Infiniti of Scottsdale, one of the largest Infiniti dealerships in the US, has been hosting an incredibly cool event here in the Valley for owners of Infiniti vehicles purchased at their dealership… The IOS TrackDays Instructional Performance Series.
Basically, this consists of a huge production, involving approximately 50 people from the dealership, the staff of Professional AutoSports, Inc. and Firebird International Raceway and more.The event on Sunday, October 26th was held on Firebird Main – this is the longest course at Firebird, a challenging road course with a 5/8-mile straightaway.
We all rolled in between 7 and 7:30 am. While some participants were getting their pit areas set up, applying track day numbers to their vehicles; apply protective blue tape to their pristine paint, they’re also intermingling with other Infiniti enthusiasts over Starbuck’s coffee, bagels and breakfast in the ramada.
The organized activities started at 8am and included a classroom session, track overview, facility orientation, and a low-speed track ride.Infiniti of Scottsdale also had one of each of the six new Infiniti models at the track for participants to see up close.All attempts to secure an FX50 for a good track thrashing by yours truly were thwarted… I suppose they’ve read about my history with rental cars. C’est la vie!
After the classroom session, the first track session was conducted. The staff of Professional AutoSports, all professional drivers, did a great job presenting, and the information was useful for both amateurs and folks with a lot of track experience. We loaded up into our respective groups, based on self-reported skill level, and headed out on-track with an instructor.
Of course, the in-car instruction is very valuable to the novice driver, as many had never exceeded the posted speed limit, and certainly had never experienced a racetrack environment. I was impressed to witness a good representation of almost all Infiniti models – The majority of participants were in G-series coupes and sedans, but there was a nice assortment of other Infiniti models: M-series sedans, a couple FX’s, a couple G20’s, a Q45, and even an EX35.
Local News 15 was on-hand and did a prime-time news story on the event, interviewing a couple participants and showing off the professionalism and organization of the day. NICOclub was on hand, giving away t-shirts and calendars, as well as tagging cards for the grateful participants.
NICOclub’s Project G35 was one of the only modified vehicles on hand, and was the only forced-induction car on track, as well as the only car running on track wheels / tires. While prepping the car for the track sessions, I had an opportunity to meet several new Infiniti owners and discuss the modifications. I was really surprised that Project G drew as much attention as it did, and that didn’t change once we got on-track and up to speed. While there was no passing allowed in the road course sections of the track, the 5/8-mile straghtaway offered plenty of space for the G to “flex” and show off her newfound horsepower.
While Project G has been running the Vortech supercharger for a couple months, she spent the past few weeks under the skilled hands of Tony from UMS Tuning.Tony encouraged me to do away with the Split-Second piggyback engine management system and try something completely new: The Pro EFI standalone.We’ll talk about the Pro EFI on the forums a little more, but suffice it to say this was an incredible upgrade. Driveability is much improved, with a smooth-as-glass HP and torque curve. More manageable tuning allowed him to squeeze a few more horsepower out of it while keeping AFR’s plenty safe for the Arizona heat and crappy fuels.
More than a few participants commented on the “bat out of hell” sound of the supercharged V6 at full-boogie, and it was consistently attaining 140 mph by the end of the main straightaway. We’ll be adding a little more boost in the near future, accompanied by an in-tank Walbro fuel pump and some larger injectors. Suspension modifications are pretty close to complete, but she’s definitely in need of some beefier sway bars.Those will be joining the Tokico D-Specs, the Tein springs, and the full compliment of GT Spec chassis braces.
In the middle of the festivities, during our lunch break, Ken Schatzburg, General Manager of Infiniti of Scottsdale, arrived in a 2009 GTR. Talk about stopping traffic!Ken, an avid car enthusiast in his own right, and owner of an impressive stable of supercars, was a gracious host and answered a ton of questions about the new GTR. Once again, my efforts to obtain a quick couple laps were thwarted.Next time, I’m showing up in disguise.Keep your eyes out for a Steve Millen mask.
What was really impressive was the performance of some of the unmodified G37 Coupes, which were really hustling through the twisties and reaching some impressive speeds in a straight line. The EX35 was the “surprise” of the day, holding its own with the G coupes and M sedans.Everyone appeard to have a great time, and we’re already looking forward to the next event. Some of the participants’ comments after the event said it best:
“There are about 100 people who are better drivers today than yesterday because of this event. It was nicely organized, professionally run and a good opportunity to realize the performance capabilities of my G37”
“I learned so much about my new Infiniti, it is a truly impressive high performance automobile. I learned a lot about myself as well, I feel much more confident and comfortable behind the wheel.”
“The classroom instructor was excellent, and I’ve already become much more aware of how I’m driving and have even begun to incorporate some of what I learned into my everyday rides I really bonded with my FX35 and appreciate it so much more now. It was such a rush for me (I usually drive the speed limit).”
Thanks a ton to Ken Schatzburg and Mal Kinney of Infiniti of Scottsdale, the staff of Firebird Raceway and Professional AutoSports.We really enjoyed your hospitality!
Images courtesy of Tom from hartjephotography.com