“It was a blast,” says Corvette Racecar Driver Danny Kellermeyer as he closes the history books on his impressive 2014 summer racing record.
“To say that I was busy is an understatement,” he admits, “but boy did we have fun!”
Kellermeyer competed in 24 T1-class races in both the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and Waterford Hills Road Racing (WHRRI) series. His #37 yellow Matick Chevy-sponsored Corvette won the WHRRI T1 Championship in Michigan and he finished with the highest points in the SCCA T1 class in the Great Lakes Series.
And for next season he’s anticipating even tougher competition from T1 drivers and their fast racecars in both the SCCA and WHRRI.
“To name a few, Alex Pagaini from Canada is building a new BMW to come out and attack our Matick Chevy Corvette. There will be more pressure from Tom Janos of Clio (Michigan) and Danny Jabbori of Walled Lake (Michigan) with their Corvettes,” predicts the veteran champion.
“So you see we have no lack of local talent and competition. That is not to say I don’t have a trick up my sleeve.”
What's His Secret Sauce?
“I have a new C7 Corvette, which will be in race form by next year. It is presently stripped to its bare frame and will soon be receiving its roll cage and drivetrain. I have tried to keep it under wraps,” he says, “but I guess this corvetteblog.com interview is going to let the cat out of the bag.”
A C7 decked out and ready to race. “Now that’ll be sweet,” he says, with that charming Kellermeyer twinkle in his eyes.
Kellermeyer considers T1 the ultimate in a production-car class. It brings all the serious performance cars together, such as Porsches, Vipers, BMWs and Corvettes. “The competition is tough and the equalization of all the cars has to be done to try and obtain equality from one make to another,” he adds.
“Of course, the Corvette is one of the fastest in production form so it receives additional restraints to equalize it to the other brands.”
In order to equalize the Corvettes in this year’s series, Kellermeyer had to add a 65 mm flat-plate air restrictor and an additional 165 pounds to the car to meet the new T1 class requirements.
“We ended up weighing 3,250 pounds (with driver) after the race was over. We ran this weight and restrictor all year. We do have a different setup for each track we run so alignment and scaling of the car is a must,” he explains.
The extra weight and air restrictor did pose some challenges during the season. “The competition was closer and tighter than ever. Tony Mac (Troy, Mich.) driving a BMW, Jim Bambard (Rochester, Mich.) driving a Corvette, Christian Cook (Troy, Mich.) driving a Porsche, Robert and Jonathan Pfeffer (Indianapolis, Ind.) both driving Corvettes, as well as numerous others, all created a class that resulted in lots of close and exciting races.”
Skill & A Little Luck
The extra time that Kellermeyer devotes to prep and maintenance is displayed on the track. “We were lucky this year as only two of our outings were affected by mechanical problems. A fuel pump failure kept me from starting one race and a belt tensioner failure occurred on my victory lap. This would have affected the race outcome if that happened five minutes earlier. Sometimes it’s good to be lucky.” Kellermeyer laughs.
This season, he competed at Gingerman Raceway and Grattan Raceway in west Michigan, as well as MidOhio in Mansfield, Ohio. “All of these tracks are as technical as Waterford Hills. They all have elevation changes, blind corners and tricky combination corners.” Kellermeyer explains.
“It is not ‘til you get out of our Michigan area going south or west, do the tracks start to level out with corners you can draw on paper and drive accordingly. I personally love driving on tricky technical tracks.”
This year, Kellermeyer logged 2,016 competition miles plus another 1,520 miles during practice days, open track days and exhibitions days. “Prep hours are not logged, however for each outing normal prep would be 16 hours and maintenance and repair could account for an additional 8-24 hours. Needless to say a lot of time goes into prep and maintenance for a race,” he reports.
Kellermeyer also was busy off the track. This summer he set up his DJ Racing trailers and Corvette displays at four main events — Corvettes in the “D” (Detroit), the Matick Chevrolet-sponsored Corvette Caravan to the Detroit Grand Prix, Americas Corvette Show, and Back to the Bricks in Flint, Mich.
“We also displayed at the Matick Chevy open house celebration to unveil the $7-million renovation of their new dealership, which recently gained the honor of being LEED certified. I also was pleased to be the guest speaker at various events, interviewed for multiple TV specials about racing and active on the Internet even answering Corvette questions on Ask DJ Race,” Kellermeyer says.
“We talked to thousands of Corvette enthusiasts and handed out more than 4,000 fan posters, which a great majority of them I personally signed. So to say I was busy is an understatement. It was fun!”
What's On Tap For Next Season?
Kellermeyer plans on running additional SCCA races in an effort to claim the Great Lakes Championship. “I was the top points driver this year but missed a couple races due to scheduling conflicts, so I was not able to claim the championship,” he explains. “It is difficult to be everywhere at the same time. Although this season I did race and have a Corvette show going on at the same time. The two events were close enough so that I could jump back and forth to handle both.”
But, conflicts aside, he ends this conversation with a friendly warning to his racing foes: “I’ll be back … this time better and faster!”
For more on driver Danner Kellermeyer and what makes him tick, scroll down through this Hour Detroit Magazine article to the end. You’ll discover everything from what his first racecar was to why he loves yellow!