|Car & Driver Party
Sunday July 24, 2005
Being a Car & Driver magazine subscriber, I learned they
were going to celebrate their 50th year in business by
holding a "car party" for their readers at Indianapolis
Raceway Park. IRP not only hosts the U.S. Drag
Nationals, but features an oval that NASCAR Busch races
on as well as a road course.
Events over the weekend included bracket drag racing
with your own car, a car show, a concert by Grand Funk
Railroad, a nighttime showing of the movie "Cannonball
Run", auto-cross racing in their sport cars, and ride-
alongs with professional drivers.
My friend Brian and I signed up right away.
Here is a car that I assume is a GT40 kit car.
I think its my favorite on the concourse.
Here are some colorful Lotus Elises....
just like little gokarts!
They cost around $42k.
All kinds of awesome expensive cars were
scattered around including this McLaren Mercedes.
I believe these list for over $450,000!
They had a auto-x contest called "Race the Editors".
They had a variety of cars that you could drive to
contest the editors on a timed course. Cars included,
Mustangs, Vettes, Mercedes, and Vipers. They
gave every driver a dew rag to wear to keep the
sweat down in the helmets. Today was the hottest
day of the year - hitting 99 degrees!
These guys were talking like they were DJs on the radio.
They also handed out certificates and times for the
Brian and I opted to drive the Vipers. I was very
surprised by the Viper. I expected a twitchy
accelerator and a stiff clutch, instead it was
smooth and easy as a Mercedes. I couldn't feel
the rumble of the engine at all, just hear it out the
side exhausts - by the way, watch those hot
pipes when climbing out!
Here I am driving one.
It was a lot of fun flinging that car all
around a parking lot, but it was over
too quick! I could have driven that
thing all day.
The editor, Tony Swann, had a best
time of 29.something seconds. My
second lap was 29.40 seconds, so
I was looking forward to winning a
But then afterward they tell me they
add a second for hitting a cone! Ack.
Wish they'd told me that before hand,
as I clobbered some coming out of
turn three, which I think slowed me
down already. Oh well, it was great fun.
I'm going to have to start taking my
Brian avoided the cones and looks
pretty happy exiting the car.
It was so damn hot and we had a
couple hours to kill before our ride
in the Mercedes DTM so we left
and hit a little bar in the small town
of Claremont where we were able
to watch some Nascar racing.
We got back late enough to be the last ones
in line for the rides.
I was surprised to see them giving giving
rides in the $1 million McLaren F1 - and I
mean HOT laps!
The McLarens were blowing the Vipers off the
It was tremendously loud too.
I didn't see the Mercedes race car I'd signed
up for, so I figured I'd get to ride in the
In line, we found out that they'd been burning
up the cars and tires doing this. By the time
the end of the line was reached, all that was
left running were two Vipers. We were very
disappointed, that is, until we got our ride!
Watching the cars do laps, it didn't look that fast.
As soon as we went spinning through some
turns and out onto the track I was shocked to
see it was a lot faster than it looked. Maybe
it was because I was a passenger and not
I thought we were going to wreck!. This guy
was right on the limit and the limit was higher
than I expected. He was driving twice as fast
as I would have dared on the hot greasy
track! It was a thrilling ride.
I was glad my ride was in a Viper as the
McLaren F1 would have probably given me
a heart attack!