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Fun 2 Drive Ratio

The people who know me know about my passion for automobiles. They also know I am a member of the Air Force ROTC Detachment 158, home of the Fighting Bulls. At the beginning of the semester, a new commander took over the program. He seemed like a normal guy when I first met him, but I later found out that he shared an interest in automobiles. This really tweaked my interest, and digging deeper, I found some serious performance in his stable: A Dakkar yellow (what is it with me and yellow cars?) BMW M3 and a rare, mint condition Acura NSX, the cleanest I have seen so far. The M3 is race-prepared with a full roll cage, an upgraded suspension with custom-valved Bilstein struts and track-rate springs, lowering the ride height by two inches in the front and one inch in the rear. An upgraded intake, ECU chip and exhaust add to the stock horsepower. He has interchangeable stock and race seats with 5-point harnesses, two sets of forged wheels, a lightweight M3 rear wing and custom front splitter. The first time I laid eyes on this beast, it reminded me of my years of lusting after the M3. From the factory, the M3 is a driver’s car. It is fast and tight around corners; it has excellent stopping power and very sexy good looks. I wanted one really bad, but considering that at that time, I had donated more than $1,000 of hard earned money to Hillsborough County in the form of speeding tickets, I talked myself out of getting one. The colonel opened my eyes to the stupidity of street racing, and I am glad he did. He told me, “Not only is street racing illegal, it is extremely dangerous and just plain dumb.” I wish I had his perspective a few years ago. The colonel says, instead of street racing, there is a safe and legal way to get your dose of automotive euphoria: at the racetrack. He races on internationally known racetracks, such as Road Atlanta (his favorite), Mid-Ohio, Virginia International Raceway, Road America and Sebring here in Florida. It isn’t free to race on these tracks, but there is no traffic and you will not pay as much as you would if you get a speeding ticket. His message to me (and to all automotive fanatics) is to get the right safety equipment and race on the racetrack. You can get started at the track with your own street car and an instructor in a safe, legal environment.