Anatomy Of An Autocross – Great Video Exposé

Akron Sports Car Club logo

Here is a nicely done overview video of what an autocross is & how it’s run.  This was put together by the Akron Sports Car Club (ASCC) of the Northern Ohio Racing Association (NORA) at Northfield Park, Cleveland-Akron, Ohio.  It’s about 1o minutes long, but well worth it!

This was a very fun looking course, but I think they could have done with fewer cones!  I really liked the variety of elevation changes in that parking lot – never saw that before!  That adds an additional dimension to autocrossing that will challenge you further.

NORA logo

The Akron Sports Car Club (ASCC) website has some great reference material posted along the right side of the their web page.  This makes for good information for both Novices & experienced autocrossers alike.

Welcome to ASCC!

It’s great to see other worthy autocross information from other parts of the country.

Racing Ready likes it, but in the COLD!?!


The Surprising Power Potential Of A Miata

Never doubt the power of a well-tuned Miata!  Look at what my friend Craig did at the San Antonio Raceway Midnight Madness event, this past weekend.

Midnight Madness - Legal Street Racing

Yup, he blew off a Suzuki GSX-R superbike in the quarter mile!  And know that the core block of this engine has close to 180,000 miles on it.  It’s a very modified 1990 Mazda Miata, turbocharged & intercooled, & still street driven!

Those Mazda engineers sure over designed this engine…

Racing Ready continues to find sources if inspiration like this – “You go, Craig!”


Professional Photographer Discovers Autocross

One of my co-workers, Tony Morano, has a successful other career – he’s a professional sports & wedding photographer.

Antonio Morano Photography (c)

Today he came out to the SPOKES AutoX #9 at the San Antonio Raceway, a co-event with SASCA.   The event had a total of 107 competitors show up.  It was decided that we run 3 heats with 6 runs apiece.  Tony was already committed to a soccer game photography assignment at 1PM.  So he was only able to capture images from before the drivers meeting through the first heat.  Karlino was assigned to run in the second heat, so no cool action shots of me trying to figure out my “new” car’s handling!


As an amateur photographer who learned from my Dad, I suffer that fate of most all photographers – I’m not in any pictures.  To rectify this for Tony, here’s some candid pictures of him during the drivers meeting…

Candid shots of Tony Morano - professional photographer in action!

For those of you at the drivers meeting (that should be all of you that autocrossed today) and the select few of the first heat, please visit Tony’s site for some great, high quality pictures.  Here’s a sampling, albeit small & low resolution (copyright tagged by me), to entice you.  There are 187 photos here!

Copyright Tony Morano Photography - low res edited for Racing Ready - Drivers Meeting

Copyright Tony Morano Photography - low res edited for Racing Ready - Drivers meeting grins

Copyright Tony Morano Photography - low res edited for Racing Ready - Dan P's Hot Miata on Grid

Copyright Tony Morano Photography - low res edited for Racing Ready - Wonderful wide angle cockpit shot!

Copyright Tony Morano Photography - low res edited for Racing Ready - Ben jammin' his Miata

I hope Tony is able to include the next SPOKES/SASCA autocross joint event (scheduled for October 18, 2009) in his busy schedule.   Racing Ready thinks it would be great to see some more quality pix by Tony!


September Car Enthusiasts Get-Together

Today was another good Saturday morning get-together of like-minded car enthusiasts.  This was the second cars & coffee type of gathering I attended & again, the variety of vehicles represented was both interesting & varied.

One view of the 9/26/2009 coffee-related car get-together...

I did not know that the term “Cars & Coffee” is trademarked & is an officially sanctioned concept that has some major costs involved.  For that reason, I will use the term in lower case from now on…

Another view of the 9/26/2009 coffee-related car get-together...

There were almost 50 cars in attendance, & this time I was glad that I got there at 8:30am.  Thankfully, I was able to get most of my car washing done last night.  I just had to wipe down Karlino‘s tires this morning.  Note the new sticker!

Karlino basking in the early morning sunshineKarlino's new sticker on the front fender!Karlino enjoying the attention of other fans... :-)

In addition to looking around at the broad representation of car marques, I was able to visit with a Corvette enthusiast.  Ed is an influential member of the TCA (Texas Corvette Association).  He coordinates a different  coffee & cars related get-together (Corvettes, Mustangs,  Hotrods, etc.).  I hooked him up with 2 individuals who have had a hand in promoting this event.

The movers & shakers discussing future like-minded events!

This event is a good study in extreme contrasts – with all ages & types of fun cars to see!

From one car enthusiast's extreme to the other...

Racing Ready continues to balance between this blog’s role as as disseminator of local car enthusiasts related event information , as well as racing community interest for the general Internet visitor.  It’s a fine line to tread…


P.S. – Big SPOKES autocross event tomorrow  – 118 competitors registered!!!

Motorsports Related Weekend Activities – Lots!

Locally, this weekend, there’s something for everyone in the way of amateur motorsports activity.  This is especially true for those wanting to enjoy the cooler weather, and to get off the couch, away from VERSA, ESPN & SPEED.

Racing Couch Potato...

There are 4 different activities to start off your Saturday morning.  Wake up to some good coffee, show off & look at others’ cars.  There’s a Cars & Coffee event at the same location as last month.  It was enjoyable to see a variety of enthusiasts’ cars parked to show off.  It was also interesting to share car talk with their respective owners.

Here’s something for after the Cars & Coffee:

From the British Car Club:

If any other clubs are interested, we’ll be caravanning to the Alamo Area Council of Car Clubs annual picnic in Seguin afterward.  Feel free to pass this invitation along to your respective membership – plan on assembling between 10.30 and 11.00 AM Saturday  morning after Cars and Coffee winds down.

Barbecue Picnic
When:  11.00 AM Caravan Departs, 12.00 Picnic
Where:  Site 1 Pavilion, Nolte Island Park
FM 466 in Seguin

RSVP for catered barbecue, $9.00 per person.
Bag lunches are welcomed if you’d rather bring your own.

Matthew Michael Agee
Principal Executive Director
Alamo City British Car Club

Also on the Saturday morning docket, H2R is hosting a Honda S2000 HPDE (high performance driver education) event at their renowned regional road track facility, Harris Hill Road.  These are some highlights from a similar event from there last year.

Harris Hill Road logo

For those looking for a more formalized car show, there is the Alzafar (Shriner) Car Show.  This event does have an attendance fee.  I’m sure there will be some trailer queens in attendance…here’s the flyer.

On Saturday evening, for you straight line speed fans, there’s ‘Midnight Madness‘ at the San Antonio Raceway (the local drag racing track).  This event runs from 8pm to 2am!  I have yet to attend one of these events.  Essentially it’s drag racing for amateurs – it’s run what you brung to see what it can do.

Midnight Madness - Legal Street Racing

Here’s some thorough info on amateur drag racing provided by my Miata buddy, Craig:

For those who haven’t been down the 1/4 mile before, there are some procedures, rules and etiquette – from the SAR site:

The most important things:
– If you run faster than a 14.00, you need a helmet.  (Slower than that, you need a power adder)
-Convertibles run with the top up unless you have a full cage, suit and arm restraints.  Just run with the top up.
– Tech:  you fill out an info card & they put numbers on your car.  That’s it.
– Do not run your A/C.  Water on the track could cause serious trouble for a high hp car on slicks.  (like death)

-Unless you have over 1200whp, do not do a burnout past the start line.
-Unless you have a dedicated drag car do not drive straight through the water box.  Drive around it then back up if you need to.  Water on track = bad.  See above.
-Wait until the track official tells you to do your burnout – the secret signal is when he does twirly motions with his fingers like he’s winding up the prop on a rubber band airplane.

-There are two yellow staging lights at the top of the tree.  After the burnout proceed forward until the top yellow pre-stage light turns on.   This is the ettiquette:  wait until your opponent lights their top bulb, then roll forward until the second yellow stage light turns on.  When both lanes have both stages lights lit, the starter will start the tree start sequence.

– A Sportsman tree uses three yellow lights sequentially then a green.  There is a .500 second delay between the lights.  For 80% of the population – leave when the last yellow bulb turns on, you will save serious face.
– A Pro tree (probably not going to happen unless you end up in the heads up competition) lights all three yellows simultaneously for .400 sec before the green.

– On the return road there is a shack on the left, they will give you a timeslip with a lot of data on it.  A few feet after that there is a digital scale on the right side.
– In general, the 1/8 mile time X 1.55 = 1/4 mile time.  This means that all time that you cut off of the first 1/8 mile – the first 60′ being the most important – will pay off 1.55x in the 1/4.
– On the launch, dropping the clutch on the rev limiter is generally bad.  Try to slip the clutch for about 10′.  If it bogs increase the launch rpm.  Too much wheelspin then lower the launch rpm.  Duh.
– Based on your weight and mph at the end of the run you can get a calculated (if you believe in that physics stuff) wheel horsepower estimate on your car.
– Reaction time has NOTHING to do with ET but it does have a lot to do with who wins the race.

Sunday will dawn with autocrossing activities, being put on by the Austin-based Texas SPOKES Sports Car Club.  They always do a bang up job of a well-run autocross event.  This autocross will be very busy.  As of this post’s writing, there are 117(!) competitors signed up.  Should be good to see a grand variety of daily drivers to dedicated track cars, & all sorts in between…

Pano of SPOKES AutoX Field (from July 2009 event)

Also, on Sunday morning, if you’d rather stay in town, I found out about the following.  It’s the San Antonio Rodders Annual Custom Car Show.  FREE admission for spectators!

San Antonio Rodders logo

In you area, I’m sure, there is always something going on.  You just need to “plug in” to your local motorsports enthusiasts’ communities.  Internet surfing helps too – I found 2 of these while I was writing this up!

Racing Ready is trying to give you continuous “heads ups” as to what going on that is of interest to you!


Mazda Miata/MX-5 Locator Tool

I found a fellow Miata/MX-5 enthusiast, Peter L., who runs an interesting website called MX-5 Unleashed.  He’s set up a cool “web tool” there to share.  He calls it The Locator.

The Locator

With The Locator you can post your Mazda Miata/MX-5 location with some basic information about you, your car & web-related business promotion data.  Also, it’s not limited to the USA – you can post worldwide locations, too.  Here’s what Peter put up there about Karlino after I submitted my information.

My Locator Posting

All you need to send him is the following data…here:
  • Name: (first name is just fine)
  • Car: (year and name)
  • E-mail: (this is required but will be in *.jpg form so no spammers can contact you)
  • Main Modifications: (let us know what you did to the car)
  • Notes: (like a business you want to promote or a website or anything)
  • Country, City and State: (so you can be located by neighbor MX-5 fans)

In addition to this “web tool”, Peter offers interesting & good, informative articles.  They are nicely done tech & tune articles/videos that all Mazda roadster fans will really appreciate.

Peter said:

Ya, Miata’s get addictive – so much fun & so much you can do with for not too much $$$.

Racing Ready would really like to see fellow Miata/MX-5 enthusiasts post up your information to Peter.  It would be very interesting to see how well we could populate this map.  This goes beyond just Texas, too!  Forward this to ALL your Miata buddies so they can get their info posted up here.

Call to action – populate this!


Fastest Normally Aspirated Corvette!

Faster Than A Speeding Ticket!

I was able to personally experience the fastest, normally aspirated Corvette (212@MPH!), at last May’s SEA Track Attack, which was conducted at Harris Hill Road (H2R) .

Mike's Corvette ready to make the move from the H2R paddock

Mike's Corvette resting between track runs

Under here is where the power secret resides…

A good display of what makes this car go fast

The license plate says it all!

On this day Mike kept the NOS bottles at home - kind of looks naked!

What with all the dual nitrous oxide (NOS) pluming, from the rear hatch area to the powerplant underhood, how could it not be fast.  For this 2006 Z06 Corvette, the word plumbing is very appropriate.  The owner/driver, Mike, actually IS a plumber.

Here's where all that instant NOS power gets routed

What power can't be utilized is exhausted here - it sounded good!

Mike has upgraded quite a bit to deal with all the increased horsepower that comes suddenly.  Here’s a list:

  • Upgraded radiator
  • Forged bottom end (due to rebuilding this, his second motor)
  • There are 2 (!) separate nitrous oxide (NOS) systems
  • Consequently, there’s a separate fuel system dedicated to the NOS feed
  • Twin oil coolers behind the fog lights
  • Upgraded Wildwood brakes

I wonder if these tires are the same ones Mike uses to achieve those straight line, high speed runs – I doubt it!

Michelin Pilot Sport tires on 19" rims

Here is where all this power is manged, manipulated & analyzed!

Mike's Fast 'Vette cockpit

The naturally aspirated title is basically saying that this vehicle is not turbo-charged.  Besides local drag strips, he’s been out to The Texas Mile at Goliad.  Here’s video proof of being fast, the record breaker, at Goliad:

Even without the added NOS acceleration boost, Mike achieved some good track times in his high speed sessions at Harris Hill Road.

Waiting to roll onto the next track session...

Mike @ speed !

Mike mentioned that besides the awesome acceleration of his car, he REALLY likes the fact that you can race & then simply drive home when your day at the track is over.  I agree that this is an ideal situation – the best of both worlds!

Racing Ready was really impressed by all that underhood plumbing!  Sure would be interesting to experience this rocket of a car with the NOX tanks set up & functioning…