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post #1 of 9 Old 08-31-2008, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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Friday

On Friday afternoon I had one of the best automotive experiences of my life. The company that does the logistics for one of the companies I am involved in invited the CEO and myself to a corporate event at the Gerotec vehicle testing facility about an hour from Johannesburg. The facility itself is amazing and is used by many car manufacturers to carry out hot weather high altitude testing - it has several tracks including a high speed banked "bowl" for speed testing.

The schedule started off with an hour of driving the latest Merc C63s on the dynamic handling circuit - a mad circuit with no run-off at all (ask Vitalone who lost it in his Porsche 911E there about six years ago!). The C63 was very powerful but not at all soulful and in the end quite disappointing. What really amazed me was that complete novices were let loose in cars with 500-odd Hp on the most dangerous circuit in the country and they were able to drive the cars relatively quickly. I personally didn't enjoy the nannying from the electronics but I can appreciate what they have done for safety.

After the Mercs, we were let in on the real treat! The company that took us sponsors an off-road racing team and we were treated to a 6km "lap" in one of these monsters! We sat in the navigator's seat and had full intercom system so the driver could explain what was going on.

I have had the good fortune of going around race tracks in many fast cars (F40, F50, 993 GT2), driven a race cars including single seaters and gone up in a jet fighter, but I can honestly say that the experience of being in the 550 Bhp beast was probably the most scary of all. I cannot explain how physical and extreme the car is - I was massively impressed.

I have attached a pic of the car I went in - it is called a BAT chassis.

Kind regards

Mike
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post #2 of 9 Old 08-31-2008, 11:41 PM
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Sounds like a great fun day. Not sure what that thing in the picture is. Looks similar to a Lunar Lander.
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post #3 of 9 Old 09-01-2008, 12:29 AM
 
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Sounds like a lot of fun. Imagine driving that every day

Chris

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post #4 of 9 Old 09-01-2008, 12:41 AM
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Look those KOOOOONIIIIS...........
Are they there to catapult you to the moon if released ?
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post #5 of 9 Old 09-01-2008, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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The suspension setup is the most important aspect of the car - it needs to be supple enough to ride the bumps but hard enough to be responsive. The rear end needs to not bounce as well so that it can get the power down.

The first run we made downhill got us into fourth gear and 150km/h! I had my heart in my mouth!

I cannot believe that the drivers sit for six hours behind the wheel!

I simply cannot portray how physical the drive is. I would imagine being rolled down stairs in a barrell must feel quite similar!!!
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post #6 of 9 Old 09-01-2008, 08:55 AM
 
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that is SO cool!!!!!!!!!!!!

very nice experience indeed, don't mind if you tell everything about it

it is a dream of mine to build an off-road monster like that (but of course much more simple and with less power, like 150 hp would be more than enough)

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going." - J. P. Kennedy
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post #7 of 9 Old 09-01-2008, 01:52 PM
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Wow! What a bizarre and thrilling experience that must be!

Glad you enjoyed it Mike - and I'm sure the engine kept you warm in wintery Jozi...


Onno



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post #8 of 9 Old 09-01-2008, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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Hey Onno

Winter this year has been a joke - we had two cold weeks - other than than that it has been consistently in the 20s - on Friday it was around 27! must have something to do with global warming!!!
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post #9 of 9 Old 09-07-2008, 04:37 PM
 
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It's a camped up Dune Buggy!

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