A Track Day At The Circuit Of The Americas in Austin

Interesting | April 2nd, 2014 by 0
Getting ready to race at the Circuit of the Americas

We headed over to the Formula 1 track in Austin for an exciting day at one of the best race tracks in the U.S. I …

We headed over to the Formula 1 track in Austin for an exciting day at one of the best race tracks in the U.S.

I didn’t know where to look!  I felt like a five year old in a candy store.  Watching all these cars flying around a Formula 1 track was better than any car show I’ve been to.

This was unbelievable.

BMW M3, Audi R8, Mazda Miata, Corvette, Porsche Cayman R, Ferrari 458 Italia and on and on and on….wow.

A Track Day At The Circuit Of The Americas in Austin

It was like walking around in a video game, like Gran Turismo 5, and actually seeing all those cars in real life.  The only thing I didn’t get to do was ride in one or drive one.  I will next time (or so I keep telling myself), but for now this was good enough.  Just being able to witness all these cars together on the track was surreal.

This event, called the Texas Trifecta, was organized by the Lone star, Houston and Tejas chapters of the BMW Car Club of America, but there weren’t just BMWs – I saw all kinds of cars.

This was, however, my first time to lay my eyes on a 2014 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG.  

A Track Day At The Circuit Of The Americas in Austin

Brand new car – on the track!  This car contains a massive twin-turbocharged 6.0L V12 with 621 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque.  That’s more than a Shelby GT500 which only has a paltry 631 lb-ft of torque in comparison.

Letting these cars loose on a track is like letting greyhounds run around.  You could have a greyhound stuck at home, same as having your Nissan GTR be a garage queen.  But that’s not the right thing to do to a greyhound…or to a GTR! These cars belong on a track.  That’s what they were meant to do!  This is their home – just like the golf ball that belongs in the hole.  Happy Gilmore knows what I’m talking about.

High performance cars are engineered and developed to excel on a race track.  I was lucky to witness these cars doing what they do best – tearing it up on a track.  But not just any track.  This was at a world class facility in Austin, Texas – the Circuit of the Americas.

It is not every day that I get to go hang out in the garage and pit lane area of the Circuit of the Americas.  I tried to soak it all in and visualize all the F1 cars that would be out there later this year.

A Track Day At The Circuit Of The Americas in Austin

Porsches Galore

Even though this was a BMW event, I saw an incredible number of Porsches.  I didn’t count them but I think there were almost as many Porsches as there were BMWs.  There were yellow ones, red ones, green ones, white ones…it was absolutely insane.

Ever seen a yellow Porsche before?

A Track Day At The Circuit Of The Americas in Austin

These weren’t just normal Porsches that you typically see like a Cayman, for example, or a 911.  At the Circuit Of The Americas, there were mostly GT3s which you don’t see all that often; GT3s were everywhere.

A GT3 is literally a racecar version of the Porsche 911.  It’s more powerful, stripped down to the basics and essentially built for the track.  Racing aficionados universally respect this car.  At 0-60 mph in 3 seconds flat, this car is no joke.  The GT3s were flying at COTA.

Now, as amazing as the GT3 is, the GT3 RS is even wilder.  It is a GT3 that’s even more optimized for racing.  Apparently 85% of GT3 RS owners track their cars which is pretty much all they’re meant to do.  It costs a ton and really there would be no reason to get the GT3 RS over the GT3 unless you take this to the track.

A Track Day At The Circuit Of The Americas in Austin

Okay, so the GT3 RS is the quintessential Porsche has to offer, correct?

Wrong …enter the GT3 RS 4.0.  How can the GT3 RS possibly be topped?

The GT3 RS 4.0 squeezes out the most horsepower out of any naturally aspirated 4.0 liter flat-six engine out there – 500 hp.  I wonder what it’s like to drive one – I wanted to drive this one so bad when I saw this one resting, complete with gloves and a helmet.  Oh the temptation…

The best thing I saw all day? A Porsche Cayenne towing a Porsche GT3.  How awesome is that!

There’s lots more that I experienced at the COTA – another post is coming soon.  A big thanks to Chris Morrow for helping me with the photography and videography.

Part 2 of the Circuit of the Americas Track Weekend coming up soon.  Stay tuned!

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