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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


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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.


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