Preliminary Austin Formula 1 Track Details

Here’s a few more details about the preparations for the Austin Formula 1 track & design.  Final details are still pending…

Formula 1 generic graphic design

The proposed circuit will be located 20 miles from Austin on 900 acres of land.  Tavo Hellmund said recently that the layout will feature 20 corners spread over 3.2 miles of the “natural terrain road course.”

U.S. Grand Prix promoter Tavo Hellmund says that his yet-to-be constructed racetrack near Austin will accommodate up to 130,000 to 140,000 fans.   “It will be the biggest thing Austin has ever had,” Hellmund said.  He claimed that the track’s grandstands might accommodate 50,000 fans, while the rest of the attendees could enjoy the race from various open spaces around the facility.

Exactly when the race will take place remains unknown, but Hellmund assured his audience that it will not be held in the scorching-hot months of July or August.

Tavo revealed that the track will feature “four real passing zones.”

Tilke logo

As for the track’s construction time line–work is planned to begin in December–Peter Wahl, a director of the Hermann Tilke-owned circuit-design company, said that the project is doable in time for a race in 2012. “[The time issue] does not frighten us,” he said.

Racing Ready is waiting, as is the rest of racing fan community, for more details.  We’ll do our best to keep you in the loop!


Getting Started In Amateur Racing

Winding Road recently put out a good article about how to get started in racing.  Doing so is not difficult, it can be local & not cost very much.

Autocross - a great start into amateur motorsports!

Here’s the article:  I Want To Go Racing: Getting Started, by Natasha Colah

The author goes through the following categories of amateur racing:

  • Autocross
  • Road Rally
  • Rallycross
  • Drag Racing
  • Karting

Racing Ready has had some involvement in 3 of these categories, most especially in autocross.  There is little to no involvement of Road Rally nor Rallycross amateur racing in my local region, although my racing buddies talk about wanting to find a venue for these types of events.

Autocross - just bring your daily driver & a helmet - FUN AWAITS!

Read the article & become inspired!


AutoX Prospects At Austin Formula 1 Lot!

Yesterday, Sondra Sondregger was a guest at lunch with Tavo Hellmund & the Hill Country Region Porsche Club of America chapter.  One of the topics of discussion was the following (& I quote):

To answer everyone’s question:

Yes, I asked if there will be an autocross-suitable lot, and he indicated that there will be!

I specifically mentioned no trees, light poles, wheel stops, etc.

I think he gets it 🙂

That’s great prospective news for the enthusiasts of the SPOKES club.  It also shows that Tavo is open to great suggestions!

US Flag Formula1 Banner

Racing Ready continues to be anxious about the ever growing prospect of the actual happening of the US Formula 1 Grand Prix happening in June 2012!


Learning Ideal Autocross Line Very Challenging

On Sunday, August 8th, 2010, SASCA had their 8th Autocross Event of the year.  It was good & hot, as would be expected for South Texas in the summer.  There were 71 registered competitors with official times.  Craig was the Eventmaster, for the 2nd month in a row.  He put together a very challenging course, with good input from others.

2010 SASCA AutoX #8 - Craig's rough course sketch

This time, we even got the “luxury” of “painted lines of baking flour, to help delineate the course flow.  It was interesting & different, sometimes helpful & at times a slight distraction.   Overall, though the lines added a cool touch to the course!  See the sweeper turn, before the finish, pictured below:

Example of autocross 'flour painted' lines, at 2010 SASCA #8, Blossom Athletic Center lot

This course was primarily counter-clockwise with times in the 40 to 50 second range, more or less.  There were some challenging sections of the course that I could not get a good line through a corner.  We all had 7 runs at the course, 4 in the morning & after lunch, 3 in the afternoon.  My times were not at all consistent.  My best to my worst only varied within just under 3 seconds.  (Click to enlarge)

2010 SASCA AutoX #8 - Dan's Miata times

Here’s a more complete graphic of the course as Craig designed it, on paper.  It did vary somewhat in reality – it ALWAYS does.  I know, having been an Eventmaster in the past

2010 SASCA AutoX #8 - Craig's refined course sketch

The area that almost always got me was that errant cone that always seemed to be in the wrong place every time I tried to make a good, clean run.  I was consistently stymied.  I did do 3 course walk-throughs in the morning & even had Kevin, the Novice Orientation Chief, do a ride-along  with me.  This was to try to help me get a better handle on the line & technique of this course.  Basically, Kevin told me that I was about right for most of the course, but that entry for that 1st tight hairpin corner needed to be taken differently, & I needed to brake earlier.

Below is how I approached it:

2010 SASCA AutoX #8 - Tight hairpin approach, not the best...

Below was a better way to take the corner, but I always seemed to come in too hot – too much speed & braking too late.

2010 SASCA AutoX #8 - Tight hairpin detail...better approach, earlier braking, faster & smoother exit...

If just maybe I had a couple of other runs…  I should have remembered the racer’s axion:

Slow in = Fast out!

Oh well, there will be time to learn more at next month’s SASCA autocross, on September 26, 2010.  Racing Ready & Karlino both plan to be there.

Ryan trying to inspire Karlino & me to autocross greatness at the start!

Reserve that date – it should be cooler.  Hope to see you challenge yourselves as well!


P.S. – Thanks for Oscar for the great pix!

COBB Tuning Open House – A Special Event

A week ago last Saturday (July 24, 2010) was a landmark opportunity for the tuner motorsport enthusiast community in Austin, Texas & the surrounding region.  COBB Tuning had its Open House to officially open their shop (it’s much more than that, it’s their corporate headquarters, at 2311 W. Rundleberg, Suite 500, Austin, TX 78758).  Subaru & Mazdaspeed, Mitsubishi & Nissan fans around the world rejoiced.

COBB Tuning, Austin - Open House Advertising

COBB Tuning has been at it since the late 1990’s, starting with the modification of enhanced breathing of Subarus for better performance.  Today, years later, they offer an extensive line of improved performance, go fast parts that they have designed & engineered in house.  These parts are in the following general categories:

  • enhanced intake products, including ECU tuning devices – to obtain better engine breathing for greater horsepower
  • performance turbocharger flow pipe products – to better allow a turbocharger to more efficiently do its duty
  • no compromise suspension packages – to allow for better, more controlled handling
  • downpipe/test pipe exhaust tubing – to gain more horsepower for a smoother, quicker exhaust
  • double adjustable short throw shifter – to speed the task of getting through the gears
  • …and more…

COBB Tuning better breathing showpieces...

Starting in the Dallas area, they later moved to Salt Lake City.  I queried CEO & Founder, Trey Cobb, about this.  He said they found that being located in that part of Utah was advantageous to COBB Tuning for a number of reasons.  Initially it was the availability of companies who could develop & manufacture a small runs of specifically designed parts.  He said that this was not an option in the Dallas area.  Also, Trey said, being only a 10 hour drive from the car enthusiast press in California was very helpful & great timing for having articles & reviews be written up in the performance enthusiasts magazines.  This also assisted them as they continued to come up with more performance-related parts & solutions.  They were out in SLC for about 7 years.  In addition, they have a shop in Portland, OR & still maintain a presence for customer cars racing in California.  This is to keep up these racing cars that use a significant number of COBB Tuning parts & technology.  Here’s more & an 8+ minute video to review:

COBB Tuning Motorsports

When I asked Trey why they moved back to Texas in Austin, he explained that more of their work is in the technology arena.  He said it now made better sense to be within the tech business community.  He said it’s good to be back in Texas.  He joked that some of the employees that came back with him from Utah are having a hard time adjusting to the hot Texas summer…oh well.

COBB Tuning wall banner

There was some pretty cool technology on display, as well.  Below is a prototype manufacturing workstation.  What they do is create a part in 3-D in a CAD/CAM computer program.  Then they “print” this part in 3-D & then coat it with a special plastic for durability.  In this way they can make up a one-off part & test it on the street in the same day.  They don’t have to source this to an outside facility.  How cool & efficient is that!

COBB Tuning prototype manufacturing workstation

The COBB Tuning facility is in NW Austin, in a business park section of town, where there are located many small business  & warehouse/manufacturing companies ().  The facilities are state of the art, occupying 16,000 square feet.  There are a number of different areas & most all were available to see & hear described about during their Open House.  They have a sales office up front, a research & development office space (their skunk-works was off limits due to the proprietary nature of some project they are working on).

COBB Tuning Showroom

In addition, there are a couple of huge warehouses with a few garage bays & a cool 2-axle dynamometer.  They have this to be able to test & measure the power output of both 2 wheel & all-wheel drive customers’ cars.

COBB Tuning's 2-axle, 4 wheel dynamometer, ready to roll!COBB Tuning Mustang DynanometerDiscussing COBB Tuning's 2-axle, 4 wheel dynamometer

One of COBB Tuning's warehouses

In addition to the new facilities, they conducted an informal car show in their parking lot.  There was an interesting assortment of modified Subarus, Mazdaspeeds, a couple of Miatas & an assortment of other modified daily drivers along with their proud car owners.  This emphasized the core client base of COBB Tuning, the street enthusiast driver.  Here are some Austinites show off their COBB Tuned rides.

COBB Tuning Car Show

One specific car, in particular was significant: a 1983 Nissan Skyline & it was for sale!  This was a Japanese market only sports car that has always has a great reputation.  This was the first time I had seen one in person.  Being from the Japanese market, it was right hand drive.  Here are some pix to make you drool:

1983 Nissan Skyline DR30 - it's hard to believe this car is 28 years old!1983 Nissan Skyline DR30 badging1983 Nissan Skyline DR30 - a Japanese automotive legend

And yes…  it’s for sale…! (More drooling…)

For Sale - 1983 Nissan Skyline DR30

1983 Nissan Skyline DR30, upgraded engine bay

In summary, I think Paul, Sr. of Orange County Choppers says it best:  Cobb kicks ass!

Paul, Sr. of Orange County Chopper says, "Cobb kicks ass"!

Racing Ready felt it was important to travel the 90+ miles from home base to learn about COBB Tuning.  It was a good visit & there was a lot to learn.  Go COBB Tuning!  We wish you continued success & influence in your specialized field.