Interview With Sony Playstation GT Academy Winner Bryan Heitkotter

Monday October 3rd, 2011 at 1:1010 PM
Posted by: Derek

A.M. Performance Nismo 370Z cars 05 and 04 (©) Carmen Lynaugh

Have you ever dreamed of racing wheel-to-wheel against the pros? That dream became a reality for Bryan Heitkotter, winner of the Sony Playstation GT Academy contest of America. Bryan was awarded the opportunity to train and race with real professional race car drivers at the GT Academy driver development program after beating over 58,000 contestants.

After three months of intense training at Silverstone and competing in several events in Europe and the U.S. to earn his international racing license, Bryan was entered in the biggest race of his short career as a pro race car driver – the GRAND AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, co-driving a Nismo 370Z with Ryan Dalziel for A.M. Performance. Nervous and excited at the same time, Bryan proved he could compete alongside with more seasoned drivers by qualifying for the 12th position in a field of 71 cars — less than 8 tenths of a second behind the pole position.

In-between practice sessions and qualifying, I threw some questions at Bryan to learn more about this seasoned gamer turned race car prodigy.

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Video: Ken Block’s Gymkhana Four – The Hollywood Megamercial

Tuesday August 16th, 2011 at 1:88 PM
Posted by: Derek

ken block gymkhana four

Ken Block, Ninja Warriors, Jaws, and Bacon Strips

Like any good sequel, the action gets bigger and bigger as Ken tries to raise the bar with his Gymkhana videos promoting his DC Shoes brand and high powered Ford Fiesta. Now close your office door, crank up the speakers, and prepare for some high-octane Hollywood fun.

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D'oh!Getting There (Eventually) With Homer Simpson Guiding You

Tuesday April 26th, 2011 at 2:44 PM
Posted by: Derek

The Simpsons Homer SimpsonThe original Homer Simpson voice now available for TomTom App version V1.7

April 26, 2011 –Fresh from Springfield, Homer Simpson – the world’s favorite animated patriarch – is now making his way onto your TomTom App for iPhone for the very first time, as the friendly and encouraging co-pilot to your journey!

Developed in partnership with Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products (FCP) and Locutio Voice Technologies, the original Homer Simpson voice for TomTom’s range of personal navigation devices is now available on the new TomTom iPhone app v1.7.

The voice app marks the first time a celebrity voice has ever been available for mobile phone based GPS. Additional territories include United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Portugal, Luxembourg, Finland, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and South Africa.

The original Homer voice for iPhone comes with all the latest and updated maps (TomTom version 1.7), which means drivers not only receive Homer’s own special words of wisdom, such as “Make a U-turn. Ha ha, you’ve goofed. D’Oh!” but also the latest TomTom map store on board their iPhone.

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Exclusive Lexus Culinary Team to Debut at Pebble Beach Food & Wine

Thursday March 31st, 2011 at 1:33 PM
Posted by: Derek

2011_Lexus_Culinary_MasterSix World-Renowned Chefs to Partner with Luxury Automaker

TORRANCE, Calif. (March 30, 2011)—In a first of its kind, Lexus is teaming up with six of the world’s most distinguished chefs as it unveils its Lexus Culinary Masters team. The team will partner with Lexus on multiple initiatives, including Lexus customer appreciation programs, charitable outreach, and multimedia productions. Details on future programs will be announced later this year.

The Lexus Culinary Masters debut lineup includes:

  • Chef Daniel Boulud – Chef/Owner of several restaurants, including DANIEL
  • Chef Michael Chiarello – Chef/Owner, Bottega
  • Chef Dean Fearing – Chef/Partner, Fearing’s Restaurant
  • Chef Christopher Kostow – Executive Chef, The Restaurant at Meadowood, Meadowood Resort Napa Valley
  • Chef Masaharu Morimoto – Chef/Owner of Morimoto restaurants
  • Chef Michael Symon – Chef/Owner of several restaurants, including Lola Bistro

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Rising Stars Discovered at Ken Block's Gymkhana Grid Series Competition

Monday August 23rd, 2010 at 11:88 AM
Posted by: asgruben

Ken Block and Jessica Dunford

By Adrienne Gruben

Recent friends Michele Abbate and Jessica Dunford represent the newest, youngest wave of aspiring lady racers and grease monkeys, and while it’s super tempting to focus on their manners and cute-ness — which might not immediately spring to mind writing about fella drivers — what does make them like any other aspiring racer is their passion for all things torque.

A Junior majoring in Marketing and Communications at UNLV, Las Vegas native, Michele Abbate competed in her first Autocross at age 16 in a 1999 Pontiac Grand Am GT in North Las Vegas where she applied her childhood experiences with indoor and outdoor karting. In 2006, her first year of competition, she placed first in her class, and 2nd overall in Ladies PAX points, just 1 point away from first place. Entering her first track day in April of 2009 at Spring Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, NV, by the end of that year, Michele had placed within the top 5 of the Redline Events.

Jessica Dunford grew up in Washington State, where she competed in regional and national artistic rollerskating championships. A fan of monster trucks growing up, when she was asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, while other little girls said “princess,” Jessica said, “The Gravedigger.” An avid break-dancer, Jessica joined MazdasNW, where she fell in love with the mechanics side of things, started test driving cars, and also, car modeling. She moved to California in 2009 to pursue a career in dance, but opted out, and instead, joined Mazda Owners Club of California, and has consistently done events with them since. Jessica drives a 1992 Corolla, and would like to further her love of turning wrenches by going to mechanics’ school.

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Women race car drivers that burn up more than the just the track

Wednesday March 4th, 2009 at 10:33 AM
Posted by: Derek

Natacha Gachnang

They’re hot! They’re sexy! They really know there way around a race paddock. They’re some of the best drivers around. would like to salute the hottest women racing. Last week we covered Danica Patrick’s stunning feature in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. But who are some of the other woman drivers that could make any engine purr? (Note: This blog will feature a lot of automotive sexual double-entendres.)

Melanie Troxel

Vroooom! Saucy Melanie competed in her first drag race at the age of 16 in a car with an engine she rebuilt herself as a high-school project. Melanie became one of the quickest and fastest females in NHRA history when in 2005 she clocked a 4.458-second pass and 330.31-mph speed in Dallas. In 2007, she scored event wins in St. Louis and Memphis, twice runnered-up, and ended the season ranked No. 9.

Melanie grew up in Colorado and inherited both her love for the sport of drag racing and her work ethic from her parents. She began her professional career driving in a Top Alcohol dragster in 1997. She captured two NHRA national event victories in 1999, and finished second in the national points standings. Her first opportunity in a Top Fuel dragster came in 2000.

Melanie TroxelMelanie TroxelMelanie Troxel

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Danica Patrick reveals a little about herself in the SI swimsuit edition

Thursday February 19th, 2009 at 8:22 AM
Posted by: Derek

Bar Refaeli may be smokin’ hot, but can she drive a 650 hp open-wheel Indy car at 200 mph? I think not. I wonder if Milka Duno or Sarah Fisher were invited to be photographed for the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. No matter,  we have Danica to fulfill our fantasies. If the photos below aren’t enough to satisfy your thirst, you can spend your entire lunch break visiting the Sports Illustrated website.

Danica Sue Patrick (born March 25, 1982 in Beloit, Wisconsin) first raced go-karts when her parents decided the family needed a fun way to spend time together. Patrick left home at the age of 16 and raced open-wheel cars in England. The highlight was a runner-up finish in the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch, the highest finish by an American in the event’s history. That result drew the attention of Indianapolis 500 champion Bobby Rahal, who signed her to a contract and began shepherding Patrick up the racing ladder. Patrick’s racing career continued to pick up speed and was named the Rookie of the Year for both the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and the 2005 IndyCar Series season. In May 2006, she published her autobiography, Danica: Crossing the Line. With her win in the 2008 Indy Japan 300, Patrick became the first woman to win an Indy car race. Patrick is making her second Swimsuit appearance.

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Celebrities and their cars – a love story!

Friday January 30th, 2009 at 1:11 PM
Posted by: goofshow

Tango George ClooneyBy Harmon Leon

Celebrities love a smooth ride. Where would celebrities be without their wheels? Sure they have the money to be toted around in limos, but a celebrity with an awesome car shows not only their status, but also their sensibilities; be it a massive SUV or fuel efficient electric vehicle—it’s their statement to their fans. Celebrities are larger than life, and so should be their vehicles.

Here are a few celebrity cars that really turn heads on the road:

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Why we really attend SEMA

Wednesday November 12th, 2008 at 6:1111 AM
Posted by: m35man

By Edsel Rollin

Millions of tires and rims and brakes and exhaust manifolds and suspension kits. Seas of hot tricked-up custom vehicles with all the bells and whistles on the planet. Loud music, flat screen TVs showing non-stop music videos and car commercials and flashy booths featuring car racers and DJ’s and former star athletes. It’s called SEMA. And it represents everything that is excessive today in the world of automobiles.

But, what I love most about SEMA (this was my third year covering it) is the women. Scantily clad babes wearing enough makeup and perfume to stock an entire Sephora store, these beautiful treasures strut and pose and smile and sign autographs all day long during the four days of SEMA. With their perfect teeth and curvaceous figures, their high heels and skimpy outfits, it’s wall to wall babes every year at SEMA and I love it.

As for the news portion of SEMA, a press release from the SEMA website is below the jump. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the show was attended in record numbers and packed the entire time, despite our rocky and uncertain economy.

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Grrrls can do it, too!

Friday December 7th, 2007 at 6:1212 PM
Posted by: Derek

December 7, 2007

Another track day with TrackMasters Racing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey. Our day ended early when the engine lost all it’s coolant on the track during my first morning session. We suspect a gasket for the water pump had blown given the amount of fluid dripping below the car whenever the system is pressurized. I’ll know the exact cause of the problem after we tear down the water pump.


Even though my day was done, I did manage to get a ride with Marissa in her Ford Taurus SHO. Marissa’s regular track car is a ’94 Mustang convertible modified for track abuse with a Griggs Racing suspension setup, roll cage, and lots of go-fast parts that bump the engine’s output to a conservative 300 horsepower.

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