MMR Blog

Sandy On Assignment: The Bucket List

Posted on January 15, 2015 Comments (10)

Sandy Cotterman
Motorsports Enthusiast

Sandy on Assignment

Yes, a glamour shot, but the suit (not the shoes) gets me into the hot pits!

No matter what your age, I bet you have a list of things you want to do ... someday. Since setting myself loose in this amazing world of motorsports, I realize my someday is now. A bit late to the motorsports party, I have come to peace with the fact that I am neither going to become a race car driver, nor am I going to trip upon a million dollar barn find. So instead, I have been knocking out my very own bucket list ... to get as close to everything motorsports as I possibly can.

Looking at my list got me thinking. Does every car guy have a bucket list? What’s on it? What are their plans? I started asking around and this is what I discovered. Generally speaking, there is no limit to what a car guy wants to do with cars, events they want to attend, and cars they lust over owning or re-owning. What did surprise me was the final hesitation ... someday.

My hope in sharing my adventures under Sandy on Assignment is to get you excited about building and actually tackling your own motorsports bucket list.

You are never too young to appreciate motorsports

It is never too soon to introduce children to motorsports.

I appreciate that this sport or hobby, depending upon your level of participation, requires resources. Although some are financial, many just need some time and planning. This may not be the year to hit Pebble Beach, but it may be the time to take your children or grandchildren to the races or a local car show. It may be the year to hop in your car and do a Club autocross or a road tour.

As for my motorsports adventures, here are my top ten recommendations. See where your dreams fit. Write them down.

Sandy’s Top Ten Favorites

1. Take a high performance sports driving course. My favorites are the 2-day Porsche Sports Driving School outside Birmingham, Alabama and Monticello Motor Club’s high performance courses, just 90 minutes north of New York City. Interestingly, most participants attend as a birthday present from their spouse! What I learned in both courses stays with me every second I am driving on the road.

Bruce Ledoux and Sandy Cotterman

Meeting driver Bruce Ledoux, founder of the  Guardian Angels of Motorsports, opened my eyes to the world of racing.

St. Petersburg Grand Prix

Smaller races, like the St. Pete Grand Prix let you get close to the cars and the drivers.

2. Go to the races. The Rolex 24 hours of Daytona was my first and got me hooked. Whether it’s local stock car racing or Formula 1, the electricity is always there. Splurge on a paddock pass. Meet the drivers. Le Mans can’t be beat. Formula 1 in Monaco is breathtaking. Vintage racing during the Lime Rock Historics and Monterey week at Laguna Seca are favorites. Watching the Elegance at Hershey hillclimb is a blast.

3. Get out and drive. Whether it’s a Club track day, family drive, or week-long rally, just get out and drive. Enjoy yourself in your car. After taking my performance courses, I realized you don’t need a Ferrari or a Porsche to get out and have fun!

Sandy Cotterman, judging a concours

Judging has gotten me closer to the pulse of a concours.

Sandy Cotterman and Norman Dewis, OBE

It is one thing to go to a concours like Villa d’Este, it’s another to meet a legend like Norman Dewis, OBE and the car that made history.

4. Attend a Concours d’Elegance or local car show. A concours can be a step back in history or a waltz down memory lane. It’s like a living history and a chance to meet the owners. The atmosphere is always fun, often lasting a weekend. You would be amazed at the classic cars entered in local car shows! There is nothing that beats the fun during the British Invasion in Stowe, Vermont. Sandy on Assignment has taken MMR readers from Pebble Beach to Amelia Island and across the pond to Villa d’Este and Hampton Court.

Max Girardo, RM Auctioneer and Managing Director

Max Girardo, RM’s auctioneer and Managing Director captivates his audiences.

5. Feel the excitement of an Auction. Whether you experience it live in person or on television, watching a car auction is a blast. I love to hear guys talk about prices as cars roll onto the auction block. What looks like their high school car or the car they almost bought, is now priced out of sight! You can get caught up in the bidding frenzy without even opening your wallet! Preview days are often free, and a great time to walk around and check out the cars. My favorite is RM with auctioneer Max Girardo. Also at the top of my list are Gooding, Bonham’s, and Artcurial auctions.

First Porsche sports car

The first sports car bearing the Porsche name. The 1948 Porsche Type 356, “No. 1” Roadster.

6. Check out your dream car. There is no harm in test driving your dream car. There is no harm in surfing the internet for your dream car. There is no harm in tracking down the car you once owned. Dream it and someday you may own it. I want a Porsche 911 in the worst way.

Goodwood is fun for everyone

The Goodwood Revival is magical and fun for everyone.

7. Head to the Goodwood Revival, Retromobile, or the Mille Miglia. These events are for everyone, from the vintage racing buff to the reluctant spouse. If looking through memorabilia at Retromobile gets boring, there is always shopping in Paris. There are enough trade-offs in Italy to spare a couple of hours watching the cars take off at the Mille Miglia. As for the Goodwood Revival, the entire family cannot help but have a fabulous time.

1902, the oldest Mercedes still in existence

The oldest Mercedes still in existence, the 1902 Mercedes-Simplex 40PS.

8. Tie an automotive museum into your vacation. Automobile museums are everywhere. Admission is often nominal. In the States, favorites on the west coast, besides Jay Leno’s Garage, include the Blackhawk Museum, Mullen and Nethercutt Collections, Peterson and LeMay Museums. Heading east, the Seal Cove Museum in Maine and Simeon and AACA Museums in Pennsylvania are fantastic. Heading to Europe? Take the train from Paris to Mulhouse for a treat — the Schlumph Collection in the Cité de l’Automobile National Museum. If you are flying into Milan, the Museo dell’Automobile in Torino and Museo Mille Miglia in Brescia are unique. Once in Stuttgart, Germany, the Porsche and Mercedes-Benz museums were phenomenal. The crème de la crème was The Collier Collection in Naples, Florida.

Katies, on a Saturday Morning

With over 300 cars on a Saturday morning, at Katie’s, you can always find something to talk about.

9. Get to a Cars and Coffee. If it’s 7am, Saturday morning, you will find me sipping coffee with hundreds of car guys and gals, at the local cars and coffee. I love being around other like-minded motorsports enthusiasts. Classics to exotics, you’ll see everything and just talk cars. My favorites — Katie’s in Great Falls, Virginia and the duPont Registry in Clearwater, Florida.

Sandy's dream come true

My dream come true.

10. Don’t stop at 10 ... keep dreaming. On my bucket list for decades was to own a convertible, something sporty. I never let up on that dream and I’m glad I didn’t. Who would have guessed that dream would change my life.

Rallies enough to last a lifetime

There are enough rallies on my list to last a lifetime.

So what is still on my bucket list? My dreams span the gamut, from tinkering under the hood of an E-Type to navigating in the Peking to Paris Rally. And, of course, there’s the 911.

Donald Osborne at the Mille Miglia

It is just as much about the people as it is about the cars. Donald Osborne at the start of the Mille Miglia.

I hope I have sparked your interest. Get out and have fun with your own bucket list. Sandy on Assignment, under the MMR Blog, gives you a glimpse into many adventures, with specific suggestions on how to go about planning. When it comes to motorsports adventures, it’s all about the cars, the people, and having fun.

Please keep me posted on your bucket list ... and I promise to write about mine.


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on September 26, 2014 Comments (0)

Ferrari 250 SWB

We are busy winding down September. We attended The Boston Cup last weekend, a maturing event, and this weekend we will be at Santa Fe for their Concorso. 

Ferrari GTO Boston Cup

Several weeks ago we shared an image of our model car collection. We thought it quite typical of what most people have and your responses confirmed that. But several also expressed an interest in knowing what else is available. This week’s lead image kicks off a new series of stories all about model cars entitled Build a Small Collection. Our expert guide for this adventure into the world of building and buying miniatures is constructor Marshall Buck.

Michael Furman image of the hood and mascot of a 1932 Bugatti Royale Type-41

This Michael Furman image is the hood and mascot of a 1932 Bugatti Royale Type-41.

This video of a cluster of Jaguar D-Types racing at the most recent Goodwood Revival graces our homepage. What a sight!

The Weekly Leek European Correspondent, Oofy Prosser, reports on changes to the 2015 schedule. As a result of the recent German High Court decision to turn two blind eyes to B. Ecclestone’s “bribery” and “breach of trust” indictments in exchange for $100M US, a cash flow issue exists at Castle Ecclestone. F1 has announced a new sponsor for the United States GP in 2015.

Singapore GP

The F1 Save the Tires/Save the Fuel GP at Singapore’s $4.5B Marina Bay street and parking garage complex proved two things: First, that Mercedes can be counted on to build the fastest car but fails to consistently field two; Second, nighttime is meant for sleeping. This, the only nighttime event on the F1 schedule, makes sleeping an attractive option. Despite what F1 announcers sitting in an air conditioned studio in Connecticut may say about really wanting to be there, sitting trackside in 100+ degree heat and high humidity is singularly unappealing. The mere existence of this race is galling when one considers the challenging racetracks in Europe and America that could present real tests to F1 drivers and teams before knowledgeable enthusiasts.

No matter what one thinks of the individuals involved or the media hype surrounding their battle for the Championship, Hamilton/Rosberg is the only battle for the title and race after race it is consistently engaging. When one is missing, particularly in this grey-black catacomb of a track, so is the race.

Tudor United Sportscar Championship logo

Tudor United Sports Car Series: Circuit of the Americas (COTA) is arguably the best, and unquestionably the most modern road course in America.

Yet, again, from the only viewpoint that we represent—the spectators—the races at Virginia International Raceway two weeks ago were far more entertaining. The fast and wide Texas track simply didn’t deliver the door handle to door handle competition we saw at the narrower, twisty VIR. As with F1, it matters not a whit to us whether a particular track is the favorite of every driver. Our goal, which may or may not be shared by drivers, is to enjoy close competition. Period. We will have more details next week on this event and the upcoming finale at Road Atlanta.

Tudor racing Porsche

If you are anywhere near Santa Fe this weekend, make the effort to attend their Concorso and say hello.

Remember, if you enjoyed this, please share with a friend.

Peter Bourassa


Sandy on Assignment:
My Favorite...The Goodwood Revival

Posted on January 9, 2014 Comments (5)

By Sandy Cotterman, Motorsports Enthusiast

Adventure Begins - Goodwood House

Another adventure begins…in front of the Goodwood House.

Although it never made my motorsports bucket list, everyone I know who has attended the Goodwood Revival says it’s a must, so I felt compelled to check it out. It was fantastic - my all-time favorite adventure for the year! This is an event for everyone… from the vintage racing buff to the reluctant spouse. You can’t help but have a fabulous time... even in the rain!

Stepping Back in Time

Stepping back in time.

Mods and Rockers

A friendly group of mods and rockers.

Close your eyes and take yourself back in time... England, post war ‘40s and ‘50s, through the early ‘60s… and you have the setting for the Revival. Everyone is dressed to play the part from the golden era of motorsports. Tight skirts and silk stockings, British military uniforms, fedora hats, mechanics’ overalls, biker garb and bell bottoms… if it’s vintage, you’ll see it. Even the concessions are in period, selling absolutely everything to get you into the mood for this three-day event.

West Sussex County, the 2.4-mile circuit sits on the grounds of the Goodwood Estate. During WWII, this area was a key British airfield and home to several Spitfire squadrons. When the RAF closed the base after the war, the landowner, Freddie March, grandfather of the current Earl of March, turned the perimeter road into a racing circuit. Britain’s first post-war motor racing took place here on September 18, 1948. The track was closed to racing in 1966, then re-opened in 1998. In its 16th year, the Revival features 15 races and special tributes over the mid-September weekend. I’ll give you the how-to’s for this event. But first, if you ever think you’ll attend annually, get on the list for membership into the Goodwood Road Racing Club (GRRC). Membership perks are outstanding. I’m on a 24 month wait list!

GTs

The GT’s from the Woodcote grandstands.

Taste of Victory

A taste of victory.

This year, celebrating 50 years of Ford’s GT40 history, an exciting one-make race for GT40s and related models took place. The career of legendary racecar driver Jim Clark was celebrated with 36 of the actual cars he raced, on parade. The Settrington Cup saw younger racers pedaling their way to glory in Austin J40s! Bonham’s auctioned over $23M in cars on Saturday. Tour de France cyclists, celebrating the 100th year running of the world’s greatest bicycle race, were also on parade. One hundred years of Aston Martin was celebrated in the Earl’s Court Motor Show exhibit and spectacular air shows went on overhead daily.... all just for starters!

Air shows and races

Air shows and races … all day long at the Revival.

Since I’m not a costume type person, I was a little apprehensive going into this adventure… easing in slowly. Outfitted in a black turtleneck, white jeans and big square sunglasses, I headed off to the Tampa airport feeling like Jackie O. By Day 3 at the track, I was so into dressing up that I didn’t think twice about wearing my red satin evening coat, long gloves and big sunglasses… in the pouring rain.

Before sharing my adventure, let me say that getting to Chichester, England, which is just up the road from Goodwood, was a snap! British Airways flies direct to Gatwick from Tampa, in eight hours, leaving at 6:15pm and arriving the next morning around 8am. Since tickets for this event go on sale mid-November, I was able to book a flight at a ridiculously low fare. Once in Gatwick, I hopped the train (right inside the airport) into Chichester. I personally didn’t want to hassle with a rental car and succumb to driving on the wrong side of the road. Lucky for me, I booked lodging in town and could take a five minute taxi ride to the Goodwood grounds after the gates opened at 7:30am and catch the official shuttle bus back into Chichester at the end of the day. Friends Keith Carlson and Bruce Murray were meeting up with Brits locally, and drove directly to the Estate in classic cars. The parking lots are a show in themselves!

Sandy in the Paddock

E2A and Sandy in the Paddock.

Paddock - rows of racing

The Paddock…rows of racing history.

It was a given, I would be seeing a lot of British cars, but, I was curious as to what else was in the Paddock. I was also on a mission to track down a Ferrari or two. To my surprise, there was a paddock full of these stallions! Speaking of the Paddock, a special pass, and of course vintage attire, is required to enter. Getting a Paddock pass is difficult, as you cannot buy them. That’s where the GRRC membership comes in handy. Again, I lucked out. After stopping to take photos with a group of bikers, they handed me a pass!

For me, my motorsports adventures sparkle because of the people I meet. Whether it’s a famous race car driver, classic car collector, or just another motorsports enthusiast, like me, each person adds to my adventure. The Goodwood Revival was all sparkles!

Flurry of excitement

A flurry of excitement around Stirling Moss and Jochen Mass.

I checked out the racing line-up and was thrilled to be able to watch legends Derek Bell, Brian Redman, and Andy Wallace, and also Oliver Gavin and Tom Kristensen – whom I had just seen race at Le Mans, all take the wheel of some pretty cool vintage race cars. Stirling Moss was on hand signing autographs, but more special than that, I was able to witness Stirling and Jochen Mass prepare a race history time capsule. It was a treat to run into Garth Hammers from Gooding Auctions and Steve Serio from Aston Martin of New England, who, like me, were there enjoying the weekend festivities.

Max - race car driver

Max… the race car driver.

What made this entire adventure spectacular was following one very special racecar driver through every pace of the weekend. Right off the bat, I thought I recognized a familiar face from the automotive auction world, as I was snooping around the Paddock. No, it couldn’t be, I thought. But on Day 2, while again roaming the Paddock, I ran into my very favorite auctioneer, Max Girado, from RM Auctions. It really was Max whom I thought I recognized the day before. You’ve read my praises of Max, as an auctioneer in previous articles, so you can imagine how ecstatic I was to find out he was racing… the Ferraris!!

Derek Bell

Derek Bell up second in the Corvette Sting Ray.

Besides being offered a Paddock pass at the start of the Revival, I was graciously offered another pass from the mechanic of the 1965 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray, which Derek Bell would race on Sunday… a team armband. I hope that gentleman goes straight to heaven when the time comes, as doing such a good deed was amazing. I could maneuver anywhere inside the pits and team areas, wearing the armband.

Ready to race

Ready to race.

Following Max though the paces connected me with the excitement of the races. The owners of both cars he was driving, the 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France and 1956 Ferrari 860 Monza, told me they had heard Max was a great auctioneer, but obviously admired him for his skills as a race car driver. Max slipped into the cars with ease, all smiles, and graciously took the time to wave before taking off. Watching Max finish third on Sunday, in the No. 22, 250 GT during the Fordwater Trophy race, was a thrill. I even watched him go through the post scrutineering checks. He definitely made my weekend!

Similar to Le Mans, you really have to watch the website (www.goodwood.com) to jump on board for early ticket sales, as they sell out quickly. Tickets are mailed after the first of the year. Here is what my website shopping cart included: A 3-day required roving grandstand general admission ticket, for $206; and, Saturday and Sunday reserved grandstand tickets at $122 each, in the Woodcote grandstands. The grandstands offer a fantastic viewing advantage.

I signed up for lunches at the Goodwood Hotel in the Cedar Suite. Dinners were back in Chichester at a fabulous Italian restaurant, Carluccio’s. Lodging at the Goodwood Hotel is reserved exclusively for guests of Lord March, but you can make reservations, on–line, for the three-course buffet lunch. Hostesses seat guests together, filling up tables for scheduled seatings. The Hotel ended up being my go to place for everything… relaxing, bathroom breaks and all other meals. There was even a fleet of complimentary vintage Jowett taxis and roadsters to take me back and forth to the track. The Hotel experience is definitely my MMR secret find!

Revival

Everyone has fun at the Revival.

Forever one of my favorite adventures, I hope the Goodwood Revival makes everyone’s motorsports bucket list. It’s no wonder Veuve Clicquot is sparkling everywhere during this weekend of excitement!