Event>> Long Beach Gp & The Return Of Turbo Tom

Ever heard the saying "You better treat people well on your way up, as they'll be the same people you'll see on your way back down"….  Interesting words, although perhaps it's not the best ultimate motivator to become a good, honest and helpful person in life…. In my opinion, you should always be truthful and straight forward with people as an end in itself, not just because there are consequences…. But it is true that you also really don't know where your pathway is going to pass another person later down the road so it's best to keep the good vibes rolling where ever possible isn't it?

So on this subject, I'm having a bit of a moment right now with crossed pathways… let me tell you a little story….

From around 2000 to 2004, I was heavily involved in PC race sim-modding and ran a mod crew called Virtua_LM.  We devoted ourselves to the recreation of GT1, Group C, GTP and Group5 mods for EA's PC SCGT and F1 games. Check out this 3D model of the IMSA spec McLaren BMW 320i Turbo which VLM cooked up many years ago.

During this time, I had regular contact with a young guy who used the online avatar name "Turbo Tom". He was big into the PC sim racing online community and a big fan of our work. As my career as a video game producer developed I gradually lost touch with Turbo Tom, but heard he started a professional racing career.

Fast forward 8 years and voila… I met him for the first time today as he is one of the drivers of the BMW M3 GT2 we've all been drooling over for the past while. We're going to be working with Tommy and Rahal Letterman Racing to shoot some more cool NFS film projects this weekend. Crazy!

And this is his race machine…. Oh yes… life is good….. :>

It's interesting to inspect high end GT racing machinery. Somehow they always have visual style about them, that is in no way compromised by function.

Form and Function achieve a perfect balance. There is nothing that the fashionistas can criticize here is there….

Check out those intakes hiding behind the twin BMW grills….

The Rays Rims are looking good…. you can see some effort has gone into venting air from the wheel well…

A heat shield surrounds the exhaust pipes on either side of the car….

…. Hot air from the internal exhaust piping is vented at the front of the windows… a lot of effort has gone into keeping heat away from the driver compartment as per the new ACO rules regarding cockpit temperatures.

Did you know this car has a rear transaxle setup? This is a no compromise, full race car design… These ducts no doubt feed air into the rear transaxle cooling systems.

As I left the BMW paddock, film production company's task was to get Tommy's helmet ready with a HD POV Camera setup. The seating area in the BMW is a lot more restrictive than what we had to deal with last weekend with the Falken Mustang so some adjustments will likely need to be made.

Speaking of Falken I swung by their pit area to have a look at the Porsche. This for the most part, is a completely different race team to the drift squad so a few of them were wondering who I was…. Why is the Chinese guy in the funny hat taking so many pictures of our car?….

I pointed to the Speedhunters logo on the car and everyone calmed down though… all part of the family…..

Porsche's 997 based GT3 RSR is an absolute thing of beauty.

The Falken livery takes quite well to it…. I love the black rims too…. they add an extra ominous quality to any car IMO.

On the way out of the ALMS Paddock I took a moment to admire all the race tires stacked up in the Michelin area.

The Flying Lizard cars also look great… It's a fantastic livery design and colour combination.

I decided to swing by the Formula D Team Drift paddock to say hello…… not too many people were around though…

Both of Samuel Hubinette's Vipers were out. I do like the idea of seeing two Vipers in team drift… that would be very cool!

Looks like Kyle Mohan has elected to drive his RX8 this weekend… I would have expected him to have brought out the old FC….

Chris Forsberg tells me that he'll be running with Kyle and drifter-turned-FD-Judge Tony Angelo.

…. for him though, the team drift machinery will be the practice car….

I love this…. heh heh heh…

Looks like we'll have some AE86s running in triple drift on the weekend…. This is Taka Aono's B car…

John Russakoff's Hachi looks ready to run….

I spotted this old school slot car track being setup right next to the Drift Paddock… pretty sweet…. Slot cars used to be THE THING back in the day, but I seriously doubt there are as many of these tracks set up as their used to be.

None-the-less it's cool to see this art form still going….

Talk soon, in the meantime I'm going to be extra kind to everyone around me tomorrow….


Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach 2009 Coverage on Speedhunters



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Great stuff! And I love the hill climb on the last pic! I'll always be a fan of the blue king though hehe


Whats Forsbergs practise Z running under the hood?


Gotta say congrats to Turbo Tom. From virtua racer to racing one of the sexiest looking GT machines of the modern day. Jealousy knows no bounds right now. :)

Would love a desktop of this if possible. (http://ll.dev.speedhunters.com/u/f/eagames/NFS/dev.speedhunters.com/Images/Rod09/Event/Long%20Beach%20GP1/IMG_6299.jpg)


kraljeviiiiiii osto sam bez texta svaka cast


Great pics of the BMW and Porsche's!



Hey Rod - Virtua_LM is doing quiet well, isn't it? Still driving there LeMans + MidOhio Tracks in rFactor ;-)

Have a nice Day!


Good luck to Tommy and the rest of the RLR guys this weekend.


Wow! I used to drool over those Virtua_LM mods back when I was a kid. Some of the first mods I ever had. cool. And damn is Tom ever lucky! (and talented)

Please, Please can we see more of that Falken Porsche RSR.


There's a few slot car places with a big following here in Milwaukee Wisconsin still I drive by it and sometimes it's hoppin


I checked out the Falken promo video for the RSR the other day and was really taken with the black wheels contrasting the green / blue livery. More pics of that please!

On a side (somewhat related) I just updated my blog with a post on the Roy Lichtenstein Group 5 320i Art Car which was just here in NYC. A very cool car to see in the flesh, and by far one of my favorite BMW's. Second in class at Le Mans in 1977. Needless to say I took lots of pictures: http://wolfsburgrs.blogspot.com/2009/04/second-look-roy-lichtenstein-320i-group.html


Dear universe. Please cease and desist all usage of the phrase "form and function" or any derivative thereof. It is easily the single most played out term used by people that don't really know what they are talking about, or a select few informed people who wish to appeal to people who don't know what they are talking about.

Also, did you honestly expect that the Falken Tire drift team would have any connection with a professional road race team at the upper echelon of the sport? Sure, it's all similar... in the way that a Chiropractor is similar to a Brain Surgeon.


'Wow! I used to drool over those Virtua_LM mods back when I was a kid.'

Aw man, that's enough to make a guy feel old. 8-P


I remember meeting Tom and Bobby Rahal at a Laguna ALMS about a year or two ago and I had asked Tom about the GT3 he was driving at the time and he told me it was only temporary. So I go to Bobby and ask him what all the secrecy is about and all he says to me is "BMW is coming back to LeMans." I don't think that at the time I could have ever guessed that they would produce something as badass as the GT2, but in retrospect I probably should have considering that the back straight at Laguna is named after the man lol.


Great pics of the Hachi-Roku's they look like toys:D


long live Sports Car GT! :>p


That slot track has been at Long Beach every year I have been there. I am surprised the BMW car is running rays rims... I figured they would be on the centerlock BBS rims that the Falken 911 is on. That style of rim was used on alot of comp BMW's, as well as (non centerlocked) e46 M3 CSL's and ZCP packaged M3's. Of course rim with the centerlock is now a option on 911's....


desktop of that virtual IMSA spec McLaren BMW 320i Turbo plz.


Worker bee go to:

virtua-lm.com to get the desktop...


Very cool how Falken decided to run their RSR with black wheels. It doesn't look like the wheels that come with the RSR as well. Usually the RSRs running in the ALMS and Le Mans series run the same chrome wheels.