Marc's Public Blog - Cars


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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:

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2014/02/11 Another shot at driving at the Ferrari FF in Aspen
π 2014-02-11 00:00 in Cars
Two years ago, I went to Aspen for the Ferrari FF drive on ice class. Unfortunately, the class got cancelled due to lack of snow on the ice track back then, so we drove around Aspen for a copule of days instead.
This year, I figured I'd try again and signed up for their new ice day on ice, one day driving around Aspen event.

The direct flight to Aspen didn't quite happen as planned. First it left 2.5H late from SFO because SFO sucks and goes to shit as soon as any clouds are on the horizon (parallel runways to close, not enough horizontal separation for parallel landings in IMC conditions causing a ripple effect of delays).
Once we arrived in Aspen, it was too late and the weather had worsened. As a result, we failed to land in Aspen and diverted to our alternate in Grand Junction. We finally got to Aspen via bus, many hours later than planned...


nice view from my room at the Little Mell
nice view from my room at the Little Mell

After a somewhat short night, the next morning we had enough snow that it was not possible to fly to the ice track in steamboat springs, which unfortunately cancelled our ice driving class, which was a huge bummer since it was my main reason for going back since man last try 2012.



That evening, we had a reception and dinner at the top of Aspen/Ajax Mountain:



The next morning, we went for our scheduled drive around Aspen to Fork Smith Ranch. It was a nice drive with nice weather, and the same drive I had done 2 years prior:



my first co-driver for the morning
my first co-driver for the morning

going through Aspen
going through Aspen






















a couple of bald eagles
a couple of bald eagles

better shot from the official photographer
better shot from the official photographer


It was a nice drive with fun people to do it with. Even if it was the 2nd time and I didn't get to do the ice track, the sole reason I had come back, the scenery was still beautiful and it was better than being at work :)

Here is a quick clip if you'd like one:

And it's probaly boring, but if you'd like a longer video to go through, here you go:

Some great pictures from the event photographer:


















2014/02/02 Steve's Private TH Trackday, and my first 2:00 TH laptime
π 2014-02-02 00:00 in Cars
Steve nicely added me to his private trackday list after my asking for other events I could go to last year, and we got lucky with the weather that Sunday (superbowl sunday apparently, great, I couldn't care less about american football).

Daniel took my car the previous day and when for a fun drive, evening in Willows where he spent the night. This allowed to spend saturday with Jennifer since I had just come back from a trip in Tahoe friday evening, but I was watching weather a bit anxiously as it predicted possible snow in Palo Alto for my morning flight on sunday.
In the end, while the forecast did worsen to VFR conditions to mostly IFR, we avoided snow and I was able to take off from Palo Alto and get out barely in time with the front right behind me.

Warning to VFR pilots: this visible hole with sun behind the mountains closed up before I could get to it, and I was in grey, and no visible horizon 5 to 10mn later (never got into clouds apparently, which is great because they were likely to be ice bearing):



I was doing tactical flying of finding the right altitude to stay out of clouds and hopefully have view of willows and be able to land there, but 15mn before I arrived, I started being able to see the ground and horizon again, so landing was a no brainer.
Still, weather was very overcast and grey, but we lucked out, the weather front never reached willows.


Daniel picked me up at the airport, just beyond the weather front and took me to TH:


Nico Rondet was available to coach me again that day, so he was able to build up on what he had been trying to get into my head last time, his patented fast in fast out line :) Since I wasn't half sick this day, my learning abilities were better, but thankfully I hadn't forgotten everything from last time.
By the 3rd session, I beat my best ever 2:02 time and replaced it with a 2:00 (it could have been 1:59:xx with a bit value of xx, but video timing shows it was likely in the 2:00:xx range). It's true that I switched from steel to carbon brakes around the same time (I stayed with the same Pirelli Pzero Street Tires), but Nico can get most if not all the credit of getting me down from 2:03 to 2:00. Considering that I wasn't slow to start with, taking 3 seconds off that is a testament to his coaching abilities, finding what I had been doing wrong all these years, and getting me to fix it.

Having a couple of radicals to follow also helped me getting my time down. Here's a 2:00 lap:

One of the participant, Nicole, took a video of me when she was turning 2:03's behind me when I was warming up and trying to go faster. She was damn fast for that car:

By the 4th session, one of my tires was showing clear signs of trouble. I'll have to find out if my alignment is off, or what is causing this. Nico recommended that we swap the tires left/right, and that it wouldn't be so bad if they were turning in the wrong direction. Turned out it was the best thing to do, and while it seemed to have cost me 2sec/lap, it was a whole lot better than ending the day early:





I didn't get the chance to do more 2:00 or maybe a 1:59 after that with the worn rear tires rolling backwards, but I still got to practise a bit more consistency around the turns and more trail braking for the rest of the day.

A few car pictures:








My command center:


Daniel had more time than me to take pictures:



Chatting with my coach, Nico
Chatting with my coach, Nico

Gotta love the lemons cars:



Daniel took a few pictures of the track. I like the first two where I'm doing a good job of using the track I paid for :)




I like the exhaust heat visible in this one
I like the exhaust heat visible in this one

After a great day, it was time to figure out how to get back. It was an interesting tradeoff between potentially better weather later, but night, or earlier, clouds, and a bit of light. I opted for light since it's esier to plan tactically where you can see what's ahead.
I got on top of the layer and the weather conveniently opened up around the bay when I got there for a nice VFR landing:




More pages: 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