tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Automobile Club de FASRI 2017-09-03T14:54:20Z ACF (Sterling) tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1188530 2017-09-03T14:54:20Z 2017-09-03T14:54:20Z Happy Days Are Here Again

What is the best way to celebrate Newport, RI in late summer? You have a party. At a mansion. With amazing cars. And celebrities like Jay Leno. And outdoor dining. And everyone dressed to the nines. And a theme of celebrating the end of Prohibition. And the revelation that New England has emerged as an amazing place to be a car person due to the efforts of a recent car museum - the Audrain Automotive Museum. Yes. That is the way you do it. And we did just that.

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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1162731 2017-06-12T19:30:06Z 2017-06-18T03:44:05Z Ambitious But Rubbish

I faintly recall the Latin phrase "per aspera ad astra" from reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" back in early high school. I really liked the concept of "through the mud to the stars" or "through hardships to the stars". I hadn't thought about it much in automotive terms. It turns out I needn't have bothered. My recent automotive adventures bear a stronger resemblance to the Top Gear mantra - "ambitious but rubbish". Here's the story of how things recently took a turn for the worst.

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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1158954 2017-05-31T11:19:15Z 2017-06-08T16:33:32Z Spinning Out of the Comfort Zone

How do you continue to grow and develop a skill? The classic saying is that you have to "step out of your comfort zone." I recently did just that. The next goal is to checkpoint where my skills are now and see how I can improve. How do you push yourself out of your comfort zone in the high performance driving world? Sometimes you have to get a bit extreme.

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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1149196 2017-04-25T15:14:18Z 2017-06-08T16:33:58Z Brian Redman: Meeting a Legend

This past weekend, my son, Marshall, and I got to go to a very special event to hear Brian Redman tell us about his racing history. Mr. Redman has won a few things in his day - the 1970 Targa Florio being one of the most spectacular. 

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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1136624 2017-03-11T11:00:00Z 2017-06-08T16:34:24Z Racing From Peking To Paris

Lest anyone thing that the ACF is all about wrenches, gas, and oil - I also spent a fair bit of the winter reading...about wrenches, gas, and oil. One of the most fascinating reads was Peking To Paris by Luigi Barzini. Barzini was an Italian journalist who, in 1907, joined a team of two others to race a car from Peking all the way to Paris. Even by today's standards, that is a big undertaking. But imagine that in 1907, the car was only a commercial entity for about 10 years and was still very novel. Over much of the route, the racers would encounter people and animals (the car's primary competition at the time) who had never seen a car before and many who weren't yet aware of their existence! Also allow for the fact that there were no gas stations, no repair facilities who were familiar with working on cars, and the big one - not many reasonable roads and none up to our modern standards. Twenty five cars registered for the race and five actually showed up in Peking to compete.

On top of these logistical challenges, the Italian prince who owned and largely piloted the car, Prince Scipione Borghese, his mechanic, Ettore Guizzardi, and Mr. Barzini were driving an Itala

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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1136124 2017-03-05T12:32:22Z 2017-06-08T16:34:43Z Cars And Coffee At Oxford Motorcars

What's a great way to use an hour between dropping the kids off somewhere and then picking them up? Enjoying some of the stored beauties over at Oxford Motorcars. They specialize in MG race cars so the iron here is primarily vintage English - Jags, MGs, Triumph, and Austin Healey's with the occasional Morgan thrown in. But some German, Italian, and even American marques are present as well. Looks like this will be the first Saturday of each month over at their facility in East Providence.

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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1135705 2017-03-03T10:53:16Z 2017-03-03T10:53:16Z Results From the 3rd Annual French American School Karting Grand Prix

On February 12th, we rev'ed up our electric motors at R1 Indoor Karting, the new karting facility in Lincoln, RI, for our 3rd annual French American School Karting Grand Prix. This new facility is preferable in a few ways over our prior destination. This is much closer to us, generating a better turnout, they were quite a bit easier to work with to set up the event, and they have a dedicated, full-time junior track so for the first year this wasn't a parents-only event! We had a few veterans but lots of new faces and lots of kids!

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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1127932 2017-02-02T22:00:05Z 2017-02-02T22:00:07Z Sharp Peaks Or Rolling Hills

I made a pledge to myself to not "let myself go" too much this winter. Last winter I gained some weight, saw my driving skill atrophy a little, and generally had a hill to climb to get back into the spirit of things in the Spring. The older I get, the harder it seems to be to put in the effort to do this remedial work. So I thought I'd try to nip it in the bud this year before it got out of hand.

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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1093990 2016-09-27T15:32:22Z 2017-03-03T09:44:18Z Are There Health Benefits from Track Driving?

Can driving on track be beneficial for your health? Can something "dangerous" actually be really good for you? Let's try to find out. Please note that I am a driving enthusiast, not a doctor or researcher. So your mileage may vary. I welcome all information from the medical community to expand on what I have found here.

As I mentioned in my last post, I've not been as focused on training and conditioning as in prior years. And that fact has made itself apparent. I've buckled down and have begun my training regimen once again, thankfully. I'm running moderate distances four or five times per week. And I continue to exercise caution in what I eat. Weight loss is still my primary goal, but I cannot ignore physical conditioning to get there any longer. So I'm finding out how to blend them.

As a part of tracking progress, I've purchased scales for the house that are a bit easier to read consistently and hopefully more accurate than the old metal one we had been using. Another minor investment in trying to stay in the game. I've also started wearing my wife's now-unused Apple watch. It's useful for reminding me to stand and for tracking some portions of daily activity (perhaps inaccurately, but better than no tracking at all). After all, you can't improve what you can't measure, right?

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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1079808 2016-08-08T23:37:26Z 2016-08-16T01:34:19Z Out of Shape Equals Out of Speed - Palmer 8/6 PCA NCR

How much does your personal conditioning matter on the race track? The car is doing all the hard work, right? Wouldn't that be nice. As most of us have found out, it's all about the driver. And it's now also clear - what kind of shape the driver is in. My goal was to beat my record from last year. Could I do it? 

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tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1077864 2016-08-01T13:49:04Z 2016-08-01T13:49:05Z Unorthodox Autocross Is Norm at ADSI

What happens when you allow for true variety at the autocross? Amazing fun. That's what. The July autocross at ADSI had a little bit of everything you could ever want! 700+ hp? Yes, that was there. A full-on airport fire truck running the course? Sure. Kids in a Polaris gas buggy? Absolutely. 24 Hours of Lemons race cars? Check. A hill climb car that would kill you just for looking at it? Uh huh. We saw it all.

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tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1076930 2016-07-28T15:38:02Z 2016-07-29T02:19:59Z If it's Sunday, it's time to autocross

This coming Sunday is my first autocross day of the year at ADSI! And I hope you will come join me!

The predicted showers should add some extra fun and challenge. But doesn't look like a washout. 

8am for lessons until noon. Noon to 5pm for open autocross. Morning students get to jump the afternoon lines all day and get in many, many runs. 

So I hope you'll come see Brother Rich break in his new Potenza RE71r tires by whupping us all on the course. That takes the pressure off the rest of us - "he's got new tires, so, of course he's 10 seconds faster and lapped me twice." Just start saying it now and it will roll off the tongue. 

Hope to see you there. Contact me if you want to meet up or need directions. 

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tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1068835 2016-07-01T18:21:20Z 2016-07-01T18:21:21Z Pilgrimage of an Automotive Lifetime - Le Mans 2016

When my wife announced that she wanted us to go to Paris for vacation with the family, I was quite happy indeed. I love to travel so she didn’t have to wait long before I answered, “sure, when and for how long?” 

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tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1051000 2016-05-14T13:54:56Z 2016-06-02T17:08:37Z The Hard Way Formula For Learning Wheel-to-Wheel Racing

While I don't usually seek out the easy way to do things, I also normally don't seek out the hardest way either. When it came time to learn real, wheel-to-wheel formula car racing (which is already pretty hard)...I think I found the hardest way possible...

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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1041225 2016-04-26T13:59:37Z 2017-03-03T09:45:08Z Does Having Kids Make You Faster Or Slower?

I just opened my Tuesday Speed Secrets email from Mr. Ross Bentley to be intrigued by the topic of having kids and how it affects your driving (and general attitude toward risk in life). Mr. Bentley was, in turn, inspired by Will Buxton, F1 pit lane commentator, who wrote an article about the same topic on Racer.com using Nico Rosberg as the example du jour.

Here is what Mr. Buxton has to say, "Rosberg is unquestionably different in 2016...Rosberg's delicate savoir faire seems to come from a place of personal contentment...He joked with me in an NBCSN interview on Saturday evening in China that perhaps it has something to do with becoming a father, before brushing the idea away. But it was something I wanted to push him on...Has being a father changed him? I'd argue it has. Becoming a parent can do one of two things to a racing driver. For some, the knowledge that there is a small person on this earth that you have created and who needs you in his or her life, will cost them a tenth of a second. It will make them lift where they would have stayed flat, duck out of a move they'd never have flinched at previously. It dulls the sharpness that made them such a potent force."

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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1036695 2016-04-19T16:16:29Z 2016-04-21T15:06:51Z What Is It Like To Drive A Formula Car?

The hardest part of becoming a race driver might just be figuring out how to become licensed. The next hardest part might be shifting. That's a small part of what I found out recently at Bertil Roos Race School at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania.

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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1029728 2016-04-09T14:15:07Z 2016-04-09T14:27:40Z Start Your Engines. Or, At Least, Clear Your Windshields!

Are you ready for the new season?!? This one looks to be quite full of amazing events. Dig out your calendar and start filling it with fun!

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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1000953 2016-02-25T11:51:13Z 2016-02-25T11:51:14Z The Most Important Thing for a Snow Autocross

It turns out that the most necessary item for a snow autocross is....snow! I recently went to Lime Rock Park to enjoy a day of sliding sideways on a snowy, low-traction autocross surface. Until a short time ago, driving in snow was one of my great joys in life, ironically, due to the relative safety of it - low grip, low speeds, low danger, high fun. But everything has it's limits. Lime Rock has been hosting winter snow autocross days for the past couple of years. Cars and SUVs are invited to turn up and have a go around the paved autocross portion of the track. They even have snow-making! It was something I was counting on when trying to decide what tires to run. 


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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/991162 2016-02-11T15:21:14Z 2017-03-03T09:45:56Z The Top Ten Reasons to Never Roll Your Wife's Car

For the two of you left on Earth that live under rocks and don't know that I recently went shiny-side-down in my wife's BMW wagon, it was a thing. Not a good thing. You still wouldn't know if you followed me on twitter since I don't post there much - follow this guy instead.

It's rather surreal to be driving down the road and then suddenly be upside down. But I can't say I recommend trying it for the experience. Here are a few reasons to not try it.

The top ten reasons to not roll over your wife's car:

10. AAA does not, in fact, offer roadside assistance to vehicles whose wheels are not in contact with the ground. Who knew? Not even with AAA Plus! They will call the police to help you out. Who will, in turn, contact the same towing people that AAA could have called if your car was still on it's wheels.

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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/989039 2016-02-08T22:09:10Z 2016-02-08T22:09:44Z Results from the 2016 French American School Grand Prix

On February 6, 2016, the members and friends of the Automobile Club de FASRI (The French American School) visited F1 Boston, a karting facility in Braintree, MA, for some good-natured and exciting kart racing competition. There was a good field of 12 total drivers and a decent gallery of spectators, young and old. 

Our racers included: Sam ("Faster than Light") Ang, Joe ("Watch Me Win, Win! Watch Me Nae Nae!") Acceturo, Martin ("Alain Prost") Claeys, Alain ("Gilles Villeneuve") Tranchemontagne, Alex ("Ayrton") Silva de Balboa, John ("Jam") Kiang, Ash ("Linebacker") Saddul, Jean-Yves ("Il Commendatore") Carpenese, Guillaume ("Schumacher") Lepine, Michael ("Mark Donohue") Brown, Caroline ("Smooth Speed") Sauve, and myself.

We raced three "qualifier" races to amass points that would determine the starting positions for the final, trophy-determining final race. 

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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/974994 2016-01-20T23:25:28Z 2016-01-21T02:18:31Z A new local option for learning to drive well

The skid pad at Lime Rock - wet and slippery!

For many of us with young kids, the prospect of shipping ourselves off to a far-flung race track in a far away neighboring country...like Connecticut...to do something that is all about us, well, it's quite a challenge. Trekking to Lime Rock for the Skip Barber school was great fun when I did it back around 2008 but, amazingly, it feels like we all have even less time for things like that as the kids grow up! But there is a more convenient way to do it suddenly! Skip Barber's instruction is coming soon to Thompson Speedway just 35 minutes from Providence in Thompson, CT!

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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/958123 2015-12-27T15:22:41Z 2016-01-20T22:54:32Z Santa Raises the Bar

Happy holidays, merry Christmas, happy Hannukah, joyeux Noël, happy Festivus and whatever other things you celebrate to you all! I hope Santa filled your garages with everything you wanted this year!

I'm happy to report it was a year of safety upgrades for me. A Simpson Hybrid is on the way to keep my neck in one happy, healthy piece along with a new helmet with the attachment posts to match. It will be far more comforting to know that I'll have about 20 times more protection in the case of any unplanned incidents in the coming year. I might have to dig around for a metal-to-metal fire extinguisher mount soon, just to quell the perennial inspection-day shenanigans where my inspection shop reiterates that my factory-supplied plastic mount does not meet the specifications of the Porsche Club. It's all rather ridiculous, but most of life is, isn't it?

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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/932346 2015-11-12T03:46:59Z 2016-01-20T22:54:51Z I Will Not Go Softly Into That Good Winter

It's the middle of November and track season here in New England is just about officially shut down. There is one last ADSI autocross event on 11/29, but I'm going to miss it to uphold my ACF pledge of not neglecting my family (too much) for racing. I'm sure the groans I here are all commiseration, right? So what are we planning for the next few months and beyond you ask?

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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/930748 2015-11-09T18:53:42Z 2015-11-09T22:39:41Z Kids Make The Best Racers

When someone asks you how you can have the most fun on four wheels, what do you say? Of course you say, "kids in Barbie PowerWheels vehicles without motors drag racing downhill." How could there be any other answer?

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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/920726 2015-10-22T08:38:25Z 2015-10-22T12:14:47Z Smiles Per Gallon

What is your definition of the most fun you can have in a car? As a kid, I dreamed of the chance to drive a Lamborghini Countach. To hear the noise of twelve angry Italian cylinders shouting at Ferraris each time they fired up. Only to then want a Ferrari F40, which I still consider to be the pinnacle of automotive achievement. Or perhaps to slide behind the wheel of a Porsche 959 to get the feeling that when you add classic design and the latest (for the early 90's anyway) engineering, you come away with something so technically marvelous that it defies belief. Over 200mph? In 1986? Wow, wow, wow. I chased the supercar dream right up until about last year. Then I saw the light.

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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/913090 2015-10-07T20:00:05Z 2015-10-12T14:16:24Z What Drives Us?

Over the course of a driving season, I find that my emotional love of the sport changes dynamics severely. A dialog is constantly playing in my head: "Am I just going in circles? Do I need to improve my car? Do I need to improve myself? Do I still enjoy this?" And it is quite surprising, even to myself. I constantly assess what makes me enjoy this sport so much. Why do I do this? Why do I spend time and money driving in circles?

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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/910458 2015-09-28T15:04:38Z 2015-10-02T00:58:39Z Houston, We Have A Problem

Yes, I think I have a racing problem, that is. This past Saturday, I went to Palmer with NASA (the National Auto Sport Association, not the space agency) to crew for my friend Ron's race effort and to sample their HPDE offering. 

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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/907880 2015-09-21T23:26:41Z 2015-09-30T03:16:33Z When It's Time To Call In The Professionals

Have you ever wondered how much faster than you a pro driver would be in your own car? I often have. But how would you ever find yourself in a situation where you could find out? Well, I found myself there just the other day. And here is how I did.


Photo of Lee Carpentier, Lamborghini Trofeo race driver, from his Facebook page

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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/904752 2015-09-14T08:02:53Z 2015-10-02T00:39:26Z 2015 PCA Concours d'Elegance Photos

It's September 12, 2015, and the Porsche Club's annual concours is at the Larz Anderson museum in Brookline, MA. So many amazing cars. 3 new GT4's! A 918 Spyder!! First time I've seen either of those in the flesh. And some other amazing items: a 997 GT2, a 996 GT2, an RS 4.0, a 911 Club Sport, a Beck 550 Spyder, and more 911s, 924s, 944s, 928s, 356s, and 914s than you could ever hope to own. Yet another amazing turnout.

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Sterling V
tag:acf.posthaven.com,2013:Post/902368 2015-09-08T18:07:20Z 2015-09-08T20:00:02Z Driving Back to School, Fall 2015

As the kids settle into the new year in school, I'm hoping all of you adult types are also interested in more education - of the driving type, of course. The heat of summer is falling away (after this week, maybe, anyway) so the weather should be perfect for enjoying some fun with cars. The next couple of months have some good things in store so I thought I'd better do a quick review to make sure everyone has the info they need to plan for fun and education.

September is full of driving events for me - and hopefully for you too!! September 12 sees the Porsche Club annual Concours d'Elegance at Larz Anderson auto museum in Brookline MA. It will run all day and all the show-quality cars will be there for this one. The location alternates each year between this great spot and the Elms down in Newport. There is a Waterfire that night in Providence too, so make it a full weekend! Sunday, the 13th, is the summer season kid's karting championship race for my son on the joint track indoors at F1 Boston. He has finished up third in the points for the season and we'll see if he can add any additional hardware to his trophy case this time out.

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Sterling V