Archive for the Miscellaneous Category

More Exciting News for 2010

Posted in Miscellaneous, Pat's Races on December 25, 2009 by vroomgrrl

Hi Pat,

What a nice Christmas surprise for your fans – a TRG/Flying Lizard team-up for the Grand-Am Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. Test days are January 8-10 and oh how I’d love to be a fly on the wall for that! If I could get away from work, I’d love to catch the race. Alas, it looks like things will be at fever pitch for me at work. But you never know.

Anyway, the TRG guys are awesome, which I know you know since you’ve worked with them before. I got to meet and chat with several of them over the summer when they displayed some team cars at the local Porsche dealership in a pre-race event. I’ll be great to root for some of my favorite drivers in the 24-hour race. And wow what a stellar line-up. You guys will ROCK.

It’s a really lovely Christmas here. We drove an hour west to spend the evening with my husband’s family. We made a few other stops around Tuscaloosa as well. The weather was pretty rotten, with unusually high winds and rain. We got back home after midnight to find that part of our tall wood privacy fence blew down. We got it stood back up for now but we’ll be shopping repair estimates first thing next week for sure.

I’ve repacked some stuff, and gotten other stuff ready to pack, and in the morning, we’re off to Atlanta to spend some time with my family. It’ll be our first time with all four of us siblings together in quite a while – we’re all looking forward to it.

Merry merry Christmas!
VroomGrrl

Commercial Break: Blogging the Big Contest!

Posted in Miscellaneous on November 2, 2009 by vroomgrrl

Live Blogging the Contest!

11/3/09 Day 1
1:00 AM Rosie & Tess started in P3 and held this position through the night. Sawyer is P1 and Sheba is P2. By the way, Sawyer has “crossed the Rainbow Bridge.” Chief Strategist for Rosie & Tess predicts a tough race against such a sentimental favorite!
8:00 AM We swapped back and forth with “Sheba” between P2 and P3 all morning. Sawyer holds onto P1.
1:00 PM Rosie & Tess passed Sheba and stayed in P2 for about two hours!
4:00 PM Sheba takes the lead! Sawyer is P2 and Rosie & Tess are P3.
8:00 PM P1 is Sheba 135, P2 Sawyer with 127, and in P3 Rosie & Tess with 98 votes. Sheba has really opened up quite the gap since taking the lead this afternoon. We’ll see what the rest of the night brings!
Midnight – closing out the first day of the competition, Sheba retains the lead, holding P1 with 152 votes. Sawyer is in P2 with 133, and Tess & Rosie have held on to P3 with 108 votes. Their next closest challenger is the Boxer pups with 63 votes. Back tomorrow with another report! Ha!

OK, can we do this until November 9th? Uuuuhh…we’ll see!

Hey Pat,

OK this is totally obnoxious, but I am hitting up everybody to go vote for our dogs in a Dog of the Week contest. You are no exception! Just CLICK HERE and scroll down to see the photo of Rosie & Tess in their cool beds. Click the VOTE button to vote for them, please! If they win, a dog bed will be donated to a rescue charity we’ve chosen.

Rosie and Tess are both rescue dogs, and both had problems when they came to us as puppies. Tess had apparently been abused and she had some serious maladaptive behaviors including fear of all people, even us! Rosie had been hit by a car and had to have a very complex surgery something close to a knee replacement. They have both come a long way, and they are doing great now. Winning this contest would be great for their self-esteem! At last check, they had about seven votes. Ahem! hahah! But for real, we’d love your vote. Pass it on!

Would you believe, that’s all I got for today!

Pimpin the pups!
VroomGrrl

Class Act

Posted in Miscellaneous on October 28, 2009 by vroomgrrl

Hi Pat,


I had the pleasure of visiting part of the Flying Lizard Brain Trust today – Franz Blam Racing. How lovely that both Franz and Thomas were there when I arrived! Unfortunately, I was seriously off schedule, and was only able to stay a few minutes before I had to get back on the road to my meeting in downtown Atlanta. And, of course, during most of those few minutes, Thomas ended up on the phone conducting very important Flying Lizard business. I didn’t want to appear nosy, so I went with Franz back into the shop while Thomas was on the phone up front. But as I passed I distinctly heard him talking about plans for the 2010 season. I wasn’t sure who was on the other end, but he told me later it was Lizard stuff.

Anyway I was glad to find my way to the shop. I’d talked to them a year ago while shopping cars and they were so generous, it was nice to thank them in person. When I first talked to Franz last year, I had no clue about his own accomplishments in the racing world. Knowing a tiny bit more now, I am honored to have his autograph on my helmet, along with Thomas’, who is a key part of the Flying Lizard recipe for success among his many accomplishments. We talked a little about my car before Thomas got busy.

One thing I’d hoped to ask about was how the ALMS class structure will affect planning, engineering, and strategy for next year. You will not be surprised to know that the whole concept of car classing makes my head hurt! I had to learn enough about how it works to read the SCCA General Rule Book for the purposes of classing my own car for SCCA autocross (which they call “Solo”). What I came up with after reading the book was entirely different from what my car class ended up being. And everybody I asked, all seasoned club members, had a different answer. Even the “tech experts”! I ended up in BS (B Stock) to start, then when I looked at the rules, I realized that my very minor modifications actually required that I run in B Street Prepared (BSP). If I were to go to another district, my exact car might end up in an entirely different class. So that’s my experience with car classing!

However, even this limited experience was helpful in understanding the changes in ALMS classing for 2010. I have also seen this in action working events with NASA, where they have something like twenty classes which race in two groups. The way I understand it, the purpose of car classing is to even the playing field between different kinds of cars to account for power and handling characteristics. Different classes in one race results in a race with an overall winner and winners for each class.

I’ve seen this in action in ALMS this year with the wildly different LMP (Le Mans Prototype) and GT (Grand Touring) cars. This year, in coordination and with approval of the ACO (Automobile Club d’Ouest), we had LMP1, LMP2, GT1 and GT2. Next year? Holy hell here we go. LMP1 and LMP2 will run in a single class to be called LMP (with exception of the endurance classics – the Twelve Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans – that will continue to adhere to the ACO technical rules for LMP1 and LMP2).

There will be a new “LMP Challenge” class as well (called LMPC), and one of those vehicles debuted in a display the Sunday after the Petit le Mans – a Courage that will run in the LMP Challenge class next year. This class has similar weight to LMP cars, but lower horsepower (450hp as compared to 500-700hp). The class ran in Europe this year, and will make its ALMS debut at Sebring in March.

For the GT classes, GT1 is going away. No more GT1. GT2 will be called simply GT. The class will include the Corvette C6.R, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Ferrari F430 GT, Jaguar XKR, BMW M3, Panoz Esperante, Ford GT, and Dodge Viper. For 2010, we can expect to see a second Ferrari team, a fully functioning (we hope) Jaguar team, and some additional Porsche teams, along with the usual (and some new) privateers. The entry of the Corvettes at mid-season this year was particularly exciting, as we saw at Laguna Seca.

New for 2010, there will be a full GT Challenge class (GTC). This class debuted in 2009 at Miller in Salt Lake City. Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars from the Patrón GT3 Challenge by Yokohama were the only eligible cars in 2009, but for 2010, competition will be open to other versions of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars, with other manufacturers likely to be added in the future.

So to sum up, we’ll have LMP, LMPC, GT, and GTC. Edited to add: I should have also noted that the driving force behind adding the Challenge classes is couched by the organizations in marketing terms such as “value-added” but I think it boils down to making it cheaper so that more teams can participate. The way the Challenge classes are set up in ALMS, they each serve as a “lite” version of the Prototype and Grand Touring existing classes which are on the cutting edge of car-development technology, and thus, very expensive to run in. For anyone who cares, full details are on the ALMS website. One thing is for sure, next year is going to be super exciting!

Hey I saw your latest post on SPEEDTV.com and as usual, it was some great writing. I was so glad to know that you all had time to celebrate together. What a wonderful time that must have been! I imagine like Thomas, you are hard at work preparing for next year. I can’t wait!

One last thought – I wrote previously about mastering tracks and a plan to do that at autocross. Then a friend sent me a link to this video of a bike racer talking about HIS method. Hilarious! Check it out:

And on that note, I bid you good evening!

As ever,
VroomGrrl

Happy Blogiversary to Us!

Posted in Miscellaneous on October 28, 2009 by vroomgrrl

Hi Pat,

Well I don’t delude myself by thinking that you read this thing regularly, or even that you have ever seen it at all! And yet? I’ve been at it a year, writing letters to you as if you were my driving coach. I started this blog in October of last year as you were preparing for the Petit le Mans, and I was preparing for my very first track day. And my very first autocross. I had sent a couple of long, babbling emails to you via your management, and I had no clue if you ever saw those either. But I found myself wanting to continue to write to you to tell you stuff, and to ask you stuff. So I did. Except it was kind of weird writing letters that went nowhere. So I made this place for them. And a year later, here we are!

Hi Gina, my one faithful reader!

So anyway, I have a little plan for celebrating our blogiversary, and I hope hope hope it works. With any luck, I will be paying a visit to Franz Blam Racing in Tucker later today.  As long as Atlanta traffic cooperates………..and I better not jinx myself!

It’s late and I’ve got an early day tomorrow so I’ll leave it here.

I hope you are happy, well, and driving fast wherever you are!

Sincerely,
VroomGrrl

OMG! Worst! Fan! Ever!

Posted in Miscellaneous on July 31, 2009 by vroomgrrl

Dear Pat,

Wow do I suck at this “fan” business. I was browsing the Porscheworks driver profiles, and it took me twice going through to notice (I was curious about the nationalities of your fellow works drivers) that July 28 was your birthday!

If it’s any consolation, I am generally not the best at marking birthdays of even my closest friends and family. So you are in good company? Well anyway, without further ado…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR PATRIIIIIIIIIIIIIICK
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!

I hope you had a good one, wherever you are!

The crappiest Patrick Long fan EVAH,
VroomGrrl

PS I get a kick out of hearing the Europeans say your name…”Pa-TREEK!” Ha!

Beautiful Day at Barber

Posted in Miscellaneous, Pat's Races on July 19, 2009 by vroomgrrl

Hi Pat,

Wow what a great day you had! I did not see one second of your race – but was so glad to receive Jenn’s Flying Lizard News text message that you guys had won. Woohoo! Congrats – again!

I got the news as I was driving home from Barber. We have unusually mild weather for July, and it could not have made for a more gorgeous day to be at the track. The TRG car that was looking for a driver did some team reconfiguring and all their cars ran today. Not sure how they did in qualifying or anything. I tried my damnedest to hook my buddy Skeen up with them to get into that car. Turns out it was a very expensive proposition for an already underfunded privateer like Mike. But he took it and ran and did everything he could to try and put something together in the short time available. It would have been soooo cool to see him out there in a big race like this. He’ll get there.

So I saw My Real Driving Coach today, too. I got to meet his wife and son, and that was great. He always talks about them, and nine times out of ten, when our plans to work together don’t pan out, it’s because he’s taking time to be with his wife and son. He is still talking about going out next weekend…and! He says we’re getting medical out there, which means…wheee! It’ll cost me, but it’ll be so, so worth it. I can’t wait to get out and take some time to focus. I love working with him, and I’m dying to get some feedback from him, and remind myself how to use the brakes like a race car driver.

Tomorrow it’s back out to Barber. I have the royal hookup for the weekend, with VIP this and Special that. Thanks to My Real Driving Coach. I’ve got friends to hang out with but I’ll have to find them in the crowd. Oh and I finally (finally!) washed the 911 today, and my racing team sticker finally made it to me. I may actually fire her up and take her out to see all the other pretty cars tomorrow.

Let’s see. If I were you and I’d won a big race yesterday, I’d be wanting to kick back today, maybe get out and play in the water somewhere, spend some time with family and friends. For all I know you are in transit to your next big thing. However you do it, I know you must be savoring another win and honing your focus on the next race.

Congrats! Now – back to Barber in the morning for me!

Soaking it up,
VroomGrrl

Racer Wanted

Posted in Miscellaneous on July 15, 2009 by vroomgrrl

Hi Pat,

Well I finally looked at the schedule and it looks like Lime Rock for you this weekend. I hope you have a great go of it! Loved your columns post-LeMans, by the way. While I am probably the worst fan ever for keeping up and showing up, I think I may still be your biggest fan because I am truly fanatical in my admiration for your accomplishments and your approach to things. And if I had anything near the talent and skill required to do so, I would seek to emulate you as a driver.

Moving on…

I got an email today, a team is looking for a driver for the Porsche 250 this weekend. Know anybody? “Jason Myers, TRG, is seeking a funded Co-Driver to share the TRG/AXA 66 Porsche with Spencer Pumpelly at Barber Motorsports park this weekend. Ride comes with partial sponsorship dollars in place.” Contact info deleted to avoid spam. But that should be enough info to make contact, or if not, I can provide additional info – just drop me a comment with your email.

And speaking of email, I shot an email to Thomas Blam last weekend because I was going to be in Atlanta for the first time in forever, and he’d encouraged me to come by the shop on a visit over that way. I didn’t even look at schedules to see where he might be, and I never heard back, so he was probably already in California doing prep for the coming weekend. Plus I am pretty sure they’re closed on the weekend. DOH. See above re: “worst fan.” Hey, it was worth a shot. You never know! But…no go.

I’m still crossing my fingers about getting together with My Real Driving Coach next Saturday. Between now and then, I have company coming. I think! I’ve not heard from them. I’ll have to check their damned facebook pages to see what they’re up to. I HATE FACEBOOK by the way. And Twitter. So there. Alright so anyway I have been busting my hump to get the house ready for our first guests, and thanks to many, many long late nights, I am actually there! I’m 99% out of boxes, and things are generally where they need to be. It felt so good to come down the stairs this morning and to see order instead of chaos! I’ll post pictures soon.

I’m excited about this weekend! Good friends, gorgeous cars, and Barber, my beautiful home track. I’m sure they’ll have your race on TV somewhere at Barber this weekend – I’ll do my best to keep up with you.

Drive purty!!
VroomGrrl