Tag Archives: GTA

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:

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 1

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 2

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 5

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 4

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 3

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 6

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 7

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 8

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 9

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 10

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 11

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 12

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!

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 13

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

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 14

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 15

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 16

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 17

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.

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 18

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 19

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 20

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 21

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 22

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.

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 23

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 24

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 25

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 26

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 27

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 28

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.

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 29

pwc lime rock memorial day weekend 2016 grand prix of lime rock 30 baseball bat

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:

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 1

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 3

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 4

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 5

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 6

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 7

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 8

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 2

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 9

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 10

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 13

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 11

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 12

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 14

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 15

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 16

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 17

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 18

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 19

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 20

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 21

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 22

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 23

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 24

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 27

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 28

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 29

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 30

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 33

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 34

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 26

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 25

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 36

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 37

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 38

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 35

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 39

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 40

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 32

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

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend 31

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

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend sweatshirts

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

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend

grand prix of lime rock pirelli world challenge weekend tower

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:

mazda mx-5 miata canadian road trip to ctmp canadian tire motorsport park in bowmanville ontario 16

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

canadian tire motorsport park victoria day weekend nascar pinty's scca pro pirelli world challenge ctcc 11

canadian tire motorsport park victoria day weekend nascar pinty's scca pro pirelli world challenge ctcc 10

mazda mx-5 miata canadian road trip to ctmp canadian tire motorsport park in bowmanville ontario 10

mazda mx-5 miata canadian road trip to ctmp canadian tire motorsport park in bowmanville ontario 9

mazda mx-5 miata canadian road trip to ctmp canadian tire motorsport park in bowmanville ontario 8

mazda mx-5 miata canadian road trip to ctmp canadian tire motorsport park in bowmanville ontario 7

mazda mx-5 miata canadian road trip to ctmp canadian tire motorsport park in bowmanville ontario 6

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.

canadian tire motorsport park victoria day weekend nascar pinty's scca pro pirelli world challenge ctcc 12

Canadian ingenuity? creativity?

canadian tire motorsport park victoria day weekend nascar pinty's scca pro pirelli world challenge ctcc 9

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

canadian tire motorsport park victoria day weekend nascar pinty's scca pro pirelli world challenge ctcc 8

Flag stand at Turn 6 on the back straight.

canadian tire motorsport park victoria day weekend nascar pinty's scca pro pirelli world challenge ctcc 7

canadian tire motorsport park victoria day weekend nascar pinty's scca pro pirelli world challenge ctcc 6

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

canadian tire motorsport park victoria day weekend nascar pinty's scca pro pirelli world challenge ctcc 4

The stations layout at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

canadian tire motorsport park victoria day weekend nascar pinty's scca pro pirelli world challenge ctcc 5

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

canadian tire motorsport park victoria day weekend nascar pinty's scca pro pirelli world challenge ctcc 3

From Turn 6 looking towards Turn 7.

canadian tire motorsport park victoria day weekend nascar pinty's scca pro pirelli world challenge ctcc 2

canadian tire motorsport park victoria day weekend nascar pinty's scca pro pirelli world challenge ctcc 1

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!

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 30

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 29

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 28

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 27

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 20

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 26

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 22

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 21

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 16

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 17

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 18

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 19

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 11

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 12

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 14

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 15

#MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain 😉

drumpf 1

drumpf 2

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…

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 23

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 25

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 24

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

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 6

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 10

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 2

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 3

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 4

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.

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 1

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 9

Turn 3

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 7

Turn 1

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 5

Turn 9

grand prix of texas pwc at cota 8

Yep… Have Flags and Will Travel!

A Challenge to the SuperGT Organizers to Accept a non-Japanese Marshal for One of Their Events

Why don’t some countries allow foreign marshals to participate in their events, when they clearly allow and promote foreign driver participation in the same events?

I want to marshal a SuperGT race in Japan.

And yet, the few contacts I’ve made in Japan at various circuits seem set against it to allow foreigners to marshal with the Japanese.

The photo above came from an article where the SuperGT (GTA) boss Masaaki Bandoh issued a challenge to WEC organizers to have three teams race their GT500 cars at the Fuji 6 hour event. The GT500 cars from SuperGT look far more GT-like than the LMP1 and LMP2 prototypes in the Word Endurance Championship series. According to the article the GT500’s are quicker than the pace set by the Audi R18 eTron, though slower than the Toyota or Porsche hybrids, but faster than the privateer teams like Rebellion LMP1’s. Anyhow, the quickness of the GT500 cars is irrelevant to the fact that the Japanese circuits I contacted only allow Japanese speakers to participate/volunteer in their events. Why not? Surely the multitude of foreign drivers many of them English speakers (but others whether French or German are still more likely to speak English then Japanese) don’t actually speak Japanese should they crash and need to interact with the local marshals.

Mr. Bandoh apparently didn’t stop with the challenges there, he issued another challenge to the German manufacturers to step up their game in the GT500 field (they currently participate in the GT300 field with GT3-spec machinery like the Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS, BMW Z4 GT3 or the Porsche 911 GT3). And the manufacturers are expected to comply, according to the article. Why not open up the doors to the opportunity for foreign travelling marshals to volunteer at Suzuka, or Montegi, or Fuji? It’d make perfect sense to me and plenty of other people too. I’m sure we’d all take the Japanese Automobile Federation up on their offer to work with our Japanese colleagues like we do with our German colleagues, or our French colleagues, or our Australian colleagues, etc.

I don’t speak many languages of the countries I’ve volunteered at. In Belgium French is the official language of the circuit, but many of the marshals, including many Belgians, speak Flemish. There were plenty of Dutch marshals there too. Plenty of Brits. Plenty of Czech’s, etc. I’m sure most of them don’t speak French but we all got along nicely and worked professionally as expected. I didn’t speak French working at Le Mans. I didn’t speak German working at the Nurburgring. French was one of the official languages in Canada even though the other official language was English. I didn’t speak fluent Singlish to work the Singapore GP. Definitely didn’t speak Bahasa Malaysia working at the Sepang Circuit. Or Korean working in South Korea. Point being, I don’t speak most of the foreign languages at places I have volunteered successfully. But I did my job the way I was supposed to, and I would love to return to work there again and again.

The excuse that the local language is required to work an event isn’t valid, and it’s a shame that the Japanese circuits I contacted use. Surely there are some marshals there who speak some English and I would partner up with to work under their supervision and some translation when necessary.

I suspect that the reason we get rejected as foreign marshals is that the Japanese organizers don’t want to babysit a foreigner. It’s a lot easier to say “NO!” than to accept a marshal and than have to worry about a myriad of questions like where that person should stay (lodging), how he should get to the track (transportation), what that person must eat and how prepared he should be (food). Communication in general. Following the dress code. Having a helmet that fits. etc. It’s much harder to say “YES!”

But I wish they would.

If there is anyone in Japan that would help me facilitate my wish to volunteer at one of the SuperGT events at Fuji, Montegi, Suzuka or any other track, please get in touch. I would probably need your help translating the application (and the whole process indeed). Some advice about transportation getting to the track, on time. Where to eat, where to sleep, etc. It would be most helpful!

One day I will do SuperGT… it’s at the top of my wish list,  like DTM!

 

Link to the quoted article: http://www.racecar-engineering.com/news/super-gt-challenges-lmp1-dtm-to-fuji-showdown/