Traditionally, destination tracks like Watkins Glen and Lime Rock in the Northeast attract more drivers, and we often see higher participation. In the case of Lime Rock Park, it is also the rare unmuffled race format that NASA Northeast secured years ago along with very few professional race events a year.
German Touring Series has historically been a strong class in NASA Northeast, maintaining an active group of seasoned drivers and welcoming newcomers regularly. After a year and a half disruption caused by the pandemic in the 2020-‘21 seasons, GTS2 emerged to be the most active and the most populated in the region, with GTS3 close behind.
The open-rule format of the GTS allows drivers to use different strategies in the development and the preparation of the cars, some choosing higher power with higher weight, and others going for less power and less weight. There is also a great variety of aero and suspension setup approaches to maximize performance. All of it produces exciting, intense, and close racing.
After the first race at Watkins Glen in the beginning of the season, a few cars required repairs, which could not be completed in time for the next two rounds that followed in the schedule. By the time of the return to the famous Lime Rock Park, most were back and ready to race hard!
The GTS2 field had 14 drivers, though James Hole and Jose Suero were still missing. After missing few events with us, and a run in a pro event with the GenRacer team, Michael Sousa returned to action in his E36 M3 as well as Paul Weismann, who switched to an E46 chassis. We also had the privilege of welcoming three Spec Boxsters piloted by Lou Yorio, Kristian Taylor and Michael Iapaluccio.
The weekend for GTS2 started off competitive in the first practice session of the weekend, with Nick DeRosa setting a 57.9-second lap, which would foreshadow what would surely to become a dominant weekend for DeRosa. Friday’s race start was hectic, with the top eight cars with in 1 second of each other racing nose to tail for the first five minutes. Unfortunately, an incident involving Mike Sousa, Sam Hole and Brian Goodman, some of our fastest competitors, on lap three paused the race for cleanup.
Track workers sorted out the incident and had us back out quickly. The race finished with DeRosa in first, rookie Dylan Beckwith in second and Frank Millan with a pass for third two laps from the end over Paul Weissman.
On Saturday, although down by three competitors, there was no shortage of competition. After qualifying, the top five in grid were only split by .9 seconds. We all knew this was going to be a good race. Somehow the race gods blessed us with a full green-flag race under perfect weather. DeRosa once again showed his dominance with an almost green-to-checkers lead. But there was no lack of excitement behind him as Millan and Beckwith battled nose to tail for second position for nearly 15 minutes. The battle came to end after going into Big Bend two-wide and Millan losing traction in the marbles, ending up with him in the grass and leaving Beckwith to drive away to the second step of the podium. The whole GTS2 class was impressed with Beckwith’s ability and awareness. It was clear his experience in karts translates well, and we hope he becomes a regular in the series.
In GTS3 we finally saw Luiz Serva back for the first time this season, attempting to beat his own record at Lime Rock Park, and the long-awaited return of Leo Zick. The highly anticipated duel between Curt Wickett and Serva didn’t materialize since Wickett’s car broke during the first qualifying session. An expected win for Serva in a race didn’t materialize either. The car misfired on the pace lap. Zick took charge of the pace from start to finish showing 57.966 on his best lap. Serva’s car was fixed for the Saturday race and he finished first in class as expected, with a blistering 55.905, but still a little short of beating his own track record. Zick finished second, followed by Vasil Vykhopen in third.
GTS4 had three drivers, with Jack Haberman at the front in race one returning to action in GTS after a long time in his beautiful orange wide-body LS-powered E46 M3. Practicing for an upcoming endurance race, Haberman chose to stay on 200 treadwear tires, and still won with 57.823, followed by Michael Gershanok with 59.04. On Saturday, Haberman didn’t run, leaving it to Gershanok and David Coutu in his Cayman to sort things out. Gershanok finished on top with 58.3. Longtime supporter of GTS, VAC Motorsports built and maintains cars for Gershanbok and Haberman in GTS4.