Friday, September 30, 2011

1-Mazing Ride at Watkins Glen (UPDATED)

A few weeks back I posted a couple of innocent blurbs on driving the 1M for the first time here and many readers liked it. But a few weren't satisfied and demanded I take it to the track for some real testing. Not one to upset our readership here on OneHotLap, I did just that at a recent BMW CCA driving event at Watkins Glen International. My friend John C. was brave enough to graciously offer his barely broken-in Valencia Orange 1M for a fast session in the instructor group. The car was bone stock. In other words, no grabby track pads or tweaked alignment specs here to conflate my take on how this rare BMW handles the track in factory trim. Though it was fitted with Michelin PS2 tires from the factory and if you're a BMW enthusiast, you know that BMW's tire selection can sometimes be haphazard.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The 6 Steps of a Successful Skip Barber School (UPDATED)

If you've had any interest in motorsports you've probably heard the name Skip Barber. The now 75 year old retired racer started the Skip Barber Racing School in 1975 and began amassing a reputation for being one of the premier schools in the world. The alumni list is impressive with Formula One, IndyCar and ALMS drivers all crediting the Skip Barber programs as integral to, if not the start of, their racing careers.

So about a month ago I finally bit the bullet after years of saying I would sign up for a Skip Barber racing school. Excellence comes at a price and I always cited the intimidatingly high price as the reason for my procrastination. The irony is that I've absolutely spent the same amount, if not more, each year on High Performance Driver Educations (HPDE). But the all in one shot price was intimidating.

I doubt it needs to be said but... it was worth it. Join me on a breakdown of my experience, as an HPDE veteran, at one of the best racing schools on the planet...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Real People, Real Cars: Setting Up Team OneHotLap's GoPro Camera

We had invited Eva Mendes to the official unveiling of Team OneHotLap's GoPro camera at our recent BMW CCA track event. Since she turned the offer down, we had to go with our second best option: OneHotLap's Real People, Real Cars.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Batman's Lamborghini: First Aventador Arrives in the Northwest U.S.

I just had a chance to see the brand spanking new Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 (exact model name!) at a weekly exotics gathering in Redmond, WA, just outside of Seattle. The Exotics at Redmond Town Center event is the Northwest version of LA's famous Cars & Coffee. In fact, it's so popular that it's become the largest car gathering North of California.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Six Baby Squirrels Go Flying Around a Racetrack in a BMW Coupe's Airbox (UPDATED)

After two BMW CCA driving school sessions at Watkins Glen Int’l, an event participant complained about the car feeling a bit “squirrely” out on the track. When he popped the hood open to investigate a possible cause, he found acorn leftovers and critter poop all over the engine bay. Upon further examination, it was determined that 6 baby squirrels had turned the car's airbox into their home and had been smuggled from Toronto through the U.S. border.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Brakes Anonymous: A 10-Step Approach to Healing with StopTech BBK

As most “track junkies” will tell you, below is the natural brake “upgrade” progression for someone who tracks his/her car regularly:

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    VIP Parking Next To the Frozen Grey M3 at Turner Motorsport (UPDATED)

    I found my M Coupe parked next to Turner Motorsport's Frozen Grey M3 when I went to pick it up from service today. It's a bit like getting set up on a blind date with Scarlett Johansson: You just can't say no to spending some quality time together!

    Saturday, September 17, 2011

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    The Stig's Cousin the SMIG Getting Ready For Autocross

    I think the SMIG will do well at the autocross in his new BMW E30 M3. Actually, scratch that. He will do VERY, VERY well!

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    One Hot Lap of 2:13 Around Watkins Glen. In a Daily Driver!!

    I really like this Watkins Glen video for a few reasons. First, I know the driver Nick DeRosa who is very fast, drives at the limit and occasionally exceeds it (check the crazy save in the Toe of the Boot at 6:09). The video was shot on a clear day and in HD, with no traffic around so you can see the line and track better. The driver's steering inputs are captured in the camera angle and you can see how they impact the car. It's always a bonus when you can see the tach and the speedo. And my favorite part:

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Spotted: Ferrari FXX. Fastest Production Car In the World Around a Racetrack!!

    This is one of only 30 Ferrari FXX ever made and it sat right in front of me on pit road at a recent track weekend at Tremblant, Canada.

    It had a crew of two mechanics standing nearby, periodically checking the torque in the center lug nut on each wheel and keeping the car spotless, so it would be ready for its owner. You have to be on a very exclusive list of Ferrari owners to be allowed to purchase the FXX for approximately $2,000,000. However, since it is technically a development car, you still have to keep the FXX at a dealership, maintain it at the factory, and make arrangements with the dealer each time you need to have the car shipped to your next track event.

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    The iPad vs. the bPad

    A Google search on “iPad” returns 1.3 billion results. A search on “brake pad” returns only 17 million results. Our collective knowledge of brake pads then is almost 1,000 times less than our knowledge of the iPad. This in spite of the fact that the iPad has been around for less than two years and the brake pad has been around for decades.

    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    Protect the Mellon - Best Snell 2010 Helmet For Your Money

    The helmet as an art expression: SMIG's dazzling graphics by Luke Dobie
    are worthy of an exhibit at the Guggenheim.

    I was putting my helmet on at a recent autocross school when my student took one quick look at my old beat up helmet and innocently asked:

    “This must be one of the loaner helmets?”

    I paused for a second.

    “Actually, it’s my 10-year old helmet. The loaner helmets are all new and MUCH nicer”!

    Over its extended lifetime, my helmet had picked many scratches and chips in the paint. Most of the foam piece around the eyeport had torn off. It had probably been dropped on a couple of occasions. And, well, the interior smell could probably give a raccoon a headache.

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    I Saw My First Bugatti Veyron In Person Today. Stunning!

    Fastest production car in the world!
    Top speed of 253 mph (268 mph for the Super Sport version)
    1,000 horsepower
    16 cylinder engine
    4 turbos
    1.7 million dollars
    0-60 in 2.4 seconds
    0-180 in 14 seconds

    ... And none of these numbers begin to describe the feeling you get when standing next to it.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Slideshow Video From Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant August 26-28, 2011

    Here is a slideshow video from Boston/Quebec's BMW CCA high performance driving event at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant, August 26-28. These spectacular pictures were taken by professional photographer Pierre Goyette who did a fantastic job shooting all run groups from various corners of the track on each of the 3 track days. This is just a small sample from Pierre's album. High resolution pictures from the event can be provided on request. Pierre's contact info is on the last slide of the video. Special thanks to our friends at Veloz Media for their expert help with producing the video. Enjoy!

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    It's Official! Beyonce Buys SMIG's Racecar. The SMIG Travels Back To the Future With a Real M3!!

    Rumors that SMIG's hugely popular racecar has been sold have just been confirmed. Our site had earlier reported that the car was only undergoing a Beyonce to Taylor Swift conversion here. It is not presently known if the new owner will retain the triple exhaust trunk routing configuration or the single exhaust configuration reported earlier here

    The SMIG has swiftly moved on to purchase Will Turner's personal 1988 E30 M3, which has won at Lime Rock Park, Pocono, Watkins Glen, New Hampshire, New Jersey, VIR, and Mont Tremblant and has finished 1st in 95% of its race starts. 

    Thursday, September 1, 2011

    Quick Takes: Driving the BMW 1M

    I was very fortunate to get behind the wheel of a brand new BMW 1M at the last autocross event. A friend had just decided to buy one on a whim (I always look forward to my big birthdays too!) and stopped by a dealer to see if they had any. It turned out that someone had just cancelled an order and a 1M was available to take home same day. He was incredibly gracious to let everyone in sight at our event take the 1M for a drive on the street even though the car had only 200 miles on the odo.

    First impressions: looks more muscular than the 135i with its bulging fenders, signature M quad exhaust and M treatment inside and out.