Jim Pace Remembered by Sports Car Racing Community


 

 For decades, Jim Pace has been one of racing’s most appreciated personalities and respected wheelmen. The Mississippi native was generous in offering an encouraging smile; long considered one of sports car racing’s most approachable “good guys” in the paddock and equally well-respected for his huge talent on track.

 

On Nov. 13 – on the eve of the 2020 running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts – word came that Pace, 59, had died of COVID-19 complications. The heartbreak – felt from trackside to paddock, grandstands to pit lane – was evident at Sebring last weekend, a place where Pace earned two of his most celebrated victories and where a moment of silence was held in his memory prior to Saturday’s race.

 

Lyn St. James, a longtime racing icon, recalled time spent with Pace over the years as she was being inducted into the Sebring Hall of Fame during the race weekend.

 

“Jim was just a larger-than-life personality, very kind and smart,’’ St. James said. “Being here at Sebring and inducted into the Hall of Fame here today, I can’t equate it in my head. He was young and he was vital. I don’t understand it. It’s a huge loss, not just to the racing community.

 

“He was just a super, super guy, one of life’s people that makes things happen.’’ 

 

Pace indeed spent many days and years at the venerable track in Central Florida – racing and winning himself and also teaching the craft to scores of aspiring drivers. In a career that spanned four decades, he was as beloved by those he taught as by those he raced against – no small feat in and of itself.

 

Initially, Pace had planned to become a doctor and even completed three years of medical school in his native Mississippi. But his fondness for racing and natural ability behind the wheel of a race car compelled him to fast track another career.

 

Pace started racing professionally in the Barber Saab Pro Series, then made his way…



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