Corvette, Lamborghini, Porsche, Subaru and Viper win during Whelen US TimeTrial Championship at VIR


Philip Grabow set the fastest time of the weekend

The state motto might be ‘Virginia is for lovers’, but over the past weekend, surely it was for lovers of all high-end and high performance sports cars, as Virginia International Raceway (Alton, VA) played host to rounds 9 and 10 of the 2011 Whelen US TimeTrial Championship.

Sunday also saw George Whelen match his father’s Saturday performance to take the top step of the GT-Unlimited class podium- his first ever win in the US GT Championship’s premier class.

The weekend was expected to be a battle between two different breeds of horsepower- that of boost four-cylinder turbos and big American made cubic-inches. However, a surge of late entries not only gave the VIR rounds of the Whelen USTTC a record number of competitors, but another type of contender. Exotic European thoroughbreds joined the large contingent of American muscle and fast-fours that usually make up the Whelen USTTC ranks, and they certainly made their presence felt.

The bright orange Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera of Jim Booth wowed spectators and competitors alike as the V-10 screamed around the challenging 3.37 mile VIR circuit.
Booth dominated both days of competition in the TT-1 class, posting a 2:06.77 on Saturday before turning up the heat on Sunday to set a 2:04.172.
Interestingly, Booth also participated in his V10 Viper on Sunday but could only manage a 2:05.666, confirming the Lamborghini’s superior price tag over the Viper is indeed warranted.
Booth’s nearest rival was Doug Wind. Given that Wind’s weapon- a Modern Performance tuned turbo Dodge SRT-4- couldn’t be further from the Lamborghini in every way, shape and form, it was impressive that his times were only just over a second slower around one of the longest and fastest tracks in North America.
And while Wind could only manage second place on both Saturday and Sunday, he stamped his authority- albeit only by two tenths on Sunday- on TT-1 championship rival George MacDonald (Viper Competition Coupe), who finished third both days.


George MacDonald finished third both days in TT-1.

And while the strong points haul extended Wind’s TT-1 championship lead, MacDonald has now fallen behind Tanya Mazyk (Dodge Viper) who, all season, has been quietly building a solid points tally.
European might also proved too strong for the turbo fours and American muscle in the TT-2 class.
Alex Reznikov set a blistering 2:04.164 pace on Saturday afternoon in his black Porsche 997 GT3- a time that beat that of Booth’s Lamborghini on Saturday.
It was too much for David Tenney’s Dodge Neon SRT-4, who finished second, and Tim Jelle’s Dodge Viper GTS, who was third fastest in class on Saturday.

Reznikov didn’t match his Saturday pace on Sunday, however it was still enough to fend off the competition. Jelle, however, found nearly two seconds to close the gap, leapfrogging Tenney to take Sunday’s second placed trophy. Tenney finished third.


The SpeedSouth Corvette of David Leonard won Sunday’s TT-Unlimited competition. © NARRA

Again though, the fastest times of the weekend came from the TT-Unlimited class.
Philip Grabow and team from Element Tuning again threw down the gauntlet to the nation’s top tuning houses. On Saturday their heavily modified Subaru STi was the only car on Saturday to break the 2 minute mark, setting a 1:58.890. The fast-four was a staggering 6.5 seconds faster than the V10 might of TT-U championship points leader Carl Kafarowski’s Dodge Viper ACR, who set a 2:05.682- his personal best of the weekend. John Weigel, in another Viper ACR, finished third.

However all was not lost for American muscle, as a new contender entered TT-Unlimited for Sunday.
The Leonard brothers David and Tom, from SpeedSouth Active Power Racing, had brought their Corvette all the way from Pelham, Alabama to compete in the Whelen USTTC’s sister series, the US GT Championship. After blowing a transmission on Friday evening, their weekend looked bleak. However, the hard work of sourcing and overnighting a new transaxle to the circuit, and installing it with their backs in the Virginia dirt, paid off. Not only did they score two podiums in the USGTC, but they took the time-trial series by storm.
With brother Tom racing,


SpeedSouth’s Leonard brothers pose with their Whelen USTTC and USGTC trophies from VIR. © NARRA

David took the helm of the Corvette in the time-trial competition on Sunday morning. In a salute to the might of cubic-inches he ran over one second faster than Grabow’s Subaru, to set a 1:57.643. The time not only meant SpeedSouth was the new top-dog in town but would also take home the first place trophy in Sunday’s TT-U competition.

With over-heating and electrical issues plaguing Grabow’s Subaru, he had to settle for second place, while Carl Kafarowski took the third step of the podium.
And while by 4pm the competition runs had come to a close, Element Tuning had not given up in their quest to extract more from the STi. With the issues fixed, but on a far from perfect heat-soaked afternoon track, Grabow went out for the final session. While slightly bitter-sweet, Grabow showed what the Subaru was capable of, running a staggering 1:55.996- nearly two seconds faster than Leonard’s Corvette.

So while SpeedSouth’s cubic-inches may have taken home the trophy, one could argue the boosted four-cylinder of Element Tuning’s Subaru still reigns supreme in the Whelen USTTC.
All the action from the weekend was captured using GoPro cameras by the Internal Production Group and will be broadcast later this year on GoRacingTV.com, hosted by motorsport television personality Tom Hnatiw. The battle of the countries best engine tuners, and some of the world’s fastest cars in the Whelen US TimeTrial Championship will continue next month at Motorsport Park Hastings, Nebraska as part of the 2011 Super Sports Car Weekend.

Event images, commentary and results can be found at facebook.com/NARRAonline .

Philip Grabow and Subaru dominates in New Jersey as Whelen US TimeTrial Championship heats up

Philip Grabow won the TT-Unlimited class setting the fastest outright time in the Whelen USTTC at New Jersey. © www.dwphotoworks.com

Subaru has been added to the list of manufacturers to win the country’s newest national time-trial series, the Whelen USTTC.

Philip Grabow convincingly won both days of competition in the TT-Unlimited class at New Jersey Motorsports Park (Millville, NJ), which saw record entries in the Whelen US TimeTrial Championship.

His Element Tuning prepared 670 horsepower 2006 Subaru STi, running Hoosier Tires, set the overall fastest time Saturday and Sunday. Grabow’s times of 1:26.072 and 1:26.333 were a staggering three seconds clear of his nearest rival, Steve Katz (Viper ACR), in the TT-Unlimited class.

Philip Grabow proved once again you don't need a Viper to win in the Whelen USTTC. © www.dwphotoworks.com

Commenting on the win, Grabow said:

“I really enjoyed running with NARRA. It was really nice for a change to run against some really fast cars [such as Viper ACR-Xs]. We took our very different Subaru, [which] somewhat seemed out of place initially but once the lap times kind of settled out clearly it was a car that belonged there.

It didn’t go perfectly for us. We did win, but the goal was really to set the fastest time of the weekend, period. But we had some electrical issues so it didn’t look like we’d be able to touch some of those Viper Cup car times.

This was a really well run, well organized event. The [class] rating was fair, the competition was good. The whole package was a top-notch event. It felt good to be a part of something bigger.

I’m definitely looking forward to running the next event at VIR [Virginia International Raceway].”

George MacDonald (Viper Competition Coupe) and James Booth (Viper ACR) shared the wins in TT-1, while Tim Jelle (Viper GTS) won both days in TT-2, giving Dodge the top step of the podium in every class apart from TT-Unlimited.

George MacDonald finished on top in Saturday's TT-1 competition. © www.dwphotoworks.com

TT-Unlimited championship points leader Carl Kafarowski, who won the class at both Chuckwalla and Sebring, could only manage fourth fastest both days.

The Canadian suffered from brake issues throughout friday’s free practice, and by his own account felt he was a day behind the competition, which he conceded was the strongest he had faced in the Championship since the inaugural round at Road Atlanta.

Kafarowski set his fastest time on Saturday and couldn’t match his effort on Sunday. Both days he was trumped by Steve Katz and Michael Von Quilich (Viper ACR-X).

Von Quilich was on ‘double-duty’. The North American Road Racing sanctioned event also featured the Dodge Viper Cup presented by Pennzoil, in which Von Quilich was also driving, along with the US Performance Driver Education program and the US GT Championship.

The biggest field of cars was in the TT-1 class. On Saturday a close, ‘david and goliath’ styled, battle played out between championship points leader Doug Wind’s four cylinder SRT-4 and George MacDonald’s 10 cylinder Viper.

MacDonald and his green “Lolly Girl” Dodge Viper Competition Coupe managed to take the win by just over a tenth of second, setting a time of 1:33:543 to Wind’s 1:33.647.

John Weigel (Viper ACR-X) completed Saturday’s top three in TT-1.

On Sunday James Booth (Viper ACR) stepped up to take the TT-1 class win, while John Weigel stepped up to out pace the Modern Performance sponsored Dodge SRT-4 of Doug Wind, who finished third.

Doug Wind finished second in Saturday's TT-1 class. © www.dwphotoworks.com

Tim Jelle topped TT-2 timesheet both days. On Saturday Scott Barton was second fastest followed by Canadian Michel Prevost. Sunday saw Edward Werry take second place in TT-2.

Tim Jelle won both days in TT-2. © www.dwphotoworks.com

Winners in each category are eligible for contingency prizes from Hoosier Tire and Cool Shirt®.

All the Action from the Whelen US TimeTrial Championship at New Jersey was captured using GoPro cameras by the Internal Production Group and will be broadcast later this year on GoRacingTV.com, hosted by motorsport television personality Tom Hnatiw.

Event results, images and news can be found at facebook.com/NARRAonline .

The next rounds of the Whelen USTTC will take place next month at Virginia International Raceway, July 8-10.

New Element Tuning TA Race Car sets Summit Pt TTU Lap Record!

Just as we started to get the new car and myself sorted out our season is over but the new STi is performing better than we could have ever imagined.

New graphics from Speedesign look great. We wanted to do something new and different but keep that mean look the car had in all black. We couldn’t finish completely as the vinyl wouldn’t stick to the unfinished bumpers so we need to get those painted before the whole look is put together.

Rota DPT from WheelDude.com in 18×10 Matte Black hold the Hoosier 285s on very nicely!

New Sparco Circuit Pro Seats, Belts, and Steering wheel from OG Racing and Sparco USA keeping me safe.

One of the single largest and most critical improvements on the car is the Fulcrum Aero wing. John went above and beyond building us a reinforced with with improved double lap joint mounts.

Notice the heim joints for reduced stress on the mounts. The wing is also very easy to adjust because of this mount.

The final race of the NASA Mid Atlantic Championships was this past weekend at Summit Point Raceway. We updated our Element Tuning custom BC ER Series Coilovers with new valving and Swift Springs to increase front roll stiffness on the car in attempt to settle the rear end down under acceleration. We tested this at VIR warming up and ran a 1:59 which would have been good enough for 4th in the UTTC race so things were looking good.

On day one we set FTD breaking the old TTU lap record of 1:16.07 with a 1:15.4 lap but the cold track made it tough to get the heat I needed in my Hoosiers. On day two we tweaked the Fulcrum rear wing for about +45 lbs more downforce with only a 6 hp penalty in drag, dropped tire pressure on the driver’s side, and we adjusted the front and rear clickers on the BC coilovers. With the track temp coming up we were able to set a new TTU track record at 1:14.439!

Enjoy the video, From a 148 MPH Crash To A New Track Record:

Thanks,
Phil Grabow

James’ Element-tuned STI in Maxx Tuning Magazine

The 2006 STI owned by Element Tuning customer James “MULE” Mulherin Jr. has a short feature in the September 2010 issue of Maxx Tuning Magazine.  You can view the article by clicking on the image above, or by downloading the 9.1MB PDF here.  This is just a preview feature though, so stay tuned for the full feature with dyno numbers once his car is retuned by Phil!

“Prize Fighter” from Grassroots Motorsports

by Scott Lear From the April 2010 issue

When it comes to our no-holds-barred Ultimate Track Car Challenge, the more cylinders, the better. Out of the 55 track-prepared beasts that entered the most recent competition, the top five finishers all had big V8 power. The next two spots went to six-cylinder racers—one with a turbo, the other with lots of revs and an exceedingly low curb weight. Squarely in eighth place overall, however, was a comparatively diminutive 2.5-liter four-banger.

The boxer engine in the nose of Phil Grabow’s 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI had less than a third of the displacement of some of the other cars. However, that didn’t prevent the Subaru from running at the sharp end of the pack with a 2:00.197 fast lap around Virginia International Raceway. A big turbo certainly helped, but power isn’t the only answer in the search for a quick time on track. In fact, due to heat issues, Phil’s Subaru was running in limp mode when it beat every other four-cylinder turbo at the event—as well as two Dodge Vipers and a full-race Ferrari F430 Challenge.

Continue reading ““Prize Fighter” from Grassroots Motorsports”

Mazda Formula Atlantic and FormulaX Time Attack Video, Pictures, Results, 06/09

Mazda’s Formula X Motorsports Festival Presented by Cooper Tires put on a great race at New Jersey Motorsports Park! It’s really exiting to be part of a bigger televised event such as this or GT Live that’s held with Grand AM.

There is just more excitement in the air! You can watch Time Attack, Mazda Formula Atlantic, Star Mazda, Playboy MX5 Cup, and even IMSA Lights. If you ever get a chance you should race one of these time attacks.

For the second year in a row, Element Tuning’s Mod class STi took the overall and Mod class win shaving almost 2 seconds off last year’s time running our new custom BC Racing ER series coilovers, GT Spec braces, and some new aero work.

Continue reading “Mazda Formula Atlantic and FormulaX Time Attack Video, Pictures, Results, 06/09”