If you read yesterday's post about our vintage racing weekend experience with Zenith, continue reading part two of this unbelievable weekend. Now, if you did not read yesterday's post, we advice you to first read part one here. Just as if day one of our vintage racing experience with Zenith wasn't exhilarating enough, wait till you see the last part of our time at the Circuit of the Americas. Could it get any better after what we posted yesterday? Well, it actually does. After a nice evening on Saturday filled with Negronis, Austin's staple Tito's Vodka and a few glasses of champagne, we woke up early morning on Sunday to head to the track for the Hawk Performance Historic GT/GTP Enduro race that was supposed to start at 10:15am. After gearing up with the Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Tour Auto Limited Edition and our matching red ear muffs, we arrived at the Paddock. Few minutes later, vintage and modern cars were about to start lining up on the pre-grid for the race. With a nice assortment of Dallaras, Lolas, Audis, Porsches, Shelbys, a Ford Doran GT and even a BMW Schnitzer 2800CSL amongst others; we all were getting warmed up for what the rest of the day had in store for us.
After the pre-grid, we then headed to the Main Grandstand at the Circuit of the Americas to enjoy the race along with some refreshments in the Zenith suite. Perfectly located with unobstructed view of the start/finish line, the pits and turn one, we sat down and relaxed as we enjoyed the fast and furious cars competing in the Hawk Performance Historic GT/GTP Enduro race.
But the best part of the day was yet to come, right after the race, Zenith had prepared a very special surprise for us. How does 'hot laps' on the COTA track with professional drivers aboard a Jaguar F-Type R sound to you? Simply amazing, right? Well, right after the Enduro race was over, we headed back to Paddock to gear up and get on the track with four different professional drivers. Two of those drivers, with the longest and most prominent racing careers were Davy Jones and Robert Guerrero. The first, a Chicagoan retired driver that raced Indy, Indy 500, Cart and even Formula 3 in the 80s and 90s; the latter, a Colombian driver from Medellin that raced in Formula One, Formula 2, Formula 3 —along with legendary Ayrton Senna—, Cart and even Nascar. Our choice, to ride with Roberto Guerrero for a candid racing conversation in Spanish about hist time racing along our racing hero Ayrton Senna.
As the four Jaguars lined up right in front of the pits on the pit lane, our hearts started racing, as another amazing experience was about to start. How often does a racing fan like us gets to ride on the COTA track not once but twice during a weekend? Well, not often enough. Not only we rode the Pace Car the day before, but we were now about to take a crazy fast ride with a professional driver on the track. Thank you Zenith for such a memorable weekend.
Once we all put our white helmets on, and collectors started getting into the cars, we were just awaiting our turn in line for another lifetime experience. If you are a racing fan like us, you can imagine what we were feeling. As soon as our car took off from the pit lane, we knew this was going to be the ride of a lifetime. As we exited the pit lane and started climbing towards turn one, the speedometer hit 70 very quickly, as we took that tight turn and headed towards the next, we only wished we could've been the ones driving. Roberto Guerrero being the experienced driver he is, he gave us a very fast ride that took less than three minutes with a max speed on the straight of a 160 mph. All we can tell you, is that the g-forces during our ride were unforgettable and the most fun ever. That negative g-force as we were braking on turn 12, was something else. By the time we came out of turn 15, we knew we were getting close to the end; with five more turns to go and our adrenaline to the max, we smiled and thought, how lucky we were.
As the 'hot laps' were over and we all rejoiced about the amazing experience, we then grabbed lunch at the Zenith suite to then wrap up the weekend with a visit to the 25-story observation tower. The tower located between turn 16 and 17 at the Circuit of the Americas, is 251 feet tall —77 meters— and was designed by Miró Rivera Architects and built by Patriot Erectors as a landmark for the venue. The structure of the tower consists of an elevator hoist-way surrounded by a double helix staircase.
The observation platform at the top features glass railings and a partial glass floor like that at the Ledge in Chicago's Willis Tower —formerly Sears Tower. With 360-degree views of the whole circuit, we could've not thought of a better way to end our unforgettable vintage racing experience with Zenith. It's almost unfathomable were this crazy watchlife has taken us already. Thank you Zenith and until next time.
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