DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (June 29 , 2022) — A near-perfect recreation of the Pontiac Tempest that shocked the racing world in 1963 by beating Ferrari GTOs and factory Corvette ZO6s at Daytona, and in so doing served as the launchpad for the fabled Pontiac GTO later that year, will arrive later this summer at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHFA). The MSHFA is located on the grounds of Daytona International Speedway (DIS) where the world-beating Pontiac made history nearly 60 years ago.
The original car, built by Ray Nichels (MSHFA Class of 2021) under the direction of then-Pontiac Chief Engineer and GTO mastermind John Z. DeLorean and driven to victory by Paul Goldsmith (MSHFA Class of 2008) in the 250-mile February 16, 1963, American Challenge Cup, was purchased shortly thereafter by Mercedes-Benz and taken to Germany. After a series of tests to determine how it performed so well, it is believed the Stuttgart-based firm scrapped the car in the 1960s.
In the American Challenge Cup, the lone white Tempest was up against a battalion of Corvettes, Ferrari GTOs and Porsches driven by the likes of A.J. Foyt (MSHFA Class of 1989), Fireball Roberts (MSHFA Class of 1995), 1960 NASCAR champ Rex White, American sports car specialists Bob Holbert and Billy Krause, and Formula 1 ace Jo Bonnier. Nevertheless, Goldsmith was confident.
“Before the race I was talking with A.J. Foyt and I told him, ‘You know, when I lap you, I’ll wave at you.’” says the now 96-year-old Goldsmith. “And he says, ‘No, I’ll wave at you when I lap you.’ “Well, I lapped him twice if I remember right, and I waved at him both times!”