When you think of Puerto Rican motorsports most of us think of the old school drag cars we've seen primarily on the East Coast. While historically Puerto Rico has been known for it's shoebox cars with rotary engines or old Toyota engines, unknown to the masses is that things have substantially changed since then. While we still see these mini dragsters lifting off the line at Englishtown, in Puerto Rico we found EVO VIIIs and IXs squaring off against STis, 350Zs and Supras at the Ponce dragstrip.
We at Turbo have always admired the enthusiasm Puerto Rico has for performance engines and motorsports and this impression grew even more after our recent trip to the island. For its small geographical size Puerto Rico packs in more racetracks and performance shops than several U.S. states combined. Our favorite U.S. territory hasn't one but over half a dozen racetracks. The track we visited in Ponce has a dragstrip, road course, drifting area and tons of pit space with AC/DC outlets at each spot (something you never see in the U.S.). Not to mention it sits right up against the ocean so the view can't be beat, you can just stroll over to the beach when you've seen enough cars for a day.
We also have never seen so many Mitsubishi Lancers in our lifetime. There the Lancer is the equivalent to the Honda Civic here. Following suit, the Evolution is quite a population performance platform in Puerto Rico. Hondas lose the popularity contest and were few and far between but the battle of Subaru STi versus Mitsubishi EVO was quite alive. Also on hand were a good number of 350Zs, Porsches, Integras, RX-7s, G35s, SRT-4s and Supras. In terms of themes, engine performance reigned supreme but aesthetic modifications were also taken into consideration.
We were quite impressed with the amount of enthusiasm and pride the owners took in showing off their vehicles as well as how the shop owners we met showed camaraderie among each other. While there's always the jovial rivalry of whose model car is faster, we picked up a familial good vibe of everyone bonding over the passion they have for automotive performance.
To get a sampling of the Puerto Rican car culture check out their most popular forum and go-to site, carrito.net. The amount of traffic this website gets is staggering given the size of the population in Puerto Rico.
We had such a good time meeting everyone in the Puerto Rican import scene that we're looking forward to returning soon to bring you back more photos of the hidden gems they have hitting the racetracks and road courses in our "51st" state.
TURBO@PRIMEDIA.COMEditorial DirectorJohn Naderi
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Group Art DirectorTi Tong
EditorRobert Choo - Robert.Choo@primedia.com
Managing EditorRay Gonzalez - Ray.Gonzalez@primedia.com
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Engineering Editor-at-largeMike Kojima
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Staff PhotographerHenry Z. DeKuyper
Contributing EditorsEvan GriffeyDavid LuongDino Dalle CarbonareIssac MinonJohn PrescottPablo MazlumianJohn RoperE. John Thawley III
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