A celebration of the life of George Tuma will be held during the Classic 24 Hour at Daytona vintage races November 7-11 at Daytona International Speedway, Historic Sportscar Racing announced Tuesday. Tuma, co-owner of the series, died Sunday in his native Germany. He was 65 years old.
“All of us at HSR are devastated by the loss of our friend, colleague and leader,” co-owner David Hinton said in a news release. “What HSR is today quite simply would not exist without George, and it is no exaggeration to say it will never be the same without him.
“The more time you spent with George the more you saw his true enthusiasm for racing, and historic racing in particular. His love for the sport, sharp business sense and always straightforward demeanor were what led me to first discussing the possibility of running HSR with him when the opportunity came around.”
Tuma and Hinton bought the vintage racing sanctioning body in 2012. In 2015, Jim Pace joined their partnership.
“Always in the background, George nevertheless kept a close eye on things,” Hinton added. “He trusted us to run HSR while also letting us know if we were not on the right path.
“We took on the daunting challenge of starting two new major events, the HSR Classics at Daytona and Sebring, and both became instantly popular on a global scale and ‘must-do’ events for competitors and race fans around the world. George and Stella made lasting contributions to not only HSR but the greater historic and vintage motorsports industry in total that will now become his legacy.”
In addition to the race at Daytona and Sebring, HSR stages the annual Mitty vintage racing weekend at Road Atlanta, among other events.
“His move into motorsports governing body ownership followed several seasons of racing in HSR during which George became a respected competitor and friend of all in the paddock,” HSR said in its announcement, adding that, “George’s love for historic and vintage racing came from a lifelong passion for motorsports that took root in his native Europe and stayed with him in an eventual move to the U.S.”