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JIm G gets 160 mph ride as passenger at Road Atlanta

2087 Views 25 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  SSR03
It was a fun day, guys! I got a ride as a passenger, with roadracing school instructor Reese Cox, at 160 mph, at Road Atlanta!

Reese actualyl has a driving school scheduled for mid June at the Barber Raceway in Alabama, but brought his 427 smallblock Corvette to Road Atlanta today to make sure everything was ready for that school. He and his business partner Paul Smith invited me and several others along. Reese offered to take a few of us as passengers, for a couple of laps each.

The Road Atlanta course is a VERY hilly and very tight course of 2.54 miles length, with 12 turns, most of them very sharp and very technical. It's sort of like driving through your neighborhood at maniac speed.

You can see and download a pdf of the track layout at:

We shot out of the pits into the middle of turn 1, and immediately had to climb the steepest hill on the track while accelerating out of the pits. The 427 smallblock was just plain awesome in accelerating hard up that hill. We lunged past a slower car so fast the driver didn't have time to wave us through. We shot through the esses right after (turns 2,3, and 4), and went wide enough on the left hand turn at turn 5 to use the entire track width, with the tires in a controlled slide (seems like an oxymoron).

Then, there was a superfast run (well into 3 digits) up a hill and down into turn 6, which is a small radius turn to the right. Then, an incredibly short straight (didn't stop Reese from putting the pedal to the floor!) followed by Turn 7 which is an approximately 45 mph MAXIMUM turn!!

Then, a short straight to turn 8 which is a quick left followed by an instantaneous right, with Reese gassing the 427 up through the gears so that by the time he clears Turn 8 he is heading for 160 mph before he reaches Turn 9, where because it is a relatively gentle turn, he doesn't even slow down. We shoot past a Nissan like a missile. Just before Turn 10A, at 160 mph, he hits the brakes hard again, as Turn 10A is a 90 degree left followed immediately by Turn 10B, which is a 90 degree turn RIGHT. The tires scream through 10A, catches their full grip briefly, and then scream the OTHER way through Turn 10B.

About this time, I am strangely uncocnerned that if we lose traction altogether we will probably be pretty seriously personally mangled up , and instead am thinking "I wonder how much it would cost to replace this rather incredible vehicle if he miscalculates the traction limits with my 235 lb weight added to the righthand side if the car."

Coming out of Turn 10B, you are going almost straight again, BUT SERIOUSLY downhill!! (See the photos below. Look at the cars under the Pirelli "Power is nothing without control" sign). Reese takes this at full throttle, then hits the brakes just mildy for Turn 12 into the straightaway in front of the pits. He blows past another car on the straightaway, as it seems nothing can keep up with the 427 (We were NEVER passed).

Just before the end of the straight, he tucks back into the ideal line, brakes, and powers through Turn 1 up that steep hill again to Turn 2, on the start of the 2nd lap. The Porsche we chase from Turn 3 and catch by Turn 5 moves over 1/3 of the way to Turn 6 and gestures for Reese to pass, and despite the fact that Turn 6 is a sharp low speed right, Reese actually accelerates to pass him and THEN hits the brakes to scrub off about, oh, 80 mph. I'm thinking "Boy, this sure beats any roller coaster I've been on."

And so it goes . . .

Although Reese intended to take each of us for 2 laps, he ended up doing 5 laps with me as his passenger, and set his best time for the day on the last lap (1 minute, 34.5 seconds, or almost 97 mph average speed for the lap).

Apparently, this kind of driving CAN be learned (since Reese IS leading a weekend school next month), and CAN be (relatively) safe if you learn well (He's been doing it a long time). However, we watched a tow truck haul a VERY mangled Mazda RX8 sadly off the track, and is owner, sitting in the cab with the tow truck driver, did not look happy (insurance doesn't cover damage incurred in "competitive or racing events").

I have NO illusions about ever driving like Reese, but since I have confidence in HIS driving skills, and since that expensive 427 Corvette was not bought and paid for by ME. I thoroughly enjoyed myself today!!

Jim G


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Jim G...

JimGnitecki said:
Ken, those are terric photos, but when you load photos onto the website, you need to reduce the resolution a LOT. The way you have loaded them, they take forever to open when you click on the thumbnails.

My camera takes its photos at high resolution too, but I save them in a much lower resolution specifically for uploading, since the extra resolution is wasted on a screen display.

Jim G
You are actually telling someone to reduce something!!!! :lol
I bet as a child in school, you could never write a summary of a story.
And let me guess, you had a secret wish to be an author.
Because, you have published alot of novels on this site !!! :glol
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