Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Eliminating Insurance of Non-Timed Track Events

Not many of us with 3-series convertibles get involved in track days with our cars, but I have certainly been tempted and would like to eventually see how my car does with its installed Stage II Dinan and possibly some future modifications. Unfortunately, a new article on insurance companies and coverage may end many track events across the nation and is certainly making me reconsider the possibility of tracking my E93 (probably a better idea is buying an old E30 and use it as a dedicated track car with minimal investment.)

Just curious, has anyone participated in any track events or driver schools with their E93? Would you not participate if you knew this insurance "loophole" was closed?

From the New York Times: "IT’S no secret that insurance companies don’t like the people they cover to drive fast. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the industry has been removing a policy loophole that insured drivers on racetracks.

"What’s happened is that many insurers have redefined the term “racing.” Policies have long had exclusions for racing, but it was defined as a “timed event.”

"High-performance driver education neatly avoided that definition. Although cars may take laps at top speed, they aren’t timed.

"At many schools, including those held by the Porsche Club of America and the BMW Car Club of America, students are required to attend classroom sessions. On the track, drivers get one-on-one tutoring from an instructor under controlled conditions. The cars are generally sent around the track in small groups with passing limited to straightaways — and only when the driver being passed signals that doing so is all right. So because these runs were not timed, many drivers were covered by their normal automobile policies." more.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Plenty of Competition... This Time Lexus

There are two additional luxury hardtop convertible competitors coming to take on the venerable BMW 3-series: the Infiniti G37 and Lexus IS250C. Lexus is the first to hit the auto show circuit having debuted their hardtop this past week at the Paris Auto Show. Funny side note, check out the wheels on the show car. They look quite a bit like the BMW 335i with sport package wheels, Style 189.

The folding top action is reminiscent of the hardtop action on the Chrysler Sebring. Fortunately for Lexus, the top up and top down looks give the car a similar sporty look like the BMW. You can see the top action in the video below.

Having driven the Lexus IS series a couple times (my wife drives a Lexus RX and I request the IS as a loaner car), I haven't been impressed by the car's driving dynamics nor the leather of the seats. The IS just feels boring. Corning stinks as does the constant over-steer of the car. None of this will really matter for the convertible version as I'm sure it will attract a fairly large percentage of female drivers who want it more for it's look than it's handling. But don't get me wrong, the Lexus is a nice car and would make a great cruiser for a lot of us who enjoy convertibles as a third recreational car. more.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Integrated Digital Vent Gauge System

This is a pretty nice, stealth boost gauge option by a small third-party vendor. The Boost PSI gauge uses orange lights integrated fully into the driver's left side air vent.

There is a new Do-It-Yourself thread on Bimmerfest that shows how to install the product. Seems pretty straight forward and looks great in the accompanying videos in the DIY Thread. more.

UPDATE: The product has recently been updated with a slightly tweaked front face to better match the interior's matte black finish. More info here: http://www.rixeffects.com/p3/ventgauge.