Vette and Viper the victors in Virginia for the Whelen US TimeTrial Championship.
Virginia may be for lovers, but during the North American Road Racing Association’s Whelen US TimeTrial Championship event, July 6-8, it was for lovers of high-performance sportscars as Corvette, Viper, Mitsubishi and Subaru battled it out to claim the fastest lap around Virginia International Raceway’s storied 3.27mile long road course.
Corvette and Viper split the victories, each taking four class wins over the two days of competition thanks to the efforts of Mark Nunnally (TT-3), Michael Perkins (TT-2) and Eric Campbell (TT-1), but it was the TT-Unlimited car of Kevin Ferguson and Viper who finished with the outright fastest time of the weekend with a 1:59.992.
Even before the first competition run of the weekend, disaster struck the Corvette camp. Expected to be one to watch in the TT-1 class, and a challenger for the outright fastest time, Troy Messer (Troy’s Transmissions Corvette Z06) was forced to sit on the sidelines for much of the weekend after breaking a torque-tube during the Friday test day.
Also suffering an early failure was fellow TT-1 competitor Richard Startare (Dezigns Construction Viper GTS), but not before setting the second fastest time in Saturday’s first session, with a 2:01:861.
Another to impress straight out of the box was TT-3′s Mark Nunnally (Industrial Depot Corvette Z06), who’s 2:03.052 lap was the third fastest time overall. It was also 2.5 seconds clear of his nearest rival Brian Bowers (Corvette Z06), who Nunnally used “as a rabbit” to chase on his hot lap.
No one, however, could match the pace of North Carolina’s Eric Campbell, who set a 2:01.708 in his Campbell Orthodontics sponsored Viper ACR. Ray Cocoziello (Bemco Fabrication Corvette C5) and Michael Perkins (Target A/C Corvette Z06) set the early pace in TT-Unlimited and TT-2.
While TT-3′s Daniel Raver (Subaru WRX STi) found a staggering four seconds in the second session to lock in third with a 2:10.955, the times of Bowers and Nunnally would hold to give them second and first in class.
The morning effort also rewarded Perkins, who won TT-2 on Saturday with a 2:07.467, while the second session set the rest of the podium- Mike Triggiano (Corvette) taking second from Tanya Mazyck (Archer Racing Viper SRT10).
As the temperature increased for session two, so did the the on-track tempo in TT-1, with Campbell finding another couple of tenths while Troy Dixon (Performance Driving Network Corvette Z06) and George MacDonald (Lolly Girl Viper Comp Coupe) both found the grass in turn one.
MacDonald had another off-track excursion in session three but as he attacked the course his times dropped and he finished with a 2:07.924, to claim third, while Startare’s morning time gave him second place in TT-1 from Campbell, who took the class win with Saturday’s fastest time of 2:01.449.
Cocoziello continued to be the fastest Unlimited driver until Kevin Ferguson (Craftlogic Software Viper ACR), who was also busy racing in the US GT Championship, showed his cards in the third session with a 2:02.682 to take the class win. Michael Greenberg finished third in TT-U.
With a day of driving under everyone’s belt, the ever-increasing ambient heat and track temperature played an even bigger role on Sunday. All but five competitors banked their fastest times of the day in the first session, with lap four proving to provide the ultimate pace for most.
Eric Campbell again started the day on top, with a 2:00.261, to be fastest in the TT-1 class and take the win from Startare, who played bridesmaid for the second day in a row with a 2:02.812.
Repeating Saturday’s podium MacDonald finished third fastest, impressively finding over three seconds overnight to finish the weekend with a 2:04.236, while Mansen Way again finished fourth in class.
TT-3 was also decided after the first run of the day. Mark Nunnally (2:03.403) made it four wins from four starts in the Whelen US TimeTrial Championship, again blitzing Bowers who finished with a 2:06.154. While he couldn’t quite match his Saturday best, Daniel Raver locked in third in his Subaru WRX STi.
The TT-2 podium also appeared it would be a carbon copy of Saturday. The Corvettes of Perkins and Triggiano first and second fastest in the morning run, with Tanya Mazyck’s Viper third quickest.
However, after fighting persistent issues all weekend, Michael Oromaner summonsed a 2:12:373 lap out of his overheating Mitsubishi Evolution X in the second run to take the final step of the podium away from Mazyck.
Only in the no-holds-barred Unlimited class did the times continue to drop for the third and final run of the day. Setting the class benchmark in the morning session, Cocoziello continued to improve and finished the day with a 2:02.384. While it was three tenths faster than Ferguson’s Saturday best, it still wouldn’t be enough.
Kevin Ferguson used the final run of the day to full effect, resetting the standard Unlimited class, and the entire field, finishing with the weekend’s only sub two minute lap, a 1:59.992, to take the win and the outright fastest time. Greenberg completed the TT-U podium.
Open to drivers of all high-performance sportscars, the Whelen US TimeTrial Championship will continue next month in New York at the exclusive Monticello Motor Club, 24-26. The event, which for many may be their only opportunity to drive at the private motorsports country club, will also feature two national racing series, the US GT Championship and the SRT Viper Cup. Entries for all three series are still open. Visit NARRAonline.com to register.
Get up to date with all the action from the US GT and Whelen US TT championships by watching the highlights on GoRacingTV.com
(Inde Arizona, Road Atlanta, Road America and New Jersey).