2013 Subaru BRZ: MotoGP Road Trip, Part One
July 26, 2013
We were reaching the end of the long-term test of our 2013 Subaru BRZ when photographer Kurt Niebuhr and I received an invitation to attend the MotoGP race weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. What a great way to log another 700 miles or so before we hand the keys back, no?
As guests of Mazda, the track's title sponsor, I thought it'd be more appropriate to drive up in our long-term CX-5, but it was already on its way to Wyoming. Since it was only a weekend trip, and we both pack light, cargo capacity wasn't an issue. My rolling luggage and camera bag fit perfectly next to Kurt's duffle.
Considering how loud I found our FR-S when I drove it to and from San Diego, I was more concerned about comfort. As expected, though, the BRZ is way quieter on the highway than the Scion. Yes, road and wind noise were ever present, but they weren't nearly as intrusive as the FR-S, which had stickier tires, suspension mods and an aftermarket exhaust.
We pointed the car north from our Santa Monica HQ at 6:30 in the morning, hoping to reach the Monterey Peninsula around 11:30. I knew the route well and volunteered to drive. I managed to torture Kurt with my oddball taste in music while the BRZ's touchscreen tortured me right back. Seriously, it has to be one of the worst interfaces to ever be put in a car. Tiny on-screen buttons and occasional responsiveness were endlessly infuriating.
Somewhere around Santa Maria, we stopped to refuel. I also decided to fuel myself up on beef jerky (my road-trip staple) and some lime-cucumber Gatorade (it's delicious, trust me). That tank averaged to 30.2 mpg, though we did start out with three-quarters of a tank. On the way up, I also decided to try my hand at the Waze iPhone app.
Some of the drudgery was accented by Waze alerting us to possible hazards and the occasional law enforcement officer collecting revenue. I also scored a few Waze points for calling out those hazards and alerts.
Just as we expected, we pulled into our Cannery Row hotel right around 11:30. I sat in the car while Kurt grabbed our tickets and information packets, then we were right back on the road to Mazda Raceway, my spiritual home.
I'm not sure why, but the BRZ managed to turn quite a few heads from our fellow race attendees. Over the trip, it was also a hit with the hotel valets (for better or worse, I suppose). We emerged from the Subaru at our hillside parking spot refreshed and ready for a fun weekend. Part of that could be attributed to the BRZ, but I think our excitement had more to do with it.
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 19,150 miles