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Speed News March 2017

Speed News Magazine - The Official Magazine of the National Auto Sport Association

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Giant Slayer Alexandra Sabados does a lot with a little in her 1974 Porsche 911 RSR replica. Story and Photos by Brett Becker DATA BOX Owner: Alexandra Sabados Year: 1974 Make: Porsche          Model: 911 Weight: 2,321 lbs. w/driver Engine: 245-hp 3.0-liter H6 Transmission: Stock Porsche 915 Suspension: Front: Ohlins and Sachs  Rear: Ohlins and Sachs   Tires: Front: Goodyear 10 x 16             Rear: Goodyear 14 x 16 Brakes: Front: Porsche 930 Turbo Rear: Porsche 930 Turbo Data system: Traqmate Sponsors: NA One of the easier things to forget about the Porsche 911 is how light the early models can be. With the addition of fiberglass body panels and fascias, and the removal of factory glass, the car can become surprisingly light, just 2,321 pounds with a driver in the case of Alexandra Sabados’ 1974 RSR replica. That’s lighter than all 1.8 liter Spec Miatas. Combined with the boxer six-cylinder engine, the cars can boast an impressive power-to-weight ratio, even the older air-cooled power plants. Sabados gets 245 horsepower out of her 3.0-liter engine. That’s roughly 183 cubic inches for those of you keeping score at home. NASA Rocky Mountain racer Sabados has just such a car and its power-to-weight ratio is potent enough to put it in German Touring Series 4. That puts Sabados up against much newer Porsches — Cup Cars, even — M3s and other modern sports cars. So, winning, as Sabados has done her fair share of in the Rocky Mountain Region and on a National level, isn’t easy in her “momentum car.” “I don’t have a huge engine. I’m not about the top-end speed. I’m about the turning,” Sabados said. “That’s what I do. I just love High Plains Raceway because of that, because I can’t beat the other GTS4’s if there’s anyplace that they can open up their engines. My little guy doesn’t do it.” But she finds a way to win. In fact, she won the GTS4 National Championship in 2010 and 2013 and has scores of podium finishes to her name. She also holds track records at Motorsports Park Hastings, Pikes Peak International Raceway and High Plains Raceway.
 Born and raised in Breckenridge, Colo., Sabados was a Junior Olympics ski racer who took up racing after the birth of her first child. She learned how to drive a stick shift in a Porsche with her father instructing from the right seat. She and her father started doing track days together and eventually instructing with the Porsche Club of America. When they decided to go racing, they each had a 911 built as replicas of the 1974 RSR. The car her father built was the one Sabados remembered from her childhood. “He had a matching yellow one, and his car was actually the car that I grew up and learned to drive in,” she said. “He picked me up from elementary school in that Porsche and it was a 1975 911S. We had both of them and started just doing drivers ed in that 911S, and from there we bought the 911SC for me and we converted them both in 2011 to these RSRs, which is a car he always dreamed of having, but he didn’t want to put a real one on the track.” Her father has since stopped racing due to macular degeneration in his eyes, but he still comes to the track with her and helps out. John James Racing in Chandler, Ariz., built the cars for them at the same time. “We saw his cars at another track somewhere along the way and that’s how my dad was introduced to him,” she said. Among the modifications John James Racing added were all the lightweight RSR body panels. He removed the 3.2 liter engine and replaced it with the 3.0-liter. The modifications show fastidious attention to detail and all the due car you’d expect in a ground-up build. John James Racing also increased the track width at all four corners and fitted the massive rubber that makes the car stick. The car also was fitted with the factory 930 Turbo brake setup. “I love the brakes in the car,” Sabados said. “You can go pretty deep and really hard on the brakes.” Sabados has since replaced the shocks and has had to get used to them, and she had to pay for some sheetmetal repairs after a little incident during a race with the PCA. She’s also been getting additional seat time with Alex Welch, competing with his team at Sebring, Daytona and at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, where the team finished third in the ES class and fourth overall. When the snow melts in the Rocky Mountain Region, and the 2017 racing season begins, look for Alexandra Sabados at the front of the back, battling giants and doing a lot with a little.

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