San Antonio Coffee & Rides, July 2010 Edition

I hadn’t been to a San Antonio Coffee & Rides event in a few months.  It’s grown!  Besides some familiar faces & rides, I saw many more cars.  This time the lot looked almost full.  I estimated close to 150 cars!  What a great turnout! (Click to enlarge for detail…)

Panera's Coffee & Rides Panorama, July 2010 - looking south

Here’s some random pix I took this morning, in no particular order…enjoy!

Dodge Vipers doing the show car salute, at the Panera's Coffee & Rides, July, 2010

Mustang row at the Panera's Coffee & Rides, July, 2010

Honda S2000s all lined up, at the Panera's Coffee & Rides, July, 2010

Here’s another general overview of the lot full of cars…at Panera’s.

Panera's Coffee & Rides Panorama, July 2010 - looking north

One of our newest SASCA autocrossers, Leora, was there showing her 1998 Corvette (she runs it both an autocrosser & show car)!

Leora's 1998 Corvette, in full show car mode...

Leora's 1998 Corvette, the engine bay detail...

Here are some specific details about what has gone into “Lady Le”, the Corvette, that is!  😉

Leora's 1998 Corvette - the "Lady Le" - Sugar & Spice

Leora's 1998 Corvette, both a show car and up & coming autocross competitor!

Here’s a vintage Austin Healey 3000 that helped to start enthusiasts’ interest in sports cars, about 60 years ago…

Vintage Austin Healey 3000 - on display, at the Panera's Coffee & Rides, July, 2010

Vintage Austin Healey 3000 - logo detail, at the Panera's Coffee & Rides, July, 2010

Vintage Austin Healey 3000 on its way back home with its proud owner

There was some good quality, vintage American Iron – check out this sweet Chvey Chevelle…

Sweet 1968 Chevy Chevelle, at the Panera's Coffee & Rides, July, 2010 - front view

Sweet 1968 Chevy Chevelle, at the Panera's Coffee & Rides, July, 2010 - back view

And of course, Racing Ready was there, promoting the blog & the AMSOIL business.  Karlino helped in a laid back sort of way!

Karlino, my 1999 Maxda Miata, assisting in Racing Ready Synthetics AMSOIL business promotion!

The AMSOIL business & Racing Ready blog being promoted on Karlino's windshield

Hope to see you all out there next month.  It should be on Saturday, August 28th, in the Panera’s parking lot, near the intersection of Blanco & 1604, outside the loop!  People start showing up after 8am…


Austin Formula 1 Location & Investor Revealed

Formula 1 United States Coming to Austin 2012

Earlier today, Tavo Hellmund announced 3 important items to advance the progress of Formula 1 in Austin, Texas for June 2012 (the official press release is here):

  • Red McCombs support as the primary “mover & shaker” investor.
  • The proposed location to be SE of the Austin airport!
  • Formula 1 launched a new website, as well –

Sources say it will be on 900 acres that were originally slated to be the Wandering Creek real estate development, near Elroy in southeastern Travis County.  We’ll see if the accuracy of this bears out as true in the coming days.  Here’s a good location map I found:

Proposed site for Formula 1 Racing in Austin 2012

The priorities that Tavo & Red share for the 2012 Formula One initiative are as follows:

  1. Bring value and economic development to the state of Texas
  2. Create value for partners
  3. Make this one of the truly great sporting events in the world

Here’s a satellite image with all the important landmarks indicated – click to enlarge:

Satellite map of proposed site for Formula 1 Racing in Austin 2012

We shall see…  Racing Ready surely wants this to happen.  Okay, so what’s this track course layout going to be like?  More here as the news evolves…


How Austin & Formula One Are the Right Match

Sondra Sondregger, a respected Austin-based autocrosser & HPDE (High Performance Driver Education) promoter, is very active & involved in the South/Central Texas motorsports community.  Sondra has even started her own HPDE endeavor, Velocity Adventures Texas.

Velocity Adventures - Don't Dream of Being Fast, BE FAST!

Sondra was interviewed on the radio (along with Eric Beverding of Harris Hill Road) a couple of weeks ago.  They discussed the pros & cons of Formula 1 coming to Austin.  Suffice it to say, like me, Sondra (& Eric) is VERY pro about this.

From all the information she had researched in preparing for this interview, she put together this recently published in the Austin Post.  It’s about why having Formula 1 come to Austin makes SO much sense!  Sondra provides a LOT of good data & thoroughly prepared information.  Well done!  Here’s just a teaser snippet – click here for the full article:

A lot of attention has been paid to all of the people who are opposing Formula One’s presence in Austin, but I am one of the many really excited about it. I really don’t have a dog in the fight and little to gain other than that I like Formula One, am thrilled that we have been honored to have been chosen as the location for such a prestigious event and track, and I think that this is a very good opportunity for Austin’s economy, both in the way of the immediate benefits and in the way of the more lasting benefits of business relocation…

Racing Ready can’t agree more.  We’ll continue to share more here as it becomes available!  Rumor has it that they’ll be announcing the track location this week – we shall see…


She’s Ba-ack, Texas Comptroller Experiences F1

Okay, here’s the follow-up to the news that Texas State Comptroller, Susan Combs, visited a Formula 1 race (at Silverstone in England), on her own dime.  She was favorably impressed & looks to be pushing support for this event to happen!  Details/video are here!

Susan Combs, Texas State Comptroller, visiting Formula 1 garage facilities at the Silverstone race track venue!

Here are some teaser snippets from the article:

Texas Comptroller Checking Out Formula 1

When questioned about the environmental implications the Formula 1 track would pose on the Austin area, Combs said “I think you’re going to find that it’s green both physically with trees and grass and environmentally and I think you’re going to find that the way the vehicles are managed is environmentally friendly.”  “I think people will be very relieved when they get the details, I honestly do,” added the Comptroller.

… & more…

Next week, the Austin Formula 1 investor and the location of the track will be unveiled for the first time.  Ms. Combs says groundbreaking on the track somewhere in the Austin area will begin in December with a completion date scheduled for June of 2012.

Now this is a very encouraging news giving more traction to Formula 1 racing REALLY happening in Austin.  Racing Ready will continue to stay tuned; you do the same!


Return To Autocross & Competitive, Too

I was SO pleasantly impressed yesterday!  I celebrated the 1 year anniversary of Karlino ownership (my 1999 Mazda Miata).  To mark the occasion, I participated in the 2010 SASCA Autocross #7.

2010 SASCA AutoX 1st morning heat grid, everybody getting ready!

2010 SASCA AutoX 1st morning heat grid, another view...

You ask, “Why was Dan impressed?”  I’ll get to that in a bit.  I had missed the last 4 SASCA autocross events due to needing new tires & having to work weekends the last 2 months.  Now working Monday through Friday and the happy owner of 4 Falken Ziex ZE512 tires mounted on my car, I am able to properly autocross, once again.

Karlino on the autocross grid basking in the 1 year ownership anniversary glow!

Karlinos' Falken ZIEX ZE512 tires on the stock 14" rims - note chalk marks!

Karlino on the autocross grid, about ready to roll...

Today’s autocross had a relatively low number of participants, 89 competing drivers.  I guess the heat, up to the mid-nineties, kept people away.  But it was about 10 degrees cooler than last year.  By keeping in the shade, staying properly hydrated & using good sunblock, it wasn’t too bad.

Blossom Athletic Center Autocross Sunglow!

Well, the new tires brought both Karlino & me up to our respective potentials.  With the 7 (!) runs we had today, I got progressively faster on the first 5 runs & then pretty much plateaued after that.  After learning the course in the 1st run or so, I started to learn how to use the new Falken tires to Karlino’s advantage.  Craig designed a great equalizer of a course, with a good combination of a variety of left & right sweepers and some nicely challenging chicanes.  Here’s a rough sketch of the course layout, by Craig.

Rough sketch of 2010-JUL-11 autocross course design, by Craig.

Starting with the tire pressures up and adjusting them after the first run, I left them at 36 PSI front, 34 PSI rear.  With Karlino set up this way, I could pretty much steer where I wanted to.  I was even able to steer with the throttle on the sweepers.  It felt very good to have a better controlled car that was actually competitive.  Eric, my favorite guest blogger, let borrow his Hero Pro digital video camera – here’s the result of my run #4:

My only competitor in the CS class, Golf, drove a Mazda RX-8 & had R-compound tires mounted.  In the first few runs we duked it out as to who was faster.  Then, on his 4th run, Golf found a big 1.25 second advantage that I was not able to fully answer back with.  I did get close, within 0.331 seconds!.  That was okay as my best time was close to or better than some other Miatas & other cars that were in more prepared & modified classes.  My PAX time placed me 46th out of 89 competitors, much better than in prior autocrosses.  I had typically placed in the bottom quarter, or less.

2010 SASCA AutoX C Stock Final Times...SO CLOSE!

In addition, I made my first “semi-upgrade” inside Karlino.  This could be construed to be performance-related.  I replaced the stock shifter knob with a Voodoo knob.  It’s about 3/4″ shorter than the stock knob and a bigger ball (2″ diameter) to grab onto.  Some would say you can shift a little quicker, but I’m not so sure.  In an autocross you normally shift from 1st to 2nd & stay in second for the remainder of the course.  Whatever – it feels better in my hand & looks nicer, too.

Karlino shifter knob change out - before & after...

Racing Ready is very pleased with this successful return to autocross competition.  I hope there are more competitors in the CS class next time.


Well-Sorted 1968 Corvette Makes AutoX Debut

My favorite guest blogger, Eric, just sent me a quick little article from the most recent SPOKES/SASCA autocross he attended & participated in from 2 weeks ago.  This is notable for 2 reasons:

  • This is a first time autocross experience for the owner, Kevin.
  • This is a NICELY restored/upgraded Corvette – very sweet!

I know, I may seem biased by profiling yet another Corvette racer, but Kevin’s 1968 convertible is so cool that it was worth the risk.  And since one of my previous cars was a 1976 L48 coupe, it also brought back some memories.

WOW, Kevin's upgraded 1968 Corvette looks SWEET!

His car is a lot more sorted out than mine ever was, as under the hood lives a new ZZ4 crate motor mated to a 4-speed transmission.  It certainly sounded the part, breathing through Hooker sidepipes which could cause quite the calf mark if you weren’t careful getting out!

This refreshed & updated 1968 Corvette engine bay is VERY inspiring!

The suspension was upgraded with heavy duty springs and shocks, and the car looked right sitting on later model aluminum rims and BFG tires.  The brakes had also been refreshed, an important consideration for any vehicle used in competition.

Kevin preparing to run his SO clean 1968 Corvette, on the autocross grid at the San Antonio Raceway.

This was Kevin’s first autocross experience, and the car was a real hoot to ride in.  Stepping out of his C3 and into my 2001 Z06 was like taking a 33 year trip through time.  Technology sure has come a long way, but this car was a great reminder of how cool older cars can be.  Don’t hide them away, come out and join the fun!

Racing Ready enjoys virtual autocross participation, but this Sunday, I’ll finally be “back in the saddle” with Karlino at the next SASCA autocross, after a 5 (!) month hiatus.  Hope to see you out there!


Texas Comptroller Checking Out Formula 1

Here’s an interesting, hot off the press,  Formula 1 in Austin, Texas snippet!

This was compiled from The Austin-America Statesman (the Austin newspaper)  Staff & Wire Reports (Published: 10:52 p.m.,  Wednesday, July 7, 2010):

Comptroller checks out F1 race

State Comptroller Susan Combs, instrumental in securing a Formula One race in Austin beginning in 2012, left Wednesday to get a firsthand look at the sport. She is attending the British Grand Prix, about 70 miles north of London.

Allen Spelce, a spokesman for the comptroller’s office, said that the trip is a vacation and that Combs is paying for it, not the state. Combs is traveling with her husband, whom Spelce described as an avid racing fan. Combs “was really excited about this,” Spelce said. “She thinks it’s going to be a great event for Austin.”

To put on the Austin race, the state is putting up $25 million annually, which could be used to pay the sanctioning fees for the event.

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is also expected to be at Silverstone, as is Tavo Hellmund, the promoter behind the Austin race.

Racing Ready is looking for more reports of this nature to post here!