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Automotive Addicts Participates in Local American Lung Association Rally 26
Jan
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in 2014 Corvette Stingray, American Lung Association, Automotive, Chevrolet, Corvette Stingray, Events, Ferrari, Ferrari 599, Jacksonville, FL, Lamborghini, Lamborghini Gallardo, Maserati, Maserati GranTurismo Coupe on 01 26th, 2014
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Our Sunday was relaxed while watching the conclusion of the Rolex 24 Hour Race – but not after making a quick drive in a local American Lung Association for the Fight for Air Climb Rally hosted by River City Events (Facebook page). Our Rally consisted of just a few exotic vehicles making a quick run from Southside Blvd. in Jacksonville, FL all the way to Amelia Island ending at the Ritz Carlton.

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A few of us car enthusiasts met up early in the morning to contribute to the American Lung Association for the Fight for Air Climb and then set off on a nice Sunday morning drive. The vehicles consisted of a Ferrari 599, Lamborghini Gallardo, Maserati GranTurismo Coupe, and our very own 2014 Corvette Stingray test vehicle.

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We were ecstatic to have our Corvette Stingray run alongside of other exotic vehicles while at the same time we were delighted to give back to the American Lung Association.

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We look forward to other charity events in the future in our local Florida area. If you have an idea or would like to let us know of any similar local events, please let us know by dropping an email to info@automotiveaddicts.com.

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TFL’s Top 10 Cars at the Detroit Auto Show 22
Jan
Posted by CarBlog Staff in Automotive News, Detroit-Auto-Show, Event Coverage, Events, Popular, Videos on 01 22nd, 2014

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While the Detroit Auto Show is still running until Saturday, the 26th, there are already so many things going on that we can’t keep track.

With some amazing debuts, tech advances and basically anything in the automotive industry you can think off being showcased at the show, it’s hard to keep up with all the latest (and super exciting) developments.

However, we did find a very interesting video that we thought we’d share with you.

The Fast Lane Car is a YouTube channel that features everything auto. Needless to say, they checked in at the Detroit Auto Show and picked their Top 10 Favourite Cars on show.

Check out their video below:

Source: YouTube



Audi Unleashes Information-Overload Dashboard at CES 2014 8
Jan
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in audi, Audi TT, Auto Addiction, Automotive, Consumer Electronics Show, Events, Technical on 01 8th, 2014
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In the quest to give consumers the most advanced and forward-thinking technology available, things tend to get a bit fffffreaky! Audi has really taken the cake at the Consumer Electronics Show this year unveiling a dashboard that looks to be a big overwhelming in the amount of information it throws up on a high-resolution LCD screen as demonstrated in the image above. It will be a reality as they have mentioned showing up in the upcoming Audi TT.

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Audi also added a nice touch to the ac/heater controls by placing the temp knob and read-out on the corresponding vent for supplying that set temperature. It is all genius but how do you expect someone to focus on the road with a screen that busy in the dashboard?



CES 2014: BMW ActiveAssist Takes Safety to new Heights and Can Drift Autonomously 8
Jan
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in 2014 BMW M235i, Auto Addiction, Automotive, BMW, BMW M235i, Car Safety, Consumer Electronics Show, Events, News, Technical, Vehicle Safety, video on 01 8th, 2014
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The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) always has some new gadgets that catch my eye and it sometimes put it on my wish list considering how the price of the item will come down considerable by time I even think about saving my coins. BMW has trumped the CES show this year with their new ActiveAssist technology enabling the ‘system’ to perform automated drifts.

That is right, your BMW could one day be a virtual Ken Block or just take over driving duties in heavy traffic or stop you in time before you plow into the nearest object in front of you. Sure, these technologies are really nothing new, but BMW has taken them all to a new height to combine an integrated system like no other.

Hit up the full release below for the full details and explanations of each individual system and watch the video on how it can “Assist” your new Bimmer.

1.     Camera-based assistance systems bring enhanced safety into new vehicle classes.
Advances in camera and video technology have allowed visual detection to serve as a basis for modern assistance systems for some time now. For example, series-produced cars are already available with a camera (mounted in the centre of the windscreen in the base of the rear-view mirror) which delivers data for the Lane Departure Warning and traffic sign recognition systems. The Collision Warning system and Pedestrian Warning with city braking function, Traffic Jam Assistant and camera-based Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function work exclusively on the basis of visual detection. They dispense with additional and costly radar technology, but offer similar functions. These safety systems can therefore also be extended to vehicle classes where demand for sophisticated systems has traditionally been low.

Modern camera-based systems have advantages over purely radar-based applications when it comes to recognition of stationary obstacles. A wide camera angle, moreover, enables reliable detection of objects pulling in or out at the edge of the driver’s field of vision. At the same time, however, camera-based systems do require certain light conditions. These systems are already enhancing safety in the innovative BMW i3, for example.

New Parking Assistant with longitudinal and lateral guidance.
The new Parking Assistant with longitudinal and lateral guidance offers customers significantly greater comfort and safety. Not only – as with existing systems – does it use ultrasound sensors to find parking spaces parallel to the road and take over the parking of the car via the electronically controlled steering (lateral guidance); the assistance system now also switches between the forward and reverse gears of the automatic gearbox and allows the car to pull away and brake automatically (longitudinal guidance). These functions are underpinned by an interface to the gearbox and the electronically controlled accelerator and brake pedal. All the driver has to do is hold down the button activating the new assistance system and monitor the automatic parking procedure.

The functions of systems like the new Parking Assistant with longitudinal and lateral guidance and the Traffic Jam Assistant go much further than existing assistance functions designed to ease the strain on drivers at the wheel. With their range of part-automated functions, they already lighten the driver’s workload much more significantly than conventional systems. Highly automated vehicles, meanwhile, can take over more of the driver’s tasks at a given time. All the systems performing these partly automated and highly automated roles are grouped under the BMW ActiveAssist banner and form a new branch of technology within BMW ConnectedDrive.

2.     BMW ActiveAssist and new control systems revolutionize Sheer Driving Pleasure.

The BMW Group uses its ConnectedDrive banner to group together unique and innovative functions which link the driver, vehicle and outside world intelligently with one another. These functions enhance comfort, allow customers to experience a new dimension in infotainment and significantly improve the safety of BMW Group vehicles. To this end, BMW ActiveAssist – the package of partially and highly automated driving technology developed by BMW – will make a significant contribution to bringing the vision of safe and accident-free mobility another step closer to reality. The BMW Group has been conducting research into the various expressions of this idea for many years with this goal in mind. BMW ActiveAssist, as part of BMW ConnectedDrive, pools all the technological developments in this area.

The BMW Group is using the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014 in Las Vegas to present a new element of BMW ActiveAssist: a safety assistance system which brings the vehicle back into line in demanding driving situations without any input from the driver.

Precise and reliable vehicle control at the dynamic limit is a central building block in the development of highly automated driving. Only a system that can safely master all dynamic situations up to the vehicle’s dynamic limit will be able to generate trust and provide sustained and secure relief for the driver in tiring situations. The experts at BMW Group Research and Technology have built a research prototype with perfected control technology in pursuit of this goal. The prototype can pilot its way at high speeds and with exceptional precision on a slalom run between cones, adheres to a marked out circular course regardless of the friction coefficient of the road surface, and executes an obstacle-evading lane change to perfection. It makes optimum use of the potential of both engine and chassis. Even when deliberately provoked into oversteer – the clearest way of highlighting a vehicle’s dynamic limit – the highly automated prototype follows its path safely and along almost identical lines time after time.

While the control systems fitted to today’s vehicles restore stability by braking individual wheels, this new function introduces active and precisely calculated steering inputs into the mix. The research prototype reacts to fluctuating grip levels – the kind experienced in sudden hydroplaning – with the precision of an expert driver. The car continues along the predetermined target line, but does not attempt to maintain a preset speed under all circumstances. Instead, it constantly factors in the condition of the road surface and responds intelligently as required. The sensors delivering the necessary information are the same as those fitted as standard on today’s vehicles and also send data to the DSC system, for example. Understeer – where the car turns less than the driver intended – is dialled out by opening the steering. And a sliding rear end (oversteer) is caught using a carefully gauged combination of countersteering and brake inputs. The programmable electronic steering required to make this possible carries out carefully targeted, rapid and flawless adjustments, and is fitted as standard on all current BMW cars. The prototype illustrates the BMW Group’s aspiration to offer its customers a highly automated driving experience exuding emotional appeal – even at the car’s dynamic limit.

Many years of experience in vehicle automation.
With BMW ActiveAssist, the BMW Group is once again leading the way worldwide in the implementation of safety-enhancing and highly automated systems. Back in October 2009 the BMW Group rolled out its BMW Track Trainer research project to showcase highly automated driving on the ideal line around the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, the world’s most demanding race track. Developed by engineers at BMW Group Research and Technology, the BMW Track Trainer later demonstrated its effectiveness on the Laguna Seca, Zandvoort, Valencia, Hockenheimring and Lausitzring circuits. Here the research engineers collected important practical experience regarding vehicle control and position location in extreme conditions. The BMW Emergency Stop Assistant research project added further important insights to the knowledge pool. If the driver is incapacitated – e.g. by a medical emergency such as a heart attack – this function can switch the vehicle into highly automated driving mode, steer it safely to the side of the road and automatically activate an emergency call.

These developments paved the way in 2011 for a test vehicle to drive on a multilane highway in highly automated mode. The research prototype covered 65 kilometres (40 miles) between Munich and Nuremberg, accelerating, braking and overtaking other cars along the way without any driver intervention. It did so while observing the traffic laws at all times and kept pace with the traffic at speeds of up to 130 km/h (81 mph). The prototype has since covered approximately 15,000 kilometres (9,300 miles), over which the development engineers have gained important insights into the behaviour and response strategies of their highly automated vehicles.

The starting point for the development of this driving strategy is the secure location of the vehicle within its lane and, above all, the reliable recognition of all vehicles and objects in the immediate vicinity. A key role is played by the fusion of data from various mutually complementary sensor technologies – such as lidar, radar, ultrasound and camera detection – fitted on all the test vehicles. Despite this 360° detection capability, there is little on the outside to tell the vehicle apart from a series-produced model.
The next step in the development of highly automated driving functions came in June 2013. The research vehicles not only made highly automated progress along the highway, they also completed complex changeovers from one highway to another at intersections fully automatically.

Highly automated driving in a 2015 fleet trial.
Since February 2013 the BMW Group and international automotive supplier Continental have been working together to take the next concrete steps towards the implementation of highly automated driving functions. This research partnership will run until the end of 2014 and involve the introduction of several test vehicles with close-to-production technology. The BMW Group’s next major goal as part of this cooperation is to introduce highly automated driving on European highways and tackle the challenges that this will bring – such as crossing national borders and negotiating road construction.

BMW conducted fleet trials as part of its research activities into electric mobility, collecting valuable experience with the MINI E and BMW ActiveE. These trials produced important pointers for the ongoing development of electric mobility, and the new BMW i3 is the first model to benefit from these findings. This successful testing principle will also underpin a fleet trial for highly automated driving in 2015, which will see the BMW Group once again assume a leading role in the development of highly automated driving functions. By 2020, the technical foundations should be in place for a highway-based system that will allow highly automated driving in series-produced vehicles.

3.     Samsung Galaxy Gear with BMW i Remote App functions.

The BMW i3 – with its integrated SIM card – is the world’s first fully connected electrically powered car; in no other model will you find such a high level of interaction between the driver, vehicle and outside world. The presentation of the BMW i3 brought with it the debut appearance of the BMW i Remote App, which allows drivers to share information with the vehicle at any time via their smartphone. They can check whether the windows are shut, for example, or lock the car remotely. And now BMW is using the CES to present a new research prototype – the Samsung Galaxy Gear™ with BMW i Remote App functions.

The arrival of smartphones has changed our everyday lives for the long term, with internet and digital services now something we take for granted. Wearable devices like the Samsung Galaxy Gear can further boost this trend and fundamentally change the way we use mobile devices all over again. The Galaxy Gear is worn on the wrist and cleverly complements the linked smartphone. Users can view important information on the Gear without having to take their smartphone out of their pocket, unlock a screen or enter a code.

The BMW i Remote App research application developed by BMW greets the Samsung Galaxy Gear user’s first glance with not just the time, but also the BMW i3’s range on electric power, battery charge available and any inputted departure times. Using the Galaxy Gear’s touch display to click on the figures sent by the application opens a sub-menu containing more detailed information, which is presented in the hallmark classy colours and style of BMW i. Another sub-menu informs the user of the vehicle’s current status, such as if any of the doors, windows or the sunroof are open – data which is also offered by the BMW i Remote App. The research application additionally enables users to send navigation destinations to their vehicle and to regulate the climate on board – all of which provides a fine complement to the Gear’s ability to deliver information quickly, directly and in real time.

The Samsung Galaxy Gear with BMW i Remote App functions research prototype represents an excellent smartphone add-on for linking customers seamlessly with their BMW mobility ecosystem. At the same time, the application is proof of how quickly BMW ConnectedDrive can and will react to the rapid pace of innovation in the entertainment and infotainment sectors through the introduction of clever solutions.

4.     New assistance systems enhance comfort and safety.

The BMW Group has taken advantage of advances in camera technology to develop a generation of assistance systems based exclusively on vision-based sensing. These systems use information acquired by a mono camera mounted in the base of the rear-view mirror. Such data has long been used by systems like Speed Limit Info, which combines camera and navigation data to keep the driver informed at all times about fixed and variable speed limits. Camera-based applications offer similar functionality to radar-based technology, but are better at detecting stationary obstacles. Although they have certain requirements in terms of light conditions, such systems have a wide vision angle which makes it possible to detect vehicles that are pulling out or cutting in in front of the driver’s vehicle, even if they are right at the edges of the driver’s field of vision. Camera-based systems can therefore help to improve safety in market segments where there has previously been no demand for expensive radar-based applications. The camera-based systems Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, Collision Warning and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function, and Traffic Jam Assist are all already available in the innovative BMW i3 in many markets.

The new Parking Assistant, meanwhile, is based on ultrasound sensors. The system can provide both lateral control – i.e. steering – and longitudinal control, comprising braking, acceleration and switching between forward and reverse gears. The system sets new benchmarks in the field of automated parallel parking technology.

Collision Warning and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function.
The new BMW assistance system Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function significantly improves pedestrian safety in urban environments. The movement patterns of pedestrians in urban traffic environments vary greatly, with frequent sudden stops or changes in direction. Monitoring pedestrians’ movements therefore poses a considerably greater challenge for assistance systems than monitoring preceding vehicles.

Collision Warning and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function operate in the typical city speed range between 10 and 60 km/h (6 and 37 mph). If the system detects a pedestrian or a stationary vehicle, it emits an audible and visible signal to warn the driver, and primes the brakes. If the driver fails to react by stepping on the brake or by steering away from the hazard, the system acts autonomously to reduce vehicle speed. This will ideally prevent, or at least mitigate the severity of, a collision with a pedestrian or vehicle. With the mono camera, Collision Warning and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function use the same proven basic technology as other assistance systems such as Lane Departure Warning.

Camera-based Cruise Control with Stop & Go function.
The camera-based Cruise Control with Stop & Go function eliminates the need for drivers to constantly make minor corrections to their following distance and speed when driving in heavy traffic on highways, on dual carriageways and, especially, in urban environments. With its ability to detect vehicles up to a distance of 120 metres (nearly 400 feet) ahead, the cruise control system is able to respond proactively. Operating at speeds between 0 and 140 km/h (87 mph), it maintains a preselected speed and a preselected following distance from traffic in front. These functions – including brief stops – are performed via the electronic engine and braking control systems. The system can also reliably detect if another vehicle has come to a sudden stop.

In free-flowing traffic, automatic deceleration by the camera-based Cruise Control with Stop & Go function is confined to gentle braking. If the situation demands more vigorous braking, the system issues visual and audible warnings to prompt the driver himself to intervene.

In comparison, in heavy, stop-go traffic, the automatic deceleration also includes more vigorous braking, for maximum driver comfort. This ensures that system functionality is matched to the special demands of such situations with their constant fluctuations in speed.

The system settings chosen by the driver are displayed in the instrument cluster, and can be quickly scanned at a glance. Drivers can intervene in the operation of the camera-based Cruise Control with Stop & Go function at any time, and remain responsible for the safe control of the vehicle at all times.

Traffic Jam Assistant
The Traffic Jam Assistant operates at speeds from 0 to 40 km/h (25 mph) and offers optimal support in dense highway traffic. Just like the camera-based Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, this system – which does not deactivate after a brief stop – maintains a given following distance and relative speed to traffic in front. Along with longitudinal control, the Traffic Jam Assistant also provides lateral control. That is to say, it steers the car as well, via the electronic steering system, keeping the vehicle precisely in its lane and providing an exceptional level of driver comfort.

The Traffic Jam Assistant only functions in conjunction with the camera-based Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, which operates over a speed range from 0 to 140 km/h (87 mph). The two systems, which are finely dovetailed, support the driver all the way from standstill up to speeds of 140 km/h (87 mph). The Traffic Jam Assistant, too, is a solely vision-based system, which uses data supplied by the mono camera on the front windscreen.

The Traffic Jam Assistant begins operating when a preceding vehicle is detected. A further requirement is a pair of lane markings to allow the vehicle to identify its own traffic lane. Once the system has been activated, the Traffic Jam Assistant begins functioning any time the vehicle slows to a speed within the system’s operating range, for example due to road congestion. Once the traffic has cleared, the driver must first authorize higher speeds either by operating the accelerator or by pressing the RES button on the multifunction steering wheel, which hands over control to the camera-based Cruise Control with Stop & Go function.

Although drivers must keep their hands on the steering wheel even when the Traffic Jam Assistant is in operation, they are nevertheless free, in these relatively non-challenging situations, to devote their attention to monitoring and navigating the traffic around them. In situations where the requirements for safe operation of the Traffic Jam Assistant are not met – for example when negotiating narrow lanes through construction, or if the driver does not have his hands on the steering wheel – the Assistant prompts the driver to take over control again.

The Traffic Jam Assistant is designed to improve driver comfort and convenience on freeways. It can only be specified in conjunction with a Business or Professional navigation system, which is required in order to identify this category of road. The Traffic Jam Assistant is not available in the US market.

BMW Parking Assistant with longitudinal and lateral guidance.
The new BMW Parking Assistant with longitudinal and lateral guidance improves parking comfort and safety. As a first step, it assists the driver in the search for suitable parallel parking spaces using ultrasound sensors located on the left and right-hand sides of the vehicle. When a suitable space has been found and the parking manoeuvre has been activated, the system then steers the vehicle impeccably into the space. During this manoeuvre, the system is guided by the same parking sensors used by the static PDC system. The steering function (lateral guidance function) is also supplemented by a new longitudinal guidance function. This function offers unprecedented standards of automated longitudinal control. It switches between forward and reverse gear via an interface with the automatic transmission, and brakes or accelerates via the electronically controlled accelerator and brake pedal. All the driver needs to do is to press and hold the parking button on the center console, while at the same time continuously monitoring the manoeuvre. Even if the parking manoeuvre has to be interrupted – for example because pedestrians are crossing the vehicle’s path, or due to manual intervention in the steering or braking – it can easily be resumed at any time.

The new Parking Assistant eases pressure on the driver even in particularly difficult parking situations, the assistance beginning even before the driver presses the button to confirm that he wants to park. When the car is travelling at speeds below 35 km/h (22 mph), the Parking Assistant continuously measures possible parallel parking spaces, both to the left and to the right of the vehicle’s current lane. These are immediately displayed when the parking button is pressed. The system even shows parking spaces which are no more than 55 centimetres (about 22 inches) longer than the vehicle itself. Once the driver has stopped and activated the turn signal to show the system which side of the car the desired space is on, they can then concentrate fully on monitoring the parking manoeuvre, which the system performs automatically and precisely. Once the vehicle reaches its final parking position, the Assistant shifts the automatic transmission to position “P”.

All parking information, including the images supplied by the rear-view camera, can be scanned at a glance in the central Control Display, which offers the driver an optimal overview at all times.

BMW ActiveAssist – for highest levels of stress relief.
Both the Parking Assistant with lateral and longitudinal guidance and the Traffic Jam Assistant offer significantly more extensive functionality than other assistance systems of their kind available today. They provide partial automation and offer far greater assistance in the performance of driving tasks than was ever possible before. Such systems differ, however, from what are known as “highly automated” systems. The latter are capable of relieving the driver of all driving tasks for limited periods. At BMW such technologies, which feature a very high level of automation that provides a significant further boost to comfort and safety, are being developed under the umbrella of BMW ActiveAssist.



The Roar Before the Rolex 24 Gets Us All Excited 6
Jan
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, Chevrolet, Events, Jacksonville, FL, Motorsports, Rolex 24 At Daytona, Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona, Rolex 24 Hour Race on 01 6th, 2014
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Over the weekend AutomotiveAddicts.com took a trip to Daytona Speedway to check out the practice and testing sessions leading up to the Rolex 24 Hour race. I have to say, we are truly excited and patently waiting for the Rolex 24 Hour race, which takes place in just a few weeks.

With the kickoff of the 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona quickly approaching, we thought it would be a good time to start things off right in lower gear as we prep for a highly anticipated race between GRAND-AM Rolex Sport Car Series and the American Le Mans Series race cars. At the practice sessions we had sensory over-load as the roaring sounds of many re-worked Prototype and Grand Touring style cars left the garages to acclimate their fresh rubber with the familiar pavement of Daytona Speedway.

Some of the highlights during the test runs was us catching the all-new Corvette Stingray C7.R make its rounds on the road-course leading the decibel race alongside of Ferrari 458s, Aston Martin Vantage V8s, Porsche GT3s, Audi R8 V10s, Viper GTS-Rs, BMW M3s and 328i to name some of our favorites.

We look forward to some of our avid readers and fans attending the Rolex 24, which kicks off January 25th and lasting through the night into the morning for some magical and thrilling endurance racing.

Be sure to check out some of our quick garage and pit shots below and a short video clip of the camouflaged Corvette C7.R Racecar.

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The Roar Before the Rolex 24 Gets Us All Excited 6
Jan
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, Chevrolet, Events, Jacksonville, FL, Motorsports, Rolex 24 At Daytona, Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona, Rolex 24 Hour Race on 01 6th, 2014
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Over the weekend AutomotiveAddicts.com took a trip to Daytona Speedway to check out the practice and testing sessions leading up to the Rolex 24 Hour race. I have to say, we are truly excited and patently waiting for the Rolex 24 Hour race, which takes place in just a few weeks.

With the kickoff of the 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona quickly approaching, we thought it would be a good time to start things off right in lower gear as we prep for a highly anticipated race between GRAND-AM Rolex Sport Car Series and the American Le Mans Series race cars. At the practice sessions we had sensory over-load as the roaring sounds of many re-worked Prototype and Grand Touring style cars left the garages to acclimate their fresh rubber with the familiar pavement of Daytona Speedway.

Some of the highlights during the test runs was us catching the all-new Corvette Stingray C7.R make its rounds on the road-course leading the decibel race alongside of Ferrari 458s, Aston Martin Vantage V8s, Porsche GT3s, Audi R8 V10s, Viper GTS-Rs, BMW M3s and 328i to name some of our favorites.

We look forward to some of our avid readers and fans attending the Rolex 24, which kicks off January 25th and lasting through the night into the morning for some magical and thrilling endurance racing.

Be sure to check out some of our quick garage and pit shots below and a short video clip of the camouflaged Corvette C7.R Racecar.

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Jeff Koons Presented US Debut of his BMW Art Car at Art Basel in Miami Beach 5
Dec
Posted by Darryl in Art Basel, Auto Addiction, auto show, Automotive, BMW, BMW Art Car, BMW Art Car Collection, Events, Miami on 12 5th, 2013
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We know first hand how happening Miami, Florida is and the latest Art Basel event is nothing short of spectacular, especially when you consider Jeff Koons heading up the US Debut of his BMW Art Car at the prestigious event. BMW Art Cars have been a tradition for many years and the North American premier of Koons’ BMW Art Car, the M3 GT2 race car happen to take place in sunny Miami, FL kicking off on the opening of Art Basel, an art stage for modern and contemporary works. We have supplied many images captivating the stunning BMW Art Cars, which will remain on display at Miami Beach Botanical Garden until December 8th.

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Miami, FL – December 4, 2013 . . . Artist Jeff Koons and supermodel Karolína Kurková presented the North American premiere of Koons’ BMW Art Car, the M3 GT2 race car on December 4th, the night of the opening day of Art Basel in Miami Beach.  The unveiling happened during a BMW reception in the Miami Beach Botanical Garden where Koons and Marc Spiegel, Director of Art Basel spoke.

At the event, Koons remarked: “I always enjoyed the Art Cars – Warhol’s Car, Roy Lichtenstein’s car, Stella’s, Calder’s – all the cars have always been fantastic. I just wanted to participate. The art world is like a family and I wanted to also be involved in this dialogue of designing an Art Car. Today I’m proud that this car is there alongside their work too.”

Jeff Koons’ BMW Art Car will remain on display at Miami Beach Botanical Garden, across the entrance from the South Beach Convention Center at 2000 Convention Center Drive, until finally of the fair on December 8, 2013.

Another legendary “rolling sculpture”, created by Andy Warhol, will be on display in Art Basel’s Collectors Lounge. The pop art icon painted a BMW M1 that raced in the 24-hour race at Le Mans in 1979.

The BMW Art Car Collection started when French racing driver and auctioneer Hervé Poulain invited his friend Alexander Calder to design his BMW Le Mans 24-hour race car in 1975 and so the BMW Art Car was born. Since then some of the greatest names in contemporary art have been added to the collection creating a wide range of artistic interpretations and there are now 17 BMW Art Cars in total.

During Art Basel in Miami Beach, the BMW i8, the i brand’s high performance plug-in hybrid, will also make its East Coast debut, at a reception at the SLS Hotel in South Beach on December 5, 2013.

BMW has been a partner of Art Basel in Miami Beach since its inception and also provides the VIP shuttle service for the fair.



Automotive Addicts Photographer Highlights DustBall Rally 2013 23
Aug
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Auto Addiction, Automotive, Brandon Connelly, DustBall Rally, Events on 08 23rd, 2013
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Recently our Orlando based AutomotiveAddicts.com photographer, Brandon Connelly, was invited to join in on the DustBall Rally. A rally where all cars are welcome, not strictly exotics or high end cars(those do get priority though.)  It is also a gimmick rally, meaning on some of the routes there may be a scavenger hunt packet to fill out on the drive. Aside from that it is not a race but simply a nice cruise for automotive enthusiasts of all kinds to enjoy and have fun with.

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The rally began in Dallas, Texas at Autosource Dallas and then traveled on to Memphis, where they conquered the “Tail of the Dragon” before arriving in Atlanta. From there they continued on to Daytona Beach. The morning of their departure from Daytona was when Brandon was able to meet up with them and begin his portion of the journey with the Dustballers. The drivers reset their trip odometers, were given their gimmick packets and set their sights on the finishing point at DipYourCar.com‘s shop in Coral Springs via A1A. Some of the teams made side trips to the Kennedy Space Center and Canaveral National Sea Shore along the route before reaching the final destination point.

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Once the Awards were handed out at the finish line, the dyno runs were done by the drivers and the food was all gone; we were then given our instructions/directions for the weekend. The directions led us to downtown Miami where our guidelines were to simply have a blast for the weekend! Some hit the clubs, some hit South Beach and one team even rented a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder for 24 hours. Brandon tagged along with some of the crew for most of Saturday to hit up Ocean Drive and sight-see along with snapping some shots of the cars cruising around the city. All in all, everyone made it safe throughout he fully rally. Only one ticket on the full rally and a few mechanical issues for teams but our team had a blast with their short leg of this rally. The next one is already in the works and it would appear according to the site that it will begin in Austin and end in Chicago, where it will stop in between no one knows.

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Gone in 60 Seconds ‘Eleanor’ GT500 Up for Auction 8
Apr
Posted by Darryl in Auto Addiction, Automotive, Eleanor GT500, Events, Ford, Ford Shelby GT500, Gone in 60 Seconds, Movie, News, Shelby, Shelby GT500 on 04 8th, 2013
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The 1967 Ford Mustang GT500 infamously known as Eleanor from the movie ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’, is up for auction. You can have a genuine piece of automotive history and big screen action if you are the winning bidder of Eleanor during Dana Mecum’s 26th Original Spring Classic auction in May 14th through the 19th.

Of course there were several Eleanor GT500’s used in the Gone in 60 Seconds movie, but this one was the ‘Hero’ car driven by Nicolas Cage himself during movie close-ups. The Vehicle, along with many other stunt vehicle creations in the movie, was built by Cinema Vehicle Services with the help of master designer Chip Foose. Powering this vehicle, as well as other on-screen Eleanors, is a 351/400 horsepower Ford crate engine.

Hit up the mecum.com auction site to get more information or register to bid on the vehicle at auction.

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Gone in 60 Seconds ‘Eleanor’ GT500 Up for Auction 8
Apr
Posted by Darryl in Auto Addiction, Automotive, Eleanor GT500, Events, Ford, Ford Shelby GT500, Gone in 60 Seconds, Movie, News, Shelby, Shelby GT500 on 04 8th, 2013
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The 1967 Ford Mustang GT500 infamously known as Eleanor from the movie ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’, is up for auction. You can have a genuine piece of automotive history and big screen action if you are the winning bidder of Eleanor during Dana Mecum’s 26th Original Spring Classic auction in May 14th through the 19th.

Of course there were several Eleanor GT500’s used in the Gone in 60 Seconds movie, but this one was the ‘Hero’ car driven by Nicolas Cage himself during movie close-ups. The Vehicle, along with many other stunt vehicle creations in the movie, was built by Cinema Vehicle Services with the help of master designer Chip Foose. Powering this vehicle, as well as other on-screen Eleanors, is a 400 horsepower Ford crate engine.

Hit up the mecum.com auction site to get more information or register to bid on the vehicle at auction.

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7th Annual Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance 13
Mar
Posted by Harvey Schwartz in auto show, Automotive, Editorial, Events on 03 13th, 2013
2013 Boca Raton Concours d' Elegance 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB4 Done Small

2013 Boca Raton Concours d' Elegance 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB4 Done Small

February 24, 2013: Boca Raton, Florida:

Under blue skies with temperatures in the high 70’s, and taking place on the newly renovated and expanded showfield at the Boca Raton Resort and Club, classic automobile and motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world experienced an automotive showcase of more than 200 of the finest collector automobiles and motorcycles from around the country.   This year the Concours celebrated 50 years of Lamborghini and highlighted Rolls-Royce and Bentley as featured marques.

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An expert panel of renowned judges including Grand Marshal Keith Martin, Chief Judge Dr. Paul Sable, and Honorary Judges Carl Bomstead, David Schultz and Mark Gessler, selected the finest vintage, antique, classic and exotic vehicles based on period, presentation, and overall style, with an awards presentation to the winning entries.

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Once the show started at 10:00 AM, attendees were also able to cruise through Vendor Row featuring vendor tents offering hats, commemorative Concours d’ Elegance programs, posters and pins from previous shows and this year.  Also new this year is an Automotive Art Show featuring some of the country’s top automotive artists in an exclusive tent to view and purchase one-of-a-kind paintings, sculpture, and prints.  Attendees also enjoyed a selection of gourmet food, wine and cocktails from more than 30 of south Florida’s finest restaurants at the Concours D’ Gourmet Pavilions.  It was a great memorable day for all in attendance.

Best of Show Winning Automobile-1947 Talbot Lago T26

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2013 Boca Raton Concours d' Elegance 1919 Hudson O Type Limo Done Small
2013 Boca Raton Concours d' Elegance 1928 Rolls-Royce Ascot Tourer Convertible Done Small
2013 Boca Raton Concours d' Elegance 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom 1 Cabriolet DeVille Done Small
2013 Boca Raton Concours d' Elegance 1929 Willys Knight 66B Done Small
2013 Boca Raton Concours d' Elegance 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Zagato April Done Small
2013 Boca Raton Concours d' Elegance 1933 Packard 1006 Done Small
2013 Boca Raton Concours d' Elegance 1938 Steyr 220 Done Small
2013 Boca Raton Concours d' Elegance 1947 Chrysler Town and Country Done Small
2013 Boca Raton Concours d' Elegance 1948 Allard M-Coupe Done Small
2013 Boca Raton Concours d' Elegance 1955 Buick Roadmaster Convertible Done Small
2013 Boca Raton Concours d' Elegance 1962 Bentley S-2 Continental Drophead Done Small
2013 Boca Raton Concours d' Elegance 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB4 Done Small
2013 Boca Raton Concours d' Elegance Alfa Romero 8C Done Small
2013 Boca Raton Concours d' Elegance Atmosphere Done Small
2013 Boca Raton Concours d' Elegance Best Of Show 1947 Talbot Lago T26 Done Small
2013 Boca Raton Concours d' Elegance Ferrari Enzo Done Small
2013 Boca Raton Concours d' Elegance Lamborghini Aventador Done Small
2013 Boca Raton Concours d' Elegance Lamborghini Gallardo Done Small
2013 Boca Raton Concours d' Elegance McLaren MP4-12C Done Small
2013 Boca Raton Concours d' Elegance Motorcycle Exhibit Done Small
2013 Boca Raton Concours d' Elegance Vendor Tents Done Small

COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ



18th Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance (2013) 11
Mar
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Amelia Island, Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, auto show, Automotive, Chevrolet, Chevrolet Corvette, Concours d’Elegance, Corvette, Corvette Stingray, Editorial, Events, Ford, Ford GT, Ford GT40, GM, Lamborghini, porsche, Porsche-911 on 03 11th, 2013
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Once again, we were on the scene for the Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. The spectacle of this truly prestigious event, marking the 18th year, kicked off the weekend to a pleasant sunny field highlighting some of the finest automobiles in the world. This year the Concours celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Porsche 911 and Ford GT40 along with the cars of Harry Miller.

Some of the displays of Porsche 911’s were something to cherish with just about every variation of the German classic on display including a couple one-off all-wheel-drive rally 911s. On the other end of the spectrum several iconic Ford GT40’s laced the field with their one-off displays with vast collections from Harry Miller and a few for the honorary chairman Sam Posey.

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The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance also highlighted over 60 years of the Corvette with the all-new 2014 Corvette Stingray on display surrounded by notable Corvette models through the years. We didn’t forget the astonishing Lamborghini’s at the start of the field to really get your motors running. Seminars featured Ed Welburn, Vice President Global Design at General Motors, 1963 Sting Ray designer Peter Brock and the GT40 racing tales by Dan Gurney, David Hobbs, Brian Redman and others.

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Every year the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance gets better and better, the images below that we captured is further proof of concept. We look forward to joining the festivities once again next year and sharing many of these stunning automobiles with you.

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Copyright: 2013 AutomotiveAddicts.com



Lamborghini Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Aventador LP700-4 Roadsters Taking Miami by Storm 29
Jan
Posted by Darryl in Automotive, Events, featured, Lamborghini, Lamborghini Aventador, Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4, Lamborghini Aventador Roadster, Miami, News, video on 01 29th, 2013
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Lamborghini kicked off their 50th Anniversary celebration in Miami yesterday with a 40-car parade down the streets of Miami and Miami Beach then later concluding at the Miami International Airport for an exotic runway drive of about 12 new Aventador LP700-4 Roadsters. President and CEO of Lamborghini, Stephan Winkelmann, along with Miami Beach Commissioner, Jerry Libbin, joined in the festivities. Aventador Roadsters raced down a closed runway at speeds over 180 mph, a record for Miami International Airport during the festivities.

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Lamborghini was started in 1963 by Ferruccio Lamborghini who wanted a vehicle that was defined as a “refined grand touring car” to go head-to-head with Ferrari. During the 1970’s oil crises, the brand hit setbacks until Patrick and Jean Claude Mimran purchased the company to bring it back to life before selling to Chrysler in 1987. As you may know Audi AG owns the company and paved a new path for a truly exotic global car brand since 1999.

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Barrett-Jackson Auction Commences with First Production 2014 Corvette Stingray Selling for $1.1 million bid – w/Video 20
Jan
Posted by Darryl in auction, Auctions, Automotive, Barrett-Jackson, Batmobile, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Corvette Stingray, Events, Ford, Gullwing, Mercedes Benz, News, video on 01 20th, 2013
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The Barrett-Jackson car auction in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona is off to a start with many highlighted vehicles selling for millions including the very first production 2014 Corvette Stingray, the same one that was on display at the Detroit Auto Show, nabbing $1.1 million in its auction. All of the proceeds will go benefit College for Creative Studies.

Other highlights so far include an original 1966 Batmobile selling for an astonishing $4,620,000 at the drop of the hammer along with Clark Gable’s 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing for $1.85 million.

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There were some slight disappointments in the hammer price of vehicles such as President George W. Bush’s 2009 Ford F-150 only nabbing $300,000 even after Jay Leno’s voicestress persuasions helming the bidding. Though, the full $300K will happily go to the Fisher House Foundation – a truly good cause.

There were many other notable vehicles to roll off of the action block including a 1986 Porsche 959 Prototype selling for $440,000, an extremely rare 1947 Talbot-Lago T-26 Grand Sport selling for just over $2 million and a 1956 Chrysler Diablo Concept for $1,375,000 at the hammer.

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The Barrett-Jackson auction still has many other vehicles to cross the block expected to bring in unimaginable numbers. Nearly 1,400 vehicles in total are expected to cross the auction block setting new world records while putting an eternal smile on the faces of newfound owners and sellers of some of the rarest vehicles around.


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First Production 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray selling at Barrett-Jackson Press Release

Barrett-Jackson Lot: 3016 – 2014 CHEVROLET CORVETTE STINGRAY 2 DOOR COUPE

Return of the Stingray – The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette. This all new Corvette Stingray is the perfect balance of technology, design and performance. The lucky winning bidder for this 2014 Corvette Stingray will receive the first retail production vehicle of this seventh-generation Corvette – a Vin ending in #0001. The 2014 Corvette Stingray is the most powerful standard model ever, with an estimated 450hp (334 kW) and 450ft/lbs of torque (610 Nm). It is also the most capable standard model ever, able to accelerate from 0-60 in less than four seconds and achieve more than 1g in cornering grip. It is expected to be the most fuel efficient Corvette, exceeding EPA-estimated 26 mpg of the current model. The all new Corvette Stingray incorporates an all-new frame structure chassis, a new powertrain and supporting technologies, as well as completely new exterior and interior designs. Highlights include: An interior featuring real carbon fiber, aluminum and hand-wrapped leather materials, two new seat choices – each featuring a lightweight magnesium frame for exceptional support – and dual eight-inch configurable driver/infotainment screens. Advanced driver technologies, including a 5-position Drive Mode Selector that tailors 12 vehicle attributes to the fit the driver’s environment and a new 7-speed manual transmission with Active Rev Matching that anticipates gear selections and matches engine speed for perfect shifts every time. An all-new 6.2 Liter LT1 V8 engine combines advanced technologies, including direct injection, Active Fuel Management, continuously variable valve timing and an advanced combustion system that delivers more power while using less fuel. Lightweight materials, including a carbon fiber hood and removable roof panel, composite fenders, doors and rear quarter panels, carbon-nano composite underbody panels and a new aluminum frame help shift weight rearward for an optimal 50/50 weight balance that supports a world-class power-to-weight ratio. A sculptured exterior features advanced high-intensity discharge and light-emitting diode lighting and racing-proven aerodynamics that balance low drag for efficiency and performance elements for improved stability and track capability. An available track-capable Z51 Performance Package including: an electronic limited-slip differential, dry-sump oiling system, integral brake, differential and transmission cooling, as well as a unique aero package that further improves high-speed stability. **ALL PROCEEDS TO BENEFIT COLLEGE FOR CREATIVE STUDIES** **WILL BE SOLD DIRECTLY FOLLOWING LOT 5041 ON SATURDAY, JANUARY 19, 2013**



Upping Your Performance: Skip Barber’s Two-Day High-Performance Driving School 8
Oct
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Driving Schools, Events, Kurt, Skip Barber, Track Schools on 10 8th, 2012

Porsche 911 Carreras on the autocross track

When you were a kid, chances are good you wanted to grow up to be a fireman or a race car driver. Along the way, you realized that becoming a fireman took lots of dedication and hard work, while becoming a race car driver was simply a matter of hustling cars around a racetrack, quickly. Sure, it was dangerous, but it paid big money and offered a job filled with excitement.

Day one: cautious autocross track lapping in a Type 991 Porsche 911

Somewhere between that point and adulthood, reality set in. Chances are you abandoned your dream of being paid to race cars in favor of a career as an accountant, engineer, doctor, plumber or (in a worst-case scenario) automotive journalist. The truly lucky among you took a shot at the dream, only to find out that racing cars isn’t as easy as it looks, at least not at the level where you get paid to drive. The first step was likely a driver’s school, generally required before any sanctioning body will let you turn a wheel in anger.

The author, awaiting the start of the track session – image: Ben English, Helix In-Car Camera

One of the oldest and best known driving schools in the United States is run by the Skip Barber organization, and they’ll teach you anything you want to know, in as much detail as you’d care to learn it, for a price. If you’re new to driving, Skip Barber has a teen-centered program that will give you necessary survival skills you’d otherwise have to pick up on your own. If you want to drive the latest sports cars on a track, with instruction on how to do so properly, Barber’s got a course for that, too. If you still hold on to that dream of racing cars, the school can also set you up in a Mazda MX-5 Cup car or a Formula Mazda racer.

Despite the weather, the Michelin Pilot Sport tires delivered impressive grip

Like any seriously-focused instruction, a day or two at the Skip Barber school doesn’t come cheap. The two-day school I attended had a base price of $2,800, or $3,150 if you opt for the (highly recommended) vehicle liability insurance. While that sounds like a lot of cash to lay out, shop around for comparable instruction in any discipline, and you’ll soon realize that’s the going rate for high-quality instruction.

Make no mistake about it, Skip Barber schools are all about quality. Class sizes are relatively small – we had four instructors for 18 students – and each instructor is himself (or herself) an accomplished racer. They’re not teaching you the line around a track because they read about racing in a book – they’re teaching you the line around a track because they’ve driven it thousands of times and at some point in their careers, someone has handed them a check to drive a race car.

The Mazda RX-8 on the skidpad – note the smaller rear wheels

In addition to knowing how to drive, Skip Barber instructors know how to teach, too. Classroom time is kept to a minimum (to maximize driving time and student attention span), but the necessary essentials are covered in a thorough and engaging manner. Questions are encouraged, and answered in as much detail as a student wants.

While the format used by Skip Barber (classroom instruction, followed by car control exercises) is universal, the exercises used build on one another to lay a solid foundation of skills and boost driver confidence better than any other program I’ve ever attended. Secondarily, the exercises demonstrate just how capable modern sports cars (and modern high-performance tires) are, in a controlled and monitored environment.

Day one of my school was filled with torrential rain, which I saw as a plus. Bad driving and poorly balanced cars really stand out in the wet, so the opportunity to drive on a flooded skidpad, a soaking wet autocross track and a nearly-underwater emergency braking area seemed like more bang for the buck to me. While most of the other students in the two-day class saw things my way, we had our doubts that students lapping in open-cockpit formula cars (or MX-5 Cup racers) were quite as upbeat. At least we had the illusion of being (relatively) dry while we were driving.

Yes, it really was as wet as it looks here

After about 45 minutes of classroom instruction, we were shuttled over to an autocross track, when an instructor drove a few slow-paced laps behind the wheel of a new Porsche 911 Carrera, while we rode shotgun. Next, we changed seats, with the instruction to build speed with each successive lap. While none of us was attempting to set a record lap time in the wet in a brand-new Porsche, it was clear that our comfort level was rising with each corner.

Next up was a turn at the skid pad in a specially-modified Mazda RX-8. Set up specifically to oversteer, the relatively low-powered Mazda proved to be a handful on the glass-smooth surface of the skid pad, and inducing understeer proved to be difficult. Oversteer, however, was on tap for anyone with less than perfect car control skills, and we were soon impressed at how many complete rotations you could get from an RX-8 at relatively low speeds on the reduced-traction skidpad surface. The exercise was key to develop a feel for the car’s balance, which would prove crucial in the afternoon sessions.

Sometimes, oversteer is good

Before lunch, we headed over to the emergency braking area, trading the the Mazda RX-8 for Lexus IS-F. The exercise sounded deceptively simple, but proved difficult to master: at a green light, the driver had only to stomp the throttle and point the car to a braking chute. When the light changed to red, the objective was to brake as hard as you could. Perhaps it was just perspective, but that red light seemed to take forever to illuminate, while the IS-F continued to build velocity. While the real purpose of the exercise was to get students used to transitioning from gas to brake, it also demonstrated just how good braking can be in a modern sport sedan, even in less-than-ideal conditions.

After lunch and a bit more classroom time to discuss cornering lines, we were back at the braking area, adding a new element to driving the IS-F. This time, we were to accelerate into a cone chute, lift off throttle to settle the car, do an emergency lane change and then brake with maximum effort. When we’d each had a few runs at a single lane change, the exercise switched up to change two lanes, making it that much more difficult to avoid hitting cones.

Following our session of terminating cones with extreme prejudice (though let the record state I’d killed but a single cone, in the first dual-lane change exercise), we were off to the skidpad, and back into the RX-8 for a horseshoe turn exercise. This time, the task was to accelerate hard into a braking zone on the skidpad, brake with intent (but not maximum effort) and then trail brake to the corner’s apex. Once at apex, we were to roll into the throttle while keeping the car pointed in the intended direction. Get on the gas too early, and oversteer was the order of the day. Turn in too sharply prior to the apex, and you were also countering oversteer. Get the corner just right, however, and you were met with just the right amount of rotation from the car’s rear. While car control was the lesson here, the second take away is that the RX-8 is an amazingly balanced car, so it’s time to shop for one on the used market before prices go up.

The new Porsche 911 Carrera was an impressive car in all conditions

Finally, day one ended with a return to the autocross track, and another stint behind the wheel of the Porsche 911 Carrera. While it was easy to see our confidence (and speeds) build, it was abundantly clear that there’s no substitute for practice and proper lines around an autocross track. Even our best times wouldn’t have held up against a relatively proficient autocross driver.

The second day started out much like the first, with all 18 students back in the classroom for more instruction. While some of the content was refresher material from the first day, much of it related to the importance of keeping eyes up – that is, looking far enough ahead – on both the race track and the highway. As speed builds, this becomes exponentially more important.

Rather than turning us loose on Road Atlanta and hoping for the best, the next exercise for day two was a return to the emergency braking area, which had been set up into a slalom course. The goal was to negotiate the course in a Lexus IS-F as quickly as we could, launching as few cones as possible, but the real lesson was tied to the morning’s lecture. If you don’t look far enough ahead in a slalom, you’re bound to punt a cone, and the Skip Barber instructors can tell exactly where you’ve been looking by how (and where) you hit the cone.

A Lexus IS-F tests the limits of its right front tire’s grip

When the instructors tired of running to retrieve scattered cones (and we’d been well-schooled on the importance of keeping eyes up), the class moved on to perhaps the most enjoyable exercise in the two-day school: an autocross that blended dry pavement with a wet skid pad, driven in the tail-happy Mazda RX-8. The course was ingenious in design, as it demonstrated the need to be gentle with both throttle and brake, as well as the effect of weight transfer (under acceleration or braking) on a car’s handling. While all of us looped the car at one point or another, after a few runs most students were able to rotate the car with a fair amount of control and turn ever-quicker laps. Of course we started pushing too hard then, demonstrating that there’s a fine line between “at the limit“ and “out of control.”

Day two’s wet / dry autocross

While most of us would have contentedly stayed at the the skidpad autocross for the rest of the day (yes, it really was that much fun), our instructors again forced us to drive the Porsche 911 Carrera on the autocross track. This time, however, there was a twist: we’d be driving solo, and our laps would be timed. Each of us would get six laps in one 911, followed by three laps in a second 911 (one was equipped with the PDK gearbox, while the second car had Porsche’s seven-speed manual transmission). At the end of the session, the fastest driver would earn bragging rights, even if there wasn’t a trophy or ribbon to accompany them.

Drifting the RX-8 around a wet skidpad

I’d like to say I had the fastest time, but I didn’t. In the first session, I was second quickest, beaten by a fellow student by half a second. In the second session, I ran a warm up lap, followed by a faster second lap, but then lost count of the lap I was on and prepared to pull off. It really wouldn’t have mattered anyway, as I’d caught the car in front of me at the end of the second lap, so I wasn’t going to get a quicker time. In the end I had to settle for third fastest, but a podium position is still a podium position in my book.

On the gas, in between corners

Following lunch, it was back to the classroom for more instruction, most of which revolved around on-track procedure and etiquette. We collected helmets, then piled into vans for a turn-by-turn overview of Road Atlanta. Perhaps the coolest part about the track is its extreme elevation change and blind corners. The tire barriers and retaining walls are chock-full of paint scars from drivers who’d judged a turn wrong, and our instructors were determined to make sure none of us made the same mistake with the school’s cars.

Autocross, day two – note the muddy wheels, evidence of pushing a little too hard

After the turn-by-turn guidance, we split into our two groups for instructor paced laps. As three instructors led the first group around the course, the rest of us piled into the instructor’s cars – a specially prepared Mazdaspeed3 – to see what a lap at speed looked like. This proved to be very beneficial for those of us with some track experience, as it really gave us a sense of what to expect on track.

Lapping in the first session – note the suspension compression – image: Ben English, Helix In-Car Camera

When it was our turn to drive, we climbed into the Lexus IS-F and the Porsche 911 and followed the instructor out of pit lane. The pace of each run group was determined by the pace of the slowest driver, necessary so that everyone stays within his or her comfort zone. After two laps behind the instructor’s car, we gave way so the next student could learn the line around Road Atlanta.

Through the Esses – image: Ben English, Helix In-Car Camera

When all was said and done, each of us had probably logged a dozen or so laps of the track at reasonable speed, and the seat time gave me better instruction than I’d ever received on a particular racetrack. In the event that I drive Road Atlanta again in the future, that level of detail alone made the class worth the price of admission to me.

Session 2, in another Lexus IS-F – image: Ben English, Helix In-Car Camera

At the end of the session, the instructors offered up rides in the Lexus IS-F to demonstrate what fast really looked like. Driving a paced lap gives you a sense of speed, but sitting in a car piloted by someone who races professionally gives you a completely different perspective; if you ever have the chance to lap a racetrack at the hands of a pro driver, do it.

Heading into Turn 1 – image: Ben English, Helix In-Car Camera

So, at the end of the day, who is the Skip Barber two-day school best suited for? That’s a difficult question to answer, since it’s so encompassing. Drivers who’ve never been on a racetrack will likely benefit the most, while even those with track days and solo experience will find the class worthy of their time and money. If you’re going to drive competitive events, instruction from a school like Skip Barber may be required before you’re allowed to drive on track, and that alone may make the decision easy for you. Even if you’ll never put a wheel on a racetrack, the lessons delivered will make you a safer driver in the real world, and it’s awfully hard to put a price on that.

In the interest of full disclosure, Skip Barber waived the tuition fee, allowing me to attend the school for the purpose of writing this article. I paid for all other fees (travel, lodging and meals) associated with the class.







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