NARRA competitors have a choice of simply racing for a weekend (two rounds), or setting their sights on the points championship. This requires participation in three or more weekends, plus the finals at Watkins Glen.
Entry fees of $795 for two rounds of US GT or $445 for two rounds of US TimeTrial make both series serious bangs for the buck. "Our weekends are about the local hot-shoes coming and competing against some of the fastest cars and best drivers in the country. It's about stepping up and testing yourself on a true national level, for a lower cost than other national events," NARRA President Antonelli says.
First and Second Place round winners in all classes are awarded Hoosier racing tires, as well as gift certificates from Cool Shirt and Moton Suspension. Sunday First and Second Place class finishers also receive Sunoco gas cards.
TT and GT class champions each receive a Teamtech six-point racing harness, a Cool Shirt "club" cooling system, a GoPro HD Hero2 camera, and a Moton gift certificate.
01 Troy Messer dominated...
01 Troy Messer dominated Rounds 1 and 2 of the TT-1 class at Inde Motorsports Ranch, with help from son (and coach) TJ Messer. Troy, driving his LS7-powered '09 Corvette, won his class both days and set the outright Whelen USTTC track-lap record at Inde.
02 Brent Crosser's USGTC...
02 Brent Crosser's USGTC racer started life as a '85 Corvette. A Doug Rippie--built LS7 displacing 440 cubic inches now powers it.
03 Ron Farmer made the switch...
03 Ron Farmer made the switch to NARRA after running in the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) for a number of years. So far he's dominated the GT-3 class with his '01 Z06, winning three out of four rounds.
Since 2011, two new racing series have been earning their reputations at motorsports parks across America--the US GT Championship (USGTC) and the Whelen US TimeTrial Championship (USTTC). Governed by the North American Road Racing Association, or NARRA for short, these events are calling all high-performance high-horsepower Corvettes to join in on the fun.
If you're not familiar with NARRA, don't be alarmed. It was formed just three years ago, when members of the Viper Days racing series saw the opportunity to expand their ranks while simultaneously filling a void left by the demise of a similar, Corvette-specific series. They bought the Viper Days organization, and NARRA was born.
Now Corvettes constitute the fastest- growing segment of NARRA's two series, thanks in part to the efforts of both grassroots-level competitors and some of the biggest names in Corvette professional road racing. The latter include Whelen Engineering/Marsh Racing, as well as popular Corvette tuners Callaway, SpeedSouth (assisted by LG Motorsports), MTI Racing, and Harchelroad Motors.
"Because of the high-level competition, the press exposure, the simple rules, and the tracks [we run], our events attract the best time-attack drivers, NASA and SCCA regional racers, as well as an ever-expanding group of guys who follow the entire championship," NARRA President Tom Antonelli says. "We have a mix of amateurs as well as pro drivers who have come across from World Challenge and Grand-Am."
04 The Whelen U.S. TimeTrial...
04 The Whelen U.S. TimeTrial Championship gives Corvette racers the opportunity to push their cars to the limit. Gary Felton's '08 Z06 scored two podium finishes in the series' first weekend at Inde--a Second in Round 1, and a Third in Round 2.
05 The formidable red-and-white...
05 The formidable red-and-white Whelen Engineering/Marsh Racing Corvettes are out for the kill. Sonny Whelen (in the No. 31 C6 with a C5 chassis) took the Round 4 GT-Unlimited class win at Road Atlanta.
06 Reese Cox's MTI Racing...
06 Reese Cox's MTI Racing has been a strong NARRA supporter since the USGTC's inaugural race last year. This year it skipped NASA's Roebling Road event to field half a dozen C5s and C6s at Road Atlanta.
Corvette owners who don't have any track time behind them are invited, too. NARRA puts on a U.S. Performance Driver Education program (USPDE), which is designed for those with street Vettes looking for their first track experience. Personalized instruction from more-experienced drivers helps them build the skills they need to get started, and prepares them for the advanced solo sessions, time trials, and GT-racing competition. Many members, including Antonelli and Marsh Racing's Sonny Whelen, began their careers doing USPDE track days with NARRA before progressing up through the ranks.
"NARRA has become known as a Corvette playground," Antonelli says. "It's a fight between the best of American muscle, not to mention European exotics and turbocharged imports."
That fight has played out in four rounds so far in the 2012 season, two at Inde Motorsports Ranch in Willcox, Arizona, and two at Road Atlanta. Eleven more rounds at six motorsports facilities are yet to come (as of press time): Road America (Wisconsin), New Jersey Motorsports Park, Virginia International Raceway, Monticello (New York) Motor Club, Texas World Speedway, and Watkins Glen (New York) International.
This month, we'll take a look at some of the Corvettes that have competed in the series' first four rounds. In a future issue, we'll bring you a midseason update, followed by a recap of championship weekend later this year. In the meantime, be sure to check out our website, www.vetteweb.com, where you'll find race results and track videos from throughout the 2012 season.
07 Tom and David Leonard...
07 Tom and David Leonard of SpeedSouth have the support of LG Motorsports for 2012. That's David driving the No. 9 '07 Z06 and teammate Rob Leopard driving the No. 10 '04 Z06. Photo by Colour Tech South Motorsport Photography
08 NARRA's video-production...
08 NARRA's video-production man, Mark Nunnally, builds and preps competition Vettes. His '01 Z06 dominated the TT-3 class at Road Atlanta, winning Rounds 3 and 4. Photo by Colour Tech South Motorsport Photography
09 Texan Troy Dixon drove...
09 Texan Troy Dixon drove the fastest Corvette in TT-1 class for Round 3 in Atlanta, finishing Third in class. Photo by Colour Tech South Motorsport Photography
Points are awarded for each round, but the class championships are determined based on a driver's top three event weekends, or top six races, and the final race at Watkins Glen.
As for the rules, they're simple:
In the spirit of GT sports cars, the vehicle must be a four-wheel, closed-fender "door" car and meet basic safety requirements. (USGTC cars require a full 'cage.)
- The USGTC and USTTC competitions run four classes:
- GT-U/TT-U = no minimum weight/unlimited horsepower
- GT-1/ TT-1 = 6.25:1 or greater weight/wheel horsepower
- GT-2/ TT-2 = 7.50:1 or greater weight/wheel horsepower
- GT-3/ TT-3 = 8.75:1 or greater weight/wheel horsepower
Example: A C6 Z06 weighing 3,300 pounds with driver, divided by 460 rear-wheel horsepower, equals 7.17:1 and is classified GT-1 and TT-1. (Note: Competitors are allowed to run in a faster class.)
10 MTI Racing's Jeff Price's...
10 MTI Racing's Jeff Price's '06 Z06 had a great start to the year at Road Atlanta. It finished Second in the TT-Unlimited class on Saturday and took the class win on Sunday. Photo by Colour Tech South Motorsport Photography
11 AR Hoshmandy's '07 Z06...
11 AR Hoshmandy's '07 Z06 secured Fourth place in the GT-Unlimited class and Fourth overall in Round 3.
12 NARRA's U.S. Performance...
12 NARRA's U.S. Performance Driver Education (USPDE) program lets drivers like Alejandro Illera (shown here in the black Z06) track their cars on the same weekends as its two national championships. Beginners are placed with experienced instructors, many of whom are professional race car drivers. Advanced drivers run solo, and passing is permitted in both groups. Photo by Colour Tech South Motorsport Photography
13 Corvette drivers took all three Round 4 USGTC GT-3 podium finishes at Road Atlanta. From left are Ron Farmer/USLED (Second Place), Will Stukas/MTI Racing (First Place), and Rob Leopard/SpeedSouth (Third Place).