Monday, February 26, 2007

What a Total Rush!!!

For those of you who don't know, in addition to writing this bit of politics, I also write about cars — primarily reviews of new cars, trucks, and SUVs. My reviews are not only published in the Business Journal and WestSound Home & Garden Magazine, but in 14 city/lifestyle magazines in 10 states as well. It also means that I am a frequent invitee on what is known in the industry as the "manufacturer's press trip" (read press junket). These are usually used to roll out either a new or redesigned vehicle well in advance of it hitting the showrooms in order to create some "buzz" about it

On these events, we are flown to a nice destination, put up in a 4 or 5-star hotel or resort, wined and dined obscenely, and get to drive the vehicle on a predetermined route for evaluation purposes.
Driving at race tracks is typical for a new vehicle launch so its performance can be showcased safely, under controlled conditions. For example, in the past five years (I've been doing this for over 15) I have driven at Talledaga Super Speedway (Yes, that's the one Grant Lynch of ISC runs), Laguna Seca, Willow Springs, Phoenix-Firebird, Heartland-Topeka, Sonoma, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, our own Pacific Raceway in Kent, and Sears Point (for Motor Press Guild and Western Automotive Journalists' Track Days. These are annual journalist-member events).

As i write this, I am finishing up a trip to San Antonio with Porsche, driving the redesigned 2008 Cayanne. We drove to the Continental Tires proving grounds at Uvalde — 5,000 acres about 40 miles west of San Antonio. We put the Cayanne through a series of scripted off and on-road maneuvers with the Porsche Racing Team drivers — including the ledgendary Hurley Haywood, one of the winningest drivers of all time on all racing circuits. At the end of the day, we got to do one, two-lap, flat out run on the 8.5 mile oval track.

Previous to this, the fastest I had ever driven was 140, in the Aston Martin DB9. Today, we hit 163. What a total RUSH!!!

Yeah, I know, this is tough duty. But hey, SOMEONE has to do this, so it might as well be me. And by the way, no, I don't need any help.

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