As seen on CPTV | Copyright © 2009 Heinrich Rogers Productions, LLC
WHAT a day.
It was July. The forecast called for possible showers or thunderstorms. Humidity felt something like ninety-nine percent.
Then the sun came out. And the humidity stayed as glued to hillsides of northwestern Connecticut as our sweat-soaked shirts stayed glued to our backs.
Race weather, in other words.
I can’t remember watching one of my uncle’s NHRA races on a day when the air wasn’t so hotly thick with the smell of gas and burning rubber. Being at Lime Rock – a very different kind of course – with Joe Ficca as he took to the track brought back some of those childhood memories.
As did fond recollections of all those Porsche and Ferrari club meets I’d witnessed at Lime Rock over the years.
This day, we brought a range of BMWs and one Cadillac to the track to experience Lime Rock’s famous twists and turns for ourselves. Following a renovation, the track was freshly paved with an extra turn carved into the hillside following the back straight.
But our time was as limited as the Park’s was valuable (memberships cost $100K) so we set out to answer a number of questions.
Which of the BMW convertibles we tested would prove fastest?
Could an E65 550i beat an E39 M5?
Would an XLR-V out perform a gang of M-powered BMWs?
Executive Producers: Gunnar Heinrich & Neil Rogers
Line Producer: Tiffany Hopkins
Editors: Neil Rogers Production Assistants: Kevin Kusina | Larry Henrikson
Camera: Neil Rogers | Chris Reo | Ben Winchell | Jan Hering
Writer | Host: Gunnar Heinrich
Special Thanks: BMW | GM| Lime Rock Park | Dres. Ward Heinrich, Sr. & Jr.| J.M. Ficca
By Gunnar Heinrich
DEAREST reader, surely you’ve not thought that I’ve forgotten you?
It’s been a very busy last week and a half for Team ADL. Luckily, our contributors Christopher and Steane have both done their part by pitching in to keep the words rolling forth on these blog pages. Major domos to them.
Triangulating between Gotham, Lime Rock, and Block Island, production has had the crew running in sixth gear @ 6000 RPM. It’s been dense.
Here are a few tasty details…
- SoCal transplant Alexandra Harbushka voyaged with the crew out to Block Island (a six mile wide block of hills and beaches 12 miles off Rhode Island’s shoreline) to lend her consumer’s viewpoint in determining which convertible – the 128i or 328i was the better buy. Mercifully, no moped riders were hurt in the course of taping.
- We wanted to capture a performance comparison test between Richard’s E39 M5 (see M5/M6/550i video) and Hardy’s current gen. 550i. The two sedans’ specs are so close – we figured we’d answer the question that nobody seems to have yet asked but some have surely wondered – would a standard 5-Series now have the capability to beat a previous gen. M car? So, we scheduled time at Lime Rock Park to make that happen. Third lap into the warm up and the M5 lost its brakes. Coming to find out, in a recent service RD’s trusted mechanic forgot to change the fluid. By lap three the liquid in the reservoir simply boiled.
- We then pitted the talented Mr. Drackett and his enflamed 550i against Cadillac’s supercharged, 4.4 Liter, 443 horsepower V8 XLR-V. My uncle, former NHRA record holder Joe Ficca, took the reins of the big Caddy. Several hot laps, plenty of tyre squeal, and some sideways action later – both drivers’ lap times returned just a consistent two second difference. You’ll have to watch the video, to see which car won…
Quick shout outs to the folks at A&M Specialists, BMW NA, GM, Fred Mackerodt, Lime Rock, and the Block Island Chamber of Commerce – without you parking on the island would not have been possible.