Gingerman 8/99

On August 26, 1999, a bunch of Saturn Performance Club members once again gathered for open lapping at Gingerman Raceway in Southhaven Michigan (we had been there for the '99 SPC Rally).  Gingerman is an 11-turn 1.88 mile road course.  With lots of grass and no concrete barriers or metal guard rails next to the track, it is safe and enjoyable for the first-time driver (actually - most but not all, keep reading..).  You can read more about Gingerman Raceway HERE.

Our day on the course was again considered a 'Driver's School' - a learning event where we were able to push the limits of our cars and improve our driving ability.  Lap times during the event are not recorded, and the cars are not actually competing against each other.

Best Racing, a race shop out of Chicago, organizes lapping sessions at Gingerman several times each year.  SPC members present at this session included Lane (WI), Wally (MI), Christena (OH), Tapp (IL), Deebs (IL), Gary Hackney (KY), and James Walker (of Team scR, MI), as well as several members' guests and co-drivers.

Mid-2000: Best Racing is no longer in business.  Too bad - we'll miss 'em!

It was an overcast day, warm, with low humidity.  The morning meeting familiarized the drivers with safety flags, track rules, and general driver etiquette.  That's Mike Watson from Best Racing in the center with the white hat.  Mike & Best were kind enough to hold a drawing for a gift certificate and a nifty t-shirt.


Driver's meeting (15k)

The Wallymobile (19k)

After the drivers' meeting, the cars went through a technical inspection to make sure they were in tip-top shape and properly prepared.  Here's a picture of Wally in the middle of changing tires and mounting the Wallycam in the back seat.


Cars joining the Saturns out on the track included two Corvette race teams, scR Motorsports, an Eagle Talon, VW Golf, Chevy Camaro, Ford Taurus SHO, BMW M3, Mitsubishi Eclipse, Mazda Miata, and a bunch of assorted imports I can't really recall.

Is that a red SC2 race car I see in the background?


Talon (17k)
A very un-stock Talon with mondo hp on tap.

Overturned (13k)
Pic courtesy the Wallycam - Thanks Wally!


After claiming both Wally's and Stan's engines during the '99 SPC Rally, Gingerman found it's next Saturn victim with a SW2 driver in our group.

The car slid off the track sideways in wicked turn 5, and two wheels dug into the dirt causing the car to roll.  It came to rest on the driver's side on the edge of the track.


Christena shuttled the driver to a nearby hospital where he checked out OK.  He was shaken but we're all glad that he walked away unhurt.  He had just bought a new helmet that day, which now had some nasty road rash and was also cracked - but it did a great job of saving his melon.

The windshield was smashed, and a good portion of the roof was caved in - angling downward on the driver's side and compressing the top of the driver's door frame downward a good 8 inches.  Having rolled and leaking fluids, we were amazed that the car's side panels showed minimal damage, the driver's door still opened and closed properly, and the car was able to be driven off the track. The insurance company has since quoted about $7500 worth of damage.  Check back, I will try to post more info and pictures here in the near future.

Some words from the driver to the SPC mailing list after the fact:

"Wisdom of the day:
...station wagons may not be the ideal vehicle of choice for novice performance drivers
...helmets good, hanging upside-down in your car bad"


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