Took a day off Monday and went out Harris Hill Road racetrack to show my friends Jack and Monica around the track. I’d been there before, and instructed at an S2000 club sponsored event. It’s a private club track – meaning memberships are required unless you can attend one of the events various groups run there. See their site for complete information: http://harrishillroad.com/.
Jack and Monica brought out their new Infiniti G37S – an absolutely gorgeous car in any color (and especially this red). The track was new to them. We were the only car on track so we were able to try it in both directions. Jack decided he liked clockwise best because the sharp drop after Santa Rita is a lot of fun. Santa Rita is at the end of a long uphill, followed by a sharp decreasing-radius near-180 degree turn and then an abrupt and fast chute back downhill. It’s a blast, and it’s probably the defining turn at this track for most people. Take a look around YouTube and you’ll find all kinds of videos of many different cars (and driver skill levels, some over-inflated) tackling this turn.
Their G37S is in the process of being prepared for the occasional track event. It’s already received a large air-to-oil cooler (all the better for the VQ37VHR motor, which is known to run hot without one), 245s/275s fr/rr (370Z size), Motul brake fluid, and track-level brake pads. This was it’s first time on-track, so we carefully checked tire temps across the face of the tires as well as oil temps. Despite being over 100 degrees outside the G37S experienced no issues whatsoever. The very large rotors and calipers stayed amazingly cool and the tire temps were nicely even. Excellent, no drama at all, and the car hasn’t even had a track-optimized alignment yet.
It was interesting for me to compare this car to the 370Z I drove a few months ago - they’re identical underneath except for spring, damper, and roll bar rates. The Z also has some extra bracing, weighs a bit less, and has a slightly different (worse) weight balance. The G37S is so sweet on the track that the enormous potential of this platform is obvious (it is, after all, the basis for the GT-R). It would be easy to turn the G37S into a “4-seat Z”, and it’s larger side windows (far better visibility and awareness of what’s around you) would be a nice plus on the track. The longer wheelbase and usable trunk make for an obvious livability advantage, too.
The images below are at the top of Santa Rita, in the sharpest part of the turn. We came up the hill at about 102 MPH, then braked very sharply for the turn to the right.
It was blisteringly hot out on the track, and we called an end to it by mid-afternoon. It’s always nice when the car survives the event better than the people do. A superior car is one that remains completely unfrazzled, ready to take you home in comfort and style.
With three new racetracks in various stages of construction in Texas, 2008 will be a very exciting year. We’ll have three new racetracks to learn!
Harris Hill has just added a video of the first lap of the new track… granted, not paved yet – but you can see how it will look.
Continue at the link above.
Unfortunately, the video requires the proprietary Quicktime format… so get out your reading glasses.
Harris Hill Road announced on November 10th that it is taking memberships. Track construction is underway. 1.8 miles in length. I believe they are considerably further ahead in construction and membership than is Bergrennenring.
Here’s another view of the track, courtesy of YouTube: