Thursday, April 30, 2009

Up to NY to see the Model S

Still drunk on voltage from our test ride in February, Megan and I jumped at the chance to attend a private viewing of the Tesla Motors Model S sedan in Manhattan.


I mean seriously - "invited" by Tesla to a "private viewing" of their new model? How could we pass on that? Even the reality that the event was 4 hours away on a Wednesday night couldn't deter us! Oh how I payed for that decision today running on only a few hours of sleep...


...but back to the subject. Tesla seems to do everything with style, as this event was in the IAC Building, which was like nothing I'd ever walked into before (thanks to Ankur for helping us get to the building). Slick lighting, Tesla decorations, brochures on tables, and motion pictures all over the walls. High class stuff!


As for the goods they had to show: a Roadster, a fake Model S, and a Teslafied Smart Car (the last of which I got no pictures of). My father, who met us along with my sister, finally got to sit in a Roadster!


They had a Model S on display, but it was a dud. There was no interior (the windows were highly-tinted to keep you from noticing), and some of the components appeared to be fake (the brake rotors and calipers were curious).


And then there was the Smart Car. I'm not a fan of the Smart Car, but I respect it and think it would prove a much more respectable EV than the moronic version they brought to the US that runs on high-test gasoline. It appeared that they were seriously tinkering with the one we got to sit in.


Finally, at 11:30pm we got our text message telling us that our ride was ready! So we dashed across the street where they were giving extremely short demo rides of the Roadster and real, drivable Model S. We jumped in the S with another couple, and a Tesla driver took us for a spin. He figures the machine we were riding in, all things considered, was 50% representative of what will roll off the assembly line in 2011.


Five thousand to reserve an S, huh? Hmmm...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hungry For Throttle

That's the way I like to sum up my first track experience of 2009. Easter weekend this year found us at Summit Point's Shenandoah circuit for back-to-back track days with Team ProMotion.

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It rained, uninterrupted, from the time we got up early Saturday morning until after lunch, which made for some slow laps around the track. Megan always says, "better to rain at the beginning than at the end." That's for sure, because I ended up spending the first half of Saturday getting my race line just right. So when things dried-up late in the afternoon, confidence was high.

Day one ended with boiled hot dogs, coffee, and way-cold temperatures for mid-April (down in the 30's). We woke up Sunday morning to the light ridicule of our RV-equipped neighbors. You know, the ones who had heat all night!


But this was where the back-to-back track days payed-off. I hit the ground running Sunday morning with the track fresh in mind. By the third session, I was hungry for throttle. Where for most of Saturday, it was...

  1. slow down

  2. lean-off

  3. turn

  4. apex

  5. exit

  6. apply throttle mid-day Sunday, it was...

  1. slow down

  2. lean-off

  3. apply throttle

  4. turn

  5. apex

  6. ROLL ON

  7. exit


Gradually arriving at the latter order of operations allowed me to maintain the smooth as the aggression set in. It was awesome. Thanks to Megan for shooting!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Trusty Trailer


It's that time of year again - the first track day is cresting the horizon and it brings to mind all that trailer maintenance I've been putting off. Repacking the wheel bearings, fixing the license plate mount, rewiring some of the electrical...

We purchased a Harbor Freight trailer in Spring of 2006. The product came highly recommended from our friends who pioneer all the trends in motorcycle activities (at least from our point-of-view). The biggest reason this product is popular among our group is cost. For $330 (plus shipping), you get a 4x8 frame with 12" wheels. Add the bed material of your choice, and you're done. However you get what you pay for, and the Harbor Freight trailer definitely has its share of design flaws. The folding hinges shear, the rear half ends up sagging, the wiring layout results in a poor ground, and the list goes on. But these problems are easily surmountable with a bit of thought, as we're still going strong 3 years later.


We neglect our trailer; living in a townhouse makes it tough to protect our 4x8 friend since we store it on our property. It's out in the weather every day of the year and that's reflected in the red powder-coating, which has faded significantly. But there has been no detrimental corrosion whatsoever.


It has turned out to be a great tool for us. And at this rate, we expect to pull this thing behind us for another 3 years.