Sunday, October 26, 2014

Rand Luxury Review at Petersen Automotive Museum – An Automotive Lifestyle POV

BMW i8 - Image Credit: James Groth - Miles Ahead Communications (2014)

** An Automotive Lifestyle POV by James Groth, Miles Ahead Communications for The Motorsports-Report

Rand Luxury is a international event production company. CEO, Bradford Rand challenges himself to produce unique events that incorporate the freshest, innovative technology products with the most revered international luxury brands. This results in an evening of entertainment unlike anything else in Los Angeles. 

He succeeded in topping last years marvelous event with an array of new and intriguing companies, supported by presenting sponsors Variety and The Wall Street Journal. These are VIP invitation only events that are covered by the media due to the number of new products being introduced to the market.

BMW i8 - Image Credit: James Groth - Miles Ahead Communications (2014)

My focus for this lifestyle POV will be on the centerpiece of the evening, the BMW i8 featured in Crystal Pearl with BMW i blue accents. As a plug-in hybrid with functional curves to rival Sofia Vergara, this car represents the future of elite sports cars. Besides its stunning looks, the i8 will satisfy LA’s environmentally conscious as the first sports car with the consumption and emission values of a compact car.

The BMW i8 project started in 2008 with the intent to reinvent urban mobility.  As a performance orientated car guy that also believes in social responsibility, the i8 is my choice as the current pinnacle for sports cars.  With this highly developed plug-in hybrid, BMW has created super car that strikes a perfect balance between performance and efficiency. 

Exterior / Model - Image Credit: James Groth - Miles Ahead Communications (2014)

For striking this balance, the BMW i8 will be welcome equally at Hollywood’s Red Carpet affairs and Monterey’s posh car collector events. Should you need more rational to own an i8, tell the wife your buying a piece of art for the garage equipped with optional Louis Vuitton luggage made entirely of carbon fibers for her. However, this automotive artwork attains155 mph on the autobahn.

Head On BMW - Image Credit: James Groth - Miles Ahead Communications (2014)

What follows are the specifications to back up these allocates. Performance comes from BMW’s e drive combining an electric motor up front producing in hybrid mode 266kW (362 hp). In the rear is a 3-cylinder 1.5-liter gasoline motor producing an outstanding 170 kW (231 hp) for its small size.  This translates to BMW figures of 0-60 km/h of 4.5 seconds in electric mode or 0-100 km/h in 4.4 seconds with the gas motor, fast by any standard except the hyper exotics. For added safety and performance, all-wheel drive is standard.

Wheel - Image Credit: James Groth - Miles Ahead Communications (2014)

The standard tires are 195/50 R20 front and 215/45.R20 for the rear, these are an unusually narrow size for a performance car.  This is because the narrower profile produces less rolling resistance and better fuel mileage.  There are optional 215 fronts and 245 rears as a performance option depending on how ‘green’ you decide to go.

i8 Interior - Image Credit: James Groth - Miles Ahead Communications (2014)

Much of the efficiency comes from the extensive use of light weigh materials. Carbon fiber is utilized in the body shell and aluminum for the chassis.

Model / Interior - Image Credit: James Groth - Miles Ahead Communications (2014)

The eye catching scissor doors are designed for easy of entry and exit and are made from thermoplastic, aluminum and carbon, the result is a 50% lighter door. The gorgeous interior is made from of lightweight, sustainable and wherever possible renewable materials. 

i8 Tail Lights - Image Credit: James Groth - Miles Ahead Communications (2014)

The eye catching LED tail lights also function as a channel for the air stream over the rear aiding the aerodynamics of the i8. This underlines the aerodynamic theme throughout the car that delivers an outstanding drag coefficient (cd) of 0.26 (in lay terms, the wind resistance of an egg). Yet this beauty looks nothing like the egg- styled autos of past attempts at efficiency. 

Rear ¾ Wave - Image Credit: James Groth - Miles Ahead Communications (2014)

I showed I8 photos to the William Turner art gallery director, a car guy with an eye for design.  Rob thought the car, painted in Crystal Pearl with I blue accents looked too much like the car in “Tron”, but right in dark colors without accents.  I agree. However, I think most of artists will appreciate the flowing design and see it as a wave sculpture.

Headlight - Image Credit: James Groth - Miles Ahead Communications (2014)

Those of us that live on mountain roads with abundant animal life will want the optional high-bean laser lights that increase range and enhance illumination. The enhanced lighting of recent years can be life saving to you and the critters. If you have driven a classic car at night recently, you will be reminded at how easy it is to out drive your headlights.  As fast as the i8 is order the option.

Driver side interior - Image Credit: James Groth - Miles Ahead Communications (2014)

This is the responsible super car we knew one of the prestige manufactures would develop, this time its BMW beating the Ferrari’s of the auto world to market.On sale now starting at $135,000.


The BMW I8 has Rodeo Drive attitude with Bay Area social consciousness, all without compromising its Germanic nature.

Highlights from the Rand Luxury Technology Showcase 

As guests entered the event they were offered a glass of champagne, setting a festive tone to the evening.  Friendly, knowledgeable brand ambassadors were giving demonstrations from 29 booths.  It’s not possible to cover each in this POV, so I will highlight a few of the ones that I interacted with. This year Chef was Michel Euliss, a fellow car guy with a Maserati Mexico in his collection. His Let’s Celebrate! catering company provided the appetizers and particularly tasty sauces for pasta that had people coming for seconds.

Opticwash - Image Credit: James Groth - Miles Ahead Communications (2014)

My first experience was with Opticwash, the world first automated cleaning kiosk. It’s primarily designed for professionals in eye wear, jewelry, and the dental industry. CEO, Bryan Meyers put the finishing touch on me by washing and drying my reading glasses, university ring, and Movado watch in mere minutes. Non-professionals may consider one of these machines too, since the ultra violet light source kills 99% of all bacteria. 

Executive Director, Chad Ordoyne with Executive Assistant, Amber-Leigh Polowich - Image Credit: James Groth - Miles Ahead Communications (2014)

Staying with the clean theme and adding the sustainable element to the mix, we get “water from air” by Untapped Water Systems. I live in the canyons of Malibu so sustainability is a strong consideration when adding something to the household. Executive Director, Chad Ordoyne and assistant Amber gave me a sample of the quality water this machine produces and the pitch on its unique qualities.  Primarily this machine will provide 5.5 gallons of drinking water a day. The device also acts as a humidifier, thus reducing mold, pollen, and prevents waterborne bacteria and viruses. No need for delivery of water bottles. Considering that California is in its worst drought ever and we are rationing watering, the Untapped Water System is a device for the times we live in, ideal for home or office.

My lady friend and I found the stylish Ultrasone headphones adding a new level of experience to the ‘Eagles Live’ concert.  If you demand unique style with your high-end speakers, the diamond glass and aluminum enclosures from Waterfall will make a sound and style statement like few others. On audition were the handcrafted Victoria Evo’s for $7,000 or $5,800. Exceptional in sound and striking in appearance, they can also be mated with their Hurricane satellites for home cinema.  

We were impressed with image from the Grand Cinema Line by SIM2 Multimedia. There were two models on display, the value for dollar of the Superlumis projector at $3,500 coupled with the 103 inch screen for $3,000 should work very well for all but the most demanding enthusiasts for both film and sports.

3D Systems - Image Credit: James Groth - Miles Ahead Communications (2014)

We found the 3D printing display from the 3D Systems fascinating.  With their system you can design-to-manufacture parts and products with their 3D printers. The end products can be made from plastic, metal or ceramics. This is truly a revolutionary system. 

A number of guests took a break outside to enjoy Cobia Black cigars courtesy of David Weiss.  His Lone Wolf lounge on Wilshire in LA is one of the most comfortable environments to enjoy all the top brands.

The #1 faucet brand Moen makes all styles, including ‘motion sense’ for hands free convenience.  It’s Moen’s ultra modern kitchen and bath lines that distinguish them in terms of style. A node of thanks to Moen’s founder who in 1939 invented the single-handle faucet, designed to mix hot and cold water.  Mr. Moen thus revolutionized plumbing giving the world the gift of warm water

Bradford Rand - Image Credit: James Groth - Miles Ahead Communications (2014)

I ran into Bradford Rand on the way out saying thanks for a great evening and received a LOKSAK from the brand ambassador pictured. This simple device is something we all need to protect our electronic devices from water and dirt while working in adverse conditions or traveling. The plastic allows you to work while the device stays watertight. They also have ‘Shield Sak’ to protect hacking, scanning or tracking.

This was a fun and electronically enlightening evening. I look forward to the next Rand Luxury Showcase.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

New Format MPG Track Days Off To A Good Start

Motorsports Report managing editor Edmund Jenks takes the first drive of the day at Big Willow in the new 5th generation Dodge VIPER T/A production two-seater super car. The Yorange 2015 Viper has not been outfitted with the SRT performance division’s 707-horsepower Hellcat engine (which was available in a lime green Charger and also driven at Big Willow) but its 8.4-liter V-10 engine is now rated at 645 horsepower, up 5 horses on the previous model year. Torque remains unchanged at 600 ft.-pounds. Production of this particular model in specialized colors (Competition Blue, Yorange, and Venom Black) will be limited to 96 units. Image Credit: Albert Wong

New Format MPG Track Days Off To A Good Start

The Motor Press Guild (MPG), the largest automotive media association in North America, re-launched its annual Track Days media event with an all-new program this week on Oct. 14-15 at the Hilton Pasadena, the Rose Bowl, and Willow Springs International Speedway.

Pulling in elements from business retreats and professional conferences, the re-imagined MPG Track Days program included a discussion panel led by A-list media, presentations from industry executives and exclusive test drives of more than 50 new cars, trucks and SUVs on public roads, closed courses and an historic raceway.

Chris Kersting, CEO of SEMA, the trade association representing the $33B automotive aftermarket industry, shared his insights on the latest parts and accessory trends ahead of the SEMA Show. The SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show, scheduled for November 4-7 at the Las Vegas Convention Center and plays host to more than 130,000 attendees and is where the industry comes to do business. For the first time in the Show's nearly 50-year history, the general public will be invited to partake in the action at a separate event called SEMA Ignited after the Show closes.

MPG Track Days “Secrets of Success in Automotive Journalism” panel shared many strongly held opinions in a lively and open, back and forth, forum. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

MPG Track Days' professional media panel this year, entitled "Secrets of Success in Automotive Journalism," was moderated by Sue Callaway, editor-in-chief of THE AUTO 100 and senior contributing editor at Fortune magazine. Callaway and the panel shared insights on what it takes to be an influential journalist in today's complex media world. Panelists included "BJ" Chris Woodyard, auto industry reporter at USA Today; "The Retiring" Mark Vaughn, west coast editor at Autoweek; "Just a grateful blogger" Michael Harley, west coast editor at; "From radio to video" Micah Muzio, managing editor for video, Kelley Blue Book; and "Managing Motormouth" Michelle Naranjo, editor-in-chief at A second panel discussed the role of technology in the auto industry, from design to driving.

As in years past, MPG journalist members drove and evaluated vehicles from nearly every automaker in various environments on road, off road and on track. A back-to-back comparison test of compact SUVs and luxury sedans were staged at the historic Rose Bowl, followed by a street drive through scenic Pasadena. On-track drives at Big Willow and Streets of Willow courses were held at the historic Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond, CA. An off-road course through the hills overlooking the Raceway hosted a selection of trucks and SUVs, including the incredibly capable 550hp Lingenfelter Chevy Reaper pickup truck.

The much anticipated, limited-edition Reaper, a no-nonsense performance off-road edition of the 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 pickup, is now available at select General Motors dealerships nationwide. The heavily customized Chevy Silverado that can be ordered with a supercharged 550hp 6.2L, comes in red, white, gray and black with a long list of standard features: three-inch lift, long-travel off-road suspension; Fox Racing shocks; 20-inch exclusive Reaper wheels mounted on General Grabber LT tires; and a Lingenfelter performance exhaust system. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

"Our track event has always provided a vital comparative driving experience for professional journalists to evaluate several cars in a short amount of time," said Joni Gray, MPG president. "This year, we've stepped up our program with newsworthy speakers and hands-on instruction to provide our members with even more content to fill the stories, reviews, TV segments and podcasts they create in the automotive media space."

MPG members were treated to a special ride along in a 2015 Nissan GT-R NISMO - one of only three in the country -- with 2011 Nissan GT Academy winner Bryan Heitkotter.

On the evening of Oct. 14, the gala dinner prepared by celebrity executive chef Gina Rodriguez was served. Rodriguez was a contestant on Food Network's hit show, Chopped. In the morning following the dinner, members were transported between the Hilton Pasadena and Willow Springs on Wi-Fi enabled luxury corporate coaches, which allowed members to network and be productive on the 90 minute ride each way.

MPG Track Days was open to all Motor Press Guild members, but only journalist members were credentialed to drive vehicles.

For information about becoming a member of MPG, please visit, or follow us on the MPG Facebook and Twitter pages.

Presenting Sponsors:
SEMA - Specialty Equipment Market Association
Nissan North America

Sponsor provided street drive cars lined up on the parking lot tarmac at the Southwest front entrance of the Rose Bowl complex. Journalist members had an enjoyable time driving a neighborhood street course that had all cars pass by a California Highway Patrol field office just off of the 210 Freeway. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

Participating Sponsors:
Volkswagen of America
Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America
Mercedes-Benz North America
Ford Motor Co.
Subaru of America
Kia Motors
Hyundai Motors
Chrysler Corp.
Alfa Romeo
Honda North America
BMW North America
Porsche Cars North America
Land Rover
Tesla Motors
PR Newswire
(ht: Doug Stokes - MPG Track Days Committee)

... notes from The EDJE

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Irwindale Event Center's "Night of Champions 2014" Has Tight Points Battles In 3 Of 5 Events

The crazy-wild Lucas Oil Terminal Velocity Jet Dragster will be making a special appearance on the oval track and is scheduled to do a spectacular "burn down" (and that means to the ground) of a cast-off automobile or two during the "Night of Champions 2014" at IEC. Image Credit: Irwindale Event Center

Irwindale Event Center's "Night of Champions 2014" Has Tight Points Battles In 3 Of 5 Events

Irwindale Event Center's "Night of Champions 2014" Presented by 805 will be held this coming Saturday, October 18, 2014. Five Speedway divisions and one west coast touring series will take to the banked asphalt at Irwindale with five 2014 track championships at stake all on one exciting night.

NASCAR sanctioned Pick Your Part Super Late Models. Image Credit: Irwindale Event Center

The featured NASCAR sanctioned Pick Your Part Super Late Models division have put on great show at every race this year and now head into their final race with the first two competitors tied in points at 274 each. It just can't get any closer than a tie for first place points after completing the first six of a seven race championship season.

The leading duo: Toni McCray from Highland has won one of the six races, finished second twice and has a string of good finishes to her name, and Corona's Jason Patison has a three-race winning streak in the "Supers" going in.

Stringing together a lot of very good finishes, Linny White (Fontana) is right there in third at 272 points, only 2 scant clicks behind McCray and Patison. If anyone doesn't think that Mister White is coiled-up like a cobra and ready to strike, they've been watching the wrong races. Almost like a one-race "chase", the first points for this one have been figuratively reset to zero and there's Linny looking for a way to grab that 100* smackers and win the whole Super Late show on the very last go-round.

Image Credit: Irwindale Event Center

... And the Seidner's Collision Centers Mini Stocks division are only 2 points shy of a tie coming in on Saturday night. Covina's Dusty Morgan has not won a race all year but smart driving and a string of top finishes sees him here two (full) points up on Robby Harryman from Anaheim (316 -314). Harryman has won two races in the eight-race series, but also had a couple of not-so-hot finishes, keeping the points close and the competition (Garrett Green from Long Beach is only 4 points behind Harryman in third!) so tantalizingly tough and tight among the mighty mini stocks.

Universal Studios Hollywood™ Bandoleros division. Image Credit: Irwindale Event Center

Thirty-eight points separate Twin Peaks' McKenzie Eshleman from Lomita's Ryan Vargas in the Universal Studios Hollywood™ Bandoleros division. Vargas has been perfect in 2014, winning each and every one of the ten "Bando" events run thus far at Irwindale.

Under any other set of circumstances Eshleman would be said to be having a great year, the young lady notching high finishes at every event, but then there's Vargas winning every race that see the two 38 points apart first from second. Now factor in Allison Gay from Lakeside who is only 16 markers back in third. There are two races and 150 points still on the table for these youngsters (50 on Friday night and 100 for the finale on Saturday). Can Vargas go undefeated for an entire season?

Stand by (better still, the public is urged to go to right now and grab a whole handful of discount tickets for October 18 to witness the battle for a shot at track history).

Irwindale Race Trucks division. Image Credit: Irwindale Event Center

Running race nine of a 10-event 2014 season, the Irwindale Race Trucks division points leader has what looks (by the above standards anyway) like a huge 40 point jump on second place, but we must remind again that this one is for 100 (not the standard 50) points.

Already crowned as the 2104 Lucas Oil Late Model division champion, Rancho Cucamonga's own Ryan Partridge has a 40-point lead over his neighbor Christian McGhee (from Claremont) who, in turn has a 20-point advantage over rookie sensation Lacie Price from Bellflower. Partridge has won the lion's share of the IRT races this year (7 of the 9 run so far) but the Irwindale points system (and some very good driving by youngsters McGhee and Price) have kept the show close and the championship outcome to be determined on October 18.

In what is the largest lead in divisional points for the Irwindale championship events running on Saturday night, Alta Loma's Brent Scheidemantle will lead the INEX Legend Cars division onto the Speedway's low-banked (and tricky) third-mile track with a 72-point cushion over Studio City's Aaron Wells (442 to 370).

This will be the tenth and final race of the 2014 season for these very popular and very quick little motorcycle-engined replicas of early NASCAR stockers. Chad Schug (Oak Hills) is third only 20 back of Wells in the closely-matched "spec" series. There's a hundred to be had in the points pile, which means, of course, that a misstep can cost a lot to a frontrunner in terms of final placings on the points page in the big book of racing for 2014 at Irwindale.

The Spears S2 Tour Series will be back for their final Irwindale visit on October 18 with young Brandon Weaver from Bakersfield leading the points with 1,428 after the first seven of their 10-race touring season. Nastasia Dodd from Bass Lake is 129 points back at 1,299 with Bill Waters (Simi Valley) only 10 behind her. Johnny Butler from Arcadia and Kenny Smith from Oak Hills round out the S-2 top five at 1,261 and 1,180 points respectively. The S-2's are a locally-designed and built "spec" (all components and engines are identical) class and the racing is always razor-sharp and exceedingly close.

In addition to all of the above high-level championship short track competition, the crazy-wild Lucas Oil Terminal Velocity Jet Dragster will be making a special appearance on the oval track and is scheduled to do a spectacular "burn down" (and that means to the ground) of a cast-off automobile or two.
Figure-8 Chain Racing (two cars chained together on each team). Image Credit: Irwindale Event Center

The night will also feature the return of Figure-8 Chain Racing (two cars chained together on each team) in a wild exhibition event!

For those who attend and are over 21, Firestone Walker Brewing Company will be on hand with $2 beers for all of their brands on site, including their very popular 805 - hence "Presented by 805!"
(ht: IEC)

... notes from The EDJE