Tag Archives: PCA

Visit to Heinlein Racing Development (HRD)

First stop on my 500+ mile road trip to Watkins Glen for the IMSA 6hr endurance weekend was visiting Tivador Heinlein at the new Heinlein Racing Development facility in Roxbury, NJ. The shop is conveniently located right off of the Interstate 80 about an hour’s drive from NYC. And is well worth a visit. I call it the “Candy Shop!”

I almost got a job with T last year when I was eager to find work in “Motorsport” (non-volunteering) I even wrote about getting a different perspective at the racetrack when Tiv took me to NJMP with the team for a PCA event, read about it here:

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I didn’t get the job, but still stay in touch with T, and watching him post on facebook all the cool  toys he gets to work on every day makes me quite jealous.

But I am extremely happy he is doing well!

The first thing I really wanted to see was the Praga R1 race car:

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I think it’s really sexy and agressive looking. Much more so than the Radical it tends to compete with in CN class. The Czech guys I worked with at Le Mans would be very proud of this thing.

T is a Porsche specialist, and it’s evident from all the 911’s, Boxters and Caymans in the shop:

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But lately he’s been getting quite a few Mazda Miata customers for the entry-level SCCA spec Miata racing series, mostly NB Miatas:

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And he’s obviously up to the challenge. The craftsmanship behind the work he does is impressive. From the well thought out cages that extend into the driver’s door giving extra room and comfort to the racer, to the engine and suspension set ups. Quality work all around.

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Since the last time I visited T at the Fair Lawn location the team of mechanics that work for him has obviously grown. And so have the variety of cars. I saw an older Daytona Prototype with a BMW powerplant. The Praga R1 was really neat. There was a Hennessey Ford GT that T is helping the owner sell, if anybody’s interested.

So many cool things….

Check out Tiv’s web site: www.heinleinracing.com/

Getting a different perspective for PCA at NJMP

A little change of scenery this weekend. I was browsing through the job section of Craigslist a few weeks ago and came across a mechanic wanted ad for a local race shop. While I don’t qualify as a mechanic nor would I even be considered for such a job, the race shop was kind enough to invite me to one of their events to see how the team is run from the garages in the paddock, a different view I normally get while volunteering as a flagger. So for four days I played a “crew” member riding down to the track in their hauler, taking action shots with a borrowed SLR, helping out in the garage, running errands like getting race fuel in the Tonka truck or ordering lunches, etc. It was an interesting experience.

Out of the three cars HRD brought to NJMP for PCA, only one ended up being very competitive all weekend. One had a gremlin in the intake seeping air and did not race as intended, and another had an electrical issue during a race that resulted in a DNF. For the races I managed to borrow one of the actual crew member’s cameras and a pick-up truck to get around the perimeter of NJMP to take some action pictures from various turns (many that I have worked before and already knew how the cars looked thru there). As I was positioning myself between turns 1 and 2, I got confronted by one of the yellow-shirts, an overzealous security guard whom didn’t like me being there though I was doing nothing wrong… Very typical behaviour that resulted in me rushing to registration to get a Media vest with credentials… not a big deal, but I missed a good 20 minutes of the race which I should have used to take pictures. So in the words of Scott Dixon: “What a dick move!”

I did have a few surprising “recognition” moments that gave me a big boost to my ego… I recognized a few flaggers I’ve worked with before whom I made sure to say hello to over the weekend and make small chat. But what really excited me was (after having gotten an orange NJMP media vest and knowing full well that there was no point in driving around the track when I could go “trackside” to take pictures) I approached one of the corner workers at turn 9 to quickly check if he was OK with me being there – it was his station after all, and a polite thing to do… and he said: “Hey, you’re that flagger guy! I follow your blog…”  my reaction started with a smile from ear to ear. What a cool thing to hear! So thanks to him for being awesome and I’m really looking forward to meeting him or possibly working with him at Baltimore GP when I go back to my regularly scheduled volunteering next week. Similarly, while in the garages and the paddock, I really kept my distance from drivers. One: to avoid annoying them and two: to basically stay out of their way as they went through their rituals of prepping for the drive/race. Well, one of the pro-drivers hired to coach one of the team’s racers, came up to me to introduce himself with a mention: “Hey I know I’ve seen you at the track before, your face looks very familiar.” Way cool again!

But enough talk, check out some lucky shots I took over the weekend… out of 2,000+ pix only a few hundred actually look half decent, in focus and have the car centered nicely.

#05 Porsche Cayman S normally races in the Pirelli World Challenge Series, GTS class

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#39 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup is a former Rolex Series GT car now participating in PCA

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Team HRD works hard and plays hard at the end of the race day… with an equally competitive session of Go Karts at NJMP’s F1 track… got some great shots of them beating the competition (from the BMW Club having their own racing that weekend at NJMP’s Lightning track). Everyone had fun, but things were very competitive!

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#59 Porsche Boxter, piloted by an amateur driver that actually introduced himself to me

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Special thanks to Tivadar Heinlein for inviting me to join his Heinlein Racing Development team in the paddock, greatly appreciate the enthusiasm and the good times!

Rolex Grand Am at New Jersey Motorsports Park

I think I just attended the pinnacle of motorsport venues at my local track, the Rolex Grand Am series at New Jersey Motorsports Park. What a fantastic event, I can’t even begin to describe what a blast I had.

As luck would have it, one of my many e-mails to various SCCA members put me in contact with some Millville locals who just happen to be very much involved with operations at NJMP. Not only did they invite me to spend the weekend at their house but they very much took me under their wing for the event itself. I even had the luck to make station captain – an honor though not something I wanted to do yet when there were so many corner marshals with careers spanning a longer period of time than I’ve been alive.

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Nevertheless the racing itself was top notch. Many incidents, many cars and a lot of fun watching the action from the best seat in the house: on track.