San Antonio, Texas,
10
November
2018
|
03:43 PM
America/Chicago

Yes, there’s a Whataburger racecar

This may be the fastest, coolest, and (best of all) orangest car you’ve ever seen

This Whataburger racecar might be the best thing you never knew existed.

Weighing 3,400 pounds, with a V8 Chevrolet RO7 engine, and a 390 carburetor that pumps out 750 horsepower, this 2018 Chevrolet Camaro is capable of going 205 mph – and looks good doing it.

The car is Whataburger orange, complete with the Whataburger logo emblazoned on the hood.

The Camaro runs races in Alabama, Texas, and Arizona. “The fans there love it,” Starr says. “When we unload that Whataburger car, they go crazy. It’s pretty awesome.”

In Arizona? You can meet the drvier, David Starr, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, at the Whataburger restaurant at 2040 N. 75th Ave. in Phoenix! Come out to pick up some free Whataburger gear, and enter for a chance to win two VIP credentials to the Nov. 10 PHX International Speedway Xfinity Race.

And hey – it looks cool, but every element of the car is designed to keep the driver safe if he hits a wall at 200 mph.

 “These NASCAR racecars are built especially for racing and for safety,” Starr says. “There is a roll cage of bars all around us.”

Check out the door – there’s no handle! Starr climbs in through the window opening each time, so the car frame can remain intact. (The mesh goes back in place for protection once the driver is safely strapped in.)

Since the doors don’t open – the steering wheel detaches to give him a little more room to enter and exit.

Lights? Who needs lights? Actual lights would be a safety hazard, because of the potential for broken glass. So the Whataburger racecar uses decals to simulate the look of headlights.

(And tail lights.)

And while the car is definitely built for speed, it’s not about luxury. “I don’t have an AC system, or a great radio, or GPS,” Starr explains.

He does have five gears, including reverse. “But the only time we really shift is when we’ve got to make a pit stop because we need to change tires or get fuel,” Starr says. “You go from going 195 mph to about 50 mph for that pit stop.”

When the car pulls in for a pit stop, it takes the crew 13 seconds (yes, you read that right) to change four tires and put fuel in the car. And then Starr guns it back out there.

Even the tires on a racecar are different. Since the vehicle never runs in the rain, there’s no need for treads. “We have slicks, so all that rubber meets the race track and it creates more grip,” Starr says. “The more grip you have, the faster you can go.”

Starr’s suit is also designed for safety. “If there’s ever a fire inside the race car, I have about six seconds where this suit will keep me protected,” Starr says. That six seconds … “That will help me survive.”

He also dons fire-retardant safety gloves and shoes, as well as a helmet. “Everything’s about helping me be able to go home to my family at the end of the day,” he says.

Racing is a melding of talent and materials. If a driver has confidence in his or her car, they can drive a little more aggressively. If their car isn’t running right, or needs new tires, their driving will reflect that. “It’s all about teamwork,” Starr says. “You want to trust your crew, and you want the car to be ready.”

After more than 20 years on the circuit, Starr is philosophical about each race. “It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish the race,” he says. “And even if you start dead last, you can still win the race.”

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