Global Time Attack at Road Atlanta

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Dan O'Donnell Jason Dienhart

Road Atlanta and Global Time Attack are a match made in heaven. If you combine a 2.54 mile road course that rolls through the green hills of Georgia with an open rule set where maximum speed and minimum lap times are all that matters, you’re bound to have an incredible event.

Thanks to GTA series sponsors like Continental Tire, Whiteline Suspension, Garrett Turbo, Spec Clutch and Meister Watches, the battle for Road Atlanta certainly did not disappoint, with new competitors in the mix, newly set fastest lap records, and even big crashes!

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 7 Evo7 Dan O'Donnell Jason Dienhart

From the perspective of Professional Awesome Racing, Road Atlanta was a shakedown and tuneup for the heavily revised 2001 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII. Gone were the Active Center Differential and Super Active Yaw Control rear differential, replaced with mechanical differentials front, center and rear.

Having switched from Street Tire to Limited class at the Global Time Attack finale in November 2012, it was also a time to learn the nuances of driving differences of the Hankook Ventus TD in comparison to the Ventus RS-3.

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 7 Evo7 Dan O'Donnell Jason Dienhart

Unfortunately, Day 1 proved to be a challenge from start to finish. Chasing issues of excessive oil consumption, the car would not run consistently enough to put together one flying lap. Having a never-say-die attitude, team members Grant Davis, Mike Lewin and Jordan Gilsinger embarked on a parts search throughout the greater Atlanta area, devising a solution that proved to work extremely well by the end of the day.

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Tony Szirka Unlimited Class Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Jason Dienhart Kyle Lewis

With the problem solved, the crew proceeded to help fellow competitor, Tony Szirka, replace a transmission in his Unlimited Class Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Tony Szirka Unlimited Class Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Jason Dienhart

Szirka and Professional Awesome have a long history of working together under the most adverse circumstances to fix record breaking cars at the last possible moment!

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 7 Evo7 Dan O'Donnell Jason Dienhart

A threat of rain was in the forecast for the second day of competition, but feeling confident that all major issues had been addressed, Professional Awesome hit the track hard looking to gain lost time from the previous day.

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 7 Evo7 Dan O'Donnell Jason Dienhart

The car performed flawlessly in the first sessions of the day, and I with became even more comfortable with the vehicle changes as the day progressed. Minor tire pressure and alignment changes were all that was needed to maximize grip and to dial in the balance for optimal performance, though a new issue had peaked its head.

The car was running perfectly, but low on boost at only 22psi. The car had already set the new limited record with a time of 1:31.717, but quick adjustments were made to the tune to see if more power could be coaxed from the Evolution. Based on the previous year’s data, the team believed a 1:29.xxx  lap was possible and expectations were high for the fifth session.

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 7 Evo7 CRASH Dan O'Donnell Jason Dienhart Kyle Lewis

The fifth session proved to be the final session of our 2001 Evolution’s life.

Following another 1:31 second lap, I entered turn 1 and lost control of the car after an outside tire dipped into the Georgia clay. A hard crash ensued, but luckily I walked away with only minor bruising and a good headache.

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Dan O'Donnell Jason Dienhart

Following the crash, the final session ran and everyone prepared for the awards ceremony.

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Dan O'Donnell Jason Dienhart

At the podium ceremony, champagne was sprayed, big checks collected and fast lap Meister watches given to competitors.

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Dan O'Donnell Jason Dienhart

Much to the surprise of Professional Awesome, new Limited Front Wheel Drive record holder Doug Wind (left) gave his event winnings to the team to help the rebuilding process and Tony Szirka (right) followed suit, also donating his winnings.

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Dan O'Donnell Jason Dienhart

It was an incredible ending to an incredible event which saw competitors from the West Coast, East Coast and everywhere in-between.

New lap records were set in Street Rear Wheel Drive, Front Wheel Drive, Limited All Wheel Drive and Limited Front Wheel Drive which will give new goals for 2014 competitors to strive for.

Global Time Attack Road Atlanta GTA Professional Awesome Racing Dan O'Donnell Jason Dienhart

At the end of the day, it was amazing to see how tightly knit the time attack community is, helping out fellow competitors from start to finish! We look forward to seeing what will happen in November at the Global Time Attack Finale in Central California’s Buttonwillow Raceway on November 15, 2013.

MotorMavens has thousands more photos from GTA Road Atlanta! Stay tuned to MotorMavens for the next GTA photo update!

:: Dan O’Donnell

VANNING IS BACK

Vanning. It swept the USA during the 1970s in an explosion of side pipes, murals, and velvet interiors before it disappeared just as fast as it began. For a long time after, custom vans were looked at as embarrassing pieces of the past rather than nostalgic classics. That is changing though. During the last several years, more and more 1970s style custom vans have been popping up at events and at this year’s Mooneyes X-Mas Party there was a separate area dedicated specifically to vintage vans.

The result was not a small smattering of vans, but sizable display with around 30 examples present. For those that were around during the peak of vanning in the ’70s it was nostalgic trip, and for the younger crowd it was a fine look at a movement that was long buried in automotive history.

While I can’t speak for the entire country, it appears that Southern California is becoming a hotspot of the vanning revival. There are even a few clubs dedicated just to vintage vans.

It was a difficult to tell which of the vans were actually customized during the ’70s and which ones were modern recreations, but either way all of the period elements could be seen. This Dodge has covered all the basics, graphics, sidepipes, porthole windows, custom wheels, and a few spoilers for good measure.

This Chevy meanwhile is sporting an aggressive set of fender flares and a big front air dam to match. Looks like it’s ready for the IMSA circuit, doesn’t it?

As an example of  just how big the vanning craze got during the ’70s, Dodge actually released a factory custom version of its popular Tradesman Van known as the “Street Van”.

While they didn’t sell in huge numbers, the Street Van could be had with just about anything a van freak could want, including a plush interior, wide mag wheels, and wild graphics.

They were also identified by these awesome badges.

Having the right rear window design was crucial for your custom van. Some went with the classic porthole, while others went the diamond as seen on the Street Van.

The teardrop design was yet another popular choice along with the good old heart shape. These were the sort of tough decisions that vanners had to make back then.

Ask any vanner, any real vanner. They will all tell you the same thing. You can never have too many louvers…

The selection of vans also brought with them an array of vintage wheels to match. Some, like these finned jobs with Cooper Cobra tires looked like they’ve been mounted for quite some time.

The classic slotted mag wheel is another popular choice, not just on vans but for just about any car from the 1970s.

The same goes for the Cragar SS, which are usually fitted to vans in some very wide sizes both front and rear. This one also gets extra points for its Mickey Thompson Indy Profile tires.

The Keystone is another one of those cool old wheels that doesn’t pop up nearly as much it should.

For those looking to give their van a bit more of a Lowrider vibe, the Astro Supreme is another good choice.

This Chevy takes the Lowrider thing a bit further with wire wheels and a healthy amount of pinstriping.

Pinstriping is of course just the beginning when it comes to vans and paintjobs. At their wildest, they were less vehicles and more rolling canvases for elaborate murals. Are you the mysterious wizard type?

Or perhaps you are more into the flame-spitting dragon?

A proper custom van should also have its own name.

Only the best of the best could claim the elite” Vantasy” name. The same goes for the equally exclusive name, “Vantastic”.

You can sense the the increasing popularity of old vans when you see what they sell for these days. They are no Muscle Cars for sure, but sometimes it’s surprising to see how much early models like the Dodge A100 and Ford Econoline go for on Ebay or Craigslist.

I quite liked the look of this short wheelbase A100 with big and skinny Cragars. It’s simple by custom van standards, but very effective.

In most cases you can usually pick up on a few small differences between a modern build and survivor, but many of the vans like this Dodge look like they were came straight from the ’70s or early ’80s.

The National Street Van Association still exists, and based on their website they seem to be active as ever with a particularly strong presence in the UK.

Sometimes I’m highly disappointed that I didn’t get to experience the 1970s first hand…

Some of these custom vans grew to be quite large…

…in which case a double rear axle conversion is always a good choice. I’m not quite sure about the functional benefits, but it definitley makes for an unique look, and that’s what vanning was (is?) all about.

From the giant twin axle dodge to a tiny little Subaru mircovan. Vanning does not discriminate by size or place of birth!

In terms of both cars and fashion, it seems that everything eventually comes back into style. I can only see the vanning revival get bigger and bigger from here, so if you want an old van you better scoop it now before they hit Ferrari GTO price levels!

-Mike

 

 

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source: speedhunters

ANATOMY OF A DRAG CAR: MAZFIX MADE ME A BELIEVER

It’s a fact I’ve never really been a fan of drag racing. Hang on though and stick with me, because I am now – and I hope that you will be too after reading this. Drag racing is not something I’ve just discovered either: I’ve been regularly visiting dragstrips for over 15 years. From Santa Pod in the UK to the National Trails in Ohio, Bakersfield in California, the Perth Motorplex and now Willowbank Raceway near Brisbane. The Mazfix Mazda 6 is what made me a believer, and this is why.

One of the first things I do when I’m planning a trip is to scan the internet and see what I can find along my route. The immediacy of the available information and the level of connection I can feel from a simple web search never ceases to excite me. So it was late one evening in January that I found the video above, only recently posted by the guys at Mazfix in Brisbane. Watching it I realised that prior to 1 minute 40 second point in that video I could take or leave drag racing. After that it all changed… Watch it now and come back with the same buzz I got.The incredible sensation I got in the pit of my stomach when I saw the 6 launch from inside the cockpit, it just pulled me in. I wanted to know how that felt, how you did it and who was doing it. The ‘why’ part had disappeared… That infectious celebration at the end? I wanted know who those guys were. Four weeks and 12,000 miles in cattle class later I saw the 6 in person, and the header photo was taken by me at the dragstrip I’d seen in the film. This is Speedhunting.Realising that I’m now a drag racing fan, it makes me wonder why I’d never really previously connected with it as a sport. I’ve ridden in really quick drag cars, but never on a strip; I have friends who race down into the sevens, but I’ve never crewed for them – instead occasionally watching from the sidelines. Then I think again about the times I’ve driven the quarter mile and felt like ripping the back seats out for weight saving as I crossed the line, or got excited about commentating on a jet car run – and suddenly it’s clear: I’ve just been in massive denial.Archie Kajewski (pronounced kai-eski) was the first person in the world to go over 200mph on the dragstrip using a rotary; he was also the first in Australia to run a six-second quarter using one. He’s the man behind Mazfix, the Brisbane-based rotary tuner. Although he’s quick to point out it’s not just rotaries – but we’ll talk about that another time. As I stood at the strip, it was the definition of frustration as the rain started coming and racing was called for the day. The guys got one run earlier on in the morning and that was it… Game over. You see those speckles on the rear window? Their millions of friends arrived minutes later. Take another look at the rear profile of the body and you see just how it’s formed to flow air – not obvious from a cursory inspection.So what was I going to do? No racing meant everybody was going home, so I made a plan with Archie to visit the Mazfix HQ and get under the composite skin of this drag car. It’s odd, but I was really gripped with the need to know more, as though my sense of guilt at not having paid more attention before at countless strips had fully kicked in. The Mazfix Racing 6 was just the thing to satisfy my need for knowledge: gorgeous details abound, even though purpose is paramount.A few days later and I was in a spacious and busy workshop, and hidden in a back corner behind its large trailer was the 6. Partially stripped and raised on air jacks it sat like a sedated panther, allowing me access to analyse and understand. That table is where the guys have their breaks, lunch and chew the fat on a daily basis. The other side of the car is the microwave and water taps, so the 6 really is part of the fabric here and constantly under discussion.It’s here I could take a look around and try to understand just what it takes to go that quick. As I said, Archie is a seasoned drag racer with masses of experience and previous six-second runs – he’s been at it for years. So the first step was to start with a proven chassis and body package (albeit originally intended to have V8 power) bought in from the States, fabricated by Jerry Bickel Race Cars Inc.For a start this gives you an idea of safety measures in place: the carbon in-fill panels acting as a barrier if the door falls off. The tapered chassis is designed to distribute the force of an impact through the frame as that force moves rearward, whilst obviously allowing the body to be as slippery as possible. As I moved around the car Archie tells me everything is chromoly aside from the front suspension arms; they’re titanium, he tells me with a smile.Wheels are obviously small at the front: they need to provide minimal steering and as little wind resistance as possible. You can see here how few runs they’ve done with the bobbles still present on the Goodyear Eagles. Spindle-mounted wheels are so simple in design, and I really like the machined details on these forged Weld items.

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source : speedhunters.com