I did that event a couple of years ago, and figured it would be fun to do it again. Some coworkers and I met at club sportiva in San Jose:
many cars in their shop
how many lotuses do you need? :)
And here are the cars I drove in sequence:
Lamborghini LP560 (4WD V10) which was new for me.
The Lambo did quite well in the twisties, and the sound was quite nice. The traction control felt good, better than I thought it was.
Lotus Elise (stick shift), same I drove last time.
Unfortunately, I only got to drive it on the top of skyline, which is not what this car is built for. It definitely felt raw, a bit cramped, even for me, and if something is going to be wrong on the road or you, it is _not_ going to help you :)
Nissan GTR (4WD turbo), also new for me
Nice lineup at the Mountain House, where I switched to the GTR, just in time for twisties downhill. The GTR did quite well, it definitely allowed me to push it, and definitely felt safe. I was fairly impressed with it:
plenty of gadgets and graphs, I love those :)
Porsche 911 (4WD turbo), another new one.
When we made it to the ocean, I got to switch to the 911. While I didn't love it, it behaved quite well in the uphill twisties:
and it has room for people in the... actually it doesn't :)
Maserati was the same I drove last time.
I again got it for cruising on top of Skyline. It felt a bit sluggish with the extra weight it's carrying, I wonder how it would have done in real turns. I'm guessing it does reasonably well. Its brakes were very good.
Audi R8 V8 (stick shift) was last
While it was the same I drove last time, I quite like this car. It did very well downhill in 9, sounded good and felt planted and safe, and its brakes were also quite effective.
Unfortunately, the loop we got was shorter compared to the one we did the previous time, and there was a pace car in the front, so even when the road was empty, it held me up a little bit :), so I just gave everyone some space and room before going myself to get a bit of clear road.
I recently got another Back to the Roots Mushrooms kit at work during Earth Day, so I gave it another shot. This time it worked quite well :)
The amazing part is that the following pictures are only 5 days apart:
I had heard about Solar Impulse, the first solar plane that can not only fly during the day on solar energy, but can also store energy in the batteries so that it can fly at night too, but it was nice to have Bertrand and André (both Swiss French) come visit us and come talk about their work so far, and their plans.
I had no idea that their huge plane could fly on just 4 10HP motors. That is less than a fourth of the power than the average US car has, or my new car has 15 times more power than their entire plane! Note that it is a super efficient glider that only flies at 25-30kts (i.e. a very slow sleep and wind currents can push you much faster than it can propel itself). This is not about to take passengers across the Atlantic quite yet, but the idea is to work on milestones one piece at a time.
So far, they have flown over 24H by charging batteries during the day, climbing high, and gliding slowly down (1ft/sec) from very high altitude at night while using batteries to sustain flight when they are low enough that they should use power to maintain altitude.
Next, they're planning on flying across the US and their end goal is being able to fly around the world.
Bertrand and André, interviewed by Pablo, one of our local pilots
Next, we went to Moffett to see their plane (which had been brought inside a bigger plane and put back together). You have to see it in person to see how big it actually is:
The plane is about as wide as a 747 while the pilot cabin is smaller than the planes I fly. It was difficult get a picture from end to end in the dark hangar, but these pictures give some idea:
I got to see the materials they use, that was impressive in itself: super light but solid honeycomb, as well as foam. The spars are made out of super light carbon fiber, the same kind that goes in expensive supercars due to its strength to weight ratio:
the solar panels from sunpower are also super thin and super light
It was really cool to meet with Bertrand and André, and see their first plane. V2 is going to allow for 2 pilots, better avionics, and ability for pilots to stay airborne longer.
You can go to http://www.solarimpulse.com/#6914 to see how the plane was rebuilt at Moffett. From there, they are planning on flying across America.
San Diego Zoo came with a few animals to promote their zoo and their new Australian Exhibit.
The Kookaburas are cool
The cockatoo is a beautiful bird
Blue Tongue Skink
Jennifer and I had seen many in Australia, even had wild cockatoos come eat from our hands in a public park, but I had never seen the blue tongue skink, and while I had seen the Kookaburas before, they are very cool birds to see again.
I still had one more day to go to Kirkwood before I broke even on my pass, but let's face it, there weren't too many powder days this year, so when we got a "maybe powder day" in April, it was potentially the last one for this season, so we took the risk. We drove on Sunday afternoon, and stayed overnight, hoping for gobs of snow at night. Snow did fall, but just not long enough.
Long story short, it was very nice super dry powder with cold temps, but it just wasn't enough. Maybe 4-5 inches in the best spots, but that really wasn't enough to cover the ice sheets under it.
There were spots that were nice if you rode flat on them, but as soon as you rode with an edge, it got to the ice, and it wasn't that fantastic.
Still, it was reasonably fun, and better than the other days where you had ice and slush. But boy, I don't remember seeing so little snow around kirkwood (even if kirkwood itself had godo coverage on the trails still).
I don't think I ever saw that river, or forgot about it
Very coool, a remote controlled snowboarding kid :)
Jennifer, her first day since her ankle sugery last year, did very well. Much better than both of us expected :)
I missed the previous drive since I was snowboarding in Colorado, and it was just around home, but that was no excuse for not missing this drive. I had no idea where it would go, but it didn't matter, it was a good way to try the car on the road now that the break-in period had just been done.
ok, my door opening isn't as tight...
And it was time for the drive:
I got to follow the adventador, and the driver is not slow :) On the first section of the drive, he kind of pulled away from me because my car was had the suspension raised and it kept yelling at me "slow down, I'm lowering your air suspension" :) and while that was happening, I was also futzing with my google glass to try and start a FPV video :)
Once that was done, it wasn't too bad to catch up and keep up since my car is more nimble, but once it came to going downhill a very wet road I didn't know, I backed out somewhat. Turns out the car was very composed the entire time, it never scared me despite the wet conditions, but I was being conservative anyway. Once at the bottom, we wiated for the other folks for several minutes :)
So, it was time to take my not quite broken in yet 6 day old car to the track. What better way to break in the engine? :)
Unfortunately, the forecast for rain did materialize and we actually got quite a nice downpour in the morning. I typically never go to TH in the rain, both because it's difficult to fly there, and also because it doesn't give me a chance to compare my lap times and see if I've been driving better, or not.
But eh, I figured I should maybe drive my new car to TH myself at least once :) and I also knew that it would be interesting to drive in the rain, so I went.
As expected, the morning was very wet, but the afternoon turned out pretty nice.
my car ended up being a nice hand warmer :)
afternoon means time for slicks :)
Haha, that's cool :)
You're right, it'll go faster without this useless part :)
A friend and coworker of mine brought his personal toy:
He was nice enough to let me drive it for a session since he knew I was good for it if anything happened :) That said, my goal was definitely not to buy a new car, especially if damaged :) I started easy, and slowly went faster, but only down to 2:13 which really isn't that fast, but considering how scary that car is, was plenty fast for me :)
So, the car sounded absolutely awesome, like a real freaking racecar, and that's because it is one. I'm told it's not that comfortable on the street, but it's definitely a racecar on the track. I hadn't driven a stick on the track for like 7 years, so I didn't do any fancy heel and toe, or left foot braking, or downshifting multiple gears. With the old tires that were on (and lack of grip), I almost regretted it each time I put 2nd gear since it was more power than the tires had traction (quite interesting in turn 11).
I kind of wonder how it would have driven with fresh tires on a warm track, but at the same time, since its traction control was mostly useless, and I kind of like the safety net of computers being there to help just in case when I drive a car that's several hundred thousand dollars, I think I'd be pretty scared to drive this car anywhere close to the limit.
Anyway, a big thanks for letting me try it out. By the way this little clip shows how unsafe 2nd gear was :) . My laps are below, including 3 small mishaps in turn 11 :)
My car did well, I did have to get used to it, as expected, but I ramped up reasonably quickly:
it was nice to have real time feedback on tire temps and pressures
In the rain, it was easy and forgiving to drive, and big rear wing that comes in under heavy braking definitely seems to help, and looks cool to people behind me :)
As the track got better, I was kind of stuck around 2:09 which was sad considering I was faster in the F430, but once Arnaud passed me in his Scud in the last session, I just followed him and we got down to 2:03 for the last lap. The better news even is that it was with me making a couple of mistakes and catching back up with him, or lifting off in the straight not to pass him. The fun happens around 18:20.
(note that I was still short shifting because my engine wasn't fully broken in yet)
So it took me a while to warm up, but I was very happy about my last lap, and the potential that was still left. to be continued...
A few chosen pictures from Dito (unfortunately none showed the rear wing when it comes up under braking):
Anyway, this was a much better day than planned, considering. Good time sure was had and thanks again to the DnF team for making this happen, as well as Frank for riding in my car and giving me expert tips I sure needed at the time.
A few random pictures left over:
I'm really bummed I missed that day at thunderhill, I drove those exact cars at Mt Tremblant
Ditto and his impressive picture lab
Since for once, I had driven my own butt there, I had time for dinner: