Remembering A Legend: The Racing Achievements of Paul Brown

Images courtesy Kenny Brown Performance. Paul Brown is the only driver to ever match Parnelli Jone’s dominating performance from the 1970s. Both drivers did it behind the wheel of a Boss Mustang.

There are a great number of Mustang racers in the world today. It takes a lot to truly become a Mustang superstar, but that’s what Paul Brown represented to many of us who followed his career, and those who had a chance to meet him or knew him personally.

Paul Brown grew up the eldest son of racing legend and Mustang guru Kenny Brown. You can imagine, that spending his childhood watching and helping his father tweak on race, and build everything from Mustangs to imports Paul inherited the bug to not only build cars, but to drive them, and the genes to be great at both.

We’ve met few men like Kenny Brown with not only a gift for racing and engineering but also for taking the advanced concepts of chassis engineering as well as track driving, and being able to boil them down to a level that any enthusiast can understand and learn from if they’re only willing to listen. Brown used that same matter of fact approach with this son and it shaped Paul into a man that became known for his ability to fix anything at the track -even on a limited budget, as well as a man who could wheel anything with grace and precise execution around a road course. Paul Brown was someone you wanted on your team and you didn’t want him in your rearview mirror on the track.

The movie poster for B5141872

Having worked alongside his father at Saleen in the 1980s, Paul Brown was exposed to some of the greatest names in racing, Steve Saleen, Parnelli Jones, Rick Titus, and George Folmer, were just a few. After getting his own start behind the wheel in local autocross races, Paul began his professional racing career behind the wheel of a Kenny Brown constructed Mustang, and under the direction of his father. From there as they say, the rest is history.

Paul Brown’s list of accomplishments in the world of sports car racing is something that most drivers can only dream of. This includes:

  • 2011 SCCA Pro Racing Pirelli World Challenge GTS Champion – 5 wins, 10 top ten finishes, 9 top five finishes, fastest lap in 7 of 12 races and more laps lead during the season than all other GTS drivers combined
  • 2006 First ever NASA National Race Winner in American Iron Extreme (AIX)
  • AIX Track Record: Mid Ohio Sports Car Course (09/17/06)
  • 2005 Monterey Historics Winner in a 1961 Chaparral 1
  • 2005 Monterey Historics Group 5 Fastest Lap and Track Record
  • 2004 Le Mans Historic 24hrs, 11th in a 1971 Ferrari 512 M
  • 44 SCCA Pro World Challenge GT Races, 24 top 10, 11 top 5 finishes

Brown’s endeavors lead him to becoming an Aero Racing USA (Morgan) factory test driver, as well as a Ford Motor Company Tier 3 test driver. He was also a well liked and respected driving instructor, and his friendly demeanor and personality made him friends at the track and in the stands.

Although he was incredibly ill from cancer, Paul Brown still wheeled his Mustang to one last podium in June of 2012. He’s pictured here alongside his father Kenny Brown.

Eventually Brown found himself at vintage racing team Tiger Racing around the turn of the century working for the Hollfelder family. He would eventually marry the Hollfelder’s daughter Carol in 2005. While at Tiger Brown also developed carbon fiber parts, including the hood for the Boss 302S race cars. He and Carol both competed behind the wheel of Mustangs in the World Challenge series.

Brown’s thunderous 2011 performance was behind the wheel of a car he built in just 30 days. It is documented in the film B5141872, named after the car’s VIN number and produced by Allan Crocket. We found a few clips from the movie on Vimeo but haven’t been able to locate it in its entirety.

Brown’s 2011 performance is only matched by racing legend Parnelli Jones and his endeavors behind the wheel of a Boss 302 Mustang back in 1970. A racer like this comes along only once in a generation.

In March of 2012 Paul Brown was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma, just two weeks before the World Challenge season opener. Justin Bell campaigned Brown’s Ebay Motors/Kenny Brown Performance Boss Mustang for most of the season. However, Brown, knowing his condition was terminal, was determined to get one more thrill behind the wheel at the race track.

Brown’s car decked out for the 2012 season, qualifying at Laguna Seca

The 2012 World Challenge schedule included a doubleheader at Canadian Motorsports Park. Although he was extremely ill, Brown climbed into his Boss Mustang and drove with style for one more weekend. He managed to finish third in the first of two races that weekend, having been in the hunt for second place with time expired and the checkered flag dropped. In the second race, Brown’s car suffered a broken header, and although it was costing him horsepower, he still wheeled the car to a top 10 finish.

Paul and Kenny Brown at Road America where Paul wheeled a Tiger Racing Ferrari from a start near the back of the field to a sixth overall finish, and a class win. This in spite of his stage 4 cancer.

His relationship with Tiger Racing afforded him one last opportunity to drive on the racetrack in competition that July. On July 15 Brown was a list minute entry into the HAWK at Road America. Behind the wheel of a Tiger Racing Ferrari 512M in the G1-Historic Can Am field, Brown showed that although he was now suffering Stage 4 cancer, he could still wheel a car with class. In Brown’s hands, the Ferrari started nearly last in a 35 car field, and finished sixth overall and first in his class -a fitting end to a racing career that was tragically cut short.

Paul Brown passed away on October 15, 2012 at his home in Covina, California at the age of 43. Today, July 8, is his 46th birthday. Today we remember and celebrate the life and achievements of an incredible racer, and a good man -happy birthday Paul Brown.

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About the author

Don Creason

Don Creason is an automotive journalist with passions that lie from everything classic, all the way to modern muscle. Experienced tech writer, and all around car aficionado, Don's love for both cars and writing makes him the perfect addition to the Power Automedia team of experts.
Read My Articles

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