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Blancpain GT3 Sports Club With Karim Ojjeh

Blancpain GT3 – Introduction

Following my story with the former Le Mans champion Karim Ojjeh, he phoned me up and asked if I wanna join his GT3 race. My decision didn’t take long of course, I couldn’t wait joining the team to attend their race. 

What does ‘GT3’ actually stand for?

You might face a little of a jungle if it comes to GT3 racing. There is a simple reason: there are quite some different categories.

GT3, known as Cup Grand Touring Cars and commonly referred to as simply GT3, is a set of regulations maintained by FIA for grand tourer racing cars. It’s all about auto racing series throughout the world. The GT3 category was initially created by the SRO Group as a third rung in the ladder of grand touring motorsport, below the Group GT1 and Group GT2 categories.

The Blancpain GT Series runs over 10 events with 5 endurance cup and 5 sprint cup races.

The objective of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, five events centred around the Total 24 Hours of Spa, is to take GT3 cars into endurance racing formats of three hours with two mandatory pit stops.

The Blancpain GT Series is mainly reserved for GT3 cars, applying the principles of ‘Balance of Performance’ or as they call it ‘BOP’ and a driver categorisation system. 

Circuit Paul Ricard ¦ Day 1

Back to my story, we headed off to Southern France – direction Marseille with his McLaren 570s. Few hours later, we arrived at the Circuit Paul Ricard hearing the cars doing the first test laps from far away – an unforgettable memory.

I got to understand what might expect me here, mesmerizing!

Blancpain GT3 Sports Club ¦ Day 2 – Day 3

Being part of a race and staying on a track for 3 days is definitely a very special and unique experience. There is a certain energy and fascination that connects everything. You have to imagine, most of the teams are pending quite a bit of their lifetime on a track.

Blancpain GT3 ‘Sports Club’ Explained 

The Blancpain GT3 Sports Club offers Bronze drivers a chance to race modern GT cars. Most of the men participating here are former racing drivers. Equally, practice and qualifying sessions followed by non-pitstop 25-minute Qualifying and 40-minute Main Races ensure maximum track time.

Karim Ojjeh & The Boutsen Ginion Racing Team

What amazed me the most: how everyone and everything works together here. The GT3 Sports Club is a perfectly working watch movement whilst every part does it job which a staggering precision and dedication.

I stopped counting how many times Karim was in a conversation with the technicians, what to adjust or improve. Karim is somehow never done. Even if he won, he is wants to do it better. 

All of us can learn something from racing here, it’s the unbelievable strong will and the never-ending path to a better performance. Sounds like a good life lesson? Yes, to me it was. 

Thanks a lot to the Karim & the Boutsen Ginion team for the amazing event. Hope to see you guys soon!




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Red Bull Alpenbrevet 2016

Red Bull Alpenbrevet 2016 – Our Experience

Friedrich Nietzsche ones said:

In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play.

red-bull-alpenbrevet

redbull-alpenbrevet

Nietzsche’s quote is not more than the truth. I think it’s one of the most important facts of a man’s life. Never lose your child, never forget your humor and never stop playing tricks. We all grow older and we’re probably also getting a bit more serious. At the end of the day it’s those events we tell our kids about. Those when we were free, without doubt and sorrows. When we were boys.

redbull-event

redbull-alpenbrevet-2016

With Jonny Walker

Red Bull Alpenbrevet is exactly the type of event where your hidden child is allowed to play the whole week-end. It literally belongs to the best days in my life and I am more than glad I could spend them with my beloved brother.

The aim was, to drive 120km over 3 mountain passes with a moped, disguised as crazy as possible. We decided to show up in a top gun dress. That sounds pretty insane, no… it is insane. The whole race started on a sunny Saturday morning in Lugano. The weather was just perfect and people were all in a fantastic mood. Mopeds arrived from everywhere and people started to prepare their Red Bull race. They have investigated weeks and months just to participate this event.

After a furious start of the race we completed the first mountain pass which was also the most difficult one. Half of it was hard pedaling work, pretty tough!

The whole route took us 8 hours to complete. At the end we were pretty exhausted but that was worth it! Thanks to Red Bull and Elena for organising everything – we’ll be back next year for sure!

redbull-racing

Guesthouse Castagnola

During our trip we stayed at the Guesthouse Castagnola. It’s a cosy and beautiful B&B a bit outside of Lugano, hosted by a lovely couple. The room is very modern with high-class material and a huge bed. There is air con and wifi available and the breakfast is really yummy. Thank you so much for the time, it was a great!

guesthouse-castagnola-locarno

guesthouse-castagnola

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Maserati Snow And Ice At The Chedi Andermatt

Maserati Snow And Ice – At The Chedi

In recent days this year I got asked to attend an event I have been wanting to be part of for so long: The Drifting Experience at Maserati’s “Snow and Ice”.
As you probably know from your own time scheduling, unfortunately I was booked out for the whole week already. To my and Mona’s favour, I could ask her to displace myself. This is why you will experience the journey through her perspective.
Enjoy, Ralph

Maserati Winter

The Maserati’s & The Chedi’s “Snow and Ice” Winter Experience

Driving up the winding road to Andermatt got me highly excited about the fun day ahead with Maserati.
I was mighty impressed by the astonishing Chedi with its well-composed mixture of luxurious materials and the solid wooden design. This architectural masterpiece had a majestic impact on me during the whole stay.
After the arrival I made sure to spend some time relaxing at the beautiful Spa. Besides the always obliging staff, the delicious food and the spacious Deluxe Room I was given, the Spa area was absolutely sensational.
Chedi Andermatt Pool
To close that pleasing arrival day, we got spoilt by Nenad Mlinarevic’s exquisite dinner. Nenad combines different ingredients and textures – that you wouldn’t imagine could work together – in an incredibly surprising but agreeable way. For desert, as an example, we tasted the combination of razor-thin salted dark chocolate with a Jerusalem artichoke flavoured ice cream and dried pear flakes. To be honest, tasting the single components wasn’t what I’d call “mouth-watering”, but the flavours and textures combined added to a very delicious whole. 
Nenad Mlinarevic

Maserati Snow Video

Ghibli vs Quattroporte and All Wheel Drive vs Rear Wheel Drive – two hard decisions when it comes to selecting your favourite Maserati Model in the snow.

Maserati Ghibli snow drifting
Maserati Ghibli S Q4 snow driftingVerbrauch: kombiniert 9,7 l/100 km; innerorts 14,1 l/100 km; außerorts 7,1 l/100 km // CO2-Emissionen: kombiniert 226 g/km // Effizienzklasse: F //Abgasnorm EURO 6
Posted by Maserati Schweiz on Thursday, 21 January 2016



As a passionate AWD Driver I found the Ghibli Q4 (AWD) the most handy and forgiving vehicle of the four. It is about half a meter shorter than the Quattroporte line and therefore has a wheelbase that is more compact. This shorter distance between the front and back wheels lets you control the Ghibli Q4 quite easily compared to the Quattroporte Q4. Even in Sport Mode and when turning off the Electronic Stability Program the Ghibli Q4 reacts almost immediately to your actions, whereas the Quattroporte Q4 with its nearly two tons, is a lot more inertial.

The Quattroporte Q4 took considerably  longer until it swerved, but when it did, it was harder to keep control over the machine due to its weight.

Maserati Andermatt

Especially when drifting a slalom it is important that you don’t only concentrate on the curve that you’re in but you actually think about what happens two curves ahead. You need to know how the car is going to react to your stearing, accelerating and slowing down on snow and ice to be able to drift into the following curves flawlessly.

Maserati Ghibli Drift
Whether with the Ghibli or the Quattroporte, driving a rear wheel drive teaches you not to overeccelerate nor to overstear. Especially when you start moving, accelerate subtly otherwise the rear wheels start spinning as the whole power is being transferred over the back axis.

Omega Maserati
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m
Equipped with one of the world’s most advanced mechanical movement, the Seamaster Aqua Terra Master Co-Axial is stylish, sporty and prepared for an active lifestyle. This luxurious model features a pearled mother-of-pearl dial with 11 diamond indexes.

When you are about to hit a sharp curve, shift down and turn earlier and less than you would on a normal road. Having turned early, by the time you reach the curve the Maserati rear wheel drive slides nicely into the bend and doesn’t crash into the wall behind. By breaking in the curve – especially with the heavy Quattroporte – you transfer the Quattroporte’s weight from the rear to the front of the car to ensure your steering controls the car. As it is well-known, the performance of a rear wheel drive especially on ice is completely different to an AWD. It swerves a lot more, so you often have to countersteer to keep it on track.

Maserati Logo

If I can leave you with a piece of advice, always be aware – whether you drive a front, a rear or an all wheel drive – the car’s breaking duration on ice is significantly longer than on asphalt. When you need to slow down immediately while driving straight ahead, slam on the brakes without releasing until you stand still. The car will swerve slightly but it will stay on track. If you need to slow down when you’re in a curve, only tap the break and release it again, otherwise the vehicle will swerve heavily and you might lose control over the car.

Maserati Snow & Ice
Thank you The Chedi Andermatt and Maserati Switzerland for taking us on this exciting adventure. The Snow and Ice training was not only extremely entertaining but also very instructive. Thank you Maserati Team for teaching us how to drive safely whether on asphalt or on ice. I highly recommend this experience with Maserati’s luxurious sports cars to anyone.
Thank you for your time, I hope you enjoyed.
Mona
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Finali Mondiali ¦ Mugello Racetrack

Firenze – one of the most beautiful cities in the world. A place where romance, delicious food and Italian history meets. The ideal place to travel with your partner and spend an astonishing time. Florence is the capitol of Tuscany, a big wine region in the north of  Italy.
Firenze travel report
 
Florence Architecture
 
Once you arrive, you start to understand why a couple of the biggest genius in human history have spent quite a some time in this fabulous city (Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Galileo Galilei are a a couple of examples). The buildings are shaped in Renaissance architecture – what a lovely place.
 
Firenze Photos
Ponte Vecchio is the only bridge that survived the 2nd world war. Today it’s mainly used to sell jewelery (made this one with the world famous gelato).
 
Gelato Florence
 
No doubt it’s already a handsome place to visit, but there is more to tell. 
Ferrari is organising races all over the globe and the finali mondiali at the mugello race track took place. 
 
Ferrari Mugello
 
Wrist shot of the Hublot Big Bang  ¦ Ferrari Speciale Grey Ceramic
 
Hublot Ferrari Grey Ceramic
The hotlap I made was one of the ultimate experiences in my life. The driver pushed the car the it’s limits, it was better than any rollercoaster! Unfortunately there are no pictures of this experience.
 
Mugello Ferrari
 
What a fantastic atmosphere. It was my first time to be part of such a race. There are Ferrari cars literally everywhere. The race and the whole show perfectly reflects the passion and brand-mania for Ferrari. There are flags all over the place and pretty much everyone has a Ferrari logo on the jacket. It was extremely hot (in November), noisy and super crowded. It’s a spectacular event and thanks to the Hublot crew we had a great program and loads of cool ‘behind the scenes’ options you defintely don’t get as a normal visitor.
Safety Car Hublot
 
A few of my personal highlights at the Finali Mondiali… 
 
I met a real Italian Gentleman – Beppe Schenetti. His whole charism and warm oppenness to everyone is the Italian way and I love it.
 
Beppe Schenetti Ferrari
Another highlight of my journey was to meet Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel. The places were so packed with journalists from all over the world – I was not able to take a good catch of Sebastian Vettel. The two Formula One drivers passed their trainings on the track.
Kimi Raikkonen Interview
Ferrari’s pit stop, crazy how quick!
 
 
 What a wonderful journey! Thanks to Hublot for the invitation and the brilliant support
 
Wrist Shot Hublot