Thursday, October 27, 2011

October 27: Not a Good Day for R-comps!

To autocross or to ice race this weekend: that is the question!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

One Hot Lap Partners with Turner Motorsport!!

OHL Friends,

You have probably seen the Turner Motorsport banner to the right of this post by now. Group code "ONEHOTLAP" gets you 5% off the entire TMS store, every day, no exceptions. This discount is exclusive to Clicking on the Turner banner and adding items to the shopping cart automatically applies the discount to your entire purchase!

As a rule, we will only add site sponsors with products that we like from our own experience. One Hot Lap is all about performance driving and we will only recommend companies that make positive impact at driving events. Turner hits bull's eye with their performance products and performance-oriented service approach. We expect nothing less from the 2011 Grand Am Driver and Team championship winners!

Monday, October 24, 2011

2007 Porsche 911 GT3 RS at the Autocross

This is one of the most fun cars I have ever driven at the autocross. Throttle response is immediate. It accelerates with vengeance. Sticks like superglue. And it pulls the skin off your cheeks under braking.

Contrary to popular belief, trailing throttle oversteer is very easy to manage with the 315 mm Hoosiers! Lift if you need rotation in a turn. Get on the gas if you've rotated enough. The only trouble I had with it is getting used to the really wide rear track. You never see or hear the cones. Hip-checks only. You feel like a hero until you stop by the tent to get your time and the Announcer goes "You swiped 3 cones with the rear of the car by the end of the first runway and we stopped counting..." Thanks -- it really doesn't matter when you're having so much fun!

And here are the Results form the event.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Car Show vs. Top Gear USA: One Hot Lap's Contributors Battle it Out (UPDATED)

One Hot Lap's contributors spar with each other on The Car Show vs. Top Gear USA:

Nicolas says:
Let’s get straight to the bottom line: Both shows are trying their hardest to emulate Top Gear UK.

Like many gearheads, I am a huge fan of Top Gear UK. The show is phenomenal with entertaining and witty commentaries, breathtaking video editing and a budget with seemingly no limit. I have actually managed to turn my wife to it so I don’t have to sneak out of bed in the middle of the night to watch it. She enjoys it, which speaks to the show's broad appeal: 40% of its viewers are women.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Strippers to the Right, Please!

It looks like One Hot Lap is getting hugely popular and even local gas station attendants have been reading it religiously. We poked fun at one of them for trying to ease pain at the pump by helping customers Insert Card "Like Picture" Here. The attendant took notice and corrected the label. Here is what the new label looks like (intended strictly for those who don't believe a picture is worth a thousand words):

So the way that I understand it, too many people were stripping directly in front of the pump and the attendant is asking all strippers to do their business to the right. Wonder what else goes on at this gas station...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Good Read on the BMW 1M from WSJ's Dan Neil

I found a good Read on the 1M from WSJ's Dan Neil Here.

The write-up is funny and engaging but Dan needs to correct some facts:

1) The BMW 1M and the M3 do not have an electronic limited slip. Only the 135i does. A mechanical limited-slip is far superior and it is the performance driving enthusiasts really want.

2) The 1M is not 77 lbs lighter than the 135i. The BMW Owner's Manual lists the 135i at 3,298 lbs. At 3,362 lbs, the 1M is actually 64 lbs heavier than the 135i.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why We Do It...

When you’re ten years old, everything in the world seems new and exciting. Your dreams are endless and you feel as though you could do anything. As you get older, your dreams may get more grounded, but you are always in search of that excitement you felt as a kid.

The fact that you’re reading One Hot Lap means you’ve likely found performance driving, or even just the simple act of driving, to provide that same sense of joy and even invulnerability you once felt as a kid. This is not to say that racers are impervious to the risks involved in motorsports. It's just that there is a particular happiness found in straddling the limits of adhesion overpowering any potential for injury that may exist.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

When the "Check Engine" Light Is Not Right!

Imagine every time you sneezed or hiccupped, you had to go see the doctor. It cost you $120 or so, a few hours of lost productivity, and probably a lot of worries (good thing the diagnosis was good and the doctor said you were OK!). This, for the most part, is how the "Check Engine" (or “Service Engine Soon") light works in most modern cars, except you go to see the dealer.

I first saw the “Service Engine Soon” light on my 2001 BMW 325i just a day or two after I installed the first modification in it: an aftermarket cold-air intake. The warning looked ominous to me and it freaked me out. Did I just screw up my engine? And how do I “service” it? I went to the dealer on the next day and they said the code that had been triggered was related to an “out of range parameter: impermissible air range”. I checked the intake again and I was convinced it had been correctly installed. I knew many other 325i’s were running it and had no issues with it. The car exhibited no drivability issues and after a few days, the light disappeared. To this day, the light still comes back every once in a while when we get the first cold weather spell each Fall and then it clears itself out. 10 years, 100 track days, nearly as many autocross events and 170K miles on the engine later, the car is still running as good as new.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

BMW 1M Autocross In-Car Cam (UPDATED)

A few weeks ago, I did Quick Takes on the BMW 1M, followed by a Track session video at Watkins Glen. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to take the same car out for a run at the BMW CCA Autocross event:

The 1M did very well right out of the box!

Friday, October 14, 2011

My Write-up on the Track Weekend at Tremblant Is the Cover Story on Boston Bimmer!!

My family’s plans for our annual pilgrimage to Mont Tremblant were as sound as ever: pack the night before, have a nice breakfast together, leave just after rush hour and get to Montreal before 3 PM when they close off one of the highway lanes going through the city. Our execution was as bad as any other year: sleep late, pack the morning of the event, have Trail Mix in the car for breakfast, leave too late, and get to Montreal right smack in the middle of rush hour. Hey, look at this: they’ve got another autocross course set up all over the damn bridge. Same layout as any other year: a 3-mile slalom! What do you do while stuck on the bridge for over an hour? Let’s see if we can figure out why so many people here drive small cars and everyone smokes cigarettes … Trust me, it’s a much better option than jumping off the friggin' bridge!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Best Five Minutes of Road Racing in Recent Memory

This video has everything I like about road racing: close action, similar cars, masterful driving, tight battle in the final laps, and lots at stake at the end of a 6-hour race. Watch to find out if Garth Tander will be able to hold off Craig Lowndes. If you are looking for a shorter version, skip to 11:00 and watch just the last two laps. These are the best five minutes of road racing I've seen in a long time!

I read that these Australian V8 Supercars are coming to the U.S. in the next couple of years. This type of racing would be really exciting to see live!

Monday, October 10, 2011

You Know It's a Close Call When the Co-pilot Goes "Oh Dear God"!!

Here's some mesmerizing 1983 footage with legendary rally driver Ari Vatanen behind the wheel. I'd love to know the real speed they are going at on this insanely tight country road. There is barely enough room for the car to get through. You know it's a close call when the co-pilot goes "Oh Dear God"!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Roundup! Gearhead's Guide to Smartphone Apps

It goes without saying that mobile technology has come quite a distance in the past decade. According to a 2010 study, over 45.5 million people in the US owned smartphones with the rate of adoption increasing extremely rapidly. From 2009 to 2010, global smartphone shipments increased 74% so it's safe to assume that at some point in the near future, only phone purists and grandparents will lack a device in their pocket that can access the web and function like an anorexic laptop.

This trend has created an impressively robust market of applications that address every niche imaginable with the automotive space being no exception. I'm a gearhead and I'm also a huge nerd and there's never been a more exciting time to be both. Below the fold I'll examine some of the coolest apps car nuts will love, whether they sport a pocket protector and thick frame glasses or not...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Local Hotshoe Trades Hot Date for a Hot Lap

Mark Dudek lived on canned food and Ramen noodles for his first year out of college in order to save for the best handling, most powerful and most lightweight car he could afford. He settled on a nice BMW Z4 roadster, possibly because it also shows off his biceps well. Mark has been autocrossing regularly for two seasons and won his class back to back against some very tough competition. Winning the Rookie of the Year Award along the way, he is on track to win the Driver of the Year Trophy out of hundreds of drivers this year.

In this video, you'll find me inviting him to talk about his ride's setup and how he is able to drive it so well. He has no idea we had arranged for a high heels clad hot date to go in for the kill. Relentlessly focused in front of the camera, he doesn't even flinch, brushing her aside so he can get back on topic. Are you reading this Andretti, Ganassi, and Penske? This driver has the skills, he is marketable and he would never be distracted by any of the hot pit babes that would inevitably surround him at every big race!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Team OneHotLap Completes Its First Karting Enduro (UPDATED)

15 teams competed in F1 Outdoors' 90-minute karting enduro in East Bridgewater, MA this Sunday, October 2, 2011. Team OneHotLap qualified kart #10 fourth on the grid and picked up a spot during the race to take a podium finish in its historic team outing. The event organizers did a stellar job over 90 minutes of clean racing.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

One-Trick Pony No More! Five Simple Ways to Be a Better Driver.

If you're reading this site, it's probably because you like to go fast, and you like things that go fast... very fast, and I am no exception to the rule. I am lucky enough to drive in clubs with wonderful people who have given me the opportunity to race their cars like I stole them- be it M3s from every generation or even the occasional Porsche 911. The thing is, I want to be fast in every car I drive, not just my own. So before the owners woke up from a mystery nap 20 minutes later, I was able to learn a few things that helped me improve tremendously: