Monday, October 23, 2017

COTA Vintage Takeover

US Vintage National Championship
November 4, 2016
Circuit of the Americas
Austin, TX

The Circuit of the Americas is best known for hosting the most advanced race, both in terms of technology and driver skill set - Formula One's US Grand Prix. But for four days in early November, vintage race cars take over to relive their glory days on the country's freshest 3.4 miles of racetrack asphalt.

The race weekend is usually a combination of various events. Last year's iteration was an all-in-one package of automotive events that satisfied each of the five senses. Motostalgia brought in cars and motorcycles for the auction, which definitely helped feed our eyes with the very much required classic "eye vitamins." Most of the cars that were supposed to hit the auction block that Saturday were parked outdoors. A few were out on display in the open while some were tucked in semi-permanent steel tents from the previous F1 race. 

Walking down the lines of cars, and the occasional two-wheeled toys, was only a whetting exercise of some sorts, because the main course was clearly either in the garage or out on the track. Probably one of the best advantages of holding a smaller race event, as compared to an F1 race or Le Mans, is having a more lenient rulebook in terms of spectatorship. Anybody can actually come up close and personal with these gas-guzzling and fume-spitting pieces of racing history. One needs only be careful and respectful of the cars and the equipment.

The race weekend is wonderfully organized by the fine people at the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA), along withe the support of the Corinthian Vintage Auto Racing (CVAR). The US Vintage National Championship is the last leg of the racing season for SVRA, while it is the second to the last one for CVAR. Most of the drivers from both racing organizations are privateers. Such a setting lends to the more intimate and more personalized mood in and around the circuit.

IMSA and Le Mans cars were well represented that weekend. Mazda brought out 3 insane rotary-powered cars, while Nissan showcased their GTP ZX-Turbo (more on this specific car on a later entry).

During the Friday of that race weekend, the cars and drivers were out on the track practicing and tuning. All five senses were without a doubt aroused by the very cars that stood the test of time and the grueling routine of every race ever since the cars' racing debut. Stay tuned for more photos from last year's vintage race weekend. 

On a side note, I'm trying to push these photos out ASAP because the 2017 races are fast approaching. 

Also, never doubt the extremely high possibility of actually tasting rubber just from being a bystander at trackside, or in the pits for that matter.

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