Whistler's Jeffers drives to strong finish 

Local racer ends season at Mission track as runner-up

click to enlarge car and driver Whistler's Don Jeffers races the final event of the season at the Mission Raceway on Sept. 15. Jeffers finished the season ranked second in his GTM class driving a BMW E30 M3 he's raced for the past six years.
  • car and driver Whistler's Don Jeffers races the final event of the season at the Mission Raceway on Sept. 15. Jeffers finished the season ranked second in his GTM class driving a BMW E30 M3 he's raced for the past six years.

Whistler's Don Jeffers knew he'd put together a strong season behind the wheel at the Mission Raceway. But he had no idea his consistent results had made him the series runner-up in his extremely competitive GTM class.

After driving his BMW E30 M3 to consistent results all summer, Jeffers ended his season of Confederation of Autosport Car Clubs competition ranked second in his division.

"I didn't even look at the results, so I didn't even know I had done that until you called," Jeffers laughed when contacted by Pique.

"I missed two races one weekend, so I didn't think I would have done that well (overall) because of that. I'm pretty happy.

"It's a hobby, just something I do to keep me young."

GT classes such as the one Jeffers races in allow unlimited modifications to vehicles, while the "M" refers to engine displacement — two to five litres in this case. The E30 M3 is a racecar model that BMW manufactured in the late 1980s and early '90s, and one that won notable races around the world in its prime.

"That car was built to race in Europe, so it's a pretty good start on a race car. The engine and drivetrain is generally beefed up in various ways; the suspension is more adjustable," said Jeffers, whose E30 is black with red trim. "I've had this particular car about six years, and this is really the first year that I've had it running really well."

Jeffers started eight of 10 races held during the season, which took place between April and September. Other than a mechanical failure that led to a DNF on June 9, he finished among the top three in his class at every race.

His best result of the season came in the series finale on Sept. 14, when he placed second and beat out GTM season champ David Dalmonte for the first time all year.

"He went off the track," said Jeffers. "The only way I can beat him is if he makes a mistake. He made a mistake and it was a big enough one that I managed to stay ahead. He was right behind me at the finish line. He's got a much faster car."

Jeffers described the Mission Raceway as a tight and technical road course, so driving ability ends up being more important than raw speed at the track.

"It's not very forgiving and there's not a lot of runoff in a few places," he said. "It's a really nice facility and it's great to have it."

Though the M3 is running better than ever, Jeffers said it would continue to get his attention in the offseason as he prepares for another race campaign.

"It's always a winter project to just go over everything thoroughly and make sure there are no cracks or mechanical failures about to happen on the car," he said.

Jeffers, 58, has been racing cars for close to 30 years in different locations around Canada and the U.S. He said the results he compiled this year have left him very encouraged for 2014.

"Every year I keep wondering if I'm not too old to be doing this," he said. "But each time I get in the car I get a big smile on my face."

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