Marc's Public Blog - Cars


All | Aquariums | Arduino | Btrfs | Cars | Cats | Clubbing | Dining | Diving | Electronics | Exercising | Flying | Hiking | Linux | Linuxha | Monuments | Museums | Public | Rc | Sciencemuseums | Snow | Solar | Trips

Below is a recounting of various car events I've attended along the years, from car club meets, autocrosses, track events, and enthusiast drives.

Table of Content for cars:

More pages: March 2019 February 2019 November 2018 September 2018 July 2018 June 2018 May 2018 April 2018 December 2017 October 2017 September 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 July 2016 June 2016 April 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 November 2014 September 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 February 2014 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 October 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 September 2011 July 2011 June 2011 April 2011 March 2011 October 2010 August 2010 July 2010 April 2010 February 2010 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 November 2008 May 2008 April 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 June 2007 April 2007 December 2006 November 2006 May 2006 January 2006 July 2005 May 2005 April 2005 January 2005 December 2004 October 2004 September 2004 August 2004 July 2004 June 2004 May 2004 February 2004 October 2003 May 2003 April 2003 March 2003 November 2002 October 2002 July 2002 May 2002 April 2002 March 2002 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 July 2001 June 2001 May 2001 April 2001 March 2001 February 2001 December 2000 November 2000 October 2000 September 2000 August 2000 July 2000




2019/03/27 First Non Stop Tesla Drive to Kirkwood
π 2019-03-27 01:01 in Cars, Snow
Back when I had an 90D, it claimed that it might barely make it to KW on a summer day at low speed, but it was just too short to get there in the winter, forcing me to stop at least 30mn in Manteca, creating a 45 to 60mn slowdown.
Long story short, it did get me to Kirkwood, but it was a bit annoying to have to stop, especially the day the Manteca Supercharger was down and I was forced to drive to Folson and all the way around 50/89/88, causing an almost 2H detour.

After getting my new Model 3 AWD LR, my first drive to KW I stayed conservative and stopped 10mn in Manteca to recharge 10%. After arriving, I arrived with 20% left while having driven quite hard. This gave me enough confidence that I'd be able to do it in one shot, even if that day the weather was perfect.

So, for my 2nd drive, I planned to drive in one shot, despite the less than ideal conditions (snow at the top). This was a bit risky because if the road closed at the top of 88, I'd be in trouble. My backup plan was first to beg caltrans to escort me through, and if that failed, to roll back to jackson's bus station to use their 240V/22A charger which although not that fast would give me enough charge in 30 to 60mn to make it to the folsom supercharger. Obviously, this would have sucked, but better than being totally stuck.

Before you try to replicate this:

  • You need at least the M3 AWD LR (range 310mi). The RWD LR is actually rated for 330 miles, but if you have to put chains, it will more than kill the extra 20 mile range the car has.
  • I have the 18" aero wheels. The more fancy looking wheels will make you lose 20 to 30 miles of range, leaving you with a very small margin.
  • I didn't drive faster than 75mph
  • I had to have headlights on for half the drive
  • I didn't use heating, this uses a lot of energy
  • I only used the defogger for 15 seconds at a time about 10 times total
  • I used wipers as needed
  • note that I arrived with 11-13% less than than the car predicted, so you need margin
  • Don't even try this if snow is down to Ham's station or lower, the snow that far down ([plus the temps) are likely going to eat your entire margin
  • Basically understand that it will not work in all conditions and that there isn't much margin for error, especially if Carson Spur closes in front of you when you've almost arrived.
  • The biggest thing is: the lower the snowline, the lower the temperatures, the less likely you are to make it. If you don't make it, you'll have to turn back to Jackson's charging station or make it all the way to the Folsom supercharger and drive around hwy 50/89/88, which is a 45mn detour at best.

    When I left, my car claimed I'd arrive with 20%, which I knew was likely optimistic:



    Strangely just 9 miles into my drive, it then said I'd arrive with 22%, but it soon adjusted to 17%:



    By the time I was climbing 88, my forecast was 16%. Probably because I was driving 70 to 75mph on the freeways:



    However, by the time I reached lower temperatures, and then hit the snow, this dropped like a stone. Good thing I gave myself a reserve:

    13%
    13%

    11%
    11%

    then it dropped and stayed at 9%
    then it dropped and stayed at 9%

    finally arrived safe and sound with 9%, happy to have made it in just 3h11 even with the snow at the top
    finally arrived safe and sound with 9%, happy to have made it in just 3h11 even with the snow at the top

    notice the big drop compared to the predicted range
    notice the big drop compared to the predicted range

    I could have saved maybe a few percents by driving even slower, but ultimately the lower temps and the rolling resistance from the snow definitely harmed the range by a lot in just the last 30mn of driving. Be prepared for that.

    Now, I was curious of whether I could get anywhere if I hadn't been able to recharge. Allegedly I could make it barely to stateline or folsom SCs but honestly with no margin and with snow resistance, I would likely not have made it to either of the 2:

    stateline with 6% used
    stateline with 6% used

    folsom with 7% used
    folsom with 7% used

    Now, Kirkwood nicely installed chargers last year, and keeps the spots empty of non electric cars (at least I'm told they do):


    their Tesla charger is good, 10kW/48A. I didn't even know my M3 AWD could charge at 48A
    their Tesla charger is good, 10kW/48A. I didn't even know my M3 AWD could charge at 48A

    otherwise, in an underground lot, charging from 110V is much slower :)
    otherwise, in an underground lot, charging from 110V is much slower :)

    Important notes:

  • The fact that I made it was definitely based on the conditions of the day. On a colder day with a lower snowline, my 9% could have turned into -3% or somesuch (i.e. not making it). Please plane accordingly.
  • The chargers at kirkwood are a very nice addition. You only pay the premium parking fee, but they are too close to one another, so it's unlikely that 6 teslas will fit. On a busy weekend, be ready for the fact that the chargers may be full and you might have to park by the lodge and steal a nearby 110V plug if you are desperate
  • In case of emergency, the Folsom and Stateline Superchargers are far in time (1H), but you should be able to get there witth just 10% as long as you are not in a snowstorm.
  • Do not park your car overnight unplugged into anything or be ready to lose a lot of battery if it's cold
  • Understand that you should however not plug into the few building plugs that you can find without getting permission. Those are typically paid for by the HOA at the rate of 66c/Kwh.
  • Fun facts:

  • It took me 91% to drive to KW, but the drive back was predicted to only be 35%
  • My car showed it drove 184 miles at 356Wh/mi average, or 65.5Kwh used for 91%.
  • As a consequence of the above, 100% usable battery capacity should be 72Kwh (and the pack 75Kwh if you add a 3Kwh buffer).
  • I had no idea my car could charge as fast as 48A from an AC charger, faster than my Model S I believe.
  • 2019/02/12 First Snowmobile Trip around Mt Tremblant, Canada
    π 2019-02-12 01:01 in Cars, Snow
    After arriving in Mt Tremblant, and snowboarding a few hours, I confirmed that anything not groomed was sheer ice, so I figured I might as well try some snowmobiling instead while waiting for the incoming ft+ storm.

    I had to drive 20mn to a nearby town and rent for a local store. They just gave me a 2mn briefing on what button does what, a crappy map showing me where to go (this included crossing multiple roads). Sadly, I ended up missing a turn that was not obvious at all and had to ride on the street only to figure out that a snowmobile cannot turn at all on asphalt, making things very hard.
    Eventually I got help and directions back towards the trail and had a great 70km 2h30 ride across cold canadian wilderness.
    I could have flipped the thing multiple times and hurt myself easily. I did top out at 100kph and caught air at least once, as well as scared myself a few times but managed not to understeer into a river or a half frozen lake :)

    This probably wouldn't last more than a few days if they allowed americans to rent those things with no guidance, or a proper map (I had to use my GPS more than once to find breadcrumbs back), or over drive off the trail into a tree, or a lake :)

    Either way, definitely had fun, and this probably beat any speed limited guided tour available anywhere else.






    yeah, the planes were unexpected
    yeah, the planes were unexpected



    I eventually reached a place that had dog sleigh rides, and turned back there
    I eventually reached a place that had dog sleigh rides, and turned back there


    Covered wooden bridge, very nice
    Covered wooden bridge, very nice







    2019/02/08 Porsche Ice Experience Driving Course at Circuit Mecaglisse
    π 2019-02-08 01:01 in Cars
    Circuit Mecaglisse is 1.5h north of Montréal, and I was lucky enough to be accepted in their level 2 course thanks to the training I got at Dirtfish learning the basics of rally driving. As expected, my almost 20 years of track driving was mostly worthless :)

    They had a professional photographer who obviously took better shots than I did :)




    The busy photographer (40 drivers) got a few shots of me, along with my talented co-driver Alain. Alain was a great guy as well as one of the best snow/ice drivers in the group, which definitely made me feel self-conscious. He showed me what I should have been doing :)

    Alain
    Alain



    for a short while I was also driving with Mark, the other star in our group
    for a short while I was also driving with Mark, the other star in our group

    Anyway, here are my pictures. The drive from Montréal was actually "interesting", a passing storm yielded some ice on the road and driving 20mph wasn't even safe anymore. Eventually it turned to snow, which was easier to drive on with the snow tires on the 2WD rental car I got:


    the nice hotel where we were hosted, but it was 45mn away from the track
    the nice hotel where we were hosted, but it was 45mn away from the track

    they fed us well :)
    they fed us well :)

    Every morning, we got a bus ride to the track, which is specifically designed to have a layer of ice in the winter:


    when I say ice, it really is ice
    when I say ice, it really is ice

    Kees Nerop, the head instructor we were lucky to end up with
    Kees Nerop, the head instructor we were lucky to end up with

    we drove both 4WD and 2WD 911s
    we drove both 4WD and 2WD 911s



    they had studded tires, but the studs were pretty short
    they had studded tires, but the studs were pretty short

    A few driving pictures:

    Alain, showing me how it's done :)
    Alain, showing me how it's done :)

    I didn't expect things to be easy, and they weren't. The biggest problem is if you go in a bit too deep, there is mostly nothing you can do to fix it. In this oversteer turn exercise, I turned a bit too late and while I did mostly the right things, I was just a bit too late and smacked the snow wall with the car:

    sigh. this was not a proud moment
    sigh. this was not a proud moment

    This is when I need to really recognize Porsche for offering this class at all and allowing students to make mistakes. Basically unless they deem that you were driving like an idiot, you aren't liable for damage. They apparently have a full supply of body panels and bumpers, are quite used to fixing/changing them.

    seeing the cars eating snow as people hit snow banks, was also pretty common. At least the intercooler was cool :)
    seeing the cars eating snow as people hit snow banks, was also pretty common. At least the intercooler was cool :)

    that one wasn't me, but another cracked bumper
    that one wasn't me, but another cracked bumper

    The driving was a both fun and very hard. It definitely kicked my butt. Honestly, I sucked when I showed up. I couldn't even properly drift in a circle. By day 3, I was far from being an expert, but my proudest accomplishment was managing a 4mn power drift when I wasn't even able to manage a single turn without spinning when I started:

    Now, this is nothing compared to the better students who could not only drift but even fit between cones, which I can't quite do yet:

    By day 3, we were driving around most of the track. It was still hard as hell as there was very little recovery possible if you went too fast, but if you went too slow, it was hard to not possible to induce necessary oversteers for most turns, so the balance was quite hard to keep.
    The last day, we finished with 2WD cars on a super icy track with killer downhill off camber turns. I managed to get one right a couple of times, like at the 1:45 offset and then smacked into the snow wall by getting my timing wrong the 2nd time (offset 3:10). What's terrible is that we knew what was going to happen before it did, but by then there is no recovery possible with a 2WD car (a 4WD has a small chance of pulling out with power):

    The day ended with us getting a hotlap from one of our coaches to show us what we could have done if we didn't suck :) I lucked out and got a lap with our chief instructor (forgive the non optimal camera placement):

    And just like that, it was over. We had a farewall dinner with prices for the best drivers in each group (i.e. not me :) ):


    Thanks to all the instructors, to Porsche for letting us drive their cars and make mistakes, and the great codrivers in our group (blue group is #1 !) :)

    2018/11/06 BBR Private Track Day at Thunderhill
    π 2018-11-06 01:01 in Cars
    I just had a motech system installed in my car which gives detailled logs of how I drive my car, namely how much and exactly when I pushed on each pedal compared to where I was on the track. Once the improvements you can do get smaller, it's easier for coaches to get a data log to compare their near ideal lap against your best lap and look at telemetry to see where you are slower.

    this is how coaching happens now :)
    this is how coaching happens now :)

    With the time change, the morning flight was not in the dark:



    We had around 10 cars:






    Sadly one of the cars had a not quite explained oversteer in turn 15 and did a full 180 before hitting the inside wall hard. We're thinking it might have had a tire failure:

    that wall was supposed to be straight
    that wall was supposed to be straight

    the rebar got ripped out
    the rebar got ripped out

    TH put the wall back in no time, I guess it wasn't the first time
    TH put the wall back in no time, I guess it wasn't the first time

    poor car
    poor car

    In the meantime, while the track got slower in the afternoon, I slowly relearned what I manage to forget every time I go, and got my time down to a record 1:47 (for me) on the 3 mile track with the bypass after putting on fresh tires. I could have gone faster in the morning when the track was faster, so my guess is that in ideal conditions, the car can do at least 1:45. Nothing to sneeze at :)

    This was my best session where I managed a few fast laps, including 1:47:xx

    With the same time change, the flight back was darker :)


    2018/09/20 Droid and Friends, 5 miles of Thunderhill
    π 2018-09-20 01:01 in Cars
    Another day, more progress. I didn't have a coach but I slowly got better in enough places to work my way down reliable 3:20's until I got a fresh set of tires and got down all the way to a single 3:14 lap, my best ever on that configuration. Sadly I didn't repeat it (the other ones were 3:16 and 3:17 due to traffic), but one is enough to count :)





    2018/09/09 Getting My First Taste of Rally Driving at Dirtfish by Seattle
    π 2018-09-09 01:01 in Cars
    Going to Dirtfish had been on my todo list for quite a while, and my upcoming trip to seattle was a good excuse to make it happen. The Dirtfish staff was great all around, starting by making me a spot for a private class when they were otherwise already booked out for the dates that worked for me.
    I showed up bright and early the first morning to get a quick tour of the premises and start with my classroom session:


    my car for the day was waiting when I arrived, a nice rally prepped WRX STI
    my car for the day was waiting when I arrived, a nice rally prepped WRX STI



    great collection of rally memorabilia
    great collection of rally memorabilia


    the playground
    the playground

    the car I got to drive
    the car I got to drive

    No lift brake turn here :)
    No lift brake turn here :)

    The first day didn't have rain, so they made their own :)



    On the first day, I learned the very basics, including trying to stop myself from the urge to countersteer when I was sideways (essential for RWD, but counter productive for AWD).

    On day #2, we made a lot more progress with my new instructor for the day:




    I got the car suitably dirty :)
    I got the car suitably dirty :)

    During a bit of downtime, I got a quick tour around the grounds that are famous because they were used for the show Twin Peaks, as well as the garage where they work on cars:





    They even threw in professional pictures, very nice of them:


    Needless to say that I had a hell of a lot of fun. I sure didn't turn into a rally expert in 2 days, but I improved a lot from the total rookie level I was at when I started. It'll definitely be fun to go back.

    Here's a video of one of my last laps on the mixed course I was running in the rain and on a mix of gravel and tarmac. It even included a hand brake turn :)

    2018/07/16 Exclusive Track Days 105db day at Laguna Seca
    π 2018-07-16 01:01 in Cars
    I hadn't yet gotten the chance to drive my racecar at Laguna. Sound limits are of course a problem. A 105db day sounded like a great idea. It was cheap enough that I rented 2 spots, one in race cars, and one in advanced group, both with open passing.

    As luck would have it, I still got blackflagged for pulling a 106.3db, which thankfully got fixed by turn pipes that I had, but hadn't been installed on the car. This got fixed quickly. Some very nice cars were present.

    The morning was overcast:



    A few cars:



    my car
    my car

    with the turnpipes installed
    with the turnpipes installed





    Thanks to my coach, I got down from 1:40:xx to 1:32:xx on a couple of laps after fresh tires. On the better morning track, the car could have been faster still, but it sure was hard to find clean laps.

    This was a long day for me since I got 7 sessions of 2x20mn, or over 4h30 of driving with just 20mn breaks in the middle. I was quite tired by the end of the day, but was still able to get close enough to fastest laps around the last sessions, until I had to get off the track due to a car that caught fire.

    Here is my best lap where I did a 1:32.x, my best laguna time so far, and it wasn't even a clean lap as I had to pass a car (in the Mclaren 650S, I only got down to 1:40.x). My car can likely do 1:30 or even a bit lower:

    ETD had a photographer that did a great job getting nice shots of me. Thank you for those. A few below:









    Sadly, a nice Mclaren caught fire during the last lap. My guess is that a fluid leak hit the exhaust:



    2018/07/01 Overdue Drive Around Skyline
    π 2018-07-01 01:01 in Cars
    Some of our cars were dusty, it was way time for a drive, glad to see familiar faces again, and we didn't get too unlucky on the roads despite the day and time.









    See more images for Overdue Drive Around Skyline
    2018/06/21 2 days at Thunderhill with BR Racing
    π 2018-06-21 01:01 in Cars
    We joined a private track rental for an LMP car that was testing, and came up with 8 cars or so. Thunderhill was starting to get a bit too hot, but it was nice to have 2 days of clean laps.



    getting a fresh set of tires
    getting a fresh set of tires

    The first day, I only got down to 1:50 (with the bypass), due to a combination of worn brakes, hot track, and lack of more skill.
    The 2nd day, thanks to my coach, Matt Belle, I improved my driving, but the track got even hotter, so I also only got down to 1:50:xx too before the track got even more greasy and my times started to go back up. Still, it was good fun.

    A nice 488 challenge that joined us:



    There was a professional photographer onsite who took a few shots:




    2018/05/17 Thunderhill with Droid and Friends
    π 2018-05-17 01:01 in Cars
    It had been a while since I last went to Droid and Friends with my Mclaren 650S. I sure got rusty in it. I sure didn't set any lap times that day, but it was still fun to go :)






    More pages: March 2019 February 2019 November 2018 September 2018 July 2018 June 2018 May 2018 April 2018 December 2017 October 2017 September 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 July 2016 June 2016 April 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 November 2014 September 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 February 2014 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 October 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 September 2011 July 2011 June 2011 April 2011 March 2011 October 2010 August 2010 July 2010 April 2010 February 2010 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 November 2008 May 2008 April 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 June 2007 April 2007 December 2006 November 2006 May 2006 January 2006 July 2005 May 2005 April 2005 January 2005 December 2004 October 2004 September 2004 August 2004 July 2004 June 2004 May 2004 February 2004 October 2003 May 2003 April 2003 March 2003 November 2002 October 2002 July 2002 May 2002 April 2002 March 2002 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 July 2001 June 2001 May 2001 April 2001 March 2001 February 2001 December 2000 November 2000 October 2000 September 2000 August 2000 July 2000