When a couple of amateur racers didn’t find the endurance racing series they wanted, they created it
American Endurance Racing isn’t the largest of endurance racing organizations, and they’re OK with that. Putting on seven events a year, mostly in the Northeast, the organization is seeking methodical growth of the series that started out when its founders decided the kind of racing they wanted to do wasn’t available.
“My partner, Ed Tatios, and I are amateur racers,” explains John Kolesa, the president of American Endurance Racing (AER). “We did sprint racing, endurance racing — at least what was available to us six or seven years ago. We liked endurance racing, but we didn’t really like what was available to us. We wanted something where we could race the cars we wanted to race and we wanted fair and competitive classing. We didn’t really think that was available, and that’s why we started AER. It’s the racing series that we wanted to race in.”
Kolesa and Tatios wanted a series for what Kolesa calls “legitimate” racecars – not cars that were rescued from a junkyard and built to meet a price cap. They were also frustrated by the way car classing worked in most organizations, both the spec model and the points and power-to-weight model.
“We never felt that they worked very well, particularly in endurance racing, so our classing is more performance-based,” he explains. “Our classes are based on qualifying times, so we monitor the times and we class the cars so they’re in competitive groups. We have about a dozen different ways we can sort the field to see where we think they’ll fit best. We don’t want to penalize a team based on one fast driver doing one fast lap. We want to put them in a place where, at the end of nine hours, they’ll be competitive.