Jim Burke began year-one in 1983 when he and friend Pat Hollands hiked the entire course – including up and down Panther Hollow. His participation continued with helping another friend, Charlie Wood, with the Patron Parade. It was at the 1986 PVGP that, as a Patron himself, he rescued his 1968 Jaguar E-Type out of it’s 18 year hibernation. Jim still drives it to British Car Day each year.
But it was in 1992 that Jim, as PVGP race announcer Ted Sohier puts it, began to “prowl the paddock”, the races and the car shows, sketchbook in hand. Jim has continued his sketching to this very day. Along the way he was discovered and selected as the 2010 poster artist for the PVGP.
Jim creates his sketches on-site, usually in a few minutes, and often sends the car owners a copy of the sketch and a note inviting them to donate to the PVGP charities. Hundreds of dollars are raised each year by this incredible gesture – just another example of Jim’s generous nature.
With Jim’s permission, PVGP has published his collection of his live-action sketches in sketchbook format. It is titled “Weekends In July, The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix”. The book is a 25-year celebration of the unique character of our world-class Pittsburgh event. Voice of the Vintage Ted Sohier helped Jim with the project and it was beautifully printed by Jake Zoller of RR Donnelley.
The sketchbook contains 82 sketches made over 25 years, from the cars shows, to the paddock and on the race course. The book is printed just like Jim’s sketchbook – on uncoated stock with a spiral bind – a collector’s items and a must for any PVGP or car fan.
All of the proceeds from the book go to the PVGP charities. They are available for $25 each and can be purchased at the PVGP merchandise tents or online at here.
Jim is much more than an artist, as he travels the country attending car events and races, he has become an ambassador for the PVGP – which is exactly why we asked him to serve as our Grand Marshal this year – to lead the parade on the track during our opening ceremonies on Sunday, July 15. The lap takes about 15 minutes, just enough time for Jim to do a few sketches!
Asked why he sketches at the PVGP, Jim replies “The PVGP captures the real character of early racing on city streets. It’s a unique opportunity to sketch live-action vintage racing close up… and contribute to supporting individuals with Autism and intellectual and developmental disabilities in western Pennsylvania.” He calls it a great way to spend a weekend in July.