup. However, the highlight of the season was 2001 Le Mans 24-hour race. Scott raced for Corvette Racing team alongside Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell and they took GTS class victory with Corvette C5-R. It remained Scott's only Le Mans appearance in his career.
Third Trans-Am title with Jaguar
In 2002, Scott had only two races, one with Chip Ganassi Racing in the NASCAR Winston Cup and one with Rocketsports at 24 Hours of Daytona. He took one more class victory at Daytona driving GTS-class Jaguar XKR.
In 2003, Scott was driving Jaguar XKR in the Trans-Am Series and he dominantly win the title for the third time in his career. He won eight of eleven races.
In the same year Scott participated in two races of the NASCAR Winston Cup and surprisingly took the podium with Chip Ganassi's Dodge at Watkins Glen. This was his best NASCAR result ever. He added one more third place finish next year, at another road course at Sonoma, again with Chip Ganassi's Dodge.
Grand-Am champion in the first full season
In 2004, Scott started a new chapter in his life, which later proved to be the most successful part of his career. He competed for the entire season for Chip Ganassi Racing in the Grand American Rolex Series. He won four races, added four more podiums and won the championship alongside Max Papis. They were driving Lexus Riley prototype, which remained in use until 2009.
Scott was a vice champion in the following three seasons. In 2005 and 2006 his co-driver was a Mexican Luis Diaz, while in 2007, he shared the cockpit with Memo Rojas, Juan Pablo Montoya and Salvador Duran. Montoya and Duran were Scott's co-drivers in his second Daytona 24-hour overall victory.
In 2008, Scott dominated in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series and with six wins in 14 races he took his second championship title. Pruett, Montoya, Rojas and Dario Franchitti won at Daytona, while Rojas partnered Pruett for the rest of the season and they shared championship trophy.
Successful years with Chip Ganassi and BMW power
In 2009, Scott and Rojas finished second, just six points behind the winners Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney. It was the last season with the Lexus-powered prototype. In 2010, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates switched to BMW engines.
During his racing years with Lexus and in the years to follow, Pruett was also the ambassador of Lexus brand and an integral part of the development and global promotion of both the Lexus LFA supercar and the Lexus IS F performance sedan.
Three seasons followed with Scott Pruett as a champion. In 2010, he took incredible nine wins in 12 races and shared the championship title with Memo Rojas. Next year Scott took five wins, including Daytona, and he again won the championship together with Memo Rojas. Pruett and Rojas won the third title in a row in 2012 but they missed the victory at Daytona.
Fifth Daytona victory to tie the record of Hurley Haywood
In 2013, Pruett and Rojas, partnered by Montoya and Charlie Kimball, won Daytona 24-hour race. It was Pruett's fifth overall win and he tied with the previous record holder Hurley Haywood. Later in the season, Pruett and Rojas won one more race but lost the title to Max Angelleli and Jordan Taylor.
In 2014, the Rolex Sports Car Series and the American Le Mans Series merged into a United Sports Car Championship. Pruett continued to race with Chip Ganassi, but they changed the engine supplier and BMW was replaced with Ford. In 2014, Scott scored three wins and finished 4th in the championship. In 2015, he was fourth again, with just one victory (at the Circuit of the Americas).
Again with Lexus in the 2017 IMSA Championship
After twelve seasons with Chip Ganassi Racing, Scott Pruett changed the team in 2016 and joined the Action Express Racing at Daytona 24h and Sebring 12h. Scott also announced that he will race again with Lexus in the GTD class.
Initial plan was to enter the 2016 IMSA championship, but 3GT Racing appeared on the grid with two Lexus RC F GT3 cars at the season-opening race of 2017 season. Pruett participated in all twelve events of the season, scoring no wins or podiums to finish 16th in GTD class points.
Retirement after one more race at Daytona in 2018
Pruett announced a retirement after one more final attempt at Daytona 24 Hours. In January 2018, he raced in the #15 Lexus RC F GT3, finishing ninth in GTD class.
Besides racing, Scott is a vineyard owner and together with his wife Judy, he is an author of children books.
Photos: scottpruett.com, MarkWindecker/pbase.com, guideautoweb.com, motorsport.com,