02nd Aug2017

Utah 6 Hour PREVIEW

by Michael Chandler

WERC endurance race 2015 MMP Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-175.jpg

We’re fast approaching the annual Utah 6 Hour endurance race, a Western Endurance Racing Championship race that brings out all types: fool hardy amateurs in Miatas, seasoned veterans in Miatas, and everyone else who doesn’t think Miata is always the answer, they all show up to our slice of heaven in a cow pasture to ply their trade.  And in an effort to ply my trade, here’s a preview of the cars and teams you’ll see.  Class by class, with the usual mix of useful information and bad jokes you’ve come to expect.  AND AWAY WE GO!

E0

In E0, we have ten entries in a wide breadth of vehicles.  Some of which have your favorite locals, and others that you may have seen elsewhere.  Let’s talk about them!

  • In the #89 Team Automaxx Nissan 350Z we have Spec Z regulars Richard Fitzgerald, Tom Kaminski, Chad Aalders, along with Stephen Martin.  From Matt Guiver “2nd year attempting to finish the 6 hour. Running Stephens car, Stephen is also running it in the sprint race! All star team roster means pace is good, just need strategy and a trouble free run. Competing against much faster cars in E0.”  All Star might be an understatement, two of the top three Spec Z drivers (Tom and Chad) in the car, and Richard had an amazing showing at the last weekend.  Look for these guys to make E0 difficult for some other teams
  • NASA Regular Toby Crawford is being joined by Michele Abbate in the #432 Makes & Models Subaru BRZ.  Who is Michele?  Well, she’s a championship winning road racer along with being a finalist in the Hoonigans’ #HooniganWanted female driver search.  Toby and the BRZ haven’t always been on the same page this season, but hopefully they can work out a tentative peace so they can see the checkered flag.
  • Erik Davis, Jeremy Renshaw, James Fluckey, DJ Quint, and Phillip Buffington will be sharing the #8 German Auto Service BMW 325is.  Don’t know much about this team, except that apparently DJ works for Toyota.  Or is somehow affiliated with the automotive giant.
  • TruSpeed Autosport is back this year to defend their win from last year.  The familiar #45 is sporting the Mother’s Polishes and Wax livery, but there has been a last minute driver change.  Tom Haacker and James Slavik won’t be joined by Pirelli World Challenge and IMSA pro Kelly Collins.  Instead Sloan Urry, local hot shoe and Porsche specialist, will be taking his place.
  • Strom Motorsports is entering an Audi RS3 LMS in this year’s enduro.  The #77 car will be driven by David DePillo and the man himself Brett Strom.  
  • The #61 Roadshagger Racing M3 will be driven by Gavin Ernstone and Jon Morley.  The car is sponsored by Simply Vegas Real Estate, which is leading me to think that these guys are coming up from the greater Las Vegas area.
  • In the Heart of Gold (the #42 car Spec Z) we have Jan Gerday, joined by Spec Miata gangster Carter James and Spec Z wizard Arthur Golebiowski.  Neither driver is sporting two heads, nor are they from Betelgeuse V, but according to Matt “this could be a threat for Spec Z E0 podium run.”
  • Daren Jorgensen and Steve Marx are teaming up in a Rearden Racing prepped BMW M325i Racing to challenge for the top spot in class.  The car will be wearing Darren’s #65
  • The #50 RK Motorsports M3 will be driven by Andy Kwitowski and Skip Rebozzi.  If you think I copied and pasted that sentence, you’re wrong!  Anyway, the car is sponsored by AK Construction, and is orange and white.
  • Our final E0 entry is the #175 Team BMW Z4 Z4 M Coupe, sponsored by Anne.  Don’t know if that’s a person, or a company, or what, but there’s that.  The driving duo will be Dean Mansour and Blaine McNutt.

E1

By the way, all of these photos are from last year’s race.  So, don’t show up on Saturday and expect to see these cars out on track.  ANYWAY…

  • DJ Quint is back, and in an FRS.  He’s listed as one of three driver in the #86 TAPG Motorsports FRS.  The other drivers listed are Richard Woodroffe and Michael Donick.  Matt Guiver says of the team “Another FRS! They ran previously with NASA Utah in our endurance race several years back. Now they are back to see if they can get more laps in then Toby!”
  • Tom Rogers may be in a new BMW 3 Series for his regular NASA duties, but he’s bringing back the ol’ #160 325is for the enduro!  Tom is joined by fellow NASA regulars Joe Evers and Chris Haunold for the race, and apparently the SGS in SGS Motorsports means something.
  • Jennifer Gannett is bringing out her Ian Lacy Racing prepped Miata, and will be joined by Shawn Humphries and Brendon Johnson.  Two Ford Performance Racing School instructors.  Matt thinks this trio will “battle for E1 supremacy”, and I’m inclined to agree.
  • PCS Motorsports’s #184 Porsche Boxster will be driven by Robert Gardner.  Robert, driver of the orange Jaegermeister Porsche in Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy, and his team will be referred to as Party Time Racing from here on out.  
  • The #7 GTI Racing entry is not a GTI, but is a BMW 330i.  Mark Mitchell and John Norris will be sharing driving duties.
  • J.R. and George Smith are not related, but they do race together.  And for this enduro they will be driving the #40 J.R. Smith Coaching Porsche Boxster.  From Matt, “J.R. and George Smith (not related) are once again teaming up and hoping for better luck this weekend. Having made several attempts to run endurance racing in the past across several platforms, have so far met with the fickle racing gods hope to change their luck with a very reliable Spec Boxter.”

E2

One E2 entry, the #88 Stick My Car Ford Fiesta.  Matt says of the car and team “Jason (Harward) has recruited the stalwart Joe Sim and plans to campaign the Fiesty Fiesta!” 

E3

Nine entries in E3, and eight of them are Miatas.  One is a very special Miata…

  • That special Miata is Paul Mitchell, #58.  I’ll let Matt explain: “Team M.A.T.T (Matt Guiver, Alex Whetman, Todd Ainsworth, and Todd Green) trying to capture the E3 title once more on their home court, we have worked hard on making PM easier to drive, and getting our team drivers some much needed time behind the wheel. It’s going to come down to good stops, fast driver changes, and solid pace to keep PM in the fight for the top step.”  Paul is the little car that seemingly can, no matter what.  It’s as reliable as your grandfather’s watch, and has probably survived as much stuff as the old man too.  Don’t count out ol’ Paul.
  • Robert Ames is apparently going to be this year’s Iron Man, as he’s the only driver listed in the #178 Sector Purple Racing Miata.  Good luck Robert.
  • The #76 Hair On Fire Racing Miata will be driven by father and son team Matthew and David Dirks.  David is the 2013 Spec Z National Champ, so don’t sleep on this car.
  • Neil Houston and Alex Nelsen will challenge the podium in the #29 NRG Motorsports Miata.
  • The #3 FG Sport Miata will be driven by Bolivar Monjaraz, and NASA TT regular Eduardo Acuero.  From Matt, “Boli has chosen Eduardo Acuero to join him for the 6 hour. Boli has crewed professional races, and several successful 25 hour teams. He is very excited to join the driving ranks and apply everything he has learned in his long crew career to make a successful bid for E3 this year.”  Could they win?  It’s a six hour race, anyhting is possible.  But this will be a team that’ll battle until the very end.
  • The #1 Rocky Mountain Reapers entry also has one driver listed, Erik Nemnich.  Who will be the 2017 Iron Man?  STAY TUNED TO FIND OUT!!!
  • The Neth Racing Works #15 Miata will be shared by Robert, Nadine, and David Neth.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say they’re all related.
  • Christopher and Andrew Steyn are the duo in the Steyn Motorsports #11 Miata.
  • The Brave Little Toaster is the lone Porsche 944 in the sea of Miatas.  Greg, Blake, and Darrell Troester are sharing duties in the #518 944, and they could give ol’ Paul some fits.  

ENP

PROTOTYPES!

  • The NASA Rocky Mountain Region director Dave Balingit is driving the #16 NASA Rocks Elan NP01
  • Dakota Dickerson and Clayton Magouyrk are in the #1 Ice 9 Motorsports NP01.
  • And Charles Streicher will share driving duties with Benjamin Waddell in the #82 Ice Nine Motorsports NP01.

ES

For the bigger horsepower cars, and other ridiculousness.  Four very diverse entries.

  • Alex Welch, a World Challenge pro out of Colorado, is joining Eban Bell in the #76 Red Beard Racing Porsche Cayman S.
  • The Team Prototype Development Group is back with their Factory Five GTM.   Beau Borders and Mike Holland will be splitting time in the #4 car.
  • ColdCock Whiskey #66 Chevrolet Silverado Super Truck is going to be turning some laps with Troy Lindstrom and Shawn Sampson behind the wheel.
  • David Nadler is going to be out in the #613 Tatum Racing Cayman.

ESR

The top class, with two entries.

  • The #21 Diamond Level Motorsports NP01 will have Scott and Aaron Meyer, and Joseph Fagner behind the wheel.
  • Norma’s Last Chance, a Norma M20FC #1, will be driven by Phil Fogg Jr.  A Norma M20FC is an open top prototype, approved by the FIA and ACO for use in their various series, and can have accept any of a series of engines.  From a tiny 1.2L turbocharged unit, up to a massive LS7.  I have no idea what this Norma has, but it’s going to be pretty cool to see it.

And there it is, all of the entries for this year’s Utah 6 Hour.  We’ll be out there on Saturday, and we hope to see you as well!

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