McLaren 12C Spider in my neck of the woods

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of hanging out around the ski resorts in Colorado, you might have had the pleasure (or terror) of driving Loveland Pass. There’s actually two ski “resorts” on either side, A-Basin and Loveland, both popular with locals for the decent skiing, a season that typically starts early and finishes late, and the fact that they’re a decent bit cheaper than the Brecke’s and Vail’s of this world.

Anyway, I digress. The road can be a little sketchy in winter – plenty of snow most of the time, a lot of trucks, and people who don’t know what they’re doing. I’ve actually been skiing at Loveland when I saw a Jeep come over the edge and tumble down three of four rolls before gently coming to a stop about 30 feet above the snowboarders getting off the lift. Kinda scary. But when you’ve got Pike Peak champion Rhys Millen at the wheel, I guess it’s not too much of a problem, even when you’ve got two driven wheels and lots and lots of horsepower and torque to contend with. Actually looks like a lot of fun.

As another aside, I highly recommend (if you can board and don’t mind doing a little back country) snowboarding down Loveland Pass under a full moon on a clear night. Did it once the year after I moved here, and it was nothing but spectacular and amazing.

Forza Horizon

You know you’re living in the right part of the world when your favorite car racing game franchise (Forza, if you didn’t realize from the headline) uses your state for it’s first off-track excursion. So, welcome to Colorado, the land of sunshine and mountains, and lots of fast cars.

I’m hoping they retain all the stuff that is so good about the racing versions – life like feel of the cars, fantastic graphics and lots of super fast and smooth action. And can’t wait to get exploring some of the mountain roads I haven’t tried in real life yet – better get my order in for the Christmas list I suppose.

Track Time in Pueblo with the local BMW Club

I’m lucky enough to have joined the local BMW club here in Denver a few years ago. One of the best things has been the track days – they offer a full day of classroom and track time to get everyone from beginners up to more seasoned drivers around the track that little bit safer and quicker. I’ve attended most of the other local car club driving days (Porsche being the major one I haven’t done yet), and have to say the BMW one is head and shoulders above the others.

Of course, I got totally addicted to this immediately, and proceeded to do very school they had for the next few years (they normally do 3 or 4 days per year). A couple of years ago, I was asked if I’d like to be an instructor – despite the feeling I wasn’t really experienced enough to be qualified, I said yes. The Instructor Training School (ITS) was probably one of the more stressful (but fun) things I’ve done in a while, but I passed, and now have the pleasure of helping others get faster in the same way I was helped. Which brings me to the weekend of September 22nd. Pueblo Motorsports Park, home of my first ever venture on a race track in a car, was the destination for the Fall Driving School. Pueblo had fallen out of favor in the past few years with the newly developed High Plains Raceway taking a lot of drivers attention – however, a brand new surface had brought the track back up to spec, and gave everyone a fresh challenge without eating a set of tires every day (which is what the old surface seemed to do). I had a great couple of students who kept me safe and entertained, and hopefully they realized how much they had improved over the course of the day. The next two are planned for Spring 2013 back out at HPR, so if you’re in Colorado (or somewhere else close) and fancy trying out your car on the track (it doesn’t have to be a BMW – we have lots of different makes out there) check out the site and get ready to sign up next year. As an aside, the fastest I went around the track that weekend wasn’t at my own hands (no surprise there). I had the pleasure of being a passenger in the Lotus Exige pictured above and driven by one of my friends and fellow instructors, Ross. Apart from being super lightweight (although with me in there, it’s obviously weighed down a little), it was also sporting a set of slicks for the weekend, meaning the g’s we were pulling through the corners were pretty impressive. It was a lot of fun.

New Audi S3 with 300 BHP

Lots of new concepts and cars are coming out of the Paris Motor Show this week. This one, the S3 from Audi, sports a 5.1 second 0-60 and hits the limiter at 155mph. It looks like this one will make the trip across the water to the US (but maybe in 5 door form only?), and could be the perfect runabout here in Colorado, with the usual quattro drivetrain with a slight front wheel bias. Of course, there’s always the chance that Audi might really up the ante and release the new (yet to be announced or released) 400bhp RS3 over here. Now that could be a lot of fun.