Tag Archives: BMW

Lesson Learned- Charity Challenge 2019

During qualifying for the Group 8 race on Saturday I was lined up 4th. After the green flag dropped I tried to pass #33 NASCAR on the inside of Turn 1 but realized he didn’t see me and backed off. Going up the hill to Turn 2 I moved to the inside and passed him. I attempted to pass the #25 car also but was too far back for the driver to see me coming. He turned in to Turn 2 and we made contact, spinning us both out.

Damage from contact with the NASCAR guy.

Following the contact Jeff the CSRG Race Director came to our pits and informed me that I would not be allowed to race anymore that weekend.

In discussing the incident with Jeff and reviewing my in-car I realize that I exercised poor judgement. I ended my conversation with Jeff by telling him I understood why I was not going to be allowed to drive my other car but I wasn’t happy.

Replacement number cover came from New Zealand. Not cheap!

As I thought about it later I realized that the reason I wasn’t happy was not because of Jeff’s decision to send me packing but I was unhappy with myself for allowing myself to get into the frame of mind that put my car in a bad position and created the potential for damage to my car and another car.

I realized that I began the session in a very impatient and aggressive frame of mind. I had just qualified my 2002 in 3rd place in Group 9 and had driven perhaps my best lap ever in that car at Sonoma. I knew my M3 was quicker that either of the NASCAR cars I was following and I was impatient to get by them and drive another “miracle” lap. The results of my poor judgement and even poorer mindset speak for themselves. This race weekend was a real wake-up call to me personally, as well as being a very expensive lesson. Nose clips for E30 M3’s don’t come cheap, if you can find one.

This old war horse took a hit at The Charity Challenge too.

I am also in a very unfortunate position after last weekend as I was both the perpetrator and receiver of avoidable contact. My #34 BMW was hit by another car during the Group 9 race while being driven by Jeff Gerken.

I want to commend the Board of CSRG for their decision to clamp down on aggressive driving. As an owner of several valuable cars I have felt that things have gotten out of hand at many events in recent years. There are some events I will not participate in because of the poor level of driving allowed. 

CSRG has taken a very brave stance by committing to cleaning up the driving at their events. I would like to respectfully point out to the Board that the only way it will work as we would all hope is  for the Board to be as even handed and consistent in applying their standards as possible, no matter who causes an incident. Anything less will cause feelings of resentment, lack of respect for the Board and its decisions, and lower turn out for their races.

Here’s the video from the weekend:

Rolex Monterey Races- 2019

On the Thursday following our trip to Road America I suffered a mild heart attack. It came totally out of the blue- I had no warnings, nor did I have the usual precursors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.

It did cause me to miss the Portland races the following weekend but I recovered enough to make the trip down to Monterey for Car Week. I had to skip the Pre-reunion races, but we arrived in time to take the Asahi M3 to Carmel for the Concours on the Avenue.

The Carmel Concours is always such a fun event. The race cars that are entered convoy over to the event from the race track on the public highway accompanied by a contingent of CHP motorcycle cops.

The Asahi M3 placed 2nd in the race car group at the Concours on the Avenue.

This year we placed 2nd in the race car group to a beautiful green Aston Martin DB5. The judges said they had a very difficult time deciding but ultimately went with the more historic car.

After the event the race cars all head back to the track by heading out Carmel Valley and going over the scenic Laureles Grade. It’s quite a fun adventure.

Thursday and Friday are practice/qualifying days at the track. Each of the 12 run groups gets one session on track each day. With 3 cars entered I had a lot of seat time on each day. By Friday evening I was feeling a bit tired. The CSL is especially wearing to drive because of the suspension geometry.

The CSL was in Group 5A- 1973-1981 FIA IMSA GT, GTX, AAGT. This group is a real mixed bag. The fastest cars in the group are the turbo 935 Porsches and big block GT cars like Decon Monzas and Corvettes. The next group of cars in terms of speed is primarily RSR Porsches and CSLs like mine.

Luigi ran well all weekend. In the feature race we finished 10th with a best lap of 1:40.3.

The CSL raced both races on Saturday, the Bonham’s Cup race in the morning and the Rolex Feature race in the afternoon. I had qualified 12th in a group of 38 cars so I was pleased. My main rivals were 3 RSR Porsches driven by Erich Joiner, Alan Benjamin, and Cameron Healy.

I was able to get by all of them going into Turn 2 in the morning race. I held them all of until the last lap when Erich Joiner was able to get by. I ended up 10th. The morning race sets the grid for the Feature Race in the afternoon.

In the Feature Race Alan Benjamin forced his way by at the start and kept me behind him until about 4 laps in. I was able to get back by him between Turns 2 and 3 and pull away, finishing about 12 seconds ahead of him. I ended up 10th again with a best lap of 1:40.3.

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The 1800 Ti was in Group 4B- 1961-1966 GT Cars Under 2,500 ccs. I qualified 35th out of 45 cars because I never got a good, clean lap during my qualifying sessions. There were just so many cars on track. I knew the car was quicker than we qualified. It made for a very interesting first lap as I was able to pass 6 cars by Turn 5!

The Big Box ran well all weekend. The car is a lot of fun to drive.

Because I was not up to full song I chose to only run the morning race. Still, I finished 25th out of the 37 cars that finished. There was a few more places to be had if only . . .

Terry drove the car in the Feature Race in the afternoon and finished 20th with a best lap of 2:06.3.

Both races were marred by long yellow flag sessions. Both Terry and I were passed under yellow by fellow competitors. Sometimes that happens.

The M3 ran in Group 6B which is made up of IMSA GTO, and GTU cars from 1981-1991. It is a pretty quick group of cars. Still, I managed to qualify mid-field out of 32 cars!

While the car showed well at Carmel it was not a great weekend for the M3 on-track.

Unfortunately the car had some issues all weekend. It began to have a miss during the Thursday practice which got worse each day.

For the Sunday morning race I was able to only make 2 laps before I came in. I was afraid the miss would damage the engine. I never started the Feature Race.

As it turned out once Jim had a look at it we needed to replace a sensor and the distributor cap and the car was fine.

So it was kind of a mixed bag of a race weekend. The CSL did very well. The 1800 showed its potential, and the M3 showed well in Carmel but had some problems on track. Given my health scare I was just glad to have been there racing!

We did get some nice publicity for the M3. Automobile Magazine blog did a nice piece on the car. Here’s the link:

https://www.automobilemag.com/news/monterey-car-week-2019-concours-avenue/

Car Throttle also did an interview of me on Saturday. My interview starts at about 4:00. Here’s that link:

http://www.facebook.com/carthrottle/videos/447996349127467/