Sorry for the delay on this write up. It is going to be a long one as there was a lot to write about from Mid Ohio.
Well, the Mid Ohio June race is in the books. It was a great weekend. No weather issues which is always great for any great lakes area race. The weekend started early for some. The old mantra is that you can not bring a broken car to the race track, but that is exactly what Joe Magalotti did, on purpose. He brought down his ailing 993 Porsche on Thursday night with a plan to retrieve his, now repaired, transmission from a shop near Athens Ohio on Friday and put it in on Friday in the garage. Well, who would have thought that the plan worked and Magalotti was out in the first session on Saturday. The weekend also started early for the GTS / Black Box Brewery Beer Garden (or Garage 15 as we sometimes call it) The keg of Plumbers Crack Ale was tapped on Thursday night and the beverage was enjoyed all weekend by (mostly) GTS participants. More and more Black Box Brewery stickers started showing up on cars reminding me of the Mad Brew days. We are hoping to make this the first of many weekends that include Black Box beer.
Many of the GTS groups had many cars. GTS5, the newest of the large car classes, had six cars including Bob Wisen, Todd Sloan, Brian Hicks, Tom Krueger, Ed Baus, and Brad Waite. This was written in order of qualifying for Saturday allowing Wisen to again show his dominance in his new car and how Hicks has really taken quickly to his new car in his first race weekend. All of the cars in GTS5 are Porsche 997 GT3 Cup cars. All but one from Brazil. GTS4 also had six competitors including Ralf Lindackers, Joe Magalotti, Brant Giere, Denny Pedri, John Hansen and John Graber. This, also in order of qualifying on Saturday allowing Magalotti to show how well his new gearbox is working. Not to be left out, GTS3 had six cars including Scott Berkowitz, Korey Deason, Cameron McIntyre, Konstantinos Kouretas, Chad Morris, and Paul Davison. Scott showing us that it is not just the car and that he can peddle around a Porsche 944 just as well as he can a BMW E36. Welcome to the group the new drivers of Chad and Konstantinos. Not to be left out, GTS2 had a four car field which included Zach Hillmann, Jason Ebernardt, Ryan Szjakowski, and Zach AbuOmar. Again, welcoming the new drivers of Ryan and Zach (AbuOmar, I think we have seen Hillmann before)
Saturday race started without a hitch. The green flag few and we were all off. In GTS5 Baus had a great start jumping a number of cars to end up in second place by the end of lap 2, but the lead that Wisen had pulled on him was just too much and Baus would remain in second the entire race. New comer (to GTS5) Hicks lost his third place starting position in lap two and then ended early with a spin in Keyhole towards the end of the race. Sloan took third spot from Krueger after a post race position change. In GTS4 Geire, Lindacker, Pedri, Hansen and Graber had a very tight race with Geire pulling away in the end. The finish was Giere, Lindacker, and Graber at the finish only to have Lindacker and Graber move up a spot and move Hansen into the third spot also due to post race position changes. In GTS 3 McIntyre was happy to be back after having contact at Pitt Race with a Corvette. Berkowitz had a good race with Deason and Davison who made a charge from the back of the pack until contact with a Factory Five car saw Berkowitz end his career in a 944 end early in Thunder Valley. The battle continued between Deason and Davison with new comer Kouretas coming in third. McIntyre with the quote of the race saying "I've definitely never driven so hard to come in last place" GTS2 was a runaway with Hillmann running off on the rest of the field to finish first and set a new track record. This left newcomers Szyjakowski and AbuOmar to fight Eberhardt for second and third.
Sunday again greeted us with a wonderful day. Everyone had their game face on and were ready to try again. GTS5 gridded with Wisen on pole again followed by Waite, Baus, Sloan, Krueger, and Hicks. At the green flag the group took off and in typical faction, Baus took first on Sunday to Wisen's first on Saturday (three in a row) Baus also was able to keep his track record by pushing it down into the 1:29's and only .004 seconds below Wisen's fast lap. Krueger also moved up and took the third spot. In GTS4 the grid held Lindackers, Hansen, Magalotti, Giere, Graber, and Pedri. In just lap 2 contact between Graber and Magalotti saw a couple of bent rim halves and Graber retire early. Geire went on to fight with Lindackers and Hansen to see the finish Giere, Lindackers, and Hansen. GTS3 had a new entry. Hillmann now feeling that he had conquered GTS2 moved into GTS3 to wreck havoc there. And, wreck he did (havoc that is). Qualifying had Hillmann, Deason, Davison, Kouretas, McIntyre and Morris. Hillmann had an initial battle with Deason, but Hillmann pulled away and Davison came up to fight with Deason. Finishing order would be Hillman, Deason, and Davison in third. Morris had interesting car issues on Suday ranging from alarm gremlins to a loose electrical module at the clutch petal (very reminiscent of the loose tach incident of my own at Pitt Race. Great video showing me reaching through the steering wheel in the straights trying to put the tach back in the hole) GTS2 was down to just three cars with the exit of Hillmann. Qualifying stacked up with Eberhardt, Szyjakowski, and AbuOmar. The three stayed in a very tight group almost never crossing the start finish with an out of class car mixed in. At the finish, Szyjakowski took first with Eberhardt and AbuOmar just behind.
Mid Ohio number two is now in the books. And, the first Black Box Brewery event is also behind us. More beer is to follow as we head to Gingerman, though. Plan is to bring more great beer and have some great racing. Please sign up as soon as you can to join us.
NASA Great Lakes GTS Series Director
It was back in the late 90's when I first came across NASA through the M-club -the group of driving enthusiasts in NY/NJ running autocrosses and DE events at local tracks, which joined forces with NASA in its expansion to the East Coast forming NASA Tri-State, now known as NASA-NE.
Initially there was a need to prove that NASA is a viable and sustainable place for drivers to belong to. Over time, through a number of ups and downs, achievements and failures, finding new friends and loosing old ones, we grew and matured together arriving where we are today – for many it has become a home away from home, with all of the good and bad it has to offer.
In the early days, many drivers crossed over to GTS from PCA and BMWCCA for an occasional event or two, treating it as a secondary place to race, rarely building cars to fit the Rules. With the Series gaining strength, thanks to dedicated efforts of the core group and support from the major tires manufacturers, more and more drivers became regulars and built dedicated cars to maximum allowence of the rules. The fields grew and the competition intensified.
I truly believe that GTS would not be where it is without the dedication, commitment and trust in the core principles established and preserved through the years by the enthusiasts involved. We have had National Leaders at helm working tirelessly and deserve great credit. We lived through some conflicts and differences in opinions, which should never diminish the value of contributions of the former directors. We are honored to have leaders like Chris Streit (MW), Ed Baus (GL), Eric Wong (MA) and Drew Ewing (SE) at the head of their Regions for many years, as well as Regions with recently appointed directors - Steve Marlow (AZ), Chris Orr (Central), Dan Goodman (RM), Brian Edmonds (Mid South) and Rokket Horton (FL). Few Regions are still in need of a dedicated leader. We hope to find the right people interested to contribute and stay long term.
I was honored to be appointed National Director in 2015 replacing Scott Good whom I greatly respect and believe made invaluable contribution to the development of the series. The main factors in the success of the GTS are stable Rules with the open format in the core, development of the compliance protocol and the transparency, which is why I plan to make them the center of my efforts.
The Directors Committee pays a great deal of attention to the preservation of the "Open Rules" format in GTS, and every year during the discussion period we go through intense and sometimes painfully long conversations validate changes. At the end, we agree to implement only critical and important changes, respecting the principles established by the founders.
For 2015 we decided to switch to the Average HP (20% under the curve) from the Peak HP and part with TQ values in determining the class ratios (Weight to HP). After the first few events it appears to be a positive change. The new formula allows most cars to drop some weight – more for some, less for others. Although the results may not seem immediate it is a matter of time before more drivers begin to explore the benefits of the allowance and its effect on the level of the competition.
For the past two years we have been working with AIM on development of a compliance tool based on the Data Analysis. We hope we will soon be able to offer quick and reliable pass/fail testing in real time at the post race impound as well as data for in depth analysis if needed. That should be tremendously helpful for officials in monitoring and enforcing compliance as well as boosting confidence of a fair game in the eyes and minds of the competitors. We will continue to utilize on site dyno testing when and where available.
In regards to transparency – we require drivers to have their Dyno graphs, value tables and Declaration Forms available for review at all times and disclose the content upon any competitor's request. In addition we are working on creating a dedicated place on our GTS website, as some NASA Regions do, where drivers would upload the required data. We discussed mandating the upload in the changes to the Rules for 2015, but decided to keep it voluantary for now. Once we have a place on the site and see drivers' response we may agree to make it as a required step in the future.
Club racing is based on honor system, and most often the driver's skills determine the results. Cheating is often more perceived than real, which doesn’t make it any less damaging. That is why adherence to the Rules, enforcement of the strict compliance protocol to the best of our abilities and transparency with drivers and officials are important in gaining trust which will result in growth of GTS.
On behalf of all the Regional Directors and myself – we are here to serve our drivers and to make NASA/GTS the best place to come out to race and have fun with our life-long friends.
If there are questions, suggestions or if you are interested in helping out, please contact the Regional Directors or myself –contacts are available ont the website.
Have a safe and fun 2015 season and hope to see you all at the track!
Written by Michael Gershanok, Photos by Mike Woeller.
Time really flies, the memories of the long snowy winter are still fresh. All of a sudden, we find ourselves in a middle of a short, pleasant spring quickly transitioning into the summer with already two events into the season!
The big change in GTS Rules for the 2015 was the switch from Peak to Average Horsepower in the Weight / HP Class Ratio calculations. The new formula allows all cars to lose some weight – more or less depending on the shape of the curve on the dyno graph. The big question – if drivers will take advantage of it, which should bring the competition closer.
As expected at the first event, few drivers were not fully prepared for the change in Rules and our Dyno operator was busy all Saturday long!
In our Region as well as in GTS Nationally, the emphasis this year is on further development of the compliance testing protocol using AIM Black Boxes in addition to the onsite Dyno, and enforcing strict safety standards of safe and clean racing.
The goal of the development in compliance testing is to arrive to the point of having a predictable, easy to use in car unit, which would generate the pass / fail value to the officials immediately at impound scales, as well as provide the data for analysis if needed. So far we are getting very promising results in that regard!
Our first two events were at NJMP – the first at Lightening Course and the second – on Thunderbolt.
The early indications are that this year we will see the return of a good size group in GTS2 retaining most of the last year competitors and a healthy growth for GTS3 and 4 (especially 4!) with number of new drivers and cars joining the field.
On April 18 - 19th we gathered for the season opener at NJMP/Lightening Course.
The first race brought out 24 racers in total for the GTS (6 - in 2, 9 - in 3, 8 - in 4 and 1 - in U) with many others absent either not being ready after the long winter or making repairs falling the victim to the early start with other groups.
The entire weekend in GTS 2 turned into a back and forth battle between Luke Pardi and Michael Sousa. Saturday turned out to be Pardi's day with him winning the pole and coming out on top in the race, which was very intense and exciting to watch. At the end Luke was one short second ahead of Michael. On Sunday, the roles reversed and Michael managed to get the pole and held on to win the race. David LeBlanc could have potentially challenged the dominance of Pardi and Sousa, but an engine failure took him out of the battle barely 5 laps into Saturday's race.
Thunder group was filled with action. GTS3 was dominated by Hugh Stewart both days, even though Luiz Serva made an attempt to steal it from Hugh, especially on Sunday, when he managed to out qualify his teammate, but the experience of HS paid off and he finished ahead by a good margin both days. Frank Ferrara was 3rd both times. In GTS4 on Saturday - Mathieu Lussier ran away from the field finishing almost 11 seconds ahead of Michal Kuna and more then 1 sec better per lap time. 3rd was Rob McInerney - new to NASA NE driving Cayman. On Sunday, Lussier didn't run, and in his absence, Jeff Segal took charge, not only by winning the race, but also putting down the GTS4 lap record time of 1:10.081. Rob McInerney managed to finish 2nd just ahead of Michal Kuna this time.
Both races went clean which marked a promising start to the busy season of 2015.
On May 15 – 17 we returned to NJMP/Thunderbolt for Round 2 running the chicane configuration.
This time we had total of 35 (!) drivers pre-registered for the weekend in GTS. After the practice day on Friday the field shrunk slightly due to the few mechanicals, but still gathered 5 starters in GTS2, 11 – in GTS3, 10 – in GTS4 and 2 – in GTSU (future 3 and 4 cars once the dynos are sorted out).
Saturday’s Lightening Race group was on the grid first lead by 3 GTS 2 drivers all qualifying within 1 second of each other. Pole was occupied by Michael Sousa who ran a fast 1:33.083, followed closely by Dan Harnick and Aaron Turek. All 3 cars are E36 M3 BMWs running with restrictor plates. The entire race was nose to tail between those 3 drivers, entertaining to watch and keeping the audience on the edges of their seats.
Unfortunately for Michael Sousa, in the heat of the battle, while defending the position, he attempted the inside pass on a lapped Miata in T1, which didn’t work very well. This attempt sent the Miata off and resulted in minor bruises to the front bumper of his car as well as a DQ, which gave the win to Dan Harnick, who finished 0.040 ahead of Aaron.
(See above - nose to tail all weekend long GTS2 trio).
Saturday’s Thunder race gave GTS its own start as a second wave (now a tradition in the NE – and hopefully will evolve in its own group soon!). Hugh Stewart (2nd place finisher at last year’s East Nationals) was untouchable in his somewhat restricted but very fast E46 328i/M3. He qualified ahead of the entire GTS field with very fast 1:30.8 and qualified almost .5 sec faster than the top GTS4 car driven by Michal Kuna. No-one could seriously contest Hugh during the race and he ran away from the rest of the GTS3 field with the best lap of 1:29.8 and finishing almost 15 sec ahead of Luiz Serva (another member of HSM team). Rob Jakowitz, a regular with BMWCCA, made a rare appearance with us in his E36 and we hope to see more of him in the future. Chris Petersen and Frank Ferrara finished 4th and 5th respectively in their E46 M3s.
The GTS4 field was dominated by Michal Kuna in his wide body E46 M3, running the best lap of 1:29.75. Shaun Ashley was getting comfortable in the newly built E46 325 with M3 engine and sequential box. He was improving from one session to the next, finishing 2nd in the race, 7 sec behind Kuna. Jack Haberman and Mathieu Lussier kept the tensions high running bumper to bumper through the entire race. Kudos to both for running close but clean and with respect to each other and everyone else around them and finishing 3rd and 4th respectfully.
Sunday morning treated us with light rain on and off, felt like nature couldn't decide what to do.
By the time the Thunder group rolled out to grid - the rain was gone and the sun was out.
(See above - the battle of the sequentials - Sean Ashley vs. Brian Casella).
Sean Ashley (GTS4) was on pole of the GTS group with Q time of 1:30.1, joined by Hugh Stewart (GTS3 - 1:30.6), followed by M.Kuna (1:30.9) and Jeffrey Segal (1:31.0) - both in GTS4. Ashley ran away and never looked back, feeling much more comfortable with the new car. Jeffrey Segal was piloting former Josh Smith's car, which he acquired in off season, (the car that Josh won 2 National Championships with in GTS 3 back in 2011 and 2012, now upgraded for the GTS4 class). He is a fast driver in a fast car, but sometimes still struggles with consistency in the heat of the battle. On lap 7, he went too hot in T5 (left hander), dropped 2 wheels off, attempted to correct, couldn't catch it and spun and collected Hugh Stewart on the way. Hugh was an uncontested leader of the GTS3 at that point. Both cars landed across from each other on the opposite sides of the track creating a tunnel between T5 and T6. To everyone's surprise the expected double yellow never came. The track was doing hot pulls and the entire field was navigating around the wreckers for a good portion of the remainder race. Kuna finished 2nd in GTS4 followed by Jack Haberman who struggled the entire weekend with the rear grip and overheating of Left Rear tire. With Hugh Stewart out, the battle for the win in GTS3 was in between Frank Ferrara who took the lead after the incident, and Luiz Serva, who got stuck behind Haberman for a few laps. Serva managed to get around Haberman and caught up to Ferrara at the octopus one lap before the end of the race. Luiz, who was in a better position at the exit of the octopus, took advantage of the traffic slowing down Ferrara, made the pass and never gave it back. At the checkered flag they were separated by 0.137!
The Lightening grid was the exact repetition of the Saturday - Sousa, Harnick, Turek. On Lap 7 (seems like lap 7 was a magic point for both groups) Harnick suffered a flat tire and was out. Aaron Turek challenged Sousa, but at the end Sousa came up front even though only 0.4 sec ahead.
We were still missing Mark Lounsbury whose car was not ready after the accident at VIR, as well as Luke Pardi who blew the engine at the same VIR event, as well as few other regulars, especially in GTS2 and GTS3. John Defelice lent his car to his brother Chris for the comp school on Friday, but it started to overheat for race day. Chris completed the school and will join the GTS line up, but John couldn't race it. Edgar Cabrera - the 2014 GTS3 National champion, brought out the GTS2 car for Michael Paterson to use at a comp school, which worked fine on Friday, but died suddenly right after and no matter what - could not fire up for Edgar to race - there is something mysterious in lending race cars for comp school which makes them fail right after.
We had VAC on site supporting GTS as usual, offering helping hands to drivers and contingencies for racers displaying their banner on cars. In addition to Ashley's car equipped with the race sequential gearbox, VAC brought their own E36 M3 "Bella," successfully campaigned through the years - now with new Samsonas sequential gearbox - for which they are the main importer of. Brian Casella drove the car for the first time and was quick out of the box showing competitive times, but like everything else new in the race car requires seat time to master, which was true also about Matt Gaetano driving his new E46 M3 built by HSM (Hugh Stewart) with the seq box. We expect more cars with sequential gearboxes on the grid soon (mine is being finished soon after the last year's incident at LRP) with few other drivers considering the upgrade. Seems like .2 penalty is well worth it.
Few after thoughts. Judging from the first two events - the season is promising to be exciting with a lot of close and intense battles, especially in classes 2, 3 and 4. We hope that drivers will take advantage of the weight loss offered by the new Rules, which should bring the competition closer. But the biggest concern is to keep the competition clean and safe. With increased intensity - we see more risky moves and lapses in judgements. Looking at the big picture – let’s not forget that we are doing this for fun and none of us earn a living at the track. We love racing, but we need to return to our families and jobs on Monday morning - let's make it safe for ourselves and our fellow racers. From the standpoint of the officials - I can only promise that we will be as strict as our rules allow us in making sure the spirit of club racing and the safety of racers are protected and preserved.
We hope to see all of the GTS racers back in action at the June 13-14 Thunderbolt race at NJMP which is the support race for the Trans Am event and then again on July 4th weekend at Lime Rock Park, where we hope to have enough drivers to claim our own Autobahn Group.
For more images, please log in to http://www.windshadowstudios.net/nasane-r2-051615
Normally i start these messages with a comment on the poor weather, well i don't know what more a Coloradan could ask for, we had beautiful racing weather for the whole weekend. And how about that turn out ? We had over 20 GTS cars register for the weekend, this put both of our highly attended classes (GTS2 & GTS3) in the top tire contingency spots. And the competition got pretty heated; it really shows that everyone has really stepped it up this year, all cars and classes were faster than October last year !
I'll get right to my observations; i gotta say it was really awesome to see those twin GTS-4, Porsche RSR's out there. Alexandra Sabadosand Alex Welch put on an amazing show and set the bar pretty high early on. Unfortunately Alex didn't have a current dyno, so he ran in GTS-U, but we all knew that he was laying down some smoking fast GTS-4/U times (1:35.643), in fact that was one of many track records that was reset during the weekend.
Moving down the GTS ratio-ladder, GTS-3 saw some pretty good battles throughout the field. Dan Goodman piloting his widebody E36M has always been a target, usually one disappearing around the corner ahead of his competition. This weekend a couple of challengers arose; on Saturday Garrett Walz gave chase in his E46M to steal the top spot in the first race. That victory was short lived as Dan pulled off a heroic start in the second race to grab the pole into T1 and held it through the checker.
Just behind them the E36M's of Christina Werley, Rick Snyder & Cody Overcash were battling for position. Christina, a recent rookie-alumnus, and Synder, a self-proclaimed 'rusty' driver back from hiatus, were laying down fast and consistent laps on Nittos! Cody was doing all he could to hang with those two, as his car was down on power, later diagnosed as a failing coilpack. Chasing the E36's was the Porsche of Lisa Bryan and the E30 franken-car of Pete Norman, both new Rookies, getting up to speed they found themselves caught up in the super fast GTS-2 cars.
umping to Sunday, Cody had resolved his motor problems and was back to full power and ended up pushing past the field to catch Goodman for the win in the final 40 minute race. During his chase he reset the GTS-3 track record (1:38.225), what great comeback! It was a great race to watch... yes, watch, as my car decided it didn't want to start (later diagnosed as an EWS fault). No problem, another Rookie driver arrived to race, John Allen, piloted his clean E46M against some tough competition, but being underweight, opted to run GTS-U for the day; let's get that car ballasted up John!
"What about GTS-2 ?", you ask... well, this group is always a blast to watch, and race with. I love seeing their video (and when not racing, watching from the stands) as the top six cars are all running within a half-second of each other. The BMW E36 chassis seems to be the GTS-2 vehicle of choice as eight of nine GTS-2 cars look an awful lot alike. Bucking that trend was new to NASA, driver, Travis Tiller in his Porsche 911 C4. Travis slotted right in and ran some very competitive times in GTS-2 but ended up being bumped to GTS-U without a dyno form on hand. This left the front of the pack to perennial fast-guys and defending regional champs Doug Young, Lee Bohning, Gene Dackonish & Dale Laushman. From what i saw these guys were constantly trading places throughout each lap, two wide in most turns. And mixed right in, was our newest Rookie Joe Ostrander, Joe didn't waste any time getting right in the game and found himself on the podium by Sunday.
The top of the podium was being held by Lee and Doug swapping for the top spot until the last race on Sunday when Lee grabbed the wrong gear and over-revved the motor to destruction in T2 on the opening lap... good luck to Lee getting his spare motor swapped in for the next race. At least Lee got to go home knowing that he now holds the GTS-2 track record, dropping it to 1:42.956. Behind them, Gene & Dale fought for third spot until Pete's GTS-3 car collected Gene in the middle of Race-3 sending both cars to impound for hammer-time (and paperwork).
Keeping the trend of graduating Rookies, Laura Scott got to remove the "R"s from her car on Sunday after completing her provisional book. Congrats Laura! More Rookie action, Judson Williams, also stepped up the game bringing his refreshed E36M sporting new aero. This seemed to be a common theme, as we've seen Doug & Lee's cars sprouting new aero equipment this season as well. On Sunday we got to see Alain van der Heide's return to the track in John Clark's old E36M, looking forward to seeing him out at more events this year.
- NASA Mid-Atlantic March Madness Recap
- Ordering stickers without a paypal account
- Race at Pittsburgh Intl with GL Region, May 2015
- Rocky Mountain Season Opener @ PPIR
- GTS Midwest season opener
- February Snow Race
- 2013 Rules are posted!
- Recap April 2015 at Mid Ohio with Great Lakes Region
- 2013 Mid-Atlantic Preview
- Midwest 2012 Wrapup
- Rules Change proposals being accepted.
- Rocky Mountain Region August Update
- Race Report: Putnam Park, May 18-19, 2013
- GTS Nationals 2012 Recap
- NASA MidAtlantic Summer Breeze Recap
- NASA Midwest GTS at Autobahn 7/14-15
- Great Lakes - April 26-28, 2013
- NASA Heat Wave @ VIR
- NASA GTS at Autobahn - Pre-event info
- Great Lakes - Mid-Ohio, June 30-July 1, 2012