Driving an MX-5 on a GoKart Track in Atlanta

This was a surprise stop along the 2014 Mazda Adventure Rally.

I’m driving a 2014 Mazda MX-5 on the gokart track, at the Atlanta Motorsports Park.

This is basically my first track time.

This kart track has more changes in elevation than any other track in the world, including one that’s 43 ft.

More photos of the track here.

Here’s the whole rally blogged: #MazdaRally, and there’s links there to my newspaper stuff there.

Until this trip, I thought the Miata was a princess-y car, nope. It loves off-roading?! Huh.



Paired my Phone to a Car for the First Time


Why never

I don’t think Chrysler (or any manufacturer) is going to do anything nefarious with my information, nor will the following auto journalists to test this car, but…

1 – Your contacts database is one of your most precious files, and ideally, you have a copy on an external drive, that’s been backed up in the last couple weeks (if you say you store all your contacts in Facebook, please leave my blog.) So why be careless about where that file ends up?

2 – I don’t know what information the car copies, then saves, from my phone. Nor do I know that the data is fully deleted when I un-pair the phone. Not-knowing means not-happening.

3 – I’m still undecided if I trust the cloud, and so I don’t use it. And pairing the car means I’ve dipped my toe into the cloud.

4 – pairing usually requires Bluetooth, which I don’t use. I’ve been attacked via Bluetooth before, so I quit using it (that’s why you never see me anymore, in my beloved hands-free headsets)

So why now?

I’m conducting a test for an upcoming ‘Keri on Driving‘ column…

The test is: automakers say we’re now able to fully control our car, without removing our hands from the wheel. Okay then, let’s see.

I set up for success and chose Chrysler because their ‘UConnect’ infotainment system is one of the best available.

How I paired it

I did not pair my own phone, not a chance.

Instead, I got a pre-paid SIM card from TELUS (talk & text only, no data), and put it in the Android they gave me. I saved the contacts I chat most with, and fired it up.

What happened

1 – the car now has saved all my contacts list, and my call history 
2 – the car can now access my text messages, and can send as me

So to word it dramatically - the car now knows all your friends, whom you speak with most, and can text them. This is why you always delete your phone from a rental car, and don’t name your phone your name.

Because a possible attack: return the rental car > next guy gets in > your phone is your name > look up home address for that name > guy now knows where you are not

That’s pretty high-level, and the guy would have to be quite skilled, but still, why chance it.

Let the test begin

Figured out voice command navigation this afternoon, and how to send texts but only using the screen (think I’m doing something wrong there), audio is easy, and not sure if climate controls are even a possibility…

How nice did this photo turn out

When it launched, I reviewed this car for the paper, click here.

Short review – the 200 went from barely competing, to the one to compete against.


Won my First Car Award

Just arrived in the mail, it was won during the 2014 Mazda Adventure Rally!

It’s the…

Daniel Boone Award: for getting lost
more than any other team. By far.

Oh team! Much of that’s my fault, I am terrible for getting lost.

We arrived last back to the hotel 3/3 nights.

The Rally Master tracked competitors all via GPS, and later told us that at one point, our flashing dot had gone so far lost off-path, that they physically re-traced our route, because they couldn’t figure out how we’d got ourselves there.

But bet we laughed the most.



Tracking a Porsche with Pfaff

Pfaff Automotive invited me to Mosport for a track day… in one of their day-lease Porsches.  Yes please!

It was my 2nd track time ever, bit spoiled huh, because here I go around in a Porsche Cayman.

Learned how executing a proper corner feels…. effortless?! Huh.  And did you know you can steer the car using only the throttle?  I did that once… accidentally.

That’s Brad Meise of Apex Driver Training you hear coaching me; thanks Brad! Liked your style: precise and non-stop.

(my mistakes are: I brake way too late, and enter the corners with too much aggression. Really.)

That’s the thing though: so what I can fly around with a Brad in the passenger seat.

How about when it’s just me, and there’s no cones around the track to guide me, now add the pressure of competing in a race…

You can do this too.

Day-lease a Porsche or Audi from Pfaff and spend the day driving the above track, with coaching if you’d like it.

All information found here: Pfaff Track Days

A Porsche 911 is $1,699 +HST for the day rental at the track, and the other vehicles available are the Porsche Cayman, the Audi TTS and Audi S5.

Or track your own car.

That’s $449.00+HST for the DDT Track this 2014 season with the use of your own vehicle. Because the goal is not to learn how to go faster, but to better understand the physics behind driving.

And that’s what I wrote about for that week’s ‘Keri on Driving’ column.

Read it online at Autonet.

Favourite line:

It’s best to explore the limits of your car in a contained environment instead of a real life situation. This way, when your car gets away from you and starts to drift down an icy on-ramp, for instance, it’s not the first time you’re experiencing how that feels.

All ‘Keri on Driving’ columns found here.



A Burnt-out Car Looks like This

Wasn’t me.

Spotted in Newfoundland.

Michael Clarke fixed it.

He makes car videos too!

Way more detailed than mine, like, you actually learn stuff from his. Check out his YouTube channel: The Road Trip, and tune into his like-named radio show on 680 CJOB, every Saturday from 6 PM to 8 PM Central. 

I made a new header.