~ by Chris Demaras ~
Grassroots motorsports are intriguing. There are independents wrenching on their own equipment and big teams with double-decker, triple-axle haulers. Somewhere in the middle is Vallis Motor Sport who’ve been competing in the F1200 for 45 years, they have the knowledge and experience without the high cost of a big organization.
Even though the BRD race car was manufactured before the turn of the century, a full rebuild over the winter, plus some fresh paint and decals, made it look new again. Daniel was dazzled by the sight of the No. 12 race car. It looks like nothing else in the F1200 paddock. It is unique. Sticker tires on 15″ Fuchs wheels give the F1200 a little vintage 911 look to it.
Friday at the track included 5 practice sessions peppered throughout the day. The weather was cool in the morning sessions, but remained dry throughout. The F1200s shared the track with much quicker cars like F1600s, Formula Mazda and vintage F4 cars. The first sessions were a feeling out process for Daniel, trying to correlate the track IRL and in the SIM. Bill Vallis was in the pit lane with Daniel, providing words of wisdom and encouragement.
Years ago, Daniel raced at the old karting track, and would steal glances at the big track as open-wheelers raced past. Now, Daniel is the one driving the open-wheeler as kids race karts are in the background. It’s a real turning point.
Months of preparation went into this day. Daniel acquired his CASC racing license at Shannonville, ran exploratory laps at Cayuga in VMS’s No. 27 car, and participated in multiple sessions in the Force Dynamics simulator at HIP racing against coach Venditti.
The biggest gains were from the LDRC, DriveTeq and 6th Gear Motorsports track days in the Miata. The British racing green beauty is similar in size to the F1200, but with twice the weight and horsepower. It made for an excellent training tool.
Friday was a chance to shake down the car, and give the driver an opportunity to get comfortable behind the wheel. The sessions that count would happen over the weekend.