Spectre 341 Challenge returns for 2011 with more competitors, faster times [w/video]

Ask any of the competitors for the Spectre 341 Challenge what the goal of the event is, and you're likely to get a different answer every time. Lou Gigliotti, ALMS driver and owner of LG Motorsports, will tell you that it's to break the course record of 3:10.53 set by event organizer and Spectre Performance owner Amir Roseenbaum back in 2002. Gigliotti bested his time from last year by seven seconds with a modified Corvette ZR1, but fell a few seconds short of the overall record with a time of 3:14. Others, like Kevin Wesley, say it's about breaking into the 3:41 club. Wesley did just that, managing to get a 3:39.9 in a completely stock Dodge Challenger SRT8 392. For many, though, it's simply about having a fun weekend and being able to go home in one piece.

The event, held on a 5.2-mile stretch of twisty mountain road near Virginia City, Nevada, allows anyone with a street legal car, a fresh set of tires, $341 dollars for an entry fee, and an unhealthy amount of bravery to run the course as many times as they want in two days. And that's the beauty of the 341 Challenge. The event is pretty much open to whoever wants to enter, no matter the budget. RJ Gottlieb arrived with his famous "Big Red" Camaro along with an entire crew and a helicopter to film the whole thing. Then there's guys like local Jeremy Kappus, who brought out his daily driver Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IX, or Thomas Berndt, who competed with a Toyota MR2 he modified himself.

The affordability of the event essentially makes the 341 Challenge an inexpensive two-day track event, albeit a dangerous one with no run-off areas and very few guardrails to protect against the numerous drop-offs and cliffs. Beforehand, drivers are warned about the dangers of off-camber turns, slippery painted lines, and not cutting corners into loose gravel on the side of the roads. Most heeded the warnings, and there was only one incident the entire weekend with the driver walking away unharmed.

Overall, the this year's Spectre 341 Challenge was a resounding success. No less than 48 drivers completed 391 runs up the hill, logging over 2,000 miles at speed, and five new drivers were inducted into the Spectre 3:41 club. Most importantly, everyone went home safe. Next year's event has already been scheduled for June 15-17.

You can view photos from the event in the gallery above, or follow the jump to see videos from the event including Lou Gigliotti's run up the hill in his Corvette ZR1.

The video meant to be presented here is no longer available. Sorry for the inconvenience.

The video meant to be presented here is no longer available. Sorry for the inconvenience.

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