I guess I get that. But in every race series the classes are identified by a number series, even back in the earlier days. Maybe they could add a letter first to identify V vintage, P pioneer? Maybe the first digit identify the class they race in and the racer can pick whichever numbers they chose after that? A few examples from a spectator view where I was confused. Ryan Arcaro is in Vintage Open Buggy and he was # 85, then you had Mark McMillin in Vintage 6 cyl Buggy and he was # 23. Both being in the same era, both Chenowith beam buggy’s with 2 digit numbers. I assumed they were racing each other. Only after seeing the entry list did I know there was open & 6 cyl classes were separate.I am not NORRA but I think the answer to the race numbers has to do with the broad range of vehicles this race attracts. How would you number a Meyers Manx... Maybe MM1 ? MM2? Ok, that's easy enough... but what class number do you give the 3-door Suburban? Or the Porsche's? Or a Vanagen? Or all of the different yet similar UTV classes? Because there are so many unique vehicles I think allowing the racers to choose their number works. Most of the classes are pretty small (UTV exception) and you get to know who is racing in your class and go by name and vehicle and not their number. In that regard it's more persona and fun because you get to know the teams and vehicles and not just their number.
Then in Pioneer Buggy you had a Funco # 305 and in Pioneer truck you had Rich Minga running # 304. One digit apart but two different vehicles in different classes. Then go to Evolution buggy and these guys are running 2 & 3 digit #’s. Gay Smith races #20. I can tell the difference visually between Gay’s Baja vs McMillin’s buggy, but the numbers would make people think they are racing each other and how unfair that could look.
Regarding a Bronco or Jeep, that’s class 3. Short wheelbase 4x4. The Suburban, that’s class 4 long wheelbase 4x4. The Porsche, that’s class 6 production sedan or make a class for former Dakar rally cars If that’s were the Porsche originates from.
Again this is from an outsiders perspective. Like you said if I was there and in the race I would know the handful of racers in my class. But I still doubt I’d know all the classes and who’s who by name & class and not number.