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When in Rome, Try to Score Press Passes

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When in Rome, Try to Score Press Passes

While at Circuit of the Americas to cover the Hagerty Driving Experience, I saw the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association was holding their national championship. Naturally, I decided to knock on a few virtual doors to see if I could gain media access to the race. This wasn’t just because I wanted to see if I could find a story, but also to test my status as an automotive writer in the industry. It wasn’t too long ago that emails went unanswered, or began with a polite ‘no’.

When I went to pick up my press pass the woman behind the desk asked if I was a student journalist. The question took me by surprise. Being around automotive professionals older than me can sometimes make me forget that – on the surface – I’m a 25-year old that looks younger under a baseball cap.

Founded in 1981, SVRA is the premier vintage racing organization in the United States. Its mission is to promote car culture by hosting races, car shows, auctions and vendors across the country. The main goal is to encourage the preservation, restoration, and use of historic race cars. And ‘use’ is underscored, as members and owners are not wanting to relegate collectible cars to be put out to pasture (literally or figuratively) in a museum or private collection.

A bright yellow vest with the word “Photo” in the back was my all-access pass to walk amongst the racers in the COTA garage. Vintage racing creates a different experience from other motorsport events. Everyone is here to have fun and take a vintage racecar around the track, but there is a sense of professional caution in the air. Families hang out in trailers and people run around trying to finish last-minute adjustments, while others – engaged in the mental prep – wait for their class race to start.

Since the SVRA attracts a wide variety of race cars, the races are divided into twelve different groups. Those categories begin – as you’d guess – with Group 1.

Group 1: Small displacement sports cars and sedans.

Group 2: Pre-1973 Formula cars.

Group 3: Pre-1972 series production sports cars and sedans.

Group 4: Pre-1960 limited production sports cars, racing “specials” and GT cars.

Group 5: 1960-1972 World Sports Car Champion, World Manufacture’s Champion GT’s (including prototypes). Pre-1969 USRRC and Can-Am race cars, and front engine “specials” raced after 1969.

Group 6: Big-bore production sports cars and sedans through 1972.

Group 7: World Championship for Makes sports cars, as raced after 1970 and running on slicks. Under 2.0-liter sports cars post- 1972. Center-seat Can-Am cars. SCCA, ASR & BSR, and Sports 2000.

Group 8: Recognized series-produced sports cars and sedans in production prior to 1979. Later cars can be invited.

Group 9: Wings and slicks formula cars that comply with SVRA post-1973 formula car regulations.

Group 10: (Selected) IMSA, FIA/GT sports cars and sedans as raced between 1973 and 1999. NASCAR Cup/Busch series stock cars. Production-based contemporary cars.

Group 11: GTP/Group C, ALMS, PSCR, WSC and Grand-Am prototype cars raced from 1981 to a specified cut-off date. Tube frame Trans Am, IMSA GTS, GTO and FIA-GT cars raced from 1981 to a specified cut-off date. Production-based contemporary cars based on performance history as raced from 1999 to five years prior. Can-Am and A Sports Racing cars raced after 1967 on slicks, and over 6.0 Liters. Center-seat Can-Am cars on slicks and over 5.0 Liters.

Group 12: Select GT sports cars and sedans raced between 1973 and five years prior. Production-based cars such as Motorola Cup or any other stock/prepared racing series, including early IMSA GTO and GTU small bore cars.
Here is a collection of photos I took while covering the event.

Jesus Garcia

Freelance Writer, Vintage Automotive collector. Struggling Auto Journalist/Writer looking for an opportunity. Visit my website for great car stories & articles! jesusbehindthewheel.com.

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