Photo: Florida Region racer Daniel Urrutia Jr. took his Chevrolet Corvette to GT-1 victory Saturday at Sebring.
The Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour season opened officially on Saturday at Sebring International Raceway, an event hosted by SCCA’s Central Florida Region. The day featured qualifying followed by 25-minute timed races on the 17-turn, 3.74-mile internationally renowned circuit. Racing will continue on Sunday, beginning at 8:30 a.m. EST, with 14 lap (or 35 minute) races. (Live timing, results, streaming audio and static cameras are available at www.scca.com/live.)
Talent Comes Quickly: With age may come experience, but there’s no substitute for talent. That was clear at the front of the Formula F field, where 16-year-old Dylan Christie, driving the No. 82 Mygale SJ13, and 15-year old Mac Clark, in a Mygale SJ2013H, gapped the field during Saturday’s race.
Clark started on pole but on lap eight of 11 in the 25-minute race, Christie found his way into the lead and held on for a 0.053-margin of victory.
The win came in the first Hoosier Super Tour appearance for Christie, who hails from Princeton, New Jersey. In fact, it was just his second public appearance behind the wheel of a race car. Christie drove in the Central Florida Region’s Turkey Trot event at the end of 2019 after a successful karting career before graduating to the Super Tour schedule.
“We had a pretty decent gap, so I decided to make the majority of the race a game of wait and be patient,” Christie said. “We had a great battle on the last lap.”
Great Thriller #1: The GT-1 class did their best impression of a Spec Miata race on Saturday at Sebring, with Daniel Urrutia, David Pintaric and Claudio Burtin running nose to tail for nearly the length of the race. In the end, Urrutia and his No. 3 Mustang Vacuum Coating/Saenz Transmissions Chevrolet Corvette C7 earned a hard-fought victory over Pintaric’s Cadillac CTS-V and Burtin’s Chevrolet Camaro.
“We’ve got some top-level cars from Trans Am here,” Urriuta said. “It was a three-racecar tandem the entire race. We had a blast, and I just drove the wheels off and brought it home.”
Contingency Check In: In this new season, the SCCA Contingency Program rewards strong finishes by competitors from a variety of manufacturers, programs and retail stores. Drivers are responsible for any pre-registration and post-race program managements that are set by the issuing company, but the rewards can help offset the cost of a race weekend.
Mazda Motorsports dished out some major contingency money in Group 2 alone on Saturday at Sebring. The No. 9 Ocean Machinery/Nelson Engines/OPM Autosports/G-Loc Brakes Super Touring Lite car of Danny Steyn, the No. 1 Touring 3 car of Sellin Rolan, and Touring 4 competitor Michael Borden in the No. 42 Coinigy/ Advanced Autosports car all grabbed wins in the same race, each driving a different version of the MX-5 Mazda.
Engineering Excellence: Production category cars can be notoriously finicky. Kip Van Steenburg’s No. 4 German Excellence Porsche 944 ran flawlessly at VIRginia International Raceway last October for a National Championship in E Production. That continued in his win on Saturday at Sebring — but it wasn’t without drama.
“My window net came down twice,” Van Steenburg said after the race.
Each time, Van Steenburg had to pull to the side of the track and reattach the net to prevent a black flag from ending his race. He still held on for a victory.
Miata Madness: The Sebring Hoosier Super Tour always brings out a top-notch Spec Miata field, with 54 cars on hand in 2020. Former National Champions Preston Pardus, Jim Drago and Danny Steyn were joined in a four-car battle by Tyler Gonzalez. In the end it was Pardus, in the No. 42 Danus Utilities/East Street Racing/5x Racing machine winning, followed home by Drago and Gonzalez in that order.
“Me, Jim and Tyler had a great battle, and then Danny joined in there,” Pardus said. “We had a two-on-two battle, and luckily I was able to manage my gap over Jim until the last lap. He got a big run down the backstretch and got to me, but I hit (turn) 17 pretty good and was able to pull it off at the end.”
SRF3 Kerfuffle: Brian Schofield is a regular in the Spec Racer Ford Gen3 (SRF3) field, an annual contender at the SCCA Runoffs, and a winner, in the No. 61 PM Racing car, on Saturday by 2.581 seconds. The race was shortened following a 40-minute stoppage to clear the track Sebring’s tight final turn: Two cars tangled, and with the field already bunched, three more drivers had nowhere to go, leaving a track blocked with bent metal. All drivers walked away from the incident unharmed.
“I’m bummed for all the guys,” Schofield said. “It looked like a pretty nasty wreck. I hate it because all the guys from the Northeast come here to sunny Florida, and we get a red flag and don’t get all of our laps. I just wanted to see that checkered flag, to be honest with you. I can’t wait to do it again tomorrow.”
Boden Two-fer: Fall-Line Motorsports ace Mark Boden was the only driver to take two wins on Saturday. He scored a win in Touring 1 driving the No. 47 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW E92 M3; then a second victory in Touring 2 piloting the No. 32 Fall-Line Motorsports Porsche 997.1 C2 vehicle.
To cap off the season’s opening day of racing, a fabulous participant party welcomed one and all for some BBQ and beverages.
Below are provisional race results from Saturday’s Hoosier SCCA Super Tour from Sebring International Raceway with Class: Name, Hometown, Region and Car.
– American Sedan: Tom Ellis; Sunrise, FL; Central Florida Region; Ford Mustang
– B-Spec: Joe Gersch; Conroe, TX; Houston Region; Toyota Yaris
– E Production: Kip Van Steenburg; New Smyrna Beach, FL; Central Florida Region; Porsche 944
– F Production: Ken Kannard; Sebring, FL; Atlanta Region; Mazda Miata
– H Production: Mike Ogren; Northville, MI; Detroit Region; Volkswagen Scirocco
– Formula 500: Russell Strate; Alden, NY; Western New York Region; Scorpion S1/Rotax
– Formula Atlantic: Kent Vaccaro; Plattsburgh, NY; Mohawk Hudson Region; Ligier F3/Honda
– Formula Continental: Robert Allaer; Grosse Pte. Woods, MI; Central Florida Region; Van Diemen/Ford
– Formula Enterprises 2: Paul Schneider; Charlotte, NC; Central Carolinas Region; Formula Enterprises/Mazda
– Formula F: Dylan Christie; Princeton, NJ; Northern New Jersey Region; Mygale SJ13/Honda
– Formula Vee: Stevan Davis; Danielsville, Ga; Atlanta Region; Vortech/Volkswagen
– Formula X: Harley MacDonald; Mulberry, FL; Florida Region; Mazda MZR
– GT-1: Daniel Urrutia Jr.; Coral Springs, FL; Florida Region; Chevrolet Corvette
– GT-2: Tim Kezman; Franksville, WI; Milwaukee Region; Porsche 911
– GT-3: Jeff Dernehl; Roswell, GA; Atlanta Region; Mazda RX-7
– GT-X: Dean Copeland; Stevensville, MD; Washington DC Region; Hyundai Veloster
– GT-Lite: Mark Ward; Palm Beach Shores, FL; Florida Region; Toyota Paseo
– Prototype 1: Todd Vanacore; Ormond Beach, FL; Central Florida Region; Elan DP02
– Prototype 2: Tray Ayres; Gainesville, GA; Atlanta Region; Van Dieman/Mazda
– Prototype X: Jacek Mucha; Highland Beach, FL; Florida Region; Oreca IMCP
– Spec Miata: Preston Pardus; New Smyrna Beach, FL; Central Florida Region; Mazda Miata
– Spec Racer Ford 3: Brian Schofield; Lakeland, FL; Central Florida Region; SRF3
– Super Touring Lite: Danny Steyn; Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Florida Region; Mazda MX-5
– Super Touring Under: Michael Flynn; Orlando, FL; Central Florida Region; BMW 330
– Touring 1: Mark Boden; Buffalo Grove, IL; Chicago Region; BMW M3
– Touring 2: Mark Boden; Buffalo Grove, IL; Chicago Region; Porsche 911
– Touring 3: Sellin Rolan; Miami, FL; Florida Region; Mazda MX-5
– Touring 4: Michael Borden; Greenfield, WI; Milwaukee Region; Mazda MX-5