The shortened NASA Northeast 2020 season ended Nov. 6-8 at New Jersey Motorsports Park’s Lightning course. Two drivers, Peter McIntosh, in Spec Miata, and Eric Magnussen in GTS3, managed to pull off perfect seasons amid the uncertainty and changing schedule of 2020.
Peter McIntosh has been racing with NASA for 10 years, starting in ST2 before running in Spec Miata.
“I scored my first win at NJMP Lightning in 2010. It was cool to close out the season going 10 for 10 in 2020 while scoring my 50th NASA win in my career,” McIntosh said. “I have had so much fun and made so many lifelong friends over the years. Sometimes it takes strange circumstances to slow us down enough to see all the great things that we have been flying right by. I can’t thank the NASA NE family (staff and competitors) enough for working so hard to keep us racing during uncertain times!”
While the pressure of completing a perfect season was constant, McIntosh also faced a field of 12 racers, with five of them new crossovers from another sanctioning body. McIntosh was quick to acknowledge the field.
“From our normal group of talented drivers, to some fast new faces, none of the other drivers allowed me to cruise to any easy wins,” he said. “There was some great racing this season, and I am glad I was able to bump and battle with some talented drivers throughout 2020.”
Eric Magnussen is no new face to NASA racing, having earned a second place GTS3 podium at the 2019 NASA Championships at Mid-Ohio as well as a 2019 GTS3 regional championship. Magnussen progressed through the NASA HPDE ladder system starting in 2012, made the jump to racing in 2017 and there has been no stopping him since. Magnussen has had first-place wins in all 16 races he entered in 2019 and 2020. With his Main Line Motorsports BMW showing some fatigue, Eric tips his hat to fellow competitors.
“NASA Northeast GTS3 has made huge gains in the last few years, specifically from Luiz Serva, Aaron Turek, and myself, becoming one of the fastest classes on track,” Magnussen said. “This last event at Lightning with Luiz coming out of retirement with a freshened up car was tough! A lot of people know that my drivetrain has been suffering from normal old age, down on compression and low on power. But with big ST2 plans for next year, it didn’t make financial sense to rebuild my engine, only to focus on suspension setup and driving to stay ahead. The chassis tuning paid off, and with a strong lead in GTS3 lap times, I was also able to focus on TTU.”
His focus surely paid off. Magnussen secured the 2020 Northeast TTU Championship as well as the 2020 Northeast GTS3 title. Magnussen is heading off to ST2 for the 2021 season and with the NASA Northeast ST2 field growing steadily, he knows it will be no easy change.
“Next year brings new challenges with some of the best drivers in the country competing in NASA Northeast ST2,” he said. “A perfect season is less likely because we have a ton of development to do with the class change, but we’ll keep pushing to take as many checkered flags as we can!”
Congratulations to both these talented drivers! We can’t wait to see what 2021 brings.