More Autobahn Speed Limits Coming?

Posted in Environment, News, Politics, Travel by Kurt Ernst | March 31st, 2011 | 1 Response |

Typical German speed limits: 50 kph in town, 100 kph outside of town and 130 kph on the Autobahn. Image: Arroww

The myth of unrestricted motoring bliss on Germany’s Autobahn is just that: a myth. Most sections have posted limits, and even the sought-after “end of limit” sections are often crowded with traffic. There’s even a recommended speed limit of 130 kilometers per hour (about 81 mph) on unrestricted sections; sure, you can go as fast as you want, but expect to be charged with the equivalent of reckless driving if you have an accident. Based on recent election results in the German state of Baden-Württemburg, there’s more bad news on the horizon: motorists in this southwestern state will soon be facing an enforced speed limit of 120 kilometers per hour, or about 74 miles per hour. Read More…

Is It Curtains For The ‘Ring Taxi?

Posted in News, Promoted, Track Events, Travel by Kurt Ernst | March 8th, 2011 | 1 Response |

Germany’s famed Nürburgring is a mecca for driving enthusiasts from around the world, many of whom show up to drive the track in their own cars. Tourists from across the pond, however, face another dilemma: it’s possible to drive the track in a rental car (as far as I know), but doing so will void any insurance coverage you may or may not have on the vehicle. In other words, if you’re unlucky enough to stack your rented VW Golf in the Carousel, you’ll be writing a big-ass check to the rental agency when you turn in the keys. Local vendors will gladly rent you a race-prepped car to lap the ‘Ring, but this gets expensive very quickly; even a Renault Clio Cup hot hatch will set you back nearly $500 for a half day session, and a Porsche GT3 RS will run you $2,500 for a half day session. For years, the most cost effective way to lap the ‘Ring was in a “Ring Taxi”, sponsored by BMW and driven by such Nürburgring hot shoes as Sabine Schmitz. For a fee of about $270, up to three passengers could enjoy a hot lap of the ‘Ring, but it looks like those days may be coming to an end. Read More…

Are We Headed For $5.00 Gas?

Posted in News, Newsworthy, Oil Industry, Travel by Kurt Ernst | February 26th, 2011 | 3 Responses |

When I made my car related predictions for the coming year, I said that gas would top $4.00 a gallon by the end of 2011. I also said that it probably wouldn’t slide back below $3.00 per gallon, as we’ve grown accustomed to over the years. Recent political unrest in the Middle East appears to have accelerated the timeline for that gasoline price jump, and energy tracking company DTN is predicting that it’ll rise even higher. In fact, they say we should be prepared to spend as much as $5.00 per gallon by this summer. Read More…

Mighty Car Mods Takes You To Japan

Posted in Cool Stuff, Hoonage, Top of the Heap, Travel, Videos by Kurt Ernst | February 26th, 2011 | Leave a Reply |

Blair poses with a $300 RX-7

I’ll warn you up front that this video is nearly an hour long. If you’ve ever been a fan of Japanese cars, Japanese culture or (better yet) Japanese car culture, you’ll want to watch the whole thing. Go ahead and pour yourself a second cup of coffee, now, before you kick off the movie. Trust me, it’s worth watching, because it really does go to show that hot rodders are the same the world over: build the best car you can based on the budget you have, flog the snot out of it in competition and buy another when you finally kill it. Whether you’re talking about Mustangs, Hondas, or 660cc Suzuki Kei cars, the rules simply don’t change. Video below. Read More…

Bahrain Cancels The F1 Season Opener

Posted in Formula 1, News, Politics, Racing Coverage, Travel by Kurt Ernst | February 22nd, 2011 | Leave a Reply |

F1 champ Sebastian Vettel at the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix. Image: Andrew Griffith

Coming as a surprise to no one, the island nation of Bahrain has opted to cancel the season opening Bahrain Grand Prix due to political unrest within the country. Officially, it’s because Bahrain wants to focus on “overcoming tragedy, healing divisions and rediscovering the fabric that draws the country together,” in the words of Bahrain’s Crown Prince. Unofficially, it’s because they couldn’t guarantee the security of F1 crews, drivers and race fans from around the world. Regardless, recent events in Bahrain really put things into perspective: compared to political upheaval and loss of life, even an F1 race seems pretty damn insignificant. Read More…

Civil Unrest Causes Concern For The Bahrain Grand Prix

Posted in Formula 1, News, Politics, Travel by Kurt Ernst | February 17th, 2011 | Leave a Reply |

VIP Tower, Bahrain Circuit. Image: Navin Shetty Brahmavar

The 2011 F1 season opener in Bahrain is less than a month away, so recent protests in the kingdom have raised a red flag for F1 organizers and teams. A test session in Bahrain is scheduled for March 3, which means that a significant number of team personnel will be in-country for two weeks or longer. If civil unrest does escalate, teams want assurances that their personnel and assets will be safe. Organizers of the 2011 Gulf Air Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix have issued a statement, but failed to go into any level of detail. Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, CEO of the Bahrain International Circuit, was quoted by Autoweek as saying, “The safety of all Bahraini nationals, expats and overseas visitors is a priority at all times in the kingdom, and at the Bahrain International Circuit our focus at the present time is on delivering another successful event… We are monitoring the situation very closely indeed in association with the relevant authorities and will respond appropriately to any further developments.” Read More…

How Far, How Fast in MPH: A Guide to Your Next Road Trip

Posted in driving, General, Road Trips, Travel by Frank | January 19th, 2011 | 1 Response |

The open road is yours for the taking. There is so much to see in this great country of ours: whether it’s a 30-foot tall Uncle Sam in New Mexico, or Dorothy’s house (or something like it) in Liberal, Kansas. Or maybe you want to see all of America’s treasures in one trip? It may take a while, but you could do it (but we recommend having a good car insurance plan just in case your car dies before your determination does). Your road trip is out there waiting for you – so depending on where you want to go, let’s take a look at how quickly you can get there.

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How Far, How Fast in MPH: A Guide to Your Next Road Trip

Video Shows The Power Of Flood Waters

Posted in Environment, Travel, Videos by Kurt Ernst | January 11th, 2011 | Leave a Reply |

Queensland, in northeastern Australia, has been plagued by flooding since October of 2010. Three quarters of the state has been declared a disaster area, and the current damage estimate in US dollars exceeds $10 billion. Some 22 deaths have been attributed to the flooding, caused by an extremely unusual combination of “worst case” weather events. This video, shot by a Toowoomba resident on January 10, shows just how quickly flood waters can turn violent. If you live in an area prone to flash floods, you’re taught from an early age to never drive across a flooded stream or drainage canal, and this footage shows you exactly why. As soon as the water rises enough to float your car, you’re just along for the ride. Watch the video after the jump. Read More…

China Implements Lottery System For New Car Buyers

Posted in Environment, News, Politics, Travel by Kurt Ernst | January 11th, 2011 | Leave a Reply |

Morning rush hour traffic in Beijing. Image: Australian Cowboy

In 2010, some 850,000 new cars were sold in Beijing, China. Since the city is already notorious for traffic congestion and air pollution, city officials realized that something had to be done to prevent perpetual gridlock. That something is the implementation of a lottery system for Beijing residents who wish to purchase new cars, effective immediately. The first lottery drawing is scheduled for January 26, when some 20,000 lucky motorists will be chosen from over 100,000 (and counting) entries. Lottery drawings will be repeated monthly, capping the number of new Beijing license plates available each year at 240,000. Read More…

BMW Unscripted: Tiffany Coates And Her BMW R80GS

Posted in Cool Stuff, Motorcycle, Road Trips, Travel, Videos by Kurt Ernst | January 5th, 2011 | Leave a Reply |

Let’s get one thing straight up front: despite Ms. Coates’ opinion to the contrary, the world IS filled with dangerous places, and she IS mad to travel like she does. If I had to toss out an estimate, I’d say that 75% of people are good, 20% are utterly indifferent and 5% are the ones you don’t want to run across in a dark alley. Still, those are pretty good odds, especially if you have a taste for adventure. If you want to see the world, riding a motorcycle is arguably the best way to do it, and any of BMW’s GS (for Gelände / Strasse, or field and road) bikes would make a superb mount.

Read More…