Photos: Jennifer Stamps
After that magical weekend in November, anticipation for March was building! It was still kind of hard to believe that Austin had a purpose built, state-of-the-art Formula 1 track. And the exciting part was knowing that we didn’t have to wait an entire year to see another race at Circuit of the Americas.
After the Inaugural Formula 1 race at COTA, the next racing series was GRAND-AM, the first week of March. I’ll be honest; I knew nothing about GRAND-AM before race weekend. My vast knowledge for racing pretty much ended with Formula 1. But, while at the track, I did some research. Ok, mostly talked to people who knew what they were talking about, but I learned a lot.
o There are several series within GRAND-AM; two of which raced this weekend: Continental Tire Series and Rolex Series.
o And within each series, there are a few types of cars.
- The Rolex Series has: Daytona Prototype (super fast cars with more than 500 HP), Grand Touring (also pretty fast but only has 400-450 HP – these cars look like “every day” cars), and then the “greener” of the three, the GX (these cars use diesel fuel and has 375-400 HP).
- The Continental Tire Series has: Grand Sport (GS) and Street Tuner (ST). Both of these cars are every day car bodies. The GS cars are going to be your Camaros, Mustangs, Porsches, BMW M3s, and Aston Martins. The GS car’s top speed is around 160 and put out 350-400 HP. The ST cars are Mazdas, BMW 128s, Honda Civics, and VW Jettas. The ST car’s top speed is around 135 MPH and has between 170 and 240 (much like the more common street cars).
So, I hope I didn’t lose you there. I just know that GRAND-AM is not that common, so I wanted to share what I learned! Anyways…this brings me to one of the things I loved most about the race: it was so cool seeing every day cars, which anyone could buy, out on a race track. And most of the cars racing, weren’t too far off from stock, which makes it even cooler.
Another awesome part of GRAND-AM (probably the best part) is how open they are! All of the fans got to walk through the pits, garages, paddock, everything! I got to walk in team garages, take photos, meet drivers…it was pretty awesome.
I’m excited to know that Fox Sports 1 isn’t going to ditch GRAND-AM when they get rid of SPEED, because honestly, I think I’d like to follow the series. These drivers race hard – and that’s always fun to watch!