Optima Batteries Search for the Ultimate Streetcar – Round 2 at NOLA Motorsports Park

This 2018 season the Optima Batteries Search for the Ultimate Streetcar returns to NOLA Motorsports Park. New Orleans is known for it’s fickle weather in the spring and this year was no different. In the week leading up to the event the forecast for rain was getting more aggressive every day. By the time Friday’s registration and tech had come around, the weather outlook for the first day of competition was looking bleak with forecast estimates of 2”-4” of rain for Saturday.

NOLA Motorpsorts Park

Saturday is for autocross

Luckily, the Optima/USCA team is always thinking ahead and they had a plan! Saturday the driver’s meeting was re-scheduled a little earlier and competitors were instructed to have their cars on the Detroit Speed and Engineering autocross grid PRIOR to the morning debrief. The plan was to re-structure the day so that everyone got 3 runs on the course while it was still dry and fast. The competitors were understanding and no one wanted to see anyone else get stuck out in the rain.

1967 Camaro

Mills Robinson attacks the autocross course in his PowerStop equipped 1967 Camaro

And then it rained.

The rain started to fall in New Orleans around 10:30am and nearly everyone had their 3 runs completed. As the rain increased in severity the competition cooled off… and then the REAL storm arrived. The estimated 2”-4” of rain came down in the early afternoon, and being that we were at or below sea level the water started rising. By 2pm the autocross course was much better suited to boat racing and the cones were beginning to float. With no hope of re-opening the track for competition Saturday, on-track activities had to be shut down. What this also meant was that everyone had time to get their cars in front of the Lingenfelter Design and Engineering judges before the 5:30pm cut off.

Hoping for a dry track

As we left the facility Saturday night there was up to a foot of standing water in many places around New Orleans and everyone prayed for a dry track for Sunday. Arriving at the track on Sunday we were met with a dried out skidpad, this is where the autocross was held and where the PowerStop Brakes Speed Stop Challenge was being setup. The road course remained wet in areas, but the NOLA Motorsports Park team was out drying it off with implements and a lot of laps in the track safety vehicles.

2008 Corvette Z06

Fera Qartoumy comes sliding into the stop box on the speed stop course.

By the time we hit the track Sunday there wasn’t a drop of water in sight but the dual Speed Stop course was very green. Without any rubber on the course, the first runs weren’t the fastest… but as the day moved on the course got faster. We didn’t get a chance to see the action on course but from what we heard, the street tire record was nearly broken by one of the most technologically prepared Porsche Turbos we’ve ever seen.

In the end, this was another fun and successful Ultimate Streetcar event. Congratulations to the OUSCI invitees, we will see you in Las Vegas!

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