|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
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 auto-x here.
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
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 $5000 watch.
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 Talon
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
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 rides!
The McLarens were blowing the Vipers
off the course.
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 McLaren F1!
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
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 in control.
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
I was glad my ride was in a Viper as
the McLaren F1 would have probably
given me a heart attack!