Only two weeks after NICOFEST Atlanta, we were off to Virginia International Raceway for our 3rd year bringing NICOFEST to GT Live. For a tradition that is only three years old, this event has grown leaps and bounds over where it started. For those of you who don’t know about GT Live, this is an event that any Motorsports enthusiast will enjoy. Unlike the previous event in Atlanta, this event is all about performance and driving skill. It’s like a Disney World of Motorsports. Lapping Sessions, Auto-X, Time Attack, Endurance Racing, Go-carts, Drifting, you name it—it’s there.
On Friday, the first day of the event, the NICO Time Attack car hit the full course circuit in an attempt to get some track time and see how it ran against other similar built cars. Unfortunately, the NICO Time Attack team was struck with troubles as the car blew a head gasket. Without an extra gasket readily available, this would be a quick end to the weekend for the car. However, that didn’t detour us from having fun. The weekend was just beginning!
Friday night, as with any NICOFEST event, we headed out to dinner to hang out with everyone and enjoy a few beers. Meeting up at the Outback, this was the first time many of us had met, and for those of us who knew each other, it was great seeing faces that we only see once or twice a year. Of course, staying with typical NICO fashion, we headed back to the hotel to indulge in some more adult beverages and look forward to the forthcoming events of the weekend.
Saturday we headed to the track early. There was so much activity going on, everyone split off into their own direction to watch what interested them the most. Some people hung out at our tent to relax, while others watched Time Attack cars compete, and Endurance cars practice. For me, this was when I took my G37 out on the track for the first time in the Lapping Sessions—which was an absolute blast.
Morning was quickly over, and as the afternoon came, we headed over to the go-cart track for some reserved NICO go-carting time. We had 20 people, so they let us run two 25 minute sessions with 10 people in each group. This is perhaps one of the highlights of the weekend every year because we can all participate in this. Not everyone brings a car to the meet, or is registered for track time, but everyone can participate in the go-carts. This was great fun for all of us, and after 25 minutes of carting, despite the fact none of us could move our hands anymore, we still could not stop talking about who was lifting, where the best apex points were, and who spun. If only we could have even more time on the track!
Saturday seemed to pass quickly, and we soon left to head back to the hotel and clean up. Then we all headed over to Ham’s for dinner. Ham’s is quickly becoming a NICO tradition, as they have the best food in town. And if you stick around until later, the atmosphere changes as karaoke starts, the bar gets crowded, and the kids go home. This year however, just as things were starting to pick up at Ham’s, we decided to head back to the hotel for a little alcohol injection and good times.
Just about everyone at the hotel was there because of GT Live, so as one might imagine, it didn’t take long before the hotel turned into one big party. There were about 10 rooms that had doors open and dozens of people in and out of them all night, and although only about half of those were NICO members, we all had a common interest amongst ourselves [beer], and on top of that, we apparently all like cars too. Lots of craziness happened Saturday night, but those stories are best left untold.
Sunday morning, as we were all trying to overcome our hangovers, we headed back to the track for some more fun. Because there were few of us, if any, participating in the events on Sunday, it was a great time for us to sit back, enjoy the sounds and smells of race fuel, and watch some racing. We spent some time watching the Koni Challenge six hour endurance race, the Drifting finals, and even strolled around taking pictures of some of the cars parked in the infield. After a relaxing afternoon being spectators, we decided to pack things up and head home. As we each parted our separate ways, we couldn’t help but to remind each other to come to the next NICOFEST event, because with as much fun as they are, it’s simply something that can not be missed.