Tag Archives: GT

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 the Dummy Grid at Memorial Day PWC LRP Grand Prix

Fantastic Memorial Day weekend at the races… Lime Rock Park was fantastic to me. I have grown to absolutely love the Pirelli World Challenge series. And best part I got to work as a backup starter… so there was a lot of downtime. I was in the prime spot to see the cars up close, and as a result there was ample opportunity to take some pix. So this is my Saturday Race Day mega gallery… enough talking here’s the pix:

Free breakfast for the marshals how thoughtful! Thanks Skip Barber

Miata Racing is the main reason I signed up to do this event!

They split TC from TCA/TCB races, so it was much easier to see the current MX-5 Cup cars winning a race…

New flavor of SAC racing skittles cars…

Hhhmm… I didn’t know Volvo and GM had a relationship… I knew about SAAB/Scania but Volvo GM – WHITEGMC is news to me… kind of cool though!

This is such a beautiful and completely appropriate paint job… for this event!

Selfies!

The driver of this #70 also raced (and won in) the TCA MX-5 Cup car

Thanks to Chris Booth for taking some pix of me with the cars in the paddock during lunch time.

He sells Miata parts apparently 🙂

…after doing donuts in Turn 1 and returning to pit lane counter race

The series starter gave me a small gift: A Guardian Angel… Awwww!

I am so grateful to everyone that made this weekend possible for me. Thanks to the folks at Lime Rock Park, to the series: Pirelli World Challenge and of course Chris Booth for taking some pix for me. Thank you all very much! See you at the next one.

Post Card from PWC Grand Prix of Lime Rock

Greetings from an amazing first day of the PWC at LRP.

I love this track.

I love this series.

I love this assignment.

This is my first time since last year working as a back-up starer for a pro event (or for any event period) and it just so happens that last year it was PWC at LRP as well.

Despite the wet weather and the alternating mist and light rain, the racing has been especially good. Only the PWC series are present though they are broken up in bits to make more racing happen. There’s the Sprint X headliner featuring GT (Pro-Pro), GTA (Pro-Am), GT Cup (Am-Am) and GTS (up and coming Pro’s)… the TC group grew so big with all the new BMW 235M’s that they get to race on their own… I think I counted over 30 cars, and it’s especially nice to see the familiar yellow Turner cars #95 & #96 re-join the series. TCA and TCB round out the support races with a pretty large field as well. Really neat to see this racing up close from the Starter stand. I love it! Didn’t take many pix, but the few I did I’d like to share:

And so my day went absolutely perfectly… I truly enjoy working Start and my PWC series colleagues were awesome to me. Despite the rain I thought the racing was very good. No stupid crashes. It was very competitive, very tight and mostly clean with minor incidents here and there (only a few full course cautions)… so I’m grateful for that. Lime Rock Park fed us at the end of the day and I was happy to spy a bunch of Mazda’s at the track including a Miata parade early in the morning and a few Mazdaspeed 3’s and 6’s in the camping area.

I decided not to tent it in the wet, and instead opted for the 2 hour and 100 mile trek home… which was fine in the evening, but I’m sure tomorrow morning I’ll be regretting it. Oh well… looking forward to another great day at the track!

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!

Post Card from the Grand Prix of Lime Rock, Pirelli World Challenge Weekend Minus Formula 4

Today went by in a flash… I was fortunate enough to work my first Pro-weekend as a backup starter at Lime Rock Park for the Pirelli World Challenge event dubbed the Grand Prix of Lime Rock.

I didn’t even think it’d be possible, but sure enough Andy Smith the flag chief for this weekend granted my wishes to work closer to the paddock so I could sneak out for lunch to take some pictures of the cars without having to choose between doing that and eating lunch. It doesn’t get better than working start. From my previous experience at the Glen I figured there would be a team of Starters and I would have a very small role to play monitoring the radio while the “pro’s” do the work. I was wrong. It was me and only one other person: the official PWC Starter… a guy from California that does many of the official starts for PWC travelling around the country with the series. That was pretty cool… I didn’t expect it at all. Besides working comms on the backup net, the official starter had me put out the white flag for any vehicle leaving pit lane during the practice sessions. The reasoning being that cars flying at speed would know about a slower car entering Turn 1. For the races the starter handed me the while flag to wave on the final lap just before he threw the checker. That was really neat too. I got to call every Green flag that was thrown as well, first and last cars to take the checkered, and a variety of incidents along the front straight… so for someone who was going to just monitor the flagger net and relay messages to the official starter, I sure did have a lot of exciting work… I loved it!

Being on start also gave me the opportunity to wander the paddock before the event and during lunch… below I will share some photos:

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At the end of the day we got a good worker feed… nice warm food:

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A nice Lime Rock Park sweatshirt, although not suitable for today’s 90F weather, but very nice nonetheless:

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And I got to check out a whole lot of Mazda’s everywhere:

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It was such a brilliant experience I cannot wait to get back to the track tomorrow and do this all over again! So much Fun!

PS. This weekend was supposed to feature the US debut of FIA Formula 4 sanctioned by the SCCA Pro and to be raced around the US. Unfortunately that race series got bumped to another weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park and in their place we got all the amazing TC and TCA class Miata’s…. I felt really happy with that!

Post Card from Mosport: Victoria Day Speedfest at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

Howdy from Canada, eh?

Another most excellent weekend in the books… Lots of racing action, good passes and spectacular crashes that I got to wave some flags for. Since this wasn’t  my first time to CTMP I knew what to expect and capitalized on the opportunities that presented themselves… I’ll do a more detailed debrief later, but for now some photos:

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Apparently Pinty’s Series is the Canadian version of NASCAR which was at some point in the past called…. CASCAR 🙂

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I got to work three different stations over the three day weekend, blue flagging from each point at Turn 6 (which is actually a big uphill climb on the back stretch), Turn 10 (which is the very last turn before Start/Finish) and Turn 5 (which is a double-apex hairpin). Besides blue flagging the SCCA Pro series including PWC GT/GTA/GT Cup class, GTS class, Sprint X class which included GT/GTA/GTS, and the TC/TCA/TCB class; and the local Canadian Touring Car Chamipionship CTCC; I got to blue flag NASCAR Pinty’s Series which is the Canadian division of NASCAR and requires similar flagging as we do in Watkins Glen where blue flag means local caution (where for every other series we would display a yellow) and yellow flag means full course caution.

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Canadian ingenuity? creativity?

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Turn 10, with Petro-Canada Ultra 94 ad tempting me to refuel there.

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Flag stand at Turn 6 on the back straight.

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Turn 6 is also the Black flag station we got to throw a few Meatballs.

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The stations layout at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

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Logo looks familiar? Nope, that’s not SCCA.

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From Turn 6 looking towards Turn 7.

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Can’t wait to go back to Canada for another event at Mosport!

Postcard from the Grand Prix of Texas: PWC at COTA

Howdy from another fantastic weekend trackside.

What an amazing experience the Grand Prix of Texas, or officially Nissan Grand Prix of Texas presented by VP Race Fuels, was… I had such a blast it’s hard to describe quickly… I’ll do a more comprehensive debrief when I get home to Jersey, but for the time being I’d like to share a few pictures from the event.

Keyword for the event: VARIETY!

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#MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain 😉

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Some awesome looking MX-5 Racecars that raced in two classes, TCA – the standard MX-5 Cup Cars and the upper TC class that ran big wings and 2.5L engines which were on par with much larger Mustang V6’s and Nissan Z…whatever has the 6 cylinder in it…

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And of course the food was absolutely amazing, as always! Barbecue + Mexican + Tex-Mex, it was sooooo delicious!

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As usual big thanks to my buddy Joaquin for hosting me for this week, and chauffeuring me around to the track and all the restaurants. Big thanks to Brent McNaul the Flag Chief of the Lone Star SCCA Region for making my trip awesome with amazing station assignments each day… I got to do Turn 3 for the first time, Turn 1 and Turn 9… and all saw some great action there. Thank you so much! And a huge thanks to Jeanie Caulfield for taking care of the marshals with all the breakfasts, lunches and swag at the end. This is much appreciated and encouraging to come back again and again!

I’m very grateful for how everything went down during this event.

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Turn 3

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Turn 1

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Turn 9

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Yep… Have Flags and Will Travel!

Cars & Coffee at Tice’s Corner in Woodcliff Lake, Northern New Jersey

I can’t believe it’s December, two days after Christmas and three days before New Year and there are Cars and Coffee meets happening in Northern New Jersey. Today’s event was at Tice’s Corner in Woodcliff Lake, NJ just across the street from BMW of North America headquarters. The weather was damp with some fog in the morning but plenty of cars showed up. My time there was very brief because I had to rush to work though.

My goal was to meet other Mazda MX-5 owners to make friends with.  I don’t have any local friends in Bergen County that I could have a Miata related chat with especially when I have questions about my car. And even though there was a beautiful Torch Red NC2 PRHT in attendance I have no idea who the owner was because it wasn’t obvious in the crowd. Too bad. Don’t know why I’m having such hard time finding local Miata owners to hang out with close to where I live. A million cars showed up on my trip to Southeast Asia but local owners don’t seem particularly interested in my company. Go figure.

Some photos from the event:

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Plenty of cops in attendance 🙂 just noticed in this photo two Explorers roaming around plus another Crown Vic unit nearby.

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Leaving the event I noticed a Copper Red NC1 in my rearview mirror. At first I thought it was one of the Miata.net forum members I had met before, I pulled over to let the guy pass and he honked at me doing so, but it turned out to be a PRHT model just like mine (the forum member has a soft top with some bumper trim accents that this car didn’t have). I ended up following the car all the way to my exit off the highway, and that was really neat to see an identical car to mine in the same neighborhood I live in, but again I have no idea who the owner is. Oh well….

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Mazda MX-5: Monmouth Cruise – Tinton Falls to Atlantic Highlands

I love when Miata owners get together for a meet and cruise. This latest one organized by the Delaware Valley Miata Club took place on Wednesday, meeting up at Wawa in Tinton Falls and following a twisty route down the Jersey Shore to the Atlantic Highlands.

I had spend a good part of my day prepping for this trip while running some errands, but ultimately I left Northern New Jersey late meaning I had to rush to get to this event which during the 5pm rush hour the GPS suggested would take a little over an hour. Luckily I missed most of the traffic, but that was thanks to some maneuvering, taking the GSP to i80 to the NJ Turnpike, back to GSP and then local roads to the Wawa.

The turn out was quite good. I think I counted over a dozen cars. I suspect most were already members of the Delaware Valley Miata club because when I showed up a few people sort of guilted me into joining. One person suggested that it’s not fair to everybody else that paid their membership fee and I’m the one freeloading on their cruise… Hmmm… more about that later.

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I’m glad I arrived when I did because shortly after the group settled up and headed out for the cruise. If I had hit any traffic I would have been shit outta luck on this one.

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But I made it, so I got in line to follow the convoy through Central Jersey towards the Jersey Shore. I got some great Dash Cam footage of the cruise, although I discovered that the velcro that the dash cam is attached to is making the camera loose, which resulted in some bouncy video especially when roads were rough. I also had noticed a metallic ticking noise coming from the right front tire, shortly after we had pulled over on the side of the road to wait for the tail end of the convoy to catch up after getting stuck on a red light. I wasn’t happy hearing that noise because it sounded like I caught a nail. At one point I pulled over to take a look, felt around the tire and didn’t notice anything obvious. A short distance later the noise stopped so I assume it wasn’t a nail but a small rock that had lodged itself into the groove of tread on the tire, and was making a ruckus while I drove. But I’ll have to check tomorrow to make sure there isn’t a puncture.

Our first stop was Mount Mitchill Scenic Overlook with an amazing view of the New York City skyline at sunset, and Sandy Hook below.

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From there many of us headed out down to the waterfront, with a planned dinner at a restaurant in the Marina. But it wasn’t meant to be. The wait line was well over an hour and it would have been quite late for most people on a Wednesday night to stick around. At this point a few people left while about six of us picked a plan B and headed to Applebee’s in Middletown, NJ for a bite to eat.

As always I really enjoyed the company of the Del Val Miata club. The members are good people, mature, there’s no burnouts or people getting pulled over at their cruises, everything is organized nicely. But I must have been naive to think that this was a public event. During my very first interaction I was told I’d have to either join the club to continue coming to their events or stop taking potential spots away from club members by attending. I was on the fence before about joining the club. I am not a big fan of the idea of club membership for a number of reasons, many are similar to those I’ve shared on this blog a million times about my SCCA membership. But when it comes to a car club, I think after this experience I’ve made up my mind not to join. So there probably won’t be any more Del Val Miata Meets or Cruises in my future. Why was I naive? Well, I had honestly thought people organize these events for the fun of it, I mean that’s the reason I attend. I certainly don’t agree with the idea of taking anything away from other club members by being there. Its not like there was food provided by the club, or some sort of raffle or prize give away. I didn’t take anything FREE of charge from the club. I was there for the company of other Miata owners. Would I pay just to hang out with people like that? No, I wouldn’t.

The highlight of the event for me was seeing all the cars. There were both the Copper Red and True Red cars, Stormy Blue and Winning Blue, a bunch of darker color NC’s, a few NB’s and a beautiful NA. That was awesome!

Mazda MX-5: A118C B40 Pro Dash Cam Installed

Good news! I’ve finally installed my dash cam.

I ordered a $66 Chinese made A118C or B40 Pro sold by a slew of sellers on eBay which arrived within a week from an LA shipping address instead of waiting 30 days for one to arrive from China. It came in a genetic looking box, with genetic looking parts, along with genetic looking hard-wiring cable.

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The install process was pretty straight forward even though I’ve never done anything like this before. I unscrewed a few hex bolts holding the header in place and got access to where I wanted the wire to sit, sticking out directly above the dash cam on the windshield:

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I routed it along the A-pillar down to the dash, and threaded it further down to the kick panel by the driver’s door where the fuse box is located. I used an add-a-circuit I also bought on eBay to complete my install. Crimped the wires in place, plugged in 15A+3A fuses for the camera, and was pretty much done.

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Was pretty impressed how quick and easy the install was. And most importantly everything seems to work as expected, and there’s no loose wiring hanging off anywhere, which is great. A professional finish.

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Since the install I’ve driven around for a few days now and am pretty impressed with the video quality. I wanted to move the dash cam up and place it higher so it’s less visible from the outside.

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I’ve shared some videos from the dash cam on facebook, so check them out there. No point in uploading them to YouTube as the video quality gets absolutely destroyed. Hopefully I never have to use any of the footage off the camera for anything insurance related. But I’m looking forward to getting some nice cruising footage from the next Miata get together, which is coming up this week.

PS. I took the opportunity to do a side by side comparison between the A118C B40 Pro and my GoPro Hero 3+ they’re pretty similar in size:

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