Students in the automotive service technician and motorsports technology programs recently participated in the Green Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, and ended up earning victories in several categories.
The Green Grand Prix is an educational and competitive event that is the only official Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) road rally that promotes entry of all road-legal vehicle types and fuels in North America.
According to Eric Wilmot, chair of the Automotive Trades Department, the college entered six vehicles in the competition, four of which belong to the school, and two others that are student-owned. Students drove or co-drove the cars, while everyone had volunteer duties that involved assisting the Green Grand Prix organizers with fueling, tech inspections, and set-up.
The race itself, Wilmot said, involved two hours of driving 45 mph along a 2.4-mile road course. Students were rated on their vehicle’s miles per gallon, as well as consistency of lap times.
This marked the seventh straight year Alfred State has competed in the Green Grand Prix. Providing assistance to students this year were Automotive Trades faculty Jason Kellogg, Mike Ronan, and Andrew Smith.
Alfred State students fared well in the race. Liam DeChick (motorsports technology, Syracuse) and Don Piatek (motorsports technology, Springville) won the Stock 4 Cylinder Gas event, as well as the Doris Bovee Memorial Award with a 2016 Mazda 3. This award takes into account best miles per gallon and consistent lap times. For earning this honor, DeChick and Piatek received a trophy, while Alfred State was awarded $1,000.
Driving a 2012 Volkswagen Golf Diesel, Jesse Apostolakes (motorsports technology, Greenfield Township, PA) and Quinn Goyette (motorsports technology, Wayland) won the Modified 4 Cylinder Diesel category, and placed third in the Consistent Lap Times event. Winning Autocross Best Time awards were Troy Berg (electric vehicle class), a motorsports technology major from Gerry, who drove a 2014 Electric Vehicle Sports Racer (EVSR); Marcus Hofer (exhibition class), an automotive service technician student from Canandaigua, who drove a 2012 Chevy Volt; and Anthony Brinda (hybrid class), a motorsports technology major from Lancaster, who drove a 2009 Fusion Hybrid.
Wilmot said the entire day was an amazing experience for everyone involved. He noted that students got a firsthand look at the hard work that goes into a major racing event, as well as the rewards that result from that hard work.
“The day started very cold and rainy but nobody seemed to be bothered at all,” Wilmot said. “Minds were focused on the competition and the students performed exceptionally. We are all very proud of their accomplishments.”
DeChick said his experience at the 2018 Green Grand Prix was one he will never forget.
“I am glad that Alfred State participates in this event every year, and I’m glad I could get the school some bragging rights and prize money,” he said.