Sunday, August 21, 2011

More car-related stuff!

On Thursday evening, Alex and I headed to Calabogie so we could be at the track early Friday for ASE Lapping Club's track day. I was sharing my Civic with Kevin from Perry Auto Performance, as his borrowed transmission was in my car. We took turns lapping in the car (I was not that fast, best lap of 2:38) and corded several older tires I had brought. Then, at about 3:00 pm, I lost the alternator belt while out on track. I decided to call it a day and my plan was to try to make it back to Montreal on battery power. I stopped only to buy an alternator belt on  the way in case the battery died, but it didn't. I also noted the car was losing a lot of coolant and could not figure out why. I decided not to use the car at the Fiat Alfa Romeo Club event where I was instructing on Saturday. The day was less fun for me as I didn't have a car. I got a few laps in a Fiat 500 (like last year), but there was no opportunity to drive any exotics. Now both my cars are at Marc's, waiting to be repaired. GRRRR!

When I got home yesterday, I had to run 16 km. I went downtown to meet Alex and there were many exotic cars around and car-related activities because of the Nascar weekend at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.It was a tiring day. Luckily, I got to sleep in Sunday. As mentioned below, my 21.1 km run at 4:10 pace went well, despite constant rain. This week will be a big one at work, but an easy running week, with no car-related activities.

Cool cars spotted:
Ferrari F430
Ferrari 458
Ferrari 575
Ferrari 599 GTO (!!!)
Lamborghini Gallardo
Maserati GT
Maserati Quattroporte
Bentley Continental Supersport (!)
Dodge Viper
Corvette Z06
Aston Martin Vantage
BMW M5 V10
BMW M6 V10
Audi R8
Audi RS4
AMG SLS
Ford GT
Cadillac XLR
Porsche Boxster Speedster
Porsche 944 turbo
Triumph TR3
Nissan GTR
Nissan Skyline GT-R R32

1:27:47

Well, it's not a personal best (7 seconds off my personal best from April 25th 2011) half-marathon time for me, but it's pretty close. Also, it was pouring rain the whole time. I am happy that I managed to meet the goal in my marathon training plan of running at a 4:10 per kilometer pace for 21.1 km. Also, I am happy to see that I am not that exhausted (although my legs are pretty sore). Training continues...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lots to catch up on...

I have been running around a lot in the past few days! Alex is in San Antonio, Texas, for a work-related conference and will be back tomorrow. I have been running around trying to keep the Civic and M3 in working condition (with limited success) and attending various events. Monday of last week at lapping, I managed to strip the 4th gear in the Civic transmission. I had to buy back the spare transmission I had sold to a friend so that the car could be used Thursday and Friday, as I was scheduled to instruct at the BMW Club of Quebec Mid Summer Heat high performance driver education event at Tremblant. The transmission was replaced by wednesday night, but, unfortunately, the Civic would not start Thursday morning and I had to head to the track without it. Fortunately, Rob let me have a session in his E36 M3 and Marc was able to fix my Civic Thursday. I picked it up Thursday night so I could use it at Tremblant Friday. On Friday, I more than made up for lost time, running the car in seven different sessions. I managed a best lap of 2:02.42, about the same as last year, running on some well-used Nitto NT01 tires.

Here is a video of 4 laps viewed from my Civic:



I saw a bunch of Ferraris from the "Ferrari Experience" at the track and on the street: 458's, California's and a 599. Nice, and loud. On the way home from the track, I picked up the M3 from Marc's so I could head to a family get-together Saturday in rural Ontario, 700 km away. After a (very) scary moment on the highway in the rain on Sunday, I decided to bring the car back to Marc's, so he could find out why the rear alignment seemed to change when the car went over a bump and to change the worn rear tires. I hope he can find out what's wrong so I won't have to take it to a more experienced mechanic.

On Thursday night, I head to Calabogie with the Civic for an ASE Lapping Club track day on Friday. On Saturday, I am scheduled to instruct at the Fiat/Alfa Romeo Club of Quebec track day at St-Eustache. Last year, I got to drive some pretty neat cars on that day.

The marathon training plan takes a lot of hours and is still pretty grueling. I had one of my worst runs the other day on a Sunday morning. It was hot, and I was really overheating. Surprisingly, the runs I had after getting home from Tremblant Friday and from Ontario Sunday (26 km) went well, despite coming at the end of long days. I guess part of it is related to nutrition (I had an interesting talk with my cousin Dave about nutrition. He is a triathlete who works for Nestle, makers of Powerbar, whose gels I use). This Sunday, I will have to run a quick half-marathon. Last year, I managed to complete the distance in under 1:28, and I am hoping I can do it again this year. Stay tuned...

Cool cars spotted:
Aston Martin Vantage
Ferrari 348
Ferrari 355
Ferrari 360
Porsche 997 GT3
Porsche 997 turbo
Porsche 964 Turbo
Porsche 993 Turbo
Jaguar E-Type
Corvette Z06
Maserati GT
Maserati Quattroporte
Bentley Arnage Black Label
Bentley Continental
Rolls Royce Corniche
Audi R8
Audi S6 Avant
Audi RS4
BMW Z8
Lamborghini Gallardo
AMG SLS
AMG C63

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Still enjoying summer!

Yesterday at lapping, I got to drive a student’s 1990 Porsche 911 for a couple of laps at St-Eustache. The car was pleasant to drive and had a decent amount of power and torque. The car did feel a bit unstable in the corners. I really like the narrow-bodied look of these 964-generation 911’s, but the consequence is that the car feels much less stable than a post-2000 911. My student actually managed to spin the car on his first lap when he entered a corner (the dog-leg) too fast. Would I buy one of these 911's? Probably not... they are not cheaper than 996 and 997's, but they are much less comfortable or reliable. I am getting soft in my old age, I guess.

Photobucket
A Carrera 2 like the one I drove yesterday.

I had the pleasure of riding with Rob in his E36 M3 later in the evening, and he also managed to spin with me aboard! He had gone over a wet rumble strip a bit too aggressively when trying to keep up with a vintage 911. In fact, there were a bunch of 911’s at the track yesterday (at least 6), along with some other really cool cars (Corvette Z06, Nissan GT-R and R32 Skyline GTR). Aside from myt student with the 964, I had one student with an S2000 (my knees touch the dash as a passenger), an Audi S6 V10 (lots of torque) and a new 911 convertible (stable and comfortable).

I haven’t actually driven the race car in two weeks, as I have not been able to finish work early enough on a Monday. I hope to remedy this next week. Even if I miss lapping, I will be heading to Tremblant on August 11th and 12th to instruct for the BMW club and get some track time in the Civic.

The marathon training continues. Last week was an easy week and I just enjoyed two days off of running in a row, which almost never happens in this training plan.

Cool cars spotted:

Jaguar E-type V12 Coupe
Jaguar E-type convertible
Ferrari F430
Ferrari 348
Ferrari 550
BMW Z8
Acura NSX
Flat black Mercedes SL550
Flat silver AMG C63
CL600
Audi RS4
Audi S6 V10
Audi S8 V10
Audi R8 (loud)
Aston Martin DB9
Aston Martin Vantage
Ford GT
Maserati Quattroporte
Maserati GT convertible
MGTD
Porsche 997 Turbo S
Porsche 993 Carrera 4S
Porsche 996 GT3
Porsche 997 GT3
Porsche 997 Turbo
Porsche 928
Porsche 930 Slantnose
Bentley Mulsanne
Bentley Azure
Rolls Royce Corniche
Nissan Skyline GT-R R32
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 1
Alfa Romeo Spider (1980)
Lotus Esprit HF Turbo
Dodge Viper SRT10