BLOG: Ashley Van Dyke: Long Beach Toyota GP Fun In Sun

Thanks to our lovely, glam Road Magazine USA correspondent for this ace blog report from Long Beach. Enjoy! Ashley (pictured, by John Grafman) says: "What started as your usual festivities for the Toyota Grand Prix at Long Beach was a beautiful morning at the street circuit and shiny race cars ready to play for the press. The teams loaded in and were set-up to give media ride-alongs and the Toyota Celebrities were on hand to get practice laps in their Scions before next weekend’s big race. I was onsite supporting Conrad Grunewald, Formula D driver and Road Magazine star (see: The bionic Camaro looked fabulous and Conrad was laying down some of the best drift runs of the day, getting closer to the first turn wall than anyone else. In drifting, it’s big bragging rights if you can kiss the wall, leaving only the smallest evidence on the paint. Job done Conrad! Awesome!
"About midway through the morning, I began to wonder why a gorgeous exotic sports car was just sitting in the paddock, untouched!? A 2012 Lotus Evora S was parked directly next to Conrad’s Hankook pit trailer. I had to get the skinny on this… so I called up Lotus Cars USA and it turns out the car was at the track just begging for someone to take it for a few hot laps! Done...
"It was the best media day in the history of my Toyota Long Beach events. I honestly couldn’t have planned this to go any better. I had an amazing time putting the power down in the Lotus, on a street course that is one of the most desirable circuits to drive in North America. The car was wicked fun to handle and I was passing Camry pace cars left and right during the session! Had to watch out for ALMS GT traffic, which was interesting! I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have a World Challenge Porsche chasing me down!!...don’t worry, I moved over and pointed them by. ;)
"It was even more good fun as Conrad Grunewald took the wheel in the Lotus Evora S and gave some media hot laps for our friends Ann Profit, Rutledge Wood and the crew from Motorator. It was a crazy afternoon and I kept busy running around coordinating all of the exciting PR opportunities that were unfolding.
"The Hankook Chevrolet Camaro was a big hit with the Formula D experience and Conrad had a chance to get some of the kinks worked out in the race car. Big racing weekend ahead as Conrad Grunewald Racing heads to round one on the 2012 Formula Drift schedule."
More from our Ashley Van Dyke Formula D next week... have fun in the sun Ashley. Thank you from Team Road and Road readers.
IMAGE: John Grafman


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