Behind the Scenes of a Supercar Track Day at COTA

Texas supercar owners push hard at the Circuit of the Americas

Circuit of the Americas Track Day
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“We like to guarantee that we are not stuck behind Miatas.” Josh Snowhorn says. The Austin resident invited us out to the Circuit Of the Americas to see how a group of Texas Supercar owners have their track day fun.

If you have the desire, and the funds, you can duke it out with your friends and a handful of the fastest supercars in the world. Edge Addicts runs a high performance driver education event out of COTA every few months, and Snowhorn and his crew buy an entire running group–1/4 of the track time–for themselves. Their block of 4 garages is filled to the brim. Seven McLarens, a few Ferraris, more bedroom poster-worthy Porsches than you can count and some automotive odds and ends thrown in for good measure.

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A 7:15 driver’s meeting means a pre-dawn start at the circuit. The paddocks are busy as cars and trailers wedge themselves between tents and temporary structures being installed for for the F1 race at COTA in 3 weeks.

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The group reserves a block of 4 garages, and McLarens are the order of the day. It's not long before the garage is stuffed with three 675LTs, two 12Cs, a 650S and a 570S.

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More McLarens are in waiting. They’ll be the first group out on both days. The cooler weather means faster times, and they’ll be setting a quick pace for the rest of the groups.

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Alan Metni’s Porsche GT3 Cup car hovers on its jacks, waiting for the sun to rise. The spec racer is blazingly quick on the track and will consistently pull away from the pack of McLarens.

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Joe Rivera picks up speed in his McLaren 12C as he enters the empty stadium section after the Turn 12 hairpin.

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Bill William’s Corvette Z06 casts a long shadow as it pierces the morning light coming out of Turn 2 on Saturday.

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A member of the support crew changes a tire on Ray Portilla’s 650S. The team will spend the weekend swapping street tires for Hoosier racing slicks, doing maintenance, strapping drivers into racing harnesses and wiping down the cars after each session.

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A peek inside COTA Race Control where track officials monitor the track and coordinate track marshals. The weekend was largely incident free, with one notable exception: Jesus Rodriguez’s turtle strike in the Martini Porsche GT3 RS on Turn 8.

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Snowhorn takes a passenger on a joyride through Turn 9 as COTA’s iconic tower reaches up through the skyline.

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Ray Portilla’s McLaren 650S streaks down the chute between Turns 9 and 10.

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Jesus Rodriguez exits Turn 12 in his Porsche GT3 RS. Behind him, temporary luxury suites are being constructed for the United States Grand Prix in 3 weeks.

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Jean Claude Saada brought a Porsche 918 Spyder, as well as a Ferrari F12TDF, for the weekend’s festivities.

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Drivers load up on sushi as they wait for the Sunday Noon session to get underway.

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Even the guys with six-figure McLarens come running when they hear a P1 GTR has showed up unannounced on Sunday. Snowhorn is quick to offer up space in their run group for it to stretch its legs.

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The mythical McLaren P1 GTR does a few quick laps before disappearing as suddenly and quietly as it arrived. In the right hands, the P1 GTR is capable of 2:06 lap times at COTA, while the 675LTs are running in the low 2:20s this weekend.

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Josh Snowhorn’s McLaren 675LT glides past the star field in COTA’s Turn 18.

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Making Guillaume Garrigue’s limited edition water-injected BMW M4 GTS even more rare is his one-of-a-kind COTA plate.

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Another thing those pesky and slow Miatas are missing: on-board telemetry.

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Between sessions drivers read telemetry data and watch footage from their session to critique their laps. For these guys, shaving fractions of a second from their lap times matters, and every advantage helps.

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A McLaren 570S from another run group lives up to its tags at COTA on Saturday.

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Alan Metni, in the IMSA spec Porsche GT3 Cup car, makes short work of the Turn 12 hairpin.

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The last great analog supercar, the Porsche Carrera GT, sets up for the final two turns at COTA.

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Snowhorn offers an up-close view of the track from the inside of his McLaren 675LT.