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Speed News May 2017

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W E R C Western Endurance Teams Kick off 2017 at Willow Springs Willow Springs International Raceway boasts one of the highest average lap speeds in the countr y. As the saying goes, "They don't make them like this anymore." Odds are good they probably couldn't build a track like this anymore. Insurance companies would have no par t of it. So when the Western Endurance Racing Championship series visited Willow Springs for a day-into- night enduro, the biggest challenge the teams faced was the track, not one another. E0 In E0, Team Valkyrie Racing qualified at the top of its class, just edging E0 standout Team El Diablo Motorspor ts by .500 seconds. Stepping into 2017 fresh from a class win at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, Team Valkyrie went on to take the win with a bit of drama and some stiff competition from Strom Motorspor ts, which finished on the same lap as Valkyrie. "We led flag to flag and it's pretty awesome to pick up where we lef t off from the 25 Hour win," said driver Brian Locke. "It got a little exciting at the end with what turned out to be a corded front tire. They tried to call us in, but luckily there was only a few minutes lef t so they let us finish it off for the win." E1 Endurance races are long, but that doesn't mean that a good star t isn't helpful. Team GTI Racing snared pole position in E1, running some 2 seconds faster than its nearest competitor Team Green Machine in 30-year old BMW E30. "My co-driver was in Oregon looking at colleges with his daughters … so I figured I'll just solo the thing," explained driver Mark Mitchell, who added that they had no radio contact the entire race. "We're a little worried about tires because we'd come last Friday to break in the motor and there's ver y long duration corners here and they're ver y hard on tires so our mindset was to race the track and not ever ybody else." Team GTI Racing decided to race the track and not the field, a strateg y that paid off with a win. GTI Racing also won the WERC race at Willow Springs last year. E2 In E2, the field consisted of two cars, one of which was on its last legs. No, the Team Mazdaspeed RX-8 was running Team Ryno Racing took first in ESR and the overall win at the WERC opener at Willow Springs. ESR 72 C ALIPHOTOGR APHY.COM

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