Ryan Pilla, owner of Car Doctor World in Water Mill, added a few more notches to his belt with a trio of road racing victories this fall.
Pilla won two separate races at the Jersey Road Racing Classic at New Jersey Motorsports Park the weekend of October 18. He also won the North Atlantic Road Racing Championship Runoffs at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut, on September 20 and 21.
At the JRRC, Pilla entered the sport touring lite race, or STL, and the SPEC Miata race, which were run on the Thunderbolt track, the largest track at the park. The main difference between the two races was that one race, the STL, allowed cars without restrictor plates, which allowed them to go faster. Pilla’s Miata went from 128 mph in the SPEC Miata race to 150 mph in STL competition. Also, the SPEC Miata races are specifically for Miatas.
In both races, Pilla was in second place heading into the final lap. He was able to do a drafting maneuver and edged out his competition.
Each race was 45 minutes long, and Pilla won the STL with a best lap time of 1:38.55, just 0.08 seconds ahead of Gregg Whitfield, who was also driving a Miata. The race also included other Miatas, Volkswagens, Nissans, Hondas, Acuras and BMWs.
The SPEC Miata race was an extremely close affair. Pilla just beat out Michael Lamaina by 0.001 of a second, finishing in 1:34.889. The third-through-fifth-place cars finished in 1.34.939, 1:34.998 and 1:35.481, respectively.
“I held on the throttle, held on for dear life, and got past him by a nose,” Pilla said of his SPEC Miata race.
“We dominated the entire weekend,” he added. “We were on the pole all weekend long. During the races, the top five guys traded places all weekend. This was not just something where we kicked ass. The competition was fierce—people came from all over to compete. But we wound up winning both races.”
The NARRC Runoffs at Lime Rock back in September was another SPEC Miata competition. This time, Pilla beat out Yiannis Tsiounis by half a car length. Pilla’s best lest time was 1:01.157, to Tsiounis’s 1:01.893.
Pilla also raced against his brother, Phillip Pilla of Ridgefield, Connecticut, at Lime Rock, but the two will join forces in the coming months to get ready for the Rolex 24 at Daytona Motor Speedway in January. The team will be looking to avenge last year’s performance at the Rolex, when their Porsche 911 Cup Car, made specifically to endure 24-hour races, could not finish the race. It’s not uncommon for that to happen, as 50 percent of the cars that enter do not finish.
This year’s Porsche will be sponsored by the family-owned Pilla Performance Eyeware and Car Doctor World.
“We had mechanical difficulties last year, but we’re hoping to finish this time around,” Pilla said.