Roadtrip

ROAD TRIP> Driving The Irish Tarmac Rally Course

Here on MotorMavens, you guys often get to see cars and events through the lenses of our photographers. The cars are the stars. However, this time, I think I would like to show you more of the location where much of this motorsports history happens. This time I would like to feature a place, or maybe show you features of a place, that has its own race pedigree.

Ireland has many good points and many bad points. Over the past few years, the one thing that stands out as a major flaw of this fine island is its inability to provide its islanders with a weather system that 1) they can predict successfully and 2) actually obeys the seasons. When it's summer, let it be sunny and warm and, when it's winter, let it be dark and cold. Here in Ireland, you can never plan for any outdoor activity with any sense of certainty. This is the country that can have any season on any given day of the year and, my friends, that is only a slight exaggeration on my part. However, there is a huge plus to living here, from a "driver's" point-of-view. There is an abundance of mesmerizing roads that snake, dip and jump their way through the lush green countryside. So, I thought you MotorMavens readers might like to come see Ireland through the eyes of a rally enthusiast.   Read more...

ROADTRIP> Spectre 341 Virginia City Hillclimb

This weekend, the MotorMavens Crew split up and went to several different events - while most of our friends were out in New Jersey for the latest round of the Formula Drift Championship, I decided to check out the annual Spectre 341 Challenge (aka the Virginia City Hillclimb) event happening roughly 30 minutes outside of Reno, Nevada. As I arrived into the wild west town of Virginia City and walked through the parking lot of the Silverland Hotel (designated the pit area for the race teams), I saw a good mixture of professionally prepared race cars, classic American muscle, and privately owned exotics getting ready to run up the treacherous winding road of Nevada State Highway 341.   Read more...

ROADTRIP> The Road to Wekfest San Francisco

What a great weekend! Since last weekend's Wekfest show fell on a three-day national holiday, we decided it would be fun to take a road trip up to San Francisco and show support to our friends from Weksos Industries. We attended last year's Wekfest and had a lot of fun; so we definitely wouldn't want to miss the chance to visit all our friends in the Bay Area and check out some of the fresh new car builds coming out of Northern California.

This weekend also gave me an opportunity to test out my new 'point&shoot' camera. For the past couple years, I've been singing the praises of Canon's S90 and G11 pocket cameras, but more recently, I've been getting curious about the performance capabilities of the new Micro 4/3rds cameras that have been coming out! I looked at demo versions of the Panasonic Lumix GF1 and GF2, but opted on buying the GF1 because of its dial controls - it feels more like I'm using my SLR! Granted, the GF1's small image sensor doesn't perform anywhere close to what my Canon 5DMk2 can do in low light... but for a camera that could fit in your jacket pocket, it's pretty damn capable!

This being said, since MotorMavens is a blog for people that enjoy photography just as much as car culture, I thought I'd shoot the first installment of our Wekfest photos with my fun GF1 point&shoot camera.   Read more...

ROADTRIP> Spectre 341 Challenge Hillclimb

Virginia City is the oldest city in the state of Nevada. It was the site of the Comstock Lode, which is spin-off of the 1849 Gold Rush that brought many fortune seekers out to Northern areas of California and Nevada, with stories of gold and silver mining wealth.

Silver was actually discovered accidentally. Prospectors that were making their way to California were forced to stop in the Sierra Nevada mountains because of snowstorms, so they camped out near present day Virginia City as they continued their efforts in panning and mining for gold. As the miners searched high and low for traces of gold, a bluish-grey mud stuck to their shovels, infuriating the early gold miners, who rapidly disposed of it. Unfortunately for them, the nuisance that stuck to their shovels turned out to be silver ore. Virginia City's silver legacy turned it into the richest city in Nevada at one point, with $400 million in silver excavated from its mines. To put this into perspective, that $400 million would be $12.8 billion in today's economy - not exactly bailout money but definitely enough to keep any city running like a well oiled machine.

In 1862, State Route 341 was established, which is a mountain road that was built to allow trucks carrying silver ore to get from Silver City to Virginia City and Reno. The first roots of an organized hill climb event in Virginia City date back to 1972. Hans Tanner, the President of the Ferrari Owners Club of Southern California, thought that Nevada's Highway 341 would be a perfect place to replicate the legendary hill climbs in Europe.

Enter Amir Rosenbaum. Amir is the founder of Spectre Performance, a manufacturer of innovative air intake systems and other performance parts for muscle cars. Aside from owning a fleet of cars that includes several 1970s Chevrolet Camaros, a mid-engined 1970 Chevy El Camino SS (pictured above), a 1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1, a 2JZGTE-powered 1970 Ford Maverick, a twin turbo Cadillac powered streamliner land speed racer, and a highly modified 1992 Ferrari F40, Amir set a world record at the famed Virginia City Hillclimb in 2002, driving his infamous F40 up the hill in only 3.10 minutes (more on this car later).   Read more...

ROADTRIP> NASCAR from the Outside Looking In

I know that NASCAR isn't a topic normally covered here at MotorMavens...and I sure as hell never expected to be the person covering it. I'll be completely honest here. Even as a kid, I was never a huge fan of NASCAR. I imagined it couldn't be too entertaining watching cars go around an oval for hundreds of miles. Not only that, but I just didn't feel like I really fit in with the typical NASCAR fans... but I guess I never really gave it a chance.

I was approached by MotorMavens about traveling to Charlotte, North Carolina to cover the NASCAR All Star Race weekend. MotorMavens was invited to cover the race as guests of Mobil 1, as well as take a tour of a full-blown racing facility, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and a few other surprise stops along the way. Obviously, I jumped at the opportunity. Regardless of what I thought I knew about NASCAR, I decided I was going to approach it with an open mind. It's a good thing, too... because I learned a lot of interesting things about NASCAR and had a lot of fun in the process!   Read more...

ROADTRIP> Drifting Culture is Alive in Brazil!

A few months ago, my good friends Ameen and Amir Rizvi, owners of 786 Motoring, a drift and performance shop in Houston, told me that a big opportunity had come up and they wanted a photographer to come along. I said, "Sure, no problem!" Then they said we'd be going to Brazil. Wait, BRAZIL!?

They explained that Leo Malfatti, owner of TTR Tuning, wanted to hold a drift event in Brazil in collaboration with Drift Company Brasil, the country's leading drift crew. Leo felt that 786 Motoring had the reputation and experience to assist and contribute. Leo had approached many shops, but Amir and Ameen were the only ones that had taken him seriously. I wasn't surprised that 786 Motoring was the shop he connected with -- they're a great bunch of guys with an extreme dedication to the sport.

After considerable planning and collaborating, things started to take shape and the trip was scheduled. Our plan was to meet and hang out with Drift Company, document our trip, discuss cars and setups, and talk about the overall logistics of drifting in Brazil. Unfortunately, Ameen had an issue securing his passport at the last minute. However, if everything worked out as planned, we also knew we'd probably have the chance to return to Brasil.   Read more...