SASCA Retama Park Autocross (Re)Debut

Retama Park entry - New SASCA 2011 autocross venue!

Yesterday was the SASCA 2011 Autocross #2.  We debuted our new venue, Retama Park.  It was new to most of us, but SASCA has autocrossed there a few years ago.  You can still see former track tire wear marks from Google Maps.

Retama Park - parking lot with former autocross course track tracings...

We had decent weather & a great turnout – the were 105 registered competitors.  Although it had rained almost all the previous day, after some clouds & breeze, it got sunny & into the 70’s.  Perfect autocross weather!

SASCA Retama 2011 AutoX #2 - Perfect autocross weather...

Yes, that’s a 2011 Honda CRZ, returning in the photo above.  I rode along in this hybrid car while in Sport mode.  I (& others) was favorably impressed.  It tracked very well!

SASCA Retama 2011 AutoX#2 - race pits on the morning...

Retama Park is a horse track & the lot we used was right next to their horse barns.  The horses didn’t seem to mind the noise of us autocross competitors pushing our machines to our 2nd gear limits.

Race horses at Retama Park stables, hardly interested in autocross...

The age/experience level of today’s autocrossers ran the gamet – from the not yet 20 year old novices, to autocross veterans coming back to the sport – now in their 60-somethings (& for their third stint back into it).  This is a sport for both young & old alike!

SASCA Retama 2011 AutoX#2 - nice vehicle assortment on the grid!

This was my first time on this track surface.   It is very different from that of the Blossom Athletic Center parking lot.  The Blossom lot is a sealed asphalt surface from a few years ago.  It’s grip is less than inspiring & forget about traction in the wet!  Retama’s surface is a nicely aged asphalt surface,  with minimum imperfections & a pleasantly surprising amount of grip.  We had 6 runs each today.  I’d say it took me the first 3 runs to realize I could push my car further than I had experienced at the Blossom lot.  Final results here!

Chris posted up this very well-done video showing both his & co-driver Vivek’s autocross runs.  This was in Chris’ Honda S2000.  This is truly an impressive method to see where time can be saved during an autocross run!!!

This was a good autocross.  Vivek designed a challenging, but fun course.

SASCA banner & cones by the timing trailer

We will be back at Retama Park in March, on Sunday the 6th.  Racing Ready hopes you can make it out there, either as a competitor, or at least as a spectator.  Fantastic loaner helmets are available…

The eclectic SASCA assortment of loaner helmets - truely unique!

As part of full disclosure, unfortunately I will not be able to attend.  I will be working the SAXET Gun Show, promoting my AMSOIL business as a vendor.

Dan

Winter Fast Racing Exceptions

Although it’s still winter (& many regions are enjoying a warming respite), for some the snow & cold is not a reason to set racing aside.  I found 2 examples of cold, frozen, but FAST racing enthusiasm for this traditionally race-less season.

Here’s the Rally America Championship – 2011 Sno*Drift Rally Recap…

To learn more, go to www.rally-america.com

For something even faster & richer, how about this expensive speed record on ice!

Record Fast Bentley On Ice!

Paraphrased from AutoWeek.com:

Ace rally driver Juha Kankkunen hit the top speed (205.48 mph) in an E85-powered, 6.0-liter, 12-cylinder Bentley Continental Supersports convertible on the frozen Baltic Sea (22 degrees below zero Fahrenheit).  This bettered his own 2007 record of 199.83 mph. BRRR!

This record run was certified by the Finnish police, by averaging 2 runs on the ice in both directions.  It was also and ratified by officials from Guinness World Records.

My only question is – what was the distance of this straight line sea ice track?

Here’s the video documenting this fast, frozen, financial folly:

You can read more at Bentley Continental Supersports hits 205 mph on ice.

Racers will ALWAYS find a way to be competitive & go fast, regardless of the environmental conditions.  Racing Ready both understands & encourages that!

Dan

P.S. -> BTW, SASCA 2011 Autocross #2 will take place this coming Sunday, February 20th, 2011.  We will debuting a new venue at Retama Park – details here!!!

P.P.S. -> Here’s the AMSOIL Miata Snow Rally Experience I reviewed here last year, here – Enjoy!

Icy Driving to Work Travails!

You can’t say I didn’t try!

Karlino returns to frozen hibernation...

I knew the driving conditions were going to be sub-optimal, this Friday morning, for driving into work.  San Antonio got a general covering of sleety/rainy ice last night, followed by a 1/4″ covering of dry, crisp snow.  I got up and prepared to leave the house about 30 minutes earlier than usual.  Last night I had taken the precaution to cover both the windshield & rear window of Karlino.  After letting my car warm up for 15 minutes, while I ate my breakfast accompanied by the Weather Channel, Karlino was nicely warmed up & the windows were very clear.

Karlino chilly fender...

The roads?  They were another matter.  There was a dusting of dry, crunchy snow over about 1/8″ of glare ice.  I decided to drive in to work, albeit, very slowly & on the secondary roads.  In second gear on the flat areas, it was slow going but passably okay.  But if there was a hill, it got scary.  It was not just the loss of traction of my car, but watching out for the other drivers sliding across the road.  Pumping the brakes actually did work, but you had to be patient.

Karlino icy tracks - BRRR!

After about 15 minutes of this tension-filled driving, I had only gone about 3 miles.  Then I got a call from my boss saying we don’t need to report into work till midday.  I was somewhat relieved, but then realized I had to return back home.  I did so, slowly & carefully…

Karlino frozen frustration...

It was then when I decided to take these pix & report the lacking of driving conditions this morning.  Be careful out there South/Central Texas.  Racing Ready is waiting this one out!

Dan

2011 Ford F-150 EcoBoost Review – a Winner!

These last 2 weeks I’ve test driven three 2011 Ford F-150 pickup trucks.  This was all about my learning about the new, highly acclaimed EcoBoost engine by Ford, the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 Twin Turbo Ti-VVT engine (rated at 365HP, 420 LB.-FT. Torque & 16 city/22 hwy combined mpg).   Let me share what I learned about this engine in the new 2011 Ford Ford F-150.

2011 Ford EcoBoost Drive Tour - Built FORD Tough!

First was a baseline test drive in a Race Red 2011 Ford F-150 SuperCab, powered by the 5.0L V8 engine.  This is same engine available in the 2011 Ford Mustang.  It was a fine drive and the pleasant throaty burble exhaust was slightly on the enthusiast side.

2011 Ford F-150 XLT model with 5.0L Ti-VCT 4-Valve V8 FFV engine - actual baseline test drive pickup truck

Second was a white 2011 Ford F-150 SuperCab Oxford White F-150 truck, accompanied by Ashley (a Ford, spokes-model cutie).  This was a highly structured, dealer-based event, restricted by a simple, less than fun 3 mile driving loop.  In addition, the drive was hampered by 5 o’clock traffic.  I walked away under impressed and a little disappointed…

Dealer-based 2011 Ford EcoBoost test drive "parade"...

Third was a test drive that originated from my house – now that’s a cool concept!

EcoBoost Drive Experience confirmation

I was washing Karlino (my 1999 Mazda Miata) in my driveway & I got a call from JD.  He was driving over in the 2011 pre-production Ford EcoBoost truck I was to test drive.  He said he was going to be an hour early.  This was a 2011 Ford EcoBoost SuperCrew cab model in the Lariat trim package, in a Dark Blue Pearl Metallic.

Karlino meets F-150 EcoBoost in my driveway!

With this luxury of extra drive, I was able to do a real test drive on roads I’m very familiar with.  I lost track of time, but think we were on the road for at least 25 minutes.  Even though we were in the start of Friday late afternoon traffic, being able to drive the roads I knew, I was able to make good time & enjoy the EcoBoost twin turbo power when needed (okay, so yes, I did “goose it” a few times for the sheer enjoyment of it).  I even took it around the Tejas Trail “test loop” I’ve enjoyed driving on in the past!

Tejas Trail (from Google Maps) - that blind crest is indicated by the orange arrow.

An additional bonus was that JD is a HPDE (High Performance Driver Education) driver instructor!  His home base is in the Cincinnati area.  He’s only 2.5 hours away from the famed Mid Ohio road track.  Needless to say, we discussed a variety of autocross & racing topics.

Ford F-150 EcoBoost cut-away engine display

I came away from this third test drive very highly impressed, even though this was the slightly heaver SuperCrew model.  This truck drives smooth & quiet.  This one had over 13,700 miles on it, already!  If I had my druthers, I’d seriously consider the FX2 model with the EcoBoost engine.  It would look something like this:

My 2011 Ford EcoBoost FX2 SuperCab in Blue Flame Metallic

Ford took a huge leap of faith on this EcoBoost engine, promoting it with a series of 6 videos, called the F-150 EcoBoost Torture Test – 164,706 Miles Endured.

Ford F-150 EcoBoost Torture Test - 164,706 Miles Endured

After viewing these 6 videos, watch this wrap up after the final engine teardown.

Ford has got a winner here.  Racing Ready says so!

Dan

EcoBoost logo

P. S. – Here’s a racing Ford F-150 4X4 I think you might enjoy…