In its second full season of racing, the NASA Prototype class crowned its latest crop of champions across three series in the United States.
In the Pacific Series, Jeremy Croiset took the points championship by scoring two wins, one at Willow Springs International Raceway and one at Sonoma Raceway late in the season. Croiset also had second-place finishes at Willow Springs, two at Circuit of the Americas and one at Sonoma.
“This season has been probably one of my favorites since I began racing more than a decade ago,” said Croiset. “The level of competition in NASA Prototype and the parity among the cars makes winning races, let alone championships, all the more satisfying. I can’t wait for 2018.”
In the North Atlantic Series, Chuck Liniger put consistency to good use and took the points championship despite a hard charge by fellow Rocky Mountain Region racer Dave Balingit and his successes in the early season. A crash at Mid-Ohio knocked Balingit out for a couple of races, which gave Liniger the advantage he needed. With a win at Pocono International Raceway and second-place finishes at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, two at Autobahn Country Club and two at the National Championships at Sebring International Raceway, Liniger topped Balingit by more than 300 points to take the championship. Liniger also finished third in the South Atlantic Series championship.
“Winning the North Atlantic NP01 Championship was the highlight of our year! To be able to race at so many tracks around the country that we had never been to before was just amazing. Racing in so many different NASA regions allowed us to meet the wonderful people of NASA everywhere,” Liniger said via email. “As for 2018, I will be defending my 2017 Championship, this time in the Pacific Division running the full schedule. I will also be racing some of the Atlantic Division races, such as NCM in Kentucky, Barber and Road Atlanta. It will be a different year, because my crew chief moved back to New Zealand, so in a way I am starting over. I will have all new colors on my NP01 racecar as I will be sponsored by my own business. I am very excited for what 2018 has in store!”
In the South Atlantic Series, Tom Hahn and Jason Aranha in the Hahn Aerosport entry dominated the division, with nine wins in 12 races. Based in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Team HahnAerosport finished more than 500 points ahead of second-place finisher David Chow.
“It feels very rewarding to have won the South Atlantic championship. I’m 65 and I’ve been racing something my whole life, starting with karts at 9. I have to say that building and racing the NP01 tops it all,” Hahn said via email. “Stepping into a purpose-built race car designed by Élan with their depth, background and experience in racing is leaps and bounds ahead of anything I have ever experienced. The operating cost of the NP01 is crazy cheap for a racecar. I raced all season on two sets of tires and the original set of brakes. What racecar can you do that with, especially one that turns 2:21 at Sebring? I will be campaigning the NP01 again for 2018, and I can’t wait to get back out there with the other NP01 owners and battle it out.”