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2017 End-of-Season Newsletter

The COMSCC 2017 season seemed to fly by, and now we are into our off-season.

First, I’d like to take a moment and thank the entire COM Staff, Board of Directors, Instructors, and all of our members for what was a really special year… a year packed with change.

Let’s take a look back to see what we did…

Pricing

Yes, this is a touchy subject, but in this region, where there seems to be new race tracks popping up every year, there is something happening that has been unexpected; track rental prices are still on the rise, even with the market dilution of new tracks and the perception of available inventory. COM had to adapt to this by raising fees in 2017. This is always a very difficult decision to make, but a necessary one to keep the club in the black. When we close the books for the 2017 fiscal year, it will look like a break even year, with perhaps a few dollars on the plus side. As a not-for-profit organization, my feeling is that as long as we aren’t losing, we can pay our bills, and have the cash for the next season’s contract deposits, we are okay – but 2017 was pretty tight for a number of reasons, most of which we all are aware. As we do every winter, the Board of Directors will review the fee structure for 2018 and make sure we are the most competitive in the market for what we do, while at the same time doing what is right for the club and membership.

During 2017 we rolled out an entirely new tiered discount structure that rewards the amount of participation. Pretty simple: do more events, get a bigger discount. It seems like the membership has responded well to the program, and I think there is enough of an interest amongst the members, officers, and Directors to repeat it in 2018.

Advanced Coaching

By now, you have been made aware of the coaching aspect of what COM offers, and a large percentage of the membership has taken advantage of it – whether that be in 1-on-1 sessions with our coaches (over 50 drivers!!), or in the classroom where we have looked at safety aspects of lapping in addition to tips on the fastest ways around the tracks.  This was a very difficult task to accomplish with very limited staffing – we wanted to make sure there was a large enough demand for this activity without pulling more of our valued instructors away from our student groups.

To address this, we have trained and moved a few individuals from our licensed ranks into instructor roles and we will continue to do so.  This is a slow but steady process that also pulls instructors away from the student groups to train candidates.  It is slow, not only because staffing is tight, but also because it has to be slow.  Candidates have to show long term commitment, the character traits and other intangibles that make a good COM instructor.  It isn’t only about teaching someone to drive. It is really about guiding students through the entire process of what it is we do, and providing a solid foundation for their development as drivers and as good citizens. Please bear with us as we continue to address staffing of these critical programs.

Club Motorsports

We did it.  We made it happen. It was the most challenging thing our team faced this year.  Brand new track with brand new track management, brand new flaggers, no PA, no garages, no central location, no legacy classroom materials or video, no data, and only a handful of individuals that had ever driven the track before.

There were a few spots where we stumbled, but in general COM did what it always does. Field good drivers that are fast and safe. We had several instructors out running lead laps to bring not only our students, but also our licensed groups up to speed (those first couple laps I did in my lead session might be the only time I was considered fast in Group 1 :)…  Of course – it only lasted a lap or two before I began holding up our fastest licensed group.

I credit the success of that event to two things; our staff of dedicated folks that spent months developing the materials and figuring out how to make it all happen and…

The COM Mobile Application

At first, to our BOD members it seemed like we may or may not have needed the capability, but as time went on, we started to see the benefits, and in fact, whether we realized it or not at the time, was the other reason why we were able to get through the CMI event smoothly. We had full run groups with drivers reporting to grid on time, to the classroom on time, and also using the in app messenger to contact their instructors and other members. I used the application exclusively for internal staff communication, and to stay in contact with our key players who were spread out at each end of the facility.

We will continue to use the mobile app, and refine our use of it going forward.  The app is available on both The App Store and Google Play.

The 2017 Season Results

The results are posted. Congrats to the class winners, you earned it this year!  There was quite a lot of competition. It was great to see drivers battle it out all season, make changes to their cars, changes to their driving, changes to their strategy to gain any advantage over their peers. This, while at the same time helping those same competitors by turning a wrench, or lending a car, or towing them home after a breakdown.  Our membership is packed with good people that care about each other… while at the same time wanting to completely destroy each other in the TT… then finishing the night off with food, drink, and track talk. It is a beautiful thing.

The 2018 Schedule

This might sound early, but things are going so well on this front that we will likely publish our preliminary schedule before the holidays. Most of the dates at our typical venues are locked in, contracts are just awaiting signatures.  We will be hitting up Thompson for a test day, and one full event mid-summer. We’re returning to Palmer twice, NHMS twice, will return to Watkins Glen, and…

We are working on one VERY exciting addition for 2018. I don’t want to jinx it, but I guarantee once confirmed, you will not be disappointed.

The Election

You will see updates for the winter Board meetings in the coming weeks.  Stay tuned for instructions on seeking a nomination for the BoD.   These jobs are by election every year.  There are no life time appointments.  I will be seeking re-election, but welcome anyone to seek nomination to be on the ballot for any position, up to and including President. This is how the club works as specified in our bylaws.  We have a number of very dedicated folks that have put in many years of service, and they continue to do so, but would welcome new people who are taking ownership of their club as a Director on its Board. Please do not feel as though you are unfairly unseating someone, think of it as a natural progression. None of us can do this forever.

The Banquet

I sent out a save the date message on the mobile app.  The banquet will be held on Saturday, January 27th.  We’re working out the details for a return to F1 Boston, and I think we’re going to need a bigger room.  There will be a track rental, food, all the stuff we did last year, and maybe a little more.

We will officially be celebrating the Club’s 60th anniversary, and we hope to do a few more things than just a typical banquet. I’ll keep you informed of the pertinent details. The rest will be a secret…

See you in January,


Troy Velazquez – President

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About COM Sports Car Club

COM Sports Car Club (COMSCC) is one of the oldest active sports car clubs in the country.

The club has a long-standing reputation for excellence in high-speed driving instruction and competitive time trials on sports car tracks around the Northeast U.S. and Canada.
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