12th Aug2016

The Utah 6 Hour

by Michael Chandler

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It was the beginning of the best ten days on this year’s calendar.  Acting as the meat in a sandwich where the delicious bread is a Salt City Drift event and Pirelli World Challenge, and the condiments are a NASA Utah weekend, was the annual Utah 6 Hour.  Now a staple on the NASA Utah calendar, the Western Endurance Racing Championship stop provides a unique opportunity for the drivers and fans to drive into the night, and see nothing but lights piercing the dark Tooele night.  And if you were out around turn 5 around 10:30-11, you would’ve seen me with a string of LED lights strewn about my torso.  I was easily identifiable, for safety!  Anywell, let’s talk about who took home a trophy!

E0

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Lyfe Motorsport was out with one of their own Spec Z’s (the Towne Storage Z) and supporting the #99 DLG Racing Z.  Showing that 350Z is life, the Lyfe backed teams finished 1-2 in E0!  The Towne Storage Z completed 147 laps in the 6 hours, with the DLG Z four laps behind them.

E1

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In E1, completing 153 laps in the allotted time, was the #65 E46 BMW of Strom Motorsports.  It was the teams second win of the day, having taken the win in the GTS5 class during the Lightning sprint race earlier.

E2

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The Fit is fucking go!  The #12 Honda Fit of Honda Performance Development completed 143 laps in 6:01:09.257, and probably had to stop for fuel once.

E3

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It was a battle of the Miatas in E3: the mighty and legendary Paul Mitchell versus the bug-eyed RJ Racing Miata.  I mean bug-eyed in the nicest way.  Look at those lights!  Those lights lit the way for 147 laps, and lit their way to victory.

ENP

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The ENP had one entrant, the Valkyrie Autosport Elan NP01.  Despite the teams best efforst, the little prototype went behind the wall after 29 laps.

ES

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This was a battle: the TruSpeed Autosport 997 Cup car versus the Makes & Models Huracan Super Trofeo.  A tried and true chassis versus a sprint race car.  WERC class leaders one win away from clinching their championship versus a team with multiple regional championships under their belt?  If you’ve been paying any attention to how these posts go, you know that by seeing the picture of the TruSpeed car that they won.  Not only did they win the Utah 6 Hour, they locked up the ES Class championship.  Congratulations to them!

ESR

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Now we arrive at the car I was most excited to see running.  Toby Crawford, driver of the Pink Ribbon Racing/Makes & Models Subaru BRZ, told me that there was a Ginetta G57 at UMC and that it was racing in the enduro.  It was the Ryno Racing team, sponsored by Design Masonry.  The G57 is based on Ginetta’s LMP3 design, and is probably a lot the same.*  The big difference is that the LMP3 spec Nissan engine, rated at 420bhp, has been replaced with a Chevrolet LS3, which makes 150 more horsepower than the LMP3 engine.  I was excited to see and hear the 900kg prototype tearing through the night, but unfortunately the car was retired after just 72 laps.

And there it is, another six hour race in the books!  I’m already looking forward to next year.  A tremendous shout out to all the race officials, corner workers, and safety crew for sticking it out until midnight.  A big thank you to the family, friends, and well wishers who came out and watched the race and cheered the teams on.  And all of the congratulations to all of the drivers and crew members for racing in the longest race on the NASA Utah calendar!  There were over thirty cars entered in the race, and they all took the green flag.  It was, as always, an amazing experience.

We can’t wait for next year.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.

 

14th Jun2016

Showers In The Vicinity: NASA Utah Round 4 TT Results

by Michael Chandler

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After a week of blistering heat, and the sun beating down upon those who dared venture out into its rays; the Saturday that followed was different.  Not the opposite, as that would be cloudy, with freezing temperatures and frozen precipitation falling and accumulating everywhere.  No, this was different.  It was colder, but not cold.  It was cloudy, but there were glimpses of blue sky.  There wasn’t frozen precipitation gathering on the track, but there were “showers in the area.”  At least that’s what my phone told me as I was trudging back to my car to get my rain gear, in the midst of a sudden, intense shower.  But while I was playing chicken with the weather behind the armco, on the tarmac were drivers dueling the clock.

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After months of being behind the wheel of Paul Mitchell, and in the garage working on his car, Todd Green finally got the blue car race ready.  And it was quite the debut.  He took home a pair of wins on the day, but for our purposes we’ll focus on the 1:45.34 lap time that secured his TTE win.  I’m not sure what he’s done exhaust wise, but the car sounds rowdy!  So much so that I was caught off guard when he came down the back straight.

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Jeb Brown was out and about in his Miata, when he wasn’t instructing.  Between imparting knowledge and trying to stay dry, Jeb managed to lay down a 1:54.032 in TTD.  That was good enough to hand Trever Pope his second place finish in the last six race days.

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I noticed a gorgeous, gray 911 as I was walking through the Day Garages.  The golden class and number stickers leaped off the paint, and the car stood out amongst the BRZs and 3 Series that sought shelter in the garage with it.  I knew I had to keep an eye out for the car when it was on track, and good thing I did.  Joe Evers drove the widow maker to a win in TTC, laying down a best time of 1:49.2.

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For the second time in… well ever, we had an Aerial Atom running competitive laps.  Very competitive laps.  Steve Marx came out of nowhere, and drove his high downforce jungle jim to a win in TTB.  How fast can some tubing with a motor strapped to it move?  His best lap on the sub-par day (weather wise) was 1:43.389.  Not bad for something that is completely, and utterly insane.

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It was a battle of the BRZs in TT3, as has been the norm for the majority of the season.  Despite there being what would appear to be better cars in the class, it’s been Mike and Andy dueling for the top two spots all season.  This day saw a third competitor cut into their dance.  Despite his best efforts, James Pasquier couldn’t out run Andy, who put up a 1:39.227 in the ever changing conditions.

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In his usual fashion, Alex managed to elude me all day.  He eluded me everywhere, except when he was on track.  Despite all of the witchcraft happening under the hood of the Focus of Doom, he could not escape my lens.  I managed to catch him as he was on his way to a win in TT2.  His best time of the day was a staggering 1:35.303.  Amazing, considering that he’s in a home-brewed, front wheel drive, big turbo Focus.  To put that into perspective: he was faster than a Noble, a Porsche Cayman GT4 Club Sport, several 911’s, and Wade Hall’s Mustang which puts down enough power to alter the Earth’s rotation.

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Front wheel drive has certain advantages in adverse conditions.  Having the weight of the engine over the driven wheels helps to keep the rubber on the tarmac, and not sliding across the water on top of it.  It has some disadvantages too (understeer, having the driven wheels also doing the braking AND steering), but like Alex and his Focus, Zack Serna has tamed those disadvantages.  He took his supercharged, K series powered Civic hatchback to brave new heights and set a time of 1:40.995.  It held up to the rain, the wind, and the charging Noble of Kam Urquhart.

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Speaking of Porsche Caymans, one was atop the TTU ladder.  I say “one” because there were two running in the same group.  Both sported prime numbers, and both were white.  According to the results on My Laps (what I’m going off of, because that’s all I’ve got at the moment) the #11 car was the winner, laying down a 1:36.963.  This is where things get tricky.  Greg Warnock is on the list as the winner, driving the #11 car.  As you can see in the photo above, Jeff Kearl drives the #11.  Greg has the #07, and in a weird twist is also third in TTU (in the #07 car).  Now, they could’ve very easily hopped in the other’s car.  Or there could be some other mix up, I don’t know.  Either way, one of them won and the other came in third, with Wade Hall sandwiched in the middle.

And there it is, a comprehensive and wordy review of Saturday’s TT action.  We’ll be back with Thunder and Lightning coverage, and a gallery of some of the rooster tails that were kicked up as the rains were falling, later this week.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
22nd Mar2016

The Big Bad Wolf

by Michael Chandler

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The first NASA Utah event saw a hot shoe pro driver show up.  The driver was Robert Thorne, who was last seen driving for K-Pax Racing in Pirelli World Challenge.  Unfortunately we missed the K-Pax team last year when the series stopped in Utah, and hopefully they’ll be back this year with their McLarens.  Since we missed him last year, we got some photos of him and his machine this year.  Well, not so much of him, but of his machine at least: his boosted Honda S2000.  How do we know that it’s boosted?

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He’s either all about on track air conditioning, or that’s an intercooler designed to handle some serious boost.

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The car has massive tires on all four corners.  315’s tend to poke out *just* a hair.

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Big, sticky tires and copious amounts of boost require a bit of assistance to be useful, so there’s a massive rear wing and splitter.  And the headlights are pretty sweet too.

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The interior received some minor upgrades.  Nothing crazy, just some Racetech Seats, a set of harnesses, a new shift knob (heh), and a MOMO steering wheel.  Marvel at it’s awesomeness!  And marvel at this!

GALLERY TIME:

 

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.

 

20th Aug2015

WERC 6 Hour Enduro: The Night Shenanigans

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chendler

It comes once a year, and everyone looks forward to it.  It’s a night full of excitement and fun that lasts into the wee hours of the morning.  Usually some bad things happen throughout the course of the evening, but everyone looks back on the night through rose colored glasses.

Halloween?  New Years Eve?  That  one guy Bill’s  birthday rager?

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Hell no!  It’s the Western Endurance Racing Championship six hour endurance race!  A rare chance to see racing under the serene and black Tooele night sky.  And also pit stops, something you don’t normally run across at your usual NASA weekend.  All very exciting stuff!

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Since starting in the middle of the night and running til sunrise is a generally bad idea (how ready to go are you at midnight?), this started at 6PM and ran until midnight. The fading golden hour light allowed those gathered to spectate a chance to see the cars in some dramatic light.

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DRAMA!  Anyway, on to some sweet, sweet pit lane action!

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Things were the same, no matter who was coming into the pits: one person hops the wall, and adds fuel while someone stands a few feet away and points a fire extinguisher at them.  A fresh driver and another crew member hop the wall to get the old driver out and the new one in.  Someone might clean the windshield, and there was usually one photographer hanging around.  However, not all pit boxes are created equal.

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There were small teams, with only the bare minimum crew.

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Then you had the GMG pit box, which was a full on, pro level pit stall.  A lot of crew members, an engineer, racks of tires, fuel hoses and lens flare!

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But most teams were like Paul Mitchell and Team Unfair Advantage: crewed almost entirely by the drivers.

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The QMD/034 Motorsport even had Gavin Pouquette with them!  Say hi Gavin!

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*sigh* moving on…

Artsy fuel can shot

Artsy fuel can shot

The action shifted back to the track after the teams cycled through their pit stops.

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Where some people were not adjusting to the creeping darkness!

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Not everybody was having brake issues though.  Heading into Black Rock, almost everyone was lighting up their brake rotors!

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With the light practically gone it was time to break out the tripod, open up the shutter for longer and longer periods, and take a stab at who was flying past you in the blackness.

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Some cars were easy to identify.  That blue streak was from the LED strip one the B-pillar of the QMD/034 Motorsport A4.  However, most cars were just noise points of light.

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LED light bars are cheap, and readily available.  That means most everyone was running them so they could cut through the nearly impenetrable night.  This also meant that anyone, or anything, looking into the oncoming traffic was treated to brief periods of blindness.  The trails that the hyper white LEDs cut into the darkness were impressive, but looking away from traffic provided and even more impressive display.  I didn’t stick around to see the checkered flag, but I do know who won!

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In EO, the #61 BMW completed 153 laps, which put them one lap up on the #44 Inverter Technology/Achilles M3 and secured the win.

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The #65 BMW, representing Bullet Perofrmance took home the win in E1.

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The QMD/034 Motorsports A4 was the sole E2 competitor, and therefore took home first AND last.  Impressive.

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E3 was the deepest class with eight competitors, it was also extremely diverse.  In a field that included several Miatas, an Audi 90, and even a E90 BMW M3, it… Well, to be honest it came as no surprise that the HPD Race Club Fit took the win.  It completed 140 laps, and probably had to stop for fuel once.

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The GMG R8 LMS Ultra completed 169 laps in the six hours of the race, and recorded a 1:54.514 lap during the race.  Suffice it to say, they won their class, and the race overall.

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AND FINALLY, we come to ESR.  ESR, like E2, only had one competitor.  However, the Competitive Edge car managed to record the 5th quickest lap of the race!

And there you have it folks, six hours of racing condensed into less than 1000 words.  This might be easier to digest, and more convenient to read while at work, but this does not compare to actually being there.  As soon as we have the schedule for next year, we’ll let you know, and we’ll all have a little party while out there!  It’ll be fun!

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.