2014 Tudor United Sports Car Championship

Race season is in full swing and being race fans we took the opportunity to soak in the Tudor United Sports Car Championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. If you've been stuck under a rock we'll forgive you for not knowing this is the inaugural race season for the new series that was conceived by the merger of the American LeMans and Grand-Am Series.

We can tell you that the marriage, arguably in the honeymoon stage, looks to be off to a great start and we're looking forward to following the races for the continuation of the series. But this post isn't going to recount the blow-by-blow track action and pour stats into your inner monologue. There are dedication professional sports journalists for that. No, instead we're going to tell you the story of taking a sports car fan to their first race and watching that excitement evolve into racing's newest fan.

Kin and I attended last year as noobies. Eager, wet behind the ears, first-timers trying to kick-off a burgeoning car blog empire. We had such a blast we decided the race will be an annual event for MotorEthos. After getting the lay of the land and figuring out the rhythm of it all we thought we'd invite another car aficionado, my sister Z.

She's been a die-hard Corvette fan for a dozen or more years and had been talking my ear off about the new C7 so I thought "hey lets cut the crap and see how magical this thing is in race form". Enter the C7.R. Which for the record is a beast... and (spoiler alert) won the GTLM class.

We hit the road stupid early on Sunday to make it in time for the 10:15am race start for the PC/GTD class. A nice break in the drive was catching a Hertz Penske Ford Mustang GT on I-5 and getting the driver to show its true colors by blowing the doors off us with a deep rumble of exhaust. He slowed down for us only to prove he could do it a second time. Show off.

We arrive at the Laguna Seca at the tail end of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge and the tinny sound of flat 6's fill the air. I direct Kin and Z to listen to the tune and start explaining how they'll be able to recognize the cars by exhaust note alone by the end of the day. Surprisingly the BMW Z4s sound incredibly throaty but the SRT Vipers have the meanest grunt today.

The best part of the United Sports Car Championship is the accessibility to the paddock, teams and drivers. We wonder around and admire the engineering taking place before us. We talk to the mechanics and see drivers preparing for their race as others pilot their cars from the track back to the garage. It's an incredible logistical orchestra that's playing out and the spectators are part of the action. At least it feels that way and the grin on my sister's face hasn't wavered since we arrived.

We finish our beers and grab a second round before heading up to the corkscrew to watch the pack dice through the right-hander. From our vantage point the cars appear to drop from the sky. It's thrilling. My sister puts her face to the chain link and starts taking pictures and video with her phone. A bit of aggressive driving results in a spin out and broken rear suspension of one of the prototypes. Sweet for us... not so for the driver. Unscathed he makes his way off track.

Eager to experience the race from other viewpoints we side-step downhill and work our way towards turn 2. Strolling through the vender corral Z buys her first souvenir, a Chevrolet C7.R racing flag and promises to return next year to have it signed by the Corvette team. Her second souvenir comes by way of the Corvette kiosk where she picks up a t-shirt. Fanaticism starts taking hold and she starts brainstorming ways she can trade her C5 for a C7. She been bit by the racing bug.

We finish watching the race from turn 2 then head to the podium for trophies and confetti. It's been an awesome day and we get on the road to be home by a descent hour; promising to return next season.

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