COTA 2017

2017 ChumpCar World Series at Circuit of The Americas Presented by Coolshirt

Race Recap 5/13 & 14, 2017

 

They say everything’s “bigger in Texas” and after the ChumpCar World Series Double 8 race at Circuit of the Americas, round 9 of the 2017 season, they might want to add the word “Better” to that claim!

Saturday’s start at 9AM saw 57 cars take the green flag with several Texas based teams looking to take the win including City Garage Racing in their BMW M3, Looney Tunes in their ’89 Mustang, and Winding Road Racing in their A Class Mazda Miata. Jumping out to an early lead was the OB Prestige Honda Civic #335 being chased closely by the TLM USA EC class BMW E36. This battle raged on up to the first pit stop at the 2 hour mark.

Around the 2 ½ hour mark OB #335 maintained the lead followed closely by the two Nine Four Motorsports entries, the #840 Lexus SC300 and the #984 Toyota Supra which is essentially the same model from the two brands. The #108 Tuttle Motorsports Mitsubishi Eclipse had quietly joined in the fray in 4th position by running steadily consistent laps.

The next 2 hours was a classic battle between the Lexus and the Eclipse once the #108 overhauled the rapidly fading Honda Civic entry of OB Prestige. Swapping the lead continuously around every 3 laps for 2 hours and never more than seconds apart from each other they diced it out on the 3.4 mile Grand Prix course.

After pit stops at the halfway point in the race, Nine Four’s entries led 1-2, but the Tuttle Eclipse soon rejoined the fray with the leader having quickly dispatched the Lexus. The Looney Tunes Mustang found itself sandwiched between two of the other OB Civics, the #998 and the #221. After leading early the third team entry out of Canada, the #335, was nowhere to be found after running into problems.

The #840 Lexus found itself running in 6th, followed closely by the #170 TLM USA E36. Texas based teams rounded out the rest of the top 10, Loanstaracers #93 Mazda Miata, the Looney Tunes Mustang, and the two Mazda Miata entries of Winding Road Racing and 11 Tenths Racing.

As the race entered the 6th hour, the TLMUSA E36 had climbed back into 4th place and the #93 had followed suit running up to a 5th place position as the OB Civic #221 held onto 3rd.  With the final pit stop at 2 hours to go most of the top 10 pitted with the leaders coming in together, the Supra maintaining a steady 1 minute advantage over the Tuttle Eclipse.

The next two hours to the checkered flag would find both the Nine Four Motorsports Lexus and the #998 Civic from OB falling through the field, each having lost multiple positions. They had been replaced by the BurningHAM Too Lexus SC300 which had been nursing a car stuck in 4th gear from the 3rd lap of the race and the #101 Mustang that had been briefly sidelined with a broken exhaust. The Civic had suffered a similar fate, but could not recover as quickly as the Mustang had.

The final hour saw no change as the Supra kept Tuttle at bay letting them no closer than a minute to their rear bumper. The EC class E36 from TLM USA had climbed up to a 3 place position having finally overpowered the A class Civic . The battle for 4th was intense as the Mustang and the scrappy #221 Civic traded places constantly, each having an advantage over the other dependent on where they were on the course.

The Loanstaracing Miata maintained a lonely 6th while the ailing Lexus from BurningHAM Too Lexus duked it out with the Winding Road Miata, yet another battle pitting cars with dissimilar strengths and weaknesses. A pair of Mazda Miata’s finished in the last 2 top 10 positions, 11 Tenths Racing leading over ISC Racing Services’ #201 entry.

Prerace favorites, the 325i BMWs of Crank Yankers Racing and Basil Weenie Racing, were nowhere to be found near the front of the field on Saturday, each team having what could only be considered by anybody’s standards a disastrous day. Despite top 10 finishes you knew the Looney Tunes Mustang and the BurningHAM Too Lexus’s teams had something to prove when the hot Texas sun came up for Sunday’s 9AM start as well.

Sure enough, when the green flag fell, the #255 Lexus (with a new gearbox) and the #186 Crank Yankers BMW rocketed through the field into the top 10 within 30 minutes, the Lexus gaining some 15 positions and the BMW an astonishing 43 marks after starting 48th out of the 51 car field !!!

Alas, soon after that astonishing rise through the field, the BMW would find itself on a rollback, the result of the wheel studs shearing off the left front tire. A dissimilar fate would also meet the Lexus only 1 hour later in turn 9 when the car stopped on track. A s the first pit stops began 2 hours in the order was TLMUSA’s EC Class #170 E36 continuing its strong run, the same OB Civic, #334 that had lead early on the first day (as car #335), and the #984 Supra that placed 1st on Saturday followed by the team’s #840 Lexus being hounded by the pesky #221 from OB Prestige Auto.

A quick glance at RaceMonitor would lead you to believe you were looking at yesterday’s results as the next 5 included 11 Tenths Racing’s Miata, the Texas based Looney Tunes Mustang, City Garage Racings’ M3, and the Loanstaracing Miata. Basil Weenie Racing’s promise of a better finish ran in 10th.

As the halfway mark came and went little had changed with the exception of the #334 having blown a motor while running in 2nd place. The Tuttle Motorsports Eclipses were struggling with both cars having to pit with flat tires, hoods that would not stay down, and bodywork that would not stay attached. Neither car would figure in the final results.

The battle up front was just heating up as D class Looney Tunes Mustang and the TLMUSA EC class BMW started swapping the lead, each only to eek out a few second or so lead on each other at most.  The persistent OB Prestige A class Honda Civic pestering them both, taking the lead occasionally.

The BMW slowly drew away, more so when the Mustang eased off his pace and pitted for fuel and a driver change, the result of having pitted a bit sooner than the 2 hour maximum drive time allowed. With less than an hour to go the Mustang’s engine let go and the team dejectedly packed it in. The BMW would go on for the win.

The clock finally stopped at the 8 hour mark with the OB #221 in 2nd, the Nine Four Motorsports’ Lexus and Toyota being split by the Loanstaracing Miata backing up their Saturday 6th place finish by 2 spots to 4th. Basil Weenie showed their previous days finish was an aberration by coming in 6th.  Dan Rather Be Racing’s MX-5 followed 2 laps down in 7th having improved their previous’ days result of 34th considerably.

11 Tenths Racing’s Miata also improved their position by 1 place to finish 8th and ISC Racing equaled their 10th place finish from Saturday. Not starting the previous day, the SUPERB Racing Mercedes 190E came home in 9th, all three of these cars on the same lap.

Of note, the field included a 13 year old driver , Daniel Soufi, who holds a competition license and he managed a very respectable 2.52 lap in a  1984 Maserati BiTurbo. Their best lap was only a 2:51, presumably by someone a “bit” older. Daniel is currently in 2nd place in the Texas region  NASA Spec Miata class. For the 2nd race in a row MAXXIS Tires, ChumpCar World Series’ newest sponsor, gave away a full set of tires to the #984 Nine Four Motorsports’ entry by virtue of their overall win on Saturday

 

Final results from each day:

SATURDAY:
1st Place: Nine Four Motorsports #984 1998 Toyota Supra
2nd Place: Tuttle Motorsports #108 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse
3rd Place: OB Prestige #221 1996 Honda Civic

SUNDAY:
1st place: OB Prestige #221 1996 Honda Civic
2nd Place: Nine Four Motorsports #840 1992 Lexus SC300
3rd Place: Loan Star Racers ##93 1993 Mazda Miata

Chandler School Sportsmanship Award:  Deep Eddy Racing

As the results from the two 8 hour races are combined for the overall win by laps completed the final looked like this:

Class A Winner: OB Prestige #221 1996 Honda Civic 320 laps
Class B Winner: Unintended Acceleration #444 1990 Audi 90 288 laps
Class C Winner: Nine Four Motorsports #984 1998 Toyota Supra 320 laps
Class D Winner: Looney Tunes #101 1989 Ford Mustang 299 laps
EC Class Winner: TLM USA #170 1994 BMW E36 325 323 laps