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Insider Report: Calmest men in the world drive into river, shrug

Published November 4, 2013

Russian guys play it cool after driving into a river
The thought of getting trapped in a sinking car is the stuff of nightmares for a good percentage of the population, with very real cause. The video below is proof that what terrifies some people is just another experience for others. The video begins as two guys are driving down the road, when the driver overshoots a tight left turn and goes through the Armco barrier and into a river below. The ensuing conversation is calm, cool and collected. A YouTube commenter claims to have translated the conversation:
“Oh, we float!”
“Where we go?”
“I don’t know, maybe to the shore.”
“Don’t steer the wheel, it’s useless.”

Fancy footwork by Alex Healey
As a teenager who aspired to learn to be the best driver of all time back in the early 80′s, I studied a video of Walter Rohrl’s feet for hours on end. The way his feet danced on the pedals mesmerized me as he left foot braked and performed the mythical heel and toe downshift, time after time. By the time I actually sat behind the wheel of a car with a manual transmission, my “coach” a friendly lady in her 30′s was astonished that I didn’t need any instruction and was able to shift better than she was. I understood what was happening mechanically and the motions were burned into my brain thanks to Herr Rohrl and the mighty Audi Quattro.

Canadian Touring Car racer Alex Healy is a talented racer, if not a match for old Walter and his Acura RSX race car is a far cry from an Ur-Quattro, but the lessons to be learned in this video are many. Shot at Le Circuit Mont Tremblant in June, Healy performs all of the moves that I studied 30 years ago. If you have a teenage gearhead in the house who wants to learn how to drive stick competently, direct them towards this video.

A barn full of old Ferraris in Vermont
Vermont is one of my favourite places, home to Ben & Jerry’s, Smuggler’s Notch and the Shelburne Museum. It is also home to Vermont Sportscar, a rally preparation shop that is home to American Rally legend John Buffum. In other words, there is a whole bunch of fun going on in the Green State. It is also home to Peter Markowski and Restoration and Performance Motorcars. Ferrari lovers have another cool place to visit when they take the family skiing.

David Coulthard does donuts atop Burj Al Arab Hotel in Red Bull F1 car
Perhaps because I am a fat guy, I hate heights. I just have a rather pronounced sense of the pain that the effects of gravity can cause. So when I first saw reference to this stunt, I chose not to watch it. Irrational? Probably. Even still, the Red Bull gang have convinced retired F1 driver David Coulthard to do some pretty crazy stuff in an F1 car so I finally gave in and watched it last night.

Having driven on mountain shelf roads with a 2,000′ drop and no guardrail recently, I will admit that the sense of impending death lessens when one is in control of a car, so I can understand how DC was confident enough to spin a few donuts at 210 metres above the water on a helipad that was just 24 metres wide. That being said, I am also a motorsports photographer and there is no way they would have convinced me to stand at the edge of the platform and shoot the action. Those guys are NUTS!

15 Seconds With: 2014 Jaguar XJL R
The L in this cat’s name essentially stands for Long, extending the popular Jaguar XJ to include a substantial rear seat for the exec who wants to be driven around. While technically the rear cabin holds three, it is perfect comfort for a pair of adults, even if they are both big guys like me. As with all Jags, attention to detail means the interior is the class of the segment.

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