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There's Something About Spectre Performance-Sponsored Driver Mary Pozzi

Mary Pozzi with camera in hand having conversation with fellow photographer

Not just a gifted driver, Pozzi is quite the photographer too.

Always a smile on her face, this native Californian and Spectre Performance-sponsored driver, Mary Pozzi, is most assuredly NOT your average gal. In fact, she has 12 national titles to her name and can wheel a car like nobody’s business. Mary grew up behind the gates in Rolling Hills, an affluent neighborhood in the Palos Verdes. An only child whose mother and father were both doctors. But she didn’t live a charmed life. You might say her drive came from her early experiences as her father wasn't the easy-peasy, push over type of parent and failure was not an option. However, her nurturing mother was there to encourage and remind her to always keep moving forward. They were driven and so must she be.

She was in her late teens when she took her first shop class and discovered then that she absolutely loved cars. She never dreamed that this one class would expose her to so many different opportunities in the automotive industry. Nor did she have any idea that this passion would evolve into a life-long career.

Mary Pozzi, with mic in hand, announcing an SCCA Event.

Mary, announcing for an SCCA event, learns through volunteering wherever she can!

She’s proud of the fact that she learned at an early age to pick herself up by the bootstraps. She’s never been formally educated but has more knowledge than plenty of folks with their BS in some boring field of study! She’s intelligent, decisive, and extraordinarily articulate. Not surprising, these qualities make for an excellent student and teacher. She’s worked as an EKG Technician and even practiced in a lab as a phlebotomist. But for Mary, cars are her real passion.

When you have a chance to sit down and talk to Mary about her work, her eyes get a little glint of excitement as she shares with you about her day to day real life and the investigations she heads involving vehicles, theft and recovery, damage and determining the cause of accidents. She’s an automotive CSI of sorts and her detective work always yields a truthful outcome. She is meticulous and detailed in her approach. Perhaps that’s why she is so good at what she does. Whether at work or on the track, Mary works hard at being her best.

Mary Pozzi's first real race car a Datsun 240Z with 300HP

Pozzi’s first real racer, her 2.8L, 300HP Datsun 240Z. She won 2 National Solo Titles in this car!

Mary Pozzi started autocrossing back in 1976 with a 2.0 liter Capri, some worn tires, and a sort-of boyfriend that had been involved with SCCA and local events. The guy didn’t last but her love affair with dodging cones sure did.

Before long she ditched the Capri for a stock Datsun 240Z that quickly moved up the levels of prep and was eventually taken off the street completely. This car helped Pozzi win two SCCA National Solo titles for her in A Prepared Ladies class (1980-81). In 1982 the 240Z was sidelined due to some engine issues when a friend offered her to race his 1965 Ford Mustang that had been cloned as a Shelby GT350. She ran this car in C Prepared and took home two more victories in 1982 and 1983. As luck would have it another friend offered his “real-deal” AC Cobra for A Prepared, which Mary describes as not for the faint of heart, or arms! This car had no power steering and came equipped with Goodyear slicks. Almost impossible for her to drive, she came up with a plan to increase the front tire pressures almost double the rears. In doing so she would be right on point with her male counterparts and their lap times! Another SCCA Championship in A Prepared Ladies was her result!

Mary featured with a middle schooler handling a bike repair.

Giving back is the name of the game according to Pozzi.

In 1986, Mary tried a front-wheel drive or as she lovingly refers to it, “wrong wheel drive,” when she had a moment of insanity and purchased a Dodge Omni GLH-Turbo. Clearly not her favorite car for various reasons. But she made the trek to Nationals having owned the car for about a month and with only two events under her belt, Mary “freaking” Pozzi still managed to eek out another championship! 1987 gave way to what she calls the Camaro years where she would win three more National titles in several third-gens in F Stock Ladies class.

Mary left autocrossing completely in late 1990 and changed direction to focus on equestrian competitions. A slow learner (wink wink), Mary discovered over the course of fifteen years, that in order to make a million dollars with horses, she would need to have TWO million. So in 2005 she sold the horses and would once again return to cars.

Mary featured here with friends on mountain bikes on a Salinas trail.

Mary’s an avid mountain biker. Here with friends in the rolling hills of Salinas, California.

She had no aspirations of returning to autocrossing seriously in 2006 and ran a couple local events just for fun. She’d bought a 2002 Chevrolet Camaro SS as a daily driver and decided to play around with that. However, in stock trim, a fourth-gen really blows in handling and braking, according to Mary. In 2002 she had also bought a 1973 Camaro Rally Sport that she was finally getting somewhere with. Her first “real” event in the 1973 Camaro was an SCCA National Tour which put her in C Prepared due to the modifications with suspension and drivetrain. She was up against a former National Champion in a highly modified fourth-gen V6 that was about 1,000 lbs. lighter than her small-tired and underpowered Camaro. Yet she managed to win by a hair.

It would seem that Mary Pozzi has all the right stuff when it comes to racing. From talent to the car setup, this is one driver that knows what it takes and what she needs to be competitive. She is the real deal. She preps her own car and handles the maintenance as well. Whether Mary needs help installing a clutch, or just needs a pre-race pep talk, husband, David, also an accomplished racer, is typically on hand to help with the big stuff or even the smallest details.

Mary at the autocross start line at 2011 Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational

At the autocross start line during the 2011 Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational

In 2008, Mary made suspension mods, changing shocks and the front bar on the SS and took it to the Nationals Tour to run in F Stock Open, where once again she won. As she contemplated heading to Nationals she noted that the winning car would clearly be an S197 Shelby GT she’s seen before, so she went out and bought one! She ran a couple local events then headed to Nationals and won the FSL class. After she returned home she sold the car. It was clearly time for a change of pace.

That change of pace she longed for came in 2009 when she heard about Good Guys, Bill Howell’s Run to the Coast events and of course the big show, The OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational. For a short time, her Camaro was perfect for these events and she did well. She met some wonderful people during these years and have seen these events go from small time and casual, to extreme complete with paparazzi and TV Crews. Having cut her teeth in Pro Solo, she was thrilled when SCCA introduced the CAM, Classic American Muscle, class as her 1973 Camaro was exactly what the rule book wanted. At Nationals in 2015 she became the fourth woman to become Champion in an Open Class winning CAM-T (no powder puff class here). It came down to one final run with her closest competitor, Al Unser Jr. who was on course simultaneously and learned of her winning time before she did. She recalls how amazing she felt getting back to grid, worried if she’d hit a cone, but the chips stacked in her favor affording her yet another nationals title!

Mary, ahead of her friends and fellow competitors out on the go kart track.

Whether horses or horsepower, bikes or carts, her winning attitude keeps her ahead of the crowd!

Whether Mary is behind the wheel of her Inferno Orange “Best Car in the World” Camaro or hitting the trails on her mountain bike, she gives it her all. She is driven to succeed and driven to give back to the community she has so much passion for. She learned early on that “paying it forward” made life better always, in all ways. Whether riding shotgun in a fellow participants car, or providing feedback and assistance to a relative newcomer, Mary never takes for granted all of the opportunities to learn and grow she’s been given throughout her career. She firmly believes that she could never have made it this far in the Camaro without help from the aftermarket industry. She credits Spectre Performance, Baer Brakes, RideTech Shocks, Art Morrison Enterprises, Lingenfelter Engines, BFGoodrich Tires, Centerforce Clutches, Forgeline Wheels, Marquez Design, Anvil Auto, Strange Engineering, and JCG Restoration, stating that each company had their own special ingredient and her car is only as good as the sum of its parts, and that those parts are the absolute best.

At the final qualifying installment of Optima's Search for the Ultimate Street Car challenge, Mary Pozzi once again, made the final cut and won yet another coveted invite to OUSCI, proving like so many times before that there really is "Something About Mary!"

1973 Inferno Orange Camaro RS Specs:

POWER: LINGENFELTER LS7

TRANSMISSION: Tremec T56 Magnum

FINAL DRIVE: STRANGE BUILT Dana 60

SUSPENSION: Art Morrison Enterprise front subframe with independent rear suspension

SHOCKS: RideTech triple adjustable coilovers

WHEELS: Forgeline GA3’s

TIRES: BFGoodrich Rival S

BRAKES: Baer 14” rotors with 6R calipers

BODY PANELS: Anvil Auto

CLUTCH: Centerforce Dyad

BODY TRIM & LIGHTING: Marquez Design

INTAKE: Spectre Performance

PAINT & BODY: JCG Restoration & Customs

Mary Pozzi and Optima Series Race Director, Jimi Day, as he presents her with the OUSCI Invite

Mary Pozzi with Optima Series Race Director Jimi Day presenting her a coveted invite to OUSCI

Mary Pozzi's Inferno Orange '73 Camaro in the video game Gran Turismo 6

Pozzi’s 1973 Camaro was featured in the ultra popular video game Gran Turismo 6.

Mary Pozzi in her Inferno Orange '73 Camaro on Spring Mountain Road Course during 2011 OUSCI

Out on the road course at Spring Mountain pushing her 1973 Camaro to the limit during the 2011 OUSCI

Husband David Pozzi seen coaching Mary as she sits in the driver's seat.

Husband and veteran racer, David Pozzi, giving our gal a pre-race prep talk.


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