At the 2012 American Road Race of Champions held every year at Road Atlanta, arguably the most competitive race after the Runoffs, Danny Steyn fought a tough battle with Cliff Brown the entire race, but had to settle for a 2nd place finish.
After qualifying on the outside pole alongside Cliff Brown, Steyn dogged the bumper of Brown for the entire 20 lap race, never more than 2/10ths of a second adrift, and together they pulled away from the field. 2012 Runoffs champion Jim Drago was an early contender but a mistake at T5 put him out of contention.
Start of the 2012 ARRC Spec Miata Race - Cliff Brown on Pole. Steyn on outside pole. Drago and Clements on 2nd row.
On the last lap Steyn managed to get past Brown going into Turn 1 and held the lead through the infield. Trying too hard to gap Brown, Steyn made a small mistake in Turn 7 that hurt his exit speed and Brown passed him on the back straight. Brown went on to win by a few car lengths. Twenty laps and never more than 2/10ths apart - now that's racing!!!!
Steyn also picked up 4th place in the Pro-IT race and 3rd in the Enduro. Steyn has two previous ARRC titles to his belt, winning the Spec Miata title in 2011 and winning the SMX title in 2010.
Abbreviated race video of Cliff Brown and Danny Steyn fighting it out for the 2012 ARRC Spec Miata title at Road Atlanta.
At last weeks SCCA National Runoffs, Danny Steyn, Jim Drago and Todd Buras were interviewed by GoRacingTV about their love for the Spec Miata class.
Watch the video below and find out what makes the Spec Miata class to attractive to them.
Jim Drago, Todd Buras and Danny Steyn explain their love for the Spec Miata class!
Not only did Danny Steyn put his OPM built, Rossini powered Spec Miata on the pole for both national races at Barber Motorsports Park, but he also qualified on the pole for both STL Nationals and, and qualified in outside pole for the ProIT race. And on top of that he was more than 1.7 seconds under the Spec Miata lap record, running a 1.46.42 in Sundays qualifying, despite being skunked by a slower car on his pole qualifying lap.
In Saturday's Spec Miata National race, Cliff Brown gave Steyn a good run for the first few laps, and then Steyn managed to break away as Brown's tires went off and Steyn pulled away to a 14 second win. Brown finished well clear of Keith Andrews in 3rd and Pat Sandlin in 4th. Jim Drago threw an alternator belt and retired. Lap times were slow and rapidly got slower in the very hot greasy conditions. Steyn did get the fastest race lap with a 1.48.454
In Sunday's Spec Miata Rational Race 2, Steyn got through the first three turns in the lead, but at the hairpin he was helped off the track into the barriers, coming to a rest in the sand trap. After being towed out by the wrecker, Steyn chased as hard as he could to catch the field but crossed the start line almost 30 seconds behind the last car, plus a lap down. Undaunted Steyn put his head down and clicked off the laps, closing more than 5 seconds on the front runners, despite having to clear traffic. Sandlin won the race, Brown was 2nd and Skip Brock 3rd.
Steyn dominated Saturday's STL National in the rain, with a 40 second win over Stephan Tisseront.
Steyn and Brown had an epic battle in the Pro-IT. Steyn ran his spare car as a shake down for the SCCA Runoffs later this month. The first 4 laps were nose to tail with Chuck Baader's BMW and John De Barros's Mazda Protege. Eventually De Barros was able to break clear of Brown and Steyn. Steyn and Brown were side by side on the last lap with Brown squeaking out the victory by 2/10ths of a second.
Congratulations to Cliff Brown for winning the 2012 PRO-IT Championship!
Danny Steyn leads Cliff Brown and Skip Brock in the Spec Miata National at Barber Motorsports Park.
PHOTO CREDIT: Dennis Lathem - PhotoBama
Finally! Here's to hoping that Daytona is the turning point of our 2012 season. All year we have struggled, but we finally seem to have it right. Rossini has built a really strong motor, and OPM has done a wonderful job sorting out the car setup.
Unfortunately Race 1 didn't go to well for Steyn, despite qualifying in 5th place in a deep field. An engine warning light malfunctioned while running in 4th place and Steyn made the safe decision to pit and have his crew do a complete check. Steyn went back out in last and used the seat time to familiarize himself with the track which he had last run in 2009.
Despite running solo, Steyn managed to qualify his car in 4th place, confirming that the new engine is a big step in the right direction. Sunday's race 2 was an incredibly exciting scrap with wheel-to-wheel racing the entire race. There were two Full Course Yellows that brought the pack together and there were two intense and chaotic restarts.
Steyn raced a calculated strategic race, coming out onto the back straight in 2nd place behind Andrew Carbonell, ready to make the last lap slingshot. Unfortunately it was not to be, and although Steyn did pas Carbonell, both Steyn and Carbonnel were passed by the bump draft train of Rollan and Tucker, and finished 3rd. Steyn did however set the fastest race lap 1/1oth second off the lap record.
In the end Steyn was declared the winner when Rollan was DQ'd for contact and Tucker was moved back two places for jumping the restart.
Cory Collum leads Jamie Tucker, Matt Van Vurst, Andrew Carbonell, Andrew Charbonneau, Danny Steyn and Tom Burt.
◊ If you are not sure how much fun Spec Miata racing is, then watch the video below. And if you are not sure how important bump drafting is - take a look at the segment from 8:00 to 9:30 and the segment at the finish 18:50 onwards - You'll quickly understand!!!!
The new OPM Spec Miata built for Steyn continues its sorting out process, and appears that the program is headed in the right direction. Steyn took his new car to pole positions in both the National and Pro-IT qualifying grids, out qualifying several top flight National contenders, including Drago, Sandlin and Brown.
In the National qualifying session, unfortunately a radiator hose let go and Steyn almost spun out in Turn 12 in his own coolant, but hung on to get the pole!
◊ Check out Steyn's wild ride from his in-car video during the pole setting qualifying lap. Subscribe to Danny Steyn's YouTube Channel to receive notifications of the latest race videos.
The OPM team worked to replace the engine for the races, but unfortunately the spare engine was not up to the task. Steyn finished a close 4th in the National and 2nd in the Pro-IT. He did however score the fastest race laps in both races.
With kinks worked out of the new 39 car, Steyn was finally able to take the new car to its maiden race weekend. And all indicators pointed to a really stellar debut.
In the three dry qualifying sessions, Steyn was 2nd, 4th, and Pole. In the fourth wet qualifying session, Steyn took out worn intermediates to find out what the track really had to offer and as expected was way off the pace.
In Saturday's race, Steyn led for two laps but was struggling with the setup on his new car, and slowly dropped back to finish 7th. The top 7 cars crossed the line within 3 seconds of the winner!
Sunday's Race 2 was held in soaking rain. Steyn, normally fast in the wet, took time to get used to the new Hoosier H2O's. Steyn lost a lot of time when he had a huge moment spinning off at South Bend, but recovered, and while everyone around him was flying off the track, Steyn kept calm, kept it on the track and finished 2nd to Todd Buras.
◊ Watch Danny Steyn's in-car video from Saturday's rain race. Danny has a huge moment at 9:25. Subscribe to Danny Steyn's YouTube Channel to receive notifications of the latest race videos.
In Race 1 after qualifying in 3rd place, Steyn fell back quickly and only managed a 7th place finish.
In Race 2, thanks to a great qualifying session with help from Pat Sandlin and Jim Drago, Steyn was able to put his car 4th place on the grid. Unfortunately this didn't last and Steyn dropped back to 7th by Turn 3. A missed shift in turn 7 put Steyn back in 12th place, all on lap 1. Over the next 6 laps, Steyn put his head down and had a really exciting drive working his way back through the field to finish fourth.
◊ Watch the in car video from Steyn's exciting drive back through the field at Road Atlanta. Watch Full Screen. Subscribe to Danny Steyn's YouTube Channel to receive notifications of the latest race videos.
Steyn did however have a semi decent race in the 1-1/2 hour ECR race where he finished a close 2nd to the car of Andrew Carbonnel and Selin Rollan.
OPM rolled out Steyn's new Spec Miata build at Roebling Race track. This is the 3rd race car that OPM have built for Steyn and it is a stunning example of their attention to detail that has taken Steyn to 8 Championships in the past four years.
Click here to see a pictorial build history of the "Best Damn Spec Miata Period"!
Danny Steyn's new Spec Miata built by OPM Autosports, powered by Rossini Racing Engines, featuring Traqmate Data Systems, and sponsored by Adept Photo Studios.
Qualifying came and went today in great conditions, but with a touch of headwind. On a track not known for drafting, a tow, or push, was essential to a good time. Alex Bolanos in his '94 claimed the pole with a 1.22.0. Todd Buras in his 1.6 ran a 1.22.2 for 2nd and I put my '99 in 3rd place with a 1.22.3.. Nice to see all SM variants so well represented.
Todd appears to be the class of the field. He ran several low 1.22's where Alex and I were lucky to get a single flier to get us near the front.
Tomorrow will be a little cooler and times should be faster in the morning.
In the morning STU/STL race Buras just checked out. Roger Burdette had an amazing drive and pushed Steyn down the main straight every lap. Buras Steyn and Burdette ran 1,2,3 with a huge gap to 4th until about 7 laps to go when a Prod car got turned into the pit wall. During the 3 laps under Full Course Yellow, Steyn's cam sensor went bad. Charbonneau, Tucker, and Brown closed he gap to Steyn under caution. With a serious miss fire hurting his power, Steyn pulled way over to let them by.
Charbonneau, Tucker, and Brown flew past Steyn down the straight but only Buras and Charbonneau made it through T1, as Brown, Tucker, and Burdette slid off in in perfect synchronicity in front of Steyn, with no contact at all, but were buried in the sand trap for the duration of the race. The next three laps were really interesting as a Prod car had oiled the track really badly. At tech Andrew Charbonneau was found underweight and moved back several places.
A huge congrats to Buras for the new Roebling STL track record - Todd blitzed it with a 1:21.132! That's fast!
In the afternoon Spec Miata race, just like this mornings STU race, Buras ran away with it from the green flag. That car, with that motor, and Buras at the wheel is going to be pretty difficult to beat all year.
Charbonneau ran a great race coming from 12th to 2nd by race end. Bolanos finished 3rd and Jeff 4th, with Steyn in 5th. The only real racing up front was between Alex, Jeff, Von C and Steyn, and the racing was clean and close with many passes and lots of two wide racing through T1.
Something must have happened further back in the pack, because there was a huge gap to 6th, which saved Steyn who had the misfortune of another cam sensor failure. Cliff Brown was an early contender, but developed an issue and was way off the pace. Tucker was also a contender initially, but fell back. There were several beat up cars on both sides of T5.
At the annual SEDiv Awards Banquet, Danny Steyn was awarded the SEDiv National Championship trophy, as well as the ECR Enduro Championship Medal for the 2011 Racing Season. And to cap it off, Danny was also awarded the 2011 SCCA Driver of the Year Award.
Tom Fowler of OPM Autosports was awarded the SEDiv True Sportsman Award for his contribution to the sport of Road Racing.
Tom Fowler, SEDiv Sportsman of the Year, with Danny Steyn, SEDiv Driver of the Year.
40 Spec Miata's registered for this weekend's race. 62 last weekend. Looks like this Quad National is getting really popular. Draft is all important here at Homestead. Lots of tandem running in Qualifying. Difficult to win without help here, and everyone is really close! Two qualifying sessions held today
Q1 for Saturdays Race (one more qualifying session tomorrow) (top 12 within 1 second!!!!)
1 Todd Buras 1:39.740
2 Andrew Charbonneau 1:39.845
3 Jim Drago 1:40.120
4 Patrick Sandlin 1:40.199
5 Danny Steyn 1:40.201
Q2 for Sundays Race (one more qualifying session Sunday) (top 14 within 1 second!!!!)
1 Alex Bolanos 1:39.621
2 Patrick Sandlin 1:39.788
3 Todd Buras 1:39.789
4 Albert Naon Jr 1:39.815
5 Danny Steyn 1:39.930
Sebring just wasn't a great weekend for Danny Steyn Racing. We battled car issues all weekend long, and while we were able to contend near the front for a few laps in each race, as the engine temps increased the car developed a misfire.
Between races OPM changed all the usual suspects, and of course the problems appeared to be solved, only to reappear in the next race. A very frustrating weekend and a poor way to start the year. This is what makes racing so satisfying and yet so utterly frustrating all at the same time. You have great weekends where you're on fire and nothing can go wrong, and then you have those weekends where nothing goes right.
Steyn ended up with a 6th and 7th place finish for the weekend.
Danny Steyn at speed through Collier Curve at Sebring International Raceway