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Formula Motorsports

The Metropolitans

By Michael Tashjian • July 23, 2015

I’m most contrite in my approach to this sporadic inclusion of you, in our journeys through the surreal life of a mechanically overindulgent Porsche major domo. You see, if I have nothing to offer but crass commercialism and self-aggrandizement, touched up through “English 101”, what is there to intellectually digest? Most probably, given fewer years in the “service”, my simplistic approach would be childishly familiar and overenthusiastic. Guidance to the woodshed of the English language has been provided via our Post Host, Professori Ted. The “supposed” demographics of this audience continue to burden a full frontal approach toward “righting” and any wrongs associated with. my column. The truth shall set you free!

A salute to recent racing success forms my next appeal. As my recent letter indicates, our collective hearts go to the Bartone family in their tragic loss of my pal, Joseph Bartone. As we all must move forward, loving brother, Anthony, 1998 Alcohol Funny Car Champion, has craftily managed to catapult his racing career to the esteemed position of driver with the NHRA team of WWF (World Wrestling Federation), no easy accomplishment. “Congratulations on joining the 300 MPH club, give’m a body slam!” And you will!

This recent transfer from Florida, Keith Alexander, is executing another WWF ring move on his group of competitors in PCR, Speedvision and ALMS. His debut at the annual Sebring 12 hour race will astonish many observers. As if it was yesterday, Keith’s C4S was sitting on my frame machine, having been pealed from a guardrail of Lime Rock during our first, ahem, introduction. However, our last year’s trip to Florida changed all the rules. An excursion concluding in a purchase of his first “official factory Supercup”. This move spawned his next overlap into ownership of a 996 Super Cup and a half. This machine has been transformed into stealth GT3R. Keith’s tenacity and talent delivers the goods in this the form of this wickedly fast Cup car, earning “His Keithness a high 2:15 at Sebring, this past winter. “Smokin’!” A “deal’ recently inked takes him to the 12 hours at Don Panoz’s Chateu Elan, teamed with last years Barber GT3R and a European contingent capable of winning their class. Look for him to move up the food chain, his seat time demands this!

Juxtaposed as always is “Metro Man” Michael La(v?)uer. Having completed Le Mans, Daytona and a host of other ALMS and vintage races in “00”, Mr. Congeniality (like I should talk!) has a rendezvous with destiny. His competitive nature is intense and experience with prototypes and sports racing machines will lead to victory somewhere this year! Adding his name next to the livery of Michael Schumacher in a Sauber/Mercedes C11 will make fodder of any Vintage or Historic competitor! As always, Michael’s “lauerism’s” offer tongue in cheek entertainment amongst friends. Armed with a Riley and Scott Prototype, his courageous team almost managed an overall win at Daytona. The Adrelelin could have only been exceeded by his dramatic exhibition of driver control, days earlier, upon approach to a 200 MPH wall. Michael’s skill level was tested in a contest with his Sauber, categorized by an explosion of bodywork precipitated through a cut to a rear tire.

Time is frozen for the moment, this multi-directional “Silber Arrow” is streaming to the wall, harness’s strained. Metro man’s reaction time is tested with minute corrections to a very nasty steering wheel, gas and brake pedal. All the while parts are leaving this machine with rapid dispatch, sounds of explosions surrounds his every movement in the cockpit, hurtling along, a scant few feet from a chunk of concrete that salivates for the carbon fiber and flesh it is entrusted to protect. Good drivers are gifted with elevated levels of our five senses. Immeasurable is the fortunes of luck these soldiers of speed must have been anointed with at birth. Good drivers can gather up the rapid set of movements necessary to deny the wall its lust. For blood. Michael is a good driver, he made that wall wait. Unfortunately it only granted a stay of execution. Dale Earnhart would offer it the moment it lusted after, being fed into this concrete coffin a scant few weeks later.

Our most recent award for “the Ice Man Commeth” is Erik Postnieks. Along with a water-cooled ‘01 Turbo for everyday, he challenges the PCR racing circuit in a 996 Supercup, skillfully; we plot his career, disassemble and reassemble his Supercup and embrace the first places, as we move toward a mutually satisfactory goal of total domination in the GTC class. Make no mistake, “Erik is here!” The experience he is gaining at this country’s most famous road courses will enable him to fulfill the dreams many of us have in motorsports activity. A win at Sebring, enhanced by so many lead changes during a race in January, has fueled our preparation of his Supercup for upcoming races at Atlanta, Mid-Ohio, Road America, to name but a few. I discover ways to ratchet up the systems incorporated within the 996-based factory racecar. This up-from-nothing overachiever possesses execution and instincts akin to veteran pilots, allowing our tutorial in driver training to accelerate at a dramatic pace. The installation of a prototype and/or a GT3RS to his Supercup program is on the horizon and dutifully necessary, as his livery is quickly recognized for it’s reliability and competitiveness.

February brought the usually local and beloved Macaluso brotherhood, joined by Joe “Mr. 996” Doria, “The Iceman” and “His Keith ness”, along with Team Formula and many Metro PCA’ers, to forage in the gray, concrete pastures of their first driving experience over the runways of Sebring airport. A culmination of this long distance event came in the form of a huge reward in viewing a club ensemble manifest their friendships during a competitive 48 hours at Sebring! With all the years of endurance racing behind, along with a track layout changed several times, my journeys to the orange groves always conclude with a phase learned far in the past-”You can win at Daytona, but you must try and finish Sebring!