Circuit of the Americas track weekend part 4 (finale)

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What more of a better way to kick off the final series with an exotic! Such a beautiful car with its Italian design. This Lamborgini Hurrican was in the same run group as me but we never passed each other during the session. COTA is such a big track usually you’ll have the track to yourself, with the occasional one or two point byes.

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This Mclaren 675 LT (long tail) did pass me, no, I mean it pretty much walked on me. My lap times was a slow 2:51 sec range but this 675 LT was posting 2:19 sec range according to the driver during the drivers meeting. This thing catches you by surprise, you look in your mirrors in one corner and don’t see anyone then next corner you see the a grey 675 LT on your rear end! I had no problems giving the point by since that car has speed and downforce to pass anywhere.

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Not just show brakes.

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Adaptive wing that’s distracting to see it move at the track hahaha.

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The titanium exhaust with the see through engine bay for more cooling.

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Then you had this race car 675 LT version. It has center locking wheels, fixed wing, roll cage, striped out interior with carbon fiber goodies.

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One thing I noticed with COTA compared to other tracks is it brings the heavy hitter cars…. Not the show cars heavy hitters but the expensive rare exotic cars. It nice seeing them used, and used in they way they where built for. Not garage queens or displays at Cars and Coffee. It’s a damn shame that most the cars I see nowadays are just for show and never really driven to the full potential.

COTA 2017-41 The P cars group. Not really digging the cammo wrap of the GT3 but it does attract attention weather you like it or not. Warping is a smart idea though to protect your paint from the track scars. The cammo GT3 was a slouch either, it passed me every session. COTA 2017-46

Those Masseratti’s in the background participate in the Pirelli World Challenge series. Meaning those most be pro teams out here.

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The grey Beetle is lady driven and in the same run group as me. The body was similar the the RSi Beetle in Europe. In the morning she was changing tires and swapping pads. She was one the slower cars becuase everyone else had higher power cars in the group but had awareness and made passing easy and safe. The blue corvette was in the novice class from the green sticker in the windshield. Sounded good rolling by.

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The owner of this blue S2000 was a funny guy. He even has a race Miata that he has done endurance races in.

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Speaking of Miatas…. this ND was in my run group also. Mostly stock with tires and wheels. That Miata can sure handle the corners pretty well.

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Smart car rolling, I guess the owner bought this to save money on gas for race car spending hahaha.

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Showing off my gold hardware.

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Chase’s J swap S2000. Interesting choice on the J swap. A lot of people would keep the F20C or even swap a K motor in, but those motors are expensive to buy and maintain. J swaps are cheap junkyard motors but have decent power and not much weight penalty either.

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Here is a another J swap, and interestingly its from an NSX! First glance I thought it was a V6 stock C32B motor, but the intake manifold gave it away. The NSX motors are expensive to maintain and buy if you blow one up. Some people put K swaps with boost but that can get expensive as the original NSX motor. J swap is the good practical choice without sacrificing performance.

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The interior had some few upgrades to improve driving feel. Im liking the carbon fiber center console sporting a couple gauges with a red switch…. I wonder what that is for.

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The booty shot…. Tastefully modded and Im sure it has some track miles under the belt. JDM mods that look like it was imported from Japan! The NSX is owned by Scott who is the head driving instructor for NASA. Basically he is the guy that will give you the final approval to move up DE classes or not. I’ll end it with that! Had a super great time at Circuit of the Americas with NASA. Track is life.

http://www.abrhouston.com

https://www.nasaproracing.com/

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Circuit of the Americas track weekend part 3

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The pictures might not show but the whole weekend was hot and muggy…. The humidity really made it feel like a sauna. Those cool shirts suits putting in work.

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Thanks again Michael AKA Mike Jones for the canopy! I really need to buy one so I don’t have to rent a garage at the track.

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Lots of different types of cars competing in the same session. Kinda like Le Mans or Pirelli Word Challenge series.

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Now thats a tow rig. Race cars are fun to drive at the track but terrible on the street after 5 minutes. A trailer and tow rig would be nice.

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With that said, I really like the dual purpose cars. They are track capable and competitive but still retains some street use for every day driving. This R35 GTR was a good example. Better yet its was track modified for ACTUAL track use. Not just for show. This was rocking Volk ZE40, coilovers, brake ducting, and carbon fiber seats. Im sure it has some power too since it was in the TT2 class running in the 2:20 second range!

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The carbon fiber seats with minimal padding. Reminded me of the Lamborgini Aventator SV seats. Not sure how comfy they are on long trips.

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Here is a Porsche I’ve seen at car meets and I’m pretty sure its boosted. Looks more on the track side of the spectrum then street. Tracking is a slippy slope and next thing you know, your stock car is race car. Im just glad seeing track modded cars thats actually tracked and not just show queens. I know I’m repeating myself but I want to get the point across.

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S2000 with some aero and slicks. I believe this is the car that one 1st in it’s class. Not sure but I wouldn’t be surprised.

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Miata getting some repairs done.

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The driver in the dark purple race car was racing in a spec class. I forgot the model name but they are kit cars. If you have a competition license you can actually buy a kit car and join the series. The driver has numerous racing experiences but its his first year in this class. They are powered by a 4 cylinder Mazda 3 engine but they are lightweight, with aero. I’m sure they make competitive lap times. Since the engine is a Mazda 3, I would think some of the consumables and parts are fairly cheap.

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This was my favorite M3 at the track. Was posting pretty fast times, with some tasteful mods that served a purpose.

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It wasn’t a full out striped race car interior…. Had some retainability for the street. Has the buckets seats, harness for the driver, rear seat taken out. But overall still had most of the interior intact.

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I love how the car is actually track and it shows…. Those battle scars accumulated aver serval track days maybe even years. Nice to see cars actually driven properly and not just show queens.

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He was a sure fast driver… There was an M4 GTS owner on slicks that was running the same sessions and told me he could barely keep up. The handling and aero was set up very nicely. One day I’ll get to that level.

COTA 2017-21 Then there was this cool M2 in the same garage paddock. Mostly stock, it just had slicks and a harness for the driver from what I saw. Im sure that was posting fast times also judging the way it went by the main straight.

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Nice little MR2 in time trials.

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One think for sure is a lot of people brought tires. One thing you’ll definitely need at COTA.

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Unfortunately the main pit was closed off by the barrier. Kinda lame, becuase on DE events they are open so you can actually drive through and experience the same thing pro drivers go to pit in.

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American muscle.

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I’ll end it there for part 3…. stay tuned for part 4!

http://www.abrhouston.com

Circuit of the Americas track weekend (part 2)

As I write this I forgot my memory card from my camera, so I’ll just post the photos from my iPhone. Wasn’t much so it wont be too long.

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This Porsche GT3 RS was super quick and always lapped me except for my last session. I think I was running faster, and it only caught up to me on the checkered flag. During one of my sessions it passed me on the esses and I just couldn’t keep up. Looks like it has some track ready bolt ones…. some aero mods, slicks and exhaust judging how loud it was at the track. The Porsche PDK transmission proving its worth at the track. Still a street maintaining a full interior.

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Group of E46’s and E36s that came from Colorado just to track at COTA. I met one of the drivers, super cool guy that flew in to race. The driver was in time trials for a long time then went into wheel to wheel racing. Currently competes in the German Touring Series, and placed 3rd last year in the NASA Western Regional. He was kind enough to give me some good racing advice. I’ve always believed that if you have a plan and stick it you can accomplish anything.

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Another car that passed me. The new Corvettes are built nicely and can take the track abuse straight from the dealership. This was running Forgestar wheels with worn Toyo R888. The guy seemed happy how it performed on track. Everything else looked completely stock.

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I thought this pic was cool. The tires get so hot and sticky they literally leave markings on the garage! This is why its important to use the right tires for your application. I hate when people put semi slicks or extreme summer tires on show cars. Just a waste to see them underutilized.

Thats all from my iPhone. Told ya it was a going to be short blog. Part 3 to come with more pics and maybe videos.

http://www.abrhouston.com

Circuit of the Americas track weekend (Part 1)

This was NASA Texas first time to host a track event at Circuit of the Americas (COTA), and I was excited! I haven’t tracked there in almost 2 years. In matter of fact my very first track day was at COTA. I wasn’t looking forward to the Texas heat and humidity though. May isn’t the hottest month in Texas but its the start of the summer heat. The forecast called for a high of 91 degrees with cloudy skies but sure felt more like 110 with humidity. I was sweating just walking, and sure wasn’t going to easy for the cars either.

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I started to regret not renting a garage on my drive to COTA but thankfully Michael had a canopy I could borrow…. Which later got blown away latter in the day and ended up scratching a FRS. It wasn’t anybody’s fault, and accidents happen. I felt sorry for what happened but at least it didn’t get blown into the track or grid area.

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But that was the least of my worries. On the first day, I was giving my friend a ride along when I had a low coolant light pop up. The car didn’t go into limp mode or had a overheating warning. The car seem to be running strong but I did cut my session short becuase of the low coolant warning. Totally bummed I pulled into the pits to check out what happened. I could really smell something sweetish when I was parking, and my friend said its probably coolant. Opening up the hood, it looked like coolant sprayed everywhere in the engine bay. I was bummed at this point becuase it was the first session of the day. I was thinking maybe a hose fitting was loose but I wasn’t sure. Being stubborn I topped of the M3 with distilled water and continued my sessions for rest of the day. Each session I would get the low coolant warning but no other hiccups. I always pulled in early but I least had some seat time. Looking back now it wasn’t the best choice but thankful nothing worse happened. The next day got the low coolant light driving back to COTA from my parent house, which they still live in Austin. I got worried again because I put roughly 3 gallons of distilled water already! I know it just sprays everywhere but its not a good thing. When I arrived at track, there was a guy that saw me on the side of the road earlier and was wondering what happen. I did tell him my situation and pointed me to the right direction.

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I first went to the tech inspection area to see if my problem could be fixed or I might not be able track. Worst case was not to track the car and just ride as a passenger. The tech guys was very nice but they couldn’t fix the problem but did tell me there was some race teams that had BMWs and they might be able to help me out. I first went to Texas Track Works and they had a bunch of BMWs for the race classes but they only have e46 BMWs. So the next garage was Greg Smith Racing whom I had met before had E92 M3 for time trials. They didn’t bring their E92 M3 for this track weekend but I was hoping they might have E92 M3 parts. Luckily Greg and his team was able to help me out! They first pressurized the cooling system to see if there was a leak. Sure enough the lower radiator hose was spraying! The great thing about a race team is they always have spare parts becuase you just never know.

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The culprit. You can see the cut marks on the hose when it was rubbing against the AC pulley. There are two rubber grommets that hold the radiator in place and one of the rubber grommet came lose. Running on certain curbs at COTA is harsh on the car and can loosen things. This made the radiator slide back into the engine causing the lower radiator hose to rub against the AC pulley and eventually the cutting the hose. Thank goodness it was just that and not a blown head gasket. The guys uses a different coolant mixture then OEM becuase in a race you want you car run cool as possible. They used a mixture of Water Wetter and distilled water. I don’t really need anti-freeze in Texas except in the one month that is actually does freeze. I’ll make sure to add antifreeze before that happens.

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I did miss my first session of the 2nd day becuase we were fixing the M3, but the rest of the day it ran like a champ with no issues!!! I got ride checked to DE4 and I was able to get a faster top speed at the back straight of 150mph! I just want to thank Greg Smith Racing again for helping me out at the track and being able to fix my car so I can track again. The nice thing about the tracking community is people are willing to help you out!

Stay tuned for part 2!

http://www.abrhouston.com

https://www.facebook.com/GregSmithRacing