buying Driving into Darkness: Experiencing the Great American Eclipse in the Great American Sports Car

03:52  30 august  2017
03:52  30 august  2017 Source:   Car and Driver

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follow. Articlescar. Firts For Car News and Reviews. Wednesday, August 23, 2017. Homepage » Driving into Darkness : Experiencing the Great Trace system.drawing.bitmap stripe of the fantastic American Eclipse of 2017 and you will see Bowling Green, Kentucky, sat neatly on the edge of totality.

When is The Great American Eclipse in South Carolina? Where is The Great American Eclipse seen? Totality (total darkness ) happens in areas north of Aiken, including Orangeburg, Columbia, Sumter, Greenville, and Anderson.

Trace the fat stripe of the Great American Eclipse of 2017 and you’ll see Bowling Green, Kentucky, sat neatly on the edge of totality. Bowling Green is home to the Chevrolet Corvette assembly line, as well as the National Corvette Museum and the NCM Motorsports Park. The eclipse set off one of the largest and swiftest temporary migrations of Americans in memory. We migrated, too, departing the Ann Arbor, Michigan, offices of Car and Driver with three Corvettes and the notion that it would be a hell of a lot of fun to drive them into the darkness on a racetrack.

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Driving into Darkness : Experiencing the Great American Eclipse in the Great American Sports Car . The Great American Eclipse (Our Experience of Totality in South Carolina). KATHLEEN PARKER: Great American Eclipse was needed to make America real again.

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On the NCM road course, we achieved speeds approaching 140 mph at the end of the main straight. A quick poll of the group indicated that the fastest any of us have ever driven was 210 mph—not shabby—but our driving companion for the eclipse had our highest Vmax topped by more than 17,000 miles per hour.

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Hot on the heels of a career that saw him serve as a U.S. Marine fighter pilot, graduate the Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program (better known as TOPGUN), and work as a test pilot, Andy Allen was selected to serve NASA as a space-shuttle pilot and commander. He’d eventually fly three missions on Atlantis and Columbia, spending more than a cumulative month orbiting our planet in space, where hurtling into sudden darkness happens every 45 minutes while in orbit. As a human reference point who knows both the heavens and speed, Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Allen will be tough to beat.

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What’s So Special About the Great American Eclipse ? Depending on your location, the moon will begin to eclipse the sun between 70 and 90 minutes before totality. This is the slow build-up to darkness .

Filed Under: Great American Solar Eclipse , Solar eclipse . 21, some spots in America will see day turn into night. “Certain parts of North America will see a total solar eclipse ; here locally we’ll see a partial solar eclipse ,” said David Mues with the Powerhouse Science Center.

Driving into Darkness: Experiencing the Great American Eclipse in the Great American Sports Car© CHRIS CANTLE Driving into Darkness: Experiencing the Great American Eclipse in the Great American Sports Car

On Sunday we meet up in steamy Bowling Green and take refuge from the heat in the National Corvette Museum. It’s big and dark and humming with people, even late into the afternoon, even on a Kentucky Sunday. The place brims with interesting hardware. Concept cars. Legendary drag racers and road racers. The 1,000,000th Corvette off the assembly line. The hard-working former test mule that our own John Phillips drove to Alaska for a 2007 C/D feature is there. The 1968 Astro-Vette concept earns our interest, too. Likewise, a wall devoted to astronauts who’ve dabbled with Corvettes.

In the early days of the space program, a dollar-a-year lease deal on Corvettes was worked out for astronauts by Jim Rathmann, an Indianapolis 500 winner and Florida Chevy dealer. The row of Corvettes lined up in the parking spaces at Johnson Space Center during that era indicated the arrangement’s success. Photos of the early American space-flight pioneers show a long line of space-explorers-cum-drivers. Gus Grissom was an inveterate drag racer. Gordon Cooper famously entered the 24 Hours of Daytona, only to abandon his entry after a scolding from NASA. Allen recognizes many friends in the photos, although astronauts of his generation were decidedly more practical about their wheeled transportation; for example, when not flying fighters or the space shuttle, Allen has driven a succession of mostly Japanese cars, trucks, and vans. The Corvette deal petered out in 1971, and after a little taste at the National Corvette Museum, Allen is itching to make amends.

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Sports . High School. Iowa Hawkeyes. 21, the group will hop into their cars and drive to another location. The main campus of Southern Illinois University is going all-out with events, and the public invited to Saluki Stadium for a guided eclipse experience .

Sports . Husker Extra. Life in the Red. The eclipse is being promoted as the “ Great American Eclipse ” since it will only occur over the United States, and there are good reasons for the austere title.

Driving into Darkness: Experiencing the Great American Eclipse in the Great American Sports Car© Michael Aaron and Michael Simari Driving into Darkness: Experiencing the Great American Eclipse in the Great American Sports Car

Katie Ellison, the marketing and communications manager at the museum, tours us around. Ellison was handling PR when the floor of the Skydome portion of the building collapsed into a massive sinkhole in February 2014. If you followed along as that drama unfolded, you know her work. It was an incredible spectacle: Eight cars dropped into a cave more than 30 feet deep and filled with red Kentucky mud. A disaster, certainly, but one that transformed the museum’s fledgling social-media presence into a 250,000-plus Facebook following and dramatically raised the profile of the Bowling Green facility. “Thank you, sinkhole,” says Ellison, laughing.

The night before the eclipse, we sit around a table at the Montana Grill in Bowling Green. A number of us indulge in some of Kentucky’s finest, and when Elton John’s “Rocket Man” comes over the restaurant’s speakers, we start to goad Allen into telling us stories. He has a knack for yarns, unwinding them with the cautious pace of an introvert. He explains how his interest in the galaxy around him expanded enormously on his second space flight, that there’s value in looking away from the mesmerizing whir of the earth below to the billions of stars that await human exploration. He tells us about close calls, too: A miscommunication that nearly tangled his shuttle with a massive satellite. A low-altitude, 500-mph bird strike in an F-4 Phantom that shattered his canopy and helmet visor and nearly did him in.

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Give your loved one(s) a spot on the GREAT AMERICAN ECLIPSE TOUR as a present for an August birthday, anniversary or special occasion such as an engagement or an educational experience before returning to school in the fall.

The path of the Great American Solar Eclipse . Viewers watching from areas crossed by the blue line will have the best experience . Outside the red lines, you’ll only see a partial eclipse . [Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/ Wolfgang Strickling | CC BY-SA 2.5].

Driving into Darkness: Experiencing the Great American Eclipse in the Great American Sports Car© Michael Aaron and Michael Simari Driving into Darkness: Experiencing the Great American Eclipse in the Great American Sports Car

Allen’s language is precise and his voice soft. The wide-eyed details that separate his experiences from those of an average human get lost easily because he doesn’t drape them in the laurels of emphasis. That the shuttle and crewmates were saved by his last-second decision to thrust away from that satellite, that the whole thing happened in the pitch black of the shadow of Earth and without visual confirmation. That he flew his Phantom home with the canopy shattered, his body peppered with glass fragments and covered in vulture. That the impact was enough to break his ejection seat and set a portion of his parachute flapping against the side of the fuselage, threatening to fill with air and take his torso with it. He’s a cool customer, and it’s obvious he’ll be fun to drive with.

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It’s called The Great American Eclipse . America will experience its first coast-to-coast solar eclipse in nearly 100 years, a natural phenomenon that takes place Aug. 21. This is when the moon’s jet-black shadow will eclipse the sun in total darkness for more than two minutes

What’s being called the Great American Eclipse will start at mid-morning that day when the moon’s shadow, a swath of darkness about 60 miles wide, sweeps ashore from the eastern Pacific in northern Oregon.

For all their performance and value and gutsy V-8 racket, it’s worth remembering that Corvettes are made to be enjoyed roofless. The top-of-the-line, 650-hp Z06 boasts a removable targa top and is also offered as a convertible. Likewise for the base Stingray and the performance-bargain Grand Sport. If you’re in the hunt for a record lap, you’ll want a roof over your head. You’ll also want a helmet, a fire suit, fire extinguishers, a HANS device, and probably a roll cage. We’re not chasing a lap record on the NCM track. We’re just having fun, learning new tricks and a new track as we look up at the darkening, eclipsing sky and out at the bright green of Kentucky blurring past our A-pillars. It’s to General Motors’ great credit that the removable top of the C7 generation is such an entrenched feature and the company and its engineers assume we’ll enjoy ourselves more if we open the thing to the wind. Today, the Corvettes are the perfect tools for the job.

Driving into Darkness: Experiencing the Great American Eclipse in the Great American Sports Car© Michael Aaron and Michael Simari Driving into Darkness: Experiencing the Great American Eclipse in the Great American Sports Car

Unsurprisingly, Allen proves a quick study. Fighter-pilot skills translate well to track driving. Situational awareness. Keeping your eyes up and scanning. The analytical skills and finely tuned internal instrumentation Allen has developed across an entire career. Speeds creep steadily upward. It’s not long before we pluck Allen out of the Grand Sport convertible and stick him in the hair-raising Z06. (C/D’s long-term Grand Sport coupe is along for the journey, too, and we spin a few laps so it can experience its birthplace at speed.)

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Please read my disclosure for more info. There’s no doubt that the most anticipated event of the summer is the Great American Eclipse . A solar eclipse occurs when the sunlight reaching the earth is completely blocked by the moon. As day turns into a deep twilight, the sun’s corona, bright stars

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What’s especially delightful is that, to Allen, who has flown fighters at Mach 2 and hurtled through space at tens of thousands of miles per hour, what we’re doing still feels fast.

Allen’s last fighter, the F/A-18, would stall and plunge out of the sky even at the fastest speeds we’re reaching. Catapult launches apply incredible g-forces to a pilot. Shuttle launches apply comparably intense forces against a pilot’s chest—but for minutes at a time. Routine maneuvering and aerobatics could apply more than 7.00 g’s to Allen’s F/A-18s. Once the shuttle reached space, Allen would experience no gravity at all. Yet he seems as excited as any of the rest of us would when he notes that the Z06’s head-up display indicates he’s pulling 1.50 lateral g’s or reaching triple digits.

It’s because the driving is challenging, we quickly realize. The track is 3.2 miles long, draped over rolling hills. It’s deceptive, fast, and challenging. Technical in places, it’s the sort of track that’s hard to learn and easy to screw up. The electronic safety net of the Corvettes is especially impressive in the heat and hard driving. The test pilot in Allen is quick to recognize that we’re all resting on the guidance of the Corvette’s traction- and stability-management systems—and that there has been a massive shift in the fundamental capability of performance cars in recent years. “There are things we did in that car today that would’ve had us pulling grass out of our teeth. It’s like going from an F-4 to an F/A-18. Make that jump in technology and it’s a totally different ballgame,” he says.

Driving into Darkness: Experiencing the Great American Eclipse in the Great American Sports Car© Michael Aaron and Michael Simari Driving into Darkness: Experiencing the Great American Eclipse in the Great American Sports Car

Yeah, sounds about right.

Our speeds keep climbing as the world gets darker around us. It’s perceptibly cooler, too, though no less muggy. The bugs and birds in the thick brush around the track are getting louder. Our automatic headlights come on. We stop often in a track cut-through by Turn 18 to put on eclipse glasses and gaze upward. Every lap there’s a little less sun. The world takes up wild bronze hues, like a 360-degree sunset. Allen is a stoic guy with every right in the world to be a little jaded by a celestial spectacle, but even he can’t help a giant grin. On our next pass we stop just before taking the big plunge of Turn 19 (amusingly called the Sinkhole), get out of the cars, and stand gawking at the sun.

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Driving into Darkness: Experiencing the Great American Eclipse in the Great American Sports Car© Michael Aaron and Michael Simari Driving into Darkness: Experiencing the Great American Eclipse in the Great American Sports Car

The pretty little edge of NCM Motorsports Park where we park doesn’t get totality, but it’s damned close. Just the tiniest little sliver of sun peeks from behind the moon. Just enough to see the cars shimmering with heat and curves in the bronze-dark light. It comes and goes in seconds, and after standing and admiring and laughing, we can feel the brightness coming on again as the moon continues its pass by the sun. We collapse back into the low seats of our respective Corvettes and start lapping once more. Our laps are faster, more ebullient, and more special.

Allen’s wife, Brenda, has been watching our antics from the starter’s stand, and we give the Z06’s last laps of the day over to her. On Sunday, before dinner, she’d casually dispatched Allen on the NCM karting track. She’s the extrovert of the pair. Competitive, too, and it’s not long before she’s doing her best to disappear Allen in her rearview. Watching the duo figure out the track together is a delight. She’s naturally quick and just the right amount of unruly, a perfect complement to Allen’s thoughtful and steady approach to adding speed. Circling the track with them is the ideal way to enjoy the last of the eclipse, the rorty echo of two big pushrod V-8s chasing each other around a lovely little road course in Kentucky.

Driving into Darkness: Experiencing the Great American Eclipse in the Great American Sports Car© Michael Aaron and Michael Simari Driving into Darkness: Experiencing the Great American Eclipse in the Great American Sports Car

It’s not long before the track goes quiet. We cede it back to the cicadas and the wandering turtles and the low hum of highway noise. To work and meetings and obligations. The Allens will go back to Florida, and Andy will keep trying to get the next generation of astronauts to Mars. Everyone present will remember the Great American Eclipse of 2017, though. Driving or photographing or just lying back in a lawn chair, the experience is unlike any other, even if you’ve traveled among the stars as Andy Allen has. For the rest of us, flogging Corvettes during a celestial event with a spaceman proves the value of otherworldly experiences that don’t come easily, the ones that are there for the having only if you’re willing to stick your head into the wind and go looking for them.

Special thanks to Andrew Allen and his wife Brenda for being so generous with their knowledge and time, as well as the National Corvette Museum and Katie Ellison for arranging the use of their facilities and the NCM Motorsports Park.

Here’s a closer look at Apple’s secret self-driving car .
<p>That’s one top-heavy SUV</p>Going to need more than 140 characters to go over

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