Time always flies faster than we can appreciate - seems like only yesterday we were coming out of the long winter shaking off some rust in driving reflexes.
It also seems like I just finished writing a report on our first 2 events of the 2015! And now - we are in a middle of August, just 2 weeks away from the Eastern Nationals and well passed the equator of our season in the NE.
Since the last report - we completed 3 more events filled with exciting competition, drama, plenty of highs and lows, as usually.
The first out of 3 events - was our return to the Thunderbolt configuration at the NJMP in the middle of June, as a support race for the Trans Am and Indy Lights pro series.
It was the first time for our Region to be represented at the all Pro Race weekend, sharing the paddock with many well known teams running very impressive machinery.
Interestingly, we had the largest race groups of the event, putting a very good show for the spectators (even though, not as many as organizers expected - I guess the fever of the Trans Am is not caught yet for the locals, which brings certain consideration for us as well for the future, since the entire event was structured around the Trans Am needs sometimes making it difficult for us with either very short brake between our sessions or a 5 hour wait - at least a larger spectating crowd would justify the presence).
As usually GTS 2 was dominated by familiar names running bumper to bumper and trading spots through entire weekend - with Michael Sousa finishing ahead of Aaron Turek in both races - only by 0.368 sec on Saturday and a tick over a second - on Sunday. Luke Pardi was 3rd on Saturday - the off track excursion most likely caused him a win. Dan Harnick joined the group on Sunday and took the 3rd replacing Pardi who had to retire due to the suspension damage.
There was plenty of action in the Thunder race group in GTS 3 and 4 as always. GTS 3 was dominated by Hugh Stewart, closely followed by consistently improving Frank Ferrara and John DeFelice completing the the trio. Even the gap at the end of both races between those 3 stayed the same.
In GTS 4 - if it wouldn't be for the Yellow flag violations in the Sunday race - the finishing order would be the same for both days. Edgar Cabrera took the win on Saturday with 1:26.9, even though Shaun Ashley, who finished 2nd had the fastest lap of 1:26.2. The 3rd was Andrew Caddell making a guest appearance in VAC's "Bella" with 1:27.9. Due to the DQ's issued to Sean and Edgar because of the yellow flag infractions (passing and trading spots later - which is a NO NO!), Jack Haberman and Mark Gaynor moved up to 2nd and 3rd behind Andrew Caddell, making two top spots going to VAC cars.
Unusually, in both races we had a Red Flag situation - luckily both times drivers escaped unharmed - on Saturday - Jason Judd's Porsche 944T was caught on fire on the front straight and on Sunday - Chris Petersen hit the left pillar of the bridge, most likely as a result of failed rear lower control arm. We still had few drivers having difficult time responding properly to the red flag, either stopping to abruptly or ignoring it for a while. Seems like we need to keep reminding to all racers to pay extra attention to the location of the flag stations as well as reinforce the interpretation of the flags, apparently few drivers thought that it is OK to trade spots under yellow too.
3 weeks later we were back to the NASA NE annual Independence Day Race at Lime Rock Park. It is always a treat to race at historic LRP, and with very few unmuffled events on the schedule at that facility, you would expect a great interest from racers. Unfortunately, we learned that the July 4th Holiday presents a conflict for many forcing a choice between race and the weekend off with the family. We still managed to have 28 GTS cars on the grid.
GTS 1 was represented by 2 drivers - Scott Smith in BMW E30 325i and Max Stach in Z3 1.8. On both days Scott was ahead of Max averaging about 1.5 sec faster lap times. He managed 1:03.7 on Friday and 1:04 on Saturday. We truly hope to see more GTS 1 drivers joining us in the future.
As many times before, the battle in GTS 2 went on between Aaron, Dan, Luke and Michael. This time around, Aaron Turek was first on Friday with very fast 59:9, followed by Dan Harnick and Luke Pardi. Michael Sousa, Gerald Cohen and Michael Sabatello were involved in minor contacts and were subsequently DQ'd. Michael Sabatello is steadily improving from one event to another and will not be surprised if soon, with little more track time and car development, he will start challenging the front runners. On Saturday, Michael Sousa responded with 0:59.2 edging Aaron Turek (0:59.4) at the finishing line with only 1.2 seconds gap. Luke Pardi was 3rd again ahead of Dan Harnick, Gerald Cohen and Cecil Ramotar - who finally returned to action, now switching to GTS 2 restricting his car from GTS 3.
GTS 3 was packed with actions on both days with 12 cars in the class. Hugh Stewart was dominating the Friday race with blistering time of 0:56.8 until he had to retire with gearbox drain plug coming loose only 7 laps before the checkered. Luiz Serva took the lead and was never challenged showing very fast 0:57.2. Walter Markes was 2nd and Frank Ferrara - 3rd. Rob Jakowitz, Foad Razavi, Chris and John DeFelice had an exciting battle going, but John was pushed off the track entering the Big Bend by the SU car, which brought the yellow flag through the entire section of the track for the last few laps of the race. On Saturday the entire pattern changed drastically primarily due to the weather - the rain came! It was one of those days, when rain was coming and going, confusing everyone. The question which tires to use was on everyone's mind. Those who decided to go out on rains made the right choice - even though the rain subsided by the race time - the track stayed too wet for slicks. The car count shrunk to 9 in the class, but the heat of the battle was no any less, if not more than on Friday. Rob Jakowitz and Frank Ferrera kept the tension very high battling for the first in class and challenging Patrick McMahon in Factory Five (ST2) for the win overall. At one point it seemed like Rob had it - going side by side with Patrick into the right-hander on to the No Name Straight, but he missed the shift and fell behind not just to Patrick but also to Frank with whom they were back and forth from start to finish. At the end Frank was just 2 seconds ahead of Rob. Chris DeFelice was just behind finishing 3rd in class. All three were running mid 1:05s. Foad Razavi showed a very spirited driving coming from the back of the field, due to use of the non-DOT tire penalty during Q session, to finish 4th in class. I hope part of his good driving came through because of the rain tires that came off my car, I decided not to put it in a harms way on Saturday being transferred to the new owner. Another driver to make a note of was Hugh Stewart, who battled to finish 6th driving on slicks.
This season we had GTS 4 growing fast becoming as big and sometimes bigger than 3. This time we had only 6 cars competing, but the intensity was no less. Jack Haberman and Michal Kuna came side by side in the Big Bend trading some paint on lap 14 wich resulted in some damages to the Michal's wheel making him to retire. Jack continued the lead until few laps before the end when he was held on the downhill run by another car and gave it away to John Cassano. Phil Parlato finished 3rd. On Saturday, Jack Haberman started from the pole and was going well for a lap until his SMG and ECU got completely confused with inconsistent traction in the breaking zone of T1, so he needed to use the escape road to stay out of trouble with the dead car. He managed to restart by cycling the key few times rejoing the field from the back. The rest of the race was a catch up game for him and he did it well. Unfortunately, he was held for a few laps by out of class ST2 Corvette, and if not for that delay he should of had enough time to catch Jeff Segal, but that is for another day. Michal Kuna was 3rd in class. None of the lead cars in GTS4 could compete with GTS3 ones on Saturday confirming again that in the rain power is not a factor.
John Oskwarek run unopposed in GTS 5 on Friday and skipped Saturday race.
As an after thought to the LRP event - we were glad drivers responded to our demands of clean racing with few minor contacts, unlike a year ago when 2 of our GTS cars suffered heavy damages sending them to the scrap yard. One of those cars was mine and I still feel it on the back of my mind. Emotionally, it was very important for me to return to Lime Rock to complete the recovery.
Another 3 weeks later, we returned to NJMP for the event #5, this time at the Lightening track.
Being the last race prior to the Western and Eastern Nationals, few of our racers decided to sit out, to save the equipment for a big show.
In absence of Michael Sousa and Luke Pardi - Aaron Turek dominated GTS 2. Dan Harnick tried to challenge him, but Aaron prevailed running very fast 1:14.2. For sometime it looked like Cecil Ramotar may force the battle on Aron and Don, but he spun and lost the momentum, also giving away the 3rd place to Michal Stach. The entire Saturday's race scenario was replayed again on Sunday when the same positions were taken by the same drivers, but this time Aaron improved to 1:14.0.
Hugh Stewart was again the driver to beat in GTS 3. We had a strong field of 12 drivers and very close battles through the entire race. Hugh prevailed again with lightening fast time in his best lap of 1:10.9. Luis Serva (the teammate and the customer of Hugh at HSM) was going bumper to bumper showing 1:11.5 and just 1 sec behind at checkered. Unfortunately, after going through impound and the dyno - his result was DQ'd due to the higher HP reading. That moved up our distinguished guest - Eric Curran - the pro - driver from the team Wheelen from 3rd to 2nd. Eric came out to share his experience and coach couple of our GTS drivers. He was driving VAC Bella, which was not set up for a sprint race well and was too loose and tough to drive, but he still managed to squeeze 1:12.1 and was only 6 seconds behind Hugh at the finish. Another 5 seconds behind Eric was Frank Ferrara (1:11.5) who continues to improve. Chris and John DeFelices were separated only by 2 seconds at the checkered flag and if they would not got held in traffic behind Michal Kuna for a few laps - they could of fight for podium spots too.
On Sunday, Hugh was on the top again with the same time of 1:10.9. This time Frank took the second only 4 ticks behind, even though Hugh was in full control and never threatened. Rob Jakowitz switched from his car, which lost oil pressure in the Saturday's race into VAC's Bella taking Eric Curran's spot. With some suspension changes for Sunday, the car was much more compliant and he managed 1:11.9 finishing 3rd.
GTS 4 had 7 cars on the grid on Saturday. Mathieu Lussier started on pole and kept the lead. Mark Lousbury was fighting with ECU issues and Jack Haberman discovered on of the shock absorbers stock in a full stiff position, so had to drive on 3 shocks. They still managed 2nd and 3rd respectfully. Mathieu didn't stay for Sunday race and the field shrunk to 3 cars. Mark took 1st, followed by Jack and Michal Kuna.
After 5 events the points standings in classes -
GTS 2 - Aaron Turek leading with 750 points, followed by Dan Harnick - 660, Michael Sousa - 590 and Luke Pardi - 515.
GTS 3 - Hugh Stewart leads with 770, followed by Frank Ferrara - 715, Eyal Adler - 582, Foad Razavi with 522 and Luiz Serva - 504.
GTS 4 - Jack Haberman - leads with 695, followed by Michal Kuna - 690 and Michael Gershanok - 569.
Immediately, after the event - Hugh Stewart and Matt Gaetano packed the rig and headed across the country to Laguna Seca to participate in NASA Western Nationals representing NE Region.
I headed in the same direction, flying instead of driving, to work as a Series Director at the same race.
Now, I need to gather my thoughts and make a report on the Western Championship Race.
Will have it done shortly.
GTS National Director.
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!
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
- NASA NE GTS - Events One and Two of 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