Four races two podiums for WRPMotorsports Driver Willie Phee at the SCCA Regional at Road Atlanta RacewayWRPMotorsports driver Willie Phee finished 2nd in rounds 2 and 3 of the South Atlantic Road Racing Championship (SARRC) and 4th in rounds 4 and 5 of the Pro-IT Championship held at Road Atlanta Raceway.Four races held over two days in mixed conditions made it a very challenging weekend. Qualifying for race one would be in wet conditions so the times would be significantly slower than the dry times. Phee would qualify 4th in class and 9thoverall on the grid for Round 2 of the SARRC Championship. Next on the days schedule would be qualifying for round 4 of the Pro-IT Championship and would be on a track that was wet but drying. “We made a decision to go out on dry tires and wait for the track to develop a dry line” said Phee. “I spent the first few laps checking the grip levels and slowly getting the car up to speed and turned my fast lap at the end of the session”. Phee’s time would put him 3rd in class on 8th overall on the grid.The first race Saturday afternoon would be Round 2 of the SARRC Championship and would be held in dry conditions. Phee would start inside on row 5. “The pace on the start was faster than I expected but it actually helped me get a run going into turn one and I moved into 2nd position by the time I got to turn two. By lap three I moved into the lead and tried to gap the rest of the field. I started to get into lapped traffic with 3 laps to go and unfortunately got help up enough in turn ten to allow the second place car to get by with two laps to go. It was disappointing to loose the lead right at the end, but that’s what happens sometimes” said Phee.The second race Saturday afternoon would be Round 4 of the Pro-IT Championship. Phee would start outside row 7 for the 45 minute race. At the start Phee would move up a few positions and battle with the CRX driven by Ted Thorpe. Phee would eventually finish 4th in class and 8th overall. “I had a good battle with Ted but eventually he got away due to traffic and I ran a lonely 4th for the entire race” said Phee.Sunday would be a repeat of Saturday’s schedule with two qualifying rounds and two races. First up would be SARRC qualifying and Phee would put the WRPMotorsports Integra on pole position in class and 5th overall. “The car felt really good in the morning session and since the track was dry I felt like I could put a good lap time in” said Phee. The second qualifying session would be for round 5 of the Pro-IT Championship where Phee would qualify 4th in class and 8th overall. “The track was only slightly slower than the first session and I ended up only a tenth of a second slower that my earlier session” said Phee.At the start of the SARRC race Phee would be in a good position on the inside for turn one. Phee would maintain the lead in class until lap 3 and would continue to battle for the lead until lap eight. Phee would end up 2nd in class and 7th overall. “The car started out handling well for the first part of the race and then at about half way the seemed to get really loose. I had a difficult time keeping the back end from coming around even in the slow corners”. “I don’t know if the track just got greasy or if the car developed a handling problem, but I just couldn’t run at the same pace as earlier in the race” said Phee. Last race of the day would be the Pro-IT race and the top four ITA cars would be in a tight battle for the first few laps. Phee would run fourth but was within striking distance until lap 11 when he would slow for two laps and then pick up the pace again. Unfortunately the lead cars had gotten away and he would settle for another fourth place position at the finish.“The start was good, I was right in the mix with the top three cars, but on lap 11 the car seemed to slow on the back straight. It seemed like the engine was tightening up. I radioed the crew and gave them the gauge information and everything looked fine so I cruised around for a couple of laps just to see if it would get any worse. It didn’t so I kept racing to the finish. The car actually got quicker after I slowed down for those two laps, but I was too far back to make up any time on the third place car”. Phee would end up 4th at the finish.The next race is scheduled for August 6-7, 2011 at Daytona International Raceway in Daytona Beach, FL.
July 16-17, 2011 – Road Atlanta Raceway, Braselton, Georgia
March 19, 2011 – Road Atlanta Raceway, Braselton, Georgia
WRPMotorsports Driver Willie Phee finishes on the podium at round 2 of the 2011 Pro-IT series at Road Atlanta Raceway.WRPMotorsports driver Willie Phee finished 2nd at round two of the 2011 Pro-IT Championship.“To finish 2nd was the best I could do this weekend, I had nothing for the 1stplace car” said Phee.Qualifying would be spread over two days with the first session late in the afternoon on Friday and round two of qualifying in the morning on Saturday. “We were trying a different final drive in the car on the test day and I was still getting comfortable with the new shift points but I felt comfortable starting the first session on Friday. I did the first warm up lap and tried to put in a flyer on lap 2. Unfortunately the shifting was a little stiff. I did manage to get one quick lap in but then the transmission would not go into 4th gear and my session was done” said PheeThe one lap Phee would get in qualified him 14th overall on the grid and second in class. “I was glad to get at least one quick lap in but knew that the morning session would be quicker so the team would need to swap the transmission out and get the car ready for round two on qualifying on Saturday”. Saturday morning and the team had the car ready for round two qualifying. “When I went out the in-car lap timer wasn’t working so I really wasn’t sure what my times were. I ask the team to radio my lap times but I only able to get a couple of times in and decided to come into the pit to check the tires. I went back out with about 4 minutes to go and finally got the lap timer to work and put down a time that was 2 seconds quicker than my Friday time” said Phee.The quicker time would move Phee up to 11th on the grid, but still 2nd in class. The 45 minute race would start at 4:30pm on a very hot track, temperatures were an unusually high 80 degrees at race time. Phee would steadily move up in the overall standings in the 26 lap race, but would make no improvement on his second place in class position. “The race was uneventful for me, after about lap five I just settled into a pace and ran consistent laps to the end. I knew I had a good gap on the third place car and it would be difficult to catch the first place car” said Phee.“My only concern came with 4 laps to go when the car started to stave for fuel in turn 7. I started short shifting the car to save fuel and make it to the finish”. Phee would cross the finish line 2nd in class and 7th overall with a 15 second gap to the 3rd place ITA car.The next race is scheduled for May 21-22, 2011 back at Road Atlanta Raceway in Braselton, GA.
May 22, 2011 – Road Atlanta Raceway, Braselton, Georgia
Three races two podiums for WRPMotorsports Driver Willie Phee at the combined National/Regional at Road Atlanta Raceway.WRPMotorsports driver Willie Phee finished 2nd in the South Atlantic Road Racing Championship (SARRC), 1st in the début of the new STL class and 4thin round 3 of the Pro-IT Championship.“It was a hectic weekend running three races on Sunday, especially with only a one race break between each race, but the OPM crew did a fantastic job of getting the car ready for each race” said Phee.Qualifying for two of the races would take place on Saturday with Pro-IT qualifying Sunday morning. The first qualifying session would be for the SARRC race and realistically would be the best opportunity to put in a fast time. Phee would put in a time that was good enough for 12th overall and 2nd in class. “I knew that I would turn my best time in the morning session and felt that the time would stand because the afternoon session was going to be slower” said Phee. For STL qualifying Phee would end up 1st in class and 9th overall. “I decided to run both STL sessions in order to get a feel for what the track would be like when we raced on Sunday”. Phee’s afternoon session would be 1.8 seconds slower than the morning session. Sunday was going to be very busy with a Pro-IT qualifying session at 9:00 in morning followed by the three championship races. Phee would qualify 4th in class and 9th overall in the 28 car field. “It wasn’t really the qualifying lap I was looking for. I got hung up with a couple of slower cars and didn’t really get a clear lap” said Phee. “But all of the top ITA cars were fairly close together on the grid so I felt like I stall had a shot at a podium for the race”.The first race Sunday afternoon would be the SARRC race. “I never really like stating on the outside but that’s where I ended up. At the start I got pushed a little wide going into turn one and dropped back to 3rd in class. I stayed close to the 2nd place car for the first few laps and waited to make a move at the end of the back straight. I kept showing my nose and made my move on lap 6 and managed to pull out a gap hand hold it to the finish.” said Phee. Unfortunately by that time the 1st place car was long gone and Phee would finish the race in a comfortable 2nd in class and 5th overall.Race two would be for the new STL class that the SCCA established this year. STL allows cars that are prepped for the IT (Improved Touring) classes to have another class to race in. “It was an opportunity to get a little more seat time and dial the car in a little more” said Phee. Phee would run the entire race chasing two out of class cars and would end up 1st in class and 7thoverall.Race three would be the Pro-IT race where Phee would qualify 4th in class and 9th overall. “The ITA cars were close together on the grid but at the start I got held up by a couple of Spec Miata’s and the front three cars got away. Then a couple of times during the race a car would spin and I had to check up” said Phee. Phee would run a consistent race and finish 4th in class and 9thoverall.“I was disappointed to not be able to run with the leading ITA cars but that’s how it works out sometimes” said Phee. The next race is scheduled for July 16-17, 2011 back at Road Atlanta Raceway in Braselton, GA.
March 11, 2011 – Road Atlanta Raceway, Braselton, Georgia
Team WRPMotorsports débuts the 2011 season with a win in the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) Enduro at Road Atlanta RacewayWRPMotorsports driver’s Willie Phee and Skip Brock finished 1st in class and 5thoverall at Round 2 of the NASA Southeast Enduro Championship Series. “To start the season with a win is just fantastic. Especially with this being Skip’s first time in a front wheel drive car. We were just trying to get Skip some seat time and front wheel drive experience. We really hadn’t planned on trying to strategize for the win, especially with the two extra pit stops. He drove a great race and got up to speed very quickly” said Phee. “I had some preconceived notions about font wheel drive, but these all went away after just a few laps. The car was so well balanced and easy to drive. I really enjoyed driving the car, it was much easier to drive at the limit compared to the Miata I normally drive” said Brock.There was no practice or qualifying prior to the race so the team was assigned the 17th starting position based on a random draw. It was decided that Phee would start the car since Skip was new to front wheel drive. The biggest challenge would be the driver changes since there is a six inch height difference between Willie and Skip. “I had six inches of padding in the seat just so I could reach the pedals and wheel” said Phee. “It wasn’t perfect for me or Skip for that matter, but we made it work”.At the start Phee dropped back a few positions due to some of the faster cars in different classes starting behind him, but moved up to 10th overall by lap 7. Phee would move up one more spot before the first pit stop on lap 19. After the stop Skip resumed the race in 14th place and 2nd in class. Skip would move up to 9th overall and 1st in class by lap 29 and continued to move up in the overall standings until lap 54 when he pitted 1st in class and 5th overall.Phee would get back in the car for another 20 laps and maintain the class lead until his stop on lap 75. Skip would take over and come out 2nd in class, but managed to get back into the lead when the 1st place car came in for their final stop. Skip would finish out the race 1st in class with a one lap lead over the second place car and 5th overall. The team would end up just a lap behind the overall winner after 88 laps. Not a bad performance for what started out as a test session to get Skip some front wheel drive experience.“I was really proud of Skip’s performance in the car, especially since it was his first time in a front wheel drive car” said Phee.“I really had a great time driving the Integra, I may have to try it again in the future” said Brock.The next race is scheduled for March 19, back at Road Atlanta Raceway in Braselton, GA.