I’ve known Fabryce Kutyba of GMG for more than a decade now. Long enough for us to both make fun of the other as our once virile bodies fall apart. Fabryce helped European Car realize a few of its Challenge Series, events that squared off Audi S4s, Porsche 911 turbos and Volkswagen GTIs in the hope of finding the best of the best.
As much as we enjoyed the ec Challenge Series, they were limited in scope, a bit too specialized for the average reader. Why would a GTI fanatic care about a 911 running mid-10s in the quarter-mile? The answer is he wouldn’t. Unless you owned that particular brand of car there was no compelling reason to read bout it. This made our editorial staff very, very sad. Moreover, the logistics needed to run such an event are daunting. And we’re only talking about 10-12 cars per Challenge. A proper Tuner Grand Prix would contain more than 100 cars of different makes, models and temperaments. The very thought of putting on a Global Tuner Grand Prix nearly gave me a stroke. Hell, I nearly broke into tears when the catering truck guy got in a fight with the track owner.
Although tuner shootouts in Europe and Asia are common (e.g., Tuner GP at Hockenheim and the Super Lap Battle event at Japan’s Suzuka), North America hasn’t seen anything like it. It would take a better man than me to organize such an event.
Enter Fabryce Kutyba.
I always knew Fabryce was a bit of a lunatic. I never realized he was flippin’ mad. In less than six months’ time, Fabryce and the crew at GMG had booked the world-famous Laguna Seca Raceway, devised a series of run groups and rules and managed to get the info disseminated onto the Internet all by himself. That Fabryce managed to do this with such limited resources is astounding. Even Laguna Seca officials were impressed and placed the GTGP on their schedule for the next five years.
The Global Tuner Grand Prix (GTGP) presented by Mobil 1 was the season finale for Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. With intermittent rain throughout the weekend and adverse track conditions, the action kept drivers and fans on the edge of their seats. The diversity of the tuning culture was displayed and represented by more than a dozen manufacturers. Racers from various backgrounds set out on track at the same time as the GTGP welcomed a mix of professional racing drivers and amateur club and time-trial drivers, incorporating makes and models from every corner of the globe.
We had an amazing weekend and would like to thank all our sponsors for their support, says GTGP co-founder Fabryce Kutyba. Mobil 1, Stoptech, Porsche Motorsport North America, Mazda, BBS, Michelin, Pirelli, and Hoosier. There is no doubt that the Global Tuner Grand Prix is an event that will only grow in the years to come.
The main event on Sunday was the GTGP time-trial competition, consisting of three different classes: Tuner, Street and Unlimited. Andy Pilgrim claimed the fastest time overall in the Unlimited class, running the K-PAX Volvo S60R, with a 1-minute, 28.517-second lap time.
I was really amazed to see so many fans despite the weather conditions, says Pilgrim. There were people in the grandstands and tons of people at The Corkscrew, even during monsoon conditions; great to see. One point I do want to highlight: I can honestly say the on-track respect and discipline of the drivers at this event was some of the best I have ever seen.
Garry Grant took the fastest time and victory in the Tuner class with a 1:37.604 in a Dodge Viper ACR, while the overall Street class winner was T.C. Kline in a Porsche Boxster Spyder, putting down a 1:42.780.
The main Challenge Race took place Sunday and was blessed with the absence of rain. The front row consisted of Porsche and Volvo, with James Sofronas and Pilgrim lining up side by side, respectively. These two drivers ended up lapping the entire field during the 50-minute sprint to checker, and the winners ended up finishing as they started, with Sofronas winning overall and Pilgrim placing Second. John Trefethan finished Third. Sofronas also recorded the fastest time during the weekend with a 1:26.549 on Saturday to set the quickest time overall for the inaugural running of this event.
The weekend also attracted the attention of professional racing driver Darren Law. I really enjoyed being involved in the Global Tuner Grand Prix this year, says Law. They have really put together a first-class program. It was hosted at one of America’s premier racetracks; it had a good turnout of competitors and was well organized. This is also a great time of year. They made it available to both competitors and spectators alike. I really think they have something here and look forward to being a part of it again next season.
That Fabryce managed to do this with such limited resources is astounding. Even Laguna Seca officials were impressed.