Monday, January 2, 2012

We Raced in Georgia

I really should have divided this into two separate posts but I didn't.  Prepare for a lot of pictures!

We just returned from a quick but very fun trip to Georgia.  The main purpose of our trip was to participate in the annual Petit BraMans go-cart race.  More about that later...
We arrived a day early so we could spend some time at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.  We didn't think we would ever see an aquarium as cool as the Monterey Bay Aquarium but this did not disappoint!  It was fantastic!

This diver was in the huge coral reef tank.

We walked through a huge aquarium as 15 foot whale sharks swam above us!
And giant sting and manta rays.

After walking in a tunnel through the huge aquarium, we were able to just sit at this window and watch.  Amazing!

There was a tank of baluga whales.
And a hands-on pool with rays and small sharks.

An albino alligator.
Here we are waiting for the dolphin show.
Back at the hotel...

Later that evening we met up with Dave, Connie, Eliott, Carlee and "C" for a peek at the track.
Here's the scoop:  Weston's uncle is a motor sports enthusiast and Grand Am team owner.  He hosts a go-cart race each year called the Petit BraMans (named after the Petit Le Mans).  It is held in what was once a women's brazier factory - hence the name.  There are a couple dozen teams of 4-6 people racing go-carts for 6 hours (yep - 6 HOURS!).  Which I guess is short compared to the 10 hour and 24 hour races they used to host.  Anyway - we were invited to join the race this year so even though we had no idea what to expect - we accepted.
Here is the track:

Grandpa Dave:
They even had a kiddie track for the little ones.  They didn't drive these cars, though.
They drove go-carts.
The smallest helmet they had.

Cate was an awesome driver!

Even I got behind the wheel!
At this point it was all fun and games and I still was not anticipating racing the next day.
Here I come!
There I go!
When we arrived at the track the next day - I was shocked at how fast they were driving!!  I was a little nervous but was assured that our teams' goal was to lose.  I could probably manage that.

We got all suited up...

Addie's got her game face on!
Pit stop area.
Team Optimus Prime consisted of Dave, Connie, Wes, Emily, Eliott, Addie and Isaac.  We each drove 15 minute intervals for the entire 6 hour race.

The little girls stayed in the kids room to watch movies and play with toys.  And occasionally did some laps on the kiddie track.
Wes decided he need to look the part and found some sponsors.

Ready, set...go! 
After our first few drivers, we were in 9th place!! (We were known at that time as "Kart 5").
The spectators.  There were about 100 people total at the race.  And apparently some big names like David Murray and Johnny O'Connell were there racing too!
Connie was awesome!  Once the kids and I took to the wheel, we dropped to 13th place where we stayed for the rest of the race.  There were a total of 19 teams.
When we weren't racing, we toured the HUGE warehouse.
There is enough equipment, materials and machinery in here to make an entire race car - from scratch.  Which is exactly what they were doing.

I wish I knew more about what I was looking at...because I'm sure what I was looking at was incredible!

Weston's uncle has the world's largest collection of rotary engines.

The race finished about 8 pm.  We came in 13th place.  It was a long day.  Our hands and arms were stiff and sore.  We were all dirty and reeked of exhaust and gasoline.  But we had such a great time!!  It was one of the coolest things we have ever done.  Thanks to Dennis and Pat and the family for an awesome day!


Nikki said...

My kids will be absolutely GREEN with envy!! This is super cool. Any way we can get an invite next year?! :0

jason @ motorsport sensors said...

How cool are aquariums?

And yep! Some great photos. You did warn us!

Becca said...

Awesome and hilarious that you guys up and went to GA, all at the same time.