Over the past year, there's been a host of muscle car events popping up all across the country. And folks, these are not to be looked over lightly; especially when manufacturers are providing a new arena for enthusiasts to compete against one another, along with the opportunity to push their muscle cars like never before in a safe and secure manner.
New for this year was the Optima Batteries Street Car Faceoff at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, that was presented by Baer Brakes and Detroit Speed on the weekend of May 1st. If you aren't familiar with this track, we'll start by saying that it's a premier road racing facility with its 4.048-mile road course and plays host to the SCCA, American Le Mans Series, SPEED World Challenge, amongst others. We're talking about big-time players and anyone who is anyone in the road racing community-well, they've been here.
Nearly 40 competitors showed up at the venue to give it their best shot in a number of events for the coveted number one spot. These included the BFGoodrich Hot Lap Challenge, the Detroit Speed, Inc. Speed Assault Autocross, the Baer Brakes Speed Stop Challenge, The Roadster Shop Performance Design Challenge, and the Vintage Air Road Rally. It was nothing short of an arduous workout and definitely not for the weak-kneed.
Before the on-track action started, we headed over to The Roadster Shop in Mundelein, Illinois, where they held an open house and lunch for all the competitors. By the time the crowd arrived, it looked more like an impromptu car show, one that was welcomed by all. From there we slowly made our way to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, for the following day's activities.
As the morning crept up on us, we made the short commute to Andrew Chevrolet in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for breakfast and to sign in for the competition. With all of the cars checked in and a brief presentation by event organizer Jimi Day of FM3 marketing and Optima Batteries Director of Product Development Cam Douglas, we set off on the Road Rally to Road America. Talk about a scenic 90-mile drive, we experienced a little bit of everything from beautiful countrysides and metropolitan areas to the shores of Lake Michigan.
Rounding out the day was Carbon Kustoms Karting enduro at the Road America race track. This event was flat out awesome with every competitor, volunteer, and media member getting to join the fun. Everyone was placed in small groups for a 50 lap race on a 0.8-mile karting track with over 50 feet of elevation change! The track was shortened slightly, but it was incredible.
Sunday was race day and the competition was fierce with everyone putting in their best efforts. What made this particular event so interesting was its unique format; everyone was placed in three groups, rotating through the challenges to maximize track time. However, this is where it gets good. Once everyone had completed their challenges, they were allowed to go back and try to better their times, which ultimately counted for the overall event. This allowed for serious track time and everyone made the best use of it.
What did we learn from this experience? Competition was brutal on the track, but off the track, it was just a bunch of good people having a grand ol' time. We were awed by how smoothly the event was run, and we were even more impressed with the quality of cars at the inaugural event. As for next year, it's already marked on our calendars!