One Lap of America Comes to TWS
May 19, 1999
Tami at TWS
Subaru 1965 ERA 427 SC
Honda 4 Diablo
Car Wash Mitsu Lancer Evo V 325i
330ti/Evo V 330ti at TWS ti vs Vette
1967 Lotus 7 1986 325 733 service
Tami and Tony chat 1998 Tahoe 1981 Hartage H3
1998 Diablo 1994 Renntech SL600 1994 Viper
1965 ERA 427 SC Click for GIF
Be sure to click on the image to left to see a ti take on a Vette!
It was Monday, May 17th. I can’t remember if Tomme Eng called me or I called Tomme but our conversation quickly turned to the One Lap of America. Tomme had mentioned several weeks before that the One Lap was coming to Texas World Speedway in Bryan/College Station. Well, I failed to write down the date and wouldn’t you know it, the One Lap would be at TWS that very Wednesday! Good thing I am self-employed. I quickly made arrangements to play hooky from work with Tomme and called around for other takers. It did not take long before we had Tony Lee joining us for our drive.

Before going to the event I checked out the One Lap’s Web site ( and noted that Tammi Hull (you may have seen her name in the Roundel) had entered her E-30 M3. Also entered were several other BMWs plus an interesting assortment of cars including several interesting Japanese products, a Lamborghini Diablo and Corvettes.

The One Lap of America has changed somewhat from its first run. For starters, the Time Speed Distance challenge that had been used in getting the competitors from one track to the next is gone. Now you only have police officers and lack of sleep challenging you in getting to your next track event. And getting from one track to the next can be a challenge and it is important to have a co-driver(s) to help share the highway driving duties (walking around the paddock area I noted a large number of drivers sleeping in or near their cars).

Once the drivers get to the track, they are given a lap to get familiar with the track followed by several timed laps. Of course, not all cars are let loose on the track at one time (there were some 100 plus entries). The first group that ran (the faster cars) there were only 5 or 6 cars running at one time. Some of the other groups had as many as 10 cars running. At TWS the One Lap used the shorter 1.8 course in the morning followed by 3 timed runs of the longer course in the afternoon.

I was really impressed with the competitors at this event (well, most of them). We walked up to several cars to look at them up close and we were generally greeted by some very friendly teams, eager to talk about their cars and their experience with the event. Most of the time we did not even have to bother asking to look at the engine or the inside of the cars since the teams would offer to this every time they saw you admiring their cars.

As I mentioned before, Tammi Hull entered her E-30 M3 and had Denese Becker helping her with the highway driving. There was also another BMW entered with an all ladies crew in the number 40 car, a 1986 325 co-driven by Danielle Sally and Judy Celelli. Personally, I like to see ladies racing and I hope we’ll see these two teams return next year (along with more ladies’ teams).

Despite the Cobras, Lotus and the Lamborghini Diablo, there were two cars that really grabbed my attention. The first was Catesby Jones’ 1995 318ti. As some of you already know, we have a 318ti in our family and it is one of my favorite cars to drive (my 2002 wins by the smallest of margins) and so I am a little partial to tis. But this was no ordinary ti. Catesby had replaced the stock 4-cylinder engine and shoehorned an M3 engine. And just for good measure, he turbo charged it (see for turbo info), bringing the horsepower up to 430hp! As Pirelli likes to say “Power is nothing without control” so the suspension was also upgraded. The results were incredible. The little ti was set to run with one of the faster groups, which included two Corvettes and a Rennsport Mercedes-Benz. The Corvettes were waved off before the ti and had a good lead. Coming on to the straightaway you could see and hear the second of the Corvettes giving it everything it had and just behind was the little hatchback. At first I thought Catesby was just a better driver and was able to catch the Corvette in the back curves but then I saw him accelerate, catch up with the Corvette and drag race him into turn one! The whole crowd went wild as the little 318ti blew right by the Vette and beat it to turn one (see above for the action).

It was impressive enough to see Catesby catch the second Corvette that started but the first one? Well, he caught the second one, too, as they came back in from the new section and beat this Corvette into the turn. The little ti had caught and passed the two mega dollar, mega horsepower Corvettes within three laps. This car was definitely a crowd favorite. Catesby’s rebadged 318ti (now known as a 330ti) finished in 5th place on its 2.9 mile run at TWS (behind a Mosler Raptor, Mallet Corvette, 911 Carrera and a Diablo) and in 3rd place overall.

There was one other car that really impressed me. This was a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution V (top picture, page 15) that was shipped in from Australia. I know, this is not a BMW but Mitsu’s approach to racing is very nice. Sure, BMW offered the M3 Lightweight, that is supposed to be almost ready to race. But the Lancer IS ready. This car was brand new – it had been recently shipped to Australia from Japan. As soon as it made it to Japan they turned around and shipped to the USA for the race. As far race preparation, the car needed nothing – this was delivered ready to race complete with a roll cage, adjustable rear wing and minus A/C and stereo. The price for this machine: about 50 grand. Still, it is a very nice car and its “stock” shape managed to finish 5th overall.

I am told that the One Lap of America was happy with the welcome it received at TWS and it is planning on returning next year. Catesby also tells me he will be back…plan on calling in sick!

For results and more information on the One Lap of America see