For the 8th year in succession, the Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada was the site of the International Indoor Championships. The event, put on and announced by the one and only Scotty Ernst, attracted some of the top on-road drivers from around the world and featured over 350 entries in total. After 2 days of controlled practice, on track action heated up on Thursday with 2 of the 4 rounds of qualifying, the single fastest round determining grid positions. Right out of the box, Protoform team drivers Ronald Volker and Keven Hebert established themselves as the drivers to beat in the event’s 2 marquee classes, Touring Car Modified and 1/12th scale modified. Friday’s 2 final rounds of qualifying saw Protoform drivers TQ in 7 different classes of racing. Josh Cyrul and Mike Dumas, two fixtures in the American on-road scene the past decade, paced World GT racing the Protoform Sophia GT race body.
The four Touring car classes were dominated by the venerable Protoform Mazdaspeed6 race body, with 2-time defending ETS Champion Volker narrowly outpacing Hebert by 1.3 seconds to TQ the Modified class. Not to be outdone, Hebert put his Protoform AMR-12 race body on the pole in 1/12th scale modified, and his Mazdaspeed6 in Touring Car Super Stock.
The first two A-mains on Saturday featured the World GT class. Dave Ehrlich and Josh Cyrul won from their TQ spots in 13.5 and Expert classes, both racing the Sophia GT body. In 1/12th Scale modified, Hebert and Finnish ace Juho Levanen were the class of the field. The teammates battled in and out of traffic throughout the 8-minute A-main, but Hebert proved too quick and pulled away for a 2-second victory. Protoform team driver Paul Lemieux snatched the last podium position with a last lap pass of Cyrul.
David Zorn and Sam Nelson, both racing Mazdaspeed6‘s duked it out in a great Amateur Touring Car A-main, with Zorn besting top qualifier Nelson by just 0.6 seconds. IIC’s most popular class, Touring Car 17.5 with over 60 entries, was won by Mike Haynes (Mazdaspeed6).
The most thrilling of all the A-mains came in Touring Car Super Stock. Japanese star Hayato Matsuzaki blasted off the grid past top qualifier Hebert. The two were nose to tail for nearly the entire 5-minute main before a slight bobble by Hayato with less than 2 laps remaining allowed the Canadian to squeak past to take his 2nd trophy of the day.
With 5 countries represented in the A-Main for Touring Car Modified, the grid truly had a world-class feel. The race was vintage Volker, showing off his superb speed and driving ability. The biggest thrill the fans in attendance got during this final was when Hayato’s fan shorted out, sending his car up in a plume of smoke. Volker lead from wire to wire with his Mazdaspeed6, denying Hebert a triple championship. Mike Haynes, racing in his 4th A-main of the day (2 1st place, 2 3rds) raced his way up to the last podium spot.