Reuters is widely considered the best in the business when it comes to the auto beat. They were that before Paul Ingrassia joined Reuters as Deputy Editor-in-Chief. That someone who won the Pulitzer-prize for his coverage of the turmoil at GM took the helm at Reuters only made their coverage better. Amongst the Tokyo auto press corps, Chang-Ran Kim of Reuters reigns supreme.
However, even the best journalists can become a bit territorial, and an aging TTAC blogger who air-drops into Tokyo every other month can become an irritant. After a little back and forth ribbing, we decided: “Let’s settle this like, well, persons.” And a grudge match was arranged:
Ran Kim of Reuters races BS of TTAC. Full race coverage after the jump ….
Immediate question: Race with what? The first idea was to use LFAs. Lexus provided a selection, 2 in black, 2 in white (probably to keep some quota).
Then we asked what would happen if something should happen to the $375,000 car. “No problem,” we were told. “Just buy a new one.” Did I mention that manufacturer largesse is very limited in Japan?
Then someone at Toyota said: “Why not go-karts?”
Great idea! Gazoo Racing volunteered to do race support and to provide the split second timing.
The grudge match promised world-wide attention, so Gazoo took the opportunity to show off some cars. This is the boss’s LFA in “24 hours Nürburgring” livery. He can afford it. If it breaks, they just build a new one.
A nice hot hatch concept. Not for sale.
The sports hybrid concept was ignored by Ran. Even the fake eyelashes could not impress. Ran focused on her race.
Driver’s meeting. Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco moonlights as Chief Referee and explains the course. He also shows the current course record: 13:644 seconds, achieved by a professional Gazoo driver.
This is the coveted trophy the winner of the grudge match will take home: A genuine Team Gazoo wristband! Akio Toyoda has one. The winner of the race will have one as well.
Time to suit up. Ran Kim gets a helmet …
… and race gloves.
BS is likewise outfitted. What did they say about a big head?
Pre-race briefing. Ran gets instructions from a Gazoo race driver.
Ran receives advice I did not get: “You want to win against that German guy? Attitude is everything!”
And Team Reuters is off!
Ran rearranges the track barriers a bit.
And she crosses the finish line at 13:480 seconds.
My time? 16:981. Ran brings home another win for Team Reuters. And did you notice that she even did beat Team Gazoo by a few fractions of a second?