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Through Our Eyes: Lone Star LeMans Night Racing At Circuit Of The Americas [Photos]

Phillip Thomas November 12, 2014 Motorsports

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The Circuit of the Americas held its first series of night races during the 2014 WEC Lone Star LeMans. This brought on a new challenge to the track regulars, like Hooniverse-favorite Jeff Mosing, and to the giants of WEC. This was in part due to the fact that COTA is not a night circuit — lighting is provided by rented light towers placed along the track in select areas.

This means much of the course is lit solely by the lighting signatures of the cars racing it. It turns into a dark carnival at times. A pack of raucous GT and LMP cars break the crest of the kilometer-long straight at 170 miles per hour, their bombastic engine notes harmonizing on the back-half of the slope as they prepare to ignite their brake rotors for the 30 mile per hour 90-degree left at the end.

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X Games 2014: Stadium SUPER Trucks take to the sky

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Stadium SUPER Trucks are perfect — tough and rowdy trucks with 600 horse power V8’s that brawl with each other while wailing over jumps with 30 feet of dusty air between their tires and the dirt. Compared to the GRC cars, the scaled down trophy truck suspension allowed the SST machines to use more of the course, like the tall dirt curbing around the inside of the 180-degree hairpin. Once onto the pavement, the trucks were prone to ditch-hooking on the F1 curbing and settling into leaned-over drifts.

Bodyroll is a habit, but the relatively insane suspension travel allows for them to mostly keep all four wheels situated against the ground. It’s a wildly entertaining series with an aggressive and competitive field of drivers.
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2014 X Games: Global Rally Cross & GRC Lites

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How often can a scene from the Circuit of the Americas appear to be right out of a WRC stage rally? Last weekend’s X Games proved that the facility can be incredibly flexible, setting down the guilded Formula 1 image to lay the ground work for a bit of off-road racing.

Global Rallycross ,and its little brother the GRC Lites, were the main entertainment. Rockstar drivers like Ken Block, Tanner Foust, Nelson Piquet Jr., Bucky Lasek, Travis Pastrana, Scott Speed, and Liam Doran fought through the short 30-second rallycross course in a 600 horse power bar fight.
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2014 X Games: Motorsports Preview – GRC, GRC Lites, and Stadium SUPER Trucks

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“Circuit of the Americas is becoming the duct tape of racetracks,” my friend comments after I shared the track picture above with him — and I couldn’t agree more. In less than three weeks, the facility switched gears as the track was tweaked for the X Games. Turns 12 through 15 have been tweaked to build a multi-surface rallycross track. The main straight, entering turn 12 hosts the massive motocross course.

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The main straight also hosts the BMX and skateboard sections, while the straight between 18 and 19 hosts the “Big Air” ramp, which thoroughly lives up to its wicked name. Hooniverse will primarily be tracking the Global RallyCross, Global RallyCross Lites, and Stadium SUPER Trucks — here’s a quick primer on the vehicles and the course.

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Rest In Peace, Ash Turner – Memorial Cruise

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Photographer and friend of Hooniverse, Ash Turner, passed away last Sunday evening. Last fall, he worked with us for the ALMS and WEC race at the Circuit of the Americas and he was a massively friendly, passionate car enthusiast with a good eye in photowork. A few of the local car culture organizations are hosting memorial events in the upcoming weeks, and Hoons are invited to join. Details after the jump.

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Remember The Alamo: Three Texans Return To Pikes Peak

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It’s that time of year again. The mad-crazy dash to rebuild the wicked race car that’s been sitting in the corner of the shop for about a year or two. At least, it is for Pikes Peak veterans Dave Carapetyan and Brianne Corn; and driving new-comer Yuri Kouznetsov.

For those who need need a refresher, two years ago I crewed for Brianne at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) race for the first time. It was a soul-altering experience in every way, and gave me mesmerizing, but also brutally sobering experience of motorsports when co-driver Yuri and driver Jeremy Foley went off-course and tumbled down ~300 feet of rocks and mountain right before my eyes.

I crewed, again, for Dave Carapetyan in 2012. We ran ourselves hard for a week only to have the turbo piping fail under pressure, losing just about all boost through out the run. Racing is a struggle of man, machine, and nature; and rarely do you get to see such a condensed experience of those three outside of PPIHC. 

So lets get down to the party, and meet the crew of Texans we’ll be following this year. 
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HCOTY Nominee: Whitey, The 1993 Impreza That Started It All

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It’s the same color as crack cocaine. And that is fine, because this addiction is good for you — but it is an addiction you cain’t quit. 

Nearly two years ago, Facebook linked a single ad to my page that changed my life. Off to the right was a link to a page called “Rally Texas.” I found that a rally cross was firing up for its debut race, and the course was 20 minutes from my house. At the time, my 1996 Formula had been hit twice in what were basically parking lot accidents, but three-quarters of the car was about to get repainted on someone else’s dime. I thought, “what the hell, why not?” I shot a simple email to Brianne Corn to check out the track, got my first hit of rally-crack, and here we are two years later. 

What is “Whitey?” What isn’t it? It started life as a benign 1993 Subaru Impreza with a wheezy 1.8 and front-wheel drive. Yes. In the summer of ’09, Brianne converted the little car from FWD to AWD, bolted on a hitch, and trailered her Honda XR600R straight up to the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb for her first race on the mountain

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VIDEO: The Last Of The V8’s, Formula One Edition

Last weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix marked the end of an era. Since 2006, Formula One has required the “formula” of a 2.4 Liter, 90-degree V8. Eventually limited to about 18,000 RPM, these engines still scream with a demonic wail on course while spitting out around 750 horsepower. 

As a final farewell, the Redbull and Caterham teams removed the RPM restrictors, and let the motors sing somewhere lost in the 20,000+ RPM range.

I can only describe this as truly, amazingly wicked. You want to make this jump,  trust me.

[Source: Car Throttle and Caterham F1 Team]

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Through Our Eyes: Hooniverse Goes to American LeMans Series & World Endurance Championship at Circuit of the Americas

As I drive up to Circuit of the Americas, I roll my window down about a mile before I get to the track. It’s a cool, rainy morning; a nice break from the Texas heat. By the time I finally start to see the Circuit of the America’s Tower peeking from the horizon, I can already hearing the thundering sounds of the ALMS LMP V8s. The rain parted ways just long enough for me to get to the track with my gear, and catch a ride into the heart of COTA. The thundering gets louder, and it’s not the storm above us. Welcome, to the American LeMans and World Endurance Championship weekend.

[What follows is a photographic odyssey of three lensmen taking in the sights at COTA – Editor’s Note]

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