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4-19-2009

I need to start this one by saying that I am telling this story from my perspective as accurately as I can. If any of the parties involved need to correct any of the information on this page, simple email me by clicking here and I will make corrections.

 

Getting Started:
This one started, strangely enough, when I broke the g-force transmission in my viper. A few weeks ago I was driving to work on the interstate and rolled into the throttle in third gear. I was on Pirelli street tires making about 1000rwhp. Halfway through the gear the transmission let go leaving me with only 4th gear to limp home with. I called Jason to tell him about it and see when I could bring the car down to his shop. He told me that he didn't have room for it, but a spot would be clearing up in a week or so. I called him last week and he told me that he had room for my car in his shop. He also said that they were busy getting all of the cars ready to go to this runway event in Miami. My ears perked up. Runway event? Hmmm. He asked if I wanted to go. He said that he had a stock viper transmission laying around that they could throw in the car pretty quickly, but we couldn't turn it up very high. We would have to keep it under 1000rw to have any chance at not killing that transmission too. That sounded like a big fat excuse waiting to happen so I decided to wait until the next event when I can bring all of the power.

I asked if he needed any help with anything else and he told me that they had several cars that they wanted to take to the event. Bernard was going to fly his plane there, so we decided that I would drive his gallardo to the event. I grabbed all of my camera gear and we headed for Sarasota on Saturday morning. Six hours and two flat trailer tires later we arrived at Jason's shop and unloaded my car.

At The Shop:
It's been a little over a year since I have been to the shop. There were Lamborghinis everywhere. Widebodies, ceramic brake upgrades, carbon fiber everwhere! It's pretty nuts. Saturday evening, they strapped Allan's gallardo to the dyno. The turbos sounded great and I'm still not used to how high those engines rev. The car wound up making somewhere around 1040rwhp. As usual, we were at the shop until after nidnight only to have to get up the next morning at around 6am. I think we got about four hours of sleep.

Saturday morning came early. We went to the shop to get the cars. There it was. Bernard has one mighty fine looking twin turbo gallardo.



Jessica and I loaded up and followed the group over to Starbucks. I'm pretty sure this was a new experience for their patrons. After a quick snack, we headed for Miami.



Our drive down was a new experience for me. Ironically, I don't really speed very often. I usually go about 10mph over and that's that. The slowest we went during the one and a half hour drive down there was 110mph. I have never made that kind of time in my life.



The Airsrtip:

As we pulled up to the airstrip, I was pleasantly surprised. The facility was great. It made the Texas Mile look like a joke. The runway was about two miles long and the return road was in great shape (no gravel beating your paint to death). There was a tent with food and drinks and they seemed to be pretty well organized. We took a brief look around and there were some nice cars showing up.


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After the driver's meeting, we took Allan's gallardo out to get a baseline run at about the 900whp setting. We had the vbox plugged in and set to record the run, but for for some reason, it didn't store the run. I had the camera rolling anyway. The car runs out of gear at 202mph at the end of sixth gear. Watch how quickly that happens...

Here is where I have to stop and give credit where it is due. There was a yellow DLM twin turbo gallardo at the event. It was parked by the eating area most of the day so I really didn't pay much attention to it. It was owned by a big guy named Roland. I spoke with him a little during the day and he was a real down to earth guy. Fast forward a few hours and we are all sitting over at the beginning of the runway for the "drag race" portion of the event. Dino is the owner of the yellow Heffner TT-G Spyder. Dino and Roland arranged a roll on race. I jumped in the car with Roland and we lined them up. Take a look at the results and then I'll fill you in on the details.

This is exactly what went down. Roland and Dino were lining up to race. At the last second, the black UR car was signaled by the event coordinator to line up on the far left of the runway. It surprised Dino to see another car to his left and he turned to look at the UR car. The race started and Dino was late on the gas as a result. Roland's car got the jump and got out on Dino, but the impressive part is is stayed out in front. The DLM car was very strong. It pulled hard, ran smoothly, and in this particular race, won. I have to admit that I underestimated Roland's car, but I can tell you that it is very well sorted. I walked over to Doug to let him know what I though of his car, and he couldn't have been any more of a class act. In my opinion, that car is making somewhere in the 900awhp range.

The UR car broke. They were pushing the car pretty hard and I was told that the car lost a clutch. That's racing. The car looked very nice, and on the couple of passes that I was close enough to watch, it looked very fast. They were obviously having some tuning issues with the car, but I was told that they had just installed a new EMS so that would explain it. The good news is that they put a long gearset in the car and ran almost 240mph. That is very impressive. Both Kevin and KC were friendly and professional at the event.

Dino got caught sleeping at the start. It happens. I did notice that at the end, it looked like he started to inch back up towards Roland's car a little bit. It probably would have been a tight race if the start would have been different, but that what it's all about.

 

This wound up being a pretty cool race as well. Dino (yellow turbo spyder), Jason (yellow turbo coupe), and Bernard (green turbo coupe) lined up to have a 0-200mph drag race. I have taken Jessica up to 150mph or so, but she has never experienced a true drag race. Bernard was kind enough to take a passenger along for this race and she was about to understand what this is all about.

When they got back, she said that it was nothing like she thought it would be. The car was stable and Bernard was an excellent driver. She went on to say that she now understands why we are all so into this stuff.

 

The next race was between all three tuners. Heffner was in Allan's car (yellow with spoiler, Roland was in his DLM car (yellow without spoiler), and Kevin was in the UR car (green). I was filming from Bernard's car as we were obviously the chase car. Here is the result of that race.

Here is what went down on that race. Heffner dropped out of the race at the end of first gear. He forgot to disable the traction control on Allan's car. When you turbocharge these cars, you have to disable the traction control before you go wide open throttle because the car will accelerate so quickly that the computer will assume that the tires are spinning and kill the power. That's what happened at the beginning of the race, and Heffner decided to abort the run rather than try to salvage a botched race.

The other two stayed in it. Obviously, we didn't wind up having the best vantage point to determine a winner, but as you hear me say on the video, it looked neck and neck all the way down the runway. There was a serious glare on the screen on my camera so I was having a hard time staying with the two cars, but you can get the basic idea.

 

The next race was between Allan's Heffner car (yellow with spoiler) and Roland's DLM car (yellow without spoiler). Originally, all three tuners were going to line up again, but Roland (DLM) asked for a few minutes to cool down. After a couple of minutes, Kevin (UR) moved the green car to the side of the access road. Roland said he was ready, and Jason said he was ready. A couple of minutes passed with the DLM car and the Heffner car ready to race, but the UR car did not return to the starting line. At that point the two remaining competitors decided to go ahead with the race. I was in the chase car with Bernard. Here is the result of that race.

The Heffner car (left) steadily pulled away from the DLM car (right) until Jason let out at around 43 seconds into the video. In my opinion, this takes nothing away from the DLM car. To put it into perspective, data was retrieved from the V-Box (device mounted in the car that very accurately records the car's performance), and on a previous run, it ran 0-200 in 19 seconds flat! I can tell you from personal experience, that is moving out!

 

One of the coolest cars I came across at the event was this Porsche GT2.

I met Jason (the owner of the GT2) while walking around looking at the different cars. He was kind enough to take me for a ride down the runway. His father, Mike, lined up against him in the twin turbo Ford GT. We knew the GT was making about 1000rwhp and the Porsche was only at 570rwhp. We lined them up and this is the result...

We were given the jump. Jason floored the throttle. The computer took over and the car started to make boost. Jason side-stepped the clutch and the car took care of the rest. It was one of the most brutal launches I have ever experienced on street tires. As you can see in the video, the GT came flying by at around 180mph. Those were two very impressive cars owned by the coolest father/son duo ever!

 

That was the last race of the day. It was getting late and I had to be to work the next day. We met Bernard back in Sarasota to drop his car off to him. After a quick meal, we hit the road headed for Savannah. We made it home at around 2am Monday morning. I got a few hours of sleep and headed to the office. I guess it's back to the daily grind. I hope you enjoyed our adventure. Until next time...