LS Fest Texas 2023: Autocross, Track X, and 3S Coverage


LS Fest Texas 2023: Autocross, Track X, and 3S Coverage


Baer Brakes/ 3S Challenge - Pushing the Limits of Speed, Grip, and Brakes

The Baer Brakes 3S Challenge is an exciting event that combines the elements of autocross and speed-stop to create the ultimate test for both car and driver. The "3S" in the challenge stands for Speed, Stop, and Steering, highlighting the key aspects that will determine success in this thrilling competition.

Participants in the 3S Challenge will need to showcase their car's balance, power, suspension setup, and brakes while also relying on their own skill and focus as drivers. The 3S Challenge is an integral part of the Grand Champion competition at LS Fest and will take place on Saturday. It's also open to those drivers who signed up for autocross, providing an additional opportunity to showcase their skills and compete for glory with standalone awards.

Competitors must use DOT-approved street tires with a 200-tread wear rating or higher. Tire changes between events are not allowed, except in the case of failure. The typical S3 Challenge, such as at LS Fest West and East, is a stop-start with two vehicles starting simultaneously. It features a straightaway, followed by a tight 180, another straightaway, and then a stop inside the box of cones. However, here the track is tight. It's one car at a time with one long sweeper and no straight section.

"You've got to carry as much speed as you can and use the whole car's grip laterally the whole way and keep it tight," said driver Richard King. "You have to go wide at the very beginning to get the most out of the angle going into the turn, but after that, it's really keeping it tight. And if the car isn't too unsettled, you're pointed straight to the box, and you can focus on braking." King ran 13.90 seconds after the first two rounds of S3 Challenge, putting him in first until Josh TKTK in his '64 Corvette knocked him off the top spot. This is King's second time running S3, as he ran this event last year. It doesn't always take tons of horsepower. King claims his 113,000-mile LS1/T-56 C6 Corvette is the least powerful motor in competition with headers, intake, and tune.


  • Tim Molzen 13.739 ($75 Holley gift certificate)
  • Richard King 13.523 ($150 Holley gift certificate)
  • Josh Leisinger 13.159 ($250 check, Optima Battery, Jacket)

As with every LS Fest, there's one simple rule: you must be LS or LT powered. This results in a mix of cars. Obviously, there are plenty of Corvettes and F-bodies, but several LS-swapped C10s, early Corvettes, a few Mustangs, and plenty of late-model muscle, from twin-turbo budget third-Gen Camaros to ZL1s with aerodynamic upgrades.

Participants are welcome to run forms of "grip racing" (such as autocross, Track X or 3S Challenge), and Grand Champion participants run all forms, including autocross, Track X, 3S Challenge, and drag racing. Then, scores from each racing form are combined with car-show scores, where they're rated on their build quality. This opens the doors for a mix of competition.

Both LS Fest West and LS Fest East are spread out over their facilities, whereas LS Fest Texas is housed inside the Texas Motor Speedway, giving the ability to be well-lit and each event close to the other. "This is a unique facility. Out of all LS Fests, it's the smallest footprint. Last year it seemed like a really big event, and this year it seems even bigger. Next year, we may move some activities outside the oval," said Jimi Day. LS Fest Texas also saw an increase in almost 40 percent more sponsors and vendors too.

Speedtech Engineering and Lateral-G Autocross

The weekend kicks off with the autocross segment, where participants maneuvered through a challenging course marked by tight turns, slaloms, and hairpin corners. Precision driving and quick reflexes were paramount as drivers navigated their vehicles with remarkable agility, aiming to post the fastest lap times.

Hurst Track X

The road course racing segment tests the drivers' abilities to tackle a demanding circuit layout. Texas Motor Speedway's 1.5-mile track features an inside road course that's segmented for the Track X competition. Drivers start from a standstill and run the system, a combination of tight cone-radius corners and long sweeping road course segments. Drivers push their vehicles to the limit, skillfully navigating the high-speed straights and testing their limits in the tight turns, all while aiming for the fastest lap times.

Baer Brakes and Pro Touring G-Machines 3S Challenge

On the last day of the competition, the autocross is turned into the 3S Challenge. Here cars compete head-to-head, accelerating from a stop and then turning 180 degrees, racing back to the finish line. But the finish line is a bit tricky. You must come to a complete stop within the cones. This makes for entertainment for spectators as cars pile up smoke trying to make it to a complete stop and clock in the shortest time possible.

Saturday Track X – Road Course Racing Meets Autocross

The Summit team of Corvettes usually bring their A-game with multiple LS Fest trophies. Driven by Josh Leisinger, he’s currently the fastest in Track X and planes to keep it that way.

Inside the Texas Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval is a, depending on the configuration, a 2.4 to 2.7 mile road course. This weekend it’s the home for both the Drift Competition and Track X. Track X is a combination of autocross and road course racing. Drivers start from a standstill, just like an autocross, and then navigate the road course with a select amount of cones. The track features a combination of wide-sweeping and tight cone-marked turns. There are also two optional chicanes, but not optional as in you can skip them, but rather drivers can enter on the left or right.

Track X is one leg of the Grand Champion competitor’s racing for the weekend, but also an event all its own. Saturday morning, Track X competitors hit the track hard.

The team of Summit Racing Corvettes are show-stoppers, up close and on the track. Josh Leisinger in his LS-swapped ’64 Corvette knocked out a 27-second lap, a ½-second faster than the next car, a C6 Corvette from Richard King.

When asked what his expectations are, Josh replied, “go faster.” Track X is one of the more exciting and enjoyable sections of Grand Champion, but not the only one. “I try to be good at everything,” said Josh.

“We had a couple of surprising guys get into the low 28s, so it’s been exciting this morning,” said Rob Byrd with the Racing Byrd, who handles the timing on Track X. “There are only about five cars in the low 28s, a couple in the 29s, and then more are into the 30s.”

Josh’s sister car, the white ‘64 Corvette roadster usually driven by his brother took home the trophy last year, so this year they don’t plan on anything less than a stellar run. This year it’s driven by Johnny Cichowske of Nine Lives Racing, who works on the team’s aerodynamics. “Oh, we’re gonna win, we didn’t come to get second,” said Johnny who hasn’t driven the car in competition before. “The car is easily a winner. Track X is my favorite part of the weekend.”

According to Johnny, the Corvettes make over 500 pounds of downforce at 80 mph. A standard Corvette typically sees lift at that speed (the opposite of downforce), “We have a big advantage over the other guys without aero,” said Johnny.

Even though the schedule is tight, they anticipate running four rounds. After both the Hooker Blackheart and Hurst Shifters Groups run there’s Track X fun runs but most Grand Champions will be too busy, as there’s drag racing, the second-round of autocross, and 3S Challenge. It’s a war of attrition, where a fast car isn’t enough, but it must be fast and consistent.


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