Four times over the course of the 2012 racing season, VETTE brought you exclusive looks at the Corvettes that battled against Dodge Vipers in the North American Road Racing Association's (NARRA) two new grassroots-style racing series, the US GT Championship (USGTC) and Whelen US TimeTrial Championship (USTTC). The 2013 NARRA season has just begun, and a number of new Corvette racers have already made their mark in the two series.
One such competitor is 25-year-old Bryan Leonard, mechanic at SpeedSouth/Active Power Racing (and son and nephew of owners David and Tom Leonard, respectively).
"All my life I've wanted to race for Corvette. This is what I live for. We don't have a budget, so until now it's been just a dream," Leonard says.
Though he wrenches on Vettes daily in the family business, with only two "ChumpCar" races under his belt, Bryan is a true rookie. He debuted in Rounds One and Two at Texas World Speedway on February 16-17, 2013, where he qualified Third in the GT-Unlimited class before a broken rocker prevented him from racing.
He reappeared at Round Four at Road Atlanta on April 14. "It's pretty amazing to think I out-qualified [Mike] Hartley and [Jim] Stout's old Viper. These Comp Coupes have always been tough competition to Dad and Uncle Tommy."
"This is what NARRA is all about," says organization General Manager Rob Morrison, "…giving the average guy a chance to race against some of the best drivers, amateur and pro, with some of the fastest cars, on the nation's top tracks.
"Given the potential Bryan has already shown, we think he might just be a champion in the making, and [we're] hoping someone comes on board to sponsor him to ensure he can go for the title in his rookie year."
There are plenty of other hopeful Corvette racers looking to add fame to their records, too.
"The 2013 season is shaping up to be year of the Vette," Morrison predicts. "MTI Racing's been out in force in TimeTrial at Road Atlanta, even sponsoring the trophies. SpeedSouth now has three cars, and then there's our Texas contingent, led by Michael Perkins '03 Z06 and Troy and T.J. Messer's Doug Rippie Motorsports–built '09 C6. Already Vettes have taken 24 podiums, including 11 wins, in the two series so far this year."
As of this issue's street date, there are four more weekends of series action to go in 2013, giving even Johnnies-come-lately the opportunity to don their racing helmets, rev up their Corvettes, battle for national titles, and even race at an American Le Mans Series (ALMS) event.
"Stock road cars are allowed in the TimeTrial series, and just about any racecar can run in the US GT Championship, so there are lots of opportunities," Morrison says. "There's even a Performance Driver Education [USPDE] program for novice drivers. Unlike most national series, you don't need to compete in every round. We count only your best eight rounds, plus the final round at Sebring. So even if you start now, you're in with a good shot for the championship. There's no minimum, either. If you just want to do the ALMS even or Sebring, that's fine, too."
Come along with us now, as we showcase some Corvette racers who made the marque proud at NARRA's first four rounds in 2013.
For more information on how you and your Corvette can participate in NARRA's two racing series, visit www.narraonline.com.