Club News


Forza Motorsports League Recap - Series I

posted Jan 20, 2018, 4:44 AM by Gran Touring Motorsports Club

Article by: Eric M & Brad N; 1/20/2018


The struggle continues to be … REAL.


Well that about sums up Series I of the new GTM Forza Motorsports League >drops mic<


In all seriousness, like anything new, there are ups-downs, twists-turns, and controlled chaos.


You would however, have thought by now, that we would have learned our lesson. We had the KISS “final-final-final goodbye tour” of FM6 completing SIX unique series over the course of 15 months before saying “enough is enough” -- then Microsoft and Turn-10 had their latest shiny, adrenaline filled Motorsports narcotic - cleverly titled “Forza Motorsports 7” - debut in late September of 2017.


The commissioners looked at each other, sighed, and said “what the hell -- how about a reunion tour?”

Carefully combing over the previous six series and pulling “the greatest hits” from those albums they crafted a set-list that would prove appealing to drivers new and old. They brought back hits like: “Look, I’m inside you” - “The Glencident (PVD Ibiza Remix)” - “You stole my line, and my spot (Acoustic Duet)” and let’s not forget the crowd favorite “Your man is gone, now can I have his points?” (definite 2018 CMA candidate).


The new rule book was quoted as “longer than EMRA’s racing rule book” and despite being virtual racing, we took some pride in that… providing us with the title of our next hit single “Misplaced Hubris.”


New for this year is the idea of “Parity” allowing the drivers to run mixed class vehicles and score additional points based on the performance index of their class. This has been further refined into what will be our upcoming Rolex-24 inspired Series II: “Ultimate Motorsports” multi-class racing; which - in theory - will be the closest we can get to LeMans / IMSA … without going over. It will feature F1 and IMSA tracks and the most interesting collection of cars to be featured in a GTM Forza series to date: Senna’s McLaren F1 vs Dyson Porsche … why not!?!


Even though we started the series off with a cacophony of random noise, people dug in, stuck with it and were able to turn it into smooth jazz.

We can’t thank you all enough for that. ...And it did give way to our first GTM meme: #theenforcersez


And now for the results...

Please note, we had a record 16 participants in Series I!

Driver

Total

Award

Eric M

150

Series Champion

Pete B

146

2nd Place

Brad N

135

3rd Place

Ben S

131

Prize Winner

Dave S

121


Mike B

111


Tania M

80

Tier 2 Champ

Sam H

75


Doug T

70

Most Improved

Judd G

68

Most Vintage Car Points

Logan E

64


John C

55


Kerwin W

32

Tier 3 Champ

John R

20

Most Unique Car Choice

Mike A

12

Best Racing Incident

Dave P

12



We appreciate everyone taking the time to participate in Series I, and we look forward to having everyone back for Series II starting 1/30/2018 @ 8:30pm on XBOX Live.


More information on the GTM Forza League can be found at www.gtmotorsports.club/leagueraces/

Travel Tips for Daytona & The Rolex 24

posted Jan 9, 2018, 6:52 AM by Gran Touring Motorsports Club   [ updated Jan 9, 2018, 6:56 AM ]

Article by: Matt Y; 1/8/2018


Our very own Matt Y shares his tips and experiences for making the best out of your trip to Daytona, FL and the Rolex 24 hours.



I'm truly disappointed that I can't make it to Daytona with y'all this year - time, money, health and on-going lobotomy treatments are killing me.  I haven't been there in a few years but have a few tips for the first-timers.  


Get there early! - Parking is usually over-sold for the Saturday start - if you get there Friday night, you MIGHT be able to find a space inside, otherwise, be prepared to park outside and take the shuttles.  This actually isn't a bad way to get around since the shuttles will take you virtually everywhere in the facility.  There are lots of people who use their car as a "home base" - you'd be wise to do the same.  Take only the stuff you're willing to carry for more than 3 hours - for example, leave behind the bulky jackets and food stuffs - come back to the car for that at a later time.  

Remember that this is a 24-hour race PLUS practice, qualifying AND support races - in other words, no need to see everything in the first 15 minutes.  Also know that the facility is an absolute zoo at the start of the 24 BUT as the day progresses, the herds thin significantly.  All that said, be sure to visit the Pits and Garages - that's the cubic dollars are stored and as the race progresses, that's where the interesting stuff happens.  


For those who visit the garages, PLEASE stop by and say "Hello" to TGM Motorsports - they're racing a Beetle and a GT-R (NOT a Datsun).  Ted Giovannis is a friend for whom I've crewed in the past - mention my name and avoid his fists.  He's still salty over my introducing him as the owner of "Team AARP".  


The In-field:

The midway is a good place to kill time - GM usually puts on a good show as does Continental and the other "sponsors".  Yes, there will be a myriad of souvenir trailers selling mostly NASTYCAR crap - remember that NASTYCAR owns the IMSA series.  Aside from event t-shirts, I'd suggest you purchase souvenirs elsewhere as they tend to be pricey at the track.  The various food vendors are good inside the facility albeit pricey (as expected).  Perhaps my favorite vendor in the past was the Chinese food vendor - when I attend a race, I think of hot dogs and hamburgers, NOT Kitten on a Stick but hey, I'm old-school.  For those of you who imbibe, the Fan Zone by the garages has a bar with entertainment - again, not cheap BUT if you must...


Good places to spectate are anywhere along the infield - as the race progresses, the stands become more available.  The only caveat is that if it's cold, there will be an abundance of fires and the smoke gets a bit thick in the in-field.  The local PCA has a corral by the in-field - I'm not sure what's required to make a reservation with them but that might be a good way to secure in-field parking.  Other good places to spectate are ANYWHERE on the outside grandstands - since IMSA has virtually no appeal to spectators, those stands will be almost empty.  The only caveat is that spectators cannot stand and watch at the fence - otherwise, you can watch from there and move around freely.  


The Museum:

If you're looking to warm up or find a quiet place, the Museum/Visitor Center isn't bad.  It will provide a full history of NASTYCAR and even a simulator when I visited the last time.  Even if you're not a NASTYCAR fan, it's amusing especially when you think about all the suckers who are dumping tonnes of money just because of the NASTYCAR logo.  


Food Service:

Bring your own snacks and beverages unless you have a desire to pay inflated park prices.  For faster service, you'd be wise to get as far away from the track as possible before stopping for a restaurant.  That said, there is a Krystal within eye-sight as well as a Krispy Kreme - Krystal has the best sliders this side of White Castle and there's nothing like HOT FRESH Krispy Kreme.  While you're there, don't forget to ask for some KK hats - I have a collection myself from one of my stints working Grand Am.  Lastly and I haven't been here in a few years BUT I found this restaurant - http://auntcatfishontheriver.com/  It's not too touristy in the off-season and from what I recall, the food was decent.  


It dawns on me that I neglected the "after hours" tips.


For those of you who are interested in the "full 24-hour experience", go out to dinner on Saturday, AWAY from the track.  That'll give you a welcome break and a chance to rest.  The best time for viewing is in the middle of the night, when things start to break and the like.  Personally, I LOVE watching racing at day-break - the cars are racing with just the headlights clearly visible and then, suddenly and as if by miracle, COLOUR POPS - there's nothing more amazing to watch!!  


Other Stuff:

This place is across the street from the Track - Speed Park Motorsports - Daytona Beach, FL  I've been there years ago and for a "fun land", it was pretty "fun".  The dragsters are infinitely cool while the karts will likely be a disappointment but remember that these are aimed towards the average NASTYCAR fan.  


Have fun!!  I expect to hear reports that do not involve incarceration.  

Matthew


Winterizing your Track Toy

posted Jan 3, 2018, 5:54 AM by Gran Touring Motorsports Club   [ updated Jan 4, 2018, 7:04 AM ]

Article by: Eric M, 1/3/2018


There are different schools of thought when you ask someone about “winterizing a vehicle” -- there are different techniques and tips based on the application: Farm Equipment, Boat, Plane the rarely and regretfully purchased Jet-Ski that sits 360 days of the year. But I’ve found very little on recommendations for winterizing your Track Toy.



Since not all track toys are created equal and not all are kept indoors - and if they are… they’re not generally climate controlled - these tips should help in some of the most general winter storage situations. After researching and compiling what I thought were some “good ideas” borrowed from other vehicle storage recommendations, here are some things you should consider as winter's temps have started off and maintain at or below freezing.


Replace or Refill ALL of your fluids


Coolant - is especially important, making sure you have the correct mixture of anti-freeze and water in your system is crucial for that initial startup during or after the spring thaw. A lot of drivers choose to use pure water, or water + an additive (like Redline’s “water wetter”). Non-glycol based fluids at the track are awesome as they require little to no clean up, aren’t slippery and don’t cause your fellow drivers to careen off track when a hose tragically bursts.


Btw, Air-cooled 911 folks stopped paying attention at the word “coolant.” Meanwhile, The downside to water (+ additives) is that they will still freeze. Which can lead to hoses cracking and costly cylinder head gasket malfunctions. If you still happen to have the original owners manual for your vehicle laying around, check it for the proper mixture ratio for your engine. You can also pick up a tester at auto parts stores like Advanced or AutoZone to make sure everything is up to par.


Oil - Ever wondered what the “5w-” means on your bottle of oil? Most oils on the shelves today are "Multigrades", which simply means that the oil falls into 2 viscosity grades (i.e. 5w-40)

Multigrades were first developed some 50 years ago to avoid the old routine of using a thinner oil in winter and a thicker oil in summer. In a 5w-40 for example, the 5w bit (the W actually stands for winter) simply means that the oil must have a certain maximum viscosity (flow) at low temperature. The lower the "W" number the better the oil's cold temperature/cold start performance. The 40 in a 5w-40 means that the oil must fall within certain viscosity limits at 100°C (212°F). This is a fixed limit and all oils that end in 40 must achieve these limits. Once again the lower the number, the thinner the oil: a 30 oil is thinner than a 40 oil at 100°C. Again checking your owners manual will specify whether a 30, 40 or 50 is required for your engine. Some mechanics will recommend switching to a thinner oil before packing your Track Toy up for the winter. If your motor can accommodate “conventional oil” I’d recommended switching to that for storage (plus a cost saving since this oil change is temporary). This will make that initial startup easier during the thaw.

Note: Getting your oil tested (oil analysis) is also recommended just to make sure there was no internal hemorrhaging in the motor after the thaw.


Brake Fluid & Pads - Most track inspections will require you to state “when was the last time your vehicle’s brake fluid was flushed” -- on average a DOT-4 Fluid like ATE Gold (or Blue if you still happen to have some) and Motul 600 should be changed at minimum 3-4 times a season. More durable fluids like Castrol SRF and Motul 660 are often changed once or twice a season. But how do those fluids hold up over the winter? Not well, actually. Their tendency is to draw water and do not operate at their preferred temperatures during the colder months. Same can be said about the brake pads (track pads need to be hot to operate properly).


Switching back to the OE spec fluid and a mild street pad for winter months (if your car is still street legal) is preferred. This also gives you an opportunity to flush out those last months of the track season, before you prepare for next season. If you car doesn’t see road use, don’t worry about the Pads so much as the fluid. Regular brake fluid flushes is a good idea and should be part of your regimen anyway. A bottle of DOT-3 from a local parts store only costs a few dollars and is a cheap way to dump consumed race fluid.


Tires - Wait, I have to worry about those black rubbery things that keep me connected to the track surface? Yes, you should be concerned with the air pressures and the type of tire you have the car sitting on. First off, if you happen to use Slicks (Hoosiers, Conti’s, etc). *NEVER* store your car with the slicks on the vehicle. Slicks have a reputation of not holding air and with such rigid sidewalls won’t give you an indication that they are flat. If you have a spare set of wheels, preferably with a cheap set of all-seasons; throw those on if your car is just rolling around on the trailer or the garage. Also note, that Slicks and some R-comps generally need a minimum ambient temp of 45 degrees to be “sticky” when in use. Its also advised with ANY Slick, R-comp or Super High-End Summer tire that they be kept in slightly warmer areas (stacked is OK) during the colder months, but not outdoors. This will keep them from freezing/cracking.


Air Pressure - If your car isn’t driven on the street and sits during the off season, make sure you (over)-inflate the tires to a higher pressure than you would normally use. For instance: 40-42 PSI. Choosing to over inflate a tire on a vehicle that doesn’t move for 3-4 months means the tires won’t be completely flat if you need to move it, and will fair better during the temperature swings of winter (usually from cold to bitter, and back). If you’re running street tires and your car sees street use, consider bumping your tire pressures up 3-4 PSI to keep up with the season, or consult your owners manual for winter pressure recommendations. Some also suggest switching to nitrogen instead of “air” during the cold months as it’s less susceptible to temperature changes.


Battery - I won’t go into what techniques are specific to which type of battery (lead-acid, dry-cell, AGM, etc) but what I will recommend is for Track Cars that don’t move much during the winter months pickup a battery tender (one appropriate for your battery type) and keep that connected to the vehicle. It will save your investment and the car will have enough juice to fire up if you need it to. Make sure you get a “self regulating” battery tender that will hibernate when it senses the battery is full, this will keep it from overcharging.


If the car sits outside, I recommend a “solar battery tender” which you can throw on the dash, or wherever there is a lot of sun hitting the car to keep the battery alive (make sure you put it inside the car, locked, so someone doesn’t walk off with it). Battery Tender (brand) makes a really great product that won’t overcharge the battery; and will cut power if it senses the battery is full.


If you happen to still use a “lead-acid” battery, make sure to check the fluid levels in the battery before storing the car. Check your manual or online for procedures on how to do that; and moreover, if you’re still using a lead-acid battery for your track car consider switching to a dry-cell or AGM battery as these are safer for track use.


Fuel - There is a great debate that ensues when you talk about “winterizing fuels.” From my research it seems as though there are really a couple of things you should consider if you go down this route (note: this is only recommended for a car that sits for long periods)

  • Dry out the system: You can “dry out” your fuel system by adding a water-removing additive, which can be picked up at your local parts store. These Isopropanol additives remove existing water from your fuel system. Make sure that your tank is at least half full and pour in a bottle of the additive before storing the vehicle.


  • Change the Fuel Filter: Installing a fresh, clean fuel filter helps remove trapped particles and pooled water (more likely on a diesel, but important to note). Old filters will clog more easily during the thaw.


  • Fuel Injector Cleaner: You can also opt to use Fuel Injector Cleaner (Techron, Penray, etc). These products address injector gumming and lubrication.


Some will argue that just “keeping the tank full” will prevent anything from happening to your engine and fuel system and others say keeping the fuel system clean and dry will provide easier starting, resulting in less battery and starter wear after the thaw.


Wiper Fluid - If you still happen to have a wiper fluid tank in your car (or maybe you’ve converted it to a water-meth fogger reservoir), You should consider putting freeze-resistant wiper fluid in the tank to keep the (often) plastic reservoir from cracking. -- At the track, I know people that will keep their washer tanks active and only fill with water; this reservoir is often overlooked. Since the hoses used for wiper tanks are generally equivalent with aquarium / hospital grade air-tubing, they are more prone to fail in hot temps than cold so not much to worry about there.


Rubber Components - It's always advised to check (and recheck after a heat cycle or two) all of the rubber components on the vehicle: Belts, Hoses, Motor Mounts and even Suspension Bushings and CV boots. You should be looking for signs of dry rot or cracking. If you see evidence of this, make sure to replace those components before setting off for next season.


Warm Up Procedures - there are two warm-up categories: Ancient and Modern

  • Ancient: Carbureted cars (generally 1986 or older) - Turn the ignition key on, push the throttle to the floor 3-5 times slowly. The first pump allows the choke to close or set, and each subsequent pump primes the engine. Take your foot off the throttle, crank the engine until it starts. Allow the engine to “fast idle” (1200 rpms or so) for 5 minutes. During the warm up, do NOT blip the throttle or drop the fast idle; this will disengage the choke.


  • Modern: Fuel Injected cars (generally 1986 or newer) - Start the car. Do NOT pump the throttle, do NOT push the throttle during cranking, just turn the key and start. Allow the motor to idle for a few minutes then begin driving. There are debates about how long a fuel injected car should run before you set off, people will argue the vehicle heats up quicker when you drive it than idling. If you choose to set off, drive easy for the first 5 miles or so to get everything up to operating temperature. There are also some wives tales that state: letting the car idle for 5-10 minutes before setting off gives the headgasket (and corresponding dissimilar metals) and opportunity to get *some* warmth in them; avoiding a possible blown head gasket.


I hope that these tips and techniques prove useful and keep your Track Toy safe during these frigid days, I look forward to seeing everyone out there for the initial track events during the March/April thaw.


Good Luck and Stay Warm.

Weekend Recap: Do-It-Yourself?

posted Dec 21, 2017, 5:30 PM by Gran Touring Motorsports Club

Article by: Brad N; 12/20/2017

D . I . Y. -- Do It Yourself, solo, alone, by yourself, without any help… apparently a few GTM members didn’t fully understand that that’s what DIY stands for because a few of us embarked on Casa de Monterastelli last weekend to do some DIY projects on a few unsuspecting GTIs.



The Gus (2002 GTI 1.8T), Eddie (2003 GTI 1.8T), and the Yuri (2003 GTI VR6; a new addition to the MKIV Mafia) were all undergoing some major surgery. The plan was to take apart the Gus and remove all the parts that would make it less desirable as a street-car, then take all those more street-friendly parts off Eddie and the Yuri and essentially turn 3 track cars into one good street-car. The road map was simply laid out on a piece of paper taped to the Gus’ windshield and some items were already crossed off the list (thanks to Eric getting a head start on the project). I arrived at about 9:30am Saturday morning with Eddie in tow. After unloading Eddie and pulling into the garage it was just about time to get to work. Except, it wasn’t. First I had to check out the new shop that was built and shoot the shit a little. Around 10:30am club friend Travis Dixon from SCCA showed up to pick up some firewood, this tore up my back (as I would later find out) but we loaded up his trailer. Still, no work on the cars just yet. Then around 11:15am GTM member Kerwin W. showed up and we decided it was finally time to get started.


Day one was spent on the exterior and engine compartments. We swapped the front-mount intercooler, front bumper, front fenders, hood, headlights, and rear hatch all from the Gus and moved them to Eddie. Eric also did some extra work on Eddie replacing the snorkel piping and the emissions delete kit. It was quite the project, but thanks to Kerwin’s help and expertise (did you know he is a certified mechanic???) everything was able to happen quite smoothly and without much incident. This DIY weekend started off great. While we all worked on the cars in various stages, The Fast and The Furious franchise movies played in the background, Chili, Paula Dean mac-n-cheese, and mulled apple cider all simmered in the crockpots, and Travis spent time diagnosing the electrical issues hampering Eric’s portable lift (turns out it was a bad relay). By dinner time Eddie was put back together and all the goals for day one were met. Kerwin and Travis went home and Eric and I cleaned ourselves up and celebrated by taking GTM junior member Clio to see Star Wars Episode VIII.


Day two started with pancakes. Delicious and fluffy pancakes. But after breakfast the car work would start. The plan for today was to pull Eddie out of the garage, pull the Yuri in, and swap the entire interior from the Yuri to the Gus. However, this was put on hold for a bit because GTM members Mike and Chrissy C. came by to lend a helping hand. While they were there though, Mike took advantage of the empty garage space to quickly change their oil in their VW Camry (Passat). Once that was done however, the work had begun. Mike and Chrissy got to work removing all the stickers and decals from the Gus while I got started on the door cards. After the door cards and a break to ease the pain I was feeling in my back, I started on the seats. While I worked on removing interior pieces from the Yuri, Eric and Mike spent time finishing up the exterior pieces on the Gus (hood and fender install and alignment). Pretty soon it was lunch time so we ordered some pizzas and took a quick break. It was around this time that Chrissy and I took a trip to Wal-Mart to get a tupperware container to mount to the hood of Eddie. Let me explain, see now Eddie has hood louvers that, while they work really well at circulating air and providing some downforce to the front end, they do absolutely nothing to protect the engine from the elements, and Eddie sits outside 24/7. So we got the hood cover (AKA tupperware tub) and went back home. By the time we returned, Mike and Eric had most of the stickers removed and the hood lined up on the Gus. I went back to work on the interior of the Yuri and Mike and Eric went to work on the rear hatch interior panels. Fast Forward a few hours and Chrissy and Mike went home, the interior of the Yuri was successfully transplanted from the Yuri to the Gus, and the Yuri was ready for a carpet removal and roll cage install (once the race seats were installed). To the naked eye you wouldn’t even be able to tell the Gus was ever a track car except for the hood pins from Eddie’s hood that were unavoidable.



All in all the weekend was a huge success, everything that needed to be accomplished was basically accomplished, and everything happened basically without incident (except for my back, which still hurts a bit even today). Special thanks to Kerwin, Chrissy, Mike, and Travis for coming out, hanging out, and getting their hands dirty. We couldn’t have gotten through this “DIY” weekend without you guys.


We hope to see more of you at the next GTM get together. It was a lot of work but also a lot of fun.


Happy Holidays - Happy Hour!

posted Dec 18, 2017, 6:31 AM by Gran Touring Motorsports Club


Thanks again to everyone that came out on December 13th, for the GTM “Happy Holidays - Happy Hour” -- it was great seeing everyone before we all either go into short hibernation or are busy turning wrenches in preparation for next season. Stay tuned to our events calendar for some awesome events coming up in 2018!


Happy Holidays from Gran Touring Motorsports.


Weekend Recap: Helmets off to Heroes 2017

posted Nov 15, 2017, 6:46 PM by Gran Touring Motorsports Club

Article by: Harry B; 11/15/2017


It was a cold sunless morning as I rose hours before the sun had even given it a thought. Quickly gathering my things, I threw them into my backpack ...we had little time to waste, the forest is dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep. We arrived at Summit Point Motorsports Park just as the beams had crossed the tree line and began to thaw the gelid Jefferson Circuit from its nightly slumber.


Eric M sashayed into the main classroom to check in and I hesitantly followed. This event was unlike others. As several papers were handed to me I could feel the importance of the act I was about to engage in. It is rare to be able to thank those who have given you so much whether they knew it our not. This is a thought that recurred throughout the day.


The event was a cacophony of chaos... People screaming, vehicles idling, the sound of even the stickiest of race rubber squealing in the frigid temperatures. As is tradition, the event was delayed for no reason but someone's failure to do their job, and yet even with the delay we found time for a group prayer, to whom each person was praying, I don’t know and it wasn’t my place to ask.


Eric and I meet up with some of our other members: Kerwin W, Ron S and Shane “The Stain” Seace. It’s times like these, when you are faced with an unfamiliar task, you find comfort in those you know and those you trust.


The lot of us were broken down into 3 groups: A slalom group, braking group and the people not smart enough to avoid the skidpad, the fools. Each of the Veterans would cycle through our stations and we would try to impart on them as much driving knowledge as we could in 20 minutes, in our given task. I for one spent most of my time getting to know as many people as I could and asked them to share their life with me, however, I found most people just wanted to talk about their cars.



The cars at this event were unlike other events, these were not the tools of motorsport that you see at other track events but instead were expressions of their owners. Each car has a personality that their owner had personally crafted - every one an extension of their owner. One of the highlights was a 1962 Porsche 356 B driven by the 82 year old - orginal owner. This was my car for the day and it was a blast, with its 65 hp and 4 wheel drum brakes.


The sun never really came out that day, the frost never truly melted, but there was warmth. The warmth that happens when people get together and share something that they love. It might have been cold outside but I never felt it. Days like this you don’t have that chance to feel the cold there is too much for us to do, too much to be repaid, to be stopped by a slight chill.


I felt really good about Helmets Off to Heroes. There was an odd moment when one of the veterans had thanked me for volunteering, I didn’t know how to respond ... how does giving up a Saturday to sit in a car at a race track eating free pizza equate to the risks and sacrifices that our veterans endured for us?


THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!



Weekend Recap: VIR + Fellowship in Racing

posted Nov 6, 2017, 5:39 PM by Gran Touring Motorsports Club   [ updated Nov 6, 2017, 5:43 PM ]

Article by: Eric M, Brad N & Chrissy C; 11/7/2017


2016-11-05 11.37.33.jpg


Merriam-Websters dictionary defines Fellowship as “a community of interest, activity, feeling, or experience … a company of equals or friends” -- We are proud to say that GTM as a whole epitomizes this sentiment. Over the years we have definitely banded together in times of need. We wanted to take a moment to recap some of the more memorable adventures:


  • Member Eric M suffers a major brake failure at Summit Point when a brake line ruptures in Turn 5 with his newly installed Boxster brakes. Matt Y and Mike C come to help out.

  • Member Rob L, goes off backwards in Turn 10 at an ACNA event at Watkins Glen; crew members come to his rescue.

  • Member Eric M suffers a blown engine at NJMP Lightning; members help get the car loaded up; and a year later (and a new engine) back on track.

  • Spending time helping Mike C to resolve various ailments with his E36 BMWs. Brad N lends “fast eddie” to the Crutchfields so they can attend the NCM annual. A couple of engine swaps later for the BMW and the rest is history.

  • Member Brad N, has a mechanical failure at Turn 6 of VIR; car is repaired and back on track. Member Kerwin W suffers a power steering failure at the same event; crew members lend their time and tools to help get the car going again.

  • Member Shane S suffers a catastrophic transmission failure which caused his 911 to violently spin off track at NJMP Thunderbolt; members help him get home and get back on the saddle the next season!

  • After a brake booster failure and rear-end collision with a Landscape truck, members Brad N and Eric M spend the weekend repairing Dan S’ Jetta TDI with parts from a donor Jetta (which happened to be the same color) provided by Matt Y.

  • Members Brad N, Dan S and Eric M spend a summer day helping “Uncle Sparky” Ron S get his MG-B running again.

  • Brad N’s GTI suffers another drivetrain breakdown at the GTM Summer Bash 2016 at Shenandoah; Member Bruce S comes to the rescue to retrieve parts and Eric M gets the GTI back on track for Sunday.

  • Spending long hours over New Years Eve 2017 with crew members dismantling Matt Y’s Ford Bronco. Brad N later takes a trip to Matt Y’s house to help with a front brake install on a Ford F250.

  • Member John C suffers a water pump failure at NJMP Thunderbolt in this E36 M3 crew members knowledgeable in BMWs came to his aid, meanwhile Member Kenny E suffers a complete engine failure of his newly acquired 2.5L Ford  Fusion engine for this NC Miata. A few weeks later crew members get together at John C’s garage to swap out the engine for a newer 2.0L just in time for LimeRock!

  • Member Jasper N has a mechanical failure at SCCA event on SP Main, Mike C. aids in trailering Jasper’s car home for the eventual engine rebuild.

  • Member Sam H goes off in Turn 7 at Lime Rock, crew members comes to his aid. A hacksaw and a new tie rod and Sam was back on track for the next day.

  • Member Steve W’s power steering cooler sets his Mini Cooper S ablaze and Shenandoah; member Eric M delivers Steve and his car home.

  • Member Erin K, goes off in Turn 5 at Shenandoah - GTM crew quickly comes to her aid, and with the heroic help of Matt Y (a 5 hr round trip to Harrisburg and back) and the quick mechanical expertise of Shane S - the Ecoboost Mustang was ready for track duty the next day.

  • Member Brad N suffers from recurring axle failure, resulting in 3 axle changes in 2 hours at a Corvette Club AutoCross.

  • Member Kerwin W goes off in T1 at VIR resulting in some minor body damage; members come to his aid in getting the car track ready for the next day.


Now, picture it: November 2017, the place: VIR....


To bring the 2017 season to a close, many of the group visited VIRginia International Raceway with Audi Club of North America, Potomac/Chesapeake Area (ACNA) 4-5 November.


Eric M. made garage suite reservations for Brad N, Ken E, Mike and Chrissy C, Kerwin W, Doug T,  and Region-3 Chief Tania M. reserving what would end up being three very much needed garages. Later, they were joined by members: Parker H and his wife Kris, Jason D and his wife Chrissy, Al S, Judd G, Sam H, Gus A, Ryan C and his wife Marcy, Nick C and more! The ACNA VIR Fall events always seems to bring the GTM members together, new + old!


Once the VIR gate attendants released the group into the campus, they needed to be fed…and it was getting dark, and cold. Since they couldn’t get their track feed on quite yet, 11 of us visited the Oak Tree Tavern only to receive less than the expected “southern hospitality” -- That was okay though because Parker quickly made a reservation at the Outback Steakhouse in Danville.


Once the group was fed, they headed out to their respective accommodations. The hardcore track junkies staying up into the evening hours joined in garage activities which included a few rounds of Forza Motorsports on the club Xbox One.


Saturday offered less than favorable weather conditions: cold, rainy, grey ...YUCK... In addition to some spins and four-offs, there seemed to be mechanical issues all over. As per usual, club members came to Kerwin and Doug’s assistance to repair their respective cars so they would see more track time. Eric’s GTI “the Gus” spent some quality time with NGP during the weekend … we were told it was for a photo opp ;-)


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Rather than attending the ACNA banquet, and in keeping with tradition, we enjoyed some pizza from Aunt Milly’s in Milton, NC, some great selections of adult beverages, radical tunes, and war stories. A note, when asking for extra cheese on your pizza Aunt Milly is more than obliged to remind you that there is two pounds of cheese on every pizza - so it’s fair to say that no one ever needs extra cheese on those pizzas. YUM!


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After dinner, most members engaged in playing Forza trying to beat Eric M (2:07.5). and Brad N.’s (2:08.3) base times in a GTM Forza League prepared Turbo NC-Miata on VIR Full. In keeping with a EOY tradition it was documented on the inside of a pizza box and left on display for people to update their times throughout the night. 1st place went to Tania M with a 2:11, followed very closely by Mike C and Judd G. Nice driving! When not waiting in line to put down hot laps there was also corn-hole and beverages enjoyed by all.


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Overall, Sunday’s weather was better than the start to Saturday. It wound up being warmer and very little rain to speak of. There were some lingering car issues amongst club members, and there were two catastrophic vehicle failures (“car-b-cues” to be exact) of a couple of non-members who Brad N. and Mike C. were able to help by getting their vehicles to where they needed to go for much needed care. These acts of random kindness and fellowship is how GTM has made a name for itself across the local HPDE circuits -- Jokingly Doug T says our new motto is becoming "GTM, we'll get ya home."


More pictures from VIR are available here

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I think it goes without saying (but we’re going to say it anyway) -- stuff goes wrong in racing, the cars, as strong and reliable as they may be, are prone to failure. The difference however, is that in this club you’re never alone. And the most important part of the vehicle - the meat behind the wheel - is always taken care of at GTM. “...Don’t worry about them, they’re track guys, they’ll have the engine rebuilt between sessions…” - Pat Roney from CCA re: the GTM Crew. Member Erin K summarizes it well “This is an awesome group to be apart of - you all really rally around each other, especially in times of such mishaps :)” -- at the end of the day, it’s not about the cars, it’s about the people.


“Friends are the Family you choose” -- The Crew Chiefs.


Weekend Recap: The (Do)minions

posted Oct 29, 2017, 7:14 PM by Gran Touring Motorsports Club   [ updated Oct 29, 2017, 7:27 PM ]

Article by: Eric M, 10/29/2017

IMG_0915 (1).JPGMember John C (left) with Mike & Mona Arrigo of HookedOnDriving NE. Another year is in the books for our friends at HookedOnDriving NorthEast. 12 GTM members were in attendance for their season finale and inaugural event at Dominion Raceway in Thornburg, VA. We had a few cameo appearances from members we hadn’t seen in awhile (Pat S, Ron S, Dave S, etc), and combined we made up 90% of the coaches working with students this weekend. 
(More pictures from this event and others are available at our Shutterfly Share Site).

There are high and low points to each track season, but ironically this weekend the fates managed to compress the entire season into a 2-day reader’s digest version: We laughed, cried, partied, strategized over a challenging new track, broke down, had every type of student use case imaginable and to make things even more interesting... let’s tack on variable weather conditions just for that extra bit of flair.


Saving you from the boring details about the event itself, I do want to “send out some mad props” and thank members Harry B and Justine B for putting together a great menu for the weekend. It’s not an easy job, but you can tell that Harry is as much, if not more, passionate about cooking as he is driving. Special thanks to Mike C for doing an excellent job as A-group classroom instructor and lead… really awesome work! And another round of applause for the graduating class of 2017 instructors (Sam H, Bruce S and John R) for completing and stellar and albeit stressful season.


So onto the highlights…


First we need to address Dominion (DR)… for many folks it was their first time to this newborn track. DR has only been completed for about 2 years now, and sits immediately off exit 118 on Route 95 South… Make a left at the end of the ramp, and the next immediate left as you cross over 95… BOOM! -- you might have just hit a pothole or random cinder block in the paddock with your tow rig on the way in -- but you’re at DR. I point this out, as many GPS’s still don’t know where the track is.


DR has 4 tracks compressed into a small space: The Oval, The Road Course, the Kart Track and the Drag Strip; it’s an interesting complex and we are all anxious to see how things evolve in the next couple of years. The main building is a very cool spot to be, especially the view from the 3rd floor, where you can see almost all of the road course from above.


The track - Everyone is going to have a different reaction when going to a new track. I personally enjoy the challenge of learning new courses, analyzing the corners and cambers, scrubbing the data, and pushing myself as a driver. Every track is an acquired taste: Some you love immediately, some you loathe, others take time to grow on you.


I can’t speak for others, but I will say this with respect to Dominion … do you remember that time you were out with your friends at a bar and one of your friends walks up to you with a shot glass full of an unidentifiable liquid and says “here, drink this!” … you give it a questioning stare and ask “what’s in it?!?” and that same friend says “don’t ask, just drink” -- not to be entirely impolite you oblige and take the shot. That first shot doesn’t go down so well, burns a little and your breath smells a little like Robitussin… but after about 2 or 3, it’s all good, and you’re asking for a 4th.


Moving on…


It’s been awhile since HOD has hosted a “themed” Saturday night after party. With our original DR date (early March with threat of snow) being moved to Halloween weekend, it only made sense for folks to come dressed up for the occasion. One-zees are definitely in this year, from Minions to Super Heroes and everything in between. Some of my favorites include: Harry B as the Swedish Chef, and Mike B touting his name sake.



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But more importantly, the after-after party -- a GTM mainstay -- we began our awards night by thoroughly embarrassing Crew Chief Brad N on his birthday (several times). But most would agree the best moment of this relentless torment was courtesy of the wait staff of a local eatery where Brad was asked to play the part of a chicken and dance while the ladies serenaded him. The moment was captured by Mike B and is available on Facebook, YouTube and your local news station for your (re)viewing pleasure -- #mustseeTV


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In keeping with our awards from 2016 (VIR), Brad N had put together what he more affectionately calls “the Montys” for the 2017 season. Each person received an award/trophy and those recipients were (and in the following categories): #steveharvey_missamerica


"Viking Offroad Adventure" Award

Harry B

"Master Recruiter" Award

Sam H

Endurance Award

Ken E

Attendance Award

Rob L

Instructor Candidate of the Year Award

John R

Pit Crew Award

Chrissy C



Sponsor of the Year

HOD

Rookie of the Year Award

Erin K

Fellowship Award

Matt Y

DE Champion

Bruce S

A special thanks to ALL of our award winners this year, without you folks, none of this would be possible. Awesome work and Congratulations! We hope to continue this tradition and see more names on the board next year.  


And an extra special thanks to Mike & Mona Arrigo of HOD (our Sponsor of the Year) for being such gracious hosts throughout this season and really allowing GTM to blossom. We look forward to working with HOD more in the future and can’t wait to see what the 2018 season has in store for their team.


We have a couple more events and important announcements coming before the 2017 season is over so stay tuned for more information on:

  • GTM EOY event at VIRginia International Raceway

  • Forza Motorsport 7 (XBOX) Virtual Racing League

  • GTM End of Year Survey & Membership Renewal

  • GTM v HOD Karting Event


Until next time, Merry Motoring, E.

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