Members of the Ecurie Vitesse Sports Car Club are holding an autocross on Sunday, Sept. 8 on the Florida Keys Community College campus in Key West. Members of the public are welcome to participate in a timed challenge to learn the strengths of their own driving skills as well as what their cars can do.

Adrenaline fanatics get a chance to push their limits this Sunday to see if they have what it takes to race with the big boys.

Ecurie Vitesse Sports Car Club (EVSCC) President and mechanic Dustin Harrison has pushed his souped-up 5.0 Mustang over 120 mph in time challenges the club puts on.

“On our big races like the Bay Bottom Crawl I have gone 120 plus for several minutes,” said Harrison. “These races the club puts on can turn a regular Joe into Jeff Gordon.”

On Sunday, Sept. 8, the EVSCC is putting on a time challenge called September Sunshine Funtime at Florida Keys Community College. Drivers will have a chance to get a feel for their cars while competing against the clock.  The course is designed to help prepare speedsters for the Bay Bottom Crawl race in October and entails driving through cones, making sudden turns, while reaching speeds breaking 30 mph.

People race in a variety of vehicles club member Fred Lehae, 69, explains.

“I’ve seen Ferraris, Porches, and Lamborghinis but have also seen minivans and piles of junk,” said Lehae. “Controlling the vehicle is important as well. My Ford Focus ST is a 10 out of 10 in its division but my driving ability is a 2.”

The race has more than one category — so the Ford Bronco driver isn’t going to get blown away by a Corvette. More importantly, the event transforms people into better drivers.

“Age doesn’t matter and it makes people more maneuverable on the road and more in touch with their car,” he said.

Harrison and the a few of the core club members travel around the state, zipping through courses in what is called Solo II racing.

“The races are very similar to the ones that are seen on TV. They are slower but still very technical,” said Harrison.

EVSCC has been zooming in the Keys almost 60 years and autocross groups are popular all over the nation. The Bay Bottom Crawl is celebrating its 54th year this October in Sugarloaf.

“We’ve had people transport their cars down from Alaska just to compete in our races,” said Harrison. “Street racing is a part of Florida Keys history.”

The winners for this upcoming race are nominated based on the fastest time over the course. Opponents race one at a time for safety reasons. And there is always a Monroe County Sherriff Deputy present to monitor the competitions.

The motorsports club believes strongly in putting safety first. Drivers are required to wear closed toed shoes, have proper working brakes, good tires, mufflers, seatbelts, a helmet, and a valid drivers license.  Those under the age of 18 are required to have a parent’s signature on a waiver. Loaner helmets will also be available.

“There has been a few bang ups but nobody has been seriously injured in my experience,” said Lehae.

There is $30 registration fee that pays for using the pavement and insurance provided.

The driving public is invited to come out and unleash some horsepower on Sunday, Sept. 8 at 9:30 a.m. at FKCC to register and put a number on your chariot.


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