Hometown Hero Ray Shaffer Returns as Grand Marshal of the 40th Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix
For Immediate Release – July 5, 2022
It was July, 1986, just the fourth year of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. A teenage racing enthusiast from the South Hills, who’d hungrily read through stacks of hand-me-down Road & Track magazines, heard an interview with a famous driver on the Schenley Park PA system. Bob Akin, who’d just won the Sebring 12-Hour race for the second time that spring, had come to support his son, Bobby, who was racing a vintage Lotus 18 in the PVGP Formula Junior race. Sixteen-year-old Ray Shaffer found Akin and introduced himself. It would be the most significant meeting in Ray’s life.
There are many twists and turns to his story, but his path led him in motorsports to managing one of the world’s most well-known Porsche dealerships, Brumos, in Jacksonville, Florida. Bob Akin was a business executive and a championship-winning sports car racer who had won the Sebring 12-Hour endurance race twice in Porsche racing cars. After Akin introduced Ray to an owner at Brumos, Ray got a job there. Over 15 years, he worked his way through the ranks, finally becoming General Manager. Not solely a Porsche dealership, Brumos ran an extremely successful racing program, fielding two of the great American Porsche drivers, the late Peter Gregg and Hurley Haywood.
When the owners of Brumos sold the business, Ray moved on to Porsche Cars North America, where he is now Market Development Manager at Porsche Classic in Atlanta. He’s also Curator for the Heritage Gallery at the Porsche Experience Center.
Porsche Classic is responsible for spare parts supply and factory restorations of all of the brand’s road-approved classic cars. The range extends from a selection of various accessories and technical literature through to classic spare part supply and new editions of spare parts that are no longer available. Porsche is also successively extending its international dealer and service network with the Porsche Classic Partner program. These are existing authorized Porsche dealerships with specific expertise in handling classic Porsche cars.
Ray has seldom strayed far from racetracks throughout his career. Once dreaming of becoming a professional race driver, he has competed in Grand Am GT, and Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) events, and it’s likely he now has access to some very impressive Porsche cars, both new and classic.
Ray Shaffer comes to Pittsburgh this week as Grand Marshal of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, where Porsche is Marque of the Year. He says, “In 1983 (and through the decade of the 80s), the PVGP opened my youthful eyes to an exciting world of automobiles and I simply cannot wait to get back to my hometown to celebrate the 40th anniversary with family, friends and fellow enthusiasts.”
It’s a homecoming on several fronts for Ray – a return to his hometown and to his alma mater — and to beautiful Schenley Park, where a chance meeting some 35 years ago started him on a path to a career with perhaps the finest sports and race car brand in the world.
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About the PVGP
Begun in 1983, the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix is entering its 40-year and features two weekends of racing action. The first weekend is the PVGP Historics at Pitt Race. The second weekend is racing on a 2.33-mile road course set on the streets of Schenley Park, a city park adjacent to the Carnegie Mellon and University of Pittsburgh campuses. Between the race weekends there are car shows, parties, car shows road rallies, and more. PVGP is a volunteer-run event with 1,200 volunteers. The PVGP is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization with a charity mission and has raised $6 million for the Autism-Pittsburgh and Merakey Allegheny Valley School for individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism.