Driver of the Month – June 2010

June 2010

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Name: Demetri Mirissis

Car # 43 (always)

Age: 45

City/State: Huntington, NY

Profession: Senior Client Advisor for Habberstad BMW, Long Island

Daily Driver: 2011 BMW 535i

Family: Wife Maria, 8 year old son, Dean

SCCA Member Since: I was from 2000 but it lapsed… oops

SCCA Region: Northeast
How did you get started in Autox? I saw some folks at the Nassau Coliseum back in 1989 (when the pavement was smooth), and got a kick from watching and thought I’d give it a go.
What you wished someone had told you when you started?  Start at an earlier age…
What did you drive at your first AutoX season?  1988 Porsche 944 Turbo

When did you start road racing? Late 90’s

What kind of car & class do you currently race in?  1995 BMW E36 M3 (E46 Motor, S54) in BMWCCA CM, and NASA GTS4

What made you choose your current race car?  I sold my Porsche 914-6 to get this ride as it was built by the great James Sofronas.

Who is your biggest influence in the sport? Why?  My idol and inspiration has always been Ayrten Senna.  His philosophy and approach to racing are unmatched to this day, IMHO.  I also am very inspired by Lewis Hamilton and love his driving style.  My biggest autocross influence has been Dave Newman, who taught my how to left foot brake.

Have you taken any AutoX/Driving Schools? Only Skip Barber in October, 1997

Funniest autox/race story, if any?  My 1st race ever, was at Limerock in a 500 hp Porsche 930, in 1999 in the pouring rain on Hoosier R3SO3’s,  I was trembling in the car from being so nervous but I still finished the race, dead last, but 1st for points.  No Rains, no rain set up, pure stupidity.

Scariest moment?  Instructing most of my DE students.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now in the sport? Driving What?  I hope to one day have an opportunity to drive a Speed World Challenge or Grand Am race.
In the past year or so, what have you learned to help improve yourself as a driver and your car setup?   Stop always messing with car set up, just drive the car.  Seat time is everything.

Do you left-foot brake? In your opinion how has this helped you?  Yes, at every auto-x and on the race track.  It is one of the most useful tools in car control.  I can transition much faster with my left foot on the brake.
What can you tell a beginner who is just starting to get into Road Racing?  In order to finish 1st, you 1st must finish.

Worst advice you ever received?  What ever is behind you, doesn’t matter.  It always matters until the checkered flag flies.
Best advice?  You take care of slow, fast will take care of you…  2nd piece of advise was to get rid of the big HP car and get a light car with lower HP and learn how to drive the right way.

How much of the sport do you think is attributed to driver skill vs. car setup?  I would say 60% driver, 40% car set up.  A good driver car still find the best in a car but a bad driver generally drives poorly in all cars.


What is it about Road Racing that keeps you interested?  The adrenaline rush, the anticipation of improvement and the G’s.
Do you critique yourself after a race?  Always, with crew and video / data acquisition.  And I always think I could have gone faster.
What trophies or titles have you won? Well, in 2009, I raced a full season with NASA, won 6 of 7 races, set 3 track records and 1 second place, (Rain race with hockey pucks for rain tires).  I won the Porscherama auto-x FTD in 2007 in my 1973 Porsche 914-6.  I have over 35 auto-x FTD’s in my garage I am proud of.

What is your primary goal for the 2010 season?  I am sort of semi-retired from auto-x as my primary car is for road racing only.  But, that could change.
If you could have ANY AutoX ride imaginable, what would it be and why?  Lotus Exige S or have my 914-6 back.  Both are mid engine, short wheel base and very light.

If you could have ANY RACE CAR ride imaginable, what would it be and why?  Porsche GT3 Super Cup.  Built by the factory with one purpose in mind, winning.

Do you volunteer to help out with your local club, if so what have you done?  I have been the Metro PCA Concours Chair for 3 years, and currently sit on the Metro NY PCA Autocross Committee.  Also served as the Chief Track Instructor for the NY BMW CCA.

What was your favorite subject in school? GYM

Did you get any tickets as a teenager?  More than I can count.

What did your parents drive when you were young?  1962 Buick Electra with a 445 Wildcat V8 big block, 1975 Oldsmobile 98 Regency.

What is your favorite-
Food-  Ice Cream
Drink-  Non-Alcoholic– Diet Peach Snapple     Alcoholic- Chivas Regal 18 year old Scotch
TV Show- Smallville
Entertainer: Rob Ida
Movie- Bullit
Music/Band- Rock, Van Halen
Car-   Owned=  Porsche              Dream time= McLaren F1 LM
Race Driver-     Professional= Ayrten Senna            Amateur= Don’t really have one, although Keith Peare would be a big 914 inspiration to me.
Other hobbies besides AutoX?  Mountain Biking, Archery, Competition Pistol Shooting.

Some of your favorite Web Sites, car related or not?,,