Sunday, January 30, 2005

Random B-S

Still kicking around here, and will be for the forseeable future. My next stop is going to be Florida, Mexico, California, and maybe a race or two in California. Thank God...it's cold as shit here.

Got into a pretty good fistfight with one of the other drivers today. See, most of the time, drivers and crews are pretty cool with each other. But in my case, everyone except my guys pretty much hates me because at my age, they were still playing around with the cars their parents got `em. So they like to tap the ass end of my car in races. One guy did that for half a frickin` race while I was in the lead, so I eventually got sick and tired of it and hooked my rear bumper across the lip of his front bumper, ripping it clean off. And since the front bumper provides downforce to keep the front tires glued to the road during high speed turns (by the function of air flowing over it and pushing the front of the car down), he slipped back into fifth place.

Anyways, this thing today was nothin`. He said something to me, I said something back, he swung at me, I knocked him down. He's like twice my age, he should know better.

They're retiring my car after the '05 season. In '06, they're gonna launch us in a 2007 model year Toyota Supra, which isn't really the same as the 1992 Supra. The `92 Supra is a $40,000 sports car powered by a V6. The `07 Supra is a $100,000 supercar powered by a 600-hp V10. I'm sorry, but I can't see the resemblence, and I'm not going to drive this new monstrosity.

Instead, I found an elegant solution. And I do mean elegant. Jaguar is willing to pick me up to race in their new XK8 American Touring Car. As a bonus, I get a free used XKR coupe out of the deal, and the racing season is only from March until August. So I can go to Yale for a full school year and then go pull a full season of racing.

Oh, and I'm seeing Lisa, the American college girl I met the other day. Very nice girl, loves cars as much as I do. Yes, I kissed her. No, I am still not trying to sleep with her. You perverts.

Oh, and if you're reading this, drop me a comment so I know someone is. And don't be afraid to drop one int here whenever, I'm always bored as shit, so I'll probably answer unless you just call me a faggot or something stupid like that. In which case I'll just kill your mother.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Nuremburg

Yes, that's right. I don't have an off-season. One of those would be really sweet. In spring I race in the warmer parts of the US and (once in a while) Mexico. When summer rolls around, I go and hit colder areas of the US, Europe, and Japan. When fall hits, I go back to the southern US and Mexico. And in winter, I get shipped out to a test facility with some technicians and my crew chief to tune and set up the car. See, every season, we incorporate the newest technology into the damn thing, and that means we have to completely re-work the car's baseline tune settings. That baseline produces the handling characteristics I like (neutral over/understeer unless you pump the gas a little) and gets the most out of the car. Using the baseline settings, the car is then tweaked for each track it runs on. So it's always minimizing its weaknesses and maximizing its advantages.
Anyways, Germany is a pretty cool place. I speak the language pretty well, but I can't read it worth a damn, although I know what einbahnstrassen means (one-way street). The people are generally nice enough, and the girls are amazing.
And then there's my bling. I'm staying at a fairly upscale hotel (thank you O Great Sponsors), with a big suite all to myself. Two rooms, a living room and a big bedroom. When I started, I used to sleep in the pit garage most of the time, or in the car, or in the trailer, depending on where we were. And when we're on tour, I still do that because there's just no time to drive from a hotel to the track or get driven or whatever. But for the short time I'll be here, the people that pay the bills have me pretty well set up. Toyota Racing Development (TRD) is dropping lots of green and a pile of free parts and tools on us because they're reintroducing the Toyota Supra in the 2007 model year. It's not going to be like the 1992-era Supra, though. Rather than being powered by a V6 like the original, this one is going to have a V10 or 12 that produces, at minimum, 500-hp. Probly 600-hp. As much as I love my sponsor (and I hope they don't read this) the new car just isn't a Supra.
And then there's the ride I "obtained" for personal use. Funny story about that. I decided I really wanted a car to tool around the Autobahn in. And pick up girls in. And I wanted it to be smooth and fast. So I caught a ride to this place that rents very high-class upscale sport and luxury cars to the fabulously wealthy. I introduced myself, offered to do a photo shoot and little promo kit for them (get a couple of pictures taken in their place and some video of me driving one of their cars), and they agreed to let me take the black RUF R-Turbo. I wasn't about to take some piece of shit Bentley. At first, when I told them I wanted an RUF, they tried to palm off a crappy 3400S on me, thinking that I'd be dumb enough to believe that that was their only RUF car. This thing is nice though, terrific handling. Goes from zero to sixty in under four seconds (I'm guessing here, it's only a touch slower than my race-built Supra), and reaches a top speed of maybe 220 mph. And yes, I did 220 on the Autobahn. One of the unrestricted-speed zones. Because contrary to popular belief, certain stretches do have speed limits, although the limits are something like 80 or 90 mph.
Tonight I'm going to go hit a bar or two with my plaything, see if I can find a girl to pick up. You know, everyone would like to believe that it's not the truth, but being a racecar driver and cruising around in a quarter of a million dollar sports car certainly does help a guy out in dealings with unatached members of the female persuasion.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The Cost of Dreams

I got my first car at 16. It was a 1992 Volkswagon Golf GL that made 85-hp. It was a good car. I restored it to factory condition, and was happy. Then I added a soundsystem, and was happier. Then I tuned and turbocharged the engine until it made 170-hp, and was happier still.

I was a straight-A student. I had a smart, funny, loving, beautiful girlfriend. I had a good relationship with my parents. I had a good-sized circle of friends who liked and respected me. I had a future. By senior year of high school, I was kicking around town in a Ford Focus ZX3 2.3L 16V that I had tuned up to 250-hp from a base 145. I had been offered free rides to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Dartmouth, and planned on going to Yale. I was going to be a lawyer.

And then I won a contest. The prize was two laps in a pro race car at Mazda's Laguna Seca Raceway in California. I thought it was awesome. I'd already been racing first the VW and then the Ford at tracks (and illegally on the street every now and then), and had a good two and a half years of racing experience under my belt.

I got out to Laguna Seca, and got into the car. It was a Mazda RX-7 Le Mans car. I was thrilled. I'd converted the Focus from front to rear-wheel drive, so I knew how to handle the oversteer that came with RWD. They told me to take it easy. I did...on the first lap. I took every turn wide and slow, getting a feel for the pavement.

On lap two, I floored it. The car was beautiful. It responded perfectly. I was in heaven. It sounds silly, but I was one with the car. It was the hottest of hot laps, all the while with the crew chief and the PR guy screaming at me over the radio. I didn't care; I'd won two laps, and I was going to use them.

They were pretty mad. Well, that's an understatement. They were livid. I thought they were going to shoot me.

And then they checked the lap time. I'd broken the car's record at Laguna Seca.

That attracted the attention of people, who made calls to other people, and before long I was offered a free ride at the Skip Barber School of Racing, wherre I excelled. A few more hot laps and evaluations later, and I was given an offer...a lead driving spot behind the wheel of an 600-hp Toyota Supra identical in design to the JGTC Castrol Supra, except faster. It was my dream shot.

The catch? I'd have to leave behind Yale, my girlfriend, my friends, my parents, and my life. I'd have to ride around the country, never staying in one place longer than it took to do a qualification run and pull a race. I'd have to give my life up. So I did. It hurt.

Today, I have few friends in the world: a 600-hp Toyota Supra, my pit crew, my crew chief, and my manager. I don't have a car because I don't make all that much, and I don't have much of a home to keep a car at, anyway. I live on the road, in cheap dirtbag motels or in a garage alongside the pits. I have random, fleeting affairs with a strange assortment of girls I fall into bed with. Girls looking to tug at the cape of...whatever it is they think I have. It's always safe sex (one thing racing teaches you is to be safe in everything you do; life is terribly short and can end in the blink of an eye, which is as long as it takes you to slam into a wall at 185 mph), but I never see them again. My world is a nightmare.

But to everyone else, it's heaven. My face never betrays my emotions...I always manage that confident, driven, stoic look.

After all, I'm Redline Jack.