Written by Donnie Roc (@r0cean11)
Photography by Donnie Roc (@r0cean11)
Where do I even start with this event? Race, Show, Drift. An automotive junkie's dream came true. All makes, all models, all welcome. From stock to supercar to classic. I can go on and on. I have been working this event with the Just Vibes show tour for the last 3 years and every year I am blown away by the production. The crowds love it! Over 6000 people came through this year.
Track records were broken left and right over the 2 day event. Talking with the car owners learning their back story and about their builds, speaking with spectators about their experiences, chatting with the drifters about their aspirations and goals of making it to FD. Talking with the staff about putting on this production and what it takes. It’s so much to take in but it’s so worth it to see people smile and enjoy themselves. And after all that two days still wasn’t enough. I wanted more! It was crazy seeing rare cars such a 1971 2-door Toyota Crown to fully built out race cars like a 830whp 9.0 liter V10 Dodge Viper and a McClaren 720s GT3X. The engineering and time put into these cars is amazing.
It was a weekend to spend with family and friends and forget about the worries of life for just a little bit. Live music, food, models, ride-alongs in drift cars, walking through the race pits - you name it, this automotive event had it covered. One truly gets to experience almost every aspect of the automotive world and what it truly is. If you ever get a chance to go I would strongly recommend it.
Walking around the venue watching the cars on the track, the race fuel, the sparks flying from hitting those apexes, the show cars, the drifting (which I took advantage of getting some ride-a-longs thanks to Evan Williams of Kareless). I will say drifting with the guys from Kareless was an experience I won't soon forget; the sensation of being on the bleeding edge of losing control gets the adrenaline pumping!
I also had a chance to speak with the primary heads of each side of this event. Jason Dienhart of Super Lap Battle and Global Time Attack. Jeff Maldonado of Just Vibes Events and RACEWARS. As well as Aaron Losey of Lone Star Drift. Each of them showed great enthusiasm and passion for this two day car mecca. Here is what they had to say about the two day event.
Jason Dienhart Super Lap Battle / Global Time Attack
Back in 2004 we started doing a time attack at Buttonwillow Raceway in California each November after SEMA. We called it Super Lap Battle. About 5 years ago we decided to rent out COTA. We felt it was fitting to use the SLB name for COTA. We still do the November event after SEMA each year, it is now the GTA Finals.
This event means everything. Everything we have done with Time Attack since 2004 leads to this event. It ran pretty smoothly for experiencing growth this year. I am fortunate to have an amazing team. We have been together for over 10 years now and have become a tight knit team. We would like to see more International drivers and International teams including time attack cars from Australia, Japan, and Europe in the future. Most rewarding part of this is watching it grow each year. This was the 5th year and it’s been getting a little better each time. Can’t wait for March 8-10, 2024. All I have to say is if you love something, be passionate about it, and never give up.
Jeff Maldonado Just Vibes Events / RACEWARS
So I was introduced to Jason through Jack from R1 Concepts who also works with Jason as official media. The event had the space for a car show but not a car show promoter as part of the team, so given the years of experience I had with the Texas community it was a no-brainer to give me an opportunity to see if I could make of what the event is today (EPIC). It’s been 4 years for me now and I really am excited to see where we go from here.
The weekend I spent in Austin for this event, embodies everything this culture means to me. Being able to bring such a dynamic atmosphere to one venue in one weekend seamlessly, it’s just breathtaking. I get goosebumps every time I roll in on Friday to set up, it’s like falling in love over and over again.
Austins always a different beast because of it’s unique environment when it comes to activities so it’s always amazing to see the interaction of those attending with those participating in the event this year was a completely different device. I was there, the weather was there and the crowds came in masses. Overall it was the best event we’ve hosted in Austin. Of course there are always challenges, but nothing we can work on to make the event even better next year which we already plan on doing.
With the growth of this event, and the commitment for its future, COTA has agreed to give us more room to host a much bigger car show the weekend of super loud battle so we are excited for the capability to produce a more entertaining event. I can’t predict the future, but I can tell you that we will get to the point where there'll be people traveling from all over the states for this event.
The most rewarding part of this is very simple. The gratitude that we get from all those attendees on Sunday afternoon is the reason why we come back every year with a passion to give them a much better show. The reward is the loyal fans.
What it boils down to being an organizer, be your own inspiration, set your own goals and achieve them, even in the darkest times, the lowest of days or the times when you see no results, always remember what motivated you.
Aaron Losey Lone Star Drift
I got involved with this event when Jason contacted me and asked if I wanted to be a part of it. I said of course! This event is an opportunity to combine drifting, time attack and a car show together and have a large event at a super famous track in a cool city! Combining all these things takes a normal event to the next level, and makes a really busy event with a lot of stuff to do for the general spectator, which is awesome! I love being a part of something bigger than myself.
I think the show and the organization of it is growing and going great, what we struggle with is just logistical stuff like Covid years, track costs skyrocketing and all the other stuff associated with racing skyrocketing in price. For example fuel and tires. But as long as people are excited I think things will keep chugging along.
In the future this event will just grow steadily I think, and that is all it needs to do! I don’t think it needs to reinvent the wheel, it just needs to continue being a high quality once a year event that increases in scale slowly and steadily until it is some massive beast. I think it is on that path, and I think it is an exciting one.
The most rewarding part of this event is how much the drivers and spectators love it. That isn’t just fluff, it really is a beloved event that is appreciated because it is a rarity and not overdone. If it was monthly no one would care, but yearly it is magic.
An organizer's job is to try and make people happy and just think about the people involved. Try to bring them joy. It is super tough with race cars because a breaking race car is misery, or hot weather, or rain, or a ton of other things. But if you can make people happy, that is all it takes. People aren’t happy enough, especially car people, who I think are generally people with something possibly lacking in their lives that they need to fill with car stuff. And cars are an overwhelming hobby. We all find joy however we can.
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