John Morton


John Morton John Mortons interest in racing was probably first sparked as a child by attending local dirt track races with his dad at the Waukegan Speedway in his Illinois hometown. In 1949 his father took the family to the Milwaukee Fairgrounds to see the AAA race. The mile track was dirt then; that race today would be called an Indy car race. Myron Fehr in the Marchese Special won the race. A neighbor across the street from John got an MGTF followed by an XK140 Jaguar, an Austin Healey, and later a Porsche. That exposure followed by a trip to the Road America 500 in 1957 with his family convinced John that this is what he would do. In college in South Carolina, John bought a 1940 Ford 2 door sedan for $43 and began his racing career on the dirt tracks near Clemson. Two years of higher education was all John could stand so he traveled to California to attend Carroll Shelbys School of High Performance Driving. This was a five-day course in which John fared better than he had at Clemson; Peter Brock was the instructor. John was given a job at Shelby American  The Cobra Factory  not because he was fast. They just needed a few warm bodies to clean up, chase parts, etc. While working at Shelby American, he purchased a Lotus Super 7 to begin racing when he was old enough; twenty-one at that time. After a season of club racing in the 7, it was replaced with a Lotus 23B. He ran a few races on the Cobra team during this period, 1964, as well as having his 23 entered by Shelby American in some races. John stagnated mostly in SCCA Club races through 1968 until Peter Brock gave him a big break on his new BRE Datsun team. The period between 1969 and 1972 were fruitful for John, Peter and Datsun. The team disbanded after the 1972 season after dominating both SCCA C Production with the 240Z and Trans-Am with the 510. A few seasons in F5000, Can-Am and various IMSA races occupied the next few years. A short almost accidental foray into the movie industry in 1975 led to stunt work on a couple of feature films and several TV shows. In 1981 Phil Conte joined Johns small Can-Am team as a sponsor for two years after which Phil formed his own IMSA team with John as one of his two drivers in the GTP category. In 1985 Jim Busby hired John as team driver in one of his BFG sponsored 962 Porsches with Pete Halsmer. The pair won the Times GP at Riverside in 1985. In 1987 John drove for the Group 44 Jaguar team of Bob Tullius and won the last Times GP at Riverside and the West Palm Beach GP, both sharing the car with Hurley Haywood. The Walkinshaw team replaced Tullius Jaguar team for 1988 and the Electramotive Nissan Team signed Morton. John and Geoff Brabham won several races that year setting the stage for Nissans domination of the IMSA series for several years, finally being dethroned by Dan Gurneys Toyotas and finally succumbing to mismanagement and over spending. Other notable Nissan races for John during 1989  1995 include an overall victory at Sebring and several class wins, including Le Mans in 1994, one of nine times he has competed at Le Mans. Several races in various other classes and categories include Sprint cars, Indy cars, and Karts. In his most recent professional races, 1997  2001, John raced Porsches in both the Grand American series and ALMS. Currently most of Johns competition is in vintage races driving a variety of cars, which include Cobra Coupes, Corvettes, Porsches, a Lotus 23 (that same one) and a Sunbeam Tiger.