Monday, March 31, 2014

Rolls Royce Wraith test drive

On Saturday I was invited to the Columbia Tower Club in Seattle to test drive a Rolls Royce or Bentley.  It turned out that I had the chance to test drive the Wraith, Ghost, and ride along in the new Jaguar F-Type.

The Wraith is quite the car.  It great to look at, inside and out.  It is very comfortable and quite powerful as well.  They describe the car well.  "Wraith is the most powerful Rolls-Royce in history. Behind the deep set Pantheon grille sits a potent 6.6 litre, twin turbo-charged V12 engine. Delivering 624 bhp with 800 Nm of torque, it powers from 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds. Even with this formidable power, Wraith is every inch a refined Rolls-Royce with electronically controlled air suspension that creates the signature 'magic carpet ride'."  The odd thing about the car is despite its length and power it feels more or less like a normal car in some ways.  It can be driven on the hills of downtown Seattle.  When accelerating to get on a freeway like I-5 it propels you along but the ride is amazingly smooth.

It also has bespoke features like the starry sky headliner, hand trimmed wooden interior, etc...  Since it shares technology with BMW there are a lot of technological features like parking assist, rear camera, navigation, etc...

Sadly, during the test drive to Mercer Island there was a fair amount of traffic so I didn't really get a good feel for the massive amount of power and torque that the car has.  Maybe the kind folks at Rolls Royce Bellevue will give me another go sometime.

I also test drove the Ghost again.  It was quite nice as well.  For such a large car it is remarkably easy to drive.

One of the highlights of the day though surprisingly was my ride along in the Jaguar F-Type.  It was only the standard V6 model but still good fun.  The exhaust note, even on this model, is something else.  The car seemed to have enough power too to have fun on spirited drives.  Unfortunately, since it was a last minute addition to the event they didn't have a waiver for folks to sign to actually drive it.

All in all it was a great event.  I'd like to thank Angel, Shahin, Adam, and Paul from Autocenter NW for having me.

More photos from the event are here - .  Cheers.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Jay Leno meets Nani Roma in the desert for some rally action

The Dakar Rally winner for 2014, Nani Roma, gives Jay Leno a tast of what his amazing rally car can do.  Cheers.


HKS "Premium day" 2014 at Fuji Speedway

Here's an interesting video of some of HKS's cars and customer cars at an iconic track.  Cheers.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

DirtFish Rally School - One Day Class

On Friday, 2/21/14, I had the distinct pleasure of taking a one day class at DirtFish Rally School near Snoqualmie, Washington.  First let me say that without a doubt if you are into cars, driving, or just want to improve your driving skills I highly recommend their school.

A friend and I both did the class.  It was fun to have someone there that I knew although the class would have still been quite fun by myself.

So, what can you expect in a one day class?  Well, it's very helpful to already know how to drive a manual transmission.  However, if you don't it's not a big deal.  The instructors can still help you out to get past that and onto having fun quickly.  There is a fairly short bit of classroom instruction first thing in the morning.  The lead instructor, Adam, was great though.  Next we headed out for the actual driving.

First we were out on the skidpad to get used to the cars.  The brakes and clutch both feel different than what most folks are used to in a street car.

Next it was on to the slalom course for some great fun and some left foot braking.  The left foot breaking seems odd at first but becomes pretty natural after more practice.  There was also a fun sweeping corner at the end of the slalom where we could practice sliding the car.

Next we moved on to the "Bone Yard" part of the course which wasn't really as intimidating as the name might imply.  It featured several different types of corners and different types of terrain with varying amounts of traction.  The ground was quite wet in some places and the temperature outside was only in the upper thirties.

We had a good lunch break and then it was onto another short bit of classroom instruction regarding threshold and trail braking.

Shortly after that we went back outside to give threshold and trail braking a go.  I found that the trail braking when used to try to rotate the car was a bit more challenging than it looked.  After some practice though I was getting better at it.  Above is a video of the instructor demonstrating this exercise.

The final part of the course was putting everything together.  So, they have a section of the rally course called "Link" which connects the slalom to the "Bone Yard".  It took a few tries to get it down but it sure was a blast when things were going right.  Even when I made mistakes it was still a lot of fun.  Above is a video of me driving (note: the YouTube preview image might show the video as upside down but it's not).

Overall, the course was great!  My instructor Don was excellent as was the lead instructor, Adam.  The 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX STi fully prepped rally car was awesome!  It's amazing how capable the cars are.  It was a bit sad to see the day end but I was a bit tired afterward.  Again, I would highly recommend DirtFish!

One minor suggestion that I think would be good though is to allow each instructor to drive a stage rally.  It would be an awesome thing for them to put on their bios and just great fun too.  Cheers.

P.S. If you'd like to see more photos from this class they are located here.  Also, here's a little more video from outside the car.


Friday, February 7, 2014

Need for Speed screening in Seattle with Aaron Paul & Scott Waugh

Thanks to Koenigsegg I was invited to the Need for Speed screening in Seattle with Aaron Paul & Scott Waugh.  Sorry, about the poor quality photo by the way.  If I had known that the VIPs were going to be there I would have brought my DSLR.

Here's a video from the question and answer session after the film.  Warning: potential spoilers and a bit of crude / NSFW language.  The guys had a bit to drink prior to the Q & A.  Cheers.


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Marcus Trufant at Caffeine & Gasoline


Marcus Trufant at Griots, a set on Flickr.

Marcus Trufant was on hand for a Seahawks themed event at Caffeine & Gasoline at Griot's garage. It was another great event with a wide variety of cars.

I met Marcus and he seems like a nice guy. He even autographed my iPhone case for me. Enjoy the photos. Cheers.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Rolls Royce event


Rolls Royce event, a set on Flickr.

Bellevue Rolls Royce put on a great event today with several of their cars. We drove from the dealership to the Chateau Ste Michelle winery. I was comfortably "chauffeured" there by others test driving the Ghost. It is very nice as a passenger and a driver.

We had a great lunch there and a sampled some excellent wines also.

On the way back I was able to drive the Ghost. Wow! It is very smooth and powerful. The visibility is great and it is very quiet for how much torque and power that it has. It was a bit wet out and I "tested" the traction control once by quickly accelerating from a stop sign. Nice...

I hope that you enjoy the photos. Cheers.