Looking Forward: 2021 Time Trials Nationals
Looking Forward: 2021 Time Trials Nationals
What do the Indy 500, Rolex 24 at Daytona, Grand Prix De Monaco and Daytona 500 all have in common with the Tire Rack SCCA Time Trials Nationals Powered by Hagerty? The answer is these are all single, marquee motorsport events that far transcend the series in which they exist.
The biggest Time Trials event in the United States, the fourth annual Time Trials Nationals will take place June 9-13 at NCM Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Sporting nearly 240 entries, on-track activities get rolling Thursday morning and continue through Sunday afternoon.
Much More than the Sum of its Parts
On paper, Time Trials Nationals looks like a straightforward, four-day event. A couple Time Attacks, a couple TrackSprints, then you pack up and head home. But nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, Time Trials Nationals is more of a festival “experience” drawing together people from a wide array motorsport disciplines.
“What really makes this event special is the coming together of participants from autocross, road racing, RallyCross, and even other recognized groups like Global Time Attack, #GRIDLIFE,” said SCCA National Time Trials Manager John Hunter. “The Holley Day Expo Event Thursday evening is a combination car show and required classing review, but is 100 percent social party with a cookout. Participants, crew and spectators are invited to wander around cars, perhaps with their favorite beverage, and talk shop with others who share their automotive passion. On-track activities may end at 5:30 pm, but the party goes on much later, and it’s open to anyone who wants to show up!”
That festive atmosphere continues throughout the weekend, including at Saturday’s Hagerty Party, and right through the KONI Podium Celebration Sunday afternoon where awards will be presented to more than just class champions, but also those who go above and beyond to raise the event above competition.
This year, drivers come from more than 30 different states, with significant contingents arriving from Florida, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and, of course, Kentucky. And they are all there to tackle a very fun and challenging NCM Motorsports Park circuit.
“NCM Motorsports Park has a really good blend of technical and speed sections,” Hunter said. “It is a fun track, but it is certainly challenging. There are areas that take intestinal fortitude, and turning consistent laps isn’t always so easy. But when you set a ‘personal best’ on any one of the three layouts we’ll be using at Time Trials Nationals, it’s a feat of which you can be proud.”
Teamwork Makes the Difference
Time Trials events are sometimes explained as “you and your car versus the track.” Sure, that’s certainly part of it. But teamwork also plays a huge role in this particular motorsport activity. Often times the drivers who work well together on track during a session, even though they may be running in different classes, get the most out of their cars and themselves.
There are a couple “classes” fans will want to keep an eye on over the weekend as drivers try to reset track records. For example, the best Time Trials Nationals lap to date on the Grand Full Course is 2:05.728 set by the Nissan GT-R of Kyle Carrick in the Unlimited 1 class, of which there are eight entries this year. The 15 drivers in Max 1 will be seeking to best a time of 2:10.731 set by the Porsche 911 of James Rauck. And with two dozen competitors on the entry list, there will be lots to watch in Tuner 4 as drivers dig for a time that is better than the 2:19.187 produced by the Honda S2000 of Tony Rodriguez in 2019.
It’s the Sport classes, however, that have turned out in force for this year’s Time Trials Nationals. Sport 1 has 20 entries, all looking to beat a time of 2:13.148 set by Jason Hobbs in a Chevrolet Corvette last year. Hobbs is back this year looking to set a new personal record. The 25 drivers in Sport 6 will be hunting down a time of 2:23.448 accomplished by DJ Alessandrini in a Scion FR-S on the Grand Full Course. Will DJ improve his best time? Or will another S6 driver set the best time yet? Then the largest field of the weekend with nearly 30 drivers is Sport 2 where a time of 2:17.459 is the target—a mark currently owned by the Porsche 911 of John Roeder since 2019.
Watch Personal Stories Take Shape
Will a new car come to the forefront in a specific class and set the Time Trials Nationals community abuzz? What impact might conditions play on lap times? Will tire selection play a role? Who has been working hard on car modifications over winter months, and what will they have at the track? Who might need to overcome setbacks to emerge triumphant with a new personal best lap time? The only way to find out the answers to these questions is to tune in online here for live timing and audio commentary from NCM Motorsports Park.
Photo by Malachi Sallee