Friday, November 13, 2009

How I Broke an SLK 55 AMG

Sigh. And it was all going so well. But let me back up.

Last weekend I did the AMG Stage II course at Laguna Seca. An element of the course was to run in an autocross challenge competition. This is essentially a single timed lap around a coned-out course, set up on the concrete paddock area at Laguna. So far, so good. We got to run both a practice and qualifying session, and were sorted into 4 groups of 10 drivers with the top 8 (2 from each group) progressing to the final. Glad to say I came out top of the group I was in and so made it into the final, but in the process I broke one of their cars.

Turns out the oil cooler on the SLK 55 is hung low and to the right of the engine bay, at what turned out to be a very convenient height to get hit by wayward cones. Now by "wayward", when applied to cones, I of course mean that it stood still and I ran over it. Well, in fact it and one of its siblings to be precise. And in order to effect at least a measure of revenge one of the two - and I never did figure out exactly which of them were the guilty party - smacked a hole in the oil cooler, resulting in a long streak of nicely warmed oil being deposited over the track. Oh, and a big pool of the stuff in the staging area off to the side. And they had to retire the car.

Tsk, and there was me thinking that AMGs were made of stronger stuff. One teeny weeny cone and the thing's off the road? Pah.

(Nope, I didn't win the final. Was way too conservative on the timed single lap, a failing I am still beating myself up about days later. I hate losing. But on the plus side, I got awarded a Meguire's car care kit for services rendered to said mortally wounded car!)