The One Lap of America: A Little Less Burt Reynolds, A Little More Actual Racing

When hearing someone talk about the Cannonball Run, most think not of the outlaw road race, but of the 1981 movie with a star-studded cast. The movie was one of the most popular of its day and it continues to be beloved by auto enthusiasts. The downside to that popularity was that it brought the focused attention of law enforcement agencies from New York to Los Angeles and all points in between. As they say, “that was that.”

Born from the ashes of the Cannonball, the One Lap of America is from the same mold and very much in the same spirit. The difference between then and now is that the racing is done on various tracks rather than on public highways. The current One Lap format is typically run the first week of May and always starts and finishes at the Tire Rack facility located in South Bend, Indiana. Where the competitors travel during that week varies from year to year, and therein lays the fun.

The 2008 edition of One Lap traverses 4,060 miles between its start on Saturday, May 3rd, and its completion on Saturday, May 10th. Entrants will compete at the Tire Rack facility for a wet skid pad event, then on to Road America, Mid-America, Texas World Speedway, Lonestar Motorsports Park, No Problem Raceway, Carolina Motorsports Park, the BMW Performance Center, Virginia International Raceway, BeaveRun Motorsports Complex and the facilities of Design Engineering, Inc., before heading back to the Tire Rack facilities for a dry skid pad event.

On April 5th and 6th, BeaveRun Motorsports Complex outside of Pittsburgh, PA hosted the One Lap School that is held annually to allow previous competitors to complete a shakedown of their car. It also allows first-time participants to prove that they have what it takes to compete; get familiarized with the One Lap process; and acquaint themselves with their co-driver(s), equipment, and competitors.

While not participating in the 2008 One Lap, your authors participated in the school’s Sunday sessions, as BeaveRun is their local track and participants weren’t required to be One Lap entrants. For those of us who are locals, the One Lap school, which has been held at BeaveRun for several years, is always a great opportunity to see a fresh batch of interesting cars and to get out on track with a new mix of drivers. It’s also fun to meet new enthusiasts from around the country – and from other countries as well. In addition to drivers from far-away locales, there was a contingent from the Toronto area driving a MkV GTI, a MkIV R32, and a Cadillac CTS.

There was decent VAG representation at the event: The B5 Audi S4 and MkIV Jetta GLI of your authors, as well as the MkIV R32 of local Ted Geibel and the two VWs from Canada.

Below is the calendar of events for the 2008 One Lap of America. Please be sure to catch them if they’re visiting your local track – it’s quite an experience!

May 2nd – Check In and Registration at Tire Rack, South Bend, IN

May 3rd – Tire Rack (Wet Skid Pad Event)

May 3rd – Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI

May 4th – Mid-America Motorplex, Pacific Junction, IA

May 5th – Texas World Speedway, College Station, TX

May 5th – Lonestar Motorsports Park, Sealy, TX

May 6th – No Problem Raceway, Belle Rose, LA

May 7th – Carolina Motorsports Park, Kershaw, SC

May 7th – BMW Performance Center, Spartanburg, SC

May 8th – Virginia International Raceway, Alton, VA

May 9th – BeaveRun Motorsports Complex, Wampum, PA

May 9th – Design Engineering, Inc., Avon Lake, OH

May 10th – Tire Rack (Dry Skid Pad Event)

We would like to thank our sponsors for their continuing support: BBS USA, Motul Lubricants and ECS Tuning.

For more discussion on this story, click on the link to our discussion forums at the left.