In the deep south, racing is a life of its own, with the cajun flair of New Orleans, Louisiana, an added zest. This is embodied by no team better than the astutely named Nolasport of Jon Scheurich.
The home team waited a few years for a race weekend in their backyard, always lobbying for their home track to be added to the SRO Motorsports America schedules. Nolasport is based out of NOLA Motorsports Park. As a New Orleans native, Scheurich enjoys the proximity to home and the opportunity to share the amenities of NOLA.
The team retained driver Matt Travis as co-driver with Jason Hart and entered two new additions to the Pirelli GT4 America series AM Class with driver pairings David Peterman and Lee Carpentier as well as Nelson Calle with Juan Pablo Martinez. The confidence of speed and comradery shown at Sonoma Raceway has the team excited to put on a show for the home crowd.
“I’m super to be happy to be back,” Scheurich said. “Matt Travis is back with us. We won the championship with him in 2021 and came close to winning in 2020 and 2019. Obviously, that driver pairing is doing well. What we saw with the car and drivers in Sonoma gives us great momentum. It was what we hoped for, and we had done well there before, so we’re excited to come to NOLA.
“Since 2018, I’d been trying to convince SRO to come to NOLA, even for a winter test. How things fell with schedule changes last year led the series to come to New Orleans. What I thought to start with happened; the facility itself was a great fit for the SRO America series and paddock. Now that everyone has the experience running at NOLA, I hope it becomes a reoccurring venue.”
The Pirelli GT4 America series is a site to see, with 41 cars on the grid for rounds three and four at NOLA. It is the largest field in the SRO America paddock, and the racing leaves nothing to be desired, with close battles taking place throughout the three classes. The 2.75-mile, 16-turn course of NOLA gives the series long straightaways for plenty of passing and tight turns to push competitors to use their racecraft to maintain speed.
The competition and the GT4 platform have made big fans of Nolasport of GT4 racing. Scheurich grants much of his team's success to the ability to focus on their Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport race cars as they watch the series grow. Nolasport has seen the GT4 Class in GT America powered by AWS grow into a sizeable standalone series.
“It’s a fantastic series. I’m a big supporter of the GT4 racing platform,” Scheurich said. “It’s been our primary series since inception. The series is a great combination of PRO and AM drivers and very drivable cars for the AM drivers. The reliability and lower repair costs are a big plus and as the size of the field grows, it creates great racing. It’s really exciting to be a part of it. In my opinion, it provides for some of the best racing in the paddock for a spectator.”
“We started in 2016 with the Porsche Cayman GT4 and we’ve stayed with the same car throughout. I saw the potential in the GT4 program and focused on it. That focus allowed us to develop the overall platform. We have thousands of miles of testing with the GT4 Clubsport, and it all applies. We make adjustments as the car develops. We fine-tuned what we learned as the car got better.”
The other point Scheurich makes as a building block to the success of the Nolasport is the continuity of drivers in his program. Driver Matt Travis gave insight to the fun and work that balances out to create the successful program of Nolasport.
“A big part of Nolasport's success is the people. Our car chief James, for example, is the heart and soul of the team,” Travis said. “He works so incredibly hard on these cars, and that sets the tone for the whole organization. I like winning, but most of my motivation is just from trying not to let James down.
“Although we take things pretty seriously on track, we also have a lot of silly laughs. We've got a cougar on the car, two solar-powered kegerators built into the trailer and occasionally, a non-homologated flamingo rides along in the racecar with us. Why? Why not? The best wins are the ones that you get while you're having fun, and that have-fun-but-still-win attitude is what I love about racing with Nolasport.”
Scheurich, the Nolasport team and NOLA Motorsports Park welcome fans and teams beginning Friday, April 28, with on-track action and a premier Paddock Club experience.
“I’m happy to be here at NOLA,” Scheurich said. “Home races are hard because you have other things going on since you’re at home. You have more distractions. But I enjoy the people in the paddock. I have a lot of friends connected to our team. I hope fans enjoy the track and Jazz Fest this weekend. The city compliments the people coming to the race. You get a chance to share in the culture of New Orleans. You don’t get to see things at every other track like here. It’s a great place to be and race.”
Nolasport and Pirelli GT4 America take on NOLA Motorsports Park from Friday, April 28, through Sunday, April 30. Practice begins the weekend while Saturday, April 29, is packed with action, as Qualifying begins the day at 8 a.m. CT, followed by an autograph session at 11 a.m. and Race One ending the day with the green flag flying at 12:55 p.m. The weekend winds down Sunday, April 30, with Race Two. The race goes green at 9:30 a.m.
All race sessions are streamed live on the GT World YouTube page. Join Ash Vandelay on Twitch by following the SROMotorsports channel. Vandelay hosts six-hour programs Saturday and Sunday, where she is joined by drivers while chatting with fans and giving an interesting insight into that day's races.
Tickets are on-sale at www.showpass.com/sro-Nola with enhanced offerings including the Patriot Car Corral, recently announced car show – NOLA Motor Showoff presented by The Bomb Factory – and trackside camping. Starting at just $10, it's fun for the whole family with kids 12 and under free with paid adult.