It was a cold morning at Miller Motorsports Park as we all huddled in a garage listening to the rules of the track day hosted by Kirkham Motorsports, a company dedicated to building aluminum bodied Shelby Cobras. Just looking at the name of the host will tell you this will not be your average track day. This particular event was held by Kirkham Motorsports for one sole reason. The owner of the company, David Kirkham, is running for Governor of Utah and this is his idea of getting people to meet him. It was a great move and got us out to it! Although his political views weren’t the biggest draw for the event, the free rides with professional drivers in some of Kirkham’s cars around Miller Motorsports Park’s East Course was! Now who would turn that down?
More on the lap in a minute, but first, the car. Tucked away in Provo, Utah is a small shop were Kirkham Motorsports builds these beautiful, aluminum bodied, Cobra replicas. Aside from Shelby American’s Recreation Cobras these are the most expensive replica Cobras your money can buy. All the cars are hand built and built to customer spec so there is no official horsepower rating but in the 427ci models, and most in attendance were(although, there were a couple 289ci Cobras present), it is safe to say that they produce around 500hp. Kirkham say they have produced about 700 cars including a few odd ball orders such as copper and bronze bodied cars. Most orders keep the car unpainted and have a polished finish with unpolished stripes.
Being a track day, there was a more relaxed environment and we were able to walk around pit lane and watch the cars pass from the pit wall. Although not as loud as the FXXs we saw here a few years ago, these things roar! To give you an example, someone had brought their new Boss 302 Mustang out and when he went by it was hardly audible.
As we stood in line waiting for our turn to ride in one of these shiny beasts, we were freezing but, once a helmet was strapped on each of our heads a flood of excitement filled us. Now I can only speak for myself, but fellow editors Chad Waite and AJ Wilcox will probably agree, I forgot about the cold. Then I was called to the next car in line. This one, a 427! The door is open and I was helped into the car. It isn’t an easy car to get in and out of especially for someone of my height. As I climb in I hear the words, “Watch the pipe!” These cars have side exhaust pipes running below the door and they are HOT and notorious for burning the legs of an unsuspecting victim. I am buckled into the car’s 5-point harness, door closed and off we go! The drive down pit road felt like an eternity as we headed to the track. We round the left hand corner, the driver downshifts and punches it. The car finally roars as it is welcomed into its natural habitat. This was my first time ever around MMP or any other track for that matter and a Cobra was a perfect way to get my feet wet. We hit the first turn and the car felt like it was on rails. It was very composed and when we reached the bottom of “The Attitudes” the tail end slid out slightly but held its own and kept going. Since we were on the East Course, the drivers weren’t able to go down full main straight but on the longer straights we were touching 100-105mph. What a rush! As we returned down pit lane to the line again I had a smile a mile wide! I again needed help climbing out of the car and again heard the familiar, “watch the pipe!” and immediately got back in line to go again!
At the end of the day we were all sold. Not only on the car, which was fantastic, but also may have swung us to vote for David Kirkham just for throwing such an awesome event.
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