Optima World Championship of Autocross - Riyadh 2019

Turbo6inKY

Short Guy
Jun 18, 2001
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A few people know about this, but since I'm getting on a plane, it's probably OK to let the cat out, so to speak.

This week, from November 21-26th, will be the first ever Riyadh Auto Show in Saudi Arabia. I was invited by the organizers, in conjunction with Optima Batteries, to take my car over for the show and participate in an autocross competition at the venue.

This is a big deal. Americans that weren't diplomats, military, guests of the Royal Family, or specialized petrochemical personnel assisting Aramco have only been allowed in the country for a year or so, and this will likely be the largest influx of non-military Americans to the Kingdom in one shot since the Crown nationalized Aramco back in the 1950s.

The entire festival is directly aimed at stimulating an automotive aftermarket and service industry, so the show is set up in the model of SEMA, with hundreds of companies from around the world and the U.S. flying in with booths. 450 show cars have been shipped over from the States to participate in the show, including the 20 cars from the Optima series that will be putting on an autocross competition. My car was picked up in early September and has been on the ground in Saudi Arabia for about two weeks.

I'll try to update this thread from the Kingdom if I can, especially if I can figure out what they're using for social media coverage. We aren't the target audience, so English language content has been sparse. Internet access there is still pretty tightly controlled. But you can count on a full write-up once I get back. They're squeamish about photography there, too. So I may have to leave the imaging to the TV crew that's going to be following us around. If I can get links to some of that footage to share, I will.

Oh, and there's a purse. $25K to the winner of the competition we're putting on. So that's a thing. The way the course is being run, a single cone will DSQ you, so I'm hoping my competitors get greedy and hit stuff while my generally better consistency will win out. We shall see. The competition surface is fresh asphalt and will be slicker than snot, which will negate the horsepower advantage of some of these guys.

Stay tuned!
 

Hotfoot

Active Member
Jan 1, 2016
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A few people know about this, but since I'm getting on a plane, it's probably OK to let the cat out, so to speak.

This week, from November 21-26th, will be the first ever Riyadh Auto Show in Saudi Arabia. I was invited by the organizers, in conjunction with Optima Batteries, to take my car over for the show and participate in an autocross competition at the venue.

This is a big deal. Americans that weren't diplomats, military, guests of the Royal Family, or specialized petrochemical personnel assisting Aramco have only been allowed in the country for a year or so, and this will likely be the largest influx of non-military Americans to the Kingdom in one shot since the Crown nationalized Aramco back in the 1950s.

The entire festival is directly aimed at stimulating an automotive aftermarket and service industry, so the show is set up in the model of SEMA, with hundreds of companies from around the world and the U.S. flying in with booths. 450 show cars have been shipped over from the States to participate in the show, including the 20 cars from the Optima series that will be putting on an autocross competition. My car was picked up in early September and has been on the ground in Saudi Arabia for about two weeks.

I'll try to update this thread from the Kingdom if I can, especially if I can figure out what they're using for social media coverage. We aren't the target audience, so English language content has been sparse. Internet access there is still pretty tightly controlled. But you can count on a full write-up once I get back. They're squeamish about photography there, too. So I may have to leave the imaging to the TV crew that's going to be following us around. If I can get links to some of that footage to share, I will.

Oh, and there's a purse. $25K to the winner of the competition we're putting on. So that's a thing. The way the course is being run, a single cone will DSQ you, so I'm hoping my competitors get greedy and hit stuff while my generally better consistency will win out. We shall see. The competition surface is fresh asphalt and will be slicker than snot, which will negate the horsepower advantage of some of these guys.

Stay tuned!
congrads and good luck make us turbo regal owners proud. :) you already made us proud just getting invited.
 
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Anthony P

Active Member
Jan 24, 2007
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well done Andrew. after not seeing the car at SEMA, I remembered something so I looked up your (old) blog updates to refresh the memory this was in the works. should be an interesting field skating around a fresh track surface.:eek:
 
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Turbo6inKY

Short Guy
Jun 18, 2001
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well done Andrew. after not seeing the car at SEMA, I remembered something so I looked up your (old) blog updates to refresh the memory this was in the works. should be an interesting field skating around a fresh track surface.:eek:
Yeah, I didn't make a run for SEMA this year. We had a vacation scheduled for that week (Hawaii > Nevada), so I only ran one Optima event this year.

But one was enough to get invited to this.

I'm strongly considering a run for the OUSCI next year... in a Ford Probe I picked up on Ebay for $500. Just to prove you don't have to drop $100K into a car to make it. We shall see how that pans out.
 

Turbo6inKY

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Jun 18, 2001
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I made it back in one piece! It was a VERY interesting trip. The autocross competition we were supposed to put on got canned because of some logistical mistakes that were made with the layout of the surface, but the show was a smashing success. Literally hundreds of thousands of people came over the six nights of the show.

As for Saudi Arabia itself, it is modernizing quickly. Almost nothing they warned us about is true anymore.


Here's an album with all my decent-ish pictures.

 

grass doctor

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Sep 21, 2018
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well thats kinda a bummer on the track issue , but what a great experience anyways , always cool to see another culture . nice pics thx for sharing !! very cool cars to see

how much weight did you loose?? those bowls of food didn't look to appetizing , one looked like play-dough and the other like vomit :LOL::LOL:
 

Bullnerd

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Jan 16, 2005
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Very cool!

Bummer on the track. I follow a lot of off road forums and there was a group of guys that went over to do a similar deal you did, but offroad. They had the same problem, nothing went the way it was supposed to. Most of their gear never showed up.

How fast were you going when you did that hot wheels loop?
 

Turbo6inKY

Short Guy
Jun 18, 2001
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blog.andrewdscott.com
well thats kinda a bummer on the track issue , but what a great experience anyways , always cool to see another culture . nice pics thx for sharing !! very cool cars to see

how much weight did you loose?? those bowls of food didn't look to appetizing , one looked like play-dough and the other like vomit :LOL::LOL:
The food was actually fantastic. I lost about four pounds, but that's from all the walking at the show.
 
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