: 2011 Spectre 3:41 Challenge - Full Write-up (LONG)/Pix/Videos !!!

07-13-11, 02:02 PM

2011 Spectre 3:41 Challenge

Date: June 17-19, 2011

Location: Virginia City, NV @ Hwy. 341 (5.2 mile truck loop) just outside of Virigina City

My friend up in here in Gillette, WY recently traded in his e46 M3 (with suspension and brake mods, very capable track car) and his 2008 335xi Convertible with Vishnu tune for a 2012 Nissan GT-R. Knowing that he was going to be getting into a badass track car (in stock form), he decided that he wanted to find an event that would really let the new car strut its stuff. He subsequently entered into the Spectre 3:41 Challenge and told me about it and explained how awesome the event would be and how unique and special it is.

After doing some light reading about the event at www.spectre341challenge.com (http://www.spectre341challenge.com/) , I decided that this would indeed be a pretty cool event for the V to take part in.

Fast forward about 3 months and there I was feverishly working every night after work to get my car into “competition shape”. I had ordered some Team Dynamics wheels (came with great center caps, btw) in matte black. I also ordered some red reflective pinstripe tape (actually for motorcycle wheels) off of Ebay and applied that to the wheels (very easy, it was only about 5 minutes per wheel with the applicator that came with the tape, and it turned out great). I thought it would be cool to carry the same red/black look over from the street/show trim of my V. I also searched out and found a great deal on some used Toyo R888 275/35/18 tires. These were used race tires, so they had their tread shaved from 6/32nds to 4/32nds and had been used in one sprint race. They didn’t have a ton of tread, but looked like they were in great shape. I figured I would be able to get maybe 4-5 track days out of them. I got the tires mounted and balanced at the local Bit O tire shop. That was it for the wheel/tire setup.

Next, I set my mind to accomplish some routine maintenance items. I changed the oil, oil filter, diff fluid, and cleaned and re-oiled the K&N air filter. I replaced the fluids as follows:

Oil = Royal Purple 5W-30

Diff Gear Oil = Amsoil 75W-90

Oil Filter = K&N (I only use it because it is one of the only filters that has a nut welded to the bottom so it makes it super easy to remove the old filter)

I checked the clutch fluid reservoir – good. I checked the power steering fluid reservoir – was OK, a little low, but not enough to worry about. Coolant and brake fluid were also good.

Next, I checked all the brake lines and suspension components to make sure everything was nice and tight. All good. I had been noticing some fluid leaking from my front passenger side FG2 shock over the previous few months, but it had seemed to subside lately and I did not notice any negative handling characteristics or disturbing noises from the shock, so I decided to just go with it.

Last, I set the ride height such that the car was as low as it could go in order to not allow any rubbing of the 275 width r-compound tires. Finally, after lying on my back under the damn car all week, I was finally ready to do some testing of the new wheel/tire combo and just see how the car felt. It didn’t take me long to find out that the setup was … AWESOME! Everything felt perfect. The V was ready to rock. I really liked the added grip of the wide front tires (these were the widest tires I had ever run on my V since getting it). The 275s seemed to really make the most difference in braking distance rather than cornering ability or lateral g-loads.

June 16, 2011: I wake up early and do some last minute checking of the car. I make sure I have all my spare fluids and tools loaded. The four race tires are wrapped up in tire totes and loaded into the back seat with pillows on each side so the tires don’t rub on the inside door panels. Everything is packed and I am “chomping at the bit” to get this road trip started.

The fiancé arrives at my house (she had to drive from Sturgis, SD where she had been working that morning) a little late at 2:00 PM and we get on the road by 2:30 PM. We wanted to leave earlier since we had a total of about 14.5 hours of driving ahead of us (about 1250 miles) to get from Gillette, WY to Virginia City, NV.

We drive through the east central part of Wyoming and jump onto Interstate 80 at Rock Springs, WY. In total we drive from 2:30 PM until 1:30 AM (we also gained an hour crossing from the Mountain Time Zone into the Pacific Time Zone), 10 hours. We had gone through no less than 3 thunderstorms, and lots of wind to get to Elko, NV. I was averaging about 22 mpg with a headwind most of the way down I-80. The most expensive gas we bought (as we would realize later) was in Rock Springs, WY @ a Shell Station. It was $4.15/gallon. Pretty outrageous.

June 17, 2011: We woke up fairly early because we knew we still had about 4.5 hours of travel ahead of us. It is a beautiful ,bright, sunny day, not a cloud in the sky. We were stoked. We had never been where we were driving to, so it was an adventure for both me and my fiancé, Jenna. We left Elko, NV at 7:00 AM and made it to the outskirts of Fernley, NV by 11:30 AM, we had another 45 minutes to go before we got to our destination. We received a call from the Spectre people while we were in Fernley filling up with gas. It was getting dangerously close to the MANDATORY drivers meeting and we still had not checked in at the registration booth. I assured them that we were close and we would be there in time.

Pix taken from inside the car looking at some of the great NV mountains along I-80 between Elko, NV and Fernley, NV.



We rolled into Virginia City @ about 12:10 PM and had to ask a nice local trooper how to get to the Hotel (Silverland Inn & Suites). He showed us and we arrived at 12:15 PM and promptly got to the registration area and let the Spectre crew know that we made it. We were the last entrant to arrive.

We attented the driver’s meeting and jumped on a huge RV that was owned by Spectre to do a drive through of the “course” so that Amir (owner of Spectre) could point out the especially dangerous areas, potential areas of low grip on the road surface, and the spots that drivers have died in the previous years (the most recent death was just the year prior). It was pretty sobering and it was at this point that I was starting to really get a little mind-@#$%ed. My fiancé was freaking out and telling me that this was a huge mistake and she was pretty sure we were going to die sometime in the near future from an unscheduled flight off of Hwy. 341. I told her to calm down and relax. I have had my car for 6.5 years, have had it at a few track days, and knew its limits and more importantly – my limits. I’m no professional driver, and I really haven’t had a ton of track time either, so I was being realistic with what I could expect to accomplish. That being said, I did think, even at that point, that my moderately modified 2004 Cadillac CTS-V (and I) would have what it takes to actually beat the challenge. Boy was a wrong. I basically brought a knife to a gunfight, but more on that later.

The rest of the day Friday was spent running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to get the car tech inspected and tracking down a jack so I could put my track wheels/tires on. After packing up everything that I could think of for my car, I forgot a jack…that was really stupid, but I knew that I could borrow one from somebody.

Something to note: I got the V weighed during tech, and with 7/8 tank of gas, my V only weighed 3840 lbs. That doesn’t seem that light, but if you do the math this is what you realize:
7/8 tank of gas = 16.2 gallons x 6.15 lbs/gallon (weight of gasoline) = 100 lbs

3840 lbs – 100 lbs = 3740 lbs (this includes the 2.5 lb fire extinguisher we were required to have and its mounting bracket) and I still had the CCW 19” street wheels/tires on. It would be a little lighter with the TD race wheels/tires installed – maybe 2-3 lbs per corner is my guess.

3740 lbs is approximately 110 lbs lighter than the official curb weight listed by Cadillac. Now, I’m not sure how much gasoline the curb weight takes into account, but even if it is say, 3 gallons, then that would put my car at 3758 lbs (92 lbs lighter than stock curb weight). It should be known that I have never tried to cut weight in the car, but all of the weight savings have been from the roadcourse-inspired mods that I have done over the years.

Myself, my friend Justin from Gillette, and my fiancé got the V completely ready and setup in race trim and finally relaxed a little in the evening and took the time to get some really cool pix of all the other cars and see what we were going to be running with (note: I did not say against, because nobody was competing with the other entrants, we were all trying to run the best times that we could run based on what our cars and ourselves could do, but it is still fun to judge how you did to comparable other cars). Something really cool that struck me as my fiancé and I walked through the paddock. I didn’t love every car there (some were my cup of tea, and others were not), but if I did own any of those particular cars, I would have modded them the same exact way as each of their owners did. All of the cars were hardcore roadcourse cars, I loved the wide r-comp tires, little aero enhancements, and loud exhausts. I particularly loved Lou Gigliotti’s Corvette ZR1, and Aaron Pfadt’s Camaro SS (with an LS7 swap).

Pix from the paddock.






Below: Cadillac CTS-V Wagon…so badass!


Below: Pfadt's fast Camaro SS with LS7 swap.



Below: This was the 600 HP Camaro SS that I refer to later in the write-up.


Below: A bunch more sick cars. Notice the absolutely stunning Aston Martin Vantage - my favorite car at the event.


07-13-11, 02:04 PM
Below: Lou Gigliotti’s pit crew working on the sickest ZR1 in the world. And gratuitous shots of the Vette to beat all Vettes.






Below: A few pix of my little old Midnight Rider CTS-V.






Below: The rest of the competitors lined up in the paddock.






07-13-11, 02:06 PM
http://i723.photobucket.com/albums/ww236/tweeter1981/2011 Spectre Challenge/100_0146.jpg

http://i723.photobucket.com/albums/ww236/tweeter1981/2011 Spectre Challenge/100_0147.jpg

http://i723.photobucket.com/albums/ww236/tweeter1981/2011 Spectre Challenge/100_0151.jpg

http://i723.photobucket.com/albums/ww236/tweeter1981/2011 Spectre Challenge/100_0152.jpg

http://i723.photobucket.com/albums/ww236/tweeter1981/2011 Spectre Challenge/100_0153.jpg

http://i723.photobucket.com/albums/ww236/tweeter1981/2011 Spectre Challenge/100_0156.jpg

http://i723.photobucket.com/albums/ww236/tweeter1981/2011 Spectre Challenge/100_0157.jpg

http://i723.photobucket.com/albums/ww236/tweeter1981/2011 Spectre Challenge/100_0158.jpg

http://i723.photobucket.com/albums/ww236/tweeter1981/2011 Spectre Challenge/100_0159.jpg

http://i723.photobucket.com/albums/ww236/tweeter1981/2011 Spectre Challenge/100_0160.jpg

Below: Very quick 240SX. I was really surprised by this guy's times.

http://i723.photobucket.com/albums/ww236/tweeter1981/2011 Spectre Challenge/100_0161.jpg

http://i723.photobucket.com/albums/ww236/tweeter1981/2011 Spectre Challenge/100_0170.jpg

http://i723.photobucket.com/albums/ww236/tweeter1981/2011 Spectre Challenge/100_0171.jpg

http://i723.photobucket.com/albums/ww236/tweeter1981/2011 Spectre Challenge/100_0174.jpg

Below: And last, but not least. The infamous Plymouth "Taser". This car ran some unbelievable times.

http://i723.photobucket.com/albums/ww236/tweeter1981/2011 Spectre Challenge/100_0177.jpg

07-13-11, 02:06 PM
Below: There was one gas pump in town, and luckily they had 91 octane, but the pump was a bit old-school.


Below: Your humble driver, fillin’ the V up. The price was only $4.02/gal which was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.


07-13-11, 02:16 PM
June 18, 2011: The day has finally come. I have been waiting for this for what seems like forever. I have spent hours preparing my car, and thousands of dollars buying just the right parts/equipment to give me the best shot at beating the challenge. I am very excited, but my excitement is tempered with a healthy fear of the road that we are going to be racing on in a few short hours…the road that has taken numerous lives over the years. Those people who died on Hwy. 341 were most likely better drivers than I am, and they probably had a better car as well, but they all had one thing in common. They were too confident in their own and their cars’ abilities, and paid the ultimate price for that. I wasn’t going to make that mistake.

The mandatory driver’s meeting is at 8:15 AM in the hotel parking lot paddock area. More warnings and a detailed description of what the corner worker flags mean is passed on to all of the eager drivers. The temperature is about 70° F, which seems perfect. Sunshine, no wind, and no clouds. This is going to be EPIC! It is stated that in the mornings when the temperature is right about where it is currently, the road surface will still be slightly cold, but will warm up quickly with the rising sun and temps. The morning runs are typically when each driver’s fastest runs are recorded. While, we all knew that, we also knew that for a first-timer “up the hill” we would be feeling out the course (they call it the Nurburgring of Nevada for a reason) for a number of runs, just to be able to start to remember the turns (22+ turns). There would not be much, if any, fine tuning of shift points, brake points, or racing lines in the morning, the course was just too long and then 30-45 minutes between runs would assure you that the previous run would be forgotten and you would have to start almost from scratch on the next go-round. This was NOTHING like hot lapping during an HPDE or track day. You drive to the starting line, blast up the truck loop for around 4 minutes, and then coast down Hwy. 342 for about 6 miles, sit in the staging line for about half an hour, and repeat. By the time you start your next run, the fluids are down to normal operating ranges, the tires are cold again, and your adrenaline has subsided.

During your cost down Hwy. 342 and subsequent staging lane wait, you reflect and what mistakes you made on your last run, or possibly where you almost died. And you make a mental note not to do the same thing this time, that almost caused you to die or crash into a solid rock wall the previous time.

I had decided that I would let my fiancé go with me during the first run up the hill (really a recon run @ 6/10ths more than anything) to see how she felt and to show her that I would be under control.

Below: Here is a few pix from the staging lane.






Below: Cool side view of the V.


07-13-11, 02:25 PM
About 9:45 AM (after a small delay for some reason unknown to me) we pulled into the starting block. Jimi Day, the race director, (awesome guy, btw), put the wheel chocks behind my rear driver side tire so that I wouldn’t have to ride the clutch during the launch. The entire starting area (including staging line and starting block) has about a 1%-2% grade, so it’s not ideal for race clutches. Jimi checks my seat belt, helmet, state of mind. He tells me to be careful and just have fun. The surface isn’t fully heated yet, so grip is still at a premium. He backs away from the driver’s window and I see the green flag wave.

I rev the car to about 3000 rpm and feather the Monster Stage 2 clutch a bit to try and achieve a decent launch. I really don’t want to bog the car down. I take off with an OK launch and cross the timing light about 30 feet up the road. I run through 1st gear and grab 2nd and 3rd before the first real corner. This is a tight carusel-like left-hander that shoots into an even tighter right-hander before opening up into the first of the short straights. I took it very easy on the run (fiancé in the car, remember) and ran a 4:21.xx.

During the course of that first run, I found that there were about 3 turns that were pretty terrifying. These particular turns had no guardrail, and were laid out such that you needed to run your car out as far as you dared in order to set up a nice exit. But the problem with these turns is that all you could see while dive bombing into them was blue sky. They were super-elevated (or “banked” for you non-engineering types) just enough that you couldn’t see over the edge of them, but not enough to give you a sense of comfort. It was at these few spots that I struggled to make up time for the rest of the weekend. All of them seemed to be right before a straight where, if you had a good exit speed and vector, you could potentially make up some time. It was quite the quandary.

Also, an interesting thing about the hillclimb. You actually only climb the hill for about 2/3 of the run (1,263 feet of elevation change from start to high point), then it levels off for a few hundred feet, and then it transforms into a downhill run for the last 1/3. Each of those segments have different grip levels, based on how much weight is bearing down the rear end of the car. Uphill = more rear grip, Downhill = less rear grip.

My next three runs that morning also had Jenna in the car with me. The thought of something terrible happening to her was always in the back of my mind, keeping me from going as fast as I would have without her in the car. I didn’t care about my own mortality, but I would never be able to live with myself if something went wrong. So, I stayed within my comfort zone and tried to just work on being smooth. Spectre made a point to not let us know how we were doing as far as times go. They did not want us pushing for those last few seconds. I did have Jenna do an unofficial time on my on the third run of the morning and I was running slightly under 4 minutes. I felt good about that time, but was also starting to realize that I felt like I was pushing at about 7-8/10ths and I was still nowhere near beating the goal time of 3:41. I did four runs in the morning with two of them being under 4 minutes.

Here is where I want to go into a safety sidebar: After the first run, I had been checking my top speed after the longest straight. I was able to hit about 115 mph on the second run, so on each of the next two runs I was pushing the car to make sure that I at least hit that speed again, or maybe even a little higher. On the fourth run I had exited the corner before the longest straight slightly slower than normal and was pushing hard to hit that top speed number (keep in mind this top speed meant absolutely nothing, but it was something for me to gauge myself performance against). I looked down at the speedo (another really dangerous and stupid thing to do during high performance driving) and see 115 mph, but didn’t realize how fast the little kink in the straight was approaching. I slightly panicked and pushed down the brake pedal hard (trying to be as smooth as I could, knowing that if I start getting stabby with the inputs, we could be going over the edge to a 300 foot drop). The rear of the car got very loose and we just made it through the kink with enough grip to shed a lot more speed before the next very tight left turn. That was the moment that I decided that I wasn’t going to have the speed displayed any longer and was just going to feel out the car and not focus on an arbitrary top speed.

In the afternoon of the first day, I decided to leave Jenna back at the hotel so she could explore Virginia City a bit and I could get some unencumbered times on the books. I knew that at this point in the day the surface was starting to get a little greasy (temps had risen to about 83° F), as the asphalt and chip seal had heated up to a point that it was easy to shred that top layer of road surface off and grip was starting to become an issue. I was not able to get on the throttle coming out of a few of the tighter turns as I had been able to in the morning. I had a feeling my times were going to suffer. It turns out I ended up running my fastest time on the second run that afternoon, in less-than-ideal conditions. The rest of the afternoon went well, with no close calls and the feeling of becoming faster and much smoother on the runs up the hill giving me some much needed confidence. I hadn’t crashed my car or died yet after eight runs up the hill.

That evening the first day lap times came out. I had run a fast time of 3:55.53. I was behind about 24 of the 38 drivers. A 1989 Plymouth Laser (with a Talon body), and tiny Toyota MR2, a bone-stock 2012 Challenger 392 SRT8, and a Nissan 240SX had all run faster times than me. That was unexpected to say the least. A lot of the other high-dollar sports/exotic cars had run much better times as well, but those cars mentioned above were the ones that I was sure that I could out-run. But, you can’t judge a book by its cover, and all of those cars were examples of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

The 1992 Plymouth Laser RS AWD was owned by Peter of SCR Performance and it had a completely forged motor, about 450-500 HP turbo-charged motor, the stock all-wheel-drive system and only weight about 3000 lbs. Weight-to-Power ratio of 6.67 lb/hp. Best time, 3:46.35.

The 1987 Toyota MR2 Mk1.5 was a completely stripped NASA Time Trials car with a supercharger. I think it was making about 250 HP, and I don’t even want to guess the weight…probably under 2200 lbs with the driver. Weight-to-Power ratio of 8.80 lb/hp. Best time, 3:46.14.

The 1989 Nissan 240SX was also a stripped race car. It had 375 HP (assuming at the crank) and weighed in at 2800 lbs. Weight-to-Power ratio of 7.47 lb/hp. Best time, 3:49.69.

I am still in a state of disbelief at how well the stock Challenger (automatic, even!) did. My feeling is that the driver must have been very good and very fearless to run that great of a time. Weight-to-Power ratio of 10.0 lb/hp (4257 lb/425 HP). Best time, 3:39.92.

Virtually every other car there, unless it was already a very high-powered exotic, had 25%-50% more horsepower than stock. The heavy-hitters had AWD and forced induction to combat the slick road surface and the elevation, respectively. My friend with the 2012 GT-R ran a fast time of 3:31.79. My little old CTS-V, with very few power mods (headers, tune, exhaust), and quite a few suspension mods (swaybars, GC kit, stiff springs, FG2s) was just not enough car. I’m not blaming the car entirely, as I could definitely use more practice in order to be able to be more aggressive. The truth of the matter is that my car was one of the most under-powered vehicles at the event. Especially taking the high elevation (6000 ft above sea level) into account.

So after seeing my 3:55.54 time, and being pretty pissed at myself for not doing better, I made a decision right then and there, that I was just going to have fun the rest of the time and try and set a more attainable goal for myself. There was no way in hell that I was going to shave 14.5 seconds off my best previous times. I would be happy if I could just break into the 3:40s, which would mean shaving 5.5 seconds off of my lap times.

June 19, 2011: Another bright, beautiful morning. The temps are slightly hotter than the day before. The road surface will be ideal in the morning and fall off again in the afternoon.
I complete four more runs in the morning with only myself in the car. I feel like I am making up time with each run, but will I end up meeting my goal?

In the afternoon of this last day I let Jenna join me in the car for the last four runs. At this point I know that my fastest runs are behind me, so there is no point in pushing the limits and possibly making a mistake. We do the last four runs and they all were amazingly fun and felt great. I found out later that night that I was only running around 4:05.xx times for those last runs, even though they felt much faster.

We drove straight back to the hotel paddock after the last run (we had completed 16 total runs!!!) as we needed to get the street wheels/tires back on and get the car loaded up with all our stuff. We accomplished that and got ready for the Awards Banquet.

The banquet was really fun and very funny because Amir basically had a little routine where he gave each driver a small gift that was funny and indicative of the drivers personality. It was like a good-spirited roast of each driver. My gifts were some tint film because Amir thought my car was awesome being all blacked-out, but he noted that the only place on my car that wasn’t blacked-out was the windshield. The little piece of used tint would complete the look, lol. He also gave me an old used California car duster because I had been cleaning and wiping down my car the whole weekend. I did this for a couple of reasons, first I wanted it to look good in the pictures, but second, and most importantly, I had filled my power steering reservoir up with new fluid before the first run (because it was a bit low and my pump was squeeling just a bit) but I guess the power steering cooler wasn’t keeping up and the fluid would boil up out of the reservoir. This is not a big deal, it has happened to me everytime I hit the track, but this time was the first time I had the heat extractor hood, and the boiling fluid was being sucked out of the engine bay via the hood vents and coating my hood just behind the vent and driver side windshield. After every run, I would have to wipe it all off.

After all that we got our official times. Again, I was disappointed. I had run my fastest time on the afternoon of the first day and had not improved at all the entire second day. Oh well.

It turns out I still ran a faster time than a young kid in a new 2010 Camaro SS. He had the car supercharged, modified suspension, etc. and was putting down over 600 HP at the crank. He managed a 3:57.68, a few seconds behind me. I felt OK about that one. Also, as a comparison, Amir ran their Cadillac CTS-V Wagon (Mods: Spectre Cold Air Intake, cat-back exhaust, and lowered suspension) up the hill on the last couple of runs of the day and managed a fast time of 3:52.xx, about 3 seconds faster than me. Amir probably knows Hwy. 341 better than anyone else and currently holds the record for a 3:10.xx run in has modified Ferrari F40. Another Spectre employee who had the opportunity to run the Wagon most of the weekend managed a fast time of 3:42.xx, a whopping 13 seconds faster than my time, which still wasn’t enough to beat the Challenge.

So, after experiencing the thrill of the hill, so to speak, I came to the conclusion that my car was great, but just not the right choice if I was serious about beating the 3:41 Challenge. I figured that I would need another 100-150 rwHP and a lot of rear down-force (probably a large airfoil). Even my 275 r-compound tires felt like they weren’t enough, which means that I would also need fender flares and extra-wide wheels. So, if I put another $10K into my car (which would cover power and handling/aero mods), it would most likely be in a great position to beat the challenge, but that just isn’t in the cards. Instead, I am going to save up that money and see what the new C7 Corvettes look like, and if I don’t like what I see, I’ll invest in a low-mileage used C6 Z06 and come back to Virginia City in a few years and dominate the Challenge. Either way, I won’t be selling the V, just using it for cruising duty.

All in all, it was a very unique and thrilling experience. These sorts of events don’t last forever. I figured that I needed to do this while I could or I would regret not going. Me and the fiancé had a lot of time together and experienced a great road trip as well. We drove almost 2500 miles, safely completed two days of racing, crossed 3 states, and filled up the car with gas approximately 8 times in six days. The entire trip was a whirlwind, but it was very enjoyable nonetheless.

On the return trip we averaged 26 mpg, which is stellar for a 3800 lb, 450 HP, luxury sedan. We had no mechanical problems except that I think that my rear passenger side wheel speed sensor is going bad because we would get the random “Stablity Control Engaged” message while traveling down a dry, straight stretch of Interstate at 80 mph. For the last half of the drive home I simply turned off Stability Control completely. It is pretty amazing that the first gen V can drive that far, full to the brim with tires, and other stuff, run two full days of hard hillclimb racing, get great mileage, and then make it home in as good of condition as when it started – AND LOOK DAMN GOOD DOING IT ALL! The V is truly an all-around star and does so many things so well.

07-13-11, 02:35 PM
Below: Here are some pix of the V during the actual racing on Hwy. 341.














07-13-11, 02:52 PM
I hope to have a few more videos in few days. There should be one with a bullet cam attached to the car directly behind the front passenger side tire. And there might even be some exterior footage of me on the course.

07-13-11, 04:16 PM
YOU BASTID!!! No way i'm reading all that anytime soon :rant2:. But i will get to it.
Awesome pics (gonna watch the vid now) and I love that there a a V wagon there lol

07-13-11, 08:13 PM
Excellent story and pictures to match. I read the whole thing so thanks for sharing it!

07-13-11, 08:34 PM
wow, looks like a blast! thanks for taking the time to document and share...

07-13-11, 08:56 PM
I'm glad some people are taking the time to read everything, it took me like 4 hours to get that all put together, lol!

Here's a couple more pix:

http://i723.photobucket.com/albums/ww236/tweeter1981/2011 Spectre Challenge/Spectre1.jpg

http://i723.photobucket.com/albums/ww236/tweeter1981/2011 Spectre Challenge/Spectre4.jpg

07-13-11, 09:06 PM
Sounds like an awesome time. Jealous that NJ nothing like that.

07-14-11, 09:53 AM
I didn't want to, but you sucked me in and I read the entire thing. So well written I could feel myself being there. Thank you for taking the time to write this man!

Your V pics in action are phenom!!! The red even looks good on the rims. Nice hood, and love the blacked out action. Those action pics are so killer! The sheriff office one is frame worthy lol.

Side notes: Both of those Z28's are straight badass. I keep trying, but I can't get myself to like the V wagon! That GTO looks hideous. I'm still cracking up about the Talon hybrid one.

07-14-11, 09:59 AM
DUDE!!! SICK PICS!!! AWESOME....however....I'll have to read when I go on leave! :duck:

07-14-11, 10:28 AM
I WANT THAT HOOD!!!!!!!! I read most of it......wish we had something like that in the south. Great story.

07-14-11, 11:18 AM
Excellent post and pics - reading it I felt like I could see what you were seeing. Thanks for sharing and the car looks awesome

07-14-11, 11:30 AM
Finally finished reading. So who had the fastest time.

07-14-11, 12:14 PM
Finally finished reading. So who had the fastest time.

Good work, Twitch. Lou Gigliotti in the 2010 ZR1 had the fastest time for the second year in a row. The current record is 3:10.xx, held by Amir.

Last year, Lou ran a 3:21.xx. This year he bettered that time by a lot, with a 3:14.45. He is still 4 seconds off the record.

07-14-11, 12:24 PM
You gotta have some cohones to hit the gas going into blue sky like that.....:2thumbs:

07-14-11, 12:46 PM
Well done Tweet! You'll look back at this event twenty years from now and you'll smile :)

07-15-11, 06:36 AM
Awesome pics and write up, must have been an amazing experience!

07-15-11, 10:43 AM
Awesome! Don't be down on yourself or the V, it's a street car and you're not a pro driver. The fact that you're even out there in the competition and on par with power:weight:car:driver capability should be enough to be proud of, and use this as seat time and knowledge to build on. You competed, did well, and brought it home. Win in my book. Congtats!!

In my heavily mod'ed 01.5 A4 with big turbo kit, stiff coilovers, big brake kit, etc., I was always getting beat by those EVOs and STIs in the AWD classes at Time Trials. / Time Attacks...but it wasn't by much and they had 100-150+whp /whtq than me and came with gear boxes meant for the track. Sometimes, there is just not enough classes at these types of events. There should be a street car, no cage, baby seat in the back class.

These Vs are just too heavy to be quick in the slow corners. This car wants to be on tracks like Watkins Glen, and not momentum tracks.

07-15-11, 03:34 PM
These Vs are just too heavy to be quick in the slow corners. This car wants to be on tracks like Watkins Glen, and not momentum tracks.

Thanks for the kind words, and also to everybody who has posted so far.

You are absolutely correct about the V doing better on the faster, open tracks. I have to tell you guys, for the first time ever, since starting to do track days and such, I felt like I really needed more power at this event. Normally, I have to be careful to the feather the throttle so I don't get wheelspin coming out of tight corners while on the road course, but at this Challenge, the car just felt slightly anemic. And this is weird, because I have never driven my car below 4000 ft elevation, so Virginia City wasn't a huge difference at 6000 ft elevation. Where I live and 99% of the places I go, the elevation is around 4500-5500 ft above sea level, so I know I have never felt the full power of the LS6, but the car felt extra slow during the racing, which could also be attributed to the fact that most of the race is uphill.

One other thing. I think that if I had been a little more comfortable with my surroundings, and hadn't been hearing that I was going to crash and die for the previous 2 months before the event, I could have run much better times. I honestly believe my V, as it currently sits and with me driving it, had a 3:50 pass in it (5 seconds quicker than what I actually ran).

07-16-11, 09:07 AM
Awesome event! Thx for the great writeup!
That would be amazing to see Lou out there racing a ZR1!
On a side note I'm sure you meant feather the throttle and not clutch coming out of tIght turns :p

07-16-11, 10:29 AM
Awesome event! Thx for the great writeup!
That would be amazing to see Lou out there racing a ZR1!
On a side note I'm sure you meant feather the throttle and not clutch coming out of tIght turns :p

Thanks, man. Oops, you are correct. I edited the previous post...too much typing lately.

07-19-11, 10:38 AM
One other thing I forgot to put in the writeup.

The Specter Werkes Heat Extractor Carbon Fiber Hood really did it's job. While setting in the staging lane, I was wiping the excess power steering fluid off my hood and windshield, and I could feel a ton of hot air being pulled from the engine bay (and that was just while sitting there, idling). The heat that was being extracted from under the hood was so hot that I couldn't hold my hand there for more than a few seconds.

Also, the hood feels like it greatly increased front end downforce (or more accurately, reduced lift). The only problem is that the car's aerodynamics seem to be slightly upset now. I really need an airfoil or splitter or something for the rear end now, as it felt like the rear would get light a little easier than normal. This could be due, in part, to the crappy grip characteristics of the surface of Hwy. 341, so I am not going to make any final judgements yet. I need to do a full track day at a track that I've been to before to determine how different the car feels now because of the increased front downforce and then I can make a determination on what I will do with the rear of the car.

07-19-11, 10:56 AM
That CTS-V Wagon belongs to Amir Rosenbaum who owns Spectre Performance. Of course he also owns all the Spectre cars also. They are currently trying to see how much weight they can safely strip off it it.

Here is a link to their blog.


If you scroll down a bit there is a write up for the 341

Ak Jim
07-20-11, 10:28 AM
Nice job! I wish I could write half as well as you.

07-20-11, 11:39 AM
Nice job! I wish I could write half as well as you.

Thanks, Jim. I really appreciate that.

07-20-11, 03:05 PM
Great thread. I like those Camaros. But then, I am a little biased that way.