Resident Larry Funk raced at Mid Ohio last year and finished eighth overall.
A local native is preparing to blow past the competition Saturday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington for the top spot.
Larry Funk finished eighth at last year’s race. Now he’s built a new car and will change races this year: “I’ve been working diligently on changing classes,” he said.
This will be the 40-year racing veteran’s first race in the new car. He’ll be behind the wheel of a BMW E46 M3 in the SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series.
He had to transform the street car to a racing machine.
Funk said the absolute minimum number of pieces go back into the car. When building, the only sacred parts are safety equipment, suspension, and the motor. Even the car’s body gets replaced with carbon fiber material.
“It looks like a street car on the outside but there’s no interior,” he said. The top of the car has roll bars, a seat, and nets — and that’s it.
Funk does have a small crew that helps him prepare for each race but he does a lot of the work himself.
Funk takes part in sprint races, which means the car travels about 125 miles compared to the Indianapolis 500, which is about 500 miles.
Funk does not make a single pit stop during his race, unlike people racing in longer races, who normally stop at least once.
“All of the work is done before the race,” he said of preparations for the big day.
The veteran speedster has raced several types of cars including BMWs, Mustangs, and Camaros but he does not have a favorite vehicle.
He just loves to race.
“It’s exhilarating,” Funk said. “It’s a feeling of independence and control you don’t get in everyday life.”
Funk has had his fair share of crashes including being upside down, but none have prevented him from continuing to get back on the race track.
“It’s safer then what most people realize,” Funk said.
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.