Video: Jim Pace Guides A GT40 Around Virginia International Raceway

The Superformance GT40 is a South African recreation of the famous machine which Ford first took to Le Mans in 1964. Almost two-thirds of the new car is identical to the original. This kit car is cleverly sold without a powertrain—a tactic to avoid emissions and crash standards it does not meet—and will, when all the remaining necessary parts are added, set the new owner back a good $125,000. However, after watching Jim Pace tear through the track, the price tag becomes irrelevant.

It uses a modified 351 cubic inch engine feeding about 500 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque to a RBT version of the five-speed ZF transaxle. Predictably, it’s quite quick in a straight line, and the 2,450-pound machine can apparently snag 11.2 in the 1/4-mile. However, who cares about drag performance when a car handles as sweetly as this?

In Pace’s hands, the monstrous powerplant seems tractable. Why is that? It may have something to do with Pace’s favorite word: smooth. The recently deceased racer was a celebrated endurance racer whose mechanically sympathetic style helped him. Listen and rejoice at this man’s measured style hustles a car like this around a fast and dangerous track. His effortless style makes it seem like as if he designed the track himself.

pace

Rarely do we see a flick of countersteer or a locked brake, but the car always seems to keep moving forward. This is because he relies more on his intimate understanding of the nuances of a track than sheer chutzpah—and probably needed have a long career hustling brutally fast vintage cars around the track for more than twenty years.

We lost Jim Pace last year to COVID-19, but his humor, passion, and talent live on through his sizable collection of YouTube videos and stories around the paddock.

 

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About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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