The Challenge Cup Series is a passionate and professional group of individuals working as a team to encourage affordable grassroots racing and displays incredible race craft. With the increased exposure and interest in both Canada and the U.S., this series can only grow larger.
Our Canadian/American based series is passionate about providing a competitive and low-cost venue for hardworking, up-and-coming drivers.
The 2017 Challenge Cup Series season was one to remember, visiting five excellent motorsport facilities, our largest field sizes to date all while working towards one common goal, to have a safe and fun place to race Formula Vee.
About Formula Vee:
Formula Vee (US) or Formula 1200 (Canada), is a racing class based on the pre-1963 Volkswagen Beetle. The engine, transmission, suspension and brakes are all stock or modified parts; the chassis is a tube frame design with a fiberglass body. It has changed very little from the start, yet has seen some of the world’s finest racers in its ranks.
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park:
This was the first stop of the 2017 race season. We had an incredible turnout for the weekend’s race and were joined by the F1200 Canadian series. Saturday morning the group took to the track for the first qualifying of the weekend with Dean Curtis taking pole followed closely in second by Phil Wang of the F1200 series and in third Ray Carmody. Race 1 was Saturday afternoon but was delayed by a red flag due to a freak thunder and hailstorm. Once racing resumed it was a tight field with the whole group battling for positions and in the end, Ray Carmody came out on top followed in second by Dean Curtis and Phil Wang in third.
As usual, the Challenge Cup Series had its Saturday night paddock dinner and prize drawings. Sunday would see the 24-car field take the green for Race 2. With everyone battling for positions, Ray Carmody would come out on top followed closely by our visiting racer from Brazil who was part of the Challenge Cup International program Murrillo Latore. Rounding out the podium, coming in third was Van Peter Hanson.
The final race of the weekend came Sunday afternoon and made for the usual tight races throughout the field. After a fast 20 min race Ray Carmody again clinched the top spot , coming in second was Phil Wang of the Canadian F1200 series and very close in third was Murrillo Latore. It was a fantastic weekend of racing in Canada and a great start to the 2017 Challenge Cup Series championship.
This weekend was a single day race event for the Challenge Cup Series. Drivers had only one shot to get the best finishing positions and points. Qualifying for the race was very close with half a second between first and third spot. Murillo Latorre would take pole followed by Barrett Kingsborough and right on the gearbox in third was Challenge Cup Series 2015 & 2016 Champion, Matt Garwood. As usual, with the Challenge Cup Series, there were tight battles all through the field but the eventual winner would be Murrillo Latorre leading from pole followed by Dean Curtis and Sam Ryan in third spot.
The major story of the Mid-Ohio Challenge Cup event was the dominance by one driver – Michael Varacins. The four-time SCCA National Champion, making his first Stateside Challenge Cup appearance, had a perfect sweep of the weekends’ pole positions and races. Saturday morning qualifying started out with a wet track for the twenty-one car field, but the track dried as the session went on and speeds increased. Varacins took advantage of the changeable conditions and took pole position. Lining up alongside him on the front row was Regular Division point’s leader Murrilo Latorre of Brazil.
At the start of the race, Varacins steadily pulled away and won comfortably. Followed in second by Latorre, with Dean Curtis taking third overall. In the Divisional breakdowns, Curtis took first in the Masters Division, with Ray Carmody finishing second and Sam Ryan taking home the third place hardware. In the Regular Division it was Varacins taking the first-place trophy, Latorre second and Canadian driver Barrett Kingsborough placing third.
After a sumptuous Saturday evening cookout that also included the awarding of valuable prize giveaways to Challenge Cup drivers, Sunday morning qualifying dawned warm, with dry track conditions. At the end of the qualifying session, the front row for the race was identical to Saturday, with Varacins on pole and Latorre on the outside.
In the race, Varacins once again pulled away from the field, but behind him, battles were raging up and down the field for position among groups of drivers, in what has become typical of almost every Challenge Cup event. At the finish Varacins once again triumphed, with Ray Carmody second and Murillo Latorre taking third overall. In the Regular Division the order was Michael Varacins, Murillo Latorre and Barrett Kingsborough first through third, while in the Masters Division Ray Carmody finished first, with Sam Ryan second and Dean Curtis taking home the final trophy.
Pittsburgh International Race Complex:
With twenty-nine cars registered, the weekend was going to be one of the series largest fields yet. Saturday morning was the first qualifying session for Race 1; we would see Gary Kittell with the pole. Starting second would be visiting Brazilian Murillo Latorre and in a very close third was Masters Driver Sam Ryan.
Race 1 of the weekend would come Saturday afternoon, as tight battles for positions on track throughout the field would continue during the 20-minute race. Gary Kittell would lead from pole and never look back; taking the victory with Murillo Latorre in second, right behind him was the very quick Trevor Carmody. Saturday night’s social was exciting as usual, as all the drivers and crews got together to have a great meal cooked by Elsabe Wasserman and Katrina Carmody. After the meal, the series handed out the day’s trophies and prize drawings.
Sunday morning would bring qualifying for Race 2; again, Gary Kittell would take the pole followed by Murillo Latorre with the rest of the field only separated by a few seconds. Race 2 Sunday afternoon was going to have the entire field tightly grouped. As the qualifying numbers showed, Race 2 was extremely close, only three seconds separating first through fourteenth. Coming to the checkered flag it would be Gary Kittell leading from pole and taking the win. Second would be handed to Trever Carmody working his way up from a fifth starting position third place would be awarded to Mark Farnham.
This was another exceptional race weekend put on by Formula race promotions and the Challenge Cup Series.
Pocono IndyCar Event:
The Challenge Cup Pocono IndyCar weekend was conceived as a multi-purpose event to promote the Series, allow seat time in a relatively low stress environment for drivers new to Formula Vee racing and as a bonus included IndyCar race weekend spectator passes for all entrants.
Dave Thompson served as organizer, with Sam Ryan, Dean Curtis and Ray Carmody working with Dave in helping run the weekend’s schedule. A course was laid out in the Pocono infield that combined twisty bits along with a couple long straightaways and some high-speed curves. Professional driving instructor Sherman Engler took to the wheel of his Vee to pace the novice drivers and give after-session advice.
There was a good turnout of new drivers excited to get real-world experience in a Formula Vee, with many regular Challenge Cup drivers loaning their prized mounts to those interested in getting behind the wheel. Among the young novices to try their hand were Ian Hornish, Makala Marks (who is the daughter of IndyCar crewmember Scott Marks), and Emily Ryan (daughter of Challenge Cup competitors Sam and Susan Ryan). Many veteran Challenge Cup drivers also performed high-speed demonstration laps and most were pleased with the track layout.
Another highlight of the weekend was when the Challenge Cup entrants took to the Pocono Tri-Oval for three-abreast demo pace laps. The spectacle of twenty-three Challenge Cup Vees circulating the banking created quite a buzz among both spectators and some IndyCar participants as well! Afterwards, several of the Challenge Cup cars were put on display in the paddock area and an information table with banners was set up to answer questions from the many individuals curious about the Series and Formula Vee racing.
The Challenge Cup Pocono event was considered both a success from the entrants’ perspective and from a promotional point of view for the Series.
Watkins Glen International:
The final event of the 2017 Challenge Cup season was held at Watkins Glen in conjunction with the SCCA Finger Lakes Region is long running “Fun One” autumn classic. On Friday night, Ray and Trina Carmody hosted an impromptu pizza party at their paddock space and many Challenge Cup drivers and crew took advantage of their generosity!
Saturday morning dawned warm and beautiful. Record twenty-eight Cup entrants lined up on the false grid for practice and qualifying on the long course. All that pizza from the night before must have inspired Trevor Carmody, as he secured the pole position. Matt Clark had second fastest time and slotted in on the outside of the front row.
At the start, the race broke down into many individual groups fighting for position along the 3.7-mile course. Up front, Murillo Latorre managed to pull away from the tightly contested group of Trevor Carmody, Sherman Engler, Dean Curtis and Ray Qualls. At the finish, it was Latorre victorious, with Trevor Carmody getting the second-place trophy and Engler third. Carmody, Engler, Qualls and Curtis crossed the finish line within one second of each other. In the Masters Division Engler was the victor, followed by Curtis and Arnie Carbaugh, who received the third place trophy. First place in the Regular Division went to Latorre, with Trevor Carmody second and Qualls third.
Saturday’s dedicated Challenge Cup-only race saw twenty-eight cars pouring down the track when the afternoon green flag dropped. At the finish, Trevor Carmody won overall; with his father Ray breathing down his tail pipe, two-tenths behind. Third overall went to Sherman Engler. Four drivers finished within one second of the winner! In the Divisional breakdown, trophies went to Ray Carmody in first, followed by Sherman Engler in second and Sam Ryan third in Masters and Trevor Carmody first place, Latorre second and Ray Qualls third in Regular.
The year-end awards banquet was held in the Glen Media building. After a catered dinner, prize giveaways were handed out and the 2017 season champions were crowned. Brazilian Murillo Latorre was victorious in the Regular Division; taking home the second-place trophy was Challenge Cup Series 2015 & 2016 Champion, Canada’s Matt Garwood. American Trevor Carmody took third-place honors.
In the Masters Division, it was an All-American affair with Ray Carmody the victor, Sam Ryan getting the second-place trophy and Challenge Cup Series Masters 2015 & 2016 Champion, Dean Curtis receiving third-place honors.
It truly was a busy summer for the Challenge Cup Series team, drivers, crew members and fans. We must offer our deepest appreciation to the many individuals who support the growing class. A lot of time and effort has been put into this series, on both sides of the border, to make the Challenge Cup Series a reality. The ten-race season features Formula Vee and Formula 1200 open-wheeled race cars competing at premier road courses within the United States and Canada. We congratulate our series Champions and drivers on another accelerating year in motorsports. The 2018 Challenge Cup Series Championship season is just around the corner.
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