SVRA Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational at Indy – August 1st to 4th Race Report
The STANMECH Technologies, Good Cars Only, Gabo Solutions #77 Formula Mazda Team had an outstanding weekend at the SVRA 2019 Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational at Indianapolis Motor Speedway We ran in Group 9 – all open wheel cars on slicks from 1972 2014 from early F2 cars to modern F1 cars, and everything in between. The weather was perfect for the entire race weekend, with a mix of both sunny & humid days, ranging from the upper 20's to the mid-30’s Celsius.
We saw some amazing vintage race cars during this event, in particular this 1971 McLaren M8F caught our eye – an outstanding example of the extreme level of automotive race car engineering in the 70s.
1971 McLaren M8F
Over the course of Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we were on track a total of 10 times; 4 on-track practices during the Wednesday test day, followed by 2 practice sessions, two qualifying sessions, Race 1, and Race 2. Our race class included some outstanding vintage open wheel race cars:
Group 9 – Formula Cars on Slicks
With our Mazda 13B rotary engine rated at 200 horsepower, once again, we were very much under-powered for our race group. We definitely had our work cut out for us at this very high-speed facility!!!
Given that this was our 1st time at the road course at Indy, we had to make the most of our 4 practice sessions on the test day. In the weeks prior to coming to Indy, we reviewed track notes and lapping videos to become familiar with the track layout and the sight pictures for each corner. We chose to practice on old tires to conserve the 2 new sets of tires that we brought along for this race weekend. In our 1st test session, we drove around the track at about 80% of optimum lapping speed shakedown the STANMECH Technologies, Good Cars Only, Gabo Solutions #77 Formula Mazda and to get a feel for each corner and its respective sight picture. During this 1st session, our best lap time was 1:40.299. During our data review immediately following practice session, we realized we had lots of improvement available. During our 2nd test session we improved our best lap time to 1:37.775. Once again, our data showed us that there was more improvement available. During our 3rd test session, we improved to 1:36.808 – our data review told us that we were getting close! During our 4th and final test session on Wednesday, we improved our lap time to 1:35.308 – just off our theoretical best time by a half a second. After finishing practice for the day, Bill Vallis and I decided that we would leave the used tires on the car to complete the two practice sessions the next day.
In our 1st practice session with our race group on the Thursday, we ended up being 5th fastest in our group and 1st in our class with a lap time of 1:33.105!! A 2 second improvement – an awesome accomplishment! Our 2nd practice session was shortened due to a muffler failure, however, we managed to be 3rd fastest in our group during that session and 1st in our class with a lap time of 1:34.000.
Our Failed Muffler – it’s a good thing we have spares!
Friday started early, with our 1st shortened qualifying session – only 5 laps due to a damaged car stopped on the race course. We posted a fast lap time on sticker tires of 1:33.500 placing us in 9th position in our group and 2nd in our class. In between sessions, we decided to make some chassis adjustments to optimize our rear tire wear and to improve front grip and understeer. In our 2nd qualifying session, we posted a new personal best time of 1:32.917 placing us 10th on the grid and 2nd in our class!! Clearly our adjustments worked!
Race 1 started at 10 AM on Saturday. We gridded in 10th position and had a very good start at the drop of the green flag. We made up several positions on some very high powered cars that were braking early for corner 1. At one point, we were in 6th position. Late in the race we were overtaken by 2 of the cars that we had passed at the start to finish in 8th position, 3rd in class with a personal best lap time of 1:32.681!! Race 2 started at 11:10 AM on Sunday. Because our finish on Saturday, we were gridded in the 8th position for the start of the race. Once again, we had a terrific start passing several cars at the turn into corner 1. At one point we are up to 5th position. Unfortunately, over the course of the race the higher powered cars that we had passed at corner 1 re-passed us late in the race. We did finish race 2 in 8th place, 2nd in our class. Our best lap time was 1:33.628 – a little slower than our best time on Saturday, but very respectable given our tire wear. Overall, an awesome race weekend and a terrific showing for the STANMECH Technologies, Good Cars Only, Gabo Solutions #77 Formula Mazda Team.
Our race group featured some unbelievable, high powered vintage formula cars - it was a pleasure to be on track with them. Outside of our muffler failure, our car performed beautifully during the entire event - a very big thank you to our sponsors; STANMECH Technologies, Good Cars Only, Gabo Solutions , to Bill Vallis of Vallis Motor Sport and to our biggest fan Teddy Subject Murdoch.
Teddy Subject Murdoch at the Drivers Meeting, Thursday morning
Click here for more photos from this race weekend.
A very big thank you to SVRA for hosting such a great event!! And last, but certainly not least, we want to thank our long suffering family which allows us to continue to race……….