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PhilsTireService.com Team to Endure 13 Hours at VIR


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For Immediate Release - May 29, 2004


Contact Kirk Knestis, [email protected] or 336-509-1264


Greensboro, NC - a team of four part-time sports car racers has confirmed its entry for the Charge of the Headlight Brigade 13-hour endurance race, October 22-23 at Virginia International Raceway. Among races on the Atlantic coast, this Sports Car Club of America (SCCA®) event is shorter than only the celebrated 24-hours of Daytona in Florida, and will run around a 3.27-mile circuit, in all weather conditions and well into the night.




PhilsTireService.com Team GTI will be looking for victory in the Improved Touring B class. Cars in this category are essentially stock and this particular 1996 Volkswagen sport compact has few performance modifications beyond KONI racing struts, uprated suspension springs, and extreme-duty brake pads from Cobalt Friction Technologies.


Driving duties will be shared by car owner Kirk Knestis (Greensboro, NC), Southeast Honda Challenge and ITC standout Scott Giles (Leesburg, GA), past SCCA® Run-Offs® bronze medallist Greg Amy (Middletown, CT), and Northeast division IT journeyman Evan Webb (Elkridge, MD). These amateur racers have pooled their resources to tackle this event because it is simply not possible to go it alone on an operation of this magnitude. Driver Scott Giles's sentiments reflect another motivation for joining the team, however: "I've always wanted to do a long distance event like this one, but I'm not crazy enough to subject my own racecar to that kind of abuse."




The team anticipates that a trouble-free run will cover more than 900 miles at an average speed better than 70 mph. Drivers will take turns in the car, running stints approaching 2 hours in length, between which an all-volunteer pit crew led by head tech Cameron Conover (Greensboro, NC) will perform service as required. The more heavily loaded front tires - Toyo Proxes RA-1 race rubber from Phil's Tire Service, in Haverstraw, NY - will be asked to go two stints before changing. Early-season testing suggests that they can expect to average 11mpg on the track, a surprisingly high figure under race conditions. Even at that, increasing gas prices have forced adjustments to the budget for the event.


The PhilsTireService.com team is documenting the season-long effort toward its endurance-racing debut at http://it2.evaluand.com/gti - a site that will be updated with text and images describing modifications to the car in collaboration with Bildon Motorsports, logistical preparations for the event, and stories of the team's adventures during the race.

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Contact Kirk Knestis, [email protected] or 336-509-1264




Greensboro, NC – PhilsTireService.com Team GTI had a completely trouble-free run to a class win and 28th of more than 60 entries in its endurance racing debut, at the 2004 Charge of the Headlight Brigade 13-hour sports car race. The event, held on October 23rd at Virginia International Raceway (near Danville, VA) and sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA®), is shorter than only the historic Daytona 24-hours in Florida, among sports car races on the East coast of the United States.


Drivers Scott Giles (Leesburg, GA), Greg Amy (Middletown, CT), and Evan Webb (Elkridge, MD) joined car owner Kirk Knestis (Greensboro, NC) to complete 938 miles at an average speed of nearly 72mph, around the 3.27-mile circuit in an event that started at 9:15 on a Saturday morning and was not over until four hours after nightfall.


The team, in collaboration with Koni shock absorbers, Volkswagen racing specialist Bildon Motorsport, and Cobalt Friction Technologies brake parts, secured victory in Improved Touring B by finishing five laps clear of the next closest of six entries in that class. Success was achieved by applying a strategy of lapping faster but stopping for fuel more often than the second-place team, in what became a two-car race when other ITB entries dropped out or were delayed by mechanical difficulties.


Having qualified second in class and 48th overall, the driving squad avoided several close calls in the opening laps, including a minor car-to-car incident that thankfully left their 1996 VW GTI essentially undamaged. As the event settled into a rhythm more appropriate for a race of endurance, Webb, Amy, Giles, and Knestis were able to turn consistent laps punctuated by only seven brief stops to take on fuel and change tires.


The only mechanical service required during the event was the addition of a half-quart of engine oil (near the 10-hour mark), a topping-up of the brake fluid (to compensate for pad wear), and the installation of high-output driving lights just before dark. Team managers gave credit for this reliability to the preparation efforts of chief technician Cameron Conover (Greensboro, NC), and to parts and technical support from both Bildon and import service specialist Der Wagen Haus, also of Greensboro.


The tires – Toyo Proxes RA-1 race rubber from title sponsor Phil’s Tire Service, in Haverstraw, NY – performed flawlessly, with the rears lasting the entire race while the fronts were changed as a precaution every 2.5 to 3 hours. Car owner Knestis was clearly pleased when the brake pads from Cobalt went the distance without replacement – a clear advantage in an event where time spent in the pits can mean the difference between winning and losing: “We didn’t want to get our hearts set on not changing them,” he admitted, “but we really weren’t surprised when they lasted the entire race.”


The team is already making plans for future events on the East coast with continued support from its current promotional and technical partners, and is working to develop collaborative agreements with other businesses with interests in the booming import performance automotive sector.


Additional information and pictures detailing the PhilsTireService.com Team GTI 13-hour effort can be found on the Web at http://it2.evaluand.com/gti/enduro04.php



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