placeholder members - Harris Topel

Tell us about the cars you love to drive

Our family car is a Mazda 6s. My summer street car is a Corvette (remember right now I live near Buffalo, NY so the toy goes away for the winter.) In the winter my second car is a Ford F250 4wheel drive, which also serves to tow my car trailer the rest of the year. My primary race car is a Ford Mustang which I campaign in SCCA’s American Sedan class. I have trouble getting rid of toys so I still have my Datsun 280Z which I raced in SCCA’s Improved Touring class. Most likely it would be the car I use the most at AMP. 

Have you ever been trained to drive?

As you can tell I have some driving experience. I first went on track at a driver’s school in 1975 at the Jim Russell school at Circuit Mont Tremblant near Quebec, Canada. The school cars were Lotus 51 formula fords. I went back the next year for a lapping day but that was the end of my formula days. The bug hit again so I spent the summer of 1983 playing with my street Datsun 280Z at various Z Club events, mostly at Bridgehampton. I wanted to go faster but I didn’t want to destroy the street car so I bought a racing Datsun and raced for a while in SCCA’s GT2 class. It proved too expensive so I began racing in the Improved Touring class in another 280Z. That Z got destroyed in a freak accident so we built the Z I still have. During this period I had a sponsor who wanted the car painted green so of course we painted it green. We are required to tape over headlights so when we crash the glass doesn’t go everywhere. We used white tape and my then young son said the car looked like kermit. Ever since we have put frog eyes over the white tape and and the datsun became kermit (and the mustang kermit2 or k2). After another bout of insanity (or maybe sanity) I decided I wanted to go faster so we built the Ford Mustang for SCCA’s American Sedan class. That car has been my main race car since 1997. At times when the mustang isn’t running I’ve pulled the datsun out for a few races. I’ve raced at Bridgehampton, Pocono, Lime Rock, Watkins Glen, Nelson Ledges and even at Flemington with the SCCA. When I’ve been in Florida on business I’ve rented SCCA Spec Racers and raced at Sebring, Moroso (now Palm Beach) and Homestead. In the past I’ve been an instructor with some BMW clubs and the SCCA. I’ve won some races and state championships (and lost a lot more) over the years.

What do you do for a living?

I’m a mostly retired CPA who spent most of my working career in the health care and insurance field. I served as CFO of a few organizations either as an employee or as a consultant. Of course as I move to the Atlanta area I’d love to find at least some work to keep me busy (and to pay for my toys).I currently call myself a consultant.

Where do you live?

I currently live in the Buffalo, NY area but hope to be in the Atlanta area soon.

How do you use your membership? Business? Pleasure?

expect to use my AMP membership mostly for pleasure but you never know what might come up as I meet other members. 

What do you like most about AMP

For the chance to have fun. Racing has gotten more demanding and more confining. I am also looking forward to the social aspect with folks that have more of the same interests as I do. 

What was it about AMP that made you want to join?

I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of a motorsports country club and I believe AMP has gotten it right. From what I’ve seen of the track it’s going to be a great driver’s track. I am also very impressed by the passion I’ve seen from everyone involved with the project. I can’t just come up with one “most” thing as it’s all three I’ve mentioned. 

Anything you would like to say to other potential members?

Come join what promises to be great fun experience.