21st May2013

CAM Goes To Cota Day 3

by Michael Chandler

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No time for shenanigans, time to get to the…  Hey!  Thats an Aston Martin Rapide…  So pretty. The parking lot held some intense vehicles, but more on those later.

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We were here for the racing!  Not the parking lot finds, and we managed to get quite a bit in on our last day.  We caught some of the SCCA Pirelli World Challenge GT/GTS race.  You know, the one with the GT3 cars in it now.  We saw a lap or two from ground level, but then decided to get a better vantage point.

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We (Cherp, James and myself) climbed the Tower.  Well, we rode the elevator up because it was a lot of stairs.  We got some great shots up there of the GT/GTS guys and the Porsche Cup races.  We also got some touristy ones.

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These guys were running hard, but in the end Madison Snow took the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy race, while James Sofronas won the GT class in his GMG R8 and Andy Lee put his Best IT Camaro on top of the podium in the GTS class.

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But then it was time for the main events!  The first race almost saw Mark Winterbottom put his Pepsi Max Crew/FPR Falcon atop the podium, but a bad pit stop relegated him to a disappointing 7th.  Holden locked out the top six spots, with Coulthard, Lowndes and Whincup on the podium in the order.  Rick Kelly in his Jack Daniel’s Racing Nissan placed 9th and Tim Slade put the Heavy Haulage Australia Racing Mercedes in 20th.  Then we had an hour to kill between the races, so we wandered…

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And wound up at the Start/Finish line.  We consumed energy drinks and water, purchased souvenirs, and then heard 28 cars bounce off the rev limiters before launching up the hill.

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And what a hill it is.  It’s 150 feet of rise from the bottom of the hill to the top.  That makes it the most elevation change of any F1 circuit on the schedule.  See?  You learned something!  We then moved down the front straight, to turn 20.  The final turn of the circuit.

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We saw plenty of action.

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And also some inaction…

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And then the checkered flew.  The big news?  A MERCEDES FINISHED BETTER THAN 20TH!!!  Tim Slade and the HHA Racing Mercedes came in 17th!  Meanwhile Rick Kelly was yet again the highest placing Nissan (8th), and Mark “Frosty” Winterbottom put his Flacon in 6th.  Holden took places 1-5, with the podium consisting of Jamie Whincup, Fabian Coulthard and Shane van Ginsbergen.

And that was it for the races, but the parking lots at CotA held a few gems themselves.  There was the McLaren on Saturday, then there was this SRT Viper that was being loaded in to a hauler.

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And these!

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Holdens!  We ran across two fellows who import Utes, then convert them to left hand drive by sticking Pontiac GTO or G8 dashes in them.  The best part is they then can be legally registered!

After ogling the cars, we packed up and made our way in to Austin for dinner, then shenanigans.  The next morning we returned our faithful chariot to the rental agency, hopped on the plane and made our way home.  It was an epic trip for the lot of us.  Nobody races like the V8 Supercar guys.

Words by Michael Chandler.  Photos by Michael Chandler, Nicholas Cherpeski and James Dahl.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified, or copied without expressed written consent from CAMAutoMag.Com.

 

 

19th May2013

CAM Goes To COTA Day 2

by Michael Chandler

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After a hearty, umm, breakfast, we made our way to the track to see our first V8 Supercars races!

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By this point we’ve established seating in the rental mobile: Trent at the helm, Cherp in the navigator position…

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…with Jamie and myself in the rear.

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Today we all went our separate ways when we got to shooting.  I elected to go to the bottom of the hill where turn two is and the outside of turn one at the top of the hill.

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Then I made my way to the turn three, four, five complex where the drivers were hitting the curbing hard.  They were putting a lot of air under the tires.

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Then I made my way across the bridges to meet up with the guys after the race.  Jamie Whincup took the win, with Red Bull Racing teammate Craig Lowndes taking second and Fabian Coulthard rounding out the podium.  We then walked back across the bridges, watched Jamie eat a kolach, then settled in on the hill above turn eighteen for race two.

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There was a lot of action in race two, unfortunately not a lot where we were…  But we did get to see some passing!

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And even some three wide action that didn’t work out in turn nineteen.

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It was mostly orderly and clean, which is good because having the safety car out every three laps would turn the twenty-seven lap sprints into monstrous endurance races.

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The checkered flew, Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes took positions one and two with Fabian Coulthard taking third.  Holden shut out the podium yet again, and also took positions four and five with Mark Winterbottom putting his Ford Performance Racing/Pepsi Max Falcon in sixth.  Rick Kelly put his Jack Daniels Nissan Altima in eighth.  The Mercedes E-Classes didn’t fare that well, with one not finishing while the other two took positions twenty and twenty-six.

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With the racing done, Trent posed for a delightfully touristy photo and we left.

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But not before we spotted a McLaren MP4-12C leaving one of the dirt lots!

Two more races tomorrow.  Will Red Bull Racing continue their dominance?  Can Ford crack the podium?  Will a Mercedes finish higher than twentieth?  Find out tomorrow!

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified, or copied without expressed written consent from CAMAutoMag.Com.

 

18th May2013

CAM Goes To COTA: Day 1

by Michael Chandler

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It’s the inaugural Austin 400 V8 Supercars race, and as a group Trent, Cherp, James and myself decided to chip in and come down.  We’re going to be down here until Monday, and at the track today and tomorrow.  We flew in yesterday and went straight to the track.  Here’s a brief run down of events preceding and during our trip to Circuit of the Americas here in Austin.

 

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Cherp flew in to Salt Lake from Seattle.  He did some prodigious foursquare-ing, and proceeded to creep on us at the terminal in Salt Lake until we found him.  Him, Jamie and myself grabbed some coffee before boarding.  Unfortunately we were separated during the flight, and they got a window on their aisle.  Cherp and I were left to entertain ourselves…

 

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Naturally, when we deplaned, we were greeted by a bar.

 

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It was then time to procure the rental mobile.  We were getting a Focus, or something “similar”.

 

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The idea of the Focus gave Jamie a stroke… Or something…

 

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…while Cherp seemed just delighted by the prospect of the Focus.

 

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Similar?  YOU BET!  Similar price?  the BMW was $50 more PER DAY.  So we opted for the Focus, which we have claimed as our own.  And then we were off!

 

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She’s a sight to behold.

 

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You know who was excited to get in?  JAMIE!

 

We were greeted with raucous backfire from the Aussies and Kiwis during the practice session we watched.  We were then treated to a practice session from one of the support series: IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup, where we noticed some familiar cars from Miller Motorsports Park.

We’ll be back out there today, and tomorrow.  Follow the lot of us on Instagram and Twitter for more photos and shenanigans: @camautomag @cherp92lx @dubbindahl and @mchandphoto

Words and photos by Michael Chandler
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified, or copied without expressed written consent from CAMAutoMag.Com.