17 Mar, 2017

Winter Series – fun in the sun!

Kicera, Leverone and Mills lined up at NOLA.














Lots to catch you up on, so let’s get to it!

Homestead-Miami Speedway, SCCA Major, Jan. 5-8. Whit Gregg, Joe Schubert, and Hugh McHaffie all drove. We welcomed Tyler Kicera to the team, too; he ran the 89 rental in SM. Tyler’s one of the nation’s fastest Miata pilots, and we’re always looking for ways to make our cars faster. He’s already proved invaluable! Company president Nick Leverone finished first Saturday and second Sunday in STL. Hugh took 3rd Sunday, and Whit enjoyed a double-dip weekend. In SM, Tyler finished 10th Saturday and 9th Sunday, with Nick 11th and 15th.

Sebring, SCCA Majors/Hoosier Super Tour, Jan. 12-15. In STL, Leverone finished 2nd Sat by .015 of a second to our friend Danny Steyn, then won Sunday. Craig McHaffie finished 4th both days, while Tim Estes was 5th in his RX-7. Matt Koskinen, running the T3 class in his 2016 Mazda Global Cup car, had some teething problems: a blown transmission in testing, a battery malfunction that kept him out of race 1, and a broken motor mount that ended his weekend. In SM, Nick finished 11th and 15th. Sunday was a rough race – it seemed Leverone got hit by everyone, and we have no idea how he got back to 15th! Amy Mills was 33rd and 39th in the stacked field. Whit was 45th both days, Craig 43rd and 35th, and Joe 66th and 57th.

Sebring, SCCA Cabin Fever Regional, Feb. 11-12. Craig McHaffie overcame some problems to win Sunday’s STL race – well done! Amy Mills finished 6th and 3rd; renter David Quinlan took 8th and 6th; and Whit, Hugh, and new renter Matt Williamson (welcome!) all had strong finishes battling each other – on Sunday, Whit took 9th, Hugh 10th, and Matt 11th. Good intramural stuff! In SM, Amy finished 4th and 3rd, David snared a top-10, Whit took 11th and 10th, Hugh had a 12th and a DNS, and Matt came in 19th and 16th. Spec Miata was 46 cars deep – amazing for a regional!

NOLA Motorsports Park, SCCA Majors/Hoosier Super Tour, March 3-5. As we blogged recently, Leverone took both STL races, setting a track record, while Craig came in 3rd and 2nd. Once again, Whit, Joe, and Hugh went at it hammer and tongs. In SM, Tyler Kicera qualified 3rd on Saturday; he wound up in the top 10.  Amy, Whit, Joe, and Hugh finished well and had fun races. Everyone enjoyed the track. In Sunday’s race, Mills had a great qualifier but got spun early. Tyler was 5th and Leverone 11th.

Next up? Texas, for a big weekend at Circuit of the Americas. Then spring kicks in and we’re off to New Jersey Motorsports Park for an SCCA driving school, followed by an SCCA Majors events at VIR April 13th-16th and the NJMP 12-hour the following weekend.

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13 Mar, 2017

It’s good to get noticed

Flatout Motorsports was launched in 1992 (wow, it feels weird to write that!). In our early years we waxed and waned, but we’ve been a constant presence on the U.S. roadracing scene since 2001, when we campaigned our first RX-7 in SCCA’s ITS class.

Lately, it seems, our cars and drivers have been turning up on a lot of podiums, at tracks from sea to shining sea. One gratifying result: the racing world is focusing some attention on li’l old us.

The video presented here is Exhibit A – company president Nick Leverone being interviewed by the SCCA after his recent Super Tour wins (avec STU track record) at NOLA Motorsports Park. And you can see Exhibit B here, as Nick makes the Mazda Motorsports writeup of the same event.

Speaking of writeups: We owe you one! We’ll check in later this week with full results of our Winter Series exploits.

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6 Mar, 2017

Leverone, McHaffie tear it up at NOLA!

Gang’s all here! Between Leverone’s Flatout Miata (left – you can rent it!) and McHaffie’s MX-5, we were all over the podium.

It was our first-ever trip to NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana, and we liked it. A lot! At the recent Hoosier Super Tour weekend, company prez Nick Leverone won both STL races, setting a track record in the process. Hotshoe Craig McHaffie wasn’t far behind in the family MX-5, snagging a pair of podiums.

Everybody had high praise for the track, including Amy Mills (coming off a twin-podium weekend of her own at Sebring!), Whitfield Gregg, and Hugh McHaffie. Huge props to the crew as our own March Madness rolls on – we’ve got races at VIR, Road Atlanta, and Circuit of the Americas in succession!

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3 Feb, 2017

Guest post: This is not exactly a Miata

NOTE: JT Coupal is a talented young racer who, we’re proud to say, got his first race-car (as opposed to kart) starts in Flatout Motorsports cars. While he continues to drive his Flatout-built Spec Miata, JT recently got to try something very different indeed: A Ginetta G57 at the Dubai 24 Hour in the United Arab Emirates. What follows is an edited version of JD’s Facebook post reflecting on the experience.

When a Spec Miata starts up, you’re not intimidated. Stimulated, yes, because it is a race car and it makes a satisfying little crackle that tells you it wants to go fast, but four-cylinder engines are never intimidating. Not so in the case of the 6.2L V8 that hides deep within a Ginetta G57. When that starts up, it sounds a bit like what I imagine a deep space electric storm would. Which is intimidating.

So you’ve heard the G57 start, and now you’re beginning to wonder just how you’re going to drive it. You then get into it, grip the butterfly steering wheel, and take a look around. You see lots of switches and buttons, an accelerator that’s over in the passenger side footwell, and a small little window to the outside world through which you’re meant to see where you’re going. Oh, and no easy way to see where you’ve been. You have absolutely no idea how you’re supposed to go about driving this thing with any sort of pace.

You’re wheeled out onto the pit lane and told to start the 6.2-liter powerplant (I use the word because it could probably power the Chevrolet factory it was built in for a few days). It bursts into life and the overwhelming feeling that you’re not going to be able to handle the thing returns. Still, you’ve been strapped in like any other race car and now you’re being waved on down the pit lane. That’s a least a few seconds of 40 km/h driving to get accustomed to it. You begin to bleed away the clutch and nearly stall about eight times on the way to the giddy heights of 40. It becomes immediately clear that the G57 doesn’t like going slowly. It sputters and lurches, throwing you side to side and back to front. You pass the end of the pit lane, and decide to get it over with and put your foot down.
Second gear is required in less than a second, and third another second or two after. Turn 1 is coming and you’re on track. Cold tires, you remind yourself. The corners go slowly, you get to downshift once or twice with the carbon paddles. If a Saturn V rocket needed to downshift at any point, I imagine this is how it would do it. Then the back straight beckons. May as well see how fast it goes. Very, is the G57’s response. The industrial-sounding yet lightning-quick gear changes flash by with no discernible hesitation on the car’s part, pushing you well past the fastest you’ve ever been in a car before. Quicker than you’d thought possible, some braking is required. You brake conservatively well before the 100m marker, and you’re basically stopped before the turn in. Navigating the corner is simple enough, and then you accelerate out, fighting some fantastically controllable power oversteer.


Another tight corner follows, before you start rapidly approaching the supposedly flat-out left sweeper. You’ve been told it’s flat out, so you go for it. Easy. Why were you ever concerned, you begin to think. You could have easily ridden around the outside of that corner at full-speed, thanks to the incredible downforce. Your first lap in a prototype hasn’t resulted in a crash, and in fact you’ve gained considerable confidence. This might just be doable, you think.


By the end of your first session, you’ve befriended the Ginetta. There’s an understanding between you and it, one whose goal is the fastest lap time, the highest speeds. You’re confident hanging the tail out on corner exit, confident pushing the braking zone just a little deeper each lap. The grip means you’re not scared to carry more speed, and the responsiveness means you’re not worried to overdo it slightly with power application. This is the magic of the G57. Unlike some of the more primitive racing cars, the Ginetta wants you to feel at home. After all, that’s the best way to win races.
This is how my first day driving a prototype went. I had only driven a 1999 Mazda Miata before then, and had never been more anxious to face a challenge. I suspect all those around me and the team were nervous to have put an inexperienced 16-year-old in their prototype, too. If I had been driving anything other than a G57, it’s likely that day would have not gone nearly as well. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the Ginetta wants you to feel comfortable. It actively helps you to drive, to feel like you can get the best out of what is one of the fastest cars out there. If you think you can’t handle driving it, think again. The satisfaction you’ll get from conquering the G57 is worth the initial nerves, and you’ll likely find yourself massively hooked.

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18 Jan, 2017

Leverone takes STL win at Sebring!

Our Winter Series is in full swing, and soon we’ll have a big batch of results to report. But we wanted to congratulate company prez Nick Leverone on a terrific STL win at an SCCA Regional at Sebring on January 15. Nick battled it out with hotshoe, Friend of Flatout, and all-around good guy Danny Steyn.

It’s not too late to get in on some of this great racing, you know.  Check out our schedule, and contact us if you want to come down south to beat those winter blues!

To see just how tight this racing is, watch Steyn’s in-car video from Saturday’s race, in which he edged Nick and broke his own track record. Good stuff!











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20 Dec, 2016

Happy Holidays from Flatout Motorsports!

From all of us to all of you, sincere wishes for a joyful holiday season and a Happy New Year. See you at the track in 2017! (The elves, L to R: Drew, Adam, Dave, Evan, Steve, Seamus, Nick, Jody, Andy)

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28 Nov, 2016

Sign up for our Winter Series!

Come on, rent a Miata and test your mettle in Road Atlanta's esses. You know you want to!

Come on, rent a Miata and test your mettle in Road Atlanta’s esses. You know you want to!

Miami in January? Sebring in February? How about New Orleans or Austin in March?

Whether you want us to bring your car down for an Arrive & Drive experience or simply fly in and rent one of our racers, check out our schedule for a look at the 2017 Winter Series!


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27 Oct, 2016

Runoffs, track records, championships and more!

Eric Thompson (right) after winning one of two Hard Charger Awards at the 2016 SCCA Runoffs in his wild Celica!

Eric Thompson (right) after winning one of two Hard Charger Awards at the 2016 SCCA Runoffs in his wild Celica!

We’ve got much to catch you up on, culminating with the 2016 SCCA Runoffs, so let’s get to it!

Team Flatout visited New Jersey Motorsports Park August 12-14 to run the big Summer Thunder weekend, which featured Pro IT racing. Amy Mills, Whit Gregg, Dave Kuchrawy, JT Coupal, Stephen Pope, and company prez Nick Leverone all raced. JT won the Spec Miata races, while Nick, driving our number 90 Miata, punched above his weight in ITS—and won! A special shout-out to Pope, who’s having an outstanding season it the ITA class!

Then it was up to Lime Rock, where August 25 saw a Drivers Club SM race. Kuchrawy, JT, and Joe Schubert all acquitted themselves well. We hung around the Rock all weekend for an SCCA Regional race, supporting a bunch of quick drivers. In addition to JT, Joe, and Stephen Pope, Josh Kaidanow and Wendy Cappola piloted Flatout Miatas, while Eric Thompson ran our Honda S2000 in STU. It was great to see Hugh McHaffie and Craig McHaffie, too! At this event, we got to serve dinner to the true heroes of motorsports: the volunteer workers! A blast was had by all.

September 9-11 found us back in the Bay State at Palmer Motorsports Park. JT (who wrapped up the Pro IT SM class season championship!), Amy, Whit, Dave, Joe, Wendy, Tom Paolino, and Doug Fambrough all made the scene, keeping the crew hopping!

The following week, Watkins Glen was our home for another SCCA race, the Fun One. Usual suspects Pope, JT, and Joe were all fast, as was Tom Mariano. In just one of many highlights, Leverone set three track records (short and long course in STL, short course in Spec Miata) in company cars. Remember, you can rent these Miatas anytime!

Next up was the Big Dance: SCCA Runoffs, held this year at Mid-Ohio. Leverone qualified 14th in Doug Fisher’s gorgeous Spec Miata. He was punted on lap one but battled back from dead last to midpack. Nick also ran Jon Farbman’s rotary-powered, Flatout-built Miata to a fourth-place (and top Mazda) finish in STL. The McHaffies’ MX-5 was blindingly fast, but a Flatout mistake cost them a chance to compete, which we regret like hell. Meanwhile, Eric Thompson was overcoming teething pains in his wild All-Trac Celica. He earned Hard Charger Awards in both STU (driving from last to seventh) and STL (last to 12th). Way to go Eric!

NASA Nationals were taking place at the Glen the same weekend as the Runoffs. Amy and Whit decided to compete there, but things didn’t work out well: Amy got whacked hard on the first lap, then sat dead in the water while the field went screaming past at race pace the next lap. She was not amused.

Finally, we visited Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in early October. JT Coupal won races and wrapped up still more points crowns. Tony and Kent Vaccaro rented, and it was great to see them, as well as Wendy, Whit, Dave K, Joe Schubert, Doug Fisher, and Matt Koskinen, who ran his sweet 2016 Global Cup MX-5 in both STL and T3. We also welcomed some terrific new clients to the Flatout Family: Ryan Duke raced number 00 all weekend, while Ray Kobs ran the test day!

JT Coupal hustles his Flatout Motorsports Miata at Thompson.

JT Coupal hustles his Flatout Motorsports Miata at Thompson.

No writeup is complete without a hat-tip to our amazing employees and crew. Whether they’re at the track or the shop, they work tirelessly to make all the good stuff happen. Andrew Burke, Evan Consolazio, Adam Desrosiers, Seamus Erskine, Dave Goulet, Jody Leverone, Rob Newton– take a well deserved bow!

Whew. That’ll have to do for now, though we’re just back from an enduro at VIR (spoiler alert: podium!) and we’re busy prepping for our Winter Series.


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10 Oct, 2016

Plan now for our Winter Series!

The choice is yours.

The choice is yours.


The air is crisp, the leaves are beautiful … and if you’re from the northeast, you know what that means.

Months of shoveling, power outages, and wistful bench-racing.

Why not give yourself something to look forward to by scheduling a race weekend or two down south? Starting with the traditional Thanksgiving Weekend Turkey Trot at Sebring, we’ll spend the winter renting cars and supporting clients at Daytona, VIR, Road Atlanta, Homestead, and more! (Keep an eye on our schedule for details.)

Come on, give the snow boots a break and lace up the driving shoes instead.

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26 Aug, 2016

Q&A with young hotshoe JT Coupal

As soon as he stepped into a Spec Miata, JT (right) hit the podium!


JT Coupal (on the right in this photo) finished on Spec Miata podiums before he got his driver’s license! Now he’s competing for wins every time he hits the track. We recently caught up with JT to learn more about his background and goals. 


First, tell us a little about yourself.

I’m 16 years old (going to be a Junior in high school) and am from Rochester, New York. I grew up – and continue to grow up – in the Finger Lakes Region, meaning I’ve been to Watkins Glen countless times as a spectator and finally this past spring as a driver. While racing is my passion, I also enjoy and am interested in creative writing/journalism and marine biology.

When did you start racing – and in what?

I started racing karts in 2011 at a local sprint course. I competed there for two years before branching out into WKA’s Gold Cup series, where I raced one season. I then happened across a WKA Road Racing event (where you race much faster karts on standard road courses such as VIR, Mid-Ohio, Daytona, Summit Point, etc.), which was intriguing enough to constitute a shift in focus to the series. I competed in the 2013 season, winning 13 races and two national championships across two classes. The following year was spent taking multiple Skip Barber schools. Then came the decision on what to do next; the eventual answer of course being racing with Flatout!

What was the transition to cars like?

Once I finished the Skip Barber classes I knew I wanted to go into car racing, but I didn’t know where or how. I decided my strengths lie in sports cars. After much searching, we found Flatout and in the fall of 2015, I competed in my first SCCA race at Palmer in the #90 rental car, landing on the podium in ITS/STL. After another race at Thompson, we as a family worked to make a decision for the next step. We considered all options and the advice given to us from multiple sources before settling on Spec Miata. We chose this not only because it’s the most competitive amateur series around, but also because we knew we would get a competitive car from Flatout, as well as the indispensable race-day support.

You seem to get a lot of energy and support from your family.

It’s a cliché, but I couldn’t be doing any of this without them. They make everything happen no matter the difficulty or inconvenience, not to mention financial outlay. The commitment they show is incredible, and I hope to be able to reciprocate their efforts with future successes built on their current sacrifices.

Does your karting experience translate to racing Miatas?

The main skill I’ve gotten out of karting that aids me in SM is definitely car control. It’s not a stretch to say that the fastest way in a kart is usually at least somewhat sideways, and while that is certainly not the way in a Miata, it does allow me to deal with different situations in the car much better than I would otherwise. Obviously, changing gears was a new thing for me when I jumped from karts, but perhaps more than that was the sensation of body roll and suspension loading. Karts don’t have suspension as such, so I had to learn about weight transfer and its effect on handling.

So what does the future hold?

As far as racing is concerned, my goal is to go pro. Everyone wants to do what they love and make money doing it, and I can’t say I’m any different. I’m open to any and all opportunities in professional racing, and I think I can make it if I make all the right decisions and never stop improving. Outside of racing, I definitely want to go to college and if racing does not become my source of income, I would love to pursue a career in automotive journalism (and other forms of writing). Ideally of course I’d love to be a professional driver who writes about cars on the side!

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