All posts by Russ

Historic Sportscar Racing Classic 24 hours of Daytona + Trans Am Season Finale the debrief

I remember coming across a picture of a Tic Tac livery Porsche 962 Group C car advertising an event at Daytona… didn’t take me long to decide I must participate. The event: Historic Sportscar Racing Classic 24 hours of Daytona presented by IMSA. Reading about it I thought there would be a million people there… after all everywhere I go people say that Historic events are the best, at Watkins Glen or Laguna Seca or even international events like Spa-Fracorchamps.

Reality though was a bit more low key. But lucky for me not only did I get to see the aforementioned Tic Tac livery Porsche 962. I got to see four of them altogether. I figured they’d do a few parade laps and take it easy for display purposes. In reality though each car was pushing their limits. Some I clocked at nearly 180mph from my post at Pit Out during the race. Wow!

I was always of the opinion that prototypes resembling production cars made the best race cars. The more recent Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR or CLK LM I got to see a few times now is one of my favorites. Similarly Porsche 911 GT1 and the McLaren F1 GTR are amazing. But the cars that preceded that era of racing were the Porsche 956 and 962 respectively and for me seeing them race was a true highlight of the visit to Daytona.

Even though this Rothmans livery Porsche didn’t actually race, it was neat to watch it during practice keep up with the competition. I was convinced this was the car I got to see sitting at Bruce Canepa museum in California a few weeks back, but it was actually a different chassis altogether.

I knew the Dyson team was a competitive Mazda prototype racers in American Le Mans Series, but it was neat to learn they had a history with Porsche Racing in IMSA GTP

The Hawaiian Tropic Fabcar didn’t roll out until race day and after seeing it I really took a liking to it. Compared to the Tic Tac livery car this was like comparing IndyCar to F1, but still it looked beautiful.

I was happy to see other interesting sports cars I haven’t seen before like the Sunoco livery Camaro and the Oldsmobile Aurora IMSA GT.

Overall it was an incredible week… Five days on track at Daytona and most of the time all by myself in Pit Out. What an amazing experience.

It’s ironic that I’m going to mention Trans Am almost as an afterthought, but that’s what it felt like they were at this event. Even though it was their season finale they definitely played a support role for the HSR. That didn’t stop them from having some aggressive racing on display and I truly enjoyed the experience.

Anyway…  race day especially was a real enduro. We only had three SCCA people on Pit Lane (possibly four but he was on the HSR radio) and those three were basically there for the full 30 hours of the race. Starting 7am Saturday for the morning meeting, and finishing Sunday 1pm’ish after that last race got totally mangled with incidents. I attempted to work the full race through for two of my previous Daytona 24 hours (modern IMSA races) but the closest I came was working 22 hours in 2013… somehow this time around I managed to do all 30! It did help that there were 45 minute races with 15 minutes between sessions that I could sit down, but still.

Getting to the event was a real enduro also. I elected to drive down because flights weren’t all that cheap, and a one-way Hertz rental from one of NYC’s airports was just $4.99 per day. I decided to book a car for two days so I could do a more leisurely drive. And my total came out to just over $13 dollars. As cheap as it seems though the fuel killed the deal. It cost me $71 in fuel for the little Nissan Versa I got. Plus another $49 for a hotel in South Carolina to get some rest. I picked my usual stop on the North/South Carolina border to get some fresh pig wings from Dixie Pig in Rock Hill… my favorite!

Spending the night in Charlotte area was neat because I got to see a ton of Miata’s driving around. There was one sitting by my motel at a gas station when I pulled in. And another must have been dining at a fast food place near the motel when I went to pick up my food. So I quickly posted on facebook to see if anyone would want to meet up. Obviously it was too late to do something that evening, but next day I headed out to a Miata specialist shop in Columbia, South Carolina to check out their NC Miata race cars and the garage. And while there got a message from a Miata owner in Savannah, Georgia to meet up for lunch there. Perfect!

The Savannah Miata mini-meet was kind of funny… I neglected to mention to my new friend that I’m driving a rental car, and he almost showed up in his minivan that is used for car pooling… but I’m glad he stopped home to swap into his gorgeous Miata. Love that color blue!

Great opportunity to meet a fellow Miata owner and to try a new place… never been to Zaxby’s before, and it wasn’t bad.

The rental car though was a solid piece of shit, the only saving grace was the fact I squeezed out over 40mpg out of it on the 1,100 mile road trip.

Wish I could bring a little palm tree home one day… or move to a state with palm trees… like say: Florida?

I think one of these days I’ll just move down there!

Speaking of Florida two of my First Coast Miata buddies came out to watch the races on Friday… but because our schedule was so hectic I didn’t get a chance to say Hello… luckily I did get an opportunity to take a shot of their cars coming back from lunch:

Some great folks from the First Coast Miata Club in Jacksonville, FL

And so in closing it was a super incredible weekend. Got a chance to see some awesome machinery going really fast. And some stuff you don’t normally see out and about…. like the Ferrari F40

…which looked almost common parked next to this amazing thing:

So yeah, can’t say enough good things about this trip!

HSR Classic 24 hour at Daytona in Pictures

For anyone that hasn’t considered coming out for an HSR event in your area… Do it! If you can come out for the Classic 24h at Daytona, definitely Do it!!!

Some of my favorites of the weekend:

BMW M1

Porsche 962 Tic Tac livery

Porsche 962 Leyton House livery

Oldsmobile Aurora IMSA GT

Jaguar XJR IMSA GTP and World Sportscar Championship Group C

Oreca Lista livery

Jaguar XJR

The ugliest car of the weekend… a some sort of train-face Lola

Chrysler Oreca

Porsche 962 Rothmans livery

Ford GT

The March that Adrien Newey tore up…

Sunoco Camaro my favorite livery

Porsche 962 Dyson Racing

Porsche 962 Hawaiian Tropic livery

What a fantastic entry list for a race weekend…

 

There’s Classic 12 hours of Sebring coming up around Thanksgiving!

Porsche 962 at the HSR Classic 24h of Daytona

The one car that sold me on the HSR Classic 24h of Daytona was the Tic Tac livery Porsche 962 1980’s era Group C car. I had just gotten a really close look at the Rothmans livery Porsche 962 a month earlier at the Bruce Canepa museum in California while volunteering at Laguna Seca, and couldn’t wait to see one go flat out on a track. The HSR historics race was a great opportunity for that. Little did I know there would be a whole fleet of them there. Including a Vern Schuppan Porsche 962CR street version:

I had no idea this thing even existed, and in fact when I first saw it I thought… wow someone made a kit car, but it’s real and it’s amazing!

The aforementioned Porsche 962C TicTac livery car was just one of many in a fleet of 962’s that showed up this weekend.

The Leyton House livery 962 was sweeping all the victories of the weekend. It was a nice comparison of the standard and a long-tail version of the cars side by side.

I didn’t realize but before racing Mazda’s in ALMS the Dyson Team from New York ran a Porsche 962 in Camel GT and/or IMSA GTP:

Another IMSA GTP entrant was this Hawaiian Tropic Livery 962:

And of course the previously mentioned factory team: Rothmans Porsche 962 that only ran a few test sessions but set out the race:

I hadn’t realized it but I have seen these Porsche 962’s run on track before… just a few years ago when I volunteered the Shannon’s Historics of Phillip Island in Australia there were two beautiful 962’s running there:

Huge thanks to my friend Ian Percival for these amazing shots.

For my future HSR events I’m hoping to see some other GT – prototypes that have a street version out there like the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR or the Porsche 911 GT1 (and of course the McLaren F1 GTR) They sure leave a great impression!

Grid Walk Post Card from Group C cars at the HSR Classic 24h at Daytona

By far my most favorite memory from the HSR Classic 24h at Daytona was the Group C grid walk before the start of the race. What an incredible experience right in the heart of things.

Here’s some pix:

First race I worked all the way thru, not just the 24 hour, but also all the support races starting at 7am Saturday morning and finishing after 1pm on Sunday afternoon. Was well worth it!

Post Card from HSR Classic 24 Hours at Daytona Presented by IMSA and Supported by Trans Am

What an incredible event! My first HSR Historics err… Classic 24h of Daytona and it’s been a hell of a ride.

First things first, the pictures: (lots and lots of them)

Future European entrant into the TCR series in IMSA and PWC:

Trans Am pre-grid:

Walk thru the garages:

Ferrari 333SP

 

Ferrari F40

Group C race cars

Porsche 962 street version

Amazing event!!! And I can’t believe they let me work the entire 30+ hours Saturday/Sunday… great stuff!

Visiting Panic Motorsports in Columbia, South Carolina

For my last event of 2017 Racing Season I signed up to volunteer the HSR Classic 24 Hours of Daytona “presented by IMSA”… cheapest way to get to Florida it seemed was to drive down on one of the Hertz one-way rentals for $4.99 per day and fly back. So I did, and of course the goal along the way was to stop at Dixie Pig in Rock Hill, South Carolina for their amazing pig wings, but after seeing all the Miata’s driving around the area I figured there’s got to be a shop somewhere locally specializing in these little cars.

So I paid a visit to Panic Motorsports in Columbia, South Carolina

Very interesting place with a lot of cool projects going on. And since people always post on facebook looking for Miata car parts, I snuck a few shots of their Miata graveyard for the bone pickers out there… Need parts? Call Panic Motorsports… some pix:

This Mazdaspeed is for sale!

Miata knock-offs…

Thanks for the license plate cover!

See you at the races…

New Jersey Miatas End of Season 2017 Meet at Cheesequake GSP

Greetings from the New Jersey Miatas end of the season meet at the Cheesequake Service Area exit 123 on Garden State Parkway.

The usual spot for the twice annual Miata meet that’s somewhat central to most New Jersey Miata owners and visitors from both Pennsylvania and New York. The event got rained out last week and our make up date was almost rained out as well… luckily the precipitation was limited to a mist mostly. Though that was enough to keep a bunch of fair weather Miata owners away. Nevertheless, there was quite a few cars in attendance… somewhere around 50 to 60 cars by my guestimate. And I’m happy to say many more NC Miata’s this time than any of the previous times I’ve attended. Sadly no Fiatas to be seen… Boo!

Here’s the pix:

Happy to see my buddy DollarBill!

Oooh… another Copper Red from Pennsylvania… an NC2

Aren’t all Miatas Powered by Unicorns?

Love how bright this Torch Red is

A very pretty shade of Blue too

Hey Chris showed up!

Best license plate of the event:

Soooooo British!

Hey Mickie showed up!

The profile of this vintage of modern Thunderbird reminds me a lot of the original Mazda Cosmo 110S

No meet would be complete without people swapping stuff, fixing stuff, etc… pedal covers do look cool, but are sometimes a pain to put on… especially on the small Miata brake pedal.

By the time Bill and I went to get a warm drink at the service area, most of the people from the Miata group left… it must have started raining while we were inside. So we decided to do lunch of our own… and some spicy Malaysian food was just what the doctor ordered:

Love this place! We had one in Lodi across from the Mazda of Lodi dealership on Route 46 but unfortunately the restaurant close. Their Edison, NJ location on Route 1 though was delicious!

Looking forward to my drive to Florida starting tonight…!

Until next time.

New Jersey Miatas and Modern Fiat 124 Spider End of Season Meet

First, forgive me for being a selfish prick and not sharing the news of the event sooner. I forgot to remember until… and of course the actual date (today) got rained out! So see you all next week…

The peeps behind this event seem to focus on two major events per year… the season opening meet and end of season meet like this one. Not sure if anything happens during the summer but I’m really glad they organize these ones. Often with prizes given away from vendors that support Miata events around the country like Moss Miata and Flyin’ Miata. (possibly others)

Anyway, I’m especially happy to see Modern Fiata’s invited to attend, and really hope to see one at the next one.

For me it’s going to be a crazy day next Sunday. I was scheduled to pick up a rental car at LaGuardia Airport in NYC and drive down to Florida for the Historics (HSR) races at Daytona International. But I don’t want to miss out on this little gathering. So I’ve re-booked my rental car for 8pm… which should give me enough time to chill down the shore, go home to park my Miata. Take public transport to the city, a shuttle bus to Hertz, and bring the rental home before leaving for the thousand mile journey first thing Monday morning.

Should be fun!

Come join us…

Cars & Coffee at Ray Catena Dealerships in Edison, NJ October 2017

A gorgeous day for a car show!

Today’s venue was advertised by Cars & Caffe of Bergen County at the invitation of Ray Catena dealerships in Edison, Central Jersey. RSVP’s very encouraged because of limited space but the event seemed quite small which allowed for decent pictures without too many people walking into a shot… yay!

Hey that’s a pretty bike with both HRC from Superbikes and a MotoAmerica sticker on it.

I love the look of that shift knob… the “Ferrari” look that I got going in my in Miata right now with an eBay black ball shift know I bought.

Demon’s are all the rage these days! And Hellcat’s too…

Glad I finally caught this Ford GT without anyone around to get a decent shot. Also happy that it brought some color to an otherwise very-suburbia event where everyone drives dull color cars, lots of silvers and grays, whites… etc.

Two of these beautiful Ferrari’s made it out today… Cool!

It’s incredible how these Gallardo’s already seem like such classics. They were the newest mass production Lambo just a few years ago.

Pretty incredible how bright a simple “white” color car can be!

Do these stickers really work?

Three of the new Civic Type R pulled in together… overheard people talking paying $50-$60k for these… really? Really? For a Civic?

The gold wheels really suit this car. I don’t know about getting/or painting my wheels similar color though. Nice to see though!

Nice side-by-side of a Range Rover vs. a Jaguar SUV. Silly me always thinking Jag made the cars while Land Rover focused on off-roaders, but things are sure changing.

I know McLaren has a rich history of Can Am racing, didn’t realize they had special edition cars commemorating that fact.

California 8 hour at Laguna Seca Debut of Intercontinental GT Challenge in America

Welcome to the California 8h the debrief.

Man was I looking forward to this event… not so much because I thought it was going to be a thriller (it was good, but in a genetic GT racing kind of way, fairly predictable) but because I wasn’t sure it was actually going to happen… even a week before race day!

Why do I say that? Because this is SRO’s second attempt at bringing the Intercontinental GT Challenge to America… I specifically signed up to volunteer the PWC season opener at COTA last year just for the Circuit of the America’s 6 hour race… that never happened.

I am glad however that this event took place, and most importantly that it was a success! We only had 19 cars on grid, which is a low number. But the racing was good. One brand dominated… Nobody could keep up with the pace of the Audi’s… not McLaren. Not Acura. And definitely not Porsche whose very reliable 911 GT3 RSR’s started falling lap down first… at one point there was only four cars on the lead lap, which is silly.

Luckily the battles for first were good. Team Land Audi lead for most of the event. Belgian Team WRT took over briefly and then spun out into the kitty litter, going down a few laps by the time it was recovered. And Magnus racing saved the best for last and won. McLaren ran Okay… went down a few times but finished on the lead lap. And Acura didn’t fare so well either. One of the cars DNF’ed… the other finished in fourth or so. I think all of the Porsche 911’s finished a lap down. In GT4 field the Ginetta, Aston Martin and Porsche Cayman had a great battle. And the Invitational Mazda3 V8’s finished a strong 9th and 10th. Which is pretty cool! Those cars were very neat… one was left hand drive, one right hand drive. And featured two shades of the Mazda famous red paint. (while being powered by a Ford Coyote 5.0 liter V8)

So what’s the verdict for this event?

If it happens again, I think it would be tremendously better if more cars show up. That of course could be said about any other event, but in this case it would have made a huge difference.

Anything else they could change?

YES! I hope and pray that SRO or USAC/PWC/SFR SCCA spring up a few bucks to buy some “SC” – Safety Car boards. It was absolutely absurd waving double yellows every time there was full course caution. Who made that decision? It’s Stupid! Any kind of waving yellow flag for no good reason (absent an SC board) waters down/diluted the importance of the safety aspect of waving yellow flags. How much could the boards possibly cost? Can’t SRO just bring their own… I mean they already bring containers full of equipment. Bring the pink Code 60 flag along too! If I could change one thing I would have changed that first…