Category Archives: USA

The Roar Before the Rolex 24 Hour the debrief

I have to say that booking flights this year instead of driving down to Florida was a brilliant idea… boy am I glad I did that. The night I was flying out to Orlando flights at Newark were beginning to get cancelled for the next day. After I arrived in Daytona, NYC was getting 12 inches of snow, a storm that already dumped a ton on Savannah, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia. There was even snow in the panhandle of Florida. No snow in Daytona Beach for the weekend but it was absolutely freezing. I brought a ton of warm winter clothing but I was still freezing cold.

Anyway… main reason for signing up to volunter this event was to see the new cars for the 2018 season. There was a lot new. The Acuras of Team Penske were quite ugly to look at but fast right out of the box. The Cadillac Dallaras were predictably the quickest. Mazda was still predictably slow, even under Team Joest management.

I love the fact there were so many prototypes. Seems like more than I remember in previous years. The GT Daytona collection had amazing variety again. Very nice to see both BMW M6 and M8 side by side in naked carbon fiber form.

In Continental Tire series it was near to see the fleet of TCR cars. Volksvagen Golf GTi especially was impressive to watch as it spun a few times in the bus stop where I was flagging for a few days.

Mercedes and Audi GT4 cars were a surprise especially when I realized that the R8 was a V10!

I got a chance to flag from Turn 4 as well and worked Turn 3 on Monday for Ferrari Challenge which looked revived with the Ferrari 488 Evo spec racers.

It was a great weekend despite the cold. Looking forward to the Rolex 24 next week.

Audible Flagging System for SCCA Pro Trans Am Series Mandate

Racer Magazine just reported that Trans Am (one of two SCCA Pro series that remained with the club’s sanctioning body after many other respectable series bailed) will make Audible Flagging System mandatory in the cars that race with the series… TA1, TA2, TA3, TA4, etc. The system will not cost the team’s extra, instead it will be provided to all in the name of safety. The system will use audible and visual flashing lights to warn competitors of danger reflecting the traditional flags displayed around the track. An interesting statistic used to promote the idea of the system is that 88% of major incidents that happen result from secondary impacts, or not the direct result of the initial crash but crashing into the crash because of failure of adequate warning.

This news fascinates me.

Not sure how to take this news. Be proud? Be insulted by providing an insufficient service as a volunteer?

Do we even need volunteers anymore?

The AFS system will surely cost less than the soggy sandwiches provided to flag marshals every day of the race meeting.

Ironic that the only club in the U.S. with the power to issue internationally recognized marshal licenses had bailed or is in process of dumping its volunteer marshals.

Or are they?

Link to Racer.com article: http://www.racer.com/scca-home/item/146674-audible-flagging-systems-becomes-trans-am-series-flagging-system

Red Bull Global Rallycross is Returning to Atlantic City in August 2018

Great news!

The Red Bull Global Rallycross event is returning to Atlantic City New Jersey this August.

And I signed up to volunteer that event.

Last year was an absolute blast!

Maybe I’ll attempt to do an additional event if it fits my schedule and I’m still jobless this year.

Post Card from Ferrari Challenge at Daytona Pre-24h Weekend Test Day

Great way to spend Monday at the race track. The temperature is warmest it has been for the whole week down in Florida. Today was in the 70’s and misty. But despite the light rain it was enjoyable flagging at Turn 3.

I thought Ferrari Challenge was dying out based on the low attendance at Line Rock, but this field was impressive.

Some pix:

Back to reality tomorrow… great trip to Daytona! Can’t wait to return in two weeks.

Favorite car wrap:

Roar Before the 24 Pit Lane Preview

This year’s Roar Before the Rolex 24 was much bigger than last years… why? My guess would be because of Fernando Alonso… and maybe a gaggle of other Formula 1 drivers, along with a whole fleet of new Prototype and GT cars on display.

I’m thrilled to have had an opportunity to visit the pit area for WeatherTech Sports Car Championship practice, and I can’t wait for the proper enduro at the end of the month. It will be fantastic.

Here’s a few pix:

The elusive Team Joest Mazda

Alonso!

Hold on…

Jackie Chan Racing

Keep holding…

Hopefully… with a little bit of luck… this will be my view for the Rolex 24 in pit out.

Also hoping the weather is like this, warm and sunny.

With no Miatas racing in IMSA any more, it’s nice to see an RF at the Team Joest garages.

Post Card from the Conti Paddock at the Roar before the 24 at Daytona

Sunday Fun Day… Finally things turned around for me. I finally got my preferred station assignment to work Turn 4, which meant I could visit the paddock and take in all the new stuff on display this season.

Apparently IMSA will be following SRO specifications for GT4 machinery. And there’s lots of it here: Mercedes-AMG GT4 and Audi R8 GT4 joining an established field of Aston Martin GT4, Porsche Cayman GT4, and Mustang GT4.

A whole new series previously previewed in a competing series last year with Pirelli World Challenge: the TCR cars. We had a number of Audi RS3 LMS and a single VW Golf GTi TCR.

Here’s the pix:

Oh yes, another new addition to the GS field BMW M4

Lots of German silver cars in this growing field previously dominated by Mustangs and Camaros.

Post Card from the 2018 Roar Before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway

Greetings from freezing-cold Daytona. Starting temps in the 30’s every morning has been brutal. Worse than previous year’s Roar. What makes this one even more miserable and disappointing is the fact I haven’t gotten a chance to work with my buddy John in Turn 4, instead I’m getting punished at Turn 7 for some reason. Very nice people working there but it’s not why I signed up to work this event.

Luckily John and i managed to get to the paddock Saturday evening during the dinner break. Most cars were torn down but I got a few good shots of the Penske Acuras.

Hopefully I’ll get a better opportunity to check out the Joest Mazda’s on the last day tomorrow, Sunday.

Lots of prototypes for this event with a healthy field of GT’ s as well. Lots of new stuff too!

The old Spirit of Daytona Multimatic LMP2

Jackie Chan Racing LMP2’s

New BMW M8 vs. Old M6

Fingers crossed for another paddock visit tomorrow, or the $300 bux spent on this trip was poured down the drain.

Spec MX-5 Cup Team is Hiring NC Miata Mechanics / Crew / Techs

Update: WOW! Quickest rejection response I’ve ever gotten. Good luck to all y’all that may qualify.


If you are starting your New Year off looking for a Motorsport job like me, you may be in luck. Atlanta Speedwerks is now hiring full time mechanics, techs, and crew to work on their fleet of Spec MX-5 Cup NC Miatas…

Interested?

I definitely am!

 

If the cars in the top photo (borrowed from ATLSpeedwerks/Level-Up Facebook page) look familiar… you are not wrong. You have seen them on this blog before. They are the ex-Skippy Racing School Miatas that were auctioned off at Road Atlanta recently… all 16’ish of them.

I’m not only happy to see them restored from this:

To this:

But Mazda Motorsport has created a companion / feeder series for their established Global MX-5 Cup to run these cars in. You’ve heard of Spec Miata race groups in Club racing. Now we have Spec MX-5 Cup too.

Good stuff… and good luck if you choose to pursue this job. My fingers and toes are crossed.

How to get a job in Motorsport?

Seven years in this hobby, fifteen countries worked in on multiple crews from flagging to rescue services, to pits, grid and start/finish… and all that means absolutely nothing to people in HR at NASCAR/IMSA. How incredibly disappointing?

And so I’ve reached a point where the dilemma isn’t choosing which weekend to volunteer between IMSA and PWC or Trans Am or Indy… but whether I should find a new hobby because this one is getting way too expensive to continue, especially without any income. And yet I’m addicted to it. Another rejection for a paid gig, and I quickly signed up to volunteer for the Roar and Rolex 24 at Daytona. I’m looking forward to the 50+ car field… many new additions, new teams, new drivers. It’s exciting even when it’s not sustainable, ugh!

Ironically I’ll spend the Ukrainian Orthodox Christmas at the track instead of with family in New Jersey. Oh the choices we make…

The question remains: How the hell do you get a job in Motorsport?

In all this time, and at all these different venues, I’m been completely and hopelessly unsuccessful at achieving even the most modest goal.

We’ll see what 2018 brings. I’m still hopeful. But probably not for too long.

Happy Holidays Ya’ll!


photo credit: stolen from IMSA facebook page

SpeedSource ex-Factory Mazda Race Team Christmas Liquidation Auction, More Photos

RaceCarsDirect.com has a listing for the upcoming December 19th auction with some spiffy new pictures of all the SpeedSource Mazda Prototypes and GT cars being liquidated by Key Auctioneers.

I do hope they go to a good home!

Photo credit: RaceCarsDirect.com
Photo credit: RaceCarsDirect.com

Photo credit: RaceCarsDirect.com
Photo credit: RaceCarsDirect.com
Photo credit: RaceCarsDirect.com
Photo credit: RaceCarsDirect.com

link to auction:  racecarsdirect.com/Advert/Details/87218/speedsource-racing-auction—december-19th-20

The news of this team going kaput is terrible… not shocking, but just sad really. I used to follow SpeedSource from when I started marshaling in the US. Back in 2013 they raced the Mazda RX-7 firebreathers in GrandAm, the cars that now made their way to Australia (ironic as I’m sure there is similar local talent, including Mad Mike in New Zealand, home of the four rotor Mazda’s).

I used choose races to go to specifically to root for the Mazda diesel-powered GX cars that were just introduced… they kind of sucked but ended up on the podium because frankly no-one else raced in GX class. There were a few Cayman’s if I remember correctly, and the only car that was worse than them was the Lotus Evora.

When they shoved the diesel engine into their Lola’s the results were similar. It was a bit pathetic to watch LMP2 prototypes race so slowly. Things improved with the petrol AER engine, but the cars were so fragile even if they were fast… you look at them sideways and they would break down. Yet I was cheering for them!

I’m sure the Lola’s could have any engine the new buyer chooses for them to be competitive again on the club or even historics racing level… The Mazda6 GT cars don’t need to be propelled by a diesel either. But it’s a cool piece of history on sale here that I hope I’ll see again at a track in the future… or even in a museum somewhere.

Merry Christmas folks… buy yourself a perfect present: Race Car!

 

 

PS. I will have to do a follow up write-up on all the Skip Barber liquidated Miata race cars one day. I know there’s one “small” team in Cummings, Georgia area that is restoring 15 of them to their racing glory… maybe I’ll get to visit them in the future to take some photos… maybe I’ll see them at VIR or Road Atlanta in action. One man’s loss is another man’s gain, or however that saying goes. And these liquidation auctions are precisely that.