Grudge Match: Reuters Races TTAC! Complete Photo Documentary

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

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?




Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • APaGttH APaGttH on Sep 06, 2011

    No fair, weight advantage, hold crap she has a 12 inch waist, maybe! I think the new Scion iZ has potential. It is sporty, fun to look at, fuel efficent. Wait, that's not the new Scion?

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Sep 06, 2011

    Letting the cute girl win - very gentlemanly, Bertel. I approve.

  • MaintenanceCosts Nobody here seems to acknowledge that there are multiple use cases for cars.Some people spend all their time driving all over the country and need every mile and minute of time savings. ICE cars are better for them right now.Some people only drive locally and fly when they travel. For them, there's probably a range number that works, and they don't really need more. For the uses for which we use our EV, that would be around 150 miles. The other thing about a low range requirement is it can make 120V charging viable. If you don't drive more than an average of about 40 miles/day, you can probably get enough electrons through a wall outlet. We spent over two years charging our Bolt only through 120V, while our house was getting rebuilt, and never had an issue.Those are extremes. There are all sorts of use cases in between, which probably represent the majority of drivers. For some users, what's needed is more range. But I think for most users, what's needed is better charging. Retrofit apartment garages like Tim's with 240V outlets at every spot. Install more L3 chargers in supermarket parking lots and alongside gas stations. Make chargers that work like Tesla Superchargers as ubiquitous as gas stations, and EV charging will not be an issue for most users.
  • MaintenanceCosts I don't have an opinion on whether any one plant unionizing is the right answer, but the employees sure need to have the right to organize. Unions or the credible threat of unionization are the only thing, history has proven, that can keep employers honest. Without it, we've seen over and over, the employers have complete power over the workers and feel free to exploit the workers however they see fit. (And don't tell me "oh, the workers can just leave" - in an oligopolistic industry, working conditions quickly converge, and there's not another employer right around the corner.)
  • Kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh [h3]Wake me up when it is a 1989 635Csi with a M88/3[/h3]
  • BrandX "I can charge using the 240V outlets, sure, but it’s slow."No it's not. That's what all home chargers use - 240V.
  • Jalop1991 does the odometer represent itself in an analog fashion? Will the numbers roll slowly and stop wherever, or do they just blink to the next number like any old boring modern car?
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