We kicked off the NASA Arizona Super Touring 2021 season at Arizona Motorsports Park in January, and it was interesting to say the least. Some unusually warm weather led to some great racing conditions after a close call with rain the day before.
Arizona Motorsports Park, known as “Arizona’s Safest Road Course,” is a 2.26-mile, 16-turn reversible track with a few passing zones and one big challenge: a sound restriction that forces the NASA crew to set up a single file of cones on one section of the track to ensure that competitors remain compliant with the local sound ordinance.
Saturday the track was run in the clockwise configuration, and the Super Touring competitors kicked off the season with gusto: In a mixed-class race with 944 Spec and Spec Miata, pole position went to Ken Orgeron in his No. 199 BMW M3, followed by Erik Davis in the No. 6 M3 and Chris Wynne in the No. 50 Mustang. Tage Evanson rounded out the Super Touring group in his No. 17 Honda Civic having missed qualifying.
As the race kicked off, Orgeron and Davis immediately pitched a closely matched battle while Wynne threw his Mustang off track in the first lap — a continuing tradition. Evanson quickly moved up through the pack eventually taking the lead in a narrow margin of victory, just 0.303 seconds.
The ST3 class featured the close battle of the BMWs as Ken Orgeron took first place in class with Erik Davis less than a second later across the line. Elliot Freireich in the No. 15 Spec Ford Racer rounded out the podium in ST3. ST4 was won by Ricky Johnson in his No. 00 Mini Cooper whose fast lap pace was faster than half of the ST3 field!
Sunday’s race featured a slightly smaller field, with Davis taking the honors on pole position with a blistering 1:42.758, followed by Ken Orgeron with a 1:44.081. Brian Turner in his No. 524 Porsche 911 and Chris Wynne rounded out the second row.
The race start featured some clean, close racing, but by the end of the second lap a suspension failure on Davis’ BMW took him out of the lead and ended his race early – though setting an ST3 track record in the process of 1:42.308! Ken Orgeron was able to cruise to victory, winning the race overall and in class. Brian Turner turned in a second-place finish after a long battle out of class with Wynne and the ST3 podium was rounded out with Freireich again. The race ended with a red flag early due to several cars being disabled after incidents in other classes that required safety workers to be on the ground.