Tag Archives: lrp

Northeast Grand Prix IMSA at Lime Rock the debrief

It’s been a while since I’ve done the Northeast GP at Lime Rock… last year I was marshaling in Europe with my triple event schedule in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. A year before that I did something else, and the year before that the Northeast GP was quite good! There were prototypes racing. There was lots of action. There were lots of incidents and lots of opportunity to blue flag. This time around though the pace of the event slowed way down. Dare I say it was quite boring on the first day which was disappointing.

Luckily there were Miata’s racing… so I kept myself entertained!

The station assignment for Friday was at post 6A or more traditionally called Bridge… where absolutely nothing happened.

I did enjoy the company of my fellow flag marshal there, so we made it through the day… the only excitement came from us getting sprayed by big clouds of dust as a few cars ran wide out of the previous corner…

The next day though things picked up tremendously. I was posted in Turn 2 for the first time (I don’t remember if it was my first time ever, or certainly in a very long time, which was very exciting!). There was lots of potential at this turn because at most other events when I’m somewhere else, you can always hear Turn 2 calling in incidents. Of course I became the anti-magnet today, and absolutely nothing interesting happened. We had a few bumps. There were some spins before us and a few after us, but nothing noteworthy.

It was very close to the track and a great place to be a spectator.

Poor Miata… knocked out of 3rd place with a broken mouth:

But being so close to the paddock meant we could wander into pit lane for grid walk… and that’s exactly what I did!

The event was rather crowded, which was super awesome to see… but I don’t know if the GT-alone racing series lived up to the expectations… they certainly left me wanting for more. The IMSA races used to be some of the fastest cars that came to LRP, I’m not sure if the same could be said in it’s current form.

Maybe that’s why the Turner car had a BS-looking sponsor:

What’s the deal with Tacos anyway?

But anyway… looking back at the weekend I have to say that the initial feeling of boredom become overcome with a “it’s not so bad” attitude and ultimately, “this is a pretty good event.”

I certainly enjoyed the Miata’s racing and winning. This was the major difference comparing it to PWC event earlier in the year where the MX-5’s qualified well but faltered during the races.

So congrats to Freedom Autosport! And to the other Miata teams that didn’t do so well but put on a great show nonetheless…

Interesting that the headsets we used were Made in Australia!

And best of all every night the LRP Cafe took care of the workers with a tasty meal. So thank you Skip Barber for that!

Post Card from the Northeast Grand Prix IMSA GT’s at Lime Rock

Greetings from Lime Rock!

Here’s some pix taken over the two day Northeast Grand Prix event:

Fathers Day Weekend SCCA Club Racing at Lime Rock

To be honest I’ve given up on Club Racing this season… But since I still hold a valid SCCA license and my friend Jamie offered to let me work on the Starter stand with him, I jumped on the opportunity!

Boy am I glad I did.

I came for the Miata’s, but stayed for all the variety that was there.

The various Spec Miata fields were huge… I liked the battles going on from my vantage point. And since there were four of us on the Start stand I got to rotate into every position available for a few sessions at a time… so I got to Start and Chequer races. I got to work as a backup. I got to do lap charts. And finally, got to do comms. It was neat to say the least and much needed practice I wanted to have as I did make mistakes a few weeks ago at Lime Rock working the PWC race as a backup starter.

But anyway. For the NA and NB Miata fans there was a lot to love. I only spotted one NC there. Briefly thinking a few Honda S2000’s were Miata’s as they were under car covers… Ooops! They sure do have similar dimensions and it’s especially hard to tell when you can only see wheels, and both Mazda and Honda tend to use the same Enkei wheels.

Anyway, here’s some pix of my favorite cars this weekend:

This fella raced one of the SAC NC Miata Cup Cars during PWC.

Love the paint job on this Formula Vee…

Surprised how flashy some cars looked wearing sponsors on their liveries…

Woo Hoo… NC Miata!

Not a Miata!

But it’s wearing a +5HP sticker…

This thing kicked ass in the rain, winning one race.

Stock vs. Non-Stock S2000’s… probably my favorite looking race car at the track… wonder why they created a class that eliminates the windshield of a car…?

This thing too had a very dramatic last lap, front straight, chequered flag finish… dash to the win!

Several young female racers, which is awesome to see on such grassroots level of Motorsport.

I’ll be back for more tomorrow… Saturday = Race Day!

Thank You New England Region Drivers For a Delicious Paddock Crawl at Lime Rock Park

For the second year in a row now the New England Region SCCA drivers have put on quite a feast for the volunteers and fellow drivers on Friday night after track activities came to a close.

It’s a nice touch… this gives the drivers an opportunity to show their appreciation for the workers and I wanted to do my part to show my appreciation for a job well done. Thank you very much! It’s certainly appreciated.

I only spent a little time pigging out before driving home to Jersey for the night, but I must say the BBQ ribs one fella had were outstanding. Last years’ favorites: margarita slushie people with a side of tacos and the Dinosaur RX-7 folks with their assortment of sausages and meatballs also did a fantastic job. And there was someone with a tasty strawberry and whip cream desert. Full, tasty, meal… hit the spot after a long day at a wet track.

Thanks again to all the NER Drivers!

22 lbs of ribs gone in a matter or minutes… finger lickin’ good!

Una Frozen Margarita por favor… Gracias!

Soooooo tasty!

Oh look I spy Stevie!

Gotta say it looks way different with those massive Mustang wheels!

One of the more social socials I’ve been to at a track lately.

Thanks NER!

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 ūüôā

…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.

Make Yourself a Lime Rock Drink This Holiday Season!

It is my favorite time of the year… the period between Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving) and Christmas/Hannukah when American businesses go crazy with sales offering amazing deals and making my bank account glow red with debt. The weather in the NYC metropolitan area is freezing ¬†cold with some snow on the ground, making it the perfect time to mix myself a “Lime Rock” drink. No it’s not eggnog or some other alcoholic concoction, instead it is something far more pleasant:

Hot Chocolate mixed with Coffee!

Is it good? Hell yeah it’s good! It is freaking awesome… and I can’t thank the young lady at the Lime Rock Cafe enough for mixing it up, just for me… Introducing me to this amazingly simple yet soul warming drink that anyone can make at home!

I have a lot of great memories from Lime Rock Park, at this moment the mere taste of a Hot Coco/Coffee mix brings back the best ones with every sip. The best part is this one is hard to mess up when you try DIY… I say that because there are other drinks I’ve become very fond of, especially those I was lucky enough to sample when marshaling in Asia… ¬†Kopi Teh is a prime example found in Malaysia and Singapore. A mix of coffee with tea and condenced milk that tastes amazing, but for the life of me I have not been successful trying to replicate it at home. Hot wine from the Christmas Markets in Germany is another amazing thing that I have failed to replicate at home. But placing a hot chocolate Keurig K cup into the machine and pressing a button, followed by placing another Keurig K cup in and repeating the process¬†is easy, anyone can do that!

And you should, go do it now!

Speaking of Keurig and the great deals this holiday season, I was able to snatch one up from Target for a fraction of what they cost… which is typically $119+ tax. Mine was on sale for $79 + some discount coupons, plus $35 back in Target gift cards, plus I paid with Target gift cards that I bought at a 10% discount. So all I paid out the door was about $25 bux. Not bad considering that’s what a reasonable box of Keurig flavored K cups costs…. I also went a little crazy purchasing the K cups. The Starbucks flavored boxes of 16 ct which typically MSRP for $12 were on sale for 30% off, plus $6 off when you buy 3, plus Starbucks had a promo offering $5 bux for purchase of 3 boxes. So all in all I paid something like $15 for 3 boxes of 16 ct K cups. Which is really good. It’s like paying for one and getting two free… I like that kind of deal.

Happy Holidays Y’all!

Mazda MX-5: Miata vs. Ferrari F1 Car

If you ever wanted a side-by-side comparison of a street car, like a Miata vs. an F1 car like this plastic replica of a Ferrari Formula One car from a few years ago… here you have it!

It’s not always you get an opportunity to compare the two, the replicas usually grace dealership floors or various office buildings like the Ferrari North American headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey… but living in NJ I’d probably never actually drive my car into the showroom for comparison purposes so using the excuse of a Ferrari Challenge event at Lime Rock Park, we got a perfect setting before the loaded the car back on it’s transport to wherever it was going next…

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As you can clearly tell from these low budget old iPhone photos, the F1 car is clearly much bigger than the MX-5… like much bigger! I’m kind of impressed though with the outcome of this little photo shoot because my car was covered in an inch of dust here.

I think this was the highlight of the event for me, where I spent the rest of the time eating yesterday’s cold chinese noodles and sipping on Dr. Pepper with some exotic labeling scheme going on…

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Come out and volunteer for Motorsport events folks… even when the events are boring you can make your own excitement whenever you find an opportunity!

IMSA Ferrari Challenge at Lime Rock Park the debrief

I don’t know what it is but every time I come to Lime Rock to volunteer an event there’s always something impeding my performance. This time around I got sick as a dog the day before with a head cold and flu like symptoms and it only got worse during the course of the weekend. Being sick probably affected my opinion of the event, but I’ll go ahead and share what I thought, both the good and the bad.

The good… I really enjoyed working with the people I was paired with over the two day period. I loved the assignments I got, both stations: Turn 7 (downhill) on Friday and Turn 6 (west bend) on Saturday were stations I haven’t worked in forever, so it was a new perspective. And my partners who both said were novices even though they probably worked more “years” as marshals than I have, really embraced my help (or at least that’s how they came across) which created a really pleasant¬†atmosphere that I enjoyed. I thought I was helping by sharing what I know, and encouraged the folks to build confidence even if they made a mistake. That was cool! I am thankful for that opportunity.

As far as the racing goes it was a great day to be a Ferrari fan because there were lots of Ferrari’s to be enjoyed.

I really like(d) Ferrari Challenge. They were such an exciting event especially when they played a support role to events like Formula 1 in Montreal, Canada or at the US Grand Prix. They were such an enjoyable regional event too, because I got to see them race as a support to Formula One in Singapore and Le Mans 24 hours in France. In fact it was the Ukrainian team that won the support race during my very first LM 24h and I was massively happy to hear the Ukrainian anthem playing in the distance. That was really neat.

The bad… ¬†It seems to me Ferrari Challenge went from heroes to zeroes in a space of a few years. The current Ferrari Challenge event at Lime Rock felt more like a Ferrari North America track rental, a private event rather than a Pro-Race / IMSA sanctioned weekend.

When did Ferrari Challenge become the bastard child of IMSA?

I don’t understand this at all… watching the weekend unfold it was pretty disappointing to see the sorry state of the series. Which probably has a lot to do with Ferrari involvement and the direction of the program from top down. And equally as much the popularity of other series like Porsche GT3 Cup and Lamborghini Super Trofeo.

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“I’d rather be fishing” on the winning car of one of the classes sums up the event best… seems like lots of racers would rather do something else, that’s why the car fields in the actual races were between seven (7!!!) and low teens… not much to look at. And I get the part that this is a marketing tag line, but even the teammate’s Bass Pro Shops sponsored Ferrari was half-assed. I’ve seen spec Miatas with better wrap jobs than this 458C that seems like it was slapped together in a hurry, with bubbles and creases still clearly visible under the wrap. Not cool…

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It wasn’t just the Ferrari Challenge that was disappointing. Much like the Driver Education sessions during the Ferrari Club of America / IndyCar weekend at Watkins Glen, the lapping portion of the event was lame. The Ferrari Esperienza session which used the same 458C that the Challenge racers use only had one car circulating in it’s 20 minute sessions, at one point another similar car joined but it disappeared as quickly as it appeared. That sucked. There was a LaFerrari session which I think many people, myself included were quite interested in, that didn’t happen at all. I could be wrong but I didn’t see any LaFerrari’s at Lime Rock at all this weekend. What the hell? The LaFerrari was used as a cover photo on Facebook to check in for this event… false marketing, is it?

Whatever!

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The plastic F1 replica was a cool touch though. I took full advantage by taking some snaps of it at various stages of that car’s display. It was fun to see it being pushed around sideways (perpendicular to the way the wheels were facing) to get the car lined up in a way that the red shirts wanted it. I even staged a little photo shoot with my Miazda for shits and giggles… didn’t realize the car was that much bigger than my Miata.

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So it is what it is. The final verdict for this weekend is it felt like a Cars & Coffee get together with a few cars running around on track making noise…. except you had to pay $55 bux as a spectator to come and see these cars for yourself. The spectator attendance was good albeit low, I was happy to see all the little kids who raided the team’s spent tires stash and took them as souvenirs. Some were playing by rolling the tire down hill, others used it as chairs to watch the racing. I love seeing little kids at the race track… with low attendance numbers everywhere it’s nice to feel that Motorsport has a future.

The car show portion of the event is what really salvaged the experience for me. Despite the LaFerrari’s absence I was super happy to see the F40 next to an F50 next to an Enzo. What a great show! Lots of red cars, a few bright yellows and bright blues to break the monotony of silvers and black cars. There was a lot to look at in the small space that is the Lime Rock paddock.

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I never knew Ferrari made a Citroen-esque car:

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For me though this was a one time event, I don’t think I would enjoy doing it again in the future. But that’s just me.

And then when leaving I noticed the whole road leading to the main entrance of Lime Rock lined with yellow “No Racing on Sunday” banners… WTF! Hard for me to understand people’s mentality that buy a house next to the race track and then complain about the noise.

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Post Card from Ferrari Challenge at Lime Rock

Another weekend on a race track, this time flagging for Ferrari track rental at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.

Lots of opinions to share about this event, but first some photos:

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