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Memorial Day Grand Prix of Lime Rock Park (PWC) the debrief

To say I had a blast at this weekend’s (Memorial Day weekend) PWC event at LRP would be an understatement… I really, truly, genuinely had an amazing time. And the people I got a chance to work with totally contributed to that experience.

It absolutely makes a difference who you work with and this time I was super lucky. You know someone else is comfortable with you when she refers to you as “dipshit” to her colleague. That happened. Both of my series starters from PWC were amazing, and it was my honor to be working with them as a backup starter at the Start/Finish stand.

I thought the weekend went especially well. The racing was better than usual. We didn’t have too many bullshit crashes that tend to ruin other PWC events. The recoveries were smooth and quick, and there were awesome battles for positions throughout the field in all the classes. That was awesome.

I got to make a lot of calls on the radio. Which was good. I’m happy I didn’t make too many mistakes with that aspect. I was even able to do a debris run picking up a large chunk of debris from the race winning Turner BMW in the TC race. But I also made some rookie mistakes and they were to be blamed on me squarely. There were three instances where I was meant to point out a car to the series starters and I pointed out the wrong car. We did track it correctly, but for whatever reason I pointed at a different car that was similar in appearance. In the TCA/TCB race I pointed to the SAC racing 080 car instead of the race winning 70 car. Both were black with Green accents, but one was Teal and another bright Green… One was ND and another NC. And yet somehow I mucked it up. With the other starter I had real trouble with the Porsche Cayman GT4’s… we were supposed to track 018 car and I (for some weird reason) confused it with it’s sister car 017… luckily the series starter was better than me at identifying cars but it tripped her up too, unnecessarily. Maybe the dipshit comment was right on the money.

I must have not been too terrible, because unlike the series starter last year she greeted me with a hug in the morning, which was an AWWWW moment. She must not hate me. And on race day she gave me a little gift, a pin of a Guardian Angel that one of her colleagues designed. AWWWW again! She doesn’t want me to die. That’s nice. I really enjoyed the weekend and I really hope I get another opportunity to work with these folks again… somewhere!

Pirelli World Challenge was a standalone feature of this Memorial Day weekend. So we only had the GT/GTA/GT Cup, GTS and TC/TCA/TCB cars at the track. What was different was the fact that the field of TC cars grew so large in size that they got to run a race on their own without the usual TCA/TCB addition. This meant that the TCA/TCB ran a race of their own too… and it was clear as day to see how well the Global MX-5 Cup cars performed on their own in this series. I knew they won at VIR and Mosport (both races I volunteered) but since there was a different overall winner in TC class, it wasn’t so obvious who won TCA. The older Miata’s in TC class though qualified super well, they were in row 2 and 3 on the grid, but as soon as the race started they faltered. Many DNF’d. Which sucks! But the cars are getting old, and the newest addition to the field this year, the BMW 235M blew up in size, it seems like they are completely dominating this series. In the GT race there were quite a few incidences, but overall it was super enjoyable to watch and especially neat to be a part of in such an amazing position on the start stand. I’m incredibly grateful!

Best of all I didn’t have to choose between having lunch or taking pictures during our downtime. I was smack in the middle of all the action. I could just walk over to the dummy grid and take a few snaps before heading back on duty and the series starters were happy to help me out with a few selfie style shots to capture the moment of this experience. It was tremendous!

I would love to do it again!

Post Card from Spa 24h at Spa-Francorchapms

What a fantastic weekend marshaling at Spa 24h at Belgiums Spa-Francorchamps… excellent event in good company of Belgian, Dutch, Czech and German marshals.

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and the pit walk…

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Special thanks to my Flemish friend Pol for making this three week journey possible and very enjoyable. Dank je!

Second Post Card from the PWC Memorial Day Weekend at Lime Rock

Second Day on the Start Stand at Lime Rock for the PWC Grand Prix of Lime Rock. And since I didn’t stay at the track choosing instead to commute the 110 miles / 2 hours to New Jersey it felt like a completely different day on Saturday/Race Day so I’ll share another photo post from today.

The day consisted of only six sessions, 3 warm ups and 3 races; but unlike yesterday which seemed to fly by, today dragged on for a while. A major part of the delay was due to an incident that I actually managed to observe and one which almost turned tragic. I hope race fans keep the racers involved and their families in their prayers if religion is something they participate in, otherwise that’s about all I’ll mention on that subject matter. I was very sad to see it happen.

But the show carried on, and I’m glad to see racing continue after Connecticut State Police wrapped up their investigation. We had a lot of action throughout the day, and fortunately there was plenty of really good and close racing. I was especially glad to see so many Miata’s do well. The MX-5 race cars are the reason why I bought my car so I’m really grateful to Motorsport in America for choosing to use this machine on such a grand scale… Here are some pix:

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The field of KTM’s grew by one car this weekend, with ANSA adding a third car to their line up. Great to see that!

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The Power Ranger Miata’s didn’t disappoint taking wins in multiple classes of racing during the Touring Car race.

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Most of the events I’ve attended over the past few years I remember watching John and Dina Weisberg’s struggle… not today, John took a very close second missing out on first by… not-much.

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I was led to believe that the difference between the TC Miata and a TCA Miata was a 2.5L engine vs. the 2.0 that comes in the cup car… but the motor in this #33 TC car looks like a standard block to me. Although to be fair, I’m not sure what a 2.5L should look like.

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I learned about a new SCCA flag…  white with a red diagonal stripe… It is displayed at start only and means an emergency vehicle somewhere on track.

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I’ve never worked a flag station before where the flags were kept in a gold bag and had a baseball bat prominently positioned in the bag amongst all the starter flags… Hmm!

Sepang 12 hours 2015 Debrief

Sepang 12h was one of those must-do events I’ve been contemplating for ages, and now I could say I’ve finally done it. In it’s current reincarnation the event was put together by the SRO  together with SIC (Sepang International Circuit) as a precursor to the upcoming SRO Intercontinental GT Challenge, which in the future will include the Bathurst 12h event in Australia as well as the crown event of the Blancpain GT series: Spa 24h in Belgium.

Things came together for the event thanks to a friend’s wedding I wanted to attend in Bangkok the week prior. I was very excited that things came together so nicely, though the actual registration was a bit of an up and down experience. I really wanted to try my hand doing something new this time around. After reaching out to some contacts I had hoped to be in Pit Lane as a Pit & Grid marshal. But I noticed some resistance from the very beginning especially since I wanted to bring a fellow Singaporean marshal along to give him a new experience. After a little more inquiry it was clear that Pit wasn’t going happen for me, so I asked my friends at Turn 6 to take me back to make sure I get to volunteer and not become a spectator. My buddy Joey was accepted by a friend that chiefs a post on Turn 7. And we were set to go. When I arrived at the track I discovered that I was indeed put on the Pit & Grid team. I felt bad, and wanted to see if I could work at least one day in the pits and then move back to my team trackside, but that wasn’t possible. And I’m sure I made a number of people from the Pit & Grid team very unhappy.

But the day to day work at Turn 6 went along very smoothly. It was fantastic to see the team again, though many of them weren’t present and we worked on a skeleton crew of just a handful of people. I took advantage of the opportunity to visit Turn 7 a bunch of times over the weekend, where they gave me a chance to Blue flag a little and that made me very happy.

Having a rental car for the first time in Malaysia allowed me to visit the pit lane several times over the weekend whenever we had some free time. So I got plenty of pictures from the garages and ultimately from the Pit Walk on race day. I even managed to bring a British marshal who was spectating, to check out the station set up (with permission from the post chief of course). It was amazing.

The race itself was relatively uneventful. This being the rainy season caused two red flags to be displayed during the 12 hour race. Resulting in some much needed breaks for us to take around dinner time while the skies opened up and there was a spectacular lightning storm overhead. It was pretty beautiful. At the start of the event the local Clearwater Ferrari team jumped ahead which I thought was predictable. But they ran into trouble with repeated tire blowouts. And then a number of other cars took the lead including a beautiful livery Thai Ferrari. A french McLaren jumped ahead, while the Bentley’s seemed to struggle mid pack. And then Audi took the lead until the very end, winning the race (this being an SRO event, that seemed predictable also).

And then after the feature race there was a local race day on Sunday featuring Formula 4 SEA cup and Caterham Racing Series. The day was incredibly sleepy and only got exciting when the skies opened up again with a much heaving downpour than the day before. The day ended with a fantastic dinner with my fellow Teammates at a local TomYum restaurant around the corner from the track… I absolutely loved this opportunity and would love to return again.

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Can’t wait to return to Sepang International Circuit again!

Mazda MX-5: visiting Gotham Dream Cars

If my car had feelings it would probably want to be social, and social cars go out and meet other cars…. Yes! This is a pointless post where all I’m going to do is post some pictures of the damn Miata… but also give a little preview of a project I’m working on that my buddy Rob Ferretti was kind enough to give a hand with.

This is the second time this week that I’ve brought out the Miata in a car show/car cruise type setting. The Cheesequake to Sandy Hook cruise was fantastic, and so was my visit to Gotham Dream Cars in Englewood, NJ.

I would love to do a Marshal Podcast as I’ve mentioned previously on this blog, and instead of trying to figure out everything from scratch myself I asked Rob Ferretti for some advice. Rob has been doing YouTube videos for years now with his Super Speeders channel. So it was nice to see what he’s doing and how he’s doing it.

But checking out the cars was a nice thing also, and even with an inch of dust on my car that has accumulated since the last time I washed it just before the Jersey Shore cruise on Sunday, the cherry red comes through nicely under the artificial light of the warehouse.

Enjoy:

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As you can see Rob’s collection is quite extensive, from his personal cars like the Acura NSX, BMW M3, Lambo Murcielago, Porsche GT3 and a very turbocharged Toyota Supra to the rental cars like the Ferrari 458, the new Lambo Huracan, a bunch of Bentley Continental GT’s, a Maserati Gran Turismo, and others.

For those of you marshaling…. all the cars you’d already see on the race track just in a civilian form… with all the interior bits typically surrounded in leather instead of carbon fiber 😉

Stay tuned for the podcast.