Friday, November 25, 2022

ROAD TRIP!

Groomsmen doing their best "pose like it's an ad for the new watches." Nixon brand watches provided by NMS-South. 

Since you can't be driving on a track or at an autocross event EVERY day, sometimes it's fun to just take a trip. We just wrapped up an epic road trip to attend Brian and Alicia's wedding in South Carolina, and what better way to get there from New York than to drive? Don't answer that, it's just a rhetorical question. Driving is better, and if nothing else, the TSA doesn't bug you. 

During the trip we watched Formula 1 qualifying, and saw Haas driver Kevin
Magnussen take his and the Haas F1 Team's first ever pole position!

So, what would be the best way to drive from here to there? Clearly NOT I-95 down the east coast. Nothing personal against New York City, the Jersey Turnpike, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, or even South of the Border, but come on! We've driven I-95 enough to not want to do it again, so we headed west. 

We visited the art museum in Columbia SC and saw these Andy Warhol prints of Chairman Mao. 

Our first leg took us to the exciting hamlet of JFK airport to pick up the European extension of NMS, Katie and Joanna direct from Amsterdam. It would have been fun to drive to Holland and pick them up, but we just didn't have time to take the boat. So, from JFK we have to "Escape From New York", as Kurt Russell might say (or make a movie with that title.)  This brings up the most traffic we encountered, which (SURPRISE!!) was in New York City!

Cheapest gas on the trip was in South Carolina, $2.98. 

But seriously, it gave me a great opportunity to get a photo of the sign as you leave Brooklyn, so FUGHEDDABOUTIT!


Long story short, the wedding was great, the trip was wonderful, and to be honest, it is really fun to drive!

Sneak peek at future projects, Nissan 350Z Spec racing. His and Hers if you will!


350Z Rehearsal cake, with burning rubber? YES!

Spotted at the rehearsal dinner: all the FIRST PLACE trophies from the WINNING Lucky Dog Racing League "Bunch of Idiots" team!



The happy couple, Alicia and Brian. Family is what it's all about. 




Sunday, November 6, 2022

November Autocross Report and Season Wrap-Up

Porsche 914

I was going to post a photo of a pita sandwich and title this IT'S A WRAP, but, let's just say that today we finished up the 2022 autocross season with the Porsche Club, and we had GREAT weather for November. It was 70 degrees at Tobay Beach on Long Island, and we had a very fun course full of 63 drivers today!  For the day, I managed to take 1st out of 3 drivers in my class, 8th fastest Porsche on PAX time out of 22 P-cars, and 10th on PAX out of all 63 drivers. That overall is a bit misleading, since the non-Porsches don't get a modified PAX time, so it's modified (assisted and faster) for the Porsches vs. actual (RAW) time for the other brands. So in overall RAW time, I managed 31st fastest out of 63, and I'm always happy just to be in the top half of that category. 

Porsche Boxster

Season-wise, I managed to compete in 11 events out of 13 events, and unofficially placed 4th overall on PAX time for Porsche cars. In my very small class of S05 that usually only had 2 or 3 of us at each event, I managed to win all the events I attended too. If there was a competition for Who Had The Most Fun, I'm willing to bet I'd be in the running for that prize too, and that's what any event or hobby is all about.  

Porsche 911, bring your own autocross tires!

The club held events at both Tobay Beach and the Nassau Coliseum, and we also took part in the multi-club 2-day Zone 1 Porsche Club event up in Ayer Massachusetts. This was my first time at this event, and my first 2-day autocross weekend, so it was lots of fun! At another event in October, we had the annual Top Ten Shootout, where the top drivers took turns in the same car to see who was the fastest. In a very close battle, I just missed out on 10th and last place, finishing 9th. 

Porsche 911 GT4

Today's event was a great example that you can autocross pretty much any car out there. There were a lot of Miatas, at least 3 Subarus, a Tesla, multiple BMWs, and even a Ferrari 308! Hey, don't take my word for it, here's some photos of the cars, and a video of my best run of the day. We took 5 runs in the morning and another 4 in the afternoon. 

My Best Run of the Day



Lotus Exige, fastest British car of the day!

If you put stickers on your car, make them good ones!

I learned that these wheel centers are made to look like center locks

Corvette

You can autocross a Jaguar! 2nd fastest British car of the day!

Ferrari 308, Magnum P.I. not included! Fastest Italian car of the day!

YES you can autocross a Tesla. It's scary quiet when it launches!


Sorry about the shadow, but this orange 914 looked awesome!



Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Garage Time

A great fall day outside, no Trick or Treaters in my neighborhood, so let's hit the garage!

Two packages arrived today and it looks like there is some work to be done. 
So maybe it's not the 12 Labors of Hercules, but here we go with, uh, 
THE TWELVE ELEVEN NO WAIT THREE MIGHTY LABORS OF GARAGE GUY!

LABOR #1: THE REPLACEMENT OF THE BROKEN EVIL SIDE MIRROR!
(Cue: dramatic music. DUH DUH DUUUUUHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!)

One of life's easiest repairs, because all you need is a 10mm socket. 
First you just take off the interior cover with your hands. 

Here's an electrical connection for the powered mirror. Luckily, I managed to order the right one, so UN-connect it, again using your opposable-thumbs human-style hands, two each. 

Voila! 
Or as musicians' joke: "VIOLA!"
(Hand model NOT a professional, try this at home!)

Here comes the 10mm ratchet. 
Excuse me, the SNAP-ON 10mm ratchet. 
(SNAP-ON hoodie not included)

Remove the three nuts on the inside that attach the mirror. 

Exterior view. Place new mirror here. 

Oh, and if you order car parts from Rock Auto (not a paid endorsement)
you usually get a cool car magnet like this, FREE!

New mirror attached, electric connection in place, and it works!
HERE ENDS THE FIRST LABOR OF GARAGE GUY!

LABOR #2: THE UNBOXING OF POTIONS, ELIXERS, AND MAGICAL STUFF!
(REALLY dramatic music, track 2)
Here's the 2nd Package, a boat load of cleaning supplies from 
(Not a paid endorsement) Griot's Garage, thanks to a 
birthday gift card from my great wife!


LABOR #3: THE UPGRADING AND REPLACING OF WONKY LUG NUTS TO ENSURE PEACE AND TRANQUILITY VIA WHEELS STAYING ON THE AUTOMOBILE CHARIOT!
(Dramatic music continues)
 Replacing some wonky and getting squared off lug nuts on the Toyota.
Pro tip from a mechanic friend: If the 21mm socket isn't gripping these bad boys,
go with a 22mm! It works!

     
Bonus QUIZ TIME points if you can tell which is the new/shiny/square lug, and which one
is the old/dull/caved in/rounded lug. 
PRO TIP: 3rd object from the left is not a lug nut. 

Sunday, October 23, 2022

October Autocross Report

"Pumpkins and Pylons" featured some scary cones!

Late in October I headed out to Tobay Beach once again for the penultimate autocross of the 2022 season, and enjoyed another fun filled day of being outside, a little bit of driving, and a whole lot of what you might call "goofing off with other car people." The weather person had a different idea, but we didn't let that stop us. With the field of 30 drivers split in half, we managed to get everyone out for 3 runs in the dry during the morning, and then when it got wet enough to slow things down, everyone drove 4 more runs. Here's how I did: 



In the gigantic class of 2 drivers in S02, I managed to take 1st place. Out of the Porsche car drivers, my RAW time saw me finish 4th fastest out of 11. On the modified PAX time, same result, 4th out of 11 Porsches. Then, with all drivers of all brands of cars, my RAW time was 12th fastest out of 29, so a little better than right in the middle! On PAX time of all drivers, I ended in 7th of 29, so at least this all keeps me in the top 10 Porsche drivers for 2022, with only one more event to go for this year. 


My three runs in the dry-ish morning went like this. My app times in the car do not always add up to the official run times from the club timing system, but I wanted to take a look at each of my runs and see how it went. I broke the course down into 3 sectors, the first and third are pretty straight-ahead autocross stuff with some slaloms, while sector 2 is shorter and is just a big sweeper turn at the halfway point. 


Run 1: I was driving the course, when I noticed a few cones that were knocked over and out of place, so I came to a stop. This let the course workers see that there were cones that needed fixing, and that this run didn't count, and I got a freebie re-run, or "do-over!" more practice is always a good idea!

    sector 1: 20.454

    sector 2: 7.704

Any car question should be answered MIATA, because Miata Is Always The Answer M.I.A.T.A.

The Real Run 1: 46.106 OK, on the board, rain not so bad, and with no cones, all I had to do now was drive faster on the next two attempts. Top speed was 60.7mph. 

    sector 1: 19.132  (faster than the 1st run that didn't count)

    sector 2: 7.305 (also faster than the 1st run)

    sector 3: 18.726

Beautiful and sunny Tobay Beach!

Not so sunny today!

Run 2: 46.242, a whopping one tenth of a second slower, so while that might be great in the Consistency category, it was not so good in the "why aren't I getting faster" category. One more fun to go. I have a video of this run, but my camera auto focused on either the rain drops on the windshield, or the windshield wipers, so it's just a video of a blurry parking lot! From the data I saw a top speed of 56mph. 

    sector 1: 19.293 (a tenth slower than previous)

    sector 2: 7.278 (about a tenth faster than the previous run)

    sector 3: 19.215 (oops, slower than the previous run!)

You can autocross a Jaguar!
You can autocross a Mazda 2!

Run 3: 44.544 OK, this drive felt a bit better, and dropped just over 1.5 seconds of time in one run. A few more attempts in the dry would have been fun, but the rain just kept coming on down! Top speed of 58.9mph. 

    sector 1: 18.193 (about a second faster than the other runs!)

    sector 2: 7.205 (and the fastest 2nd sector too!)

    sector 3: 18.083 (and faster again)

Here's the video of that run: My fastest run of the day, before the rain!

Maybe not a lot to learn from the sector times, but it's fun to try and figure out how to drive faster! My afternoon times were all slower in the wet, although the top speed of one run hit 58.0 with a middle sector of 7.390, so that was pretty close to the best dry time in the morning. Now all I need is a few more decades of practice, special rain tires, a better car, and what scientists called "driving skill!"

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Autocross Top Ten Shootout

Porsche Shootout Winners, 1st place Todd Roth, 2nd place Michael Kane accepts for Andre Cerqueira, and 3rd place John Mingst



Our local Porsche Club autocross season includes a really fun event for the top 10 drivers about this time of year, the Top Ten Shootout. OK, it's fun if you're IN the top ten, so I'm happy to have made it for the second year in a row. Last year's top ten was a fun event, right up to the end of driving when I finished 9th and had a heart attack, so I'm really hoping for better this year...you know, like maybe 8th place. Oh, and NO heart attack! OK, seriously, ANY placing and NO heart attack is plenty good enough for me, so there's your positive live-long-and-prosper-world-peace pep talk for today, and I mean it 100%.   

Hey, You Can't Beat  A Free Mug!

The Beach at Tobay Beach!


In the 2021 Shootout we competed in a Toyota Camry, which may NOT be the best car for competitive driving, but the point of it was to have fun with10 drivers to take turns in the same car and see who does the best. This year, the surprise car was a Nissan Altima, and while I'm sure it's a fine car, it was not quite up to the power, steering, suspension, and other fun driving factors I've gotten used to in the Cayman! However, it was fun to drive, and I gave it my best for 3 runs. 

Nissan Altima

Drivers Meeting, Great Weather!

I was happy just to be out doing car stuff on a nice day, mostly sunny, about 60 degrees, not windy or raining, and a good time was had by all. For me, I placed absolutely last, but without a trip to the hospital like last year, so I'll count that as a big victory!

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Electric Cars

All-electric Audi e-tron, with "BOO GAS" tag. 


You just might have read a thing or two about electric cars. Heck, you might have even driven, or own one by now! This past weekend I spotted an all-electric Audi e-Tron with a hilarious license plate that read "BOO GAS" and it got me thinking about electric cars. Oh, first off, I'm thinking Boo Gas is referring to the electric car, but if I'm wrong and it's an early Halloween joke of some kind with "BOO!" meant to scare me, well, whatever. 

I don't want to start any fights about gasoline, or the political influence that is now mandating the end of new gas-powered cars in the future, since the way I see it, these are just facts. In addition to some European countries, and California, recently the state of New York joined the ban on future sales of new gas-powered cars (starting in 2035.) Hey, just for fun, let's refer to the engines in those kind of cars like they do in Formula 1. Yes, the old-fashioned ICE cars, with Internal Combustion Engines. Ice cars, ha ha ha! There, did that lighten the mood? Do you need air conditioning in your ICE car? Did Fred Flintstone drive an Ice Car in the Ice Age? Ho-ho-ho!

Anyway, the Audi e-Tron that inspired this discussion is a member of the VW company, which just recently spun off another family member in a stock IPO, namely, Porsche. The long history of the relationship of Porsche and VW is way too complicated for me to explain or understand 100%, so I'll just say that the most likely result of the Porsch stock IPO is that the two families that run VW and Porsche are the ones most likely to benefit! Funny how business works that way...it all revolves around money somehow!

OK, just to say this, my best guess is that even with the future of cars being electric, or hydrogen, or unobtanium powered, the gas-powered cars we have now will still be around and need gas, and need maintenance, and need roads, for many years to come. Let's hope the scientists and rule makers come up with the best solution for the car fans, and for our planet.