A Feast for the Eyes -- The old saying goes, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” In the case of the opening day of competition at the Tire Rack SCCA® Solo Nationals Championship, a biblical rain for most of the day meant some car classes had to run right up to the edge of darkness at Lincoln Airpark. Competition was stopped with one run remaining in heat six on East course. Officials announced third runs would take place first thing Wednesday morning, giving drivers their allotted three competition runs on that course.
Running in dwindling light is not necessarily the norm in Solo competition, but the situation created a magnificent spectacle. Headlight beams from cars danced around orange cones, and the event took on the feel of a professional endurance race. For drivers, the conditions tested abilities, but you have to adapt to earn a Championship at Solo Nationals.
Something Old, Something New -- Championship-eligible this year, the new/re-designated Street Touring Hatch (STH) class is comprised of former Street Touring FWD vehicles along with a few turbo AWD cars that don’t quite fall into the Super Touring Ultra realm. This new class for hot hatch “grocery getters” are often driven by those who don’t want to give up that sports car feeling, but are at the point where they must succumb to their need of a practical vehicle. And the Street Touring rule set really ramps up the fun factor. From larger wheels and tires and adjustable coilover suspensions, to tunes that really wake up turbocharged cars, this class is for those that want more than just transportation.
And in just its first competition season, the new for 2018 Solo Spec Coupe (SSC) class is also Championship-eligible at the 2018 Tire Rack SCCA® Solo Nationals Championship. With the addition of SSC, there are now nearly 80 Championship-eligible classes that can participate at the annual Solo Nationals. SSC was developed to be unique in that it primarily focuses on a competitor’s driving skill by having racers participate in nearly identical cars. The base platform selected by the Solo Events Board is the 2013 to 2016 Subaru BRZ or Scion FR-S. The models were selected because the cars are modestly priced, rear-wheel drive, late-model enthusiast vehicles useful as both a “daily driver” and for autocross competition. Vehicles must compete using sanctioned upgrades available only through Tire Rack, SCCA’s SSC Performance Package coordinating partner.
For those interested in monitoring these classes, STH runs Tuesday/Wednesday and SSC competes Thursday/Friday. Keep track of all the competitors and Solo Nats action online with live timing and audio at http://sololive.scca.com/. And check for frequent updates at https://www.facebook.com/sccaofficial/ and https://www.facebook.com/solomatters/.
Half the Fun is Getting Here -- Atlanta Region driver Deborah Inskeep has ridden her motorcycle from Atlanta to Lincoln for Solo Nationals twice, but decided this year to ditch the two-wheels in favor of a more luxurious ride. This time around, Inskeep drove an Exomotive Exocet – an open-top, minimalist bodywork car -- from Atlanta to Lincoln and is competing in E-Modified Ladies. Because the motorsports gods didn’t think she had it tough enough this year, along the way she also won a large, flat-screen TV at a car show -- which she had to strap to the hood of her vehicle. The TV got dropped off in Nashville, but Inskeep made it to Lincoln Airpark and heads into her day-two West Course runs in fourth place.
How was it driving the less-than-weather-sealed car more than 1,000 miles across the country? “It’s the most comfortable vehicle I’ve driven to the event,” Inskeep joked.
Photo: Streaking through diminishing daylight, a B Modified competitor traverses the Solo Nationals East Course on Monday.