Team GTI

The 73 70 55 Hours of the East Coast
Endurance Tour

Tentative Calendar and Event Report 2007
Last updated 28 November, 2008

News (October) - Local Georgia talent and Conover Motor Sports principal Bowie Gray will be driving the Team GTI Golf at the American Road Race of Champions (the ARRC), on the second weekend of November at Road Atlanta. This collaborative effort has been conceived to demonstrate the sprint racing capabilities of the MkIII Golf as developed by CMS, its endurance pedigree having been fairly well established by this point.

News (04 September) - Conover Motor Sports Team GTI is pleased to announce that ever-reliable team driver Greg Amy will be completing the crew line-up for the 13-hour enduro classic at Virginia International Raceway, on November 3rd.

News (22 March) - Unfortunately, our season has been shortened a little more, since the USERA event at Carolina Motorsports Park has been cancelled by event organizers.

News (27 February) - The Homestead 12-hour has been scrubbed from our calendar, due to a lack of qualified codrivers interested in doing the event.

Virginia International Raceway
Alton, VA
23-25 February
National Auto Sports Association (NASA)
3-hour enduro

The Conover Motor Sports VW Golf, driven solo by car owner Kirk Knestis achieved an amazing 1st overall at the NASA Charlie Gibson 300 3-hour endurance race, run at Virginia International Raceway in on-track conditions that varied from merely wet to well and truly flooded.

Weather reports called for rain - a comfortable situation for Seattle native Knestis - and the team was confident going into race day. However, the driver was late to grid for the race and delays getting the complex head restraint, radio, drink bottle, fire-resistent gloves, and other systems properly connected saw the PhilsTireService.com-supported VW roll off dead last, and a half lap behind the pack as it circulated behind the pace car.

None of that seemed to matter when the green flag flew, as the little blue Golf immediately started picking off cars in the early-race downpour. Many competitors helped out by falling afoul of the slick conditions or pitting for fuel or driver changes as the team moved into the lead near the end of the first hour.

The victory was not without drama however, as Knestis threw away much of his early advantage by sliding into the tire wall on Lap 25, in the slow Oak Tree turn - flattening a Hoosier rain tire in the process. Luckily, since they were within the window required to make the distance on just one stop, the Conover crew was able to replace the wheel and top up the fuel tank, losing just four minutes to the incident and their only visit to the pits.

As the light failed, the rain eased, and the race ended, the only car entered in the slowest class of the race managed to hang onto a 50-second margin of victory over the second-place DeLuca Mitsubishi Evo and the Herrington BMW 325 in third. Knestis (alone since he ran without a codriver for this event) invited his crew to share the podium celebration - Andy Lancaster, Ryan Jenkins, Chris Schimmel, and team boss Cameron Conover having braved the miserable weather in the pits while the car owner had all the fun.

Rockingham North Carolina Speedway
Hamlet, NC
10-11 March
Sports Car Club of America

A great race to 2nd of five ITB cars entered was the reward for Conover Motor Sports' first visit to The Rock. While Knestis didn't have enough to challenge first-place finisher (and 2006 South Atlantic Road Racing Championship champion) Richard Floyd, he did overcome a poor starting position to work through the field during the 30-minute event.

Carolina Motorsports Park
Kershaw, SC
24-25 March
US Enduro Racing Association (USERA)
Twin 3-hour enduros


Homestead Miami Speedway
Miami, FL
20-21 April
Sports Car Club of America
Kumho Tires Tropical 12 Hours 12-hour enduro
Dropped from the calendar
Virginia International Raceway
Alton, VA
11-12 May
Sports Car Club of America
Double SARRC

This SCCA Regional weekend was used as a test-and-tune for the upcoming 12 Hours at the Point, with Saturday's race run on full fuel tanks to test new systems installed in by Conover Motor Sports. Kirk started dead last that day, following a scoring mix-up that resulted in him being left off the grid list but since it was a mechanical test, the team was not worried about finishing positions.

Sunday's race, run to test low fuel levels, was more indicative of the performance of the Golf, with Kirk finishing 4th of 9 ITB cars in the SARRC points field - not a bad result for a car in enduro trim, nearly 100 pounds over the class-specified minimum for the model. Most importantly, the new systems operated just as expected and the team is ready for the Summit 12.

Summit Point Motorsports Park
Summit Point, WV
2-3 June
Sports Car Club of America
12 Hours at the Point 12-hour enduro

Team GTI, with drivers Phil Phillips, Matt Brown, Jon Kofod, and Kirk Knestis, had mysterious transmission issues relegate the Conover Motor Sports ITB Golf to a second-in-class finish, tarnishing an excellent showing over the first half of the event - read the full story.

Team GTI drivers (left to right) Jon Kofod (with antennae), Matt Brown, Kirk Knestis (in car) and Phil Phillips - Kim Phillips Photo

Virginia International Raceway
Alton, VA
27 July
Grassroots Motorsports Ultimate Track Car Challenge


News (29 July 2007) - Conover Motor Sports used B100 biodiesel from Oak Biodiesel (High Point, NC) to tow Team GTI to the VIR NASA race this weekend. Performance and mileage were great and the only noticeable change over conventional fuel is that the tow vehicle now smells vaguely like a kitchen, instead of a jet idling on the runway. For more information about the availability of recycled oil fuel in the Piedmont Triad area please email Oak Biodiesel.

Conover Motor Sport Team GTI finished almost dead last at the Ultimate Track Car Challenge...

...but that was actually to be expected, given the no-rules nature of the event and the high-powered, high-dollar hardware that showed up. Driver Kirk Knestis finished second in the under-subscribed "Junior Varsity Shop" class for normally aspirated 4-cylinder cars prepared by professional shops, but the event was enjoyable and safe and provided a great opportunity to hang out with the racing community during a unique, low-pressure event. Watch future issues of Grassroots Motorsports magazine for feature coverage of the UTCC.

The team also entered NASA's Performance Touring E class for two sprint races during the weekend, finishing a surprise second on Sunday.

Nelson Ledges Road Course
Garrettsville, OH
24-26 August
Sports Car Club of America
The Longest Day 24-hour enduro

Team GTI, as part of its ongoing partnership with Conover Motor Sports, achieved an ITB class victory in the return of the Longest Day 24 hour endurance classic, at Nelson Ledges, Ohio. Drivers Kirk Knestis, Matt Graham, Fred Snow, and Conover's Pro IT winner Bowie Gray teamed up with Appalachian/Hoosier Tire and Hella lights for this event, to score a dominant victory over a solid ITB field.

The win moves Team GTI to 7th overall in the 2007 Endurance Championship Series (ECS), which combines four of the best long-distance events in the Eastern states. A full story with pictures is now available.

Tom Hoppe,-Sixgun Racing Photo

Virginia International Raceway
Alton, VA
3 November
Sports Car Club of America
Charge of the Headlight Brigade 13-hour enduro

Conover Motor Sports captured its second major club racing enduro in a row, earning a six-lap advantage over the 2nd-place ITB car and a surprising 17th overall of 76 official starters at the prestigious VIR 13 hours.

CMS boss Cameron Conover orchestrated the win, with drivers Phil Phillips, Matt Brown, and Greg Amy carrying cockpit responsibilities as team owner Kirk Knestis was sidelined by illness. More details of this exceptional event are now available.

Greg Amy flies the inside wheels through the Oak Tree corner at VIR - Ryan Jenkins Photo

Road Atlanta
Braselton, GA
10 November
Sports Car Club of America
American Road Race of Champions (ARRC)

Conover Motor Sports hotshoe and 2007 SeDiv Pro ITA champion Bowie Gray took a sweet victory at what might be the most prestgious SCCA regional sprint race in the nation - the ARRC.

Gray demonstrated that "Pablo" the Golf is more than just an endurance specialist, as the pair beat some of the best ITB drivers and cars on the east coast. A full story is now available, with photos from Tom Hoppe of Sixgun Racing.

Tom Hoppe-Sixgun Racing Photo - Conover Motor Sports Team GTI's Golf in the ARRC victory lane
Last updated 28 November, 2008

Project GTI is headquartered at Conover Motor Sports, Burlington, NC
All photos © Copyright Kirk Knestis, unless otherwise indicated


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