Driving On Two Wheels

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Every now and then I get a “drop everything” phone call from Sam (www.hubinetteracing.com). If I’m lucky, part of that phone call involves the words “Oh, and bring your helmet.” Past phone calls have led to shakedown testing of the 860Hp Dodge Challenger drift car, Movie sets, go kart racing and a launch party on the docks in LA for Ken Block’s Gymkhana 2. These calls are very much welcomed.

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Last week’s call was about as random as it gets. For an upcoming project, Sam has to be able to drive on 2 wheels, comfortably, in a large fast car. I guess we’ve all seen 2 wheel driving at some point in time, but have you ever thought about how you’d learn how to do it? You cant really just take your BMW and drive it up a ramp onto 2 wheels…that would be a wee bit nuts. What we actually did was take his BMW and drive it up a ramp onto 2 wheels. Except, this BMW is a little different. It’s what I’ll call Brad-ified. Samuel’s crew chief, Brad, bought a 1989 BMW 318, stripped it naked and got to welding. The car now cunningly sports a 5th wheel by the driver’s window that acts as a stabilizer for the grown-ups doing dumb stuff. It’s actually a genius piece of fab work. He hooked the car to an overhead pulley, tilted the car to it’s balance point and mounted the wheel on a quick release just a few inches past balance.

Off we went to Irwindale Speedway where we had the track to ourselves – one of the perks of being a professional racecar driver –tracks donate themselves to you for practice - NOT fair for the rest of us mere mortals, but GREAT when you get to tag along.

Sam is one of these disgusting drivers that is good at anything involving an accelerator and a wheel. After 5 tries he was balanced and a short while later he was literally driving around the banking (Since I’m a good friend I’m conveniently ignoring the part where he had a brain fart and drove straight into the ramp tearing a tire and sending us off to the middle of nowhere to find a used 14inch tire.)

It was a blast watching it and I couldn’t wait for my turn. The excitement quickly morphed into some form of terror-nerves as soon as I was harnessed in. The 2 foot wide steel ramp somehow now looked to be about 3 inches wide and I had to hit it at 30mph. The theory is this: Drive up the ramp, throw the steering wheel to the right to tip the car, balance. Even though I knew I had the safety wheel it took me easily 10 tries to get it over onto that tire, I cant describe how random it is to be on TWO WHEELS trying essentially to flip the car, no matter what I tried to do, my body refused to believe that it was OK. I did eventually “get it” and it is incredibly fun. I couldn’t steer it yet, but I was definitely driving on 2 wheels and I felt like I was master of the universe for about 9 seconds. I will absolutely be doing it again and am available for 2-wheel driving stunts that don’t require any directional predictability...

Big thanks to Samuel Hubinette, check out his work – www.hubinetteracing.com.