June 23rd-2017 A cloudy, foggy, and cold morning brought the start to Round #3 of the Pacific Hot Hatch Series/Veloster Challenge at Laguna Seca. Competitors from both Southern and Northern California as well as Nevada towed in to challenge the legendary race track in Monterey. As soon as the Gates opened at 7am, teams immediately began unloading and prepping their vehicles for the first practice session. Track organizers soon announced the drivers meeting which was held at the former Skip Barber Racing School classroom, a piece of history itself! Competitors overheard the rules and enjoyed the classic classroom feel with good humor. With the meeting over and registration/transponders complete, Jim Pierce gave a rundown of the event, tips to go about the track, and assisted any drivers that needed help. Veteran drivers Josh Sadler, and Eli Villa also assisted new drivers by coaching them around the track, helping them safely find track entrance/exit and the racing line.
Session 1 was a warm up for several drivers, many whom upgraded and where scrubbing in new tires on the cold track. Some drivers however went straight into race mode by clocking their fastest time of the event and passing a few Lamborghinis in the process! Session 2 new drivers were cutting several seconds off their lap times while beginning to find the racing line at Laguna Seca. As we reached the middle of the day, drivers and crew gathered together to enjoy a complimentary feast of burgers, sandwiches and snacks to reinvigorate.
The last two sessions came quickly and entrants focused on getting every ounce of performance out of themselves, and their rides. Josh Sadler pushed his Veloster beyond the limit in session three which caused the turbo to split at the studs and tear a boost hose apart in spectacular fashion thus ending his day. Other competitors began to touch a little dirt at apex's and exits to ensure they were using every inch of the track/getting they're money's worth!!! As the last checkered flag waved, everyone looked to the scoreboard to see who would be on the podium!
In the Unlimited Class, Josh Sadler did just enough to take the win again, and would finish second overall in his Piercemotorsports sponsored Hyundai Veloster Turbo with a 1:48.358. Newcomer Kelvin Martin took 2nd place in his Turbocharged Ford Escort GT (1:49.782) andJohnny Porto took a solid 3rd place with a 1:53.312 remaining consistent throughout the day in his Copper painted Hyundai Veloster Turbo.
In the Modified Class, AJ Fernandez in the Mini Motoring solutions Mini Cooper took the OVERALL and Modified Victory with a blistering 1:47.464 early on! Eli Villa defended his second place position with a 1:51.097 in the Evilla Motorspors Kia Rio BSPEC racecar, the only non turbocharged car and down 100HP to every car in the field! SoCal GarageWorks sponsored Angela Brunson (1:52.427) battled overheating issues all day, but fought hard to achieve 3rd place in her Veloster Turbo while Chris Grizey (1:55.240) finished 4th in the Volkswagon GTI. Nick Bircheff (Hyundai Veloster Turbo 1:58.805) finished 5th and continued to improve his times through out the day---this was Nick's first ever track experience, and what an amazing venue for his first!!!
In the Street Class, Max Kuo increasingly got faster and went 1:56.077 taking the win over Stephan Kreuzberger's 1:56.759 who lead most of the day early on. Both competitors finished on the same second just a few tenth's apart! Lastly Jim Pierce in the exhibition class ran his Volvo 850 "Swagon" at the front of the group all day (1:44.261) showing just how fast a well prepared HOTHATCH car can do against the Porsche's, BMW's, Lamborghini's, and other exotics!
Overall it was a fantastic event with great people, tight competition and some amazing food! We would like to thank our sponsors for their continued support in another successful and fun event. Our next event is in Fontana California at Auto Club Speedway where drivers will challenge the high speed banked NASCAR turns! We encourage all hatches from all brands and models to join in the fun, and excitement that is the Pacific Hot Hatch Series. You can get entry information, results and spectator info through the link below. See you August 19th at Auto Club Speedway for Round #4!
Saturday morning May 13th marked round #3 of the Veloster Challenge and Pacific Hot Hatch series. Drivers from across the western states joined us at the Streets of Willow Springs for what would turn out to be one of the closest battles yet! Gates opened at 6:30am allowing drivers to unload and setup their pits at the “Streets of Willow" paddock. Unlike its bigger brother next door that tests the driver’s grit with near 100mph average speeds, Streets of Willow is a 1.5mi short track similar to UK circuits like Brands Hatch and Croft. Designed to simulate twisty canyon roads with big elevation changes, drivers needed entirely different setups to deal with the many aggressive turns and threshold brake zones.
With the VC and PHHS canopies set up , drivers quickly arrived and joined the group . After friendly introductions from several new drivers everyone prepared their vehicles for the first session. Once each competitors cars/setups were complete, everyone headed over to the drivers meeting for registration and briefing on the day’s schedule. The first two sessions served as a warm up for new drivers who had never been to a track, or hadn't seen the Streets Course first hand. Pro driver Jim Pierce coached all the new entrants on how to prepare their cars, where to line up to enter/exit the track, and then showed them the racing line in his brand new 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport. Meanwhile, other drivers were already throwing down some serious fast laps taking advantage of the clean/cool track early in the day!
With afternoon setting in drivers gathered around the main canopy to enjoy fresh drinks/food and talk racing lines, setup and their cars. Some serious re-hydration occurred to prepare for the next two sessions and nearly everyone swapped/rotated tires for even wear for the second half of the competition. Others took it a bit further by bleeding air out of their hot brakes which Streets was renowned for due to constant/extreme braking at almost every corner. The last two stints would prove to be suspenseful with many new entrants pushing past times no one expected. With the variety of different hatches in the field each with its own strengths, it was unclear who would finish in the top 3!
In the unlimited class, Josh Sadler in his Piercemotorsports sponsored Veloster Turbo battled against Johnny Porto (also Veloster Turbo), while struggling to beat the overall fastest time of the day set early by the Mini Motoring sponsored Mini Cooper driven by young hotshoe, AJ Fernandez.
In the Modified class AJ Fernandez put together a solid lap early on, however second and third positions were up for grabs with Eli Villa (Kia Rio) barely ahead of Chris Grizey in his Turbo Volkswagen GTI followed by Jason Nathan in the track proven Fiesta ST. Despite how close the times were in the first two classes, everyone’s attention was on the Street class group.
Experienced driver Arlene Watson worked a graveyard shift in Las Vegas, and then sprinted the 5 hour drive to compete at a track she'd never seen before! She took the early lead battling against the two new comers who later stepped up to the challenge. Veloster Turbo driver Liz Burgon proved she truly had a lead foot cutting her times in every session by 4-6 seconds ultimately giving her the lead over Arlene by just a fraction. Max Kuo (also Veloster Turbo) however, took the lead late in the day catching everyone off guard by setting the fastest time in Street class that even rivaled some of the modified class competitor times! Both Max and Liz only days before the competition, had their Velosters fitted with the Piercemotorsports suspension/tire & wheel package which shows that it’s not always about horsepower at road courses! Lastly, in the exhibition class Jim Pierce test drove/coached all day in the new Elantra Sport fitted with prototype suspension and exhaust which will be soon be available for all Elantra Sport owners.
Results and Awards were presented at the local restaurant where everyone participated in the festivities, good food and adult beverages. In the Unlimited class Josh Sadler took the win with a 1:29.776, over Jonny Porto’s 1:32.243. In the Modified class, AJ Fernandez took the win with a 1:29.844 over Eli Villa's 1:33.492 who just survived attacks from Chris Grizey with 1:33.528. Jason Nathan's 1:34.729, and Steve Steck's 1:34.8 a fraction behind. SoCal Garage Works sponsored Veloster Turbo, driven by Angela Brunson went 1:37.453 while just out testing newly fitted Ohlin dampners from Meullerized INC. In the Street class Max Kuo set the stage with an impressive 1:36.011, taking the win over Liz Burgon who clocked 1:48.535 and Arlene Watson's 2:00.286 having a marathon day immediately heading back to Las Vegas for a birthday party!
Overall, round #2 was a great success with awesome driving, tight competitions and amazing cars all around! We hope you will join us June 23rd at the legendary track Laguna Seca in Monterey California for round #3. We would like to thank all of our Sponsors for making the series a reality---you can find sponsors, current news, results and entry/rule information at the link below!
April 1st, 2017 marked the inaugural Pacific Hot Hatch Series event at Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond, California. What once began as a series for the Hyundai Veloster, expanded to host all the popular "hot hatches" across the manufacturers to battle it out in the unique Time Attack/Trial format. Autoclub Speedway was scheduled to be the first round but cancelled due to massive amounts of rain flooding the popular race track and making it unsafe for racing. Autoclub has been re-scheduled later in the year as it's not a track to be missed! Unique to the Pacific Hot Hatch series is that each Round is at a different venue on the west coast giving the competitors different challenges/experiences at each race.
Round #1 offered ideal conditions for racing at one of the most intimidating/fastest tracks on the west coast, the "Big Track" at Willow Springs International Speedway. This 2.5 mile, 9 turn track features high speed sweepers, big elevation changes and a 1/4 mile front straight where speeds can be over 150mph! Drivers arrived early at 7am to start unloading/setting up/and preparing for competition. Right after the 8am driver’s meeting all drivers and crew joined in the PHHS canopy to get briefed on the details of the day. The event featured 3 classes---Street, Modified, and Unlimited followed by an exhibition class available for all cars/drivers interested. The morning started rough for some entrants with last minute details and adjustments using up the first session, while other's took advantage by getting up to speed early posting great numbers before the heat of the day.
During the beginning sessions, all drivers that were new to the track/sport were coached by professional racers to ensure they have a safe and fun time during the event. As the morning progressed, drivers from all classes were getting braver with times getting into the low 1:40's (near 90mph averages!). In the Modified class, AJ Fernandez made a solid first impression in his Mini Cooper by clocking a 1:39.104 making it the overall fastest time in Modified, as well as both Street and Unlimited.
The Street class was made up of Hyundai Veloster Turbos for this event and Steve Kreuchberger was just able to best Arlene Morales breaking the 1:50 barrier with a 1:48.196. This was Steve's very first time at the track and it was an amazing effort to pedal the bone stock Hyundai into the 1:40's!
In Modified class, despite technical difficulties Steve Steck set a solid time taking 2nd position in his Ford Fiesta ST with a 1:46.503 over Angela Brunson who took 3rd place with a 1:59.764. Angela was in a borrowed stock car out getting points as her car is being outfitted with new OHLIN Dampners! The win for modified however, went to AJ Fernandez, who stayed on top in the modified class and overall, all day with his sub 1:40 time---Everyone wondered if it would be enough to win overall!
The Unlimited class, Johnny Porto and Josh Sadler (both Hyundai Velosters) where fighting for the win down to the last session. Josh Sadler with his newly built motor and despite ECU problems pushed hard but couldn't quite crack the 1:40 barrier. Johnny Porto was sitting at 1:41.660 knocking on the 1:39 door as well but it wasn't to be and he finished 2nd in Unlimited and 3rd overall for the day. Further down the order the battle for 3rd was also a handful for competitor Lewis Hikes in his fully caged Focus ST who had a difficult time through traffic to get a clean lap---Lewis finished fourth overall just behind his mentor and veteran to the track Holland Hewson in the VW Golf-R with his early run of 1:43.818.
Josh Sadler's last session was chaotic to say the least! Multiple cars had spun leaving caution flags scattered around the track making it nearly impossible to put together a good lap. He patiently ran off pace saving tires until the track opened up and on the last lap of the last session of the day, he ran his personal best of 1:38.301 earning him 1st in Unlimited class and fastest overall time in competition for the day!!! The result was kept secret until the awards banquet and in true "April Fools" fashion, the names were announced out of order leaving him completely shocked that he'd won! Competitors were given shirts, medals, trophies for overall and Piercemotorsport's own Vanilla Bean Ale!
Lastly the exhibition class (which is great for folks that just want to come run with their friends---no rules/requirements, just a car and helmet needed!) had just one lone entrant, organizer Jim Pierce. He brought out his 94 Volvo 850 British Touring Car Replica Wagon for testing. He went 1:32.505 early in the day to put the car on pole in his group besting the Corvettes, Porsche's, BMW'S and McLaren's proving just how fast the "early" hot hatch's can be when driven/prepared properly!
Overall, The maiden round was a great success for all competitors with great comradery, trophies, and laughs going throughout the group. Round #2 will be at Willow Springs again but the track will be Streets of Willow on May 13th followed by Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, CA. Registration is limited so make sure to register well in advance. For more information/questions visit www.pacifichothatchseries.com!
TORRANCE, California February 1st, 2017---With the start of the 2017 Pacific Hot Hatch Series just weeks away we're pleased to announce that TIPPET AUTO DESIGN has once again signed on and will provide a generous contingency program for our racers! Bruce Tippett, after retiring his very successful Aviation business, took his passion for cars to the next level starting Tippett Auto Design. Bruce has created some unique and functional products using years of knowledge blending his aero experience with composites. You can view his line here: www.tippettautodesign.com HIs Contingency postings for the 2017 Season: Tippet Auto Designs---1ST place $75, 2ND place $50, 3RD place $25 off all products in the line! Look for more announcements DAILY now as the season opener draws near!
All contingency postings now final for 2017!!! 845 Motorsports---1ST place $75, 2ND place $50, 3RD Place $25 off all products in the line! Socal Garageworks---1ST place $50, 2ND place $25, 3RD place $25 off all products in the line! MiniMotoringSolutions-1ST place-25% of all service/labor, 2ND place 20% off all service/labor, 3RD place 10% off all service/labor Tippet Auto Designs---1ST place $75, 2ND place $50, 3RD place $25 off all products in the line! BTRcc---1ST place $100, 2ND place $75, 3RD place $50 off all custom/canned tunes! E.Villa Motorsports---1ST Place $100, 2ND Place $75 and 3RD place $50 off any KIA product in the line! Piercemotorsports---$1ST place 30% off any chassis brace/chassis brace kit/Downpipe, 2ND place 20% off chassis brace/kit/Downpipe, 3RD place 10% off any order/entire line. Tork Motorsports---1ST place 10% Discount, 2ND place 15% Discount, 3RD 30% Discount---discounts applied to all orders/products limited to $1000 and are not transferable between events. Additionally $50 shop credit will be awarded to a competitor at their discretion! All contingencies are applicable to podium finishers only---no transferring to another competitor! Contingency must be used before the next event (competitors can't save up contingency offerings/stack them up).