Some of the fastest cars in the world will be coming to Utah Motorsports Campus this weekend as the Pirelli World Challenge brings its Supercar Grand Prix of Utah to town.
Among the teams competing is UMC-based Ian Lacy Racing, which will field GTSA-class Ginetta G55s for drivers Frank Gannett and Drew Staveley and a TC-class Ford Mustang for Steve Burns.
Lacy, who moved to Tooele in 2008 after a trip to what was then Miller Motorsports Park two years earlier, leads a team responsible for preparing 17 race cars for various series ranging from NASA Utah to Trans-Am out of Garage No. 103 at UMC. It’s the culmination of a life-long dream of being involved in motorsports for the California native.
“Back in the day, I got far too many traffic tickets,” Lacy said. “My dad was a racing enthusiast and used to wake me up early to watch Formula 1 races, so early on, I kind of developed a passion for the sport. They provided me with the opportunity to get involved with the sport by attending the Russell Racing School in California. They had a program where they trained you as a race mechanic and in exchange, you got to drive the race cars and go through the schools.”
Lacy and his staff of mechanics, which includes Tooele County natives Casey Barrett and Ryan Travis, put between 50-100 hours of work into each car between races. Their maintenance procedures after a race go far beyond the basics.
“We go through a nut-and-bolt procedure,” Travis said. “We get out all the wrenches and tools and check literally every single nut and bolt on the car, make sure it’s tight and make sure there’s no adverse wear or damage. It’s a full inspection of everything you can see and everything you can’t.”
On Monday, Travis and Barrett were working on Gannett’s Ginetta, getting it ready for this weekend’s Pirelli World Challenge event. Gannett is just getting his feet wet in the professional ranks, and admits it has been a challenge getting up to speed — though being teamed with a seasoned professional in Staveley has helped him develop.
“This has been a big step up,” said Gannett, who calls Steamboat Springs, Colorado, home. “The pro guys are a bit different than the club guys. We’re still enjoying it quite a bit.”
Gannett’s wife, Jenny, also drives a Lacy-prepared car in the NASA Utah series. She competed in the Utah 6 Hour Endurance Race last weekend, with her team finishing 12th overall and third in its classification. Though she has only been racing for a year, she plans to drive in a TC-class car next season.
She is looking forward to this weekend, particularly because of the accessibility of the drivers and cars,
“You’re in the thick of it,” she said. “The fans can come in and touch the cars and see the cars and sit in the cars, and come and talk to people like us. Anybody can do this. You don’t have to have a particular talent to do this if you love cars and you love racing.”
This weekend marks one of the biggest events on UMC’s calendar, and provides an opportunity for the track to show off its facilities, Lacy said.
“It’s very important that we have these bigger events that not only provide the fans with the opportunity to see some of these premier race series, it also generates a huge amount of tax revenue for the community,” Lacy said. “I think it’s very important to the community that we have this track and we are blessed that it is centrally located in our valley.”
Practice and qualifying sessions for the Supercar Grand Prix of Utah are scheduled for Thursday and Friday. Five races will take place Saturday, with three more on Sunday.
Admission is free on Thursday and Friday, and is $35 for adults on Saturday and Sunday. Kids age 12 and under will be admitted free of charge.