PRO3 Line

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With the onset of the gray and wet, another season in ICSCC Conference racing is in the books. The PRO3 championship went to Olivier Henrichot running away. His driving skill and car preparation made him a contender out of the gate and he sealed the championship before the final race with second place going to Corey Peters, third through 5th will be Chris Hart, Brad McAllister and Jim Cissell—not necessarily in that order. The seventh and eighth place positions will be Danielle Hovington and Brian Bercovitz or vice versa. Gama Aguilar will probably be nineth, and either Duncan Pearce or Matt Lowell tenth.

With a couple of noteworthy exceptions, the entire season went off without any serious incidents. Olivier suffered a significant T-Bone impact at Mission, and still managed to complete the race and win the championship in the damaged car. The final race at The Ridge Motorsports Park also had a couple of fender to fender episodes between PRO3 and other cars and a significant accident during the Enduro—but everyone walked away. Speaking of walking away, local driving great Randy Blaylock announced his retirement from racing at The Ridge. His in car video shows the tribute he received from workers and racers and Randy’s tearful reaction. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vvb1YicxPUw

pro3video_lagunasecaraceway_500px300In late August PRO3 ventured to Sonoma Raceway and Laguna Seca to participate in the BMW Club Races as a feature at the 100th Anniversary Oktoberfest. PRO3 showed up with 16 cars and 23 drivers of the 80 total, so we were well represented. It was fantastic to race among all-BMW fields of some serious national-level talent and cars. The facilities, host club, and accommodations were all first cabin. PRO3 received the “Spirit of the Race” award–a checkered flag signed by all the participants. Notably, Danielle Hovington won her first race, and Kyle Byers won his race with an astonishing 0.10 second lead at the finish line.

PRO3 racing remains one of the largest classes, but the grids were smaller this year. Perhaps because PRO3 was extra busy with 13 Championship races, two Enduros, the Northwest Historics, the Rose Cup, and Laguna Seca. Firmly believing in “the more the merrier,” Jim Cissell (206) 933-8642 and Bill Ecker (253) 709-7999 are available to answer any questions you have on how YOU can become a PRO3 driver. One thing you can do is visit one of our sponsors, Griot’s Garage in Tacoma. All through October they have eleven real race cars on display–including Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari F2000 Formula 1 car, Nicki Lauda’s 1975 312T F1, 2 Porsche 908’s, a 1967 Brabham F1, Colin McRae’s Focus WS WRC World Rally Car, and perhaps most importantly, Bill Ecker’s 1987 PRO3 car. Its part of Griot’s Gasoline and Caffeine events held Saturday mornings.

As far as your humble authors are concerned, Bill (#137) finished his first full season in PRO3 attending five Conference events (finishing fourth), two feature events and one Enduro. “This was a tremendous amount of fun, and although I wasn’t near the front of the pack, every race was a race; there was always at least one more car to dice with from green to checker, which is really where the fun is. Outside of that, the PRO3 (and Conference) paddock was an absolute blast. I made several new friends through struggle, sweat and passion over these weekends. I heartily encourage all you regular HPDE addicts to take a look at the race program and come out and give it a try. It is truly taking your skills to the next level.”

Jim Cissell (#119), in addition to attending and finishing (thanks to Rhom Innovations) every single Conference and feature race this year, produced highlight videos of all the race weekends and co-wrote this column. He took first place in the Car Tender Enduro by default and appears to be in fourth or fifth place in the PRO3 standings. Of course there were the squirt guns, balloons, Crocs, and assorted antics he brought to the field to offset his distinctive car handling skills.

What does next season hold? Well, Olivier, in the footsteps of former PRO3 Champions Chuck Hurley, Dan Rogers and Dan Gavrilia is selling his PRO3 car and building a SpecE46, opening the door for the next PRO3 contender.

Over the winter, check out the program for Novice drivers, try some karting or HPDE events, or better still, look into becoming a volunteer for your local race club. That’s an inexpensive and rewarding path into racing. The drivers are eternally grateful for the folks in white who let it all happen. Meanwhile, I’m out to the shop to see if I can find another few HP over the winter. And Jim’s off to the bank to see if he can buy some.

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