Jim VanderVliet is a driver and a racer at heart. His racing career started over 15 years ago when he attended a vintage road racing event at Lime Rock and won a two-day introduction to racing course.
Over the next 10 years, he raced with various organizations up and down the East Coast, honing his driving skills. In late 2010, after working 30 years in New York commercial real estate, he decided to pursue his passion for racing, took an early retirement and relocated to Florida. Over the next five years, he devoted all his time to driving and racing anything with four wheels and becoming more involved in the Florida motorsports scene.
In late 2015, he took over the NASA Florida Region and he has not looked back since.
Q: You are the newest NASA Regional Director. How have things been going for you in the Florida Region?
A: I could not be happier with the Region. Our driver base and event schedule continues to grow every year. Our biggest challenge is that Florida is a competitive region with a total of seven major driving organizations putting on events at four major tracks, 12 months during the year. We all compete for the same driver base in one way or another. As a result, we need to deliver the best motorsport events in Florida, for drivers and family alike. I believe we do this hands down.
We will continue to build on our 2017 season with more events, tracks, and new members next year. Like the famous movie quote says, “If you build it they will come.” The groundwork is now in place for NASA’s future here in Florida.
Q: I noticed Florida’s schedule has no races in July, August, or September? Why is that?
A: Basic answer, it is just too hot. Here in Florida, temperatures during the summer months will exceed 100 degrees. That combined with the humidity will produce a heat index often exceeding 110-115, not very comfortable for drivers and their cars. As a result, our “offseason” is the summer months, reversed from most other regions.
Q: The 2017 Eastern States Championships will take place at Sebring International Raceway. How are preparations going?
A: Preparations have been underway since earlier this year for the 2017 ESC, and I believe we are ahead of schedule. We have a great team working on the event, and I believe this year’s event will be the one to beat in the future. The Florida Region is proud to be hosting this event at the famous Sebring International Raceway for the first time ever.
Q: What has presented the biggest challenge in terms of setting up a National Championships race?
A: Personally, it is learning all the details and coordination needed to run a national event, which is a little more complicated than running a regional event. Furthermore, a lot more individuals are involved in the process, which requires getting everybody familiar with the facility. Besides that, ask me in a few months as we get closer to the event.
Q: I see you’ve got your Super Unlimited Trans Am Corvette for sale because you have a new car on the way. What are you getting?
A: Yes my Trans-Am Super Unlimited car is for sale. It is a monster of a car, which took first place in the Florida Region in SU 2014 and 2015. It’s fast, reliable, and fun, and a real racecar. I have always rotated my cars every few years, which allows me to drive a wide variety of vehicles. My previous racecar, which was one of my favorites, was a Riley Track Day Car. While I’m not saying what my new car is yet — let’s make it a surprise — I will tell you I am going back to midengine.