The 2016 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona – My Trip via Social Media

Rolex24 start

It was a quick weekend trip to Daytona Beach for the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona at Daytona International Speedway. Here is a quick re-cap of the weekend based on my social media posts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook via Storify.

Has anyone attended a long endurance race – either 24 or 12 hours? Let me know what you thought about the experience!




Visiting the LA Auto Show


The LA Auto Show at the Los Angeles Convention Center (South Hall entrance).

Last weekend, Dave and I visited the LA Auto Show on Saturday. Through Dave’s membership in the Audi Club, we were able to enter the show an hour before it opened to the general public. What a treat to see and take photos of the different car manufacturers displays without crowds of people!

The LA Auto Show is at the Los Angeles Convention Center and is open through Sunday, November 29th, and show hours are 9:00 am – 10:00 pm daily. There are cars to suit everyone’s interest, an aftermarket hall, and opportunities to test drive some vehicles too.

Here are some photos of the cool cars we saw.

We first explored the Audi booth, or rather, we made a beeline to see the new Audi R8 in the Audi booth.

I event sat inside for a little bit – there’s a surprising amount of head room (not an issue for me, but for those with taller builds, I imagine it would be quite comfortable).


Here are the displays.









The new Acura NSX was on display with a screen above showing the overhead view.


When I walked by the Alfa Romeo area, most of the cars were still covered, but this 1968 33 Stradale was unwrapped and gorgeous.


The 1965 TZ2 was also uncovered and looking fantastic.

Alfa Romeo 1965 TZ2

Alfa Romeo 1965 TZ2

The Maseratis were also still under wraps but slowly emerging. I love the look of the Maserati front grill, and their trident logo is iconic.



We briefly ran through the Mercedes booth, stopping to take photos of this.


And the SLS


We left the South Hall and rushed over to West Hall, hoping to see the Ford booth before the show opened. We wanted to be able to ogle the new Ford GT before the crowds came. It did not disappoint in person!


Both the race car and the street car were on rotating stages so you could see the car from every angle.





It was really interesting to see the back and look under the car to see how the air flows beneath it. We can’t wait to see this race!




Although I am not crazy about the yellow color on display, the lines of the street model of the Ford GT are beautiful.




After staring at the two Ford GTs for a long time, we looked at some of the other Fords on display, like this Mustang GT 350r which Dave declared is, “my next car.”


We went outside to test drive the Fords. Ford had an Explorer, Edge, CMax, Focus and Mustang to test, but in order to test the Mustang, you had to drive another car first. Dave tried the Explorer and I drove the Edge. Both were nice comfortable rides and handled well on the short drive around Los Angeles’ city streets.

We both drove the Mustang – it has eco boost which makes it not as front heavy as usual. There was also a paddle shift option on the car, which I tried for a small section but it didn’t have the same feel as the manual transmission I am used too, so the Ford representative switched it off.

After our test drives, we went back into the hall to see the Fiat booth – I love the Fiat 500s, and was also interested to see new Fiat Spiders on display.



We took a quick glance at the Dodge Viper.










We left the south hall and went to see the Porsche display, which was in its own contained area in Petree Hall. Not surprisingly, it was very crowded.

The 911.



It was nice to see the race 919 Hybrid FIA World Endurance Champion car on display.


While I was adding money to our parking meter Dave visited the Galpin Hall and saw the Aston Martin from Spectre…and didn’t take any pictures of it, or tell me about it. I love the beauty of Aston Martins and am bummed I didn’t see any.

In the After Market Hall, there were some modified Lamborghinis and Corvettes on display.




Of course I spotted some original Abarths – modified by Madness Autoworks in Signal Hill (Long Beach). They are so tiny compared to the modern versions!



This is only some of what is on display at the show. There are literally hundreds of cars to see, to sit in, and to test drive! It is fun to see the new cars the manufacturers are showing, and also to compare different makes and models of cars if you are in the market for a new one.

It is the last weekend of the LA Auto Show, so head downtown and check it out!


Meeting Formula 1 Driver Alexander Rossi Before the US Grand Prix in Austin

Yesterday I arrived in Austin from Los Angeles, excited to visit this fun city, spend some time with my sister and her husband, catch up with friends from high school, and….attend the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas this weekend!

We attended the first USGP (U.S. Grand Prix) at COTA (Circuit of the Americas) in 2012 and had a blast. Our schedules have not allowed us to return, until now.

When I arrived at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport yesterday afternoon (a really cool airport, by the way. Live music, a Longhorn fan store, free WiFi for 1.5 hours, lots of plugs for charging and eats from The Salt Lick Bar-B-Que and Amy’s Ice Creams to name a few highlights), I was greeted with ads from Mobile 1/Honda/McLaren.

I like this one on the stairs leading up to the airline club lounges. Note also the Dell signs to the right. Apparently there’s a Dell conference of some sort this week (Dell headquarters are in Round Rock, north of Austin), and their ads were quite clever.

IMG_8929After I picked up my bag, I checked my twitter feed and I saw something about Manor F1 driver Alexander Rossi cooking/serving at the Chi’Lantro BBQ truck starting at 2:00 PM. I still had to retrieve my rental car, but I thought I might be able to get there.

I rushed over, arriving slightly after 3:00 PM to learn that the truck was closed for the day. Bummer. But, sitting at the picnic tables in front of the truck was Alexander Rossi.

Recently, Rossi, who was a reserve driver for the Manor F1 team, was named a driver for Manor F1 at several of their final races for this season. There has not been an American F1 driver since 2007 when Scott Speed raced for the Toro Rosso team. As this is the US Grand Prix, there is a quite a bit of excitement for an American driver to race in front of American fans at Circuit of the Americas!

Meeting Alexander Rossi

Rossi was talking to the crew from NBC Sports as they had just concluded an interview with Will Buxton and Jason Swales. I was able to chat with him for a few minutes before he had to leave for more PR engagements, and we talked about the sound of the new engines. He said that you can hear different things now that the engines are quieter, like the tires. I’m excited to hear the cars tomorrow during the first two practice sessions.

He graciously posed for a picture with me – I couldn’t believe how tall he is once he stood from the table. He said he’s 6’2″!! That is quite tall for a racer.

IMG_8932I also asked to pose with Will and Jason, who were fully decked out in Texas attire!

IMG_8934Three years ago at the first USGP, Will hosted, “Buxton’s Big Time Bash,” at a local bar. It was a fun time meeting fellow F1 fans before the race weekend. I was excited to meet the man behind the fake Charlie Whiting twitter account, and I also met Will! It was fun to see him again yesterday, and he said that we must attend his fourth annual bash as there are many drivers planning to attend and surprises in store. The bash is tonight at the Rattle Inn. More information can be found here.

Here’s a photo of me and Will at the first bash in 2012.


To cap off my drop by Chi’Lantro, I met Blair Soden, the executive producer of the NBC Sports show, “Off the Grid,” and a Penn alumna! We had a bit of a moment when Will asked us about Penn State!


Needless to say, but I was quite excited to meet all these folks yesterday afternoon. We are looking forward to the Formula 1 Fan Forum and Will’s bash tonight, and then tomorrow the fun begins on the track with practice sessions (fingers crossed the predicted rain holds off).


A Lamborghini for the Pope

Pope Francis touched down in the United States yesterday afternoon to much fanfare. I saw this photo essay by the Los Angeles Times highlighting some of the “Popemobiles” that the pontiff has used for travel over the past hundred years. I particularly liked the first photo showing Pope John Paul II in a Ferrari Mondial Cabriolet.

That picture reminded me of a papal golf cart I saw in the Museo Ferruccio Lamborghini several years ago. We were in Italy to watch the Italian Formula 1 Grand Prix at Monza, and decided to visit Motor Valley in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, home to Italian auto manufacturers Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati to name a few. I booked a full day tour with MotorStars that took us to the Lamborghini Factory, Ferrari Museum, and Pagani Factory. One of the stops on our car tour was to the privately owned Museo Ferruccio Lamborghini (note the museum moved to a larger location in Funo di Argelato in 2014; we visited the old location in Dosso di Sant’Agostino). This museum is distinct and separate from the Museo Lamborghini which is attached to the Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. factory in Sant’Agata Bolognese. We visited the Lamborghini factory and attached museum on our tour too, but the Pope’s golf cart was in the private museum.

Outside the Museo Ferruccio Lamborghini

Outside the Museo Ferruccio Lamborghini. Fabio Lamborghini, Ferruccio’s nephew, is on the right. He gave our group a tour of the museum.

While the highlight of the museum for many is the Countach and Miura on display, there were also other interesting vehicles to note, including some of the early tractors Lamborghini built.

The Lamborghini Muira (on the left) and Countach (right) on display under a photo of Ferruccio Lamborghini.

The Lamborghini Muira (on the left) and Countach (right) on display under a photo of Ferruccio Lamborghini.

And, there was this little golf cart made for Pope John Paul II.

Lambo pope cart 1If you zoom in on the front seal it reads, “Papa Giovanni Paolo II.”

Lambo pope cart 2From the side, you could see a Poland scarf draped on the seat, honoring Pope John Paul II’s home country.

Lambo pope cart 3Lambo pope cart 4The museum provides an interesting look into the history of Lamborghini and showcases not only cars, tractors, and unique vehicles like this golf cart for the Pope, but also family photos and Lamborghini memorabilia.

If you are a car enthusiast, a visit to Italy’s “Motor Valley” in the Emilia-Romagna region is a must. The tourist website for the Emilia-Romagna region has information about the museums and private collections to visit, along with other places of interest.

I found a more detailed review of the museum (at its new location) by Mark Smyers on the site here.

So far the photos of Pope Francis’ visit have shown him in a Peugot in Cuba and a Fiat after landing in the US though his official popemobile for his visit will reportedly be a Jeep Wrangler.

What is your favorite popemobile?



Spotting Fangio in Buenos Aires

Last week, I saw a post on the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Facebook page about Juan Manuel Fangio, one of the most successful and celebrated Formula 1 drivers in history. His birthday is June 24, and Mercedes celebrated his career, and his short but successful tenure with them. Fangio won the F1 drivers’ championship a record five times ( a record only broken by Michael Schumacher) and is the only Argentine driver to win the Argentine Grand Prix, a race he won a record four times, more than any other driver.

Seeing the Mercedes post reminded me of spotting a few tributes to Fangio when we visited Buenos Aires. Fangio was born in Balcarce, Argentina, about 400km south of Buenos Aires.

We first spotted a photo of Fangio when we were in the Palermo Soho district. After a day-long private tour of the city, we ended in Palermo Soho and met Flytographer Paloma who snapped photos of us as we wandered the colorful streets.

Street art in Palermo SoHo Buenos Aires.

Street art in Palermo Soho, Buenos Aires.

While stopped in front of a bar, we noticed a picture of Fangio and had our picture taken with him.

BA Fangio Flytog

We spotted this photo of Fangio on a bar when walking around Palermo Soho with our Flytographer Paloma. Photo credit: Paloma, Flytographer.

Beautiful colors on this building in Palermo SoHo, Buenos Aires.

Beautiful colors on this building in Palermo Soho, Buenos Aires.

Later during our stay in Buenos Aires, we stayed at the Hilton Buenos Aires in Puerto Madero, a relatively new barrio that is filled with new high rises and glamorous apartment buildings. One of the best parrillas in Buenos Aires, Cabana Las Lilas, is in one of the old warehouses in Puerto Madero. We dined there one night with Dave’s colleagues, and the beef was indeed delicious. The wine list is also quite extensive. It seems that the only picture I took was of my entree – I think we were too focused on the conversation and ordering Malbec wine!

My beef entree at Cabana Las Lilias.

My beef entree at Cabana Las Lilias.

One of the landmarks in Puerto Madero is the Puente de la Mujer, the women’s bridge. Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, it is said to be reminiscent of a couple dancing the tango.

BA Puerto Madero bridge

Puente de la Mujer (Woman’s Bridge) in Puerto Madero with the Hilton Buenos Aires in the background.

A day view of the Puerte de la Mujer.

A day view of the Puerte de la Mujer.

While exploring the area our first morning in in this section of the city, we saw a Fangio statue, conveniently located in front of a Mercedes Benz dealership.

BA Fangio Puerto Madero

Statue of Juan Manuel Fangio with a Mercedes F1 car in Puerto Madero (note the Mercedes-Benz dealership in the background).

BA Fangio plaque

Plaque next to the Fangio statue celebrates his five Formula 1 World Championships. The statue was dedicated to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his victory in the Grand Prix of Buenos Aires on January 16, 1955. The sculptor is Joaquim Ros Sabate.

As fans of Formula 1, it was nice to see a few small tributes to one of the greatest drivers while we visited Buenos Aires.

To Learn More

  • There is a Fangio museum in Balcarce, Argentina, that showcases his life and displays fifty cars.
  • To read more about Fangio and his F1 career, particularly with Mercedes-Benz, see their post on him here.

Zoom, Zoom and Vroom, Vroom for CARS on #FriFotos

The theme for #FriFotos a few weeks ago was cars. It was hard choosing which pictures to share from the myriad car shows and races I have attended, in addition to the photos of cars spotted while traveling around the world.

(The #FriFotos theme for tomorrow, February 20, 2015, is CHOCOLATE)

Every August, we head to the Monterey peninsula in northern California for a weekend full of car shows, auctions, viewing and races. We attend the annual Concorso Italiano celebration of Italian-made cars, watch the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, marvel at the cars up for auction at the many car auctions taking place throughout the weekend, and walk the greens at Pebble Beach for the highlight of the weekend, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

No matter where you are that weekend, you’ll see exotic cars, vintage cars, and expensive cars driving the local roads or parked in Pebble Beach, Carmel, Monterey and all the neighboring towns.

Here’s one car that we happened to pass by while taking a bike ride on 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach – the Bugatti Veyron. It seemed to be a professional shoot for this Hermes edition of the car, but as you can see, everyone stopped to take some photos of their own.

CARS Veyron alone

The Bugatti Veyron was posed for a professional photo shoot.


CARS Veyron interior

Beautiful interior of the Bugatti Veyron Hermes edition.

CARS Veyron cameras

The paparazzi were out in full force to photograph the Bugatti Veyron.

For more views from the professional shoot, click here.

A few years ago, we traveled to France in June in order to watch the 24 Hours of Le Mans (24 Heures du Mans), the most-famous and most-respected endurance car race in the world.

A few days before the race, there is a driver’s parade through the streets of Le Mans. The drivers for each race car (three drivers share driving duties during the 24 hours of the race) sit on the back of an open-air vehicle to parade through the town for the gathered crowd of car racing fans.

We were lucky to see Audi Team Joest drivers Tom Kristensen (aka “Mr. Le Mans”), Rinaldo Capello and Allan McNish in the driver’s parade. During the race, I managed to capture one picture of McNish driving – the cars are so fast, it’s hard to capture them without blurring the photo!


Audi drivers Tom Kristensen, Rinaldo Capello and Allan McNish in the driver’s parade for Le Mans, 2010.

CARS Audi LeMans

Allan McNish driving the Audie Team Joest car at Le Mans, 2010.

In 2007, we traveled to Italy for a group trip to Lake Como. Luckily, the weekend before the trip began was the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Italy at Monza.

I think this Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is beautiful, and during the race, it is the slowest car on the track as it serves as the official safety car.

F1 Safety Car at Monza.

F1 Safety Car at Monza.

As you might imagine, the Italian GP is the home race for Ferrari, and Ferrari fans, the tifosi, are always in attendance.

When I traveled to Cuba in 2011, it was fascinating to see the many 1950’s era cars driving around on the roads. It made it seem like I was in a time warp to another era.

The lavender shade of this car was perfect for the hot sunny days.

The lavender shade of this car was perfect for the hot sunny days.

CARS Havanna

Cars in Havanna – not all of them were old.

About #FriFotos on Twitter

Here’s a quick guide of the rules by Jeffrey Epstein.

#FriFotos was started on 15 October 2010 by Jonathan Epstein (@EpsteinTravels). Jonathan is the President and Owner of Celebrated Experiences, a company focusing on travel to the UK and Ireland. He is passionate about photography, his favorite hobby. Each week Jonathan cohosts #FriFotos with Stephanie Diehl (@TravelDesigned), Charles Yap (@CharlesYap), and two guest co-hosts that change each week. Jeffrey Epstein (@jeffreyinmotion), CEO of HBIM was a key advisor in the creation of #FriFotos and continues to assist in the Forum’s growth and success.

An Adrenaline Filled #FriFotos

Last week’s #FriFotos theme was adrenaline (July 25, 2014). At first, I thought, I don’t have anything to share because I don’t sky dive, mountain climb or ski (or ski that often). Then my memory turned to one of my favorite trips, to South Africa, and to a safari I took during that trip.

Riding in the bush looking for animals was at times monotonous, but then we’d see a beautiful bird or a delicate spider web and be in awe. All of that riding around paid off though, when we encountered large animals.

We briefly crossed into Botswana while we were stationed at the Royal Livingstone Hotel in Zambia, and took a boat ride down the Chobe River and loaded into safari vehicles to see elephants in Chobe National Park. We saw lots of elephants milling about, many bathing themselves in water.

Our group got a real adrenaline rush when we were watching a baby elephant. The momma noticed us, and thought we were a bit too close for comfort. As she approached our vehicle in a not so friendly manner, it was scary.

Momma elephant guarding her baby from our vehicle in Chobe National Park, Botswana.

Momma elephant guarding her baby from our vehicle in Chobe National Park, Botswana.

Later during our trip, we stayed at Shishangeni Lodge just outside of Kruger National Park in South Africa.

Although this crocodile was heading away from us, it was still pretty scary to be that close.

Crocodile - even when they're heading the other way, you get a bit of adrenaline!

Crocodile – even when they’re heading the other way, you get a bit of adrenaline!

On one of our first drives during our stay, we were lucky enough to encounter some lions. They were just waking as it was early morning, but seeing them watch us was still nerve-wracking!

Lions waking up but sitll watching us as we stopped to watch them.

Lions waking up but watching us as we stopped to watch them.

After our morning safari drives, we returned to the lodge for breakfast and leisure time. There were safari guides that offered to take us on bush walks. They seemed to think it was a perfectly normal thing to do, so I decided to go along. But, when you have guides with rifles and large bullets, you quickly realize walking alone in the bush can be dangerous.

Here our bush walk guides survey the landscape.

Here our bush walk guides survey the landscape.

At one point, there was a rhino very near us, and they could tell that he could smell our group. It was frightening hearing this very large animal sniffing and breathing so close to us. They quickly gathered our group, and told us if we were being charged to stand behind a tree, because the rhino wouldn’t be able to turn that quickly and get to us.

During an afternoon game drive, we happened upon this momma rhinoceros and her baby. While they didn’t seem to notice us, or at least care much that we were snapping lots of pictures of them, it was still a rush to see them up close.

Momma and baby rhino.

Momma and baby rhino.

I thought of other times I’ve had adrenaline rushes, and one of them was of a very different sort. Dave and I have been to the Italian Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monza, Italy, twice. Both were very memorable and exciting – our first trip there in 2007 was the first time I had been to a Formula 1 race, and it was amazing to see how fast the cars zoomed around the track.

For our second visit, we went early for a fan day, where holders of three day tickets can visit the track on Thursday for a pit walk. Being a Ferrari fan, I made my way down to the Ferrari pits, and wiggled my way up to the front – and was able to get 2007 F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen’s autograph before snapping a few pictures of him. Quite an adrenaline rush to be so close to the Ice Man!

Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen signs autographs at Monza, 2009.

Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen signs autographs at Monza, 2009.

Ferrari driver Giancarlo Fisichella races around the Monza track.

Ferrari driver Giancarlo Fisichella races around the Monza track.

It was fun remembering both my trip to South Africa and to the F1 race in Monza with an “adrenaline” perspective.

I’m looking forward to this week’s #FriFotos – the theme is HEAT.

About #FriFotos

Here’s a quick guide of the rules by Jeffrey Epstein.

#FriFotos was started on 15 October 2010 by Jonathan Epstein (@EpsteinTravels). Jonathan is the President and Owner of Celebrated Experiences, a company focusing on travel to the UK and Ireland. He is passionate about photography, his favorite hobby. Each week Jonathan cohosts #FriFotos with Stephanie Diehl (@TravelDesigned), Charles Yap (@CharlesYap), and two guest co-hosts that change each week. Jeffrey Epstein (@jeffreyinmotion), CEO of HBIM was a key advisor in the creation of #FriFotos and continues to assist in the Forum’s growth and success.