AluMMni Spotlight: Kaan Canturk

This month, we are featuring one of the OG MMers. If you’ve been to a Turducken event with MM or been to the track with us, you have probably seen him. He is one of our longest tenured members and was a gracious host of Turducken for many years. Please meet Kaan Canturk!

What’s your name?

Kaan Canturk

When were you in MM?

From the genesis… many trips around the sun. Once you are in, you never get to leave… at least thats how I take it.

What made you join MM? 

I was looking to start a car club on the blue stone side of campus and one day while working as a campus cadet (dont hate me) I found a flier for Madison Motorsports on the “new” ISAT side of campus. They were much farther along the club establishment process… they weren’t serial killers or anything… and the rest is history.

What role did you have in the club?

I never had an official “role” in the club… I was “the member”… I might be the only OG that didn’t hold office.

What were you best known for when you were in the club?

The safe, non incriminating answer… Widow Makers (I’m pretty sure RJ named them)… It was Madison Motorsports required track side food. Folks would be so jazzed and hyped and bouncing around with adrenaline from coming off track, and they wouldn’t eat or drink all day. SO… I wrapped kielbasa in bacon, grilled it… they would eat it, drink water, and sit down (maybe not in that order). Basically I was known for feeding people. The Widow Maker evolved over some Turducken and summer picnic gatherings… into a beer battered, cheese injected, bacon wrapped kielbasa. Maybe I’ll have to bring some OG Widow Makers out to the track again in 2021…

What was your favorite memory as a student? As an alumnus? 

Again the safe, non incriminating answer as a student is… the Autox we hosted on campus. It was completely a bad idea, but we didn’t know any better… JMU didn’t know any better either… and someone approved it. No one died, no one wrecked, no one took out a light pole or ran into the Convocation Center… it was a huge “win” for Madison Motorsports. As an alumnus… it was 100% passing competition school. Sure its not a big deal, people do it every year… but Madison Motorsports started me down this path when we began working for NASA Mid Atlantic (in 2000? 2001ish?) and I fell in love with the Honda Challenge race class. RJ raced in it, Gerald raced in it… I wanted to race in it too… and finally in 2019 I was able to make that dream a reality.

What impact did the club have on you?

Madison Motorsports really allowed a very diverse group of folks to get together around a shared passion… and its allowed me to have so many great friendships. I stayed engaged with folks through the forums and popped up in person to campus events from time to time… and my friendships span many generations of Madison Motorsports.

What did you drive as a student?

1983 VW Scirocco GTI Karmann

What are you driving now? 

Work… because that’s what old people do. Oh yeah, we also fix our houses and stuff too. Outside of that… obviously I’m always fixing the broken race car. When I’m not in the garage I’m out hiking and biking around the Shenandoah Valley. I recently did the 5 peaks in Virginia over 5k feet challenge… except I mapped it out to do all 8 peaks over 5k feet… in 2 days. I don’t have a side hustle like some folks… but I do volunteer with a group home that houses adults with physical and mental limitations. I do feel its important to give back to your community, and this organization really spoke to me… so if you like yard work, house painting, etc. hit me up… we always have projects to do!

What are you up to nowadays? (Plug yourself!) 

Sell your Miatas, BMWs, and other garbage and come race Honda Challenge.

Editor’s Note: While I appreciate the attempt to seduce me to the dark side, Kaan, I’ll have to decline.