Through The Esses - The Memory Of 'Hatch' Fuels Chili Pepper Racing
Page: 1 Links
Amy Jo and Jim Osborn
03/06/07 © Andrew S. Hartwell

Dr. James Osborn is an Orthopedic Surgeon in Tennessee and his wife Amy Jo is an accomplished professional photographer. Together they head up the Chili Pepper Racing team that competes in the SPEED World Challenge series.

This dynamic and professional couple participates in auto racing to not only win against other cars, but to also win the race to cure pediatric cancers. Having recently experienced - in the most personal way - the devastating effects of cancer, they have made it their mission to raise monies to fund research into the diagnosis, treatment and development of a cure for pediatric cancer, and to fund organizations that offer support for others who, like the Osborn's, have lost loved ones to cancer.

This effort is one more incredible chapter within a history of racing that has worked primarily to benefit others; a history that the Osborn's have written over the last few years. They are absolute proof that racers have big hearts.

We have been raising money for charities for several seasons now. Actually, that is the main focus of our racing effort, to raise money for them at no cost to them.

Jim Osborn started out in professional racing late in life, after having spent his college years running in autocross and SCCA events. It was when he and a fellow doctor ran similar red BMW's in SCCA races that the name Chili Pepper first came to be applied.

I was racing a red BMW with another doctor and people used to laugh and make fun of us calling us red hot chili peppers. The name seemed perfect because, if you look at the name Chili Pepper Racing, the initials are CPR, which stands for Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation. It made sense to keep the name when we formed a pro team.

Basically I started out running autocross and local sportscar events back in the 70's and early 80s while I was in college. I went to the BMW track days and progressed on up to the BMWCCA races. From there I went into SCCA racing and later on into professional racing in the SPEED World Challenge series.

Osborn has the hands of a surgeon and the heart of a racer. As his professional medical training came to an end, he decided it was time for his professional racing training to begin.

When I finished all my medical training, and I was still single, my brother said, you are turning 40 years old so if you are going to do this now is the time.' For my 40th birthday I rented a seat (in a BMW) from Jeff McMillin for the 2002 World Challenge season. It was a pretty crazy year. The series is very competitive and there are a lot of top line drivers. There are also some who don't mind rubbing fenders if they know they are not going to be running near the front. At least that is how it was then but it has calmed down quite a bit in the years since. It was a very exciting year and I fell in love with the series.

I had planned to run with Jeff again the following year but Jeff decided not to run in 2003 so I bought the car from him (a BMW E46) and in about 3 weeks time we went from nothing to being a full team, and I went from being a driver to being a team owner and driver.

That same year Tim Dobson ran a second car with us. He owned the car but he teamed up with us and we painted the cars in a similar color and markings.

In 2004 we were on our own with a single car, and then in 2005 we teamed up with some guys from VAC Motorsports in Pennsylvania. Their driver was Eric Curran. They had some trouble with the car that season and wound up only making the first three races and decided they wouldn't be bringing the car back for the rest of the season.

That year we ran about 70 to 80% of the races. Sometimes I have to forego a few races to take care of my patients. But I have to say that we were definitely the most committed small team in the series.

Commitment is something Osborn is practiced in, both as a surgeon operating on his patients and as a driver and