When I first became interested in sports and racing cars, I read everything I could get my hands on that dealt with the subject of high performance. Road & Track, Motor Sport and Car and Driver magazines were must-reads. Add to those the elegant and beautifully produced Automobile Quarterly and one could learn quite a lot about cars and the people who made and enjoyed them. Of course, I wanted more than to just read about these experiences. I wanted to take part. I wanted to race cars.
So it was that I went to the Jim Russell Racing Drivers School with its classroom near Rosamond, California using Willow Springs Raceway for the practical application of the lessons taught. It was my first time in an open-wheeled formula car--a Lotus Formula Ford. There was no synchromesh on the gears so one had to match engine revs with every shift while learning how to control every aspect of the car's behavior to the maximum extent possible. It was a lot to concentrate on because it was not driving for fun, it was driving for precision. Surprisingly, I was told to limit my revs--and therefore speed--and to focus instead upon accuracy with regard to braking points and apexes, entrance and exit points when cornering. As I would later experience when learning to fly glider planes, the deep concentration of the early stages became seat-of-the-pants instinct very quickly.
As we progressed, authorized speeds were increased. Finally, I thought I was moving along at a pretty fast pace between Turns 2 and 3 when a track version of a Shelby Mustang GT350 blew past me like the Lotus was parked, which taught me a valuable racing lesson that applies to street driving as well. Always keep an eye on your rear-view mirrors.
Months later, my familiarity with the track served me well when my friends and I spent the day at Willow Springs with the GTOs and several other Ferraris. More recently, John Fitch told me something I hadn't considered offering an interesting perspective. He said, "It is more important to go fast in the faster corners than in the slower ones since you gain more time in the longer corners." Rest assured, I've been putting that into action.
I have always thought that schools like Jim Russell should be required of all who drive a car on public roads. I think the current driving tests--at least in California--serve only to notify the public of the codes for which they will be fined when they are violated and have nothing to do with car control and competence.
"Sweet! In the early days of our marriage, around 1975, I put Phoebe through the Bondurant School, and she had a ball and came out a pretty fast driver; faster than I, for sure. The timing and the money never coincided for me, so I have lacked that experience. When we had the 275GTB/C she beat me up the Virginia City hillclimb. The timers were afraid to tell me, thinking my ego couldn’t stand it; I was actually quite pleased that I got my money’s worth! Ed"
How to Shoot a Feature Film in 15 Days (And Survive to See Profits)
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Examples of Responsive Reactions
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Action/ReAction at Stella Adler
Point of Departure
A Series of ONE...
Stephen and Dragonuk
Stephen Mitchell webinar for Stage 32
Ferrari GTO 3987 at speed by Yan denes
Ray D. Shosay's Journal
Dispatches from a (junior) suite in Paris
Ray D. Shosay's Journal (excerpt)
"Saturday, January 27, 2007
They say you can fool some of the people all of the time. Accordingly, I think we should concentrate on this group initially. We can move on to the people you can only fool some of the time at a later date if we deem it necessary. I hope to hear back from my agent about this as soon as he's out of rehab, as I don't think my messages have been getting through."
Ignorance is Bliss by Stephen Mitchell
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Exerpt from Ignorance is Bliss
"Out of the corner of his eye, Martin saw Martha shift in her seat. She leaned forward, as though something was about to be decided. This caused her breasts to push up against the neckline of her dress in a way that couldn't be fully appreciated out of the corner of one’s eye. So, Martin turned his head to look directly into the abyss of her cleavage. He was vaguely aware that Murray was talking again."
Carrera Panamericana (1950-54)
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Ferrari GTO 3987
Elysée Wednesday: Drive!
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“You ought to meet Steve. The two of you have the same kind of Ferrari.”
Ferrari Berlinetta Lusso
One evening, I was enjoying a John le Carré novel and a glass of Bordeaux...
L'art de l'automobile
My first Lusso prior to restoration
It was only after Sinatra was gone...
Once upon a time...
Meeting Enzo Ferrari
I came across this on a late night stroll in Paris near the Louvre.
I bought Bentleys in England and Ferraris & Maseratis in Italy to re-sell in Los Angeles as a teenager. I met Enzo Ferrari, Juan Fangio and Steve McQueen. I 'grew up' on the set of Mission: Impossible and other episodic TV series of the era. For a few years, I owned a Ferrari GTO that is owned by Ralph Lauren today and valued at approximately $52M. I began my film career by writing, producing and directing Montmartre in Paris in French. I founded and ran a repertory company for film & TV for 20 years in Los Angeles. I created a TV series which had fans that included Marlon Brando. I authored the first new acting technique--Action/ReAction--that was not based on Stanislavski's Method. I am currently writing my third novel and shooting my spy thriller Exigence. If you can't make movies, live your life as though you were in one...