Having been part of the timing and scoring team for well over a decade, we tend to see a lot of the same faces and sheetmetal year in and year out, though there's always a steady stream of newcomers. Every few races, however, there seems to be a bumper crop of new cars that show up as old ones get tired and drivers find something different to play with. This is clearly one of those times, perhaps brought about by the dominance of the Nissan GTR over the last several years. As a result, there are a glut of the Japanese supercars in the fold, along with other noteworthy new models including an Audi TT RS, a BMW M5 and 1 Series M Coupe, not to mention a factory-prepped Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. As ever, there's a brace of Porsche 911 and Chevrolet Corvette models of various vintages, along with a Dodge Viper or two and a Ferrari 430. There's even an E-Series ambulance and an incredible sounding Honda Odyssey, also running with factory support.
Unfortunately, one key classic will be notably absent from the paddock this year: Brock Yates. Father of One Lap Of America and the legendary Cannonball Run that spawned it, Yates' health has been deteriorating due to Alzheimer's. Yates' son, Brock Jr. has been ably running the event for many years, but this is the first time that Senior won't be in attendance.
As has become the usual, this year's event kicks off in South Bend, Indiana at title sponsor Tire Rack's massive headquarters with a wet skidpad event. The motley crew of madmen and their motors will then jog down the road a few miles to the South Bend Motor Speedway (a paved oval) before hoofing it over to Autobahn Country Club's road course in Illinois. After that, it's off to a string of road courses starting with scenic Pacific Junction, Iowa, for the Mid America Motorplex, then on to Oklahoma's Hallett Motor Racing Circuit before heading to High Plains Raceway in Colorado. After that, it's off to Motorsports Park Hastings in Nebraska followed by a trip to Brainerd International Raceway in Minnesota. Then it's over to Wisconsin's legendary Road America before the sleepless and bedraggled horde stumble back into South Bend next Saturday, May 12 for a final dry skidpad event. Got all that? If you don't, you can check out a map here.
As we'll be working the event, we won't have the ability to give you daily updates on the rally's progress, but if you're interested in keeping tabs on the action, check out One Lap Of America's official website and Facebook page, both of which figure to have live updates as the race gets underway this morning. In the meantime, you can check out our massive gallery above. It doesn't have every one of the roughly 75 that are scheduled to race, but if you are new to One Lap, it'll give you a good idea of the automotive diversity on display.
We'll see you in 3,300 miles or so, if not sooner...