Sebring International Raceway proved the ultimate challenge for man and machine on the weekend, November 22-24, as the 2013 Whelen US TimeTrial Championship concluded. Particularly tough on the machines, two of the top class championship contenders, Troy Messer and David Santillo, were sidelined prior to the first competition run. For those that did survive the pace was grueling as lap records were crushed and titles decided, even by a taxi.
“Philip Grabow is likely the first man in history to win a national Championship in a taxi. The car was developed by BC Racing for an upcoming viral video.” Photo by NARRA
Hail that cab!
Philip Grabow may have used both Element Tuning’s Hydra EMS powered Scion FRS and Subaru STi during the season and led the points heading into Sebring, but he was without a car. With only days to go he struck a deal with long-term sponsor BC Racing to borrow a 700hp supercharged BMW M3. However BC Racing had other ideas, and seizing the opportunity they converted their M3 into a taxi-cab dubbed the ‘Seb-Ring Taxi’ for an upcoming viral video, playing on BMW’s Nürburgring Ring-Taxis.
Complete with taxi roof sign, Grabow’s ride set a solid 2:30.074 but was no match for Mansen Way’s Hero Reward Charity sponsored Viper SRT-10, which won the round with a 2:25.199. Nevertheless, Grabow became the first driver to clinch a Whelen USTTC title with a taxi.
Second in the championship, David Santillo (BSM Corvette Z06) had expected to take the fight to Grabow, but spun a bearing in his Vette on Friday. It was a tough break for the North Cup and double round winner, who had trekked all the way from New York to compete for the title. Allen Stieg (WolfTech Manufacturing Viper SRT-10) finished third in points. Ajay Gaalla (Viper ACR) was awarded the South Cup.