American Endurance Racing (AER) has just released its 2020 Summit Racing Endurance Championship Series schedule. The six-race season begins February 14-16 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta near Atlanta, Georgia.
The Endurance Championship Series is tailor-made for amateur drivers who want to try their hand at endurance racing. Every race in the series has multiple classes with cars grouped based on their qualifying times, creating an even playing field. Competition is intense, but not at the expense of having fun. Racers helping other teams with parts or lending a hand wrenching is standard operating procedure in AER.
You don’t need a Formula 1 budget to go AER racing, either. Any production-based car built for road racing qualifies; you’ll see everything from BMWs and Porsches to Subaru WRXs, Mustangs, Mazda Miatas, and even the odd Honda Civic.
With a rulebook that’s a mere 18 pages long, AER is all about making endurance racing as safe and accessible as possible. Here are some basics on eligibility, race classes, and how races are run:
Who Is Eligible to Race?
• Drivers with a racing license with a major sanctioning body
• Drivers who have competed in five 24 Hours of LeMons or Champ Car races
• Drivers with a proven record of substantial track time or have done other types of racing
What Types of Cars Are Eligible?
• Any production-based race car built to compete in sanctioned road racing with the SCCA, NASA, IMSA, WC or similar organizations
• Top Champ Car cars, including EC
• Class A LeMons cars
How Are Cars Classed?
Classes are set based on the cars that compete at each race. AER looks for groups of cars based on each car’s fastest qualifying lap time plotted on a timeline. AER has developed its own software to monitor lap times. If a car is running considerably faster or slower than the rest of the class it is in, AER has the option to move it to a more appropriate class during the race.
How Are Races Structured?
Most events run from Friday to Sunday. Qualifying is on Friday afternoon where every driver runs at least five laps in the car they will be driving. There is a seven- to nine-hour race on both Saturday and Sunday, with mandatory stops based on the length of the race to give teams a reasonable and safe amount of time to change drivers, fuel and service the car, etc. If your team is organized, you can fill your car with five gallon fuel jugs in three minutes and be competitive.
Must a Car be Teched Before a Race?
No, but if you are new to AER it’s a good idea to take the car to one of AER’s tech inspectors before the event to avoid issues at the track. First-time racers can have their cars inspected for free at the track.
Our friends at Grassroots Motorsports Magazine wrote this story that explains American Endurance Racing in great detail—it’s well-worth reading.
If American Endurance Racing sounds like a hoot to race in or just to watch, get more information at AER’s website. These YouTube videos will give you a taste of what an event is like:
• Watkins Glen 2018
• Close Racing = Fun
• AER: The People