The ICON Exhibit Closing Celebration

Mary and I recently made the trip down to Greer, SC to attend the closing celebration of The ICON exhibit. This exhibit was at the BMW CCA Foundation Museum.

The ICON exhibit celebrated the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the 2002, which is one of BMW’s most loved models.

We flew from Portland to Greenville via Detroit, arriving late Wednesday night. On Thursday we visited several museums and parks in Greenville, including the Upcountry Museum, the Music Museum, and the Falls Park on the Reedy.

Macs Speed Shop- Beer, Bikes, & BBQ; the three B’s everyone loves.

When one visits South Carolina one thinks of BBQ so we went looking for the best BBQ in Greenville. We found it at Mac’s Speed Shop- Beer, Bikes & BBQ. It is on South Main Street, and it is fantastic.

Friday morning we went over to the BMW CCA Foundation Museum to check on the car and see if the staff there needed any help getting ready for the coming celebration.

At 1:00 we had a reservation at the Performance Driving Center. They were putting on a special program for those coming for the celebration. After a short orientation meeting we headed out for 3 driving experiences.

The first experience we did was to drive one of the new X5’s on their off-road course. BMW has done an amazing job with this car giving it impressive off-road capabilities while keeping its comfort and cruising personality.

Second we had a chance to challenge for FTD on an autocross course in a new M240i. I really like this car, It seemed to me to be the closest thing to a modern 2002. It is small, light, nimble, and has ample power to give a thrill.

The best came last. We jumped in one of the new M5’s and got to turn some hot laps. What’s not to like about 600 HP, 550 ft/lbs of torque, and 0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds? The car handles like one of my race cars! The full-time FWD pulls it through the corners like a freight train. What fun!

4 historic 2002 race cars ready to do their thing.

Following the driving experiences we had a chance to get the four race cars that were part of the exhibit on the track for some demonstration laps. The cars were driven over from the museum and lined up in the staging area. Each owner took a few minutes to tell about the car and its history. Then we took them on track for some fun.

Saturday morning we had a one hour tour of the factory. The tour began in The Zentrum Visitors Center where a dozen historic BMWs were displayed along with examples of the X cars produced at the factory.

The Spartanburg factory is BMW’s largest manufacturing facility.

The Spartanburg plant is BMW’s largest manufacturing facility. It produces 370,000 X vehicles a year, 80% of which are exported.

The plant operates as a ‘just-in-time’ manufacturing facility. This means parts for the cars arrive at the assembly line as they are needed, and in sequence. the logistics for all this to happen are mind blowing.

Saturday night was the closing celebration. Just over 200 people packed into the museum to enjoy finger food, drink some good Oregon wine, and listen to the guest speakers. These included Rob Siegal, The Hack Mechanic, Jackie Jouret, Tom Plucinsky from BMW NA, and Andreas Bovensiepen from Alpina.We had a great time and met some wonderful BMW lovers. A special Thank You to Scott Dishman and Michael Mitchell for all their work making this happen.

Here’s the video from the event:


SVRA Vintage Nationals- COTA, Austin, TX

Our last race of the year was in Austin, Texas at the Circuit of the Americas for SVRA’s Vintage National Championships.

Luigi CSL and Koepchen 2002 ready for the battle.

I took my Luigi CSL and the Koepchen 2002 back for this event. SVRA has been promoting a BS championship all year with regional championships culminating in this national event. The CSL ran in Group 12B- the historic GTO/GTU group.

This was our first time at COTA and I must admit it is a world class facility. The one thing that was unexpected was how rough the circuit is in a couple of places, and how low grip the surface is.

Because the BS group was scheduled to run with the GTO/GTU group my CSL was allowed to run with the big block cars on Friday’s practice sessions and Saturday’s qualifying race. This is always a bit nerve racking as those guys can be pretty scary to race with.

For the Feature Race on Sunday I was gridded 4th based on lap times. It was nice of SVRA to do that rather than making me start at the back of the field. I won’t spoil the story but just watch the video for the result.

Group 12B Feature Race.

The BS Group was filled with great cars and determined drivers. Many were from the southeast and had driven COTA before. They had a bit of a ‘home field’ advantage on us. But we still had the best race of the weekend in our Group. here’s the video:

I think this was probably the best race I have driven. I was able to complete the race without any mistakes. The pressure put on my by Tim on that last lap was amazing. He drove a great race, was clean, but didn’t give me a moments rest. Thanks Tim!

Without Mary’s support I couldn’t do this. Thank You Mary!!

I want to especially thank Mary for her support and the great trackside video she gets every race.

I also want to thank the Crew from Racecraft. They are such professionals, and at the same time they make this so much fun!

These are the guys that make all this possible. (L to R) Jay Ivey, Austin Hironaka, Monty Jarvis, Jim Froula, and Terry Forland.
BS National champ! And its an all BMW podium too!
Probably the best race I have driven and a good result.

Portland Vintage Racing Fesival

In July I ran my M3 and 2002 at the SVRA sanctioned Portland Vintage Racing Festival. The M3 ran in Group 12A, and the 2002 in Group 8.

It’s always interesting to see how the various race groups are made up. The sanctioning body, in this case SVRA, tries to make up the groups as best as it can from the entries they receive for an event.

Sometimes vintage racing makes for some strange bedfellows.

For this weekend Group 12A had a real mix of interesting cars. There were some Big Block Corvettes, Cobras, Trans-Am sedans, NASCAR cars, along with a couple of prototype cars, tube frame GT cars, and my M3.

On Saturday’s Qualifying race I qualified 7th and had a great race with Cameron Healy in his RSR Porsche. We ran nose to tail until he had a motor issue and had to pull off. I finished 4th.

For the Saturday Feature race I had to make a good start as I was surrounded by big block cars. The M3 is very quick but it does not have much torque so I was worried they would get the jump on me going down to Turn 1. Was able to keep them behind me and went on to finish 4th with my best lap of the weekend, a 1:24.9.

The M3 finished 3rd over-all, and 1st in class in Sunday’s Feature Race.

Jim Froula, who won on Saturday, didn’t start on Sunday so I started 3rd behind a 427 Corvette and a 427 Cobra. Outside of me was the #33 Skoal Bandit NASCAR Lumina. Again I had to make a fast start or they would eat me alive before we got down to Turn 1.

I am able to hold off the Lumina and finish 3rd over-all, and 1st in class with a best lap of 1:25.1.

My 2002 ran in Group 8. this is a really fun Group to run in. It is made up of mid-bore sedans and sports cars so there is always close racing.

Hans and I race together a lot. He is a good clean driver and we enjoy racing against each other.

For the Feature race I started 9th. The first lap was pretty wild and woolly! I was gridded inside my old friend Hans Guttman in his 242 Volvo and just behind Paul Gladio’s 911. There was also a bunch of Lotus 7’s in the mix. We swapped places back and forth for the entire race. It was a lot of fun.

I ended up finishing 9th over-all and 3rd in BS with a best lap of 1:29.5. Here’s the video, hope you enjoy it!

Photos courtesy of Bill Wagenblatt at: http://historicmotorprints.com



New Car in the Garage

I have always felt like I had some unfinished business regarding the beautiful Chevron B16 I sold. I never felt like I got the most out of the car because I was never completely comfortable in it. I guess trying to stuff my 6′ 3″ into a space designed for someone 5′ 10″ had something to do with it.

I need more headroom!

If you look closely at this image you will see that my helmet completely fills the Gurney Bubble in the window above my head. That meant that my head was about 3-4″ above the roof line of the car. This was in spite of taking the padding out of the seat and spacing the window open 1″ more than stock.

At my other end, my feet were too large to fit comfortably in the pedal box. I had to really do an awkward dance to work the pedals. Heel and toeing was difficult at best and I would occasionally miss shifts because of this complication.

After talking with Jim extensively about cars/classes/options I settled on a S2000 class car to replace the Chevron. S2000s are relatively inexpensive to buy and pretty inexpensive to operate, but are every bit as quick as the B16.

1986 Swift DB2 fitted with DB5 bodywork.

After some searching I bought a car from Tacoma, WA. It had a good history, having run in the American City Racing League for many years. Having run in the ACRL meant that it had the Cosworth 4 valve, twin cam head on the Ford Pinto based 2 liter engine.

The Cosworth 2 ltr. Ford. This engine features the twin cam, 4 valve head and makes about 220 hp.

The first thing you will observe is that I have a lot more headroom in this car compared to the Chevron. The former owner was 6’3″ tall like me so the car is already set up for someone my size.

My new Swift arrives at Racecraft’s shop.

The car arrived at the Racecraft shop where Jim and Co. will give it a thorough going over prior to our first event in the spring. I have also commissioned a new wrap for the car as black has never been my favorite color for a race car.

I will post additional pictures once it is ready to rock & roll.

Monterey Car Week- 2018

The M3 quit itself well until the block cracked.

In August we made our annual pilgrimage down to Monterey for Car Week. With only 2 cars entered in the Rolex Races we looked forward to a relatively quiet week.

The featured marque this year was Datsun. In the program they had a picture of John Morton’s BRE Datsun 510 racing at Laguna Seca in about 1971-72 and coming into the frame is my #34 BMW 2002 when it was raced by Hyde Park Motors.

Pace lap from the 2.5 Trans-Am race at Laguna Seca in about 1971-72. The orange and black BMW is my #34 Hyde Park Motors car being driven by Carl Fredricks.

I also had consigned the Cobra I took in trade for the Chevron B16 with Russo & Steele. The car went across the stage on Friday night but barely reached the reserve I had on it. I decided to drop the reserve at the last moment so the car went to a new home. I didn’t get what I hoped for, but we also didn’t have to pay to haul it home. Auctions are a crap shoot!

The Cobra crosses the block at Russo & Steele on Friday night. Not what I hoped for.

As I said, I had 2 cars entered in the Pre-reunion races as well as the Reunion Races. During the Pre-reunion races the right front strut mounting broke in the CSL when I was forced up onto the cement berm on the inside of Turn 6 by a slower competitor that didn’t see me. The problem didn’t show itself until the Saturday morning race the following weekend. The result was that we had to park the car. It is not a difficult fix but Jim & Terry didn’t have what they needed to accomplish it.

The M3 ran flawlessly during the Pre-reunion weekend. The car was in the group with the GTO and IMSA GTP cars. I spent most of my time watching my mirror as the GTP cars closed very quickly from behind.

Still, I managed to finish 13th in the Feature race during the Pre-reunion weekend after some great racing with Phil Mendelovitz in his Datsun 240 SX GTU car.

For the Reunion Races SCRAMP allowed me to move from the GTO/GTP Group to the same group the CSL was to have been in. They even let me start where my lap times placed me in the group.

I had a great race going with Richard Goldsmith in his Dekon Monza until I started smoking heavily. It turns out there was a large crack in the block that developed and oil was seeping out onto the headers.

I ended up with a DNF. Here’s the video from the week: