A talented racer and the world’s fastest tour guide Jim Pace shows us how to handle a flamespitting 935 around the fast and unforgiving sweepers of Road America. The Wisconsin-based track is one of the most beautiful and storied circuits in North America.
Pace has guided us through quick laps before, but this is one of the faster cars he’s been kind enough to offer us the passenger seat, if you like. This monster was built partly as a commemoration to the aluminum-monocoqued, 820-horsepower, one-ton, wing-laden monstrosities which John Paul Sr. and Jr. developed in the early eighties to dominate IMSA GTP. In fact, this particular car is a one-off designed to raise awareness for Huntington’s Disease, which afflicts John Paul Jr.
Thanks to the labored breathing punctuating Pace’s narration, we get a sense of how physically demanding this car is. The 935’s natural traction, when combined with a heavily turbocharged motor, makes even a seasoned driver pant. That torque, means the rear tires spin quite easily out of the slowest corners—listen to the revs spike and howl at 5:15!
Getting on the power at the right moment and exploiting that turbocharged thrust seems to be Pace’s recurring aim—Road America is comprised of many long straights, after all. “Go now” and regular reads of the tachometer at certain corner exits demonstrate his focus on exiting cleanly and keeping the revs high. Running against some cars with even more grunt, he has to do everything in his power to stay competitive.
Perhaps that’s why he’s constantly reassuring himself. In the heat of battle, it helps to soothe oneself with simple reminders, such as “eyes up” or “nice and steady.” In fact, when heading into the Kink at outrageous speeds (7:01), “breathe and squeeze” might actually be a life-saving reminder. After all, racing is a mental game, and to extract every iota of performance from a car as taxing as the JLP-HD1, one needs to keep themselves in a positive frame of mind.