Gridlife Goes South… In a Good Way [Gallery]
Gridlife, a growing motorsports event/car show/music festival, made its way to Road Atlanta for the very first time for one hot weekend. Georgia’s summer sun seemed intent on blistering everyone’s skin, and drivers struggled with overheating vehicles – but the culture, comradery and cars made it all a rewarding experience in the end.
Leaving his mouthwatering chocolate-colored K-swapped ’92 Civic hatchback at home, Jared Schlueter made the 970-mile trek from Northern Michigan to Road Atlanta to join in on the fun and photograph friends racing.
#GridLife South Mixes It Up
Take a peek into what could just be a budding Gatebil for us North American kids. Drivers buy tickets months in advance for time attack competitions, full-course drifting and Gridlife’s HPDE (High Performance Driving Event) with beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. While the track is hot, a car meet known as the Gridlife Showcase displays a variety of built import and domestic vehicles nearby. The field glistens with expertly detailed paint, meticulously cleaned rims and giant polished turbos.
“Shade and water were top priority for everyone,” Jared reported. “Several time attack competitors had heat issues, which resulted in short sessions, so making the most of their first hot lap was important.”
Jared recalled several incidents on the track, the most notable involving a white Nissan 350z and a white Mitsubishi Evo X. Sometimes the track can get the better of drivers when they push their limits, and it’s never an easy thing to witness.
Team Risky Devil thrashed around the track with their supercharged LS Nissan 240SX S14, which consistently left the other drifters in clouds of billowing smoke.
Cody Loveland brought the Enviate Hypercar out for another shakedown, and by the end of the weekend, he had a tear or two in his eye. After crashing the original base at Pikes Peak in June 2013, he began a total rebuild the following August, resulting in the Enviate.
There are still minor adjustments to be made to the aerodynamic structure, but the many years invested in this monster finally paid off. The hand-built beast is alive and roaring to go.
Devin Stiglitz Giles dominated the time-attack rounds with his Honda S2000, which hits full boost at 4,000 rpm.
“I love it. It’s a turbo car that reacts like a naturally aspirated vehicle,” he said. “The drastic elevation changes at Road Atlanta are something we don’t see much in the Midwest, and it made for a great experience.”
Battling with driving withdrawals, Jared took the opportunity to ride shotgun in Matthew Niedzielski’s Ford Focus, and now he can’t wait to challenge himself as a driver on the course.
Hopefully Gridlife South becomes an annual event for Road Atlanta. Until then, feast your eyes on the 2016 Gridlife South photo gallery above.
Photos: Jared Schlueter