Team StopTech extends well beyond the StopTech-liveried Porsche driven by our CEO. In fact, looking at the podium at Sunday's World Challenge race would have shown at least five other drivers who run Centric, Power Slot or StopTech equipment. Five spots on the podium? Well, there are three classes that run in the SCCA Pro Pirelli World Challenge Championship - GT, GTS and TC. Of the nine podium finishers, StopTech was involved with five of them.
World Challenge is one of the least expensive ways to go professional racing, with relatively unmodified sports and sporty cars that look pretty much like the ones you'll find at your local dealership. StopTech has always been right at home in this type of racing because this is where we cut our teeth. The brakes we have developed for this type of racing have been delivering added benefits to the brakes you can get for your street cars. Production based racing, whether at the professional or amateur level, gives us a rolling laboratory to continue our research and development. Born in the extremes of racing, StopTech and Power Slot brake systems are designed to deliver championship winning results even in your daily commute. World Challenge is a natural fit.
The lowest rung on the World Challenge ladder is Touring Car, or TC. Last but not least certainly applies here, with Hondas, Volkswagens, Mazdas, Volvos and the like ripping around Laguna Seca in about 1:40 flat. To put that in perspective, the Dodge Viper ACR holds the production car record at this track at 1:33. In Sunday's race, the top three finishers - Lawson Aschenbach, Tristan Herbert and Robb Holland - were all running Power Slots or StopTechs. Aschenbach actually had to start at the back of the field after missing Saturday's qualifying, but the Compass360 Civic was at the front when the checkers flew after an impressive charge through the field by Lawson. His great launch that brought him from ninth to fourth on the very first lap earned him the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start Award. The win also clinched the championship for this young driver.
The middle rung of the World Challenge ladder is GTS, or Grand Touring Sport. This class features Mustangs, Camaros and a pair of tweaked Acura TSX race cars. These cars run 1:36 laps around Mazda Raceway and are among the most evenly matched cars on the grid. Paul Brown’s GTS class flag-to-flag win in the No. 50 One Hour Heating and Air/Luminox/Kenny Brown Ford Mustang Boss 302S clinched his first career World Challenge title. Brown qualified his StopTech-equipped Boss 302S on the pole, pulled away at the start, and hustled to a 2.713-second margin of victory.
The top class in World Challenge is Grand Touring. This is where the Porsches, Corvettes, Volvos and Cadillacs come to play. The top cars can run a lap in under 1:28 here. While the GMG Porsche of James Sofronas was still in the hunt for the championship as late as the last lap, a collision with a slower car dropped him to tenth. The championship went instead to Patrick Long, who does double duty with the Flying Lizards in ALMS from time-to-time.
Still, Sofronas had much better luck than StopTech's Dino Crescentini. After qualifying 8th in class and a great start, Dino was taken out in a first lap incident that also claimed the Cadillac CTS-V Coupe of Andy Pilgrim. Mike Skeen took the win and Skeen’s teammate, Patrick Lindsey, was third in the No. 12 CRP Chevrolet Corvette. Lindsey had been battling with Sofronas, Johnny O’Connell’s Cadillac and the second-place Volvo S60R of Randy Pobst for a good portion of the race until Sofronas was knocked out and Patrick inherited third for good.
StopTech customer, Turner Motorsport captured the 2011 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Grand Sports (GS) Driver and Team championships with a sixth place finish in Saturday's Grand-Am race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The title is the team's sixth professional championship and the result was instrumental in securing BMW a second consecutive GS Manufacturer crown.
Paul Dalla Lana and co-driver Boris Said needed only to finish 11th in the StopTech-equipped No. 96 M3 to win Dalla Lana his first professional racing championship and Turner Motorsport the Team title so the duo stayed with a conservatively aggressive plan throughout the two-and-one-half-hour race around the rolling 2.6-mile, 13-turn road course.
Dalla Lana started from the fifth position after his season's best qualifying effort. Pitting during the first of the race's seven caution periods Dalla Lana handed off to Said. Strategist Don Salama used the remaining yellows to the team's advantage, pitting Said at the right time to allow him to run as high as second and never less than 10th. A text book team effort, sixth place at the checkered flag was more than enough to secure the two championships. A significant contribution to Dalla Lana's championship was made by BMW ace Bill Auberlen who co-drove with Dalla Lana to five consecutive podiums, including a win at Homestead-Miami Speedway, to begin the season.
"This is a special year so we will make sure we celebrate Paul's championship with the same vigor with which we raced for it," said Will Turner. "On top of our team title, the entire Turner Motorsport team is pleased to have contributed so strongly to another Manufacturer's title for BMW. Our Continental program continues to go from strength to strength and our Rolex program has grown into quite a force this year. A large part of that is due to the hard work of our sponsor partners Cobalt, Continental Tires, Escort Radar, FORGELINE, H & R Springs and StopTech. It is hard to believe that testing for the 2012 season begins next month so we will soon be right back to work."
The 2012 Grand-Am season begins during the 50th annual Rolex 24 at Daytona on January 28 – 29.
Gumout pole winner John Buttermore, of Wixom, Mich., drove flag-to-flag to capture his first Touring 1 National Championship at the 48th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. Tom Sloe, of Newbury, Ohio, and Mike McGinley, of Overland Park, Kan., finished second and third, respectively.
The T1 and STO classes ran a combined race. Buttermore got a great jump from the T1 pole in the No. 52 Hoosier/Carbotech/StopTech and led the first lap before the yellow came out on lap two after contact between two STO cars brought out the caution.
When the race went green six laps later, Buttermore put a sizeable gap between himself and Sloe. In fact, Buttermore was third overall between the two classes. He turned the Hawk Fast Lap of the race with of 2:33.069 (94.313 mph) en route to 8.931-second margin of victory over Sloe to win his first-career Runoffs National Championship.
“We’d prefer it [the race] had gone green the whole way,” Buttermore said. “We spent a lot of time up here working on making the car smooth and consistent. We, maybe, sacrificed a little bit of speed. It was set up to run 13 laps hard. We did our development with StopTech brakes and Carbotech. Two years ago, I was leading the first five laps of this event and the brakes were on the floor and gave it back. Today, is quite a redemption.
“We knew we were faster than the STO cars at that point, under acceleration especially. I dropped back a little bit [on the restart] to give them [STO driver] some room so that we could get our start at speed and get around them by Turn 1 and not have them affect our race. When I looked back in my mirror after going into Turn 3, I saw Tom had gotten around them too. It cleared us up.
“I am pretty excited. It’s a big effort. The last four years I’ve gotten four medals, all of the wrong color and with three different cars. It’s kind of been a hodge podge adventure to finally get this win with the Corvette, which is the best car on the street and on the track.”
Now in its 48th year, the SCCA National Championship Runoffs annually crowns Champions in the Sports Car Club of America’s Club Racing classes. The live broadcast of all 28 National Championship races will be available throughout the weekend at www.Speedcasttv.com/scca and later available On Demand from the same site.
Follow the action on Twitter @SCCAOfficial or the SCCA, Inc. Official Facebook page at facebook.com/sccaofficial. More information is available at www.scca.com.
If you’re wondering how you can get the same results, we offer a whole range of products to help you and your customers get into Victory Circle too.
In World Challenge, GT customers are running our TrophyBBKs, with 4- or 6-piston anodized calipers and oversized AeroRotors with anodized AeroHats.
GTS racers are winning with StopTech BBKs, using painted 4- and 6-piston calipers as well as optimized airflow AeroRotors/AeroHats.
The TC field is a virtual Centric Parts catalog in motion, with contestants running full StopTech BBKs, as well as Power Slot and CentricParts rotors.
North of the border, our Canadian customers in CTCC have also been running and winning with BBKs as well as Power Slot rotors.
Grand-Am ST cars like the championship-winning Turner Motorsports BMWs are using DRKs, with improved airflow 2-piece rotors.
As mentioned above, John Buttermore just clinched the SCCA T1 National Championship in his StopTech-equipped Corvette.
We’ve also been getting messages from other privateers in NASA and SCCA action, who are thanking us for helping them succeed using StopTech race brake systems.
Additionally, our circle track and off-road race programs are also progressing nicely.
In Lucas Off-Road Racing Series (LOORRS), the 4 Wheel Parts Pro2 Truck has seen some success with their Power Slot rotors. We are also working on improvements to STOR-60GT race calipers.
Congratulations to all of you! 2011 has been a great season so far but there are still championships to decide. Through StopTech’s direct involvement in World Challenge, working with our customers who campaign cars in Grand-Am, NASA, SCCA, circle track and off-road racing, as well as through our work with one-make series like the Napleton Cayman Interseries, StopTech is committed to developing brake systems that will help your car stop better - on the track or on the street.
“Brake late, finish first” is more than just a catchphrase – we see it at every race, how good brakes can make the difference between winning and losing. That’s why we’re committed to continuously researching and developing race and high performance brake systems that will help you win in whatever type of vehicle you drive. 2012 should be another great year for StopTech and our customers. Not only do we have data to help us improve our existing products, but we have several new products and innovations in the pipeline. More about that later, but for now…congratulations to all of you and thank you for your continued business.