In Photos: GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout

By | June 20, 2014

GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout

GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout

GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout Roars into Utah

Professional Superbike racing returned to Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah on May 24-25, 2014 with the GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout presented by Yamaha. Miller put on an impressive weekend of racing as the event was matched with the Utah Sportbike Association’s Vortex Master of the Mountains Series.

The last race of the three-event series, the Shootout was a welcome addition among pro riders as a remedy to AMA Pro Racing’s shortened road racing schedule for 2014. With a field of riders including Josh Hayes, Garrett Gerloff, and Martin Cardenas, as well as the region’s finest amateur riders, action was the order of the weekend on Miller’s legendary tarmac.

Thanks to mild temperatures, sunny skies, and excellent track conditions, riders kept throttles open and incidents remained minimal. Two races, the Dynojet Pro Sportbike and RaceFuelZ Pro Superbike, highlighted the weekend as Garrett Gerloff and Josh Hayes took top honors, respectively. Hayes, a Monster Energy Graves Yamaha team member, has experienced success at Miller, and continues to dominate the circuit, with a roster of wins including the AMA Pro National Guard Championship in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Regional riders also dominated the weekend. UtahSBA’s Vortex Master of the Mountains series, the premier road racing series for the Mountain West, put on a stunning round with races running in conjunction with the Shootout. Notable standouts in the Open Superbike and Superstock classes were Irnie Marcel, Peter deGraaf, Michael Bradshaw, and Utah favorite Gerald Hicks.

Local racing continues with UtahSBA’s third stop of the series scheduled at Miller for the weekend of June 28-29, 2014. For more information, check out the details here.

[photos | Jason Porter]

In Photos: 2014 Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix – Laguna Seca

By | June 16, 2014

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

The fourth stop on the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship 2014 calendar is the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix.

With this being the first season of TUSC, and this their first stop at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, things were bound to be different. First off, cars, a lot more cars. So much so, there wasn’t enough room on pit row. The solution? Split the race into two different, shorter races. Each race, 2 hours in length from the typical 4+ hours of the ALMS days. The first race would be the GTD and PC class machines. Essentially all the Pro-Am teams. Beyond the spec PC cars, we saw cars from Audi, BMW, SRT Viper, Ferrari, Aston Martin, and Porsche. All racing for the number one spot. The second race was the “pro” classes, P and GTLM. Think factory and privateer teams. Think prototypes. Think Corvettes, Porsches, BMWs, SRT, and lest I forget, Ferraris.

And for those that haven’t raced on, or visited Laguna Seca, GO! From the beauty of the city of Monterey, to the iconic corkscrew and history of the track, you really can’t go wrong!

So, enjoy the photos and you can view each race embedded below.

And as always, we would like to thank the staff of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for their help over the long race weekend!

Race #1, PC and GTD.

Race #2, P and GTLM.

[photos | mike gillilan]

 

Racing Blip: 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans

By | June 13, 2014

No. 8 Toyota LMP1 will lead the start of 2014′s 24 Hours of Le Mans

While the rest of the world seems to be fascinated with the little thing in Brazil, called the “World Cup”, the racing world has the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France.

This is THE endurance race of the season. In fact, this is the 82nd running of this famed race. Teams from all of the world, including some incredible prototype machines from the likes of Audi, Toyota, and a very welcomed addition - Porsche. All come to Le Mans to show off just how well built, how fast, how much better their car is over the other.

For those not familiar with prototype machines, these are purpose built race cars designed for endurance racing. It is also a test bed of new and emerging technologies for various car companies. In other words, do want to know what is going to be in your car in a few years? Look at the cars in endurance racing. In particular, the LMP1 class machines.

This year, you have engines ranging from 3 cylinders to 8 cylinders. Various hybrid systems. Gas engines. Diesel engines. Turbo’d engines. Two wheel drive cars and all wheel drive cars. Cars with radar systems. Cars with no rear-view mirrors. Cars with no side mirrors. Yup, little cameras have replaced them.

Audi, Aston Martin, Corvette, Toyota, Nissan, Morgan, Zytek, Porsche, Ferrari, and other manufactures will be represented.

And like most endurance racing series, this is multi-class racing. From the no-holds-barred LMP1 Prototype class, the cost capped LMP2 class, to GTE-Pro and GTE-Am classes. Both the GT classes represent cars that you and I would recognize on the street, but in racing form.

What to watch for?

The fight in LMP1. Audi has dominated Le Mans the last decade plus. Toyota has offered up some stiff competition to Audi in the opening rounds of this years World Endurance Championship. Porsche is the new/old kid on the block. Audi wants to defend it’s dominance, Toyota wants to knock Audi off, and Porsche wants to prove to the world that is still the king of Le Mans!

So, how do you watch is 24 hours race of races?

There are SOO many ways (and remember, it starts on Saturday, June 14th, at 9am Eastern).

For those in the USofA that want to watch a broadcast, the Fox Sports family of channels is your ticket (all times Eastern):

08:30AM – 04:00PM Fox Sports 1
04:00PM – 05:00PM Fox Sports 2
05:00PM – 06:30AM Fox Sports Go app
06:30PM – 01:00AM Fox Sports 2
01:00AM – 07:30AM Fox Sports 1
07:30AM – 09:30AM Fox Sports 2

For those of us that think streaming is the future:

 

Here are some other useful sites:

 

 

[Photo | Sébastien BASSANI (ACO]

 

 

The Cold Air Intake: World’s Most Popular Drop In Mod Finally Busted?

By | June 9, 2014

Cold Air Intakes Don't Work

Image credit: AllFordMustangs.com

Back when I first graduated from college, I bought a 2001 MX-5 to celebrate my leaving of classrooms behind forever. It was a wonderful car and lived up to every bit of hype that has since made the Miata the so-called “answer to everything”. But just like every other Miata that came before it, the power of the car left quite a lot to be desired.

So off to the forums I went to find the best recommendations for easy mods to give my car that extra bit of oomph I so desperately wanted.* One of the first and most repeated recommendations was a cold air intake (CAI) to replace the stock air box and filter. CAIs are of course available from almost every aftermarket parts manufacturer, some reasonably priced and some that would break the bank.

The concept is simple: taking your stock airbox and traditional air filter out of the car and replacing it with a higher flow cone (or pod) filter that is positioned every so slightly closer to the outskirts of your engine bay will promote a more consistent draw of colder air into the engine. Cold air of course is more dense than warmer air, bringing in more oxygen molecules to the combustion process in the engine and resulting in a more powerful explosion of compressed fuel and air.

Sounds great, right? After all, handfuls of forum dwellers claimed that CAIs added 15+ hp to their Miatas. But 15 more ponies was nearly a 10% increase power… I was skeptical. If this easy upgrade to the car had such a positive impact, why didn’t the manufacturer do it in the first place? Was the power gain actually real or just a desired mental outcome? Where was the proof?

To me, it seemed that moving an air intake a few inches to the side and taking it out of a sectioned off airbox would only give it access to warmer ambient air in the engine bay, which would have the opposite effect of cold air.

Apparently I wasn’t alone. Lots of debate surrounded the claims as to the effectiveness of the CAI, and despite some modders showing their before and after dyno results, I still wanted more proof. Luckily the veteran modders and pro mechanics behind the “Mighty Car Mods” YouTube channel had the same question on their minds and decided to settle things once and for all with several dyno runs of an R34 Skyline featuring different airbox setups. The video is below, which is very well done, but if you don’t want to watch the whole thing, scroll down to see the results.

In the end, each set up of a CAI resulted in less power than the simple stock airbox with the stock filter. Only when the CAI was literally placed outside of the engine was there a very small gain in power. It’s hard to argue with the dyno numbers, which offer definitive proof that the perceived power gains and my 15 extra horsepower for my Miata were too good to be true.

In short, if you want a better noise when you put your foot down and a better looking engine bay, get a CAI. But if you want phenomenal power gains with a bolt-on mod, however, it’s best to leave the CAI option out of the picture.

*Years later, my opinion is that no bolt-on mod is really that effective. There is no replacement for displacement or adding a forced induction.

Park City Welcomes goldRush Rally 6

By | June 6, 2014

goldRush Rally 6Back in 1971, race car driver Brock Yates and Car and Driver editor Steve Smith attempted to travel from New York to Los Angeles in the quickest time possible in a 1971 Dodge Custom Sportsman van.  They made the trip in just over 40 hours.  The trip spawned a new, unsanctioned road rally, the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash.  The event ran five times with the fastest run done in just under 36 hrs in a Ferrari Dino with an average speed of 83 mph.  That may not sound very fast, but back when the speed limits were only 55 mph thats cooking!  The race inspired Hollywood and The Gumball Rally and Cannonball Run series films hit the big screen.  The Gumball Rally stayed true to the original concept while the Cannonball Run films took things a little less serious and a lot more humorous.

In the early 2000s road rallies like these regained popularity in the form the Gumball 3000 which hosts these rallies annually.  Others include Bull Run and goldRush Rally.  While the events today are more for rich party goers than trying to get there the fastest, speed is still a large part of the game.  The events start in one city then they stop at several checkpoints over a weeks time.  Some try to get to each check point as quickly as possible while others take it a little more leisurely and enjoy the beauty along the way.  It was on a rally like this where a Koenigsegg CCX allegedly got the highest ever speeding ticket by doing a reports 252 mph in a 75 mph zone somewhere in the middle of Texas.  I keep wondering why he stopped?

We caught up with the goldRush Rally this year which started in Las Vegas with a finishing destination in New York City; checkpoints included Park City, UT, Denver, CO, Chicago, Cleveland, OH, and Washington, D.C.  Entry fees cover the trip’s expenses as well as go to charities.  There were approximately 70 cars along for the journey.  There were a variety of cars ranging from a Fiat 500 Abarth to a 10 day old McLaren P1.  The driver of the P1 reportedly clocked 210 mph somewhere along I15.  Seven cars proudly displayed speeding tickets.  Other notable cars included a Liberty Walk Ferrari 458 driven by the founder of Liberty Walk, Wataru Kato, the Bugatti Veyron Supersports Pur Sang, the Batventador, and an original Lamborghini Miura.  Most of the cars had a vinyl wrap to protect their paint and display the sponsors of the rally as well as their favorite charities.  So scroll through the gallery below to just a taste of what cars goldRush Rally 6 brought through town.

Photos: The Author

A 240Z Still Young

By | June 1, 2014

IMG_2201Two weeks ago I flew from Boise, Idaho to Sacramento, California to pick up a 1971 Datsun 240Z that I purchased on Ebay a couple of weeks earlier.  You assume a certain amount of risk when buying a car off of Ebay, especially one that’s 43 years old and as rust prone as the old Z’s are.

I’ve had my share of blunders when it comes to buying cars.  I learn best from the school of hard knocks.  The weeks leading up to my trip to get the Z were tormenting.  Half of me couldn’t wait to get my first Z home and the other half was terrified that I’d get there and find that it was full of hidden issues.  Thankfully it was not.

240Z EmblemWith a build date of 11/70, my 71′ 240Z is a true series one.  The differences between series one (1969-early 1971) and series two (late 1971-1973) 240Z’s are minimal and hard to notice from an untrained eye, but to a purist it could be the difference of several thousand dollars.

Series one Z’s were made of thinner sheet metal and lacked an extra crash support bracket in the doors, making them 250 ibs lighter than the series two’s.  Series one Z’s also had the more desirable dual Hitachi SU carburetors and came with the E31 cylinder head that had higher compression.  Visual differences are in the badges where the series one Z has the 240Z emblem written out on the rear three quarters of the car while the series two just has a vented Z emblem.  The series one ventilates the cabin through two vents on the rear hatch.

Originally Sunbird Orange, my 71′ was purchased new in Phoenix Arizona where it spent the next 30 plus years in the care of the original owners.  Once they couldn’t drive it anymore they sold it to their son who brought it to Sacramento.  He realized he wasn’t ever going to drive it so he put it up on blocks in his garage and there it sat until earlier this year.

IMG_2175I arrived in Sacramento on a Friday evening to find the car as described.  Now blue with silver accents, the Z is a little more sun faded than it looked in the pictures but the common rust areas are impeccable.  The car has fresh tires on the factory mag wheels, new brakes & lines, and a full tune up.  The L24 is quiet and strong and I easily managed 70 to 80 miles per hour over the 600 miles home.  The suspension could use refreshing but otherwise she drives like a dream.  The Z made short work of the Sierra Nevada mountains, never got hot, and drove much better than I expected a 43-year-old car to do.  At roughly 2,200 ibs, the 151 horsepower six made no qualms of getting the Z to scoot.  Quick enough at least to attract attention.

IMG_2210With the original numbers matching engine and cylinder head and only 77,000 miles on the odometer, my series one will be a car to hold on to.  Early Japanese cars are quickly becoming valuable collectibles as younger generation collectors start getting into the game.  A 240Z was lucky to bring $5,000 a decade ago.  Now?  I’ve seen them go for well over $20,000 in pristine condition.  240Z’s are especially good candidates because not only are they coming into their own with a certain generation but they were a big deal back when they were new.  They looked great, they drove great, and they were cheap.

Plenty of people like to hack up the old Z’s and stuff V8′s or RB skyline motors into them.  I’ll admit I’m a fan of a GT-R powered 240Z but the cars are so reliable and fun to drive right out of the gate that I plan to keep mine as original as possible.  As time and funds permit, my Z will be going back to the original Orange or at least something very close and I’ll probably refinish the mags but keep them on the car.  Perhaps lowering springs and an upgraded exhaust will be among the few modifications.

IMG_2213Project Pony Up is getting underway and we’re excited to see the outcome of Chance Hales Mustang.  Stay tuned for future Z updates as well.