ATLANTA, GA (Wednesday, April 3, 2024) – As the GT America series gets ready to launch its 2024 season at Sonoma Raceway this week, sports car racing icon, Johnny O’Connell will celebrate 40 years of professional racing when he hits the track for SKI Autosports for the first official practice session on Friday, April 5th.

O’Connell started his professional racing career in 1984 in open-wheel racing, competing in the Russell Pro Series before moving to Pro Mazda, Super Vee, and the Atlantic Series then going to the ranks of the American Racing Series (predecessor to Indy Lights). O’Connell captured his first professional win in 1986 in the Pro Mazda Series.

Moving to sports car racing in 1991, O’Connell raced for Nissan for several years under the Cunningham Racing banner. He also would race in the Indy Racing League but always kept his foot in the sports car racing arena.

1994 marked O’Connell’s first attempt at the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans with Nissan – finishing fifth overall and winning the IMSA GTS class. He went on to make 15 starts at the world-renowned race capturing nine podium finishes and four wins. O’Connell also posted the most consecutive finishes at Le Mans in history (11).

In 1998 O’Connell would become a factory Panoz driver competing in the American Le Mans Series and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The most significant shift in O’Connell’s career came in 2001 when he was named a factory GM driver with Corvette Racing. O’Connell’s career continued its upward trajectory with Corvette. In addition to his Le Mans success, he captured three American Le Mans Series championship titles.

In 2011, he stepped into World Challenge competition with the Cadillac marque where he won four consecutive championship titles.

One of the winningest drivers in sports car history, O’Connell also has overall Daytona 24 Hour and Sebring 12 Hour wins to his credit along with several class wins at both iconic North American events.

He has also been inducted into both the Corvette Racing Hall of Fame and the Sebring Hall of Fame where in addition to the overall win at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring he has accumulated the most total wins with eight in class earning him the title “Mr. Sebring”.

In addition to celebrating the historic 40-year mark, O’Connell and SKI Autosports will debut their new Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II at the Sonoma GT America event later this week.

SKI Autosports team owner Kent Hussey said, “Johnny still has the drive and enthusiasm he did 40 years ago, and based on our results from last year is still as competitive as ever.   Melissa and I love to see him in our car, doing what he does best.   We are incredibly proud of our entire team and their hard work and dedication.”

“We have enjoyed racing in the SRO GT America series the last few years and have gradually stepped up our program and participation.   We plan to run the full series this year with our eyes on competing for the championship”.

“We’re also excited to be debuting the new Audi and have been very encouraged by the performance in our limited testing. After winning the Masters Cup Championship in 2023, our sights are firmly set on an overall GT America championship in 2024.”

Friday, April 5, 2024
8:50 – 9:20: GT America Practice 1
1:40 – 2:10: GT America Practice 2

Saturday, April 6, 2024
8:20 – 8:35: GT America Qualifying
1:00 – 1:40: GT America Race 1

Sunday, April 7, 2024
8:55 – 9:35: GT America Race 2

Live on-track action is available at

Follow SKI Autosports at:
Twitter @AutosportsSki
Instagram @skiautosportsofficial


“It’s hard for me to believe, but with the start at Sonoma, it will be 40 years racing professionally for me. Having worked at Sonoma in my earlier days as a Bondurant instructor, I doubt many people have more laps than I have on that circuit.

“Over the years, lots of wins from Formula Atlantic to the Corvette and of course the Cadillac … the circuit has always treated me well.

“Kent and Melissa, and everybody at SKI Autosports, have stepped up this year, and I feel we will be in a much better position with the new car.

“I have high expectations, and know that, if as a team we pull together, the results will be there.”