In usual fashion, at this point, it was time to motate to Paris... Texas, that is. We chose this destination in honor of the film Paris, Texas, written by Sam Shepard and directed by Wim Wenders, with no film footage shot there. In the morning it's Dallas to visit friends, then the routine route back to L.A.
The Q7 TDI was about as right as you could ask for a weeklong traveling companion. Comfortable, efficient, and without the usual fatigue after hours behind the wheel that's more the norm than the exception. The good news for Audi is that more than a few inquired about the availability of the TDI and when it will go on sale. The bad news is it should have been last year.
Random Happenings In The World Of Motorsport
* Grand Am: For those who were tired of seeing the Ganassi team in the winners circle of the Daytona 24 Hours, the normal programming was interrupted by the Brumos Porsche, mainly due to brilliant and determined driving by David Donohue. And on the 40th anniversary of his father's win at the 24. Not bad. This was also a huge win for Porsche Motorsport North America, which built the winning motor. The new Penske was powered by Weissach and this didn't sit well with many. Roger by golly had a fast car but at all the wrong times. Interesting that now that Penske has entered the world of the prototurtles, Porsche has gotten some breaks from Grand Am.
* ALMS: The series hyping itself as green is more red these days. A diminished car count, fewer manufacturers willing to spend, and one of the top draws bailing after Sebring in the form of Audi. Even with Peugeot making a return trip for Sebring, the carriage may turn into a pumpkin. Oddly enough, the racing of what's left may be one of the best seasons in the short history of the series. Dyson has switched to Mazda, the Acura teams are pushing like they have something other than family competition, and then there's always GT2, which is a show all by itself and deserves more coverage on TV than has been allowed.
* Formula One: What could I possibly write about F1 that has not been dissected, discarded and disposed of only to come true that isn't done in what seems to be thousands of outlets elsewhere? Nothing.
So with that out of the way, the question here is why have an F1 team based in the U.S. (near Charlotte, actually) and called USF1? With no race on the calendar, what exactly is the point? Promote American technology and products abroad to a world that already drinks Coke and Pepsi? The talk out of the FIA these days has been cost control and capping budgets. F1 is not adding to the grid but subtracting, as only nine teams will line up for 2009. Glory days indeed. Many outside F1 don't see the value of BMW and Mercedes continuing to pour millions down the sinkhole. Of course, Ferrari is a horse of a different color.
* Le Mans: Despite a weakened economy, les 24 Heures du Mans is a gift that keeps on giving. Do well there and you can milk it for the season. Peugeot and Audi will go after the top slot again, and with production car diesel sales easily outdoing the gas bags, it's good for them. And the wild card, dark horse, whatever, may well be the Aston Martin LMP1. Never count an operation overseen by David Richards out of anything, and if Prodrive has shown anything in the past, it's how to adapt from one form of motorsport to another. And isn't it great knowing that GT cars have air conditioning as standard equipment? This should do wonders for future development on production car a/c units, which have always been too large and cumbersome. Still, the thought of a driver passing out from the heat inside a closed GT car reminds me of one of the more memorable lines from Le Mans when Steve McQueen is asked if he is fit.