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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am the media director for the Tire Rack One Lap of America Presented by Grassroots Motorsports Magazine. For those of you not familiar with the event you can go to One Lap of America to learn more about it. A fast overview is that we cover 6000 miles and race on 11 racetracks in 8 days. There are no support vehicles and you are only allowed ONE set of tires.

I had a deal in 2012 to work with another company to provide media vehicles, Normally I am given ROUSH vehicles, BMW's, MINI's etc... to use as my vehicles through my connections with the manufacturers. In 2012 I had one of my manufacturers drop out at the very last minute and was one car short.

At that time I had only owned my 2011 Sonata 2.0t Limited for a little over a year. In that time I had found the car to be Uber reliable and fairly quick so without hesitation I decided to use my personal vehicle. The only preparation I did for this challenge was to put new OEM brakes on the vehicle, change the oil to a full synthetic that was a little lighter since we would be racing in climates that varied from very warm to very cold and install my trusty CB radio and Valentine 1. The only other thing needed was a new set of rubber per the rules of the event. For many reasons I opted for the Continental Extreme Contact DWS.

The route in 2012 took us to:
- Tire Rack Wet Skid Pad in South Bend Indiana
- South Bend Motor Speedway
- Autobahn Country Club
- Mid America Motorplex
- Hallett Motor Racing Circuit
- High Plains Raceway
- Hastings Motorsport Park
- Brainers International Speedway
- Road America
- Tire Rack Dry Skid Pad in South Bend Indiana

PLUS I had to drive back and forth from Philadelphia PA... LOTS OF SEAT TIME!

I can't praise this little car enough. Through everything I threw at it, it never skipped a beat. I will be happy to answer any questions pertaining to the event or how to get the most out of the vehicle on a track. Just for fun I have included the little teaser I sent to Hyundai at the end of the event. I will also post a few stories that highlight the quality and performance of this vehicle. Enjoy!
Hyundai Sizzle Reel - YouTube
 

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You can tell from the video the OP uses Jim Kenzie's mirror adjustment system for optimum awareness of vehicles and impediments around him.

Well done Eyemsolomon, any feed back from HMA?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
New Tires, First Track Day

Our first day of the One Lap was a busy day. As I had mentioned I am the Media Director for the event. It is my job to capture photos, video and put out press releases while responding to requests from sponsors/other media outlets. While doing all that I also have to run on the tracks and be a part of the event. At each track we get to we have to unload all of the equipment in the car, set up the media area, run on track, pack up the car, drive 800 miles to the next venue to do the same thing again the next day.

My set up had my co-driver driving much of the transits while I had my "office" set up in the back seat. my office consisted of an 12v inverter with 3 plugs, One for the laptop and the other 2 to charge Go Pros and DSLR's. I had the 8 Go Gro's suctioned to the window on the opposite side I was sitting with wires running to them all to charge them with the front passenger seat pushed all the way forward to give me LOADS of leg room. I was never ONCE uncomfortable!

I digress, now that you know the set-up and what the responsibilities were I can continue. The first event 3 for the day was at the Tire Rack's headquarters in South Bend Indiana. This HUGE facility is their main warehouse and company HQ. Out front they have a little track that is a skid pad that can be wet down to hold a wet skid pad competition and that is exactly what happens during our first event. In fact if you go to google maps and look for "The Tire Rack" and choose the location on Vornden Parkway in Indiana you can see our event kicking off if you choose satellite view and zoom in!

The way the wet skid pad works is a driver drives 2 circles in the counter clockwise direction and then 2 circles in the clockwise direction. They then take the time and the known distance to extrapolate a G reading which tells you how much grip the car, driver and tires are generating.

My little Sonata with the Continental DWS pulled .87 which is a really staggeringly good number for a FWD vehicle! I was surprised at how well the chassis responded to every little input as well as how responsive the throttle was to my inputs. I had the car in 2nd gear in manumatic mode and held it right before it would have to shift. It never complained nor went into limp mode like the M3 I did it in 2008 with that was outfitted with the SMG.

After that event we packed up and went to South Bend Speedway. This is a VERY small, just shy of a quarter mile oval that is normally a dirt track. There is not a lot of grip there and you are always turning the steering wheel and pushing the car with the throttle. This is not a track that favors a FWD car especially since the load is ALWAYS on the front wheels, either both or the front right.

Once again I was pleasantly surprised at how good that chassis was. The car was super stable and did not give me the degree of understeer I was anticipating. I went easy on this track so as not to degrade my tires for the rest of the event.

After packing up again we set off for the 3rd event of the day which was 135 miles away in Joliet, IL. I have run at Audobahn many times in the past but never in a FWD car let alone a family sedan. After capturing all the footage I needed I lined up the car to head out on track. This would be the first time I really got to see what this little car was capable of.

The South course at Autobahn is a very tight, technical course. the first corner comes at the end of a long front straight and is a late braking constant radius right hand corner. Good brakes and good grip are paramount at this track. you really can't carry too much momentum around this circuit since many of the rest of the corners are late, closing corners.

Once more I was happy with the way the vehicle performed, the only thing I noticed was that (with the traction control off fully) the car would tend to rev without putting any power to the wheels if I got too aggressive using the curbing with the front wheels up in the air or accelerating hard and really un-weighting the front wheels. I would then have to wait until the ECU realized what was going on and upshifted to return power or I let off the throttle a little. From that point on I learned to sacrifice a little and get on the power more progressively with the vehicle.

Overall during the first day I was very impressed with the vehicle overall. During that night's transit drive to our next track it got a little cold so I just put the heated seat on in the rear and continued my work.

Day 2 coming soon!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You can tell from the video the OP uses Jim Kenzie's mirror adjustment system for optimum awareness of vehicles and impediments around him.

Well done Eyemsolomon, any feed back from HMA?
I had run this all the way up the ladder to Rob Lescaille who is the manager of product PR and Social Media at Hyundai North America and Chris Hosford who is the Executive Director of Corporate Communications at HMA. I stayed on top of Rob to see if Hyundai would be interested in having an official part in the 2013 One Lap of America. After months of sending information, calling and pestering I finally received a one line response with no "hello" or anything that read, "our budget is already set for next year." I then sent an email to Chris Hosford cc'ing him on Rob's response to the comprehensive information I had sent over. I also informed him that every major manufacturer in this country has an entry and a presence and that I found it disappointing from a business and personal standpoint that HMA would treat this invitation in such a manner.

I was disappointed that a company such as HMA would not even consider an involvement with this countries oldest road rally. I was even more disappointed that I received such a lackluster response from a company where I have owned 5 vehicles from.

Long story short BMW North America found it in their budget to provide vehicles again so Hyundai lost a really great opportunity.

To this day Rob's response and Chris' lack of a response is a little thorn in my side but I don't let it detract from the virtues of the vehicle and the considerable effort the engineers and designers have put into the vehicle. I am thoroughly impressed and continue to be with my new 2014 2.0t limited.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sorry for the lack of updates. Been busy gearing up for next season and uploading the raw video footage from the various tracks so you all can get a better sense of how well these little cars do on some of the most challenging race tracks in the country...Road America is a fun watch!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Day 2, Mid America Raceway

Pacific Junction, Iowa and Mid America Motorplex.

I have been here a few times with the event and after the 452 mile trek from Autobahn it was the same as ever. Some of you reading this may be familiar with "tornado alley." Well we go through the alley in prime time almost every year. For the uninitiated "Tornado Alley" is pretty much what it sounds like. It is a stretch of the country where the warm air masses from the gulf and the colder air masses from the North collide causing major storms and updrafts. These violent air clashes normally result in some gnarly thunderstorms and, you guessed it, tornados.

Almost every time I have gone to Mid America I have encountered a tornado and this time was no different. Pulling into our motel near the track we encountered some SEVERE weather. Trust me when I say there is nothing scarier than DARK (no streetlights or big city lights to illuminate the sky), rain soaked and windy 2 lane county roads. The only light comes from your headlights which arent as effective since the heavy rain essentially makes them reflect back at you and the lightning. My co-driver and I have become used to "'nado spotting" where you use the lightning bolts to keep a sharp eye for ANYTHING moving in the distance. With the CB at full volume for any National Weather Service warning, and many came through that night, we arrived and got some sleep albeit with one eye open.

The next morning found us all at the same diner (the only place in the small town) with many of the other competitors in the event. Halfway through breakfast the sirens went off and the room went silent. Another tornado had formed and this time it was less than a mile away. With the sirens still going off many of us made our way to our cars and cautiously began making our way to the track since it's literally in the middle of nowhere. Less than a mile down the road, making it's way through the nearby cornfields, we saw the reason for the sirens. While not a large tornado it was still enough to make us slow down and wait for it to dissipate.

Once the excitement of the morning was over and the skies cleared it was just about time for the first cars to hit the track. Sadly I do not have much video from the Sonata on this track as the SD card in the go pro malfunctioned but I will be posting video of the car on the track doing some ride alongs and photoshoots during lunch.

I can tell you that once more, even with a damp track, the little Sonata handled beautifully. The following video is titled incorrectly (no sleep that transit) and illustrates the weather that was still prevalent leaving Iowa! http://youtu.be/QoD_S_0eQC4
 
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