Reflection on the previous year is a great litmus test, and I am really happy with some of the amazing things we accomplished last year.
For example, 2014 was the initial year we expanded our Championships event to both sides of the country. Any departure from the norm can be plagued with problems, but fortunately, the concept was well received by our membership, and attendance at both events was fantastic. This new model allows people to attend a prestigious event at different tracks, with fewer demands on towing distance and time away from work and family. Thanks to our great partners Toyo Tires, Mazda Motorsports, Hawk Performance, OG Racing, Royal Purple, Ford Racing and GoPro, NASA can offer substantial prize money — and many of our champions enjoyed more than $12,000 in cash awards. Western States Spec Miata Champion Kyle Loustaunau also won the Mazda Club Racer Shootout, which awarded him a $100,000 scholarship package to compete in the 2015 Battery Tender MX-5 Cup pro series. What’s more, five of this year’s eight finalists were NASA competitors, and this is the fourth year a NASA driver won this prestigious competition. The NASA Championship model continues to offer some of the best competition in road racing along with huge cash and contingency offerings for our drivers. In 2015 we will visit Virginia International Raceway and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the Championships.
The NASA Texas region also got a new sheriff when Will Faules was promoted and moved from California to assume Regional Director duties from Dave Balingit, who was doing a fantastic job running the Colorado and Texas regions. Dave and Will worked together in early 2014 to ramp things up and we closed the season with record entry numbers at the final event of the year! As many of you know, Will is also our National Event Manager, so his work doubled when we expanded the Championships, and we thank him for his willingness and commitment to challenge himself and please our members.
Our digital publication, Speed News, keeps gaining readership and our editorial and layout staff continues to impress me with such a tremendous product each month. In fact, I hope you have taken the time to read the 2014 Annual Racing Guide and Setup Manual http://www.speednewsmag.com/Dec2014.html, which contains all the best tech stories, and setup tips from 2014 put together in one magazine. We know some of you want a printed copy to take to the garage with you, and that is available to you through our printing service: http://www.magcloud.com/browse/magazine/525089
Finally, NASA literally pulled the cover off our top-secret project, and announced our new NP01 prototype class at the Performance Racing Industry Show in December. Is there any road racer who hasn’t dreamt of racing a prototype? NASA can make that a reality! This car is manufactured by Elan Motorsports Technologies. This is a state-of-the-art machine offering a sealed, 185-hp dry-sump engine, sequential six-speed transmission, effective downforce, a 1,600-lb. curb weight and a cockpit built to accommodate a larger-than-average person! The real story about this car is the $64,995 acquisition cost. Never before has this level of technology and performance been available at that price, and the car is so overbuilt the operational costs should be no more than a Spec Miata. I hope you are as excited as we are. If you are interested in the NPO1, you can learn more at http://nasaprototype.com. With 13 cars already sold, it is easy to imagine a group of 20 NASA prototypes competing at a Championship in the near future!
I hope you enjoy the first issue of 2015. Who knows, maybe you will be featured on the pages of Speed News in the coming year? Thank you for supporting NASA. I can assure you that many more great things are in store for the years ahead. Bigger and better is always our goal.