Runway Denial Weapons: Taking My R35 GT-R To No Fly Zone Arizona October 2015
A couple of weeks ago I was able to
take my R35 to my very first half-mile event. Although I've done
numerous trackdays, straight line events weren't really something I
was interested in but I figured with all the mods to my car I should
give it a try just to see what it was like.
So early on Saturday, October 3rd,
me and my friends rolled into the little town of Gila Bend, Arizona.
Gila Bend's main claim to fame is that it's a logical stopping point
when you're driving between Phoenix and Yuma or San Diego. There's
not much to the town although it does have the Space Age Diner which
has a UFO perched on top and the outdated welcome sign proudly states
the town has a population of 1700 and 5 old crabs. Hopefully the
crabs are the seafood kind.
Oh, and it also has a municipal airport
which was our destination that day. Since late last year Omega
Motorsport Events has been putting on half-mile events at Gila Bend
Municipal Airport under the title No Fly Zone Arizona and this was
the third iteration. Runway events ranging from half to two miles
long are gaining in popularity now and in case you've never been to
one the formula is simple. You drive down the runway (closed from
flights of course) and from the start of the timing zone you go flat
out and try to reach the highest speed you can in the allotted
distance - in the case of this event a half mile. Depending on the
event cars will start either from a “dig” - a standing start, or
a “roll” where the car goes a certain speed until the timing line
and then you whack the throttle wide open.
The events can range from just for fun
occasions with fairly laid back rules to full bore competitions where
tuners and hard-core enthusiasts will bring their biggest guns to
reach speeds in excess of 200 mph and get the bragging rights as the
fastest things on four wheels.
Because No Fly Zone is meant to be done
for fun the rules are more lax about the runs. Rolling starts are the
norm but they'll let you do a dig if you advise the course workers.
You can run against whoever you end up beside or organize your own
little race but most important of all you can run as many times as
you want as long as your car holds up.
The games begin.
Since this was my first time
participating in a runway event I started out the day conservatively
with my first two runs in my lower two engine maps.
I had also decided to just run pump gas rather than go to the trouble
and expense of getting race gas and using the race gas maps. Happily
the first two runs went well with my low boost map putting me neck
and neck with a 500whp Camaro and my middle map was par with a modded
911. It took some adjustment though to get used to the rolling start
– I was paying too much attention to staying level with the other
car at the timing line especially on my first runs.
Assured that my car was running well,
it was time to turn it up to 11 – or actually just 3 since my high
boost map was third in my car's software queue. After swapping
passengers – No Fly Zone allows one passenger as long as they sign
a waiver and wear a helmet – it was time to see what the full
DEFCON 1 setting was going to be like. That run turned out to be a
lonely one as a private arrangement by one of the cars in front of me
with another owner meant I blasted down the runway solo. Having no rival car
shouldn't make you drive any slower though so in the end my GT-R
sailed off to a 165 mph trap speed. Not bad for a novice driver
running weaksauce 91 octane.
The rest of the runs went pretty much
the same with the most notable ones against three GT-Rs of various
states of tune. Two were stockish I believe and as you can see from
the video the difference was pretty sizable. One was a chrome-wrapped
car from a Phoenix tuning shop which had a similar state of tune to
mine. Unfortunately that was a tough comparison since we started
different ways on our run.
The other unfortunate thing was that
the day turned out to be hotter than we would have liked so after
giving my friends some rides that I had promised them I decided to
stop running early and just spectate the rest of the day. The R35 ran
flawlessly throughout, a testament to the good work TopSpeed
Motorsports put into my engine build and the reliability of my
ShepTrans upgraded transmission, but it was just too hot for me to
see much point in putting extra strain on my beloved GT-R.
Overall, it was a fun time even for
someone like me who's not really a straight-line guy. To be honest
165 on a runway is a pretty uneventful thing in my GT-R and is far
less nerve-wracking than say doing 150 on the banking at Auto Club
Speedway but it was still a great time. Quite a few old friends from
both Yuma and other parts of Arizona showed up – which is why I
kept having to swap passengers – and I made some new acquaintances.
Even just spectating and walking around the paddock was fun with so
many interesting cars on display, from the expected to the exotic
with some real oddballs in the mix as you'll see in the photos. Omega
Motorsports made it a newbie-friendly event and it's definitely
something I wouldn't mind attending again whether to drive or just
simply spectate, although next time I hope the weather cooperates
Here are some photos and a video for
your perusal (warning: weirdness ensues during the video):
The day begins with the customary driver's briefing.
Parked next to Don - a nice fellow R35 owner from Phoenix
It may be just a Grand Prix on the outside but it's got an LS swap lol.
It didn't run but this lowrider pickup was cool to look at.
A Nismo R35 showed up
The usual gaggle of Corvettes
Just parked as a show car like the pickup but also nice to look at.
Murcielago that also didn't run while I was there.
One of several fast Cadillacs.
Nice clean 240 - except it had an LS swap :(
A brand-new Huracan
Fast and eye-catching but a bit too "Dubai" for my tastes lol.
Speaking of Dubai...
Guess what this LS was bolted to?
An old Toyota Hilux! And it was trapping at 145 despite just getting the motor in the day before.
Another R35. There were about twelve that participated including mine.
A Viper with over a thousand wheel hp.
Cause one thing a Viper needs is turbocharging lol.
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