AUTO RACING Poland native tries for record
Mike Mavrigian owns and operates Birchwood Auto Group in Creston.
By KATIE LIBECCO
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
Porsche of America is relying on Poland native Mike Mavrigian to make sure they set international speed records June 26-28 at Talladega Motor Super Speedway in Alabama.
The three-day event will bring out major television networks, including NBC, MSNBC and CNBC. Print media sources also will attend the event.
David Donahue and Jay Leno have been selected to drive the new Porsche Carrera GTs at the speed event.
David Donahue, a professional driver, will attempt to break standing and flying one mile, one kilometer and one lap, 2.66 miles, speed records.
Donahue's father was famous Porsche driver David Donahue, who was a SCCA and Indy 500 champion.
Donahue set international speed records in 1975 in the Porsche Penske 917/30 Can-Am. He recorded a closed-course speed of 220.120 mph at Talledega setting a record that still stands today and that Porsche is hoping to beat at the event with the new Porsche Carrera GTs.
"The new Carreras are built like fighter jets," Mavrigian said.
The new Carrera GT has horsepower up to 605 SAW @ 8,000 RPM, 435 lbs. of torque and a $440,000 price tag.
"For Porsche, it wasn't what should be build, it was what can we built. There's a reason for that pricetag," Mavrigian said.
The entire body is built from carbon fiber. Extra panels of carbon fiber were added to the bottom of the car to help control air flow on the track.
The Carrera GT features a six-speed ceramic composite clutch and completely ceramic composite brakes.
The V8 engine is water-cooled, rear-mounted with light-alloy pistons, titanium connecting rods, with aluminum engine block and pistons.
Talladega Super Speedway is near Birmingham, Ala. It is known for high speeds, high centrifugal force and extremely high banks.
Mavrigian owns and operates Birchwood Automotive Group in Creston, 25 miles west of Akron.
Birchwood Automotive Group was built on three acres in 1995. Birchwood's team of automotive experts prepare specialty and theme vehicles and specialized engines for corporate customers.
Birchwood has produced and modified cars for Outdoor Life magazine, Holley Performance Products, BF Goodrich and Michelin.
Recently, Birchwood opened their doors to private customers and now rebuilds street rods, muscle cars, custom cars and sport compact cars by request.
Three years ago, Mavrigian and Birchwood Auto Group worked with Porsche when they re-built Porsche 911s for off-roading. The cars were taken to the Mojave Desert and driven by celebrities to prove the new Porsche suspension and introduce the Cayenne.
"The Porsche suspension is just like a Formula One Indy car," Mavrigian said.
Birchwood Auto Group also maintains an 18-person motorsports team, which Mavrigian heads. The team specializes in endurance road races.
The team has competed in more than 14 24-hour and 12-hour endurance races across the United States. The team took first and second place in a recent race in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Mavrigian has been a technical writer in the auto industry for 26 years. He has written articles and columns on a broad range of subjects, including street and cars, trucks, SUVs, ATVs and tools.
Some magazines he has written for include Motor Age, Autobody Repair News, Truck & amp; SUV Performance, SEMA News and Aftermarket Business.
Several consumer-oriented magazines he has written for include Mopar Action, Street Rodders and SportCompact.
Mavrigian is also the editor, publisher and photographer for Precision Engine Magazine, a professional engine rebuilding industry publication.
He has written more than 20 industry and consumer-oriented books for HP and Penguin Books, including titles such as "Performance Wheels and Tires," "Racing Brake Systems" and "ATV Service."
He also writes each issue of Modern Tire Dealer's annual "Performance Handbook."
He also has written several textbooks and technical training manuals for McGraw-Hill, including "Automotive Excellence."
After being raised in Denver for eight years, Mavrigian's family moved to Poland. He graduated from Poland High School in 1969.
His father was a professor of mathematics at Youngstown State University, which he attended for undergraduate studies.
At YSU, Mavrigian studied English, journalism and photography. While there, he wrote columns and concert reviews for The Jambar at Youngstown State University.
He graduated from YSU in 1975 with an English degree.
In college, Mavrigian purchased a 1972 Camaro, sparking his interest in cars. He began to modify and tune his Camaro and learning the basics of the car modifications that he does today.
After college, he started to write for Modern Tire Dealer in Akron. He stayed there for 17 years until he created and opened Birchwood Auto Group.
Mavrigian has continued his training through attending hundreds of training courses and workshops. He has attended courses from Dana University, Addco and Michelin.
He has earned Automotive Service Excellence certification in many areas, including parts specialist, engine repair, suspension, steering, brakes and engine performance.
His wife, Lori, is the managing editor for Modern Tire Dealer, where she has worked for 26 years.