OneLap Main

Preview | The Sendoff | The 3rd Man | Starting Line | Watkins 1 | Michigan | Heartland | Texas | Atlanta | VIR | Watkins 2 | Epilogue | Great Stuff! | Contact Us | FAQ

return to the home page

One Lap of America 2001 - Bill and Mark's Excellent Adventure!
Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers)
So tell me again, just what is One Lap of America?

One Lap of America is an automotive competition.  Over a period of one week, entrants compete, in their own cars, on racetracks spread around the country.   At each racetrack we run what are called "time-trials".  Each car runs 3 consecutive laps from a standing start.  The car with the lowest elapsed time gets the highest score.   The competition occurs on the racetrack and not on the highway. 

How far did you drive?

Because the racetracks are spread halfway around the country, competitors drove about 4000  miles from track-to-track, over a period of one week.   Here was a map of our journey. 

We also had to drive some 600+ miles each way, to and from the starting line near Watkins Glen, NY.  Plus there was the actual on-track driving, and the occasional stop at WalMart for supplies.     If we look at the total mileage, it was around 5500 miles over a total period of 10 days.

So are these race cars or street cars?

A little of both.  Once the competition starts, you cannot tow your car on a trailer.   So in order to compete, you must drive your car from track to track.   Therefore the car must have a license plate, and must carry insurance.  That means the car must have been street legal at some point, however technically there is nothing in the rules that requires the car to be street legal during the period of the competition.   Some cars running One Lap are essentially race cars that were at one time street legal.  Some are completely stock, just like they came off the show room floor.  However you can bet the ones running up front were more often the former, than the latter.

Can I run One Lap?

Absolutely.  The next One Lap is in May, 2002.  Check out the official One Lap website for details.  All you need is a little (actually very little) on-track experience.  If you attend an on-track driving school, you can qualify for One Lap.  It's really quite easy to do.  I recommend you do more than one driving school, though.

Why does it take more than one person per car?  Why do you need a team?

Unless you can go a solid week without any sleep whatsoever, you can't do it alone (and they won't let you try, anyway).  Each day you run at a different track, and the tracks are so far apart that you are always moving.  So in order to get some sleep you need a co-driver.  On occasion you can grab a couple of hours sleep in a hotel, but it just isn't enough.  So you will need to sleep in the car while your co-driver is driving to the next track.

What does it cost to compete in One Lap?

The entry fee is around $2000 for two people.   Your total costs will vary as you need to eat, etc.  I documented our total costs on the "Epilogue" page.

What modifications have you done to your car?

The engine is completely stock.  I have a modified exhaust.  A stock RX-7 from the factory makes 255hp.  If I'm lucky, with my modified exhaust, mine should make about 265hp.  The only other performance enhancements that I added, were aftermarket springs and shocks, and a strut-bar reinforcement.    The brake calipers and rotors are stock, but I did run high-performance brake pads from Carbotech.    I added a roll-bar and 5 point racing harnesses for safety, but they aren't required by the rules.   

Is it safe?

Safe is a relative term.   Because the competition is in a time trial format, the passing on-track is relatively limited.  Cars leave the starting line about 10 seconds apart, so you aren't racing directly against the other cars on track, only against the clock.   You do occasionally catch the car that started in front of you, so some passing does occur.   One Lap is MUCH safer than wheel-to-wheel racing, where cars start side-by-side, and your goal is to be first to the finish line.    Most of the tracks (but not all) that we run are road-courses, designed so that you have some "run-off" room, and won't necessarily hit anything, should you go off track.    But accidents can happen.   So you must wear a helmet.  I've never heard of anyone getting seriously hurt on a racetrack while running One Lap.   Personally, I think the biggest danger is falling asleep at the wheel while driving on the highways between tracks.  So pick your co-driver well! 

You've said that you teach at driving schools.  Can I get you as an in-car instructor?

Sure.  Mostly I teach for Car Guys Inc.  A link to their website is on the "Great Stuff" page.   However, I don't go to every school, so send me an email to find out where I'll be next.  I also teach occasionally for the BMWCCA at schools in the southeast, and for Virginia International Raceway.   If you have access to a racetrack through other means, I also provide instruction privately on a per-diem basis.   You can contact me using the link on the "Contact Us" page.