Friday, May 25, 2018

Sunday Sunday Sunday!

This Sunday is the annual BIG TRIPLE HEADER of motor racing. You can kick things off at 9am eastern time with the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix, and heck, you can even pronounce it Mo-NAH-co if you want! Somehow they manage to drive today's cars around the tiny streets of Monaco, so this is the shortest course of the year, and in many ways the most challenging.

Noon time, return to the US with the Indy 500, which oddly enough will be held in Indianapolis Indiana again! Wouldn't it be cool if the Indy 500 was held in Pittsburgh or Sacramento? Nah, not really. OK, how about if the Indy 500 was 400 miles long? Well, I guess that wouldn't fit either, so let's just keep it how it is. Last year we had F1 driver Fernando Alonso competing in the 500, but this year he'll be back in his McLaren at Monaco. I've never driven the track at Indy, but have marched a lap several times with a marching band, and run on the track during a couple of half-marathons. My guess is that driving at over 200mph is WAY faster and more fun!

Finish off your BIG TRIPLE HEADER with the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 from Charlotte Motor Speedway. Our NMS drivers have done a few laps at Charlotte in our own cars, so I can pretty much guarantee it would be a blast to do it at higher speeds in a NASCAR ride too. With the banking on the big oval, Charlotte is a great place to drive.

Whatever type of racing you like, there should be something you enjoy on SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

NMS Drives BMW

Classroom time before autocross
Thanks to BMW

Sunday May 20th had the NMS-North team driving into New Jersey, more specifically the big parking lot at Met Life Stadium to drive some BMWs. This is a free event that BMW hosts at several locations across the country, and if you like driving someone else's car for FREE (our favorite flavor), then check this website to see if they're coming to a town near you! BMW Schedule

To be more specific, we were driving the BMW X2 Xdrive28i and the BMW 530e on an autocross type of course, with each driver getting a few ride alongs with the expert instructors, and then getting to drive 1 practice loop of each car. After all that practice, we got ONE SHOT against the clock to determine who was the fastest. Here's the standings from my group of 20 drivers:

Times DO NOT include CONE PENALTY!

So, as you can see, I took fastest in raw time behind the wheel of the mighty BMW 530e. HOWEVER, in the interests of full disclosure, I knocked over one cone, and like in autocross, that adds a 2 second penalty to my time, which means that I really wasn't the fastest and didn't get to compete any more. With the two second penalty my time was 32.31, so even with that extra time I would have been 9th out of 20. Oh well, I drove fast, and only injured one little plastic cone, so all in all not bad! Here's the judge's time sheet, which DOES include the cone penalty:

The judge's time sheet

Other than knocking over a cone, I had a great time, really enjoyed driving the BMWs, and would encourage you to drive one too. There are still some more dates of the Ultimate Driver Experience coming, so check out the link above and have fun. Here's a few more shots from today:

Welcome to Met Life Stadium

BMW i8

Hey, BMW makes motorcycles too!

Sure, I'll drive your car for you!

Free snacks, thank you very much!

Inside the hospitality area

Charge your phone while you're at it

BMW i3 electric, note how the rear door opens

Buy a BMW i3 and you get two years of charging from EVgo

Warm up area!


M760i, with 12 cylinders!

M760i interior

Coffee Bar

Two cars that we drove

How to correct oversteer: Correct, Pause, Recover (CPR)

Group 4, ready to go drive!

Riding on Michelin tires

Our BMW instructors

X2 ready to go on course

530e ready to go

Meet my instructor Kathy, she was awesome!

Free water bottle? Thanks!

Friday, May 18, 2018

NMS-North Autocross Standings

Fastest Italian
OK sports fans, before we get to the next event on June 10th, let's take a look at the standings in the Street Touring Class after the first three events of the season. Keep in mind that drivers score at each event and receive nine big points for victory, six for 2nd (AKA: first loser!), four points for 3rd, three points for 4th, two points for 5th, and all others get one little point just for playing our game!

NMS is sitting in 6th place, and at this point in the season we've finished fourth at our two events, and hope to move up in the future.

Looking at the cars involved, we see the most are from Japan (Miata, Subarus), then from Germany with the BMWs and VWs, some from the USA (hello Mustang and Ford Fiesta/Focus STs), and one from Italy. We'll have to give the Gold medal for autocross car building to Japan, Silver to Germany, and Bronze to the good old USA, but will point out who won WWII.

Spoiler Alert of the Day!

Looking across the field of 22 drivers, we see only one driver, Marc Rudon has competed at all three events, and six others have run at two events. One thing we've learned is that you have to play the game if you want to win, so it's important to compete as often as possible, ideally at each competition so you don't leave any points that you might score. My guess is that the rain at the last two events has kept the number of drivers lower, so getting into June and the summer should see more folks coming out. Another bonus starting in June is that the NY Region will be driving at the Nassau Coliseum, so that should be closer to more competitors and bring out a bigger field.

May at Splish Splash

We've had a different winner at each event, so that has spread the points out a bit. My guess is that there are plenty of drivers that could grab a lot of points and win the class or take a top spot, since there is plenty of driving still coming up! For what it's worth, the top four spots are taken up by rear wheel drive cars (Miata, Scion FRS, Subaru BRZ), and then we get into some front wheel drive and all wheel drive cars. The Street Touring Class certainly has it all, and also allows a reasonable amount of modifications to stock.

Subaru behind a Volvo

Speaking of front wheel drive, several of us are in the new Street Touring Hot Hatch or STH class that the SCCA just created this year. I'll be interested to see how the FIAT does in this class-within-a-class up against the Ford Fiesta ST, Focus ST, Honda Civic, VW Beetle, etc.