Saturday, April 02, 2005

Ezra Dyer takes an AMG SL65 to the drag strip

When the light goes green, I take off with such violence that the automatic roll bar pops up. The SL's spring-loaded roll bar deploys at a threshold of 0.5 g, which is a pretty good shove in the back if you're not being rear-ended by a dump truck. When I trip the lights, I find I've turned an 11.85-second quarter at 118 mph-with the air-conditioning on and the seat gently massaging my back. When I pull up to the booth to get my time slip, the track official is apoplectic. "You need to slow down. You just ran in the 11s. I think you need a roll cage." I point to the deployed roll bar, but he says pop-up bars on hardtop convertibles don't count. I get the impression he just made that up on the spot. Luckily, he continues improvising rules until I'm once again legal. "Wait a minute, no, you used to need a roll cage if you were in the 12s . . . but I think we just changed the rule to 11.49. So don't go faster than that."

Back at the pits, other drivers are scandalized. They want to look at the time slip. Curse words are uttered. This rich-guy luxobarge just ran in the 11s right out of the box. I attribute my time to pure driving talent, but that notion evaporates when people start asking questions about my setup and technique. "What's your air pressure?" "Did you do a burnout before the run?" "Does this have adjustable suspension?" "Which ride height is it set at?" "Are you shifting it yourself?" I am quickly made to understand that if I can run in the 11s with full air pressure in the tires, the air-conditioning on, and the suspension set on firm (not ideal for load transfer to the drive wheels), then basically Cuddles the Miniature Seeing-Eye Pony could also snap off consistent sub-twelve-second runs.



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3:07 PM  

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