Searching for Adventure, This Club Spec Driver Got Hooked on Time Trials National Tours

When the Tire Rack SCCA® Time Trials National Tour Powered by Hagerty began to take shape, there were questions that needed answering. Who wanted to participate in Time Trials? Was it current SCCA members who wouldn’t or couldn’t, for a variety of reasons, go road racing? Was it autocrossers hunting for an additional motorsports challenge? Was it former drag racers who wanted to see what the road racing side of the sport was about? Mechanics who wanted to be able to test their own cars at the limits?

For Michael Bard, the answer was: All of the above.

Bard grew up around motorsports. He went dirt track go-karting as a kid, did some drag racing and, in 2019, began autocrossing.

“My wife was like, you’ve got to do something,” he laughs. “I was being mopey. So I bought a Miata, and six days later I was at my first autocross.”

He did that pretty well, trying out Solo Spec Coupe and then last year finishing just outside the trophies in a B Street Corvette at the Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships. But the racetrack was calling to him.

“Time Trials was just another one of those things that I’d put my mind to that I was going to do,” Bard says. “I’d done some track sprints with another group at my home track of Summit Point. I’d done some stuff with my FR-S when I was in SSC, but I was reluctant to put that car on track.”

So how to make it work? The Club Spec announcement was fortuitous for Bard.

“I was looking around at different cars, and the S197 was on my list of potential budget track cars and the Club Spec Mustang came about,” he explains. “I was like, that’s what I’m going to do. I went out and bought one, got the package as soon as Sam [Strano] started marketing the KONIs, and did my first SCCA Time Trials at VIR in the spring. It was great, I had a lot of fun. I was planning on autocrossing the car, and I still haven’t done that yet. I already did another track event at Pitt Race, and then I signed up [for the Pocono Time Trials National Tour].”

When he participates in the June 15-16, 2024, Time Trials National Tour at Pocono Raceway, it won’t be his first visit to the track – but it will be the first time he’s driven it.

“I’ve been to the track a few times, I’ve never actually been on the track,” he says. “I’m looking forward to the two different [course] configurations – it’s almost like a grand sized [Solo] National Tour with a different course each day. I’ll probably get on iRacing and run the track a few times to familiarize myself. That’s what I did for VIR.”

His experience with his family shop, Bard’s Auto Sales in Needmore, PA, and his background in motorsports working for teams, has been a big help with his Club Spec project. Now, he gets to continue his childhood dream, taking his Forza or Gran Turismo experience to the track for real life.

Join the Fun at Pocono

Michael continues his motorsports adventure on June 15-16, 2024, at Pocono Raceway, and you can too.

Drivers at the mid-June Tire Rack SCCA Time Trials National Tour Powered by Hagerty at Pocono Raceway will get to experience four 20-minute sessions per day, with the competition taking place over two days. Event results will be based on the fastest lap from three pairs of sessions: two on Saturday afternoon, two on Sunday morning, and two on Sunday afternoon. The podium highlights the three lowest combined times per class.

And, as Michael hinted at earlier in this story, Saturday and Sunday will see drivers rocketing around different course configurations.

The weekend also features a Track Day component, meaning those who may not want to compete for time can still challenge themselves on track at Pocono.

 Join the Fun: Register Today!

Photo by Tradd Slayton