Team GTI

2006 Charge of the Headlight Brigade
13-Hour Enduro at Virginia International Raceway

Having suffered a major setback in their last endurance event, the Conover Engines - PhilsTireService.com Team GTI Golf came to VIR ready to fight for a class win. Unfortunately, an unexpected transmission failure relegated the hardworking team to 2nd in class, behind Summit 12-hour class winners Troxell, Troxell, and Rothstein in their earlier generation VW Golf.

Greg Amy qualified the car 2nd in class, chasing the German Speed Merchants VW Jetta of Pisczek, Haputantri, Henry, and Alvis but suffered contact with the Troxell's Golf, as it slowed to enter pit lane in the dark session. Several cars bunched up behind the Team York entry and Amy - several cars behind - got clouted from the rear, putting him in the grass and then into his competitor's door.

The damage was superficial however, and car co-owner Kirk Knestis (Greensboro, NC) started the race. Knestis made the most of recent engine management and exhaust tuning, which combined with cold "horsepower" weather to bring the Cameron Conover engine to life. His best race lap of 2:24.78 was more than 4 seconds faster than he and this car had previously achieved on the VIR full course.

Andrew Pearson Photo

Additional incidents during his session left Knestis with a bodywork bill for the blue Golf but the ever-reliable Phil Phillips (Haverstraw, NY) had a trouble free stint car after taking over 1.5 hours in.

Jeff Lawton (Colchester, CT) was up next and, except for a wild ride through the lawn after getting shoved off the right edge of the track in the quick Soutbend turn, he too had a productive first session.

Unfortunately, Greg Amy (Middletown, CT) ran into problems when a mysterious gearbox gremlin robbed him of 3rd, 4th, and 5th gears. Knestis got in for his second session, and promptly took the Golf behind pit wall, where Cameron Conover, Jeremy Billiel, Bill Miller, and Ryan Jenkins performed a one-hour transmission replacement.

Knestis rejoined third in ITB and some 25 laps behind the class leader, determined to make up time but needing the competition to hit their own trouble, to stand a chance of victory...

Anne Conover Photo

...and claw back laps they did. Phillips, Lawton, and finally Amy all made up time as both of the other Volkswagens in their class ran into minor mechanical difficulties. By the end of the 13 hours, the team had overtaken the GSM Jetta and halved their deficit to the class-leading Team York entry when the checkered flag fell at 10:15pm.

2007 plans should see the Conover Engines - PhilsTireService.com team running an expanded schedule of endurance events, including the return of the Longest Day 24-hour classic at Nelson Ledges, Ohio.


David Spratte Photo - Click to enlarge

Congratulations to the Conover-tuned ITA Mazda Miata of Gray, Hoppe, and Lyman for their 3rd-in-class finish!

David Spratte Photo

Conover Engines-PhilsTireService.com Team GTI

Promotional Partners
Conover Engines and Transaxles
PhilsTireService.com - Hoosier race tires
KONI Racing - Quality suspension struts
Bildon Motorsport - Racing parts for VWs

Competition Cages - Rollcage construction

Action Digital Race Data - Onboard data acquisition

Recaro USA - High quality racing seats
247-PARTS.com - Racing suspension components
Triple 8 - Brainsaver crew helmets

Conover - PhilsTireService.com Team GTI
Andrew Pearson - Photographer
Bill Miller - Tire changer, mechanic

Cameron Conover - Lead technician, tire changer

Collins Conover - Communications & data engineer

Greg Amy - Driver
Jeff Lawton - Driver
Jeremy Billiel - Driver change "diver"
Kim Phillips - Driver maintenance specialist
Kirk Knestis - Team co-owner, driver
Laurene Johnson - Team co-owner
Phil Phillips - Driver, tire engineer
Ryan "RJ" Jenkins -
Crew chief, tactician
Spencer Conover - Refueler
Tom Landock - Body and paint
Thomas Willingham - Intrepid team intern

David Spratte Photo
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Last updated November 28, 2008
Project GTI is headquartered in Greensboro, NC


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