Not only was Jim an American racing legend, but most importantly to those at the two Classic races he was a "friend and brother". In fact you’ll struggle to find someone with a bad word to say about him. The 59-year-old, who passed away on Friday (13th November) was also a regular star of our Elevenses series, not only because of his fearless driving skills in some pretty mean machines, but also through his calm narration of those mighty laps.
The GRR team met Jim several times, at Daytona, Sebring and Road Atlanta, but more importantly we met the people who knew him best, his colleagues and friends at Historic Sportscar Racing, which puts on the Classic events. To them he was not only a colleague but a key driver of everything they did, never willing to let smaller details slide and keen to help out wherever he could, but more importantly he was a friend.
A significant amount of the drivers who raced in HSR’s events were coached by Jim Pace, with all eagerly crediting him with improving their race-craft and, in many cases, very happy to inform you at great length of the incredible skills he possessed as a racing driver.
So we thought that, to celebrate Jim’s life, the best thing GRR could do would be bring you another of his trademark videos, in which he teaches us how to drive a very fast car, very quickly, around a racetrack. In this case, it’s nothing other than a Porsche 962 and the racetrack is Daytona. Oh, and it’s nighttime.
The time is 3am when the 962 – in an iconic Leyton House livery – heads out, with Jim beginning his commentary as the cars head on track with the words “It’s 3am, let’s have some fun”. After that we ride along for the start of his group’s race in the Classic 24, with the pitch Florida night leaving Pace apparently completely un-phased.
Normally these posts are a single lap, or perhaps two, but to remember his close friend Jim, HSR's resident video man Craig Sutherland has posted a full session with Jim at the wheel, so you can get a just a taste of what it was like to spend time with him. This is half an hour of just us, Daytona’s banking, a growling flat-six, and Jim Pace.
The thoughts of all at GRR are with Jim’s friends and family, and our friends in the HSR paddock. While he might not have raced at Goodwood we would also consider him a friend, and not seeing him calmly greeting people around the paddock before stepping into the cockpit for some mighty laps will be very strange the next time we head over the pond.
Welcome to Goodwood Elevenses, a mid-morning helping of motoring-related amusement to help break up your day. Watch the last video: Gittin Jr. on driving the crazy Mach-E 1400.