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      04-08-2013, 11:08 PM   #1
burnsniper
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1M Goes On Vacation (VIR, Primland, Blue Ridge Parkway) ... Picture Heavy

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Last week my wife and I decided to take our 1M on a vacation trip through Southwest Virginia that included track time, luxury, and twisty roads. Here is a journal of our trip:



Warming up for the trip.

Virginia International Raceway
The first stop on our vacation trip was Virginia International Raceway to participate in the VIR Open House and Charity Laps. This event, that is usually held twice a year, is used to develop business and memberships for VIR while raising money for charity.

This year's spring event benefited the Victory Junction Gang Camp. The Victory Junction Gang Camp provides a summer camp experience for terminally ill and chronically ill children who would not normally be able to attend a normal summer camp due to their condition.



http://www.victoryjunction.org/

Prior to the event, my wife and I stayed at the VIR Villas located onsite at the track. The Villas are very luxurious and provide great access to view and participate in track events.



VIR Villa kitchen/living room.



VIR Villa bedroom.



VIR Villa track view from porch.



VIR Villa, track, and 1M.

Money is raised at this event through the purchase of Charity Lap Sessions ($25 per session) and through Hot Lap Rides ($15 per hot lap).

Charity Lap Sessions
The Charity Lap Sessions consists of 20 minute parade laps between a pace car and a chase car at "highway speeds." All cars have to be "road safe" are allowed to have passengers. Helmets are also not required. The spring session of Charity Laps this year took place on the VIR Full Course.



Having never been to a track day, my wife and I thought this would be the perfect experience to "test the waters" while raising money for a great cause. Also, all donations are tax deductible which makes this one of the cheapest ways to get on a track.

For each session, a group of about 20 cars are staged in the "False Grid" while another group of cars completes its session:



1M staged in the false grid. Notice the 245/40/18 square winter tire setup (Alpin PA3s) and the wife reading her Kindle.




Gathering for the session's driver's meeting to go over rules. The main rules include no passing, no stopping, not video taking (by the driver), and no holding back.



Heading onto the track through Pit Lane with a last minute rules reminder.

The experience was awesome! While advertised as parade laps at "highway speeds", I would say the pace car and the field drove at 8/10ths through most of the track. The 1M regularly hit an indicated 120 mph on the back straight (135 mph was our best) and 110 mph on the front straight! The car handled excellent in the high speed sections of the track including the Climbing Esses (90 mph) and the Roller Coaster. However, due to the square winter tires (only 245's in the rear), a trunk filled with three suitcases, a set of golf clubs, and numerous pairs of shoes, and my lack of experience I found the car quite challenging in the slower corners. The car was very eager to rotate and I estimate that the traction control light was flashing for over 50% of each lap including a couple of times at 100 mph during a 3-4 shift! While I was slow through the slow corners, the 1M closed ground like no other on the straights. I regularly left (or caught up with) some powerful vehicles including a Mustang GT and Pontiac G8 GXP on the straights. Also, I love the noise of the turbos singing at extended periods of full throttle.



Flying down the Roller Coaster (photo originally posted by someone else on Smugmug).

My wife and I ended up completing 5 Charity Lap Sessions and over 100 minutes on track. There was a wide variety of cars that participated in the sessions including everything from a Prius to a early 1970's 911 to a vintage stock car to a Ferrari 430 to a Cadillac Escalade (lol). There were a couple of spins throughout the day (by riced civics) and a couple of cars that broke down mid lap. Here are some of the M brethren that participated in the event (pictures originally posted by someone else in a Smugmug pool):











Hot Lap Sessions
In addition to the Charity Lap Sessions, a BMW M6 (from the Performance School), an Ariel Atom Spec Race Car, and a Porsche GT3 Cup Car offered ride along hot laps for a donation. My wife and I took hot laps in the M6 and Atom (unfortunately the GT3 hot laps started when we were about to leave).



The M6 is brutally powerful and the BMW Performance driver was a rock star. He asked me what I drove and I told him that I drove a 1M. His response was "so you are one of the lucky ones." He then launched the M6 out of pit lane, drifted through the first several corners and then went full throttle up until the Oak Tree turn. We then hit an indicated 157 mph on the back straight and then absolutely flew down the Roller Coaster.



Picture of my wife grinning after her hot lap in the M6. She thought it was awesome and then commented on how she like the blue brake calipers and disliked the carbon fiber interior (lol). Props to my wife for being so awesome to participate in this event (she is a pediatrician and has a friend who is a doctor who works at the camp).



Ariel Atom Spec Race Car.



Picture from my hot lap in the Atom. The G-forces in turns and during braking were just awesome. I also thought it was cool that the car quickly topped out at its top speed (~127 mph) on the back straight. The staff at the track indicated that the open wheels produce tons of drag that greatly limits the top speed.



GT3 Cup Car hot lap (originally posted by someone else on Smugmug pool).

Last edited by burnsniper; 04-09-2013 at 08:02 AM. Reason: Picture Fail
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      04-08-2013, 11:09 PM   #2
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Primland



After our day at VIR, my wife and I set out for Primland, a resort located in Meadows of Dan, VA.


The drive between VIR and Primland is approximately 90 miles.


The last third of this trip features fantastic sweeping turns and stunning views as you climb to over 2,700 ft. in the Blue Ridge Mountains. In fact there are still 6 miles of curves with hardly a straight section between the North Gate and the Lodge at Primland.


Primland North Gate.

Along this route there are several warning signs for various wild life including bears and dear. We encountered wild turkeys:





Primland is a small world class resort with phenomenal service that is truly in the middle of nowhere. There is basically no AT&T cell phone reception and the resort can only be reached in good weather. The resort started out as a private hunting retreat (still a heavy focus of the resort) and then developed into a world-class golf resort and spa. I am an avid golfer and who’s wife doesn’t love the spa?


Approaching the Lodge at Primland.


The Lodge at Primland.

The first two nights that we stayed at Primland we rented a suite in one of the three Fairway Cottages (each cottage has two suites). The cottages are located a short distance from the Lodge (which also has rooms) and a golf cart is provided to travel back and forth. The fit, finish, and furnishings in these cottages are spectacular. The buildings are designed to be eco friendly and feature radiant floor heating and recycled wood. The bathroom in the cottage was actually about the size of our condo’s living room. Here are some pictures:


Primland Sparrow Cottage.


1M's parking place at the cottage.



Sparrow East living room.


Sparrow East kitchen.

The second day we were at the resort, a surprise snow storm hit the mountain. I knew there was a reason I kept my winter tires on for a track event :


1M covered in snow.

Luckily for us, it quickly warmed up the next day and I got to play golf the remainder of the time while on the resort.


Mountain golf at its best – the Highlands Course is ranked #2 in VA and the #13 public course in the USA by Golf Digest.

Primland also features fantastic and unique food!


Here I am pondering my choice of afternoon snack among some of Primland’s specialties - Truffle French Fries, Hush Puppies with Maple Sugar Butter (the best hush puppies ever), and Pig Candy – fried bacon that is then caramelized in maple syrup.


Moonshine distilling is a huge (illegal) industry in this area of VA. The Lodge at Primland is actually located on Moonshine Drive. The bar features several different varieties of legal moonshine.

Primland is also the only resort in North America that has its own observatory.


Large telescope under rotating observatory dome.

For our last night at Primland, my wife and I decided to stay in the Golden Eagle Tree House. This unique lodging is situated over a 2,700 foot cliff partially in a tree near the 4th green of the golf course. In order to get to the Tree House I had to trade my 1M in for a Ford Explorer (provided by the resort) and for good reason.


1M now parked in front of the Lodge.


Ford Explorer.


Logging trail to Tree House.


Extremely steep grade.


Greater than 2,500 ft. drop only a few feet away from trail.


Golden Eagle Tree House.

While the furnishings inside the tree house were not quite up to those in the Fairway Cottages, they were still excellent. However, who cares what your furnishings look like when this is your view:


View from Tree House deck.


Sunset from Tree House.

Blue Ridge Parkway to Blacksburg, VA

While my wife and I were sad to leave Primland, we were excited to meet up with our families for dinner in our hometown of Blacksburg, VA. It also happens that you get to Blacksburg from Primland by taking the Blue Ridge Parkway.


More awesome roads, curves, and no cops (at least on our trip)!

Some scenery along the route:


Another Wild Turkey.


Mabry Mill – a circa 1910 sawmill that is popular tourist stop on this section of the Blue Ridge Parkway.


One of the many scenic overlooks on the way.

Heading Home

After dinner and some March Madness watching action in Blacksburg with our families it was time to head back home. However, since our dog was boarded at the kennel and I had the 1M, I could not pass up taking the “alternate” route to I-81. This route was my favorite road growing up and features an awesome tunnel and many great turns including five hairpins that let you feel the 1M’s differential work its magic.





1M at Home. Does BSM stand for Black Sapphire Metallic or Brown Sapphire Metallic or even perhaps Bug Sapphire Metallic?

Last edited by burnsniper; 04-09-2013 at 06:18 PM. Reason: Updated
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      04-09-2013, 03:55 AM   #3
schlümpfy
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Thanks for sharing.

Great way to start the vacation trip.
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      04-09-2013, 07:00 AM   #4
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I slept in that bed at the villas 6 months ago. Good times!
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      04-09-2013, 07:30 AM   #5
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Awesome! Moar please!
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      04-09-2013, 01:51 PM   #6
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Sweet! Looks like a great time. What a cool way to vacay.
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      04-09-2013, 03:06 PM   #7
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Wow, looks like an amazing trip so far. Keep posting!
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      04-09-2013, 03:17 PM   #8
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Looks like a great trip.
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      04-09-2013, 06:14 PM   #9
burnsniper
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Updated with second half of trip.
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      04-09-2013, 08:56 PM   #10
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WOW! So this is amazing, I'm still in Roanoke, great to see all these places so close to home. Thanks for sharing some of your routes, I need to go check out some of those roads this weekend!

Next time you are headed through the area let me know, would be nice to meet up with another 1M.

TJ
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      04-09-2013, 09:05 PM   #11
burnsniper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjm129 View Post

Next time you are headed through the area let me know, would be nice to meet up with another 1M.

TJ
Will do next time I am the area with the 1M (usually in the Audi these days for longer trips). Feel free to PM me if you want any route details.
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      04-09-2013, 09:55 PM   #12
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I've been on that track with 3 different cars. It is one of the most mentally and physically challenging courses in the US. I love this track. It's too bad you didn't have the proper shoes on the 1M! But, awesome pics and glad you had fun.
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      04-10-2013, 11:42 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haywood View Post
It's too bad you didn't have the proper shoes on the 1M! But, awesome pics and glad you had fun.
I do wish they made PA3s in 265/40/18s for the rear. I don't need true snow tires where I live but the winter performance tires do perform quite well in the cold weather and can be a life saver in the off chance it starts snowing when I driving. They also help absorb rough winter roads/potholes.

The 245s with a full trunk made the back end really act like a pendulum on the more abrupt transitions/weight shifts (felt almost like a 83' 911sc that I almost bought a long time ago).
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      04-10-2013, 06:15 PM   #14
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Awesome photos and road trip!
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      04-10-2013, 06:43 PM   #15
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Great pictures and great write up. such a good experience!
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      04-10-2013, 07:05 PM   #16
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what a trip ! and i cant believe you took a loaded (golf clubs, suitcases, etc) 1m out on the track !
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      04-10-2013, 07:08 PM   #17
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Thanks for sharing! I'm surprised at how good those winter wheels look on your 1M, too. Awesome pics/car/trip!
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      04-10-2013, 07:34 PM   #18
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Awesome post. I don't like black cars except for 1Ms Looks awesome with the 18" M3 wheels too.

Looks like a real hoot!

BTW, legal moonshine is like saying exotic yugo- doesn't exist
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      04-10-2013, 07:46 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 05Mdriver View Post
what a trip ! and i cant believe you took a loaded (golf clubs, suitcases, etc) 1m out on the track !
Didn't have anywhere else to put them!
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      04-10-2013, 07:51 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BAMxi View Post
I'm surprised at how good those winter wheels look on your 1M, too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by StealYourFace View Post
Looks awesome with the 18" M3 wheels too.
Thanks! I think that it makes it look like the 1 series tti concept car (except in black):

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      04-10-2013, 08:25 PM   #21
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Terrific write up and pics. Thanks for sharing.
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      04-10-2013, 09:47 PM   #22
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Great trip! Looks like a lot of fun!!
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