To try and learn, to fall and rise again Dvaras Racing

To try and learn, to fall and rise again Dvaras Racing

We meet with Dvaras Racing team manager Vytis Kulikauskas and his wife Ingrida, who is the main driver, in their workshop in Raudondvaris, a stone’s throw outside Kaunas. The team made their debut in 2022, and within 2 seasons had a lot of ups and downs, lessons of motorsports world. But the team is looking optimistically for new season, expanding their team and dreaming big.

So how did Dvaras racing was born?

Completely random accident. We were working in the garage and my friend phoned me: “Hey, we have a test day in Nemuno Ziedas, he had BMW M3 E30. Come here, pay for a petrol and i will be your ring taxi, he took us for several laps, including my wife Ingrida, after the rides I looked at my wife and saw in her eyes instantly. That’s it. The decision was made. A couple of months later, a guy comes to change the tires. I can see that it’s a sport tire, so I say to the guy: “Look, we have been thinking about driving. How is it, what do you do?” He comes back and says: “We have Honda Civic race car, take it, test it and you can have it!”. It was Gintaras from Autoralis team. And that was the beginning of our motorsports programme. For nearly one year, in our spare time we took the car to Nemuno Ziedas and just practiced. But the car was too rusty, too old already. It was extremely fast, the 1.6l Civic with 110 kW and the weight around 860 kg. But the low weight was because of the loss of metal. When you were sitting in the car, you could see ground through the floor. We gave the car back and bought a VW Golf II. Bad decision, one of the worst. The car’s purpose is to look good in city streets, it’s a retro, not a race car. You can’t make it fast and reliable. We spent a lot of money, we rebuilt the engine, we made it run on ethanol, custom suspension but it still wasn’t fast. We sold it luckily. And got the money. So, we started to think – what to do? BaTCC. What car? BMW, everybody is driving BMW, so we have the recipe, we have teams running BMWs and they have knowledge. We decided to buy E92, from England, we rebuilt it, and we started practicing here in Kaunas. When we tested it, we thought, that’s it, we have the jackpot. We have the car! 300 hp, fast car, we will be the winners! No…

Our first race was in Riga, May 2022. And the life slapped us hard there. On our way home, we did not talk at all. We were just: “What happened?” Back to the drawing board. That season was for learning. We asked for advice from some other teams, but it turned out differently, if you say do like that – make sure you do the opposite! That’s what we also learned. We realized this in Parnu, when we had the engine breakdown, we overheated the engine, and we blew up, and just because we put the wrong radiator, and the guy who said that, was already using a different one. That’s when we realized we have to learn everything ourselves. And since that moment our team started growing, that was the breaking point for the team.

And then came the Warm up lap in Bikernieki..

It wasn’t a warmup lap; it was sighting lap. The guy was taking the car to the grid and in Hospital corner he had too much confidence, spun and the rest is history. We came back to the hotel that night and again thought – what to do? Disband the team or continue? Continue. One week later we already had the same donor car, same engine, all parts delivered to Kaunas, and we had a car again, better than previous one.

How did it go in the last season?

It was decent from our perspective, not what we expected but it was our first racing season, as a full team!
We now have a proper team manager who joined us from marshals. We have full team of mechanics that know to do. We started to also use driving coaches; it was a game changer aswell. Sometimes Laurynas Vaitiekunas, sometimes Karolis Jovaisa during the races. We realized that also in the Parnu, if you like us have one car, you can’t teach me anything, but if you have five or six cars in the team, that’s a different story because you definitely know more than us. We have found teams that are willing to help us with advice and some knowledge.

What’s the plan for 2024?

Consistency. To see the finish flag in every single race. If we had or will have a technical error, we fix it and go, see the finish flag. Consistency, it’s the key element, whether you are testing or racing. Endurance racing, not so sure about the 4 hours, still discussing that. 2 hours – yes! And sprints with BMW 325 CUP E90! Most of our drivers are endurance type. If someone wants to drive with us, with E90 or E92 diesel – let us know! E90, If you want to have a proper race in Eastern Europe region, it’s very big field and very fast drivers. For the future we need something faster, so we have started the funding campaign to buy Porsche GT3 CUP 992. We need 300 000 EUR to start the programme – buy a car, spare parts, technical tools, trailer etc. That’s what we want.

Why Porsche?

If I would leave my wife, I would buy a Porsche! (laughs). That is an engineering marvel. That’s a proper german engineering. And it looks good! What other car than Porsche? TCR? TCR is plan A, but you can’t win the race in Palanga with TCR now, but with Porsche you are a contender. TCR is most logical, it’s cheaper to buy and run, good spare parts logistics. Lambos? I don’t like Lambos, how many podiums have they had in all the years? They make the show, sound, look good, but they are never on the podium, we have thought about them, and they are not expensive, but they rarely finish. In BEC 4H now also not enough intermediate cars and the tires is also an issue, with Nankang semislicks we can go all 4 hours and use them later in testing. With slicks the budget will go up, twice as much for tires. Will see about the season if we get drivers we race everywhere.

Which of the Baltic tracks are favourites?

Riga separates men from children. You must have balls to be fast there. I like the atmosphere there. The pine trees, woods… Parnu is Mecca for local motorsports. In Parnu you must have Porsche, a blonde wife, and a small doggy. It’s safe, the vibe is extremely good. We enjoy every single second. Even living is cheap there because we have a good place. We arrive on Wednesday, and we enjoy it. But driving wise – Riga! I will race next year, and I want my debut to be in Riga!

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