It’s The Open Road Challenge For ALMS Cars :: The EDJE
A Penske Porsche RS Spyder leading a
Dyson Porsche RS Spyder leading a Fernandez Lola B06/43-Acura leading a
Cytosport Lola B06/10-AER at Mid-Ohio. Image Credit:
It’s The Open Road Challenge For ALMS Cars
With the American Le Mans Series running in Utah this weekend, one wonders ... why doesn't the management of the American Le Mans Series plan to take in the Nevada Open Road Challenge along the way as a “Qualification” round?
If there ever was an event designed to take into account the uniqueness of the full-bodied racing automobiles of the American Le Mans Series classification of cars, it is this open road challenge timed racing event that is held two times a year through Central-East Nevada.
Drivers patiently wait in line for the
tech inspection at Broadbent Park in Ely, Nevada for last September's 20th
anniversary of the Silver State Classic Challenge open road speed rally. Image
Credit: The Ely Times (2007)
Technically, the Nevada Open Road
Challenge (May 15-18, 2008)/Silver State Classic Challenge (September 18-21,
2008) event is a rally format that includes a navigator along with the driver
held on a 90 mile
open stretch of Nevada Highway 318 between the towns of Lund and Hiko. The
cars are run in classes at five mile per hour increments, from 95 mph to 180
mph, with the class determined by the vehicle's safety equipment, the driver's
experience level and the driver/navigator comfort level.
There is also an
Unlimited Division for very experienced drivers with full race-equipped cars.
Vehicles are started at one minute intervals and 30 second intervals, beginning
with the 150 mph class and working back to the 95 mph class. Once the last 95
mph class vehicle clears the course, the Unlimited Division and the higher speed
brackets over 150 are run as the final group.
Image Credit: SSCC
is where the ALMS could make an impact in the annuals of American racing
(assuming that the organizers accomidate the ALMS with a basic rules change -
driver only) ... have the ALMS cars line up and qualify for the upcoming race in
Salt Lake City at the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix by driving the
90 miles from Lund, Nevada to Hiko, Nevada, and may the best time win its
bracket. With a little planning, this idea would create some history and
possibly capture a Guinness Book world record along the way.
This excerpted from the Silver State Classic
Challenge website –
The State of Nevada closes down 90 miles of Route
318 and more than 200 drivers from around the world converge on the little town
of Ely in the central high desert of Nevada. Why do they come? To experience
first-hand the adrenaline rush of driving flat-out on a public highway. Not just
professional racers, but men and women from all walks of life, pursuing the
Walter Mitty dream of speed, horsepower, and high performance. Yes, there’s a
place for everyone in the Silver State Classic Challenge events.
Silver State Classic Challenge Series of Open Road Rally Events continues into
the new millennium, we thought it might be interesting to trace the history of
this unique American auto rally event. It began simply enough in 1988, as a
showcase for vintage racing cars. Along with Ferrel Hansen, then President of
the White Pine County Chamber of Commerce, the organizers received approval from
the State of Nevada to close the highway based on the event’s potential for
pumping money into the local economy. That left less than two months to organize
the event, which meant getting the go-ahead from all three counties, formulating
a traffic control plan, lining up the Nevada Highway Patrol to secure the
highway, and arranging liability insurance of one million dollars. After Steve
Waldman, one of the original organizers and then Marketing Director of the
Showboat Hotel in Las Vegas, agreed to make the Showboat the official host
property, everything was in place.
When the Silver State Classic
Challenge debuted on Sunday, September 25, 1988, it was the first legal
open-road rally of its kind in the U.S. in a half-century. In addition to
vintage autos, it pulled in a mixed bag of late model, high performance vehicles
and muscle cars. Among the 50 odd entries were six Ferraris, thirteen Porsches
and four Corvettes. The oldest American car was a ’56 Dodge D500, which blew its
engine after just twenty minutes into the event. Overall, three cars failed to
finish, but fortunately nobody was injured. For the record, a red 1988 Ferrari
Testarossa, driven by Jim Liautad, Jr. of Elgin, Illinois, which averaged 162.58
mph, clocked the fastest time.
Thanks to favorable press in
nationally known publications like “Motor Trend” and “Autoweek”, the next event
drew over one hundred competitors, including a 19-year old phenomenon name R.J.
Gottlieb blasted through the course at 197.99 mph, hitting speed in excess of
220mph, a record that has only recently been broken.
However, it was
later determined that the course was 2 miles shorter than originally thought.
Therefore, the old record was retired and a new mark of 186.73mph was set in the
May, 1996 event by veteran open road participant, Kelly Seivers. Again in 1999
the course was remeasured by an independent civil engineering firm and found to
still be about 2,000 feet short, and so that record was retired and the new
Public Highway Land Speed Record was established after moving the Start Line to
bring the course to exactly 90 miles in length.
The current record now stands at
207.7801 mph (334.3896 km/h) set by Chuck Shafer and his navigator Gary Bockman
at the May 2000 event. Image Credit: SSCC
The year 2001
was a year of big developments in the SSCC history. We were accepted into the
Guinness World Book of Records for two records, Highest Speed On A Public
Highway and the Fastest Road Rally.
The organization’s many dedicated
volunteers work hand-in-hand with the State of Nevada to boost travel and
tourism in the region. Upcoming events will host the world’s top open-road
drivers, names like Chuck Shafer, Rick Doria, Kim Baker, Todd Carpenter, Dave
Golder and Tarik Ben Jabar, as they go for broke in their attempt to set new
Public Highway Land Speed Records.
One thing’s for sure, in the words of
Phil Henry; “We can count on these guys to come out with the fastest machines to
ever set rubber on a public highway”.
... notes from The EDJE