So A Musician, An Autocrosser, And A Model Walk Into a Camry…

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth

The Camry controversy continues! Famed Nurburgring racing instructor and TTAC contributor Mike Solowiow says the Camry SE sucks. Unfamed Ohio circle track racer and occasional Grand-Am pay-driver/equipment-destroyer Jack Baruth says it’s GRRRRRRRREAT!

Clearly this can only be settled with more racetrack testing of Camrys. Which leads to the completely inexcusable actions above.

Your humble author somehow managed to get a completely empty session at Nelson Ledges Road Course. No other cars. Nobody in the flag stations. Totally empty facility, except for a few people driving lawnmowers. I’m not going to say that I snuck in and was almost immediately ejected, because that’s not strictly true. They knew I was going to be there. Kind of. The bottom line is that I’m probably allowed to come back, some time in the 22nd Century.

Given that kind of freedom and a completely awesome 2012 Camry LE featuring a four-cylinder engine and just 28,000 [s]rental[/s] gentle miles, I decided to take some friends around the track. You’ll see some outtakes from that session in an upcoming review of the Camry LE. But the way we ended the day was like this: I piled my brother Mark, whom European TTACers can see during his August tour, National ProSolo Champion Marc Pfannenschmidt, and Marc’s wife, a former model and current wedding photographer, in the Camry for a quick chat.

The first thing we discovered is that the Camry can accomplish that relatively rare street-car feat of taking the “Kink” flat-out. Mostly because it’s only doing 108mph when said Kink appears. Still, the car’s basic composure continues to impress, even without the improved steering and suspension response of the SE model.

The second thing we discovered is that the foot-operated E-brake works very well.

The following disclaimers apply: Do not drive a car no-handed at 80mph in a turn. Ever. Not even on a track. You could get killed. Don’t E-brake your car in a turn. Not even on a racetrack. You could get killed. If there had been a single other car on course, none of this would have happened. Drive safe and smart. No texting occurred during the making of this video, but Marc’s wife’s figure does cause distracted driving and caused a guy at a gas station near Garrettsville, Ohio to walk into a pole because he was staring at her going the other way. Your mileage may vary, but my mileage was excellent.

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2 of 41 comments
  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Jul 04, 2013

    At first glance, I though that was Bertel driving, and he'd dyed his moustache. My bad. Bertel's lens frames are different.

  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on Jul 04, 2013

    So, a musician, an autocrosser, and a model, BUT NO DUCK???! What kind of joke is this?

  • Jdt65724922 How can a Chrysler E-Class ride better than a Chrysler Fifth Avenue?
  • Lorenzo This series is epic, but I now fear you'll never get to the gigantic Falcon/Dart/Nova comparison.
  • Chris P Bacon Ford and GM have decided that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Odds are Chrysler/Cerberus/FCA/Stellantis is next to join in. If any of the companies like Electrify America had been even close to Tesla in reliability, we wouldn't be here.
  • Inside Looking Out China will decide which EV charging protocol will become world wide standard.
  • Chris P Bacon I see no reference to Sweden or South Carolina. I hate to assume, but is this thing built in China? I can't help but wonder if EVs would be more affordable to the masses if they weren't all stuffed full of horsepower most drivers will never use. How much could the price be reduced if it had, say, 200hp. Combined with the instant torque of an EV, that really is plenty of power for the daily commuter, which is what this vehicle really is.