Brad Frisselle began his racing career in 1970, in SCCA racing, driving a Datsun 2000 roadster. As a talented driver, he found himself rapidly moving up the ladder of success. From regional races to the national runoffs, he won many races and received the Kimberly Cup from the SCCA. It was back in 1973, then Brad Frisselle decided to move into professional racing, and he made the leap into IMSA.
Courtesy Yoshi Suzuka
Brad Frisselle's first appearance at an IMSA race was at Charlotte Raceway. He had formed his own company, which was named Transcendental Racing, and would construct, design and run a Datsun 260Z. The car was built by Yoshi Suzuka and MacTilton in El Segundo, California during the 1973-1974 period. The engine was built by John Knepp, who ran Electramotive together with Don Devendorf. Electramotive supplied the engines and drivetrains. His first race was not a great success, with Brad Frisselle, who was partnered by John Morton, ending up at a lowly thirtieth overall, after retiring on lap four.
Courtesy Yoshi Suzuka
It was better at Lime Rock where he ran solo to an eleventh place finish in round one, and sixth in round two. It was a very honourable result in a class which was crowded with Porsche Carreras, which were quite dominant in IMSA racing. In 1975, the Datsun 260Z was now fielded in the GTU class. Brad Frisselle enjoyed his first IMSA successes and took three wins. He earned his first pole position at Mid Ohio and won the most improved driver award. This year, the winner in this class appeared to be Bob Sharp, another Datsun guru. Brad took a second place at Laguna Seca, Mid Ohio, he won at Mosport, Mid America and Talladega, and had another second at the Mid Ohio six hour race. The next season was a new step to success as Brad Frisselle literally crushed the opposition with eight victories and a GTU title. Atlanta, Lime Rock, Mid Ohio, Paul Revere, Talladega, Pocono, Mid Ohio 6Hour, Atlanta 1000km and Daytona Finale.
Copyright Ernie Lacayan
After such a successful season, Brad Frisselle took the decision to move up to the big category. He was to partner George Dyer in his faithful Porsche Carrera. This partnership proved to be very efficient as the pair wounded up a good fourth overall at Daytona for the first enduro of the season. They probably could have done better, if they were not forced to an engine change at Mid race. The second race was held at Sebring, for the toughest enduro of the year. Not the fastest on track, they survived the track severity, and maintained a five lap lead over Diego febles and Hiram Cruz, who drove a similar car. This time, they would enjoy an excellent overall win, always on a battered but not beaten Porsche Carrera. The new Porsche 934s were fast, but had been defeated by the track.
The remainder of the season was just another story. This time, it was without Datsun, as Brad chose to run with a Chevrolet Monza. The car was beautifully tuned. Don May backed it. It was nonetheless a tough task to handle, with great racing names such as Al Holbert, Danny Ongais or David Hobbs. His first race was at Laguna Seca where he was rewarded with an eighth place overall. His next race happened to take place at Lime Rock, with an excellent fourth place finish, losing third place while pushed by George Dyer who was attempting to pass him. Mid Ohio was a failure in his quest as he retired early in the race.
Copyright Mark Windecker
At Brainerd, he took a good sixth place. At Sears Point, his best race of the year, he took a third place after starting fourth. The Mid Ohio 6Hour race was another bad day for the team with an early retirement, Road Atlanta was also a retirement while Brad scored another great result at Laguna Seca. He took a great third after dicing all race long with Roy Woods and Tuck Thomas in similar cars. The 1977 was a very strange season, and Brad Frisselle did not enjoy much success in his racing Monza. The next season would be another step to big time racing. The Chevrolet Monza was set aside and not to be entered at all in the season. However, the car would be entered in the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans race, where it was the sole American entry. It was an exciting trip for the team, who ran his first outside America race. The race did not bring any reward as the Brad Frisselle, Bob Kirby and John Hotschkis retired after only thirty laps. The IMSA season took a new start with a short association with Peter Gregg, with the newly accepted Porsche 935. The car was to become the standard in IMSA racing and driving such a powerful machine was a new challenge for Brad. The Daytona and Sebring races were no success but Talladega proved to be an overall success for the Brumos team who dominated the race in an outright fashion. Even a spin could not slow down the unchallenged pair, who had an amazing eight laps advantage over his closest opponents. Brad Frisselle would not be seen anymore in 1978, in IMSA racing.
1979 would be a new fresh start for Brad, who was chosen by Mazda to be part of the new and ambitious GTU program. He would co-drive Bob Bergstrom's Mazda RX7 in long distance races. The car was prepared by Dave Kent and, according to Bob Bergstrom, the best handling car he ever drove.
Copyright Mike Heselton
The first race, at Sebring, saw a retirement after sixty four laps. It was much better at Riverside where the Bob Bergstrom-Brad Frisselle took a good second place in class, behind the Don Devendorf-Tony Adamowicz new Datsun 280ZX. An interesting fact was that Brad Frisselle, who had switched from Datsun to Mazda, would have probably thought twice, at that moment. Brad Frisselle did not run anymore this year, as he concentrated on his new project : the Frissbee. The car was beautifully designed by Trevor Harris, and had a very innovative design. It was a season full of discoveries for Brad Frisselle. He would design, develop and construct the cars. The Frissbee would become later one of the most successful Can Am racers in the eighties. In 1980, Brad would enjoy a new challenge, as he entered his own Mazda. He was part of the Racing Beat effort at Sebring and won his class at Sebring together with Roger Mandeville and Jim Downing. But the remainder of the season would provide more excitement as Brad entered and drove his own Mazda RX7.
The very first race for Brad Frisselle's Mazda, resulted in a class win at Riverside.
Courtesy Yoshi Suzuka
It was built by Dave Kent, who already had worked on Bob Bergstrom's car, and it was supposed to be a real contender for the GTU title. It actually was!
The first race, held at Riverside, was some kind of a dream for the team who enjoyed a success right from the beginning. Brad Frisselle was partnered by Japanese ace driver Yoshimi Katayama, and they took an excellent ninth overall. At Laguna Seca, which was a GTU sprint race, Brad Frisselle took a fourth place overall, behind Walt Bohren, Don Devendorf and Dennis Aase. Again, at Lime Rock did Brad earn a fourth place, behind the same three drivers. At Brainerd, which was a horsepower course, he took a second in class, behind Jeff Kline. At the Paul Revere night race, he finished third behind the two Racing Beat cars, driven by Walt Bohren and Jeff Kline. At Sears Point, he was struck with bad luck and retired after twenty two laps. At Portland, once again did he take a new third overall in the GTU race, and again behind the two Racing Beat cars. Brad Frisselle and Roger Mandeville took a second place in class at Mosport, behind the Racing Beat car. At Road America, however, the car did not last for long as Brad Frisselle retired after four laps. At the end, he was rewarded with a second place finish in points, only beaten by Walt Bohren, who drove a nearly factory built car. Brad Frisselle proved he was a very talented driver and when he chose to stop his racing career, it was because he had decided to concentrate on his personal life. He had won fifteen races in just five years of professional racing.
Yet, his passion for racing has remained deeply rooted in his mind and, nowadays, his two sons, Brian and Burt, are involved in racing. Let us be sure that Brad will always keep an eye upon them.