Tag Archives: global time attack

NEMO Coming to the USA?!

13 Jan

I saw my Facebook timeline blowing up Friday with people talking about the possibility of the famed NEMO Evo coming to the USA to compete in a time attack event.

I remember hearing/reading an interview last year with the owner of the car/team where he mentioned coming to the USA to compete in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

With the World Time Attack Challenge event being moved to the month of October (which is a GREAT move by Ian and team by the way), I cannot see NEMO competing in the Super Lap Battle/Global Time Attack event in November. WTAC trumps the biggest event USA has to offer at this point in time.

Now, will NEMO compete in another GTA event that is conveniently scheduled around the time of the PPIHC event? That is a possibility. But I’d guess that if NEMO does compete in a time attack event here in the States, that it would be AFTER the PPIHC event, as I can’t see the team owner risking the car/engine/driver ahead of the bigger and more notorious event: PPIHC. It simply isnt’ worth it in my opinion.

Taking a quick peak at the GTA schedule over at http://www.GlobalTimeAttack.com, there isn’t an event between PPIHC and the WTAC event, that would provide enough time for transport BACK to AUS for WTAC.

There is a Redline Time Attack (www.RedlineTimeAttack.com) event taking place at Buttonwillow in the middle part of July. This event could work out for NEMO, and give them a chance to set an official time on North America’s most-famous time attack course. Albeit with the higher ambient temps compared to the typical November SLB weather.

My money is on seeing NEMO compete at PPIHC, and no other time attack events.

I’d say there are also odds on seeing NEMO compete at a time attack prior to PPIHC, but at about a 8:1 chance….

Perhaps there is a slightly better chance at seeing NEMO compete at Buttonwillow in July… at about 6:1

But I just cannot see NEMO competing in the GTA Texas event in September, thereby missing, or at least foolishly increasing the risk of missing,  the WTAC event only a few weeks later…  This is the longshot … 80:1 or some other ludicrous chance.

Would NEMO miss WTAC?  Hell No.

All in all, I think there is a pretty decent chance of time attack fans having their hearts broken by team NEMO when the team chooses not to compete at a time attack event here in the States.

We’ll have to wait and see! 🙂

Carl Rydquist, a Champion in both TA and W2W

4 May

I first had the pleasure of meeting Carl Rydquist in 2010 when he began competing in the Redline Time Attack series. He was driving a wicked-fast Porsche Turbo converted to RWD, and dominated his opponents in the Modified RWD Class at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Unfortunately for Carl and fans of TA, his Porsche was stolen shortly after the LVMS event.

We would see Carl later in 2010 driving the CityTire Online/Hankook Nissan 350z, a car that was used primarily for drifting events (including Formula Drift). Carl competed in the Modified RWD class with the 350z and continued to see success. In 2011, we saw Carl behind the wheel of the same 350z, competing in the MotoIQ Pacific Tuner Car Championships (Tuner Over Class). One of the most entertaining on-track battles of the 2011 MPTCC season was between Carl and Mike Bonanni (Berk Technology 135i) at Auto Club Speedway.

Carl set some time aside to have a quick chat with me this week. Here’s how it went down:

Team: Berk Technology
Vehicle Make/Model: BMW 135i
Sponsors: AEM, APR Performance, GIAC, Hankook, KW Suspension, Macht Schnell, OS Giken, Performance Friction, SEIBON Carbon
VAC Motorsports, V-FIBER, VMR Wheels
Tires: Hankook Ventus TD

Nikolas: Congratulations are certainly in order after such a dominating performance at Global Time Attack round #1! Hats off to you and the team at Berk!

Carl – Thank you very much Nik!

Some have labeled your accomplishments at Buttonwillow as “something that had never happened before”. I’ve been around time attack in the United States since the beginning. I’d have to say the performance is certainly one to remember. Briefly, what could you chalk the success up to?

– I would say it came down to timing in this case. We happened to see the Hankook Ventus TD tire release onto the US market just two weeks ahead of this event. Before we knew that, we were just planning to go for the Street class record. Then our priorities changed all of a sudden. Honestly without the Ventus TD tires I think we’d still be looking back at our SuperLap battle record in November due to the extremely hot conditions at the GTA weekend. However, another huge factor is the Berk Technology car, which is already at the very front end of the Street class, where it’s so strong that when we entered it into the Limited class, we could still be competitive with only a tire swap. Obviously we made some compromises on spring rates and suspension to have a decent car for both tire types. If we strictly focused on one setup, I think we could squeeze out a touch more, but luckily we didn’t lose too much performance in either class.

For the Street Class, you were using the trusty Hankook RS3’s I believe.  Those tires have DOMINATED the Street Class in time attack here in the U.S. since they came onto the scene. And for Limited, you were running on the new Hankook TD’s. Another tire with great promise. How significant a role did these tires play in the team’s overall outcome?

– Well, winning in racing is all about using the full capacity of the tire, that way you can defeat cars with less weight or 200 more horsepower if you can optimize your package better than anyone else. It’s a philosophy of winning that gives benefits in reliability and consistency, which are other key factors to success in racing. Match that together with using the best tires on the market, which is the case with both Ventus RS3 and Ventus TD, and the outcome is an advantage that, so far, has been proven impossible to beat. You will have to bring a lot more power and reliability, and then consistency to keep it together to get a car on a different tire to have a realistic crack at our lap times. Or follow our trail, use the same tire, maybe squeeze out a little more power of the car and then try to do a little better. It could be done, just make the tires do the work for you.

I believe the GTA event at Buttonwillow was only the 2nd sanctioned event that you’ve been behind the wheel of the Berk Technology BMW 135i, is that correct?

That is correct. I got into the car last fall to maybe have a go at a Eurotuner Magazine road course shootout as well as the Super Lap Battle Limited record, and we hit it off right away on the first day of testing. As anyone can see from the team’s results, Bryan Min [owner of Berk Technology] is an extremely competent race engineer and he is meticulous about the handling of the car. What baffles me the most is where he learned his stuff because he has a level of vehicle dynamic understanding that’d make him competitive for a majority of the European GT racing teams. Almost everything we have discussed and tried in testing, have been “aligned”, no pun intended, and the car has gotten faster and faster with no money spent on expensive upgrades. The hardware on this car has seen no changes except fancier bodywork, we just got the car to use the tires better.

For those readers who aren’t as familiar with your time attack background, what are some other cars you’ve driven in sanctioned TA events here in the U.S.?

– Prior to racing the Berk Technology BMW 135i, I was using Redline Time Attack as a practice platform for myself to stay sharp and keep my competitive edge, I was running my personal 911 Turbo which I converted to RWD for a better similarity to the GT racing Porsches. Much similar to professional racing, session time is somewhat limited during the race weekends to get the car dialed in perfect for the weather conditions and the track, so you have to do a few laps, pinpoint what has to be changed on the setup, make the adjustments and then go out and nail it again. During Redline Time Attack 2010 I was also racing the City Tire Online Nissan 350Z, which is a Formula Drift car that I actually even ran on street tires in the Modified class just because it was too expensive to run R-comps (this was before the Ventus TD came out). That car had no chance to win on paper but remember what I said about optimizing the usage of the tires, staying reliable and consistent? Well I ended up as the 2010 Mod class Champion and also broke the class track record at the infamous Big Willow. Who would’ve thought!

It probably wouldn’t hurt to give a quick rundown on your history of motorsport involvement either, from endurance racing, sports-car racing and even drifting.

– This won’t be too quick of a rundown… but most significant win, the 2005 Zandvoort 500 in the Netherlands racing a Porsche 911 GT3 RS, first time for me on the international arena. 4 years before that I learned how pro racing works when I raced a Porsche in the Swedish Endurance series. I got this seat after I won a go-cart shootout put on by Eurosport, that lasted a week and saw 1100 drivers trying to win it. Yours truly being the winner of the shootout, got invited to the pro driver finals and won third place right behind DTM/Le Mans superstar Peter Dumbreck. So I got the momentum to jump into that Porsche, the team was operated by Le Mans champion Anders Olofsson, and they had such a fantastic atmosphere. The crew chief, Rob Gustafsson [highly respected for his personality and work in F1 for many years], barely had to say a word, the crew all knew their jobs and did them well. He was an amazing guy and him and the guys of that team are still role models to me, I’m so incredibly thankful for what they instilled in me. Of course I took leaps and bounds and we won the GT class that year. From here on, I ventured a bit into Touring Cars (spec racing) and Sports Racing cars (Radical) where I managed to podium in both categories to sort of prove myself outside endurance racing. Then I won another endurance championship (also Porsche) and got the big jump to start in the 24 Hour races at the Nürburgring in a Porsche 911 GT3. I finished top 10 in class my the first year, and every year after has been very promising, running stronger GT Porsches in the overall top 10, but ultimately the track has killed the cars, one time as close as 40 minutes from the finish. I have run that race 5 times and it’s wonderful, vicious, beautiful and brutal all at the same time. Recently I raced in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill teamed up with the very capable driver Paul Walker, to most people known as actor in the Fast and Furious movie franchise, I also won 2nd in class in the 24 Hours of Barcelona last year, racing a Porsche 997 GT3 with a German team .

We did see you race in the MotoIQ Pacific Tuner Car Championships at Auto Club Speedway last year. I know I’m not the only fan out there who’d love to see you back in the MPTCC, even if only for a race or two. What do you think, can you talk Bryan at Berk Technology into racing the 135i (or another car) in the MPTCC this year? 🙂

– I love the format and if there’s a reliable car around I’m ready to go. I feel the classes could merge though and go to TO rules, that’d make it THE class to watch, alternatively hit the sweet spot in between, with not 8 or 12, but 10 lb/hp, and an even stricter limitation on the amounts of tires allowed in a weekend, possible spec tire of Hankook C51, they are fun, almost slick-like tires to race on, yet they last a long time. You could bring a ton of cars into a class like that, that wouldn’t need any expensive mods or power upgrades. As for Bryan, he’s a racer at heart and I’m sure if a MotoIQ PTCC business case aligns with Berk Technology’s overall goals, there’s a good chance the team will be back there again.

As far as what you’re at liberty to reveal, what are Berk’s plans for TA the rest of the season? Will the team be making the trek to Road Atlanta or any of the other non-California GTA events this season?

– In all honesty I don’t know the exact schedule and things may change depending on sponsor wishes etc, but we do plan to run one or two more west coast events at least.

And if you’re not going to be busy behind the wheel of the Berk 135i, what WILL you be busy racing this season? Any trips to Europe in your near future?

– This looks to be one of those odd years. A deal for a big European 24H race recently grinded to a halt and I was working really hard with a US based team during the off-season and found a lot of support, but fell just short of being able to launch that program this season. We got started very late and still made a lot of progress so I feel fairly optimistic though for next season, the plan is to proceed to work on a US pro racing program that is attractive to several businesses to partner with.

We’d love to see you and Berk Technology at this year’s North American Championships of Speed (Auto Club Speedway) in December. Maybe consider this a semi-official “invite” to you and the team! 🙂  No worries though, I’ll be sure to mail out the “official” invite as well!

– I’m fully with you on that one! Let me check my calendar, what else is there in December… Christmas?

Thanks for taking the time to chat with me Carl! I know your fans of TA here in the U.S. appreciate it! If you have any shout-out’s, let me know! Best of luck to you the rest of this season!

– Thank you very much, and I said it before, thank you for your passion! My shout-out this time goes to the motorsport fans and all the relentless team crews that put in so much heart into something they believe in!