You Race a What????!!!!
Pinto Racing With The DC Region of the SCCA
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I've been going to the races for more-than-a-few years and frankly, until recently, I didn't pay that much attention to the Pintos. Yes, I knew they had some colossal battles, and yes, I knew they had a fair number of enthusiastic drivers, and yes, I knew their lap times were pretty good...but, racing a Pinto? Hmmm. A couple of races ago after watching a particularly well and hotly contested race, I decided to learn a little more about the class.
The Pinto class is unique to The Washington DC Region of the SCCA. Dave Bowers and Paul Moorcones founded the class in 1983 wanting to provide drivers with a (relatively) inexpensive way to go racing...a class that would hold down costs by using inexpensive and readily available parts and limiting the allowed modifications. As with all spec classes, one main purpose is to try to have all cars equal so that the driver's ability should be the main factor in who wins. The GTP (Grand Touring Pinto) cars, when raced out-of-region compete in GT3.
It would be pretty simple to assert that drivers have personalities and attitudes. They do. But, could a car have a personality? Could a car have an attitude? Of course not. But, if cars did have personalities and attitudes, what would the Pinto's be like? When I look at the Pintos I see cars that seem to be saying, "Hey, folks, I'm here to race. Period! Don't get out there with me unless you're ready also."
I guess for a whole host of reasons, including driving talent, the will and desire to win, the willingness to "put it all on the line," stress, fatigue, mental tiredness or alertness, degree of aggressiveness, and so on, determine at what point a driver will "back off" or "give" when two or more folks are desiring the same piece of real estate at the same time. Sometimes, part of this, when-do-I-back-off equation, may possibly be influenced by money: Monetary risk and the potential for monetary loss.
After all, for many of us, all things being equal, risking a $2,000 repair bill to the suspension of a formula car vs. a $25 dent in a fender that's seen quite a few battles, may make a difference when diving for a corner alongside another competitor.
The Pinto folks seem to arrive at the track ready to race and give no quarter. Am I trying to say they are rough, inconsiderate, and poor-sportsmen-like drivers? Of course not. But, they are there to race...hey, and to have a heck of a good time while doing it. This is in no way saying that they, as a group, are better or worse drivers than other race groups. (Please, no hate mail.)
Because of the twenty-plus SCCA classes, most race groups share the track with another class or two. The Pintos "share" the track with the ITB cars. And, while each class is having their own race and there will be two winners (one in each class), they are on the track at the same time, and the ITB folks, well...they also come to race. The next time you're at the track give these racers a closer look.
What's it Cost to Buy a Pinto?
Prices for race-ready GTP cars range from about $4,000 to $6,000. Yes, as with other classes, cars vary in price depending on condition, freshness of engines and other components, spares, number of wheels and tires, whether a trailer is included, and, to some extent, the car's racing history.
Under the hood there's lots of room to get to everything. Tires and wheels are specified; wheels must be 13" and not wider than 7"; also, you must be able to buy them for not more than $175 each. No choice on tires, all competitors must use the Hoosier Race Tire, R60 compound, size 21.0”x9.5”x13.0”. Rain tires remain free and must be designated rain or street tires.
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