Weekend Recap: Winter Karting Showdown

posted Feb 19, 2018, 4:25 PM by Gran Touring Motorsports Club

Article by: Eric M, 2/19/2018

This weekend was GTM’s inaugural Karting Showdown held at Mid-Atlantic Grand Prix (MAGP) in New Castle, DE. MAGP is an indoor Karting facility with a 0.5 mile track consisting of 9 turns. The course design has a great rhythm and is a blend of speed and complex corner combinations. We were provided Honda-powered Sodi-Kart chassis Karts which are capable of 40+ mph.

We were very proud to have an overwhelming number of GTM members (as well as their families and friends) register and participate in this event. The format for the showdown was 3 - eight minute qualifying rounds; where the results would determine how drivers were assigned to their teams for a 90 minute mini-enduro. On average, the drivers settled into lap times in the 23-24 second range. Teams would be assigned based on Fast – Middle – Not-so-fast times. Teams of 3 drivers assembled to represent 10 karts using our military inspired naming convention of Teams Alpha through Juliet.  

Should we run our fastest driver first or at the end? We have a 2 minute pit window, When should we pit? -- Pit stops, Driver change and other strategies were left up to the teams to debate on. Each teams’ Kart would be on track for a total of 90 minutes giving each driver a 30 minute stint to complete…

GTM Member: Garrett L (Team Echo) in full attack mode. #peanutbutterjellytime

Lets’ pause to extrapolate that out for a moment: 90 minutes of racing at an average 23 second lap time, that’s roughly in the neighborhood of 235 laps. Which means, each driver would have to complete about 78 laps, not counting their qualifying round… I just want to point out that the “next day muscle pain” becomes ever more clear and present when you put math behind it, right? Two advil and a nap afterwards, really helps.

Qualifying was awesome! Drivers getting immediately amped up, talking about how good they will be, the session and how well they did; The trash talk was pretty epic. But when the rubber hit the road and it was time to race, you really saw the teams come alive, work together and the competition heat up.

What’s the first thing a race car driver learns? How to make good excuses… and Karting really brings out the best of them! Here’s a sample:

-       It wasn’t my fault, my kart was: slow, broken, or tires were terrible.

-       It wouldn’t grip, I was sliding everywhere.

-       Why the heck was I given a penalty?

-       This Kart MUST be defective!

-       Ooof, Oww, Ouch … my back.

There were some great moments throughout the race, a few memorable ones during Qualifying/Round 1 would include: Sam H running out of fuel midway through his battle with John R – oddly reminiscent of his Forza League race just 2 weeks ago. A couple of epic drifts and a spin or two, but let’s not forget the successful 4 wide pass through T9 onto the start/finish straight. I believe Kerwin W put it best “never seen anything like that, that was hella crazy.”

By the start of Round 2 it seemed like there was going to be a runaway win from Team Alpha which carried the pole position qualifier (at 21s) Sean Roberts from HOD; and nearly 3 laps ahead of 2nd place. Most folks were paying close attention to the real fight which was brewing between 2nd through 6th positions; where many drivers were on the same lap. Pit strategy, mechanical problems and other issues turned the tides of the race during the second stint, shuffling the deck entirely. A highlight of Round 2 requires us to take a moment to give a huge shout out to Anessa S the 12-yr-old daughter of GTM member “Mountain Man” Dan S who made her Karting debut this weekend. Qualifying in the 28 second range, she learned quickly, adapted and overcame - pulling lap times in the 23s and giving the more seasoned drivers a run for their money! An absolute stellar performance! Applause.

Anessa S, seen here in the Green Hoodie and Motorcross Helmet exiting T8.

Many teams opted to hold their fastest drivers until the final round; but unlike the previous two stints the facility decided to pull the fleet in and refuel before going back out. This meant the karts were now all together in the pits, would be running heavy and the tires would be ice cold – requiring 3-4 laps to return to normal operating temperature. Realistically, the tires on most karts were heat cycled out, which meant no amount of warm up was ever going to help, but the drifting was surreal.

Round 3: Admittedly, some of the most hilarious or maybe we should say: calamitous moments were during the final stint of the race. Where should we start… ah yes, apparently “rolling start” didn’t make sense to folks which resulted in the first black flag penalty in over 60 minutes of racing. Granted, you’ve had these “caged racers” waiting for over an hour to get on track; there is no doubt that Full Attack-Mode was engaged from the moment helmets went on; and this was the last-ditch effort for a lot of teams to make a comeback. Let’s just say, this “pent up aggression” results in some demolition derby action, pit maneuvers and the like, during the next 6 laps. Bewildered by this sudden uptick the MAGP staff had to quickly take action, which meant each Kart was subsequently brought in for a stop/go penalty of their own. Each penalty stop was anywhere from 5-20 seconds depending on the marshals’ mood at the time. Let’s just say they were a bit miffed.

Once traffic cleared up, the lap times began plummeting into the low 22s as drivers were giving it their all. And all the while trying to make up for lost time (and laps). Each penalty stop puts a smile on your face - when it’s not you - and an additional opportunity to catch up. Unfortunately, biggest upset happened when one of the top teams (Team Charlie), being piloted by John C - in his neon pink hoodie - suffered a mechanical failure which required him to switch karts, not once, but twice, before even leaving the pit … and if that wasn’t enough, he got stuck behind his original broken down Kart which was blocking the exit to pit road – why? Because all 3 course marshalls were still busy dealing with black flag penalties. By rough calculation he lost a minimum of 4 minutes in the pits which shook up the standings once again.

It was really motivating to see everyone standing by and watching intently during the last round cheering on their teams and friends. That sense of comradery really does give you that extra bit of incentive to give it your all. Thank you to all the fans. #goteamjuliet.

1:37 left on the clock; 5 laps to go… there is still hope.

In the end we had some real underdog stories, upsets and broken hearts…

However, Team Bravo, piloted by Kyle Null (long time friend of GTM member: Shane S), Steve Fureman (HOD) and Corey Turner (GTM member Doug T’s wife) were able to come from the shadows and win the race, taking home some very nice trophies provided by GTM Prize Master Brad N and MAGP. The 10th place finishers of Team Golf (Brian S, Parker H and Adam E (son of GTM member Ken E)) took home HOD gift certificates so that they can get some extra practice throughout the 2018 season. Congrats again to everyone, good game!

Left-to-Right: Steve Fureman, Corey Tuner and Kyle Null (Team Bravo) - Winners of the GTM v HOD Karting Showdown.

We really want to thank Mid-Atlantic Grand Prix for hosting us and putting on such a great event. Their facility is top notch and we hope to return. Another shout out to our event co-Sponsor HookedOnDriving for helping us make this event a great success we look forward to working with you again this season. And with special thanks to Mike C for all the great photos from this event which are now available on And lastly to member Mike B for setting up an awesome post-race lunch at Ironhill Brewery. This was really a great way to get psyched for the upcoming 2018 season and we look forward to having another event like this, and seeing everyone very soon.

And remember, Karting is gateway and side effects may include: muscle pain, aggressive behavior, red mist, lower back issues, dehydration, profuse sweating, hpde, time trails and club racing. #redmistracer

Weekend Recap: NE Region Ski Trip (Vermont)

posted Feb 14, 2018, 5:20 AM by Gran Touring Motorsports Club

Article by: Marissa C, 2/13/2018

The GTM Ski Club had a blast skiing in Vermont this weekend! Conditions were less than perfect but the company was awesome! Next year’s trip will be even better! Thanks Harry B and Justine for taking care of the food!!

More pictures available on

Weekend Recap: Annual Field Trip (DC Auto Show)

posted Feb 4, 2018, 3:51 AM by Gran Touring Motorsports Club   [ updated Feb 4, 2018, 3:57 AM ]

Article by: Eric M, 2/4/2018

It’s a long running GTM - and for some, a personal - tradition to kick off the new year with a visit to the DC Auto Show. Many might argue that “meh, it’s just a Dealer Show” but for us motorsports junkies, it's an opportunity to see what might be out there this season ripping up some asphalt, and just slightly knocking the earth off its axis.

This year was the biggest DC Auto Show we’ve attended in a long time, using all 3 levels of the Convention Center. Attendance was high when compared to previous years; and offered more interactive, star wars and kid-friendly activities than usual. Price of admission was in keeping with previous years at a low $12/adult. More pictures from this event can be found at:; A map of the show (below).

You never know what the manufacturers might show up with, case in point. A racing prius? (with brand new “sticker” Toyo R888Rs, btw) Maybe Toyota plans to compete against the newly announced Tesla race cars. Also featured were NASCARs, Trophy Trucks, and racing simulators peppered throughout the show.

Some of the things you overhear at the show from “the civilians” is utterly hilarious, one of our favorites: a middle aged couple staring at this midnight blue beauty (below) exclaiming: “Is that an SUV?” -- we believe Clarkson would say, “No ma’dam, its a Jaaaaaaag.”

Are the Country Squires, Caprice’s, etc, of old, really that forgotten? The foreign manufacturers have definitely not let “the Wagon” fade-to-black quite yet. With several to choose from, all we have to say is “Sportwagons are HOT!” … and we need more of them! Disappointingly, some of us were actually interested in taking a peak at the new Sportwagon offering from Buick *cough* Vauxhall (The Regal Touring X); but in GM’s infinite wisdom they decided it was better to leave it home and instead bring 4 Enclaves in varying colors… people will not buy, what they cannot see.

More importantly, how many GTM’rs can you comfortably fit in a Wagon and set off to the mall? Thanks Erin K!  

At the Chrysler booth, we were surprised to hear Kerwin W say “I can’t believe I’m this curious about a Mini-van, there’s a lot going on in here.” But for a motorsports enthusiast you might be disappointed by the sheer volume of SUVs and Family cars; but remember this is a family friendly event. But more importantly, it’s always a great opportunity for us to play: “I fits, I sits” with Brad N.

As seen here in the smallest car we could find: a 2018 Mazda Miata (ND) FR. “Compared to Harry B’s Miata, I can let the clutch out, still can’t steer. But I fit” - he exclaimed.

But it’s not all just dealership representation at the show, there are also personal entries, often times boothes from SCCA and other car clubs, special demonstration areas (E-PACE and Land Rover Obstacle Courses (above)) as well as areas designated for “Exotic Cars” -- this year happened to feature a Mustang/Shelby corral (below). We believe that with this many Mustangs in one place, it should be referred to as “a murder of mustangs” #carsandcoffee

“It’s so much smaller than it looks in the car” exclaims John R standing next to this cutaway of the 2.3L Ford Ecoboost Engine used in the Focus and Mustang.

After all the antics of climbing in/out of cars like a pack of pre-schoolers at a jungle gym, we set off for a late lunch at Cuba Libre, a havana inspired restaurant just 2 blocks from the DC Convention Center. The authentic cuban cuisine definitely hit the spot! #cubancoffee

We look forward to finishing up our wrench turning and hitting the track in the spring; but now we’re a little more curious to see how many: Bullitt Mustangs, Kia Stingers (recently reviewed on The Grand Tour), Audi RS3s and Civic Type Rs show up track side in the coming season.

Merry Motoring.

Weekend Recap: The 24 [56th Annual Rolex-24 at Daytona (2018)]

posted Feb 2, 2018, 7:12 AM by Gran Touring Motorsports Club   [ updated Feb 3, 2018, 2:15 PM ]

Article by: Various Members; 1/31/2018

Did you know… the Rolex-24 at Daytona has been run 56 times since 1959? Originally a 1000km (6 hr race) won by two gentlemen with very european sounding names in a Porsche.

But it wasn’t until 1962 when the recently departed Dan Gurney took the win in a Coventry-Climax powered Lotus 19 that the Rolex-24 morphed into something we all know and cherish today. For many, like any other big race: The 500, Indy or LeMans… the general consensus is “meh, I’ll stay home and watch it on TV -- when I feel like it.” But for GTM’ers there’s a lot of car-related bucket list adventures we’d like to complete and going to the Rolex-24 is just one of them.

Due to some scheduling conflicts in the early days, it was decided that the Rolex-24 would always be the weekend before the Superbowl. Apparently we are not capable of keeping rapt attention to a 24 hr race and a 4 hr football game on the same weekend, but having the ProBowl on the same day, not a problem.

The Racing

Over the course of 4 days (if you’re hardcore like that), There were four races: two Ferrari Challenge *cough* demolition derbies (though, not nearly as crashy this time as in the past), the BMW Endurance (that only has 2 BMWs, and 3 MINI’s in a field of 40 cars) and the big 24 hour endurance race “The 24”: Prototype, GTLM and GTD classes making up a field of 50 cars.

As for the race itself, I really really enjoyed it. I know for next time that I should try to arrive earlier on Friday to take advantage of the Rolex cars being in their garages. I was bummed that I didn't get to see them all before they raced, but again this was my fault. I thought it was really neat having access to the garages during the race- we watched a car being fixed and then going back out.” -- Erin K

“The overnight at the track was a great time. Watching the light show that was the cars running the course during the night was beautiful. It was a weird kind of peaceful.” -- Chrissy C

At first I was a little disappointed there wasn't more drama and excitement but then I thought about how remarkable the race was in it's own way that almost all of the cars survived. It was a testament to the durability of the drivers and the cars themselves. As a fan that was there watching live for the first time, it was a rough experience to stay up that long just to watch and experience it. I don't even want to think about what the drivers and cars went through over the course of the entire race. After four 25 minute track day sessions my car and I are tired... this was just insanity!” -- Brad N

The Experience

Since this was one of our Epic Adventures; figuring we may never return to the Rolex-24, many GTM’ers opted for the “VIP/24-Lounge” package giving us unfettered access to all of the track’s amenities. “the lounge experience which offered both the video presentation and outdoor seating, and delicious meals served by exceptional staff. The others had infield access and general admission which still looked to make for a fantastic experience. The accessibility to drivers and the garages was awesome.” -- Chrissy C

“I purchased a suite package for myself. As someone who tends to over-think and worry about things, especially when they aren't planned, it was worth the money to have a known place to go that was indoors and comfortable, regardless of the weather. Nice bathrooms were necessary for me, too.” -- Erin K

“So far today at Daytona, I have been told ‘welcome back’ by the gate attendant, the suite attendant, the bartender, several of the wait staff, and had a long conversation with some random dude and a waiter in the lounge. Yes, I know I paid a lot to be here but Daytona's staff has definitely been well above the bar if my expectations between yesterday and today.” -- Mike C

“The infield was neat, but HUGE so bring comfortable walking shoes (unlike me...). The swag was okay, but I'm not really a swag person. I definitely recommend the Ferris wheel :) And bring ear protection. It's a must.” -- Erin K

“After having gone to the F1 race in Austin, I finally had a professional level racing event to compare to. And I must say, the Rolex 24 delivered on more than F1 ever could. The full access we were afforded, the all you can eat food choices, the ferris wheel, the SWAG!. Plus, 24 hours of non-stop racing action as compared to a 90 minute yawn fest… who could ask for more?” -- Brad N.

I was able to enjoy the race from the excellent vantage point offered by the suites. I do wish they had more chairs right next to the windows that faced outside, though.” -- Erin K

Our Roaming Reporter (Sam H)

Sam H if you know him, you know what’s up. If you don’t, he’s a warrior, a nomad and apparently with the right clothing he’s just dapper enough to get close to all sorts of celebs. It’s gotta be the shorts. #demlegs.

Sam was able to get selfies with all sorts of racing celebs; here are just a few. Can you name them? Sam can.

“Playing Where’s Waldo with Sam, it’s pretty damn entertaining… Where is he now Mikey?” -- Eric M

The Antics

Our experience, much like that of being on a cruise ship was filled with food, drink and laughs. The long hours are trying, and you end up punchy and with jet-lag... even though you haven’t gone anywhere. “24 hrs feels like a week.” -- Eric M

“Most dozed for a while, a few of us stuck it out through the night. Pretty sure nobody really documented those hours.” -- Chrissy C -- except maybe Doug T… LOL.

Until Next Time...

“While it's possible some will attend again, the experience of being there could be considered a once in a lifetime opportunity. And made that much better by attending with the GTM family.” -- Chrissy C

“While this race didn't have many incidents, it was still very exciting, and I enjoyed myself a lot, especially hanging out with all the other GTMers. I'm not sure I'd go by myself, as the group atmosphere really made this a memorable experience.” -- Erin K

“Without GTM, I probably never would have attended F1 or Rolex. I just never did things like that, I always went to more concerts than racing and sporting events. The idea of doing an Epic Adventure once a year has really got me excited to see what’s in store. What other events can I cross off my bucket list? And what other great experiences can I have with my GTM family? The future is bright for our merry band of misfits!” -- Brad N

More photos from the Rolex-24 at Daytona are available at:

  • and   - -- with Special thanks to member Ethan P for these action shots from the weekend.

… not pictured: Sam… he was still roaming around. Looking for Alonso, we think ;-)

Weekend Recap: Do-It-Yourself?

posted Dec 21, 2017, 5:28 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.

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?


Weekend Recap: VIR + Fellowship in Racing

posted Nov 6, 2017, 5:40 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 ;-)



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!


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.


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


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, 7:28 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 SRon SDave 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.



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


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


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.

Weekend Recap: GTM goes to Formula-1

posted Oct 25, 2017, 11:17 AM by Gran Touring Motorsports Club   [ updated Oct 25, 2017, 11:18 AM ]

Article by: Brad N, 10/24/2017


(More pictures from this event and others are available at our Shutterfly Share Site).


The heat, the politics, the guns, the “Everything’s Bigger and Better” mentality, all of these are punchlines for some of us “Yankees”. But alas, they weren’t enough to keep a few members of GTM away from attending this year’s USGP race at Circuit of the Americas (a very Texas name for a race track, by the way). That’s right, GTM went to F1!


Oh yes, the best way to get to Texas from the northeast is to fly, unless you want to drive 24 hours, but really, who has that kind of time? So on Thursday before the race weekend Eric M. and Brad N. left BWI airport in the A.M. for their long flight to Houston (by way of Atlanta).

Thankfully the boys were able to travel in style as they used a combination of Eric’s companion points and cold hard cash to upgrade to First Class. That’s right, we were sippin’ champagne and looking down on lesser folks as they boarded --- just as every First Class passenger had done to me previously ;) Oh the sweet satisfaction of being better than everyone else, if only for a few hours. Other than pretending to be important, the only other notable tidbit about the flight was the multiplayer Mario Kart tournament we had in silence. I am sure the other passengers wondered what was wrong with these two grown-ass men playing with kid’s electronics and giggling like school children. For the record, I lost, badly.

Arriving in Houston we picked up our sweet-sweet rental car, a newish Nissan Murano Platinum Midnight Edition. Of course, the original plan was for a Tahoe or some other full size SUV but Enterprise didn’t seem to have any left. After deliberating over whether to take the Murano or the Dodge Grand Caravan, we opted for the Murano. In retrospect, this was a mistake.



Rudy’s BBQ, located off Exit 70-A on I-45 North, Spring TX

Once out of the airport - stylin’ and profilin’ in our awesome rental car - we needed food. If you travel anywhere with Eric M. you will learn one thing, it all revolves around food. He has a particular restaurant you must visit whenever you visit XYZ city. In Houston, it was obvious we needed barbeque, and there was a charming little place Eric knew called Rudy’s. This place can be described in one word… DELICIOUS! If you ever find yourself in Houston I highly suggest visiting this place. Get the (moist) Brisket and the jalapeno sausage.

Later that evening, after we arrived at Tania M.’s house, by which time our BBQ lunch had finished digesting, it was time for dinner. I was in the mood for burritos so we headed out to Torchy’s Tacos. This place… omg, yum. You walk up to the counter and order whatever tacos you want, ranging from $3.50 - $6.50 per taco, and then you sit down with your sweet tea and wait for your food. I wanted a burrito, they were out of burritos, so I opted for 3 tacos; a fish taco, a breaded chicken taco, and a jerk chicken taco. All were tasty but the star of the show was the breaded chicken taco, playfully named the “Trailer Park” taco, we opted to make them “Trashy.” The jerk chicken taco however, was hot... like the fire of a thousand suns all burning through my tongue and throat It was good, but if you don’t have a fire hydrant near by then I wouldn’t recommend this taco for any amateur. Breakfast, we ate breakfast. We stopped and had these little Polish pastries called kolaches (“Coh-lah-chee”). They were amazing. Little balls of dough filled with whatever the hell you want. I had 4, pizza (with pepperoni and cheese), cheesesteak (with philly steak and cheese), rancheros (with eggs and peppers), and chicken enchalada (with chicken and what can only be described as love in a bun). As soon as I got home I started looking up recipes for these things. Even now I am thinking about them and my mouth is watering… Must. Have. More!  IMG_7885.HEIC.jpg 

Torchy’s Taco’s -- OMG, Yum!


Kimi Raikkonen #7 @ Whataburger

We did eat at a few other places on this trip as well but they weren’t really as memorable, except for Whataburger. I heard stories, tales and fables of Whataburger but I had never had a chance to experience it, until this weekend. Despite all the rave reviews, the myths and legends, Whataburger was just good, not great, not amazing, just good. Granted it was much better than any McDonald’s I’ve ever been to, but Wendy’s and Burger King have stepped their game up to the point where the quality gap has shrunk in recent years.

And on the way home, during a longer than anticipated layover in Atlanta for a delayed flight, we made our way to arguably the best tasting and least greasy Popeye’s Chicken in all the land. While we stood in line a gentleman asked if we were dining in (note that all the tables were occupied) and took our drink orders. We chuckled and joked about how he couldn’t possibly find us a table by the time we ordered… but sure enough as we grabbed our food a table was free and we sat down. THAT’s customer service! The chicken itself was excellent for fast food chicken. It was crispy and not greasy at all (as Eric pointed out, it doesn’t get a chance to sit around long enough). Airport Popeye’s is best Popeye’s. 

The F1 Experience

IMG_0840.JPGIMG_7893.PNG.jpg Oh yeah, the actual reason we went to Texas. Friday morning we woke up early and hit the road from Houston to Austin, home of the USGP. when we arrived, we parked and made our way to the track entrance. Circuit of the Americas, or “COTA” (“Koh-tah”) for short, is a huge facility. You can see the tower from miles away and the parking lots around the facility added many thousands of steps to our daily step counters. Once inside, the facility is clean and well groomed. They have a soccer field and amphitheater as well as a separate main stage for larger shows that the amphitheater cannot accommodate (like Justin Timberlake & Stevie Wonder).

We had General admission tickets which meant we were able to go where we wanted and had many different views of the track. We spent a good portion of the weekend just walking around and checking out the different turns and sections as the machines practiced and took their qualifying laps. I say machines and not cars because these things are closer to aircrafts and spaceships than they are modern automobiles.

Sadly, our general admission passes did not grant us access to the race paddock so we could not get a closer look at the cars themselves, nor the drivers or the race crews. For that set-up you needed to drop a few thousand dollars for special passes.

And let’s talk about that for a minute. The tickets we purchased were about $160.00 per person (not including service charges imposed by ticketmaster). Plus we bought 3 parking passes at roughly $42.00 each. This was not a very cheap event to get into. Once inside the costs just went up from there. Remember Torchy’s Tacos, the wonderful place I mentioned earlier that sold tacos individually for a few bucks… they had a taco truck at the event… $8.00 per taco. I know it was because COTA was charging them a healthy sum to be there but we could not in good conscience spend that much for a taco that we paid half that price for the night before. Food costs and admission costs aside, everything at this event was expensive! They were charging $70 for a baseball cap, $100+ for a team jersey, and so on. I bought a t-shirt, it was for RedBull Racing and it was last year’s shirt -- I paid $20.00. That’s how much that shirt actually should have cost for this year’s event. So long story short, the event was expensive and I didn’t get access to all of the things I would have liked to have seen.

As far as the total F1 experience itself. It was a little disappointing. The track was cold for longer periods of time than it was hot. Other than a go-kart track and racing simulator there really wasn’t much to see or do other than sit around and wait for cars to be on track again. Out of the entire time we were there we were fully engaged in what was happening for about 4 hours, of which 2 hours was the actual race itself on Sunday.


Max Verstappen #33 - Red Bull F1 Team

A few ways the event could improve moving forward, invite other series there to share the track that weekend. Have more things going on during the day. Also make the paddocks available to the fans. Let us walk around and see the cars up close and personal, let us talk to the engineers that designed and created those machines. And of course, make things cheaper and more accessible to people. There is no reason why a hat should cost $70.00 (when it’s $40.00 on the website) and a taco should not cost $8.00 for one.

In The Rearview

 IMG_7920.HEIC.jpgSince the F1 activities weren’t that enticing to see on Saturday, we took a side trip to Austin and walked down South Congress Street and even took in a famed city-wide garbage sale (correction: garage sale) at the local expo center. Austin was pretty neat, for those that haven’t been there before think San Diego meets Colorado. We also visited a few comic book stores and a really cool toy store called Terra Toys.

During the race, we made our way in front of the stands at turn 10-11 and ended up in a giant mud pit, created from the Sunday morning rains, that seemingly ate my shoes. I had to throw them out (I was going to anyway).

Buc-Ees… heard of it? Let me describe it. Think Wawa + Cracker Barrel + Wal-Mart + Target + Bass Pro Shops + Home Depot = Buc-Ees. This place was one of the more interesting things we saw on our journey. Tania randomly mentioned it during our commute from Houston to Austin and just as she was finished explaining it we saw one and had to stop. I really can’t say anything more about it except you have to visit one if you get the chance. Also, the bathrooms were super clean. Like, award winning clean. Mr. Clean would be impressed!   IMG_7892.JPGIMG_0790.JPG

I would like to thank Mike & Mona Arrigo from HookedonDriving Northeast for their hospitality. They drove their motor home all the way down from PA (apparently they are the only people who DO have the time to drive 24 hours to Texas) and fed us and allowed us to use their motor home as our base of operations during the day. I would also like to thank Tania M. for putting us up for a few days at her house and taking me for a ride in her sweet vintage Audi.

Onwards and Upwards for GTM, next stop: The Rolex-24hrs at DAYTONA!

Weekend Recap: WGI Fall

posted Oct 23, 2017, 5:50 PM by Gran Touring Motorsports Club   [ updated Oct 23, 2017, 5:54 PM ]

Article By: Mike C; 10/22/2017

With the track season nearing its conclusion (at least in the northeast region) a large contingent of GTM made their way to the 3-day HookedOnDriving (HOD) event at Watkins Glen International raceway.  Including non-member spouses, we were 21 strong at The Glen with 17 cars seeing track time.

(More pictures from this event and others are available at our Shutterfly Share Site).


Given that we were in the finger lakes region of New York, four of us drove up a day early to enjoy the region.  Thursday morning started with a boat tour of Seneca Lake where Erin K, John R, Chrissy C and I learned all the wonders of how salt is mined in the region and had a nice view of a bunch of wineries up the lake.  We then met up with Harry B and Justine B for to visit a couple of wineries (including Wagner’s which also happens to be a micro-brewery.) We unloaded at the track and then enjoyed a group meal at the AirBnB that we had rented.


Friday, the first day at the track, ended up being an interesting one indeed.  Many of us who are coaches within GTM enrolled in the first ever Motorsports Safety Foundation Level 2 Instructor Certification Program class.  All but one person in the class was an existing coach, but we were participating so that we could start populating the ranks of certified instructors.  Ross Bentley taught the class that consisted mostly of classroom instruction, and open discussion among instructors with some on-track role-playing exercises (done during other run groups sessions).



Being the first ever offering, with a room full of mostly seasoned instructors, it is hard to judge how the class actually went, but as a group we made suggestions on how to move things forward for next year.  Once all the paperwork is filed, GTM should have 10 members who are level 2 certified with MSF from that first class.  Friday night included another group dinner at the Gamma Tau Mu Party AirBnB prepared by Harry B.

Saturday was one of the busiest track days I have done at WGI with around 50 intermediate students on track at once (and even more advanced). One of our newly certified coaches had their first real right-seat experience in a VW Golf R, and almost all of us coaches were in at least one right seat during the day.  We started to suffer some serious vehicular attrition through the day though, as “Eddie”, “The Gus”, “Fast Beddie”, “Evil Kermit”, and “Cadzilla” all suffered issues (Although “Fast Beddie” and “Evil Kermit” are the only two that didn’t make a return to the track on Sunday). While the track was rather busy, everyone had a great time. Once the track went cold, Harry B took on his normal grill master duties while I took care of some graphics work.


Sunday was a much lighter day as many people wanted to start their long rides home.  All of us coaches with broken cars still had our work to do though, with all but two of us having a student on Sunday.  Many GTM members had planned on skipping Sunday on track and were trickling out through the day, but a bunch of us were in for the long haul because we had students. Fellow GTM Member Erin K got her check-ride for B group and was given the thumbs up for advancement. Chrissy C got a chance to drive “The Gus” and experience some power, and Brad N, Chrissy C and I were able to grab a bite to eat at Fry Brother’s Turkey Ranch on the way home.

“The Gus” and “Fast Beddie” were dropped off at New German Performance on Monday after the event and we learned what caused “Fast Beddie” to fail on track.  The wheel hub split in two  and the wheel was only being held on by the brake caliper. “Fast Beddie” is now back on the road and ready for the HOD finale at Dominion. “The Gus” should have it’s exhaust leak all sealed up in time for VIR.


All-in-all it was a good trip and lots of fun.  We learned some things about coordinating meals and housing for such a large group and we welcomed a new coach into the fold.  Here’s to more events as successful as this!


1-10 of 14