With the absence of a physical SEMA Show this November, KW Automotive North America decided it was time to take matters into their own hands, making lemonade out of lemons, if you will, and host their own shindig called the KW Tech Expo & Trackfest. Due to COVID19 restrictions, space was very limited at Buttonwillow Raceway (home of Super Lap Battle Finals) and masks were required, but all in all, it was a fun-filled Thursday as friends and fellow enthusiasts in the aftermarket industry came together to shakedown their project cars.
The itinerary for the day for was quite simple, starting with the "Tech Expo". Broadcasted on Facebook livestream by our friends at Hoonigan, KW unveiled its Variant 5 coilovers. Some takeaways about the new V5s:
- Direct descendant of KW's motorsport suspension which has used advanced four-way adjustable coilovers for years.
- Repackaged for high performance street and super cars. First applications will include the 2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette and 2014+ Lamborghini Huracan models.
- Solid piston design reduces uncontrolled and unwanted suspension movement as well as allowing for a lower spring rate.
- Features four-way dampening adjustability with high-speed and low-speed tuning for compression and rebound (high-speed referring to sharp corners, hard launches, faster transitions; low-speed referring to large sweeping corners, gradual acceleration, initial support and driver feedback).
Following the product unveiling, it was time for the "Trackfest" portion of the day, which consisted of 7 sessions of non-stop racing (for those that remember, this event replaces KW's previous "Shakedown" event which took place at Streets of Willow). Run groups were divided into threes, with beginner, intermediate and advanced driver skill levels. I was jealous that I didn't bring out my own A90 Toyota Supra project car as the flow of the event was incredibly smooth and stress free.
No driver felt rushed, crowded or in any danger. It wasn't a competition; only good times were to be had with some drivers chasing each other down for fun, testing out new parts and tuning settings, as well as giving ride-alongs to friends. Honestly, it was one of the most laidback track days I've ever attended, and it felt more like an industry hangout, which is exactly what a lot of us needed after enduring such a tough year - not to mention a year without SEMA. Our hats go off to the KW team for throwing such a dope event. We can't wait for next year!