I arrived about ten minutes after Mark and the FR-S. I signed a waiver at the gate and slotted the Focus ST right alongside the Scion. Stepping out of the ST and looking at the Scion made plain my biggest fear - The ST is a whole lot more car that our FR-S. It' a big piece of meat. At least it' yellow.
I tapped Mark on the shoulder and pointed out every single other FR-S in the lot. There were about 60-something cars in total and at least 6 or them were Scions. Mark wasn't going to have anywhere to hide if he couldn't lay down a good time. I took some solace in being the only ST, or any non Mustang Ford in the lot, but I wasn't going to know if my time was any good or not. Beating Mark is one thing, but I kinda wanted to see how I handled the ST.
And then came the attention.
The car is yellow, I know, but before I knew it I had already talked to three people about the ST. They walked over and expressed interests ranging from the fuel economy to the size of the trunk. I offered up the car for their inspection and while every one of them were polite and appreciative of the chance to crawl around the car, they all ended the conversation with words I didn't need to hear, "I'll keep my eye on this thing. I can't wait to see how it does!" Great. Now I have an audience.
There was more of that as I brought the car through tech. Other inspectors and drivers walked over and poked their heads under the hood and peered into the fender wells to get a better look at it. I felt like tossing the keys to an instructor and letting them demo the car for the day, not to save what' left of my name, but instead to preserve the mystique of the car.
Our work group came and went. Mark and I walked off the course and over to our respective cars. He looked confident. I was starting to believe he was in the perfect car as the FR-S slinked away towards the pre-grid. I climbed into my mango muscle car, whacked my head on the door pillar and followed him out.
Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 3,875 miles