Tuesday, January 31, 2017

World Champ Needs Help: Helmet Design Contest!

Three time world champion Lewis Hamilton is offering you a chance to submit your ideas for his helmet design for 2017! The contest closes on February 6th, so good luck! Here's the link: Helmet Design

If you want to check out what his helmets have looked like in the past, here's a great story with photos from the official Formula 1 website: F1

For professionals like Lewis, their helmet is the one part of them that we can see during a race, so it's important to have a unique design or color that even the TV cameras and the fans in the stands can notice. Unlike NASCAR, the Formula 1 drivers race number is generally not such a big deal, and the idea of one driver keeping the same number for their career is still a new idea.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Washington DC Auto Show

Acura NSX: Built in Ohio, like NMS!
After visiting the annual DC Auto Show at the Washington Convention Center yesterday, all I can say is that if I win the huge lottery, then I've got a lot of expensive cars I will want to buy! It's fun to see the real expensive ones in person (I'm talking to you McLaren, Audi, Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, Jaguar, etc.). It's also fun to see what is new from many makers, all in one huge location, even if I can afford them too! While I don't have professional photography skills, and I will confess that the art of taking good photos in brightly lit indoor car shows somehow escapes me, but it's still fun to share some of the cool cars spotted in DC.
Porsche 917
Let's face it, most of us will never buy a Bentley or an Aston Martin, but we can still dream!

Before  heading to the new cars, how about a Lasalle?
Enterprise will rent you an Aston Martin DB9 in DC!

Nissan GTR: AKA: "Godzilla"
Tesla roadster

Friday, January 27, 2017

Cool Vehicles: US Army

You might not think of the US Army when you think about cool car museums, but up at Fort Eustis Virginia (or Joint Base Langley-Eustis), they have a cool museum that salutes the Army Transportation Corps. Its chock full of not  just cars, trucks, and jeeps, but helicopters, trains, oddball flying machines, and good general history of the US Army, from the mule to the modern vehicles like the MRAP. That only makes sense when you think about it, because other than the Revolutionary, 1812, Civil War, and a few others, our Army has had to play most of it's game out of town, so transportation to get there and get things done becomes critical to winning the ball game!

Here's a sample of what's in the museum, you can visit them for free anytime you're in the area. The base is conveniently located near Yorktown, Williamsburg, Langley, and not far from Norfolk and Virginia Beach. Just get yourself to Richmond VA and go east a bit! If you hit the ocean, you've gone too far!

I couldn't resist a photo of this Chevy on base. Not sure about those tail lights!

WWII era Plymouth

Classic WWII posters


Even the Union Pacific did their part

WWII era poster

WWII Jeeps were built by Willys and Ford

WWII Europe setting: Red Ball Express

WWII in Europe

DUCK, see next photo for description

Built in 1942 with 91.5 horsepower!

Korean War era helicopter: a la M.A.S.H.

Dodge 3/4 ton 4x4 from WWII

Check out the Weasel, built by Studebaker!

M29 Weasel: I had never seen one of these before!

Mule description, and in the next photo

Variations of the Mule built from 1956-1970

HMMWV or Humvee or Hummer
Just for fun, let's all say "high-mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicle" 

More modern HMMWV


MRAP: Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Tidewater Sports Car Club 2017 Autocross Schedule

Believe it or not, recently we had some snow here in the Tidewater area, enough to close schools for three days! That made for some fun driving out on the street, snow, ice, and slush, but now it's time to get serious about 2017 autocross with my favorite club, the TSCC. From their secret underground lair, somewhere near the AUTOCROSSING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD, PUNGO VIRGINIA, the TSCC released their schedule for this year, so, here we go! If you live in the Tidewater area, or the Hampton Roads area, or Virginia Beach, or Chesapeake, or Norfolk, or Portsmouth, heck, anywhere near here, you need to come out to one event this year. You'll have a blast, and I guarantee you'll want to come back and do it again. I'm always willing to let folks ride in my car or even co-drive, so just let me know.

Before getting to outdoor stuff, you can also brush up on your indoor karting skills with the TSCC by driving at their indoor kart series, every Wednesday night from now to February 22nd, at the Speed Club Center Indoor Go Karting at 14346 Warwick Blvd in Newport News VA.

You can get all the latest info on the Tidewater Sports Car Club's website at TSCC
March 4, 2017
  • High Performance Driver Education - North Carolina Center for Automotive Research
    March 4, 2017
    NCCAR, 310 Technology Dr, Garysburg, NC 27831, USA
    Not an autocross, but driving YOUR car on a track with other drivers. If you're new to this, we'll give you an instructor to ride along, and you'll have a LOT of fun!
March 19, 2017
  • Autocross #1 - Pungo Airfield, just north of Pungo Pizza
    March 19, 2017
    Fast technical driving on a demanding little course in your car!
April 29, 2017
  • Gripfest 12 - North Carolina Center for Automotive Research
    April 29, 2017
    NCCAR, 310 Technology Dr, Garysburg, NC 27831, USA

    On the track at NCCAR, driving laps at high speed. 

April 30, 2017
  • Autocross #2 - NCCAR
    April 30, 2017

    Last year we did one autocross at NCCAR, and it was the fastest course of the year, so I'm really looking forward to doing this again! Great facility. 
May 20, 2017
  • Novice School - Pungo Airfield, (just north of Pungo Pizza on Princes Anne)
    May 20, 2017

    If autocross is new to you, or you just want to check it out without competing, then this day is for you. We'll provide the instructors and helmets, you just need a car and a desire to drive!
May 21, 2017
  • Autocross #3 - Pungo
    May 21, 2017
June 17, 2017
  • Test and Tune - ACU-4, (on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story)
    June 17, 2017

    An autocross like event, but not competitive, this day lets you try different driving techniques and vary your car's set up. 
June 18, 2017
  • Autocross #4 - ACU-4
    June 18, 2017
July 16, 2017
  • Autocross #5 - ACU-4
    July 16, 2017
August 20, 2017
  • Autocross #6 - ACU-4
    August 20, 2017
September 2, 2017
  • Academi Fall Event
    September 2, 2017
    ACADEMI, 850 Puddin Ridge Rd, Moyock, NC 27958, USA
    Another road course event, whoo-hoo!
September 17, 2017
  • Autocross #7 - ACU-4
    September 17, 2017
October 15, 2017
  • Autocross #8 - Pungo
    October 15, 2017
October 28, 2017
  • High Performance Driver Education - NCCAR
    October 28, 2017
    NCCAR, 310 Technology Dr, Garysburg, NC 27831, USA

October 29, 2017
  • Gripfest 13 - NCCAR
    October 29, 2017
    NCCAR, 310 Technology Dr, Garysburg, NC 27831, USA
    Back to the track at NCCAR!
November 19, 2017
  • Autocross #9 - Pungo

Friday, January 20, 2017

NMS Drivers: Still Available for Formula 1!

NMS-Ready to Race!
The big news this week in Formula 1 is that 3-in-a-row Constructors winners Mercedes have officially announced that Valterri Bottas will be their driver. Since Bottas was signed to Williams, the Williams team have now officially announced that Felipe Massa has come out of retirement to drive for them again in 2017. Since Mercedes young driver Pascal Wehrlein was NOT signed by Mercedes, the Sauber F1 team officially announced that Wehrlein would drive for them in 2017. Hmmm, no where in there did anyone say that any of our NMS drivers would be signed to Formula 1, so we just wanted all those teams to know that we're still available!

The only F1 team that MIGHT have an opening for this year is the Manor team. However, the Manor team's finances are up in the air, and unless a financial backer steps up, or someone with a lot of money buys the team, then Manor might not be racing in 17. So, I'm going out to buy some 1 dollar Manor Racing Team Purchase Lottery Tickets, and if I win the $150,000 Mega Millions or Powerball, I'll consider making a bid on buying the entire Manor team, and then hiring NMS drivers Brian Nixon and Jason Rucker to drive my two cars this year. Hey, a guy can dream can't he?

Monday, January 16, 2017

Verizon IndyCar Series 2017 Schedule

Robin: Holy race car Batman, it's January 2017 and we need to start planning to follow the Verizon IndyCar Series!

Batman: Right you are Robin, let's go to the Bat-Computer and check it out!

R: So Batman, as you can see on this BAT-MAP, the races will be held from Florida to California, on a mixture of ovals and road courses! And they start on March 12th!

B: Righty-O old chum! As you also likely noticed, both ABC and NBC Sports Networks will be covering races this year.

R: JEEPERS Bruce, I mean Batman, you're right. With so many races, I just wish there was some way to keep track of the dates and locations, and TV schedule.

B: Robin, haven't you been paying attention in your studies? With the Bat-Internet, you can dowload virtually all information known to man on your smart phone!

R: You're right Batman, I need to focus on learning, because crime never rests.

Alfred: That's right boys and girls, YOU can find out more at the official website for the Verizon IndyCar Series at INDYCAR

Friday, January 13, 2017

Hampton Roads International Auto Show Report

Virginia Beach Convention Center

This weekend is the local Hampton Roads International Auto Show here in Virginia Beach HRIAS. The show continues Saturday and Sunday. Here's a look at some of the sights from today! Special thanks to FORD for giving free admission to our military. Click on each photo to get a larger view.

Thanks to FORD

First up: The new Maserati SUV, the LEVANTE

The new Chevy BOLT all electric car is getting rave reviews, with a range of over 200 miles!
If you're not ready to go all electric, there's always the monster Chevy CORVETTE
They still make the SMART car, and you can even get one as a convertible
The new Toyota CAMRY has this feature I've never seen, that's an air vent back there in the back seat
This Honda CIVIC gets my vote for MOST GREEN car of the day
The HONDA pickup truck has a tailgate that opens sideways, and extra storage under the bed
Cool wheel, Nissan 370Z
This Buick CASCADA in red really stuck out in a sea of black, gray, and white vehicles
Catchy gray matte paint job on this  FIAT 500X
FIAT 124 SPIDER, shared platform with the Mazda MIATA
Alfa Romeo GIULIA, finally arriving at dealers now. You've got to love a car named for your wife (Julia)

Alfa badge, a classic, snake eating a guy!
Audi IR8, V10 motor! Starts at about $162,000

I think I've got the name correct: "IR8", which maybe someone should explain that in English it's "IRATE"
Porsche 718, commonly known as the Boxster. List price around $56,000, this one had options that made it $73,000
Another new SUV: the Jaguar F-PACE
Also new, the Jaguar XE. The basic XE will the cheapest Jag, mid $30,000 range
A new MINI model this year, the COUNTRYMAN, will be on sale in a few months
Can you see the Union Jack flag in the back of the headrests?
BMW M40i

BMW M40i sky-view!
I liked this VW display for their RallyCross racing Beetle
SPOILER ALERT VOL II: This Subaru BRZ has a really cool spoiler, that even has little end plates!
Mazda MIATA, convertible and hard top versions
Mazda MIATA, very cool in this gray color hard top

Formerly a Scion car, this is now the Toyota 86

Toyota COROLLA iM with graphics

Toyota 86 with the circular 86 log on the headlight

Small 86 badge on the side of the Toyota

My vote for ugliest color of the day? This Chevy Cruze

"Orange Burst Metallic"

Toyota was offering free test drivers, so I enjoyed getting behind the wheel of this Highlander, and a Prius