A fast car with a sticky set of tires doesn’t make someone a better driver. Spend a few minutes searching YouTube and you’ll find proof in the form of BMWs that drive off a twisty California mountain road, or Ford Focus STs that drift into a hill. There are much better ways to sharpen your skills behind the wheel, but there’s none more attainable than a ¾ mile road course set up by a local volunteer-run organization such as the Champaign County Sports Car Club.
About This Week’s Guest
Dean Plumadore knows a thing-or-two about such matters. As president of the CCSCC, he’s letting his passion for motorsports serve as a recruiting tool for new drivers. Dean admits he’s relatively new to the sport, but that hasn’t stopped him from receiving a fair amount of accolades and hardware for his skills on the skidpad.
Dean’s self-described ‘piloted land missile’ of choice used to be an Infiniti G37, which he enjoyed for many years. Today, he’s graduated to a 2008 Chevrolet Corvette with some tasteful modifications.
This silver coupe with a killer set of stripes, rim and tire package, Magnaflow exhaust and a T-56 manual trans is well known around central Illinois. Just take a peek at how he navigates this course and you’ll see why.
This week, we talk with Dean about race cars, track safety, and why everyone should spend some time behind the wheel on a road course to become a better driver.
Get In Touch
For more information about Dean or the Champaign County Sports Car Club, visit them on their many channels.
Eric and his son went to C2E2 and picked up a Pickle Rick and Dharma sticker for the boy’s truck. Anyone who wheels knows that half the crowd loves stickers and patches. (What’s a Pickle Rick sticker, you ask? It’s a Rick and Morty thing.)
Eric also needs to sort a massive squeak on Tree Hugger and give the Celica a plasti-dip bath before the first autocross of the season.
Daryl replaced the starter in the Tahoe after it gave up the ghost. It seemed to short out after an undercarriage wash at a Hucks’ gas station car wash, but it may have just been time. It shouldn’t shoot out shards of metal that look like steel wool, should it?
Dean offers some handy tips for troubleshooting auto electrical gremlins based on a classic lesson in “horses vs zebras” last fall when his ‘Vette wouldn’t start.
Reports suggest that Renault wants a merger with Nissan and will seek to buy Fiat Chrysler according to CNBC.
Renault is reportedly looking to restart merger talks with Nissan within the next 12 months before making an attempt to buy Fiat Chrysler. A combination of Renault, Nissan and Fiat Chrysler would be viewed as a viable rival to the current global auto leaders, Volkswagen Group and Toyota.
Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi are not officially merged but all three carmakers operate a partnership under a complex arrangement of cross-party share ownership, according to the report.
1 Day later….
Nissan Motor Co. CEO Hiroto Saikawa said on Thursday he was not aware of discussions about the possibility that its French partner Renault SA was considering a bid for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. When asked by reporters whether he had heard about the talks, cited in a media report the previous day, Saikawa responded: “Not at all.”
- Electric Vehicle sales in Europe are up 36% year over year. The top seller? Tesla’s Model 3, followed by the Renault Zoe and Mitsubishi Outlander electric.
- Amnesty International rips on electric vehicle manufacturers for producing batteries in “unethical and fossil-fuel intensive methods
Are pre-production Corvettes really snapping in half?
Several alleged reveal dates for the eighth-generation “C8” Chevrolet Corvette have come and gone, and a new report claims that this has been due to design problems delaying the new model’s launch. These complications have apparently been so major, in fact, they’re causing damage to the car’s frame and glass engine cover due to too much power for the chassis.
Prototypes fitted with twin-turbo V-8s producing between 900 and 1,000 horsepower have reportedly suffered from structural distortion so severe that the engine compartment glass hatch was breaking. These are in line with previous rumors which claimed that the C8 will use a twin-turbo V-8 to achieve hypercar-like performance, with acceleration so “frightening” that GM has supposedly consulted with lawyers about the potential risk of selling something so fast.
Dean counters that GM is pushing the envelope with this new Vette platform. We’re glad GM is doubling-down on the next generation of America’s original sports car.
Two Illinois State Police officers were killed in the past week after motorists crashed into them during a traffic stop. (Trooper Gerald Ellis was originally from the Macomb area, and moved to the northern suburbs.) He was killed by a driver going the wrong way on the Tri-State Tollway at 3 in the morning. Ellis’ death is the third involving a State Police officer and the 15th crash since 2019. Trooper Brooke Jones-Story was killed this week while inspecting a tractor-trailer on US 20 in Freeport when another semi slammed into her.
Authorities are reminding the public to follow Scott’s law, which calls for motorists to reduce speed and move over when approaching an emergency vehicle or face a $10,000 fine. Some proposed changes to the law have also been floated, including a proposal by State Rep. Ryan Spain of Peoria to levee the fines even higher. Other states such as Wisconsin take things a step further and actually suspend driver’s licenses for similar offenses. Does that really make a difference?
Moment of Musk
Elon drops a new single. No joke.
From Hypebeast: “It’s not an everyday occurrence when one of the most prominent technology entrepreneurs of the 21st century becomes a SoundCloud rapper. Elon Musk took to Twitter on Saturday, March 30 to announce a new foray into the arts and culture sphere, continuing on with his immense jokester personality to create Emo G Records, dropping his first SoundCloud heater titled “RIP Harambe.”
The track, which clearly plays on the Harambe memes that plagued the internet shortly after the accident that lead to the death of the beloved Cincinnati Zoo gorilla, is nothing short of a tantalizing troll from the tech magnate. Unlike many other billionaires, Musk clearly has a personality that resonates amongst internet-age kids — he isn’t afraid to spend a few racks to make himself laugh, even if it is at his own expense. Channeling his deep respect for the late animal, Musk flows effortlessly over the whacky and off-kilter instrumental with his supremely autotuned vocals.”
Folks, you can’t make this stuff up.
- Disgusting interiors during recalls
- Testing a starter or alternator at your local auto parts store in 2019 kinda blows.
Cars of the Week