American motorsports legend Scott Pruett will hang up his fire suit for the last time after the Rolex 24 at Daytona this month.
The 57-year-old started racing karts at age eight and hasn’t stopped since. His near five-decade career has spanned NASCAR, Indy car and most notably sportscar racing, where he found the most success.
Pruett is a 24 Hours of Le Mans winner and one of only two five-time winners of the Rolex 24, along with countryman Hurley Haywood, making the race a fitting end to his storied career.
“I’m glad he’s retiring — now I don’t have to worry about him getting a sixth win,” Hurley said in Daytona on Friday.
The California-born Pruett also has seven top flight sports car season titles to his name.
Pruett told The Associated Press of his decision to call this year’s Rolex his last as a driver before testing for the prestigious event began Friday at Daytona International Speedway. He said he will continue to work with the Lexus, the manufacturer he teamed with to help develop and promote the Lexus IS F performance sedan and Lexus LFA supercar in 2008.
Pruett will compete in the Rolex on Jan. 27-28 with 3GT Racing. Pruett will team with co-drivers Dominik Farnbacher, Jack Hawksworth and David Heinemeier Hansson in the No. 15 Lexus for the twice-round-the-clock endurance race.
“Daytona is a magical place for me and I love it,” Pruett said. “I’ve always said the Rolex 24 at Daytona is like the Super Bowl of Motorsports because you’re bringing the best of the best from all over the world and the challenge of both man and machine is fierce. What better way to say goodbye to the sport I love than at this revered place, surrounded by my respected peers and die-hard fans.”
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Pruett is calling it a career the same year he celebrates his 50th season as a racer. He first began racing go-karts in California when he was 8 years old.
Sports cars are where Pruett dominated, but he was also one of the first drivers to adapt to various disciplines. He raced Indy cars under the CART banner for 10 seasons and won two races, scored 15 podiums and was the 1989 Indianapolis 500 co-rookie of the year.
Pruett spent three seasons in the SCCA Trans Am series, where he won 24 races and three titles. He also won three poles as a part-time NASCAR driver, and spent eight years in the IROC Series, where he won twice.
Pruett was also a class winner in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2001.
Although Pruett plans to assist Lexus off the track and during events, retirement will afford him extra time with his California winery. Wine Spectator rated Pruett Vineyard’s 2014 estate syrah equal to the world’s best.
The winery is a family business for Pruett, who runs the vineyard with his wife and three children.
The Associated Press contributed to this report