LIKA, NJMP Help Open 110th NY Int'l Auto Show

Date: 4/5/2010 9:13:48 PM

 
April 3
LIKA, NJMP Help Open 110th NY Int'l Auto Show
By Walter Elliott
 
 NEW YORK CITY -- Members of the Long Island Karting
 
Association, Skip Barber Racing School and New Jersey
 
Motorsports Park helped open the 110th New York
 
International Auto Show in an up close racing manner here
 
Saturday morning.
 
 Three of LIKA's racing divisions, totalling 19 karts, put on
 
near continuous heats on Manhattan's 12th Avenue 9-11
 
a.m. April 3. They circulated on a temporary one-20th
 
mile oval in front of the Jacob Javits Convention Center
 
between West 37th and 38th streets.
 
 LIKA was actually part of a two- or three- ring racing
 
circus, depending on how one among the thousands waiting
 
to enter the Javits Center viewed the morning's racing
 
demonstrations between West 38 and 34th streets.
 
 LIKA, for example took shifts with some 12 karts from the
 
Grand Prix New York indoor track. Grand Prix New York's
 
customer racing karts were driven by NYIAS Chairman John
 
LaSorsa, Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association
 
President Mark Schienberg and other show organizers in an
 
unofficial bragging rights championship.
 
 Three driver-instructors from the Skip Barber Racing School
 
where simultaneously putting two of their Mazdas and a
 
BMWthrough a 12-gate slalom course roughly a fifth-mile
 
long between West 37th and 35th streets.
 
 NJMP officials were meanwhile finalizing their rotation of
 
guest drivers before the NYIAS' opening. Andy Lally,
 
Spencer Pumpelly and David Donohue were among
 
those ready to sign autographs and field questions at the
 
Javits' Crystal Palace South Concourse once the show
 
officially opened at 11 a.m.
 
 LIKA, NJMP, Skip Barber Racing School and Grand Prix New
 
York were four of several entities who maintain racing's
 
presence at the NYIAS. The Barber school, LIKA and Grand
 
Prix New York, on one hand, were part of several special
 
events that treated the public and/or media since March
 
31. NJMP joins Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Mazda, Acura and
 
Kia with continuing public displays until the show closes 7
 
p.m. April 11.
 
 "We're excited to bring karting to the New York Auto
 
Show," said LIKA President Peter Monte before the grand
 
opening crowd. "It's a great way to get involved with
 
family-based racing."
 
 Monte - along with drivers George and Ken Moss and
 
Michael and Melanie Giessen said they took up NYIAS'
 
invitation last month. The temporary speedway is the
 
smallest circuit and only oval on their 15-race calendar.
 
They usually run on paved road circuits at the Nassau
 
Coliseum parking lot, NJMP's kart circuit, the Old Bridge
 
(N.J.) Raceway Park road course and Oakland Valley
 
Raceway Park in Cuddybackville, N.Y.
 
 "We, NJMP, OVRP and Old Bridge are combining for the first
 
time to promote karting in Greater New York," said Monte.
 
"Grand Prix New York's a sponsor and we've just had a
 
winter series with them."
 
 GNYADA and NYIAS have acknowledged racing in
 
previous opening day ceremonies. An IMSA/ALMS Porsche
 
911 sports production car were among those setting 12th
 
Avenue elasped times one year.
 
 GNYADA and NYIAS officials raced U.S. Lawn Mower Racing
 
Association vehicles on the Javits inner roadway another
 
year. A couple of Formula SAE cars from Columbia University
 
joined one opening day parade of unique vehicles.
 
  Local and automotive media received some exclusive
 
events March 31-April 1. Multiple 24 Hours of Daytona
 
winner Hurley Heywood, for example, took on all live
 
and Xbox gamers in racing a Mazda Raceway Laguna
 
Seca computer simulation at the Porsche exhibit.
 
 Daytona 500 winner Geoffrey Bodine came along with the
 
USA 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics gold medal winning
 
four-man bobsled team - and a Bo-Dyne sled - at the
 
Mercedes-Benz exhibit.
 
 "Mercedes-Benz wanted a gold-medal team to go with their
 
gold medal cars just for this show only," said Bodine, of
 
Chemung, N.Y. "I talk about how use of wind tunnels and
 
other NASCAR technology is transferable to bobsled design."
 
 M-B of North America used Bodine and the gold medalists
 
to announce their SLS racing series. Specially licensed
 
owner-drivers of their AMB-prepared SLSs may drive up to
 
12 dates at Road Atlanta or Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. 
 
The race dates, unlike the Ferrari or Corvette challenges
 
witnessed by race spectators, are strictly club dates. 
 
 Lincoln Technical Institute at University of Northwestern
 
Ohio - the former a one-time NASCAR Nationwide
 
Series team sponsor, the latter owners/promoters of
 
Limaland Raceway - are anticipated to be part of the
 
National Automotice Technology Competition and career fair
 
April 6-7.  
 
 Lally and Pumpelly had meanwhile practiced their
 
penmanship at the NJMP exhibit Good Friday. The duo were
 
meeting the public while placed between their own No. 71
 
NASCAR Grand-Am  Porsche 911 GT3 car and a No. 71
 
Bobby Labonte NASCAR Sprint Cup Chevrolet Impala.
 
 NJMP's display, which continues to be the largest
 
motorsports-oriented exhibit of the show, includes a No. 7
 
Bertil Roos Racing School Ford-engined formula car and an
 
example of its F1 Kart program.
 
 Officials of the Millville-based brought new features to their
 
2010 calendar within and outside of their April 1 press
 
conference. At the conference, a rallycross circuit is being
 
built to introduce that form of racing. Up to six cars are to
 
compete in short races on a mixed asphalt/dirt surfaced
 
track as done in Europe.
 
 Outside of the conference, one NJMP official disclised that
 
a dirt asphalt road race has been scheduled for Father's
 
Day weekend. There will also be an enduro/street stock
 
road race on tap.
 
 "I've been coming to the show for 15 years, but this' my
 
first time here on a Good Friday," said Lally. "I'm getting
 
some people who ask the basic racing questions and some
 
who really know racing. This (April 1) crowd is the largest
 
I've seen."
 
 NYIAS organizers anticipate 1.2 million people to see over
 
1,000 vehicles at the Javits Center. The traditionally last
 
international auto show on the calendar usually attracts the
 
largest crowds and is scheduled to coincide with the Easter
 
and Passover holidays.
 
 "This' the first time I've TWO cars at the show," said Lally.
 
"The other one's the No. 10 Grand Am Continential Tire
 
Sports Car Challenge at the KIA booth downstairs."
 
 The No. 10 is a 2010 Kia Koupe production sports car.
 
Toyota has a Kyle Busch No. 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup
 
Snickers Camry on display across the floor alongside a video
 
of Busch putting a Camry hybrid through its paces at
 
Talladega Super Speedway.
 
 The Mercedes-Benz SLS-AMB example is on the show's
 
main floor, among other racing cars. Acura is featuring the
 
No. 7 ALMS XM Satellite Radio LMP2 car from 2007. Mazda
 
meanwhile has a No. 70 GTR production sports car.
 
 Chevrolet has a Cruze outfitted for FIA World Touring Car
 
Challenge competition. It was not known, as of March 31,
 
whether the Cruze will be used for Stateside road racing.
 
 The NYIAS is open 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. through Saturday and
 
10 a.m. - 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets and other details are
 
found at sutoshowNY.com.
 
 


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