I remember Paul Newman going through, around and over Scheckter chicane at Watkins Glen. I later ran into him in the garage and mentioned the line he took. He just looked at me, smiled and then laughed.
Great article! Typical Hollywood too - I had no idea how much back ground effort went into the "race" - it always looked like pure fun on the tv. I also had no idea that Danica Patrick actually won a race...
I only saw a few of those early races and it was during my exit years from racing in SCCA and must admit it made me wish I could have raced in the series myself. Sadly short on the pro credentials and completely deficit of any celebrity it was not mean to be. Some kind of fun to watch though and imagine the rest.
Hagerty, don't listen to Inline8OD or anyone else who doesn't like this coverage. I found the story very interesting illuminating many of the details of what it took, who was there and the Eddie Van part was very funny...so much of 'car' stuff is the people behind them. Full marks to Toyota for the series and you guys for sharing about it. I love the rivalry between Kendal and Brabham as well as Parnelli and Gurney. So cool.
I just glazed over the article but what drew me in was the picture of the seventh generation Toyota Celica. I happen to own a totally stock '03 Celica GT with manual tranny. I love the car! It's not fast, potent or powerful but it sure is a nimble joy to drive. I love the low ground clearance and the missile-like shape of the vehicle. I'm low to the ground and feel every bump, pot hole and crevice I encounter but I wouldn't have it any other way. It's like riding a go-cart with a 140 hp engine! Anyway, it's obvious I love my little Celica!
As a side note to the pro/celebrity race, the "Honorary" crew chiefs to the racecars were Toyota Master Technicians that took regional tests and the best score in the region were invited to do a hands on test to compete for the chance to make the trip to the pro/celebrity race, I believe there were 18 technicians from around the country that took part. In 1994 & 1998 I was fortunate enough to accomplish just that and represented the Boston Northeast region. My wife and I had a chance to rub elbows with many great drivers as well as some Hollywood celebrities as well as just having lunch at the same tables and being able to have great conversation. While the technicians were busy with the cars and other testing Toyota took the spouses to Beverly Hills for a day of beauty, shopping & fun. It was a great time.
For the 2012 race, while on a project in Long Beach, I lived in one of the buildings that was impacted by the street closures for the course. You had to have special ID and a pass for your vehicle to get home. Due to the schedule there was only certain times you could access out parking garage, because you had to drive backwards on part of the course. One evening when I returned from work, practice was finished for the night and the officials verified my ID and let me in but there was equipment blocking the portion of the straight that I had to drive on. Well the official instructed me to follow the course around to get to the other side of the equipment. I lucked out, I was driving my wife's RX8, so it was a bit spirited, within reason. So, I got to drive the course with a sort of "official" invite.