ARA Driver Spotlight: Pat Moro
Updated: Jun 8
Pat Moro is a name that needs very little, if any introduction in the world of US Rallying. The long-time veteran started rallying in 2003, and through the years has won championships, competed against the biggest names in motorsports, and built one of the most fascinating cars on the rally circuit.
Pat Moro’s rallying career began in 2003 behind the wheel of a Subaru Impreza WRX STi in the SCCA Club Rally circuit. The Up-and-coming privateer ran his own team, Pat Moro Racing Motorsports, which was started alongside his long-time team mate, Tim Rooney.
Having just raced one season, in 2004 Moro had already managed to get third place in the SCCA Production GT class championship, before moving up to second in 2007, and first in 2008.
With a championship under his belt, Moro didn’t back down, and continued on his hot streak over the next few years.
Moro even got to race his privateer Subaru at the famed LA Coliseum on multiple occasions, as he competed in the Rally competitions that were broadcast on national television, helping the sport gain a foothold in the US.
The 2010 Rally America season would prove to be Moro’s best season yet as he once again took the championship in his class of Super Production, but also managed to place fifth across overall, beating out the likes of Ken Block, Andrew Comrie-Picard, and Dave Mirra.
While Moro was proving his skills on stages, the X-Games announced they would be adding a European-style Rallycross competition called SuperRally in 2010, which would mark the beginning of the sport in the US.
PMR Motorsports was able to compete in US Rallycross from the very beginning, and competed in the first set of Rallycross events at the New Jersey Motorsports Park in 2010, making sure to make a mark in the growing sport early on.
2012 would see Moro and teammate Rooney compete in the first full year of the Global Rallycross Championship alongside all the greats. The still self-funded team would find themselves racing alongside Travis Pastrana, Rhys Millen, Dave Mirra, Sebastian Loeb, Marcus Grohnolm, Brian Deegan, Tanner Foust, and countless other giants with factory and corporate support.
Despite this Moro landed 11th overall in the championship, the top self-funded competitor by far, and just shy of breaking into the top ten in his most competitive racing series yet.
2013 would see Moro catch a big break as he secured Chevrolet backing to run a Sonic for a limited number of events every year in GRC, marking the beginning of the end of his Subaru days.
After two seasons and nine starts running the turbo-four powered Sonic in Global Rallycross, including the X-Games again in 2015, Moro silently stopped competing in GRC, and took a year away from rallying all together.
2017 would see a small return to stage rallying, once again in a WRX STi, with Pat running three events, and winning his class in two, proving yet again that he was a force to be reckoned with.
With GRC folding and the sport of Rallycross hitting a low-point in the US around this era, Moro found himself with a well-built Chevy Sonic RX car, but nowhere to easily race it. This is when Moro’s greatest idea yet came to light.
With the ARA’s open-ended guidelines for engine displacement, Moro set out to build a whole new type of beast. An AWD Chevy Sonic powered by an LS3 V8.
Moro, running again as a privateer, debuted the car at the perfect event, the 2019 Rally in the 100 Acre Wood. Known for its long, fast sections, the Missouri event tailored itself nicely to the roaring V8 under the hood.
Still being a self-funded team after all these years, Moro is very proud of what his crew was able to put together.
“Like all these cars tend to have a mind of their own right?” Moro said earlier this year at the 2021 Rally in the 100 Acre Wood. “When it comes to the guys in the shop, it’s totally our design. All the engineering is done in house and all of that kind of stuff.”
Moro just came off of a fresh teardown during the off-season after a big wreck at the Ojibwe Forests Rally last year. Despite this not too much had changed in the build, and the team mainly focused on rebuilding to how it was before.
“We got a little bit of weight break (this year) but we didn’t get it in time after (installing) this shell.” Moro said of the off-season work. “I think the next shell we’ll probably got through the weight break for the rules.”
“The majority of the stuff was pretty much about the same, I don’t think there was a lot of changes, just wanted to make sure everything was put back in the same direction and everything was in the right areas.”
Moro is a big believer in the V8 Sonic platform, citing its handling, and low end power as some of the main strong points of the vehicle.
“It’s kind of like everybody says their baby is the best looking. So we think that we have a pretty good platform to work with, and we think the car handles great. There’s just such a fine difference between being really fast, and then not being fast.”
“I’m definitely confident in it. I just have to get through our teething pains. I think a lot of people do their teething pains, when they develop a car they do it in private, and we’re doing ours out in the public forum.”
Despite having to run on a lower budget than the likes of Subaru Motorsports USA, and Barry McKenna’s fleet of high-dollar rides, Moro is excited for the future of his team, and willing to continue to commit to putting his Sonic at the top of the leaderboard.
“Vermont (Sports Car) stuff is beautiful cars, and the R5s are very well developed cars with a lot of engineering behind them. So to be able to run in the mix in all of that kinda stuff, that’s already a huge step.”
“But then again I think we can get it to that next level.”
Moro's next event will be this weekend at the Southern Ohio Forest Rally.