Monday, November 21, 2011

Some professional pictures of last weeks track day.

Here are some of Jeremy's excellent photos taken during my track day at St-Eustache on November 13th.


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Passing a Mustang on the back straight

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The Esses

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Between an Evo 9 and a turbo Jetta

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Posing with the Civic

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Late fall colours

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Artsy pic

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Cool blurry pic

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Esses again!

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Lining up the Jetta for the pass

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Illusion of speed

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Another cool artsy pic

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Kevin, Vince and Rob, enjoying the warm late fall weather

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A short break for the Civic

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Before more laps

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And yet more laps!

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Rob's Mustang, ready for action

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More laps in the Civic!

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And then a few laps driving Rob's Mustang... pretty sweet!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Last driving video of the season

Here is a short video of a couple of laps at the track last Sunday. My camera stopped before I could record the fastest laps of the day, so the times in this video are not that great:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A perfect day?

I have been watching a lot of racing these days and browsing many automotive websites. People are talking about their winter plans, but it hasn't even snowed yet. I found this to be pretty depressing from a track driving point of view, so I decided to organize a track day that would take place today. Carl helped me set it up the rental of the track at St-Eustache and all I had to do was find 14 other enthusiasts willing to pay a small fee for one last track day in 2011. With the help of our club's Facebook page and the MontrealRacing web site, I managed to scrape together the required number of drivers and the day was on. Apart from a delay in getting the keys to open the gate of the track this morning, things went really well. I think the people who showed up had a great time. The weather was great and there was a lot of track time on offer. I personally burned a whole tank of gas in the race Civic. The track was dusty in the morning, but improved steadily throughout the day. When Pascal's WRX STi began to smoke due to an oil seal leak, I offered him some seat time in the Civic. I told him that if we wanted to set a better lap time than me, he would need to lap in under 1:02.50. He went out for a few laps and came back with a huge grin on his face. When I asked him what lap time he had achieved, he just pointed to the lap timer and showed me a 1:01.83. I was a bit pissed off, as I thought it would be hard to shave off 0.7 seconds to best his time in the remaining sessions. I went out right away and clicked off a 1:02.1 on my first lap. It took me several tries (many laps in the 1:02.0 range) before I finally managed to match his time of 1:01.83. We were both laughing at the end of my session.

I also got to go out for a few laps in Rob's 2000 Mustang track car. It was surprisingly easy to drive and I had quite a good time. The power was really manageable and the car felt stable and safe. All in all, it was a great day and I am proud that I was able to organize a track day so late in the season. I have to thank Marc, Kevin and Pascal for all their help.

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8:00 in the morning, hoping 15 people will show up

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The Civic ran like a charm all day

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This is how you want your tires to look at the end of the season

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A comparison of my speed throughout my best lap in comparison with Pascal's

The perfect day ended with a quiet BBQ dinner with Alex followed by some quality couch time (including watching the Abu Dhabi F1 race!).

As for my basketball teams, things are going really well too. My men's team now has two consecutive wins (after a tie in the first game) and we are still undefeated. My girls' team has now played two games, winning by 25 against a division 2 team (same division as us) and by 30 against a division 3 team. Darlington continues to impress me with his coaching and knowledge. Our next game is against the team that is usually considered as the one to beat in the division. It will not be easy.

Running: I haven't been out running again as I have been busy with work, but I plan to go out at least once this week.

Cool cars spotted:

AMG C63
Lamborghini Murcielago
Porsche Boxster Spyder
Porsche 996 GT2
Porsche 997 tt
Maserati Quattroporte
Ferrari F430
Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale
Ferrari California
Flat black Bentley Continental GT
Aston Martin V8 Vantage
Aston Martin Vainquish
Mercedes 190e 2.3 16
Mini Cooper S John Cooper Works
Lexus ISF
BMW M6
BMW Z4M
Audi RS4
Toyota MR2 Mk. 1
Toyota Supra tt
Toyota Celica turbo AWD JDM

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Finally got my butt off the couch.

It's been more than five weeks since the marathon and I hadn't gone on a single run until today. The weather was lovely, so I left work a bit early so I could get in a 13 km run on Mount Royal before dark set in (a bit after 6:00 pm), as the Olmsted path is not lit. I went out a bit slow, but quickly got into a decent rhythm. My heart rate did not remain very low, but I was able to maintain the high 150's and low 160's for quite a while. I completed the distance in under 58 minutes for what I believe is the first time ever. Now, a couple of hours later, I feel fine. I needed that, especially since last Friday's basketball game was cancelled and I haven't had much physical activity. I guess this just proves that I should get out for a run more often.

Other than that, Alex and I have both been busy with work. I know the holidays are still a few weeks off, but I look forward to a little break. We have booked a trip to Mexico for spring break and are looking into a trip to Holland (and possibly the Nurburgring?) in April. These dates are still a loooong way off.

I have been watching BTCC races over the past few days. It makes me wish I could afford to do a bit more racing in the Civic. It doesn't look like there will be any other opportunities to drive the car again this year. Bummer. At least I have the BMW, which is extremely pleasant to drive on the softer winter tires. I swapped the pads on the car for some used street pads, as both Alex and I were sick of the constant squealing of the performance pads that came with the car. I have to say that I am extremely impressed with the performance of the pads I just removed (I don't even know what brand they are, but I suspect they are Hawk HP Plus due to the noise). I have driven 20 000 km on them and they still have a ton of thickness left. Also, I can feel a definite difference in the bite of these pads versus the street ones I just put on. Too bad they squeal like a scared piglet! Also, too bad the brake pad wear sensor broke when I removed it (and, of course, I did not have a spare one on hand!).

I have to say that I am still fascinated with my new phone. I hadn't realized that it was going to be like having a little laptop in my pocket at all times. It's crazy having this much information available all the time. Also, it's like I'm always carrying around a decent camera in my pocket in case I spot something worthy of shooting (OK, mostly cars!). In fact, even though we are in November, there are still some pretty cool cars on the road:

I spotted this BMW 1M on German plates, complete with a Nurburgring sticker. It must be a European delivery car:

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I saw this nice AMG SLS in virtually the same spot:

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And I photographed this BMW 3.0 CS at a red light. OK, I admit the camera cannot deal with every situation!
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Cool cars spotted:

Audi R8
Audi 200 Avant Quattro
AMG G55
AMG SLS
Maserati Quattroporte
Maserati GT
Lamborghini Gallardo
Nissan GTR
Nissan Skyline GT-R R32
Opel GT
Toyota Supra TT
Toyota MR2 (mk.1)
Alfa Romeo Spider
E28 BMW M5
BMW 1M
BMW 3.0 CS
Shelby GT500
Ford Mustang Cobra SVT
Bentley Continental GT
Porsche 997 Targa S
Porsche 997 GT3 RS
Porsche 997 Turbo
MGB-GT