Is this the most affordable way to race?

When you’re a kid you want to be one of three things when you grow up. Either a firefighter, an astronaut, or a race car driver. As you grow up you realize, you can’t make much money if any being a fire fighter, it takes an immense amount of schooling and intellect to actually become an astronaut, and it takes a lot of money, skill, and experience to be a race car driver. But what if I told you it didn’t take a lot of money, skill, or experience to be a race car driver and that almost anyone can be one…kind of.

You’ll notice I put the kind of there…and that’s because I’m not really talking about racing cars, but rather racing go karts, which is pretty close. That’s right go kart racing. While there is a certain level of financials needed to race go karts and be competitive, you can do it fairly cheap and you don’t need any experience. There are a range of classes from 80cc for young kids to 100cc for kids and adults and 125cc shifter karts for adults. 100cc is the best for the casual racer and cheaper but 125cc shifted karts get the most thrill and closest experience being a “real” racer. 100cc karts can get up to about 70mph depending on how they’re geared and shifted karts can hit about 120 mph, both of which are just an inch off the ground! I used to race karts and I can’t tell you how much fun it was. We never won because we didn’t spend a ton of money but it was a load of fun going out there every Sunday in the summer with my dad. Racing karts, watching other karts race and then waking over to the drag strip to watch some races and eat some greasy fries and a hot dog between heats. If you have the racing itch get out there and race some karts. It’s so easy! And now with more and more indoor electric kart tracks popping up everywhere, it’s even easier and there’s no excuse to get out there and try it out. If you’re interested in racing karts but have no idea where to start. Message me or comment and I’ll do my best to help you out and get you pointed in the right direction.

image1.JPG

Advertisements

Get Your Treads Right With Treadwright

treadwright logo

Every once in a while I come across companies where I really believe in their mission and I want to share it with as many people as possible.  Treadwright Tires is certainly one of them.

In a time where we’re constantly looking at new innovative ways to recycle and go green, Treadwright has come up with an affordable, reliable way to recycle tires. They specialize in recycling tires and turning them into new off-road/ truck tires. The process while fairly complicated in application is actually quite simple. Oh and they’re made right here in the USA.

Used tires come in and are thoroughly inspected and tested to ensure structural integrity of the tire. Next the tires are “buffed”. All the old tread and some sidewall rubber is removed to a certain measurement, to provide a clean smooth surface for the new tread pattern. After the tires have been buffed to spec, a machine adds several layers of new industrial grade rubber to the tread area and sidewalls. The tires are then individually balanced and placed into a molding machine to bring the tire back to new condition. Each tire is then tested and sent through a final inspection and another round of balancing to ensure a quality product is provided to the end consumer.

While most people might be put off by the idea of a recycled tire, as you can tell these tires are just as good if not better than buying a comparable new name brand tire. The fact that they are recycled just means better prices for the consumer and less stress on the environment.

You can check out Treadwright Tires online at https://www.treadwright.com/

Track Day in a C7 Corvette

 

If you like driving moderately aggressively on some windy back roads, watching road racing, or talking s@!$ behind a keyboard about how awesome of a driver you are, you need to attend a track day. Track days are for learning about your car and yourself. Seeing what it can do and what you can actually do behind the wheel, cementing that bond between man and machine. I used to race go karts when I was younger and absolutely love racing, so for me track days are a no brainer. Unfortunately I don’t have a car that can be tracked so when I found out I could rent a C7 corvette and track it, i couldn’t resist. 

 

4B4A0967

 

The Track 

The track day I attended was the New York safety track, which is literally in the middle of nowhere. But the track is very technical with a lot of elevation change, blind corners, and even a section you can get airborne with enough speed. My first lap out I was beyond frustrated trying to man handle this vette around the track without knowing the proper line. If you don’t know the line for this track it chews you up and spits you out. Literally spits you out of the corner and robs you of any speed or chance at a good lap. My next round of laps I went with an instructor and got to know the track a little better and the difference in my driving was night and day. Having the instructor right there coaching me through each corner, the turn in points, braking points, line, everything made me a better driver in just a few minutes it was amazing. 

 

The Car

I’m a huge corvette fan and I’ve driven a C4 and C6 Corvette so i was super pumped to drive the C7 and it lived up to every expectation and more. Once I got my driving line dialed in and I was hitting my apexes and turn in points properly this thing really shined. I was amazed at how well the C7 vette stuck in corners. It was almost un natural how well it handled, like I was expecting it try to spin out or oversteer and it never did. A little undeesteer coming too hot into a corner, but letting off the brakes a little to let the car settle fixed that and over all it was very predictable. In stock form there is plenty of power, especially if you’re not used to it. It’s amazing how the corvette has go kart type qualities in that it feels very balanced and nimble through corners. The steering inputs are direct and you get very nice feedback through the wheel to let you know what’s going on. 

 

Overall what’s my take away from this event? One thing is that having a driving instructor help you out and coach you is way better than trying to figure it out on your own. If you’re open and listen you will learn much faster and have much more fun. The second thing I learned was that the C7 Corvette is a phenomenal car. I mean I had no doubts in that, but it just confirmed my feeling. The third thing? Well that would be that i need to get back into racing asap and get a track car. Any suggestions? 

 

4B4A1868IMG_6718IMG_6715

Welcome To The Backseat

A backseat driver is someone who tells you what and how to do everything, without actually doing anything. Here at the Backseat driver we’re all about that. While I may not own or even have driven everything I comment on or review, I still hope you find it informative and at the very least entertaining.

Anyways, I thought I’d provide a little introduction to myself and what makes me so qualified to provide you with a little automotive literature and entertainment. By day I am a mechanical engineer, designing and mathing, and by night I’m just another guy, drooling over pictures, videos, and articles of brilliant automotive machines I may never own. I’ve had a passion for cars since I was very little, which has only grown and continues today. Whether I’m learning something new about the industry or a vehicle, working on my own vehicle, or cruising some twisty back road; they all bring me to my happy place.  So you could say I’m a bit of a car nut and coupled with my technical knowledge as an engineer I hope to share a different perspective to the industry people might not otherwise read.

As far as blogging goes…well  I don’t have much experience in that area and I wouldn’t call myself much of a writer either (although I did kill it on that short story on my SATs) so I figured I’d just wing it and see what happens.

My goal is to provide reviews and commentary on various aspects of the auto industry and while hopefully bringing some entertainment as well. If there’s anything you want to read about feel free to comment and let me know. I hope you join me in the backseat for this wild ride, or at least long enough for it to get awkward and the windows to get foggy…

The Art of The Barn Find

Barn finds… where to begin…By definition a barn find is ideally any car that is found left in a barn for years without moving, collecting dust and dirt as it’s owner  lies to their significant other, family and themselves, about one day ultimately restoring it. Ideally a barn find is a desirable classic car or truck and usually in decent condition but really they can be anything and anywhere. A barn find can be a Lexus from the 90’s your uncle used to drive that was left  in the driveway after a headgasket blew or maybe its an old Model A that was supposed to be a father son project  that never happened. Whatever the case, these cars are usually decrepit and left for dead, often with little hope for revival. A shrine of its former glory just rotting away in the desert in Arizona, or a barn in Oklahoma, or a garage in New York, or a car-port in Florida.

I personally find barn finds interesting for many reasons. As a history buff I love that these cars usually come with a great story or as they’re dug out, they uncover some documents or shed light on the car’s past. But as a car guy I love the potential of these old cars. There’s always hope and I try to look past the often un pleasant outward appearance to see the gem underneath. As the world grows and expands, technology takes over, and real estate comes into high demand,  barn finds are getting harder and harder to un-cover…but they do exist. I recently came across a great barn find It perfectly embodies what a barn find is all about.

I’ve lived in the same town for most of my life, traveling the same streets day after day. There’s this one house that I noticed in disrepair, that’s about a stone’s throw away from my home. A for sale sign went up in the yard one day and as I’d drive by, I’d always glance at the house and never really noticed much. One day I looked past the house down the long driveway and noticed a vehicle of some sort peeking its head out of an old rotting garage.  I immediately became interested in what it was and would try to get a quick glance as I’d drive by to try to figure it out. One day while I was running some errands I just said screw it, went over and knocked on the door. I was honestly expecting an old person to answer and to my surprise was a younger guy in his late twenties, early 30s. I expressed my interest in the lonely vehicle in the back and he said it was his brothers. Luckily he was there and came to the door. Again I expressed my interest and while he said it wasn’t for sale I asked if I could just take a look and he kindly obliged.

We strolled down the driveway on the warm winter day, snow on the ground still and some water dripping off the roof of the old garage onto the hood. Immediately the gentleman started telling me about the truck. It was a completely original 1956 Ford F-100. The owner’s grandfather bought the truck new in ’56 and used it for work. Sometime in the ’70’s or ’80’s the truck was parked in the garage and never moved again. This truck was the definition of a barn find. The old garage, while it had no door, was pretty dry inside and because of this the harsh New Jersey weather hadn’t been able to take its toll on the body. From a quick inspection it was almost rust free and everything was there from the chrome trim, the vinyl bench seat looked intact, the whole dash was there in one piece, and it still had the wooden raised steaks on the pickup bed. Then the real kicker, this truck still had the original Ford V8 flathead. This truck was a true time capsule. I tried to get the owner to sell it to me honestly, to no avail. He explained to me that it was too sentimental to sell his grandfathers car. He was already somewhat distraught he had to sell his grandparents house, they had lived in since the ’50s. He hoped to one day restore it and told me this was the coolest thing his grandfather had and wanted to keep it. I told him I understood and left a business card and phone number just in case.

While the find didn’t yield anything for me in the end, I was happy to meet someone who was passionate and truly cared about the truck and the story it told. I hope to find more of these gems, as it is increasingly more and more difficult. Maybe , if I’m lucky I’ll get a call from this gentleman and I’ll be able to get that F-100 back on the road. Until then all we can do is hunt for more diamonds in the rough.