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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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!
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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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.Read More >
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!Read More >
It’s been a crazy-busy time around both the shop and the track. As often as not, it seems, Flatout is taking care of clients at two tracks on the same weekend – usually in 95-degree heat. So let’s start by thanking everybody you see in this photo, plus Adam Desrosiers, Nicky Beans, and Jody Leverone, for tireless crew work!
May 27-29 found us at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for SCCA Regional racing. Our own Jody, who hadn’t raced in too long, got to drive Doug Fisher’s beautiful Flatout-built Miata. Tony Vaccaro, Kent Vaccaro, and Wendy Cappola all rented, while Stephen Pope, Dave Kuchrawy and JT Coupal wheeled their own cars.
June 2-5 was a split weekend. Some of us trekked to Mid-Ohio Raceway far an SCCA Majors event. Tim Estes (with a pair of top tens!), Doug Fisher (his first Majors in the new car), Peter Doane, Nick Leverone, Hugh McHaffie and Craig McHaffie all ran strong. Meanwhile, some clients headed south to New Jersey Motorsports Park’s Lightning circuit. Eric Thompson drove our newest rental, a Honda S2000, in STU, STL and T1! Rick Miller wheeled our Number 00 rental Miata.
Not long after, we embarked on a jam-packed week that began Tuesday, June 14, with a Lime Rock Park test day. We supported JT, Dave Kuchrawy and Stephen Pope, while Nick did a coaching session with old friend Joe Stadelmann. Some of us stayed at Lime Rock Wednesday for an SCDA event, after which a couple of the guys cannonballed down to NJMP, where they helped clients Amy Mills and Whit Gregg run a NASA weekend. Meanwhile, a few of us split off to Watkins Glen to support JT and Dave K in testing. The rest of the crew stayed at Lime Rock for a great weekend. Old chum Nai Nan Ko came out of retirement to run some excellent races. Erik Beck rented as well, and Eric Thompson again drove the S2000 in dominating fashion. Dave Kuchrawy, Stephen, and Wendy also enjoyed excellent race weekends.
Next, we parked ourselves at the Glen for three weekends in a row. June 24-26, we supported four TWR Racing cars – a pair of Porsches and a pair of Miatas – for Steve Tullman, Max Tullman, Jim Walker, and Neal Walker. At this Majors Weekend, Peter Doane, Amy, Whit, Tim Estes, Doug Fambrough, and Leland Engelbart all raced as well. Leland had a serious wreck, and Amy had a moment (!) as well, but we’re happy to say everybody’s doing well and eager to race again.
July 1-3, the Tullmans enjoyed outstanding IMSA Weathertech Porsche GT3 Cup events at the Glen.
July 8-10 saw the long awaited debut of Eric Thompson’s Toyota Celica All-Trac STL car. It was a success, albeit with typical new-build teething pains. This was a favorite weekend of ours, the July Sprints; Paul Schulman and Abe Zimroth rented and had a ball. Whit Gregg, JT Coupal, and Stephen Pope all had great races, and it was great to see Anne Lamport Hammitte again.
The weekend of July 22-23 was the Racing Against Leukemia event at Thompson Motorsports Park. Flatout has long been very active in this fundraiser. We gave track ride-arounds, helped with the raffle, and generally had a ball. Kent Vaccaro was running strong until he wrecked. Dave K was fast, as usual, and JT won all the Spec Miata races! Tom Paolino was there, as was Stephen, and we got to see Anne and Keith Hammitte again (we’ll be tending and transporting their BMWs). The same weekend, we sent a crew to NJMP Thunder for a Majors event. Amy, Whit, Tim Estes, Peter Doane, Jim Walker, and Tom Haronian all ran well. Mills and Estes in particular finished up front.
Tuesday July 26, we hit an SCDA day at Palmer Motorsports Park. Pope and Doug Fambrough grabbed some track time. Meanwhile, Matt Salmon, DJ Salmon, David Lewis, Gregg Darrish, Win Brown, Peter Brakan, and Jason Sevinor shared four cars between them – and had a blast!
Whew! Now it’s back to the grind as we swing into August and our racers begin to think seriously about the SCCA Runoffs and NASA Nationals.
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Our customers have been clamoring for cars to race in SCCA’s STU and STL classes, and some of them even want to try something that’s not a Mazda (gasp!).
Hey, we’re listening: We’re now renting out a gorgeous, in-house-built Honda S2000 (with the 2.0-liter engine) that can run STU, STL, and even T1.
Is it fast? Hell yeah. His first time in the car, at Lime Rock, hotshoe client Eric Thompson won a bunch of races, finished second in all the rest, and flirted with track records all weekend.
Contact us to talk about renting this beast!
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With the season in full swing, how about some race-weekend updates?
The weekend of April 28-May 1, Flatout President Nick Leverone and client Peter Doane hit an SCCA Double Major at Summit Point. Both drivers did well and had a ball at the venerable track.
Immediately afterward, we swung up to Watkins Glen for Joey G Track Days. Everybody was eager to sample the Glen’s new pavement, and there was no disappointment. Hotshoe Amy Mills was one of the fastest Spec Miatas on the new surface! Whit Gregg was quick as well. Old friend Stephen Pope rented a Miata. So did Corey Rueth and Nick Evancich (both gaining seat time for an MX-5 series race) as well as Abe Zimroth. Finally, it was great to see Jon Farbman back in his rotary-powered Miata!
May 5-7 found us at Palmer Motorsports Park for a Double Regional. Father-and-son team Tony and Kent Vaccaro rented; they’re notable because Kent is 14 years old! And he wasn’t the only youngster tearing it up; 15-year-old JT Coupal ran his brand-new Flatout build, Number 77—and finished on the podium. Doug Fisher raced has Number 15 Miata and had a great weekend! Tom Paolino was there in his own fresh build. Tom Haronian and Dave Kurhrawy rented. And in a way, we’ve saved the best for last: longtime client and fast racecar driver Eric Thompson absolutely dominated the STL class, walking away from the field for a pair of wins!
The next weekend, we headed west to Pittsburgh International Race Complex for another Double Major. Once again, Doane (running STL) and Leverone (SM) were the drivers—and Leverone won, taking his first Majors checker. Way to go, Prez!
Big thank-yous go out to Adam Desrosiers and Dave Goulet, who did a lot of crewing this month. And hey, we’re just gearing up: this weekend, we’re off to New Hampshire Motor Speedway with six cars … and treks to Mid-Ohio, NJMP, and other venues aren’t far behind!Read More >
We’ve hit the heart of the racing season, so new-car builds are over until next winter, right?
Wrong! We’ve got a bunch of cool builds either in progress or just out of the shop. Here’s a quick rundown:
- The car featured here is an incredible Toyota Celica All-Trac Turbo for hotshoe client Eric Thompson. Eric will run the car in SCCA’s STU and T1 classes. Can’t wait to see this AWD beast run, especially in the rain.
- We just rolled out fresh Miatas for clients Bill Finsilver and JT Coupal (who immediately landed on the Podium at Thompson Speedway!).
- We’re putting the finishing touches on a MazdaSpeed Turbo (aka a Porsche Cayman Killer) for Doug Fambrough, who will campaign the car at Monticello Motorsports Park.
- Finally, we’ve got a build with your name on it: a sweet new Flatout Motorsports rental Miata!
We’ll leave you with an engine-bay shot of that turbo Toyota …
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