Another World-First for Scion as JD Scion Racing Team Wins Enduro at Buttonwillow
Crew Pulls Off Fastest Overall Pitstop of Any Team en Route to Victory
TORRANCE, Calif. - Endurance road racing is perhaps the truest test of durability. And this past weekend at Buttonwillow Raceway Park, the team simply listed as "Scion Racing" pulled off an amazing victory in the E1 class in the season opener of the Western Endurance Racing Championship (WERC) series. The Scion tC would take the checkered on Lap 81, logging more than 225 race miles. Put simply, it marks Scion’s first endurance racing win in the world.
Less than three hours after winning a nail-biter sprint race in Performance Touring C that saw driver and team manager Dan Gardner cross the finish line a scant half second ahead of the second place Mazda RX-8, the very same Scion tC racecar was prepped and ready to be put through the wringer for the three-hour Enduro.
Gardner teamed with veteran endurance driver Scott Webb for the season opener, and the two would prove to be a potent combo. But the win would not have been possible without an amazing overall team effort. Pit crew members Brad Allen, Sean Morris, John McNulty, Patrick David, Sean Bradley, and Chris Earl pulled off the single fastest pitstop of any car regardless of class during the race.
"This couldn’t have happened without perhaps the best teamwork and planning in the paddock," said Gardner. "I can’t believe how well everyone worked together. This win belongs to guys in the pit. They set a new benchmark for every other team to live up to. And our Scion tC racecar was simply bulletproof, being forced through practice sessions, qualifying sessions, time trial sessions, and a brutal sprint race before the Enduro even began!"
"I echo Dan’s comments about the teamwork, which was second to none," said Webb. "The preparedness of the team was super impressive, especially considering that this was the team’s first real plunge into endurance racing. Talk about a flawless series of pitstops! As for the car, well, I don’t think anything more needs to be said when you find yourself outrunning machines costing two to three times as much. What a great overall performance."
Webb qualified the car well, putting the Scion in P2 in the E1 class pack, ahead of many higher class E0 cars as well. Team strategy put Gardner in the car for the first stint, and when the green flew Gardner rocketed ahead, immediately taking over the lead in E1, as he passed just about every E0 car as well. This was all without a spotter on the radio, as the team had a minor issue that would be resolved by the second lap.
Gardner fended off the purpose-built Mazda RX-8 endurance car, fielded by Mazda VP Robert Davis. Shod with Hoosiers, Mazda’s strategy clearly was more hare out of the gates. After a couple laps, Gardner let the RX-8 go, sticking to the game plan the team had set with their longer lasting Nitto NT-01 tires.
A blistering single lap is great for Qualifying a racecar, but endurance racing requires steady, consistent quick laps over and over again. On top of that, pit stops play a major part of the equation, as huge pieces of time can be won or lost any time the car pits.
Gardner was rattling off lap after lap with great consistency. All the while he had an E0 BMW in his mirrors, but the Scion was slightly faster, and Gardner couldn’t afford to let the car past, lest it slow him up in the places the tC was quicker.
A Porsche has lost a piece of its front-end in the Bustop, and Gardner slid the tC wide, running it over, and hoping it wouldn’t result in a flat tire. Fortunately the Scion kept moving forward, but not before Gardner would get lost in a thick dust cloud at Off-Ramp, and drive the Scion off-road. Standing in the gas, Gardner motored along the outside, until the car was under control, and then drove back on track in time for Cotton Corners.
Aside from some tires in the dirt, and having to contend with the BMW in his mirrors, the stint was uneventful, as Gardner took care of the car for 30 laps. At lap 25, the main fuel pump starved slightly, and Gardner flipped on the other two pumps. The team counted out five more laps before choosing to pit the car.
Before coming in Gardner discussed possible options on the radio with the crew. The main decision at hand was whether to just dump fuel, or perform the driver change. It was only a bit over an hour into the race, and the original thought was to do the change halfway through.
After some quick discussion, the team decided to go ahead and get the driver change out of the way, forcing teams who would do the change later to lose time with less of the race left to go.
As the car rolled into the pits, the crew was ready. Gardner leaped out of the car after the radio harness was unplugged, and Webb jumped in. All the while the team fueled the car, dumping the maximum 10 gallons in. The windshield and all the headlights were cleaned, and the 4 HID Xenon Pilot Automotive driving lamps were turned on.
Less than a minute later, Webb was off and motoring down pit lane. The crew had just pulled off a phenomenal stop. Webb banged off lap after lap of solid times, and was gaining on the leading RX-8. On Lap 48, Webb came in for fuel and to track down an issue with the radio. The team fixed a connection that had come loose, dumped 10 more gallons in, and sent the car back out again.
On the next lap, the Scion would take over the lead, showing the way in E1, and moving into sixth place overall. Webb would maintain that position for 13 laps, and on Lap 62 he would end up pushing the Scion into the vaunted Top 5, holding that overall position for five laps, before the unexpected occurred.
Webb came on the radio and complained that car was doing strange things under braking and wasn’t handling right, with lots of vibration coming through the wheel. He rolled into the pits, and took on 10 gallons of fuel.
Series rules prohibit any work being done on the car while fueling, but allow you to look over the car. The team found that the left front tire was corded and flat-spotted severely. Gardner poked his head into the window to tell Webb that he thought the ABS system had malfunctioned, causing the car to go into standard braking mode. This would indeed prove to be the case, as the team would later find a left front wheelspeed sensor that had been severed.
The Scion’s crew sprung into action, quickly and efficiently getting the car in the air, taking the wheel and tire off and installing a new one. An extra few seconds with the torque wrench were taken to ensure no issues would crop up.
When Webb got back out, the team had only fallen two slots to seventh overall, but still had a commanding lead in E1. A lap later, Webb could again complain about a vibration, and on the next lap would come in again. The team found the right front tire had the same condition, and went to work to change it immediately, as they didn’t need to take on any more fuel.
The fourth, and final pit stop of the race went smoothly, though it was gut-wrenching to have two unscheduled stops. The team had now fallen back to 11th, and the second place E1 car was not far behind.
Webb maintained a consistent pace, getting on the radio to say the car felt perfect with the two new front tires. He would bring the car back up two slots to ninth while at the same time putting a massive gap between the Scion and the second place E1 car.
During the closing laps of the race, Webb would be impaled by an out of class BMW who almost took out the Scion’s right rear wheel and tire. Though banged up in the right door and fender, the tire actually held air despite the chunked wheel. The Scion crossed the finish line not seconds ahead of the second place car, but an entire lap ahead, even with the unscheduled stops.
"What’s not to love about another world-first for our Scion brand," said Steve Hatanaka, Scion auto shows and special events manager. "Endurance racing really torture-tests our cars, and it’s truly awesome to see how well they’re up for the challenge. Speed and durability make for a combo that’s tough to beat. My hat’s off to the entire team."
During the race the TRD supercharger and intercooler helped keep cars with bigger engines at bay, while the TRD big brake kit bled the speed off flawlessly. The pedal remained firm and responsive despite the wheelspeed sensor getting severed.
"You just can’t get a better test bed than when you put your parts through any kind of endurance racing," said Gary Boler, TRD business operations manager. "The WERC series win this past weekend is proof of just how strong our components actually are. If they can withstand the abuse Gardner and the Scion Racing team subject them to, they can get through just about anything."
The team now prepares for their next Performance Touring sprint race at Willow Springs on May 23-24. Plans are to follow that up with the next WERC endurance race at Thunderhill the following weekend, May 30th.
The JD Scion tC team uses
- Scion-supplied OE parts
- TRD-supplied supercharger and intercooler, front big brake kit
- Pilot Automotive HID driving lamps
- Nitto 235/40R17 NT-01 tires
- Enkei RPF1 17x8 wheels
- OS Giken Super Lock Limited Slip Differential (LSD)
- Dezod-supplied AEM standalone engine management, plug-and-play harness, injectors, end links, and stainless clutch line
- Church Automotive Testing dyno tuning
- Moton Suspension remote reservoir coilover shocks
- Vogtland springs
- Progress Technology rear swaybar and camber kits
- Motul brake fluid, engine oil, transmission fluid, and super coolant
- Racepak IQ3 logger dash
- AEM sensors and EMS
- Kaminari carbon-fiber roof and composite headlights
- Royalty Auto Body body work
- America’s Tire Co. tire mounting and balancing
- Racetech Viper head-restraint race seat and 6-point harnesses
- Centerforce clutch and low-inertia steel flywheel
- AIT carbon-fiber hood and hatch
- Wild Pony Motorsports-supplied camber/caster plates
- Goodridge stainless brake lines and oil cooler and fuel system fittings and lines
- Carbotech XP10 and XP8 brake pads
- G-Force racing suit, gloves, and helmet
- DC Sports header
- Energy Suspension bushings and motor mounts
- HoseTechniques silicone hoses
- turn3 clothing
- NST 65-mm supercharger pulley and shifter bushings
Jackson-Dawson Communications (JD) is a 28-year-old privately held company that provides creative and strategic services to a range of national clients. Core competencies include retail training, event marketing, marketing services, business theater, video and media production services, meeting planning, print graphic and design services, staging service and vehicle management.
With corporate offices in Detroit, MI, Jackson-Dawson also maintains offices in Torrance, CA, Manhattan, NY, and Spring Hill, TN. Jackson-Dawson owns and operates several divisions: Peloton Creative Group, BenMar Communications, Drivers Talk Radio and Drivers Talk Testing.