Racing driver Lyn St. James, the 1992 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, a member of the ACCUS board on the FIA Women Motorsports Commission, and most recently inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame, has been named Grand Marshal of the 2022 Chattanooga Motorcar Festival. The third annual event held in the heart of the City of Chattanooga, known as Gig City, is scheduled for October 14-16, 2022.
St. James becomes the third Grand Marshal since the Festival was established in 2019, following Brian Redman and Corky Coker in those roles, respectively. The Festival was not held in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Redman returns this year as Grand Ambassador and Coker is named Grand Marshal Emeritus.
“We at the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival are proud to have Lyn St. James as Grand Marshal of our third annual Festival,” said Byron DeFoor, founder of the event. “She is a great ambassador to the sport and an outstanding spokesperson for the Festival. Her racing achievements and contributions to the sport are recognized around the world.”
Anyone reading St. James’ resume would be awed by her accomplishments since starting her career in 1973 as an amateur Sports Car Club of America competitor while living and working in Florida. Today she resides in Arizona.
She eventually turned pro and went on to race in 53 SCCA Trans-Am races, scoring seven top-five finishes; 62 IMSA GT races, earning seven wins; and became the only woman to win an IMSA GT race driving solo (Watkins Glen in 1985). St. James found her niche in Indy Car competition, racing in the Indy 500 seven times in nine years, claiming the 1992 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year honors in her first Indy Car race.
The former piano teacher and business owner (Dynasales of Florida and Autodyne) held 21 international and national closed circuit speed records over a 20-year period. She’s competed at the 24 Hours of LeMans, the Bonneville Salt Flats, Goodwood Revival, among other major events, and has been recognized by Sports Illustrated and numerous publications throughout her career.
A highlight of St. James’ career was her invitation to the White House to meet with three Presidents: Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and William Clinton.
“After attending the 2021 Chattanooga Motorcar Festival I was so impressed with how many different activities and events they had going on for anyone and everyone!,” said St. James, a celebrity guest at last year’s Festival. “It’s difficult to do that, and they did it well.
“It was my first time in Chattanooga, and I’m looking forward to being back as the 2022 Grand Marshal. Byron DeFoor is passionate about the event and having it make a positive impact on the community, and those are the things that make for a successful event,” adding, “I was also quite impressed with the mega-screens located throughout the Festival venues last year.” The screens are powered again in 2022 by EPB Chattanooga, home to Gig City’s fastest Internet in the world.
Redman, born in England and now residing in Florida, has claimed nine sports-car road-racing championships in his 60 years of competition, retiring as a pro driver following the 1989 season. He continues to race in vintage/historic events and is the owner of Targa 66, a club for owners of high-performance road and race cars, organizing competitive events around the country. He was inducted into the 2002 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America and the 2011 International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
“I am delighted to return as Grand Ambassador to the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival, a truly amazing event,” said Redman. “In a short space of time Byron DeFoor and his team have created a world-class event bringing thousands of people to beautiful Chattanooga.”
Joseph “Corky” Coker, the Festival’s 2019 “Honored Collector,” whose father Harold opened the Coker Tire Company in Chattanooga in 1958, assumed the leadership role in the Coker Family’s BFGoodrich tire dealership in 1974.
Coker sold the Coker Group in 2018 but retained the Honest Charley Speed Shop. He has received countless awards in the automotive and hobby world and is a leader in humanitarian efforts. Coker owns more than 180 vintage cars and motorcycles.
“What a wonderful honor to be named Grand Marshal Emeritus of our fantastic Chattanooga Motorcar Festival,” said Coker. “I look forward to working with friends Lyn St. James and Brian Redman to make this year’s Festival the best ever!”
Proceeds from the event will continue to support The NeuroScience Innovation Foundation and CHI Memorial Neuroscience Center.
The Festival will feature three days of family-friendly activities. Chattanooga’s Gallery 1401 will host a curated collection in West Village from internationally-renowned Fine Artists and Jewelry Designers, including Pop Artist DeVon and Celebrity Jeweler Paula Crevoshay, among others.
Vintage/historic car racing returns on Friday and Saturday with new race groups at the Pace Grand Prix at the Bend on its newly-lengthened course, including an infield loop and other track enhancements.
This year the Festival is partnering with Canossa Events to offer a premier road rally through the Tennessee countryside on Thursday and Friday.
Sunday’s Concours d’Elegance will incorporate more classes, and the Festival welcomes Justin Bell’s The Torque Show, which will live stream the Festival to audiences around the globe with the help of EPB Chattanooga.