16th Sep2014

2014 Utah Grand Prix Day 1

by Michael Chandler

Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (11 of 189)

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

When Miller Motorsports Park released their 2014 schedule many, many months ago, I saw the Utah Grand Prix in September.  You remember Trent went to it years ago and got some very cool shots.  Well, now was my turn.  So I put in my application for credentials a few months in advance… And was told by John Gardener, the Marketing Communications Manager at Miller Motorsports Park, that I needed to resubmit them when the event was about a month out and that I wouldn’t have any issues getting credentials.  So I waited some more, resubmitted and was granted them!  I was going to my first big boy event, where there would be very serious photographers and big name manufacturers.  The scale of the event didn’t really hit me until the night before, when I felt like a very small fish in a very large pond.

I’m getting ahead of myself, and side tracked.  First, let’s talk about exactly what the Utah Grand Prix is.  This year there was NASCAR K&N West Series racing (which you’ll see in part two of this), Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy racing (All Porsche 911s, all of the time), Miller GT and United States Touring Car Championship (Your local favorites and the USTCC field running all at once), and finally Pirelli World Challenge Championship racing.  AKA SCCA World Challenge, this is the other big sports car racing series in the US.  This event was also a make up for the rained out opening round, and the season finale!  Championships were on the line!  And for those staring blankly at the screen, wondering what World Challenge is, here’s a break down:

GT/GTA/GTS

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Ahh, Grand Touring.  The Gentlemanly auto racers.  Actually, it’s mostly sports cars of varying degrees.  As we reported, World Challenge will let you run FIA GT3 spec cars in GT and GTA, which is why you see the Bentley Continental GT3 bearing down on the GTS class Kia Optima.  GT and GTA is the home of the GT3 cars (Continental GT3, McLaren MP4-12C GT3, Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, etc) along with Cadillac CTS-V.Rs, the Acura TLX GT (which was wrecked in the previous race and wasn’t repaired in time for this one), and in genreral cars that were too much for GTS (Alex Loyd’s Corvette and Louis-Phillip Montour’s Dodge Viper).  GTS is home to more pedestrian entries, if you want to call them that.  Mustang Boss 302S’s, Nissan 370Zs, Chevrolet Camaros, and Porsche Caymans represent the majority of the field.  Also running in the class are the Kia Optimas and Aston Martin GT4s, with the Kias competing for the Manufacturer’s Title in class.

TC/TCA/TCB

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TC is short for Touring Car, and if you’ve ever watched any of European Touring Car series then you know how wild the econo boxes can be!  Sorry, sport “sedans”; although, as you can see the Skullcandy Altima is a coupe.  That’s neither here nor there.  TC and TCA is populated by small displacement rear wheel drive cars, like the Pontiac Solstice GXP Coupe and the venerable Mazda MX-5 Miata, and front wheel drive cars like Civic Si’s, Altimas and Jetta GLIs.  TCB is the land of the little B Spec cars, Honda Fits, Mini Coopers and Fiat 500s.  Armed with this knowledge, lets get on with this story.

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I had to be at the track early.  Not pre-dawn early, but early for someone who is usually ready to face the day at the crack of noon.  I arrived, got my wrist band and found a seat in the media center.  I chatted with Michael Wells, and finally met Chance Hales.  After the meeting, Chance, myself and Shawn Pierce, who shoots for NoBraking.com, piled in to my Subaru and made our way to some corners for the practice sessions of GT/A/S TC/A/B and Miller GT.

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By lunch we made our way half way around the track.  We formed a plan for the qualifying sessions and races, and made our way to the paddock.  I dropped them at the Media Center and made my way to RaceCo to chat with Cole Powelson and Kyle Schick, and meet up with Derrick Wolthoff of Makes and Models and TW Racing.  On the way I ran into George Smith, and asked him why he suddenly disappeared from the Miller GT session.  The crank sensor in his Corvette failed, and it was an all hands on deck effort to replace it.

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Eventually I made it to the Makes and Models garage just in time to tag along with Derrick to talk about getting some fuel from some people.  Those people happened to be Audi Customer Support Racing, Global Motorsports Group and Mike Skeen who was #2 in GT Driver’s championship.  While Derrick was conducting business, I wandered about the paddock and got some photos.  I would’ve stayed for more photos, but the next session was coming up quick so I had to get my car and grab Chance and Shawn.

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Not without getting a little sidetracked though.  The Black Swan Racing SLS AMG GT3 is the most gorgeous car in the field, hands down.  And the KPAX Racing McLaren MP4-12C GT3s have names: Reginald and Edward.  Why they’re named that is beyond me, but it led me to thinking of names for the Cadillacs and the Bentleys.  The Caddys are George and James, while the Bentleys are Lord Percival Umberbottom and Duke Albert Thistleton IV.  I didn’t ask either team if they would consider naming or changing the names of their cars, but I think Cadillac would’ve been a bit more receptive to the idea.

Anyway, Chance and Shawn decided they wanted to skip the next session, and go grab some food.  I agreed with this, and off we went.

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After lunch we made our way to Witchcraft and The Attitudes for the Pirelli GT3 Cup race, which had a healthy amount of local Drivers in it who had quite a showing.  David Donner, Alan and Desire Wilson, John Scarlett, Les Long and Darrell Troester all demonstrated what is meant by a home field advantage.  We stayed in the attitudes for the World Challenge GT qualifier, before making our way down to turn one for the start of the TC race.

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And what a start it was! In the opening lap Paul Holton in the #65 Shea Racing Honda Fit collided with, and almost drove over top of, the #58 Racing.ca Mini Cooper of Glenn Nixon.  Somehow Holton’s Fit was able to continue with the race.  The same could not be said for Nixon’s Mini.  Both drivers received Driver Conduct penalties, $1000 fines and lost 20 points each.  Holton finished 9th in class, and 22nd overall while Brian Price in the #51 Unlimited Racing/RP Performance Honda Fit finished first in TCB.  Adam Poland in the Eastex Motorsports MX-5 Miata took the TC class win, and Nic Jonsson took the TCA win in Russell Smith’s #38 Kinetic Motorsports Kia Forte Koup.  After the track was cleaned up, it was time for the GT race.

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Before I tell you about the race itself, I need to tell you something we were told in the media meeting.  We were told we couldn’t be on the pit wall for the beginning of the GT race.  Why? World Challenge does a standing start, like Formula 1 does.  Most of the time, this isn’t an issue but lately drivers stalling on the start has been a problem.  When a driver stalls, and is in the middle or front of the grid, everyone behind him has to take evasive maneuvers.  Sometimes these maneuvers result in collisions, which can send pieces of the cars flying.  So for our safety, we weren’t allowed on the pit wall for the start of the race.

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This was a good thing, because guess what happened.  The GTS Kias got into each other, and Mike Skeen broke an axle in his Audi R8 LMS Ultra.  Mike made it off track under his own power, but the Kias had to be towed off.  This immediately brought out the yellow flag and the safety car.  Since this was a timed race, some of the other photographers began getting worried/annoyed, which led me to cracking off a one liner.  It was not well received.  Anyway, the Kias were finally removed, and the green flag flew again.

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After watching the calamity of turn one iron itself out (everyone is trying to get around everyone else.  Remember the incident between the Fit and the Mini?), we made our way over to the Clubhouse to grab some photos of the final three turns, where more calamity ensued.

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An incident occurred as soon as we got to Clubhouse turn.  The #6 KPAX Racing McLaren MP4-12C of Robert Thorne got into the back of the #96 Capaldi Racing/Dat Dog Ford Mustang Boss 302S of Brad Adams, causing both cars to spin out right in front of the massive and massively fast Dyson Racing Bentley Continental GT3s and Cadillac Racing CTS-V.Rs.  Thankfully nobody else was involved in the spin.

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With Mike Skeen’s race over before it began the battle for the podium came down to two iconic luxury marques: Bentley and Cadillac.  Johnny O’Connell and Andy Pilgrim battled the Bentleys of Guy Smith and Butch Leitzinger for two of the top three spots.  When the dust settled, Guy Smith was atop the podium.  His Continental beat out O’Connell’s CTS-V.R by 3.47 seconds for the top spot.  It was very nearly a 1-2 finish for the Brits, but Johnny held Leitzinger off by less than 1/10 of a second!

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Michael Mills in the #41 Effort Racing Porsche 911 GT3R took the GTA class win, and without the class leading Kias in his way or Driver’s Championship leader Lawson Aschenbach’s Black Dog Speed Shop Camaro ZL1 to worry about Nick Esayian cruised to victory in GTS in his TRG-AMR North America Natural Cures Aston Martin GT4.

And that wraps up the first of two days I spent at the Utah Grand Prix.  Stay tuned for Day 2, which held the Pirelli World Challenge final races, the Miller GT race, and the NASCAR K&N West Series race!  Below are a few galleries, neatly organized by series.

World Challenge GT/A/S

World Challenge TC/A/B

Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy

Miller GT

 

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.

 

12th Sep2014

Paint, Vinyl, and Hardware: D-Spare Preps for Formula D Texas

by Michael Chandler

D Spare Brandon Wicknick Formula Drift Texas prep Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (7 of 9)

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

Brandon Wicknick drives in the Formula D Professional Drifting Championship.  He’s also a buddy of mine.  While we were in Idaho he invited me to come by his shop and snap some photos of the preparations that were going to be going on before he loaded up and went off to Texas.  It was nothing too crazy: just repainting the car, applying new graphics and sponsor decals, hanging some new body panels, rebuilding the motor. Some rather basic stuff that everyone competing on a professional level (privateer or factory backed driver) does.

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Brandon and Jose handled the nuts and bolts stuff.  Literally.  Brandon was putting the motor back together, while Jose was working on a differential for Brandon’s S13 and also doing some work on Juha Rintanen’s widebody S14.  For the uninitiated: Juha is a Finnish Formula D rookie, but he’s no stranger to competition.  He’s won a national championship in Finland, and was the 2013 Drift All Starts European champion.  He’s currently 61st in the Championship.  ANYWAY…

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While Jose and Brandon put things mechanical in nature together, Danny and MsRae Rossi of Stick-It Vinyl Graphics were busy applying vinyl to the car.  They’re the ones for the original wild color stripe scheme, and they were back at it.  Since this was just a refresh nothing was going to change livery wise, but a few sponsor decals were moved around a bit to make them easier to see.

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Speaking of his sponsors, whom you should support only because they support this mad man in his endeavors, are:

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At the time of writing, Brandon qualified 10th in Pro2, which has him paired with…  Wait for it… Juha Rintanen.  Yup, garage mate vs. garage mate.  S13 vs. S14.  2JZ vs. … another 2JZ.  Whatever, We’re pulling for Brandon to be on top of the podium, he and the rest of the D-Spare crew have been working too hard not to get a win in Texas.

UPDATE: He won!

 *Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
23rd Apr2014

Track Pirates Pit Walk

by Michael Chandler

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Here’s an idea, throw a meet at a proper track and let people park on pit lane!  Brilliant right?  That was the bright idea Zane, Brent and the rest of the Track Pirates cooked up for the first annual Pit Walk meet.  April 19 was a gorgeous day, and many people came out to enjoy the sun and sights.  And enjoy some tunes from DJ GType, aka Joey… or The Hair as one person calls him.  There was a wide breadth of vehicles: from RaceCo’s F1 car to a pair of old Datsun pickups, from Brent Cheney’s uber rare M3 to Rally Sport Direct’s 2015 WRX and STI.  And a couple of Rocket Bunny BRZs to boot.

 

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Enough words, time for a gallery!

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
03rd Apr2014

NASA Utah 2014 Round 1 Photo Gallery

by Michael Chandler

As with most events, we took a ton of pictures at the NASA Utah season opener.  Unfortunately we could only stick so many in the actual reports; however, instead of letting these photos hang out on our hard drives we made some galleries so you can see what didn’t make the cut.  It’s broken down like the coverage posts were, (Thunder and Lightning combined groups, open wheel, and then TT) so you don’t have to scroll through a few hundred photos to find the one you want.

Thunder and Lightning:

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Open Wheel:

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TT:

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Words by Michael Chandler.  Photos by Michael Chandler and Michael Wells

 

 *Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
31st Mar2014

NASA Utah Round 1: Time Trial

by Michael Chandler
NASA Utah Round 1 Thunder and Lightning group CAMautoMag Michael Chandler (105 of 105)

Smith-Burke Racing setting their second record of the day!

Paul McGarvey in his second run group and second Miata

Paul McGarvey in his second run group and second Miata

 

Many TT drivers had moved up to the road racing classes, and several had not completed their off season builds yet. Absent was everyone’s favorite Wyoming local, TT1 Champion Shawn Murphy, but he came down to visit and show his support and supply NASA Utah’s own Matt Guiver with a well deserved malty beverage. Smith-Burke racing ran fast laps in both the racing group and the time trial group.  Paul McGarvey joined the Vette with his V8 powered Miata, but Paul was one man splitting time between two different classes, while J.R. Smith and James Burke could split seat time.  Hard work paid off and the Vette managed to break Danny Popp’s four year old TT1 track record with a 1:58.09.

Greg Valdez

Greg Valdez

Scott Corsetti chasing down Josh Miller

Scott Corsetti chasing down Josh Miller

In TT2 Greg Valdez picked up right where he left off at Nationals last year.  His 2:04.356 was more than enough to take the win over Scott Corsetti’s 911 turbo. Greg repeated his victory on Sunday. Both TT2 drivers were good sports and spent a great deal of their day instructing new drivers in the HPDE program.

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Trip Hunter

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Corry Perkins

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John Carver

TT3 saw new and old Porches battle a Corvette and a WRX wagon.  Rookie time trial driver Trip Hunter took the class win in his Martini Liveried Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS, posting a 2:11.793, 2.8 seconds ahead of Corry Perkins’s 911.  Rounding out the podium was John Carver, who put his black and silver Corvette in third with a 2:15.329.  Josh Miller drove his WRX wagon to a fourth place finish (2:16.879), and James Pasquier posted a best time of 2:18.657 in his yellow 993 chassis 911, the oldest, but perhaps classiest, car in the field.

Kyle Schick

Kyle Schick

Reigning TTU Champion Kyle Schick was learning how the RaceCo/OS Giken/Ohlins Racing/VP Fuels/AMS GTR handled in rear wheel drive configuration.  2:04.185 was his best time during Saturday’s sessions.

Will we see Shawn Murphy next round?  Will Trent Smith get all four wheels of the GTR spinning together?  Can there possibly be more Porsches on track?  Find out all of this and more next month! The next race weekend is April 25-27 on the West track.  Registration is open and we look forward to seeing everyone return for Round 2 of the NASA Utah racing series

Words by Michael Chandler and Matt Guiver.  Photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
05th Sep2013

Western Endurance Racing Championship at Miller Motorsports Park part 2

by Michael Chandler

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I arrived back in the pits to find…  The Mustang, in one piece and not on fire.  As it turns out “blew up” means different things to different people.  Unfortunately the clutch gave out, which ended the day for Travis, Todd, Dave and Jason.  It was a melancholy scene, but the hour and a half they were out there wasn’t so bad.  They’re night was done, but for others the evening was about to begin.

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Racing is a physical effort, which is why the drivers do their best to stay in some semblance of shape.  Some take it a bit more serious than others…  Seeing a man do lunges and jog across three pit stalls is a sight I don’t think I will ever forget.  As he was preparing his body and mind for the stint ahead, RaceCo was bringing their guy in for a driver change and fuel stop.

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Intense doesn’t even begin to describe the atmosphere during an endurance race pit stop.  There are a lot of moving parts and, while longer than pit stops in other motor sports, time is a huge factor.  Those extra seconds add up, and turn in to minutes, which over the course of a six hour race could become tens of minutes.  Cole Powelson, driver and chief push broom technician at RaceCo, hopped out and declared himself #1 after relaying some information about the car.  He had a couple of minutes to relax and change before it got windy again…

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Wind can be handled, but the dust and lack of visibility could cause havoc.  Seeing from Clubhouse to Release was almost impossible, even if you were standing in between the turns.  Mercifully the winds died down and visibility picked back up.  I gathered my things, hopped in my car and made my way to Black Rock, the first in a series of hairpin turns on the west section of the track.

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The turn sits at the end of a high speed section, so naturally this is where the brakes would see the most use.  Everyone was lighting up their brake rotors, especially the vehicles that carried buckets of speed in to the turn.  The Factory Five GTM and the Radical had absolutely no problem cooking their brakes coming in to the turn, lap after lap after lap.

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With the sunset painting the sky with hues of orange, blue, purple and magenta, the on track action almost seemed like an added bonus.  There was barely enough light in the sky to illuminate the racers, and when that faded we all had to resort to artificial means of light.

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The cars would cast eery slivers of light on to the track, illuminating only what was in their immediate path.  Their tail lights were the eyes of shifty demons scurrying about the track, looking for a victim to terrorize.  It was quite a sight to behold, and a rather difficult one to capture.  Unable to capture thin windows of light, I did something that seemed like a good idea: setting the camera on a tripod and capturing the trails of light the cars were leaving behind.

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Most everyone had bright, white lights.  Everyone, except the Radical.  It had a white LED light bar on the roll hoop, but red orange lights on the front of the car.  The track took on a sinister glow when it passed.  It left a devilish red-orange trail with a little white halo above it.  It was also hitting the curbing, which can be seen by the ripples on the left side of the picture.  Most everyone else played it safe and only touched the curbing while taking  as straight a path through the Attitudes as they could.

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I don’t like saying it, but the grand stands on the race weekends I have been in attendance have been rather empty.  This night was no exception.  One of the best spots to watch a race from are the stands on the outside of Release, the track’s final turn before the straight.  From those seats one can see cars coming through Witchcraft and disappear as the cross the Attitudes.  They reappear just past the clubhouse, and you can see them all the way until they dip out of sight as they travel through turn 1.

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I returned to the pits, and made my way through lifeless GP garages to a dark and busy pit lane.  Privateers and factory backed crews toiled under the work lights to ready their cars for another stint.  By this time everyone was preparing for their last outing on the track for the night.  The drivers were exhausted, the crews were fatigued but still they fought on.

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The end was in sight for those still driving.  Last minute information was relayed to drivers, fuel was topped off, lights were cleaned and finally the engines were fired.  Off in to the blackness one more time…

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.

 

03rd Sep2013

Western Endurance Racing Championship at Miller Motorsports Park Part 1

by Michael Chandler

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This was going to be an entirely different article.  It was going to be like the old Honda Challenge stuff we did: chronicling the local guys on their home track as the battle the out of towners.  I was going to talk about how Dave Dingman, Todd Ainsworth, Travis Williams and last second addition Jason Smith took the fight to them over the course of the six hour race.  It was going to be heroic and epic and all of those things.

But then their day went belly up.  Here’s how it happened: Dave went out first, and irony found him.  See, Dave pilots the Freeway Mazda Miata we all know and love in the NASA Utah events.  As he was out in Travis’s FR500S Mustang was hit by a (wait for it) Miata.  This prompted the stewardess to tell Travis and Jason that he had thirty minutes to come in and file a report.  If he didn’t the team would receive a five minute penalty.

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After a brief discussion, the team decided to leave him out.  When he came in they’d get his side of the story, top him off with fuel and send him on his marry way.  His side of the story goes something like this: he gave the Miata plenty of room going in to turn one, but closed the door because thats how his line was.  The Miata, seeing that there wasn’t any room, decided to stick its nose in there.  Contact was made, it was the Miata’s fault.  Anyway, the team didn’t have radios so Travis grabbed a white board and a red marker to communicate to Dave that he was to come in.  He scribbled something on the board and ran to the pit wall.

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As it turns out, it’s hard to see red on white as you’re at speed with the sun in your face.  The crew in the next pit stall noticed Travis’s mistake, gave Jason a black marker, and the sign was re-scribbled.  Travis again ran to the pit wall and held the sign.  It worked better that time around, and Dave came in.

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Travis got Dave’s story and explained the situation.  He also made sure Dave stayed strapped in, because if he unstrapped then his stint would be over.  Jason topped off the fuel tank and Todd held the fire extinguisher just in case.  The tank was brimmed after some more conversation, and Dave took off making sure not to abuse the clutch upon his exit.  They weren’t going to leave him out there for too much longer, so I hung around the pits so as to not miss the driver change.

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The professionals at RaceCo were a few stalls down, showcasing the professionalism, enthusiasm for produce and the proper way to kinda listen to someone’s story about something…or whatever.  They were also fielding a FR500S Mustang in the race.  The competition had been meet, and they had watermelon and a canopy in their stall.  More on them later, because Dave was about to come in for the first driver change of team TRADINGWOR’s night.

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Dave out, Todd and fuel in.  Dave took over fire extinguisher duties, while Travis helped Todd get settled in.  Jason, and his Vans, manned the fuel can.  Notes were passed between the drivers and the rest of the team.  I imagine that this is what it was like in the fifties.  All the drivers had other responsibilities and the only time they could communicate what the car was doing or feeling like was when they came in for fuel and fresh rubber.  Except I don’t think anyone would be wearing bright red shoes, but I could very well be wrong.

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Todd left gingerly, but not any harder than you or I leaving a stop light quickly.  Dave proceeded to tell us his story, and show us when the Miata decided to test just how small it was.  He also mentioned that the car felt good, and he wasn’t using the clutch much.  He was rev matching up and down shifts because he wanted to keep the clutch for later in the night.  Remember: it was a marathon, not a sprint.  With that handled, I hopped in the Subaru and made my way to turn one to catch some of the cars on track.

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Miller is a challenging track for many reasons, but one reason I have heard many times is it’s very dusty.  This is because the track is built in the middle of high desert grazing land, which will grow wild grasses and other native vegetation but not a whole lot else.  The track is never going to look like Road America, and that’s not a huge problem.  Willow Springs is in the middle of a desert in the middle of nowhere, and it does plenty fine.  However, that lack of vegetation has one drawback.  That drawback, coupled with the recently constructed motocross track in the infield of the east half of the road course, can become a calamity when it gets windy…  Like it did the whole weekend and pretty much every evening in Tooele county.  Eventually the wind died down and visibility returned to a safe level.

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An HPD backed Fit was out.  They were banking on only having to stop a few times for fuel.  They were also excited by the prospect of being lapped so it would look like they were in the race!  That’s the kind of optimism and creative thinking we like around here.  We also like E30 BMWs with crazy light bars, because who needs lights in factory locations when you have a bunch of really bright LEDs on your hood?  Oh, and there was the very patriotic Factory Five GTM.  Nothing says freedom like a mid-engined LS powered car you can assemble in your garage.

I sent a text to my friend Jenny to inform her that Jason was going to be driving the #22 Mustang.  The pack passed by a few more times before she responded.  Her response was concise and very concerning:

“I knooowwwww It just blew up though! :(”

After seeing that a few thoughts raced through my head: where did it blow up?  Why wasn’t there a yellow flag?  Why wasn’t the safety crew rolling out?  Did I miss them on the track the whole time I was stand on the outside of turn one?  I ran back to the Subaru and double timed it to the pits.

Did the car blow up?  Was Todd horribly disfigured?  Does Travis have to buy a new car?  Where are the night shots?  All of these questions will be answered in the thrilling conclusion!

24th Jul2013

Caterham SP/300.R

by Michael Chandler

Caterham Dyson Racing demo car Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-1

Track day drivers looking for the next step up in their motorsports careers got a look at the future on July 19th and 20th when Dyson Racing and RaceCo showed off the dramatic Caterham SP/300.R on the East Course at Miller Motorsports Park. 

Caterham Dyson Racing demo car Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-7

A project of England’s Caterham Cars, the SP/300.R was designed by Lola Cars with input from and development work by America’s legendary sports car championship-winning Dyson Racing. As part of the team’s role as the SP/300.R’s exclusive distributor for the Americas, Dyson Racing recently completed a nationwide tour, demonstrating this futuristic Le Mans Prototype-inspired sports-racing car to enthusiast drivers at premier motorsports facilities around the nation. 

Caterham Dyson Racing demo car Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-9

At Miller Motorsports Park it was two-time American Le Mans Series driver champion Chris Dyson who gave rides and coached prospective owners during their own laps behind the wheel of the Caterham SP/300.R.

“I really enjoyed the folks I met out here during our demo drives,” Dyson said. “It was great of RaceCo to make this happen and it was a pleasure to make these friends of RaceCo our friends as well. I’ve always loved Miller Motorsports Park, so I made sure I got the assignment to come here.”

Dyson noted that the SP/300.R represents a new and very different approach to motoring fun than Caterham’s traditional Seven. “The Seven traces it heritage back to Colin Chapman’s original Lotus Seven from the mid-1950s. The SP/300.R looks like a slightly smaller version of the cars we race in the ALMS series and it has the same 21st-century technology. It is the perfect car for the trackday driver who’s been driving a hot street car or a vintage racecar and is looking to go faster and spend less money. The SP.300.R is the next logical step.”

Caterham Dyson Racing demo car Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-2 Caterham Dyson Racing demo car Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-6

Here are some of the technical details. With its strong and safe high-sided aluminum-honeycomb monocoque chassis and separate front-end crash box, the SP/300.R weighs only 1275 pounds, but provides unmatched driver safety. And with 300+ horsepower from its supercharged two-liter, four-cylinder, dry-sump lubricated Duratec-based engine, this car boasts an impressive power-to-weight ratio that few if any production-based trackday cars can match. All those numbers equal more numbers: 0-60 in 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 165 mph.  The SP/300.R’s race car technology includes a mid-engine chassis layout, pushrod-actuated/rocker-arm suspension with coil-over springs and adjustable shocks, airjacks and adjustable front and rear rollbars. Power is transmitted to the centerlock 13-inch Formula 3-style wheels and racing tires through a Hewland FTR six-speed sequential gearbox with error-proof paddle-shift (the clutch is only used when starting or stopping the car) and a limited-slip differential.

Caterham Dyson Racing demo car Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-11

The car has a few tricks up its eight-piece coachwork sleeve as well.  Lola developed the aero package by using computational-fluid-dynamics technology to produce a car with an optimized high-downforce, low-drag aero signature.  The SP/300.R features AP Racing disk brakes with cockpit-adjustable front-rear balance, an adjustable carbon composite rear wing, a downforce-generating aluminum rear diffuser (990 pounds at 150 mph), and at the front end the splitter and carbon-fiber dive planes are aerodynamically optimized to balance all that downforce.

Caterham Dyson Racing demo car Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-10

The SP/300.R features a genuine two-seat cockpit, just in case your friends want to see what it’s like being strapped into a prototype-style race car for a few quick laps.  The twin roll hoops and front crash structure are MSA spec, and the 30-gallon fuel cell meets FIA specifications.  While the six-point harness keeps you strapped in the cockpit, you can feel free to adjust the balance of the AP Racing brakes.

 

Want to see it for yourself?  RaceCo is going to be home for a few months to one of Dyson Racing’s Caterham SP/300.Rs.  Get a hold of them and get out there to take a look at this amazing machine.

 

Photos by Michael Chandler, words by Michael Chandler and Cole Powelson.  Special thanks to Cole Powelson, the Caterham guys (sorry I forgot your names) and the corner workers and safety truck crew for letting me climb all over the car, hike around the track and let me ride along.
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.

 

 

10th Jul2013

RaceCo’s F1 Car

by Michael Chandler

RaceCo F1 Car Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-12

Late last year RaceCo took delivery of a 1992 Brabham F1 car.  If you’ve stopped by the shop between December and now, you would have seen it in various states of assembly.  It took seven months, but finally the beast made it’s public debut on a stormy July evening.  Joey and I made the trip out to see this car take some cuts at the Outer Loop.  Thunderstorms were forecasted for the evening, and severe thunderstorm warning was issued for Tooele.  We hydroplaned through Salt Lake County, and found dry pavement in Tooele County.  We had high hopes for good weather.

RaceCo F1 Car Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-1

We arrived to the sound of the GTR turning some laps.  As it turns out, there was a track day happening concurrently with the F1 car debut.  As the session wound down we heard the F1 car wind up and make its way to the track itself.  Pete hopped in the seat once occupied by Damon Hill and took to the outer loop.  We ran over to the Clubhouse to get some photos (me) and video (Joey on his phone).  The first outing was cut short due to a downpour the popped up during the second lap, but we did manage to snap a few photos.  After that we made our way to RaceCo’s shop to see the beast up close.

RaceCo F1 Car Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-9

It drew a crowd by the time we arrived.  Pete and Cole were pointing out things on the car, and answering some *ahem* interesting questions (Is it going to be street legal?).  While questions were asked and answered, Joey and I began scrambling around the garage and snapping photos.

RaceCo F1 Car Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-7

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The heart of this beast is a Judd built V10.  Suffice it to say, it screams.

RaceCo F1 Car Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-5

It also has a wood grain shift knob.  Because classy.  Fun fact, this is an H pattern transmission.

The rain let up, and the other cars dried up the track.  We ran over to the top of The Attitudes to snap some pictures, grab some videos and generally sit in awe of the aural bliss that is a V10 era F1 car.

RaceCo F1 Car Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-14

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We watched, we listened, we packed it in and made our way back to the shop for free Red Bull (courtesy of Ryan Salazar) and burgers.

RaceCo F1 Car Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-18

And to see how those massive Avon slicks looked after a full session.

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.

 

 

10th May2013

Weekend Wallpapers May 10

by Michael Chandler

Back after a very long hiatus are the weekend wallpapers!  Today we’ve got a couple of quality photos just asking to be in your life.

RaceCo GTR Michael Chandler CAMautoMag

First up is the RaceCo R35 GTR, sitting on its air jack on pit lane in the fading light, waiting to add to the legend of the GTR.

 

Miller Total Performance Museum Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-1

Next is one of the original Gulf GT40s, one of the first cars to ever wear the now iconic livery.  This car’s legend was set in stone long ago.

 

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

Right/ctrl click on the image and open in a new tab/window, then right/ctrl click and save it.

*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.
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