NARRA Competition - Battle In The Snake Pit

Production-based Corvettes tangle with Vipers and more in NARRA competition

Christopher R. Phillip Jul 30, 2012 0 Comment(s)
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NARRA competitors have a choice of simply racing for a weekend (two rounds), or setting their sights on the points championship. This requires participation in three or more weekends, plus the finals at Watkins Glen.

Entry fees of $795 for two rounds of US GT or $445 for two rounds of US TimeTrial make both series serious bangs for the buck. "Our weekends are about the local hot-shoes coming and competing against some of the fastest cars and best drivers in the country. It's about stepping up and testing yourself on a true national level, for a lower cost than other national events," NARRA President Antonelli says.

First and Second Place round winners in all classes are awarded Hoosier racing tires, as well as gift certificates from Cool Shirt and Moton Suspension. Sunday First and Second Place class finishers also receive Sunoco gas cards.

TT and GT class champions each receive a Teamtech six-point racing harness, a Cool Shirt "club" cooling system, a GoPro HD Hero2 camera, and a Moton gift certificate.

Since 2011, two new racing series have been earning their reputations at motorsports parks across America--the US GT Championship (USGTC) and the Whelen US TimeTrial Championship (USTTC). Governed by the North American Road Racing Association, or NARRA for short, these events are calling all high-performance high-horsepower Corvettes to join in on the fun.

If you're not familiar with NARRA, don't be alarmed. It was formed just three years ago, when members of the Viper Days racing series saw the opportunity to expand their ranks while simultaneously filling a void left by the demise of a similar, Corvette-specific series. They bought the Viper Days organization, and NARRA was born.

Now Corvettes constitute the fastest- growing segment of NARRA's two series, thanks in part to the efforts of both grassroots-level competitors and some of the biggest names in Corvette professional road racing. The latter include Whelen Engineering/Marsh Racing, as well as popular Corvette tuners Callaway, SpeedSouth (assisted by LG Motorsports), MTI Racing, and Harchelroad Motors.

"Because of the high-level competition, the press exposure, the simple rules, and the tracks [we run], our events attract the best time-attack drivers, NASA and SCCA regional racers, as well as an ever-expanding group of guys who follow the entire championship," NARRA President Tom Antonelli says. "We have a mix of amateurs as well as pro drivers who have come across from World Challenge and Grand-Am."

Corvette owners who don't have any track time behind them are invited, too. NARRA puts on a U.S. Performance Driver Education program (USPDE), which is designed for those with street Vettes looking for their first track experience. Personalized instruction from more-experienced drivers helps them build the skills they need to get started, and prepares them for the advanced solo sessions, time trials, and GT-racing competition. Many members, including Antonelli and Marsh Racing's Sonny Whelen, began their careers doing USPDE track days with NARRA before progressing up through the ranks.

"NARRA has become known as a Corvette playground," Antonelli says. "It's a fight between the best of American muscle, not to mention European exotics and turbocharged imports."

That fight has played out in four rounds so far in the 2012 season, two at Inde Motorsports Ranch in Willcox, Arizona, and two at Road Atlanta. Eleven more rounds at six motorsports facilities are yet to come (as of press time): Road America (Wisconsin), New Jersey Motorsports Park, Virginia International Raceway, Monticello (New York) Motor Club, Texas World Speedway, and Watkins Glen (New York) International.

This month, we'll take a look at some of the Corvettes that have competed in the series' first four rounds. In a future issue, we'll bring you a midseason update, followed by a recap of championship weekend later this year. In the meantime, be sure to check out our website, www.vetteweb.com, where you'll find race results and track videos from throughout the 2012 season.

NARRA Scoring Explained

Points are awarded for each round, but the class championships are determined based on a driver's top three event weekends, or top six races, and the final race at Watkins Glen.

As for the rules, they're simple:

In the spirit of GT sports cars, the vehicle must be a four-wheel, closed-fender "door" car and meet basic safety requirements. (USGTC cars require a full 'cage.)

  • The USGTC and USTTC competitions run four classes:
  • GT-U/TT-U = no minimum weight/unlimited horsepower
  • GT-1/ TT-1 = 6.25:1 or greater weight/wheel horsepower
  • GT-2/ TT-2 = 7.50:1 or greater weight/wheel horsepower
  • GT-3/ TT-3 = 8.75:1 or greater weight/wheel horsepower

Example: A C6 Z06 weighing 3,300 pounds with driver, divided by 460 rear-wheel horsepower, equals 7.17:1 and is classified GT-1 and TT-1. (Note: Competitors are allowed to run in a faster class.)

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13 Corvette drivers took all three Round 4 USGTC GT-3 podium finishes at Road Atlanta. From left are Ron Farmer/USLED (Second Place), Will Stukas/MTI Racing (First Place), and Rob Leopard/SpeedSouth (Third Place).

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