Petersen Invitational: Thermal Thunder Ware

Flickr Slideshow (click <57>) or Flickr Album

Thermal CA, Feb 21 2015 - The Thermal Club is an ideal attraction for companies and individuals in need of a track and some track record. You can’t live there, but you can bet some pretty well appointed “shops” will line the straights.

BMW M4 convertible

BMW recently opened a “dealershop” trackside, seeing obvious opportunities that others will surely follow. Partners such as Private Pavement provide new model sports cars for patrons to test their skills on the various tracks.

So this being the coolest corporate automotive retreat around, it makes sense that Los Angeles’s Petersen Automotive Museum would find a place here - a two hour drive away. The Petersen has member clubs of its own, and is highly active in the community to support the needs of their followers.

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They treated over 130 guests to a couple of track days, including personal new car drives on the autocross, and big track ride-alongs in race-ready Lamborghini Trofeo and other exotic finery. Top that off with a truck load of vintage race cars from the Petersen, sprinkle it with a great dinner and show and you’ve got it made.

Dave Kunz. interviews Danny Sullivan

Venerable automotive expert and go-to-car-guy Dave Kunz hosted the dinner program, featuring a lengthy interview racing legend Danny Sullivan. A companion silent auction provided a fund raising component with great winnings, including a track ride with Mr. Sullivan in the museum’s Ol’ Yaller Mark III - one of 10 racecars built by Max Balchowsk. Petersen Club 200 member Doug Carter made sure he won that bid, and judging the smile on his face in the cockpit with Danny Sunday it was apparently well worth the contribution.

Petersen  brought a big team and media friends

Petersen brought a big team and media friends to cover the event. Bruce Meyer (museum founding chairman, lovingly referred to as the Mayor of Beverly Hills) braved the Saturday night traffic from LA to make in time for dinner. Terry Karges stated that the Petersen has a mission to improve their efforts in the community. We see the Petersen at every major automotive event, so we’re not sure how that can be improved – but believe them.

“We want to work with partners in the industry to create great events that our membership will enjoy. It’s all about providing memorable occasions that give back to our contributors. We have received a positive response with this event” offered Karges. “We are also focused more on getting out there with our marketing, and building up content on our website with Car Stories for example, and working in depth with social media. We have put together a great media team and they are doing a great job!”

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Given the opportunity to push cars hard around the autocross track, we realize that we need a lot more work on our track game. You can only learn so much in a 34 second lap with a new Lexus – mostly that the guy in the McLaren was 4 seconds faster, and that’s not fair. Race tracks are worth more to everyone if you can get on and use them. It's our turn to drive.

1966 Corvette Race Car

Practice does make (closer to) perfect, but with speed there is risk. Cars need to be setup and tested properly for local environs, and it’s better to have a safe place to do so. One private teamate took an early model Corvette out for such a test, but came through the last turn of the lap sideways – meeting up abruptly with a few orange barrels on the protective barrier. True to safety concerns he walked away unscathed - the Vette was short a few front end parts, however. The track had to be shut down to clear the wreck.

“I’m OK. The car can be fixed. But I really feel bad for the rest of the folks out there whose afternoon was spoiled by this.”

That’s the kind of kindred spirit you find in Petersen’s world while pushing the edge of experience.

by Randy Berg

NuArt Can Am car

NuArt Can Am carNow, Southwestern Performance is introducing a new single-make series designed for both gentlemen race drivers and professional racers who wish to “live the dream” of the Can Am era on the world stage. The Unlimited Racing Championship will feature identical, newly designed NuArt Can Am race cars.. These events will be held at the historic Can Am racing circuits around North America, evoking memories of a legendary tradition, while creating a new era of racing. The heritage of the Can Am series from yesteryear will draw drivers and fans to the The Unlimited Racing Championship,” from around the globe. URC 2015 Racing Schedule

Pictured below: 1960 Lotus 19 driven by Dan Gurney; 2015 Lexus RC F Sport Thermal Club autocross track car; and 1958 Jaguar Lister

Related: Inaugural Petersen Invitational: Private Track Hot Laps; and Petersen Invitational: SVF1 1967 Ferrari Formula 1 tribute track car

 1960 Lotus 19 driven by Dan Gurney at the Inaugural Petersen Invitational
2015 Lexus RC F Sport at the Inaugural Petersen Invitational
 1958 Jaguar Lister at the Inaugural Petersen Invitational

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