We won! The #44 BC Racing Infiniti G35 won in GTA New Orleans! Not only did we win in our LRWD class but we also won the Limited class overall at Rd 2 of Global Time Attack Pro Series at NOLA Motorsports Park; as part of the inaugural NOLA Speed and Style event, earning ourselves a 1st place trophy, champagne shower on the top of the podium and most prestigious of all; a Meister watch!
I’ve had a lot of success with GTA in the past, but this season is certainly taking the cake. With a 3rd place at Rd. 1 at Road Atlanta in May (still think it could have been a 1st without our issues) and now a 1st place at Rd. 2 at NOLA Motorsports Park; I am proud to say we are 1st in the Pro Championship point standings for the Limited class with only Rd 3 / Super Lap Battle left in a few weeks. But before I get to that, lets recap what might be my favorite city visit and event yet!
This is the first time Global Time Attack has come to New Orleans and hosted a southern event since Texas in 2012. As part of the inaugural NOLA Speed and Style event hosted by Forge Motorsport, GTA was the main racing attraction at the event at NOLA Motorsports Park. Along with GTA there was am hpde track day, drift demo, car show, go karting, vendors, food, music and much more. There really was something for everyone there and it was a great event that I look forward to coming back to. Not only was the facility and the event impressive, but it was just a few miles from New Orleans, and the famous Bourbon Street in the historic French Quarter.
New Orleans had always been a city I’ve wanted to visit. Not only for the shenanigans that are bound to ensue, but mainly for the amazing history of the city. I’m a bit of a history nerd and love exploring historical areas of any city I travel to for racing, but rarely do I have enough time to completely enjoy the area. This trip I planned a bit different to make sure we had time to explore, eat local cuisine, be tourists and of course drink on Bourbon Street. The drive from Mechanicsville, MD to New Orleans, LA is about 17 hours (which isn’t too to terrible considering I’m about to drive to California again a week from writing this article) and with my brother Matt coming along for the second race in a row, I knew the trip wouldn’t be too bad. Before heading to NOLA we took a quick detour to Atlanta to visit Z1 Motorsports for a new tune from Jon the magic tuner man. After a few spells and some serious wizardry, Jon finished the tune Wednesday morning; yielding an impressive 610hp / 550tq. We loaded back up and got back on the road arriving 10 hours later at Pellegrini Performance Group, north of NOLA, to drop off the trailer at my buddy Jay’s amazing facility (check my Instagram and their website for some photos).
With the car and trailer in a safe place, and the race three days away, we woke up early Thursday morning and headed to the French Quarter to follow a self guided tour of NOLA’s best landmarks, architecture, historic sites, amazing food…. and of course; alcohol! Lets just say we set ourselves up for a good time when our first stop at 10am was the Old Absinthe Bar, in all of its original 18th century glory. From there we traveled through the French Quarter for hours criss-crossing the iconic stone streets, going from bar to museum, gallery, stores to voodoo houses, more bars, statues, amazing gumbo, local music on every corner, and everything else you could possibly want from a New Orleans experience. Once you get past the constant smell of piss that is Bourbon street, it really does become an impressive place immersed in unique history, culture, AMAZING MUSIC and of course drunkenness and loose inhabitions.
The next two days we did more exploring with Jason and Amanda from GTA, ate more amazing food, drank far too much overly sugared and potent $9 drinks in bright neon plastic containers, and then finished off the week with a trip down south to the infamous Oak Road on the Mississippi River to tour some of the most iconic and impressive plantation homes in Southern Louisiana. To say the least (yes I know this is like the tenth paragraph) I was in awe of everything I saw and I can’t wait to come back next year! Okay now enough of my blabbing about how great New Orleans is; onto the race recap!
When Saturday morning came; I was ready, the car was ready, and we had a new track staring at us just waiting to be driven hard. This was the first time GTA had come to NOLA Motorsports Park and none of the drivers had any prior track experience. So for the first two morning sessions almost everyone was learning the track and making adjustments, but not setting any quality times. Usually on GTA weekends the morning sessions of day two are always the fastest (usually due to track conditions) but that ended up not being the case for us, and most others as well. After lunch on Saturday we picked up a ton of time from the previous session and got the #44 BC Racing / Z1 Motorsports G35 down to a 1:54.67 in Session 3. Giving us not only a 4 second lead in Limited RWD, but also a 1 second lead in the Limited class overall.
I was ecstatic with how things were shaping up in class, but still wasn’t satisfied with the car, or my driving. Leading up to the race we made some big changes to the brake system along with a few other minor suspension adjustments. With no time or track day available to test, we hoped what we did would work and NOLA would really serve us as a test and race weekend. Knowing the car has been faster this year I was still expecting a podium result, and was more confident than ever that a 1st place finish would be possible. But I never expected to be leading at the end of day one with such a large margin, let alone leading Limited overall. Unfortunately, though I was still not content with my performance; the brakes that we had fixed ended up working waaaaay to well, and instead of having no brakes like the last few events, I now had way too much clamping force and/or pad compound. In nearly every big braking zone the car would lock up and become unbalanced, leading to more than a few hairy situations considering we ended the front straight at about 160 mph. All day Saturday we played with the proportioning valve, combined with altering my braking points and line every nearly session. But we found little improvement on Saturday and hoped for better on Sunday.
Unfortunately, Sunday morning I overdrove the first two sessions (along with a few other fellow drivers haha) and as the day got hotter, the track grip slowly started to go away. In the following sessions we played with some more adjustments to help reduce the brake lock up, along with chasing overheating issues and that same damn smoke on deceleration that has been plaguing us all year, but we never ended up going faster on day two. I was a bit disappointed in our final time but it was still good enough to win in Limited RWD and also the Limited class overall! We won Rd 2 of the Global Time Attack Pro Series at NOLA Motorsports Park! (It still doesn’t sound right when I type it now). This season has been great, but this win is by far the best moment in my short driving career. It has taken a lot of work by a lot of great people, great sponsors, friends, my family and most importantly my father for helping me get this car where it is today. Without all of them there is no way I would have made it to the event let alone win, and I can’t thank them enough! This win is 100% for everyone who has helped me get this far, from small to large, from fans, to sponsors and everyone in between. Thank you all! Not only is this a huge confidence booster for me, but it also puts us first in points for the GTA Pro Limited Class Championship with only one more race left! Wish us luck, we are going to need it at Buttonwillow!
Now check out the video recap below, some of the awesome photos from the event on my KPR Facebook Page, and be sure to check back here soon for updates from Super Lap Battle in a few weeks!