LIFE IN THE FAST LANE: AT THE TRACK


Chris Regan, Hung Nguyen, Paul Ober, and Ed Hahn

Mazda RX-7:1993 Import Car of the Year.
"The only cars that get around Sears Point International Raceway hill loop much faster have numbers on their doors. [...] The RX-7 may be a performance high-water mark for years to come. [...] The RX-7's performance is awe-inspiring: it's within 1 foot of being the shortest stopping street car we've ever tested; [...] and grips the road harder than the best race cars of only a few years ago. [...] This is the best hard core sports car in its price range, maybe in any price range. [...] The RX-7 redefines road manners for its class; the handling feels nimble and natural [...] No sports car in its price range delivers the same level of sensory gratification for the enthusiast driver."            - MotorTrend 2/93
"The RX-7 can do almost anything the best sports cars can do, but better--it accelerates quicker, stops shorter, corners harder, and is faster around a racetrack than almost anything this side of $50,000, and a whole lot of things on the far side of that. As one tester put it, "It sticks to the road like tar on a rocker panel."         - MotorTrend 8/92
Our Life at the Track
For the most part we are all fairly new to driving on the track or are at least getting ourselves reacquainted with the track after a few years absence. Some of us have had many years experience in/on everything from motorcycles to open wheelers. Collectively we are faster than most anything on the track short of modified Dodge Vipers and the newer Porsche 911 turbo's and of course some other RX-7's.

Members of our group have been to several MSCW club events at the Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia over the past couple of years and have driven both the big track and the Jefferson Circuit.

Prices for track days range from $150 per day to in excess of $300/day depending on the venue.
Most tracks will get you out for 4 20 minute sessions in one day.
20 minutes is usually good for 10-15 laps of a 2 mile circuit - but you have to be fast!

Some of our more avid drivers have gone so far as to participate in Friday At The Track (FATT) at Summit Point with a eye toward getting qualified for doing some Seat Time. Unfortunately our last two outings have been rained on - an educational if not unpleasant experience. Although the more sadistic of our bunch actually enjoy slipping and sliding around the track.

The faster drivers in our group can manage to lap Summit Point in the low 1:30's in mildly modified cars with an FTD of 1:29 and the Jefferson Circuit in a tad over 1:00 with an FTD of 0:59. Dare to dispute our claims, we have hours of footage from in-car video which clearly depicts lap times and the numerous "prey" that fall victim to our 7's. The camera mounted in-car provides the invaluable ability to re-evaluate performance (and the performance of others) and we have found this, not only entertaining, but extremely helpful. What we can say is that all our cars are street legal and DRIVEN to the track - we have no trailer queens here! The hard part is getting all our gear to the track. This is what Chris Regan typically takes to the track: Track List. And YES, it will all fit in an RX-7!

Our sights, however, are set on possibly Rousch Creek, Carolina Motorsports Park (CMP), Mid-Ohio, Road America, and even Road Atlanta. Well we finally had our opportunities to try our hand at Watkins Glen in NY which was aweinspiring and we have now been to Virginia International Raceway (VIR) quite a few times. This is one of the best tracks in the region. Clean smooth, fast, and challenging. We have attacked the VIR North Course, a 2.26 mile course with close to a dozen corners and over 120 feet in elevation change. The faster of our crew were lapping in the 1:54's with an FTD of 1:50. Not bad for our lowly street cars. Full course times in the 2:30's with an FTD of 2:21 for the 3.2 mile full course. A few pics below of the attendees.


THE GUYS ON THE TRACK
FROM VIRGINIA INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY

from left to right: Craig Farr, Paul Ober, Chris Regan, Pete Hahn, and Hung Nguyen


"Cooling Down," The cars of Paul Ober, Rich Mills and Chris Regan (w/the infamous beast of Jim O'Brien on the end)
[apologies to the photographer whose name I have misplaced]

FROM SUMMIT POINT RACEWAY

#B14-Hung Nguyen, #B17-Paul Ober, #B15-Chris Regan, #B18-Ed Hahn (and the Viper in the back!)

Chris Regan trying the chase down Paul Ober at SP earlier in the days when both were driving essentially stock cars.
Please note Paul nervously looking in his mirror!

Ed Hahn at SP carousel w/Chris Regan in the background

Rich Mills leading the pack off the grid #R8

Paul Ober and Ed Hahn mid pack in the Summit Point Carousel - October 1998

THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY
Now, nothing is without its risks. The same saying that applies to the stock market should apply if you plan on taking your car on the track: "If you can't afford to loose it, don't do it." Driving at the track can be dangerous and expensive when things go wrong. Hence the reason some of us have installed roll bars and safety harnesses (helmets are mandatory).

For example witnessed the results of this roll at Summit Point Raceway in turn 5 at my first ever track event. The driver was unhurt and unbelievably the airbags never deployed. The car was a write off - as you can imagine.

After 2 years of "track-time" we had all been relatively lucky with only a few non damaging forays into the grass. However, recently the perilous nature of our hobby has been characterized by an incidents involving Mr. Ober and Mr. Hahn. Although, neither was physically hurt, their cars were not so lucky. But all things have a silver lining. Mr. Ober's car has made a full recovery and will undoubtedly be faster than ever. Especially now that MazdaComp triple core radiator has been installed! And Mr. Hahn has a surprise in store for us when he unveils his new color scheme. [CLICK HERE for details.]


OUR "LOCAL7" COMMUNITY | CHRIS'S TRIPLE-R SITE | THE WORLD OF THE RX-7
7-UP CLUB MAIN

This page last updated December 10, 2001
rotorphiles have visited this page since April 17, 2001



If you would like to contact the 7-Up Club and converse about our experiences:
please feel free to send an e-mail to crispyrx7@yahoo.com

Disclaimer: All images contained on this page are the sole property of C. Regan or were collected from the public domain, unless otherwise indicated. If any image contained on this page is considered private property please contact Christopher Regan. Webcounter supplied courtesy of