Of all the German Touring Series classes at the 2015 Eastern States Championships, GTS3 drew the largest field. It also produced one of the more entertaining races of the weekend.
Mixed in with the GTS4 field at the start, the GTS3 field bolted from the gates with 2014 GTS3 Champion Edgar Cabrera on pole, followed by Mid-Atlantic series leader Eric Wong in second and Hugh Stewart in third. Lap times among the top three were within .100 seconds of one another.
When the green flag waved, the field went barreling into Turn 1. GTS4 Brian Ward driver spun when he got into the marbles on the outside. With no way out, Cabrera made contact with Ward. The collision was so hard that it knocked Cabera’s door loose. How loose was it? So loose that it fell off just before the Uphill Esses on lap one.
The race settled down a bit at that point as racers began attending to the task of racing. Frank Ferrara, who had started from fifth position, worked his way up to third and held it till the end.
“It was a tough race,” Ferrara said. “These guys are amazing. I’m very happy right now. I’d like to thank Bavarian Specialties who built the car, Nitron Racing Shocks and Phil’s Tire Service, everyone from NASA Northeast and my buddy Tim Doohan for crewing for me.”
That left Cabrera and Stewart to battle for the top spot. Cabrera was racing without a door. Great for driver cooling. Bad for aerodynamics. On top of that, Cabrera’s engine was misbehaving. In the end, he finished second.
“After the contact, the door was just hanging off and right before the uphill Esses it just flew off,” Cabrera said. “My car was good until about three quarters of the way through the race. It lost power. It started sputtering, so I was short-shifting to make it to the end, and I lost the top spot.”
Stewart had taken the lead and held it till the end, but he was dealing with car troubles of his own.
“It was very interesting. Lots of crazy things,” Stewart said. “I ran into somebody’s door. I went off the track twice, but I managed to still pull it out, battling water temps of 240 degrees, so I’d slow it down, wait till it cooled off, went hard again, got back in the lead, and it got back up to 240 and I just tried to baby it home.”