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Rear View Mirror 3-9-15

John Schommer
Monday, March 9, 2015

Wow, the weather has been incredible; thank you global warming! On the other hand, due to stupid Daylight Savings Time, I am unusually sleepy this morning after a busy weekend that had a lot of awesome in it. So let’s jump right into this edition of Rear View Mirror.


Three Garage Tour

One of the few reasons that have ever made me consider buying an Alfa Romeo or a FIAT is to reap the benefits of being in the local clubs. Fortunately, because one of the chairmen of those clubs is a close friend, I have been able to tag along on some of their adventures and I’ve been able to appreciate the reliability of my German-made classic Porsche.


This weekend, when those clubs had the chance to tour three premier car collections – one of which, that of Jon Shirley, could be one of the greatest in the world – I didn’t hesitate and I volunteered to help manage security to get my feet in the door.


1957 Cadillac Eldorado Barritz nicknamed “Bella”


You know it’s going to be an outstanding collection when one of the photographers shows up in a McLaren. For the most part, I will let the photos do the talking, but a few highlights were a Supercharged 1932 Alfa Romeo P3 Tipo B that won both the Targa Florio and Mille Miglia in its day, a 1964 Ferrari GTO Series II that is worth somewhere between $40 million and $50 million, and a custom designed facility that showcased a collection where not only were the cars the most rare and pristine I have ever seen, but each had a fantastic story behind them.


By the end of the day I was so drained from shooting every angle I could find to share my experience that I drove home in a daze. When owner Greg Whitten pulled the racing Alfa out, it sounded nothing like I could have ever imagined and I got a video so you could experience it. And, if you see a car in Forza, like the Ferrari I mentioned, in my photos, yes, that is the car that was modeled for the game. Having these collections locally, and owners who are willing to share them is truly incredible.



Pirelli World Challenge – COTA

With seven classes of cars racing when the Pirelli World Challenge comes to town, race fans get a wide variety of cars to appreciate. From the new McLaren 650S GT3 competing in GTA class against the best from Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche and Cadillac, to the slower but no less competitive TCB cars where Chevy Sonics battle with Mini Coopers and other subcompacts, PWC racing is always door to door.


This weekend at Circuit of the Americas was a mix of racing in the sun and rain; traditional standing starts for dry conditions and improvised rolling starts when it was wet.



In the top class, Olivier Beretta took the #61 Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia to the checkered flag on Saturday ahead of Ryan Dalziel and his #31 Porsche 911 GT3R. On Sunday in the rain, Kevin Estre in the #9 McLaren 650S GT3 racked up the win after the 18-lap sprint. Dalziel, some thirty seconds behind, came in second.


At the other end of the speed spectrum in TCB, it was all Johan Schwartz in the #25 Chevy Sonic. Schwartz won all three 50-minute races; in doing so he has built a healthy lead in the points.



WRC Mexico

The Rally in Guanajuato was a battle of attrition that took some major players out of contention. Despite the disappointment of those who crashed, spun, or destroyed their cars, it made for a spectacular event to watch.


One of the low points that made for incredible viewing was when Ott Tanak went off on Friday, rolling into a lake. Both drivers exited quickly as the car sank in the five meter depths. Amazingly, the Fiesta RS was winched out and went on to finish the rally. Andreas Mikkelsen did his best to retain position after spinning his Polo in the morning stage on the final day of racing.



Sebastien Ogier has a 34-point lead after winning the third rally of the 2015 season. He isn’t resting on his laurels but it’s safe to say his confidence is as properly tuned as his Volkswagen Polo. Mads Ostberg spun early on but fought hard for Citroen to claim second. Despite spinning early Andreas Mikkelsen was able to recover and get another double podium for VW.



Forza Motorsport Invitational

The Forza Motorsport Invitational is a new racing broadcast that we have put together that will match drivers of the same skill levels in a racing series on the official Forza Motorsport Twitch channel. The first race in this series will feature Christian Guirguis, Turn 10’s own racing specialist, taking on some of the best Forza Motorsport 5 racers in the world. 


A few Forza race leagues and communities have already been invited to send their best driver to the challenge, which will be broadcast on March 25, but there are still 10 slots remaining to be filled. Your chance to get into this race will begin this Friday, March 13, with a qualifying Rivals event. Once the event closes on March 20, a select few of you will be invited to take part in the premiere of the Forza Motorsport Invitational. Good luck!


On Friday, VoodooUomo (Christian) will be putting a thread up on the Forza forums asking for tunes from the community. This may level the playing field a bit, get you some tuning fame, and get some good feedback from one of the top driver’s in Forza Motorsport.


This custom-built facility houses the car collection of Jon Shirley. An amazing plethora of memorabilia accompanies these amazing cars.


Tanner Foust on BBC Top Gear

Wonder what Tanner Foust does when he is not racing Red Bull Global RallyCross or hosting Top Gear America? Well, for one you will find him racing in the European Rallycross season in a 550-hp Volkswagen Polo.


Today at 9:30 Eastern on BBC America, Foust will join Jeremy, James, and Richard on Top Gear. From the teaser trailer it looks like it will be a fun episode.


If you just crawled out from under a rock, Tanner Foust’s 2014 VW Beetle GRC is part of the Rockstar Energy Car Pack that came out last Tuesday for Forza Horizon 2 for Xbox One, and it is awesome!



Forza Racing Network Gallery

The folks at FRN are an enthusiastic bunch when it comes to Forza. They are always bantering about Forza, setting up fun competitions, and showing off their creations. When I came across this post in my Facebook feed I thought it was worth sharing.


Every week they post a gallery of photos posted by members. So if you are looking for additional venues to share your work outside of our official weekly photo contests or through your own gallery on the Forza Hub. Check out Forza Racing Network on Facebook.


1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing.


You still have time to call in sick or take tomorrow afternoon off so you can watch #ForzaHorizon2sday on the Forza Motorsport Twitch channel tomorrow at 1 p.m. Pacific. Johniwanna will be working the cars of the Rockstar Energy car pack up the leader boards in a Tour of Saint Martin. If you missed my posts, here are the events I am focusing on.


Ridge Sprint in the GRC Beetle -- S2
Highway Street race -- Jaguar XFRS - A
Grand Sprint -- Subaru STi - A
Riverbed Cross Country -- Desert Dingo- C
North Ridge Street Race -- BMW 850 CSI – B


I hope to see you tomorrow.