The 26th-annual edition of the legendary off-road event began with a prologue day March 23, 2016, in Erfoud, Morocco, and officially concluded 10 days later with a prize-giving ceremony in the coastal city of Essaouira. There were six scored legs of off-road competition, including two marathon legs, that sent teams out on their own for two days at a time overnight alone in the desert in improvised camps, without mechanical support.
“If you do not know where you come from, then you don't know where you are, and if you don't know where you are, then you don't know where you're going. And if you don't know where you're going, you're probably going wrong.” Terry Terry Pratchett, Author of Discworld.
Saying goodbye to my GPS, turn-by-turn directions, and thoughts of self driving cars for a weekend, I accepted an invitation join the Rebelle Rally for a two-day Basic Navigation Class. Yes, the old-fashioned kind with a compass and map, a skill-set I found to be quite humbling -- yet empowering to learn.
What is the Rebelle Rally?
The Rebelle Rally is the first women’s off-road navigation rally raid in the United States, coming together in large part by the efforts of off-road pro Emily Miller, visionary and leader. Teams of two women, (driver/navigator), will spend seven days driving mostly off-road from Lake Tahoe to the sand dunes of Southern California. Best of all, you get to leave your cell phone, computer, GPS, & headaches behind. It’s all about YOU. And your endless abilities.
It was my first Pit Crew Challenge and I was a big loser: I was teamed with Brad Lovell, one of six BFGoodrich brand ambassadors in the Baja Challenge. We were at an event simulating what would happen in a real-life race.
The task was to take off and put on a set of tires and perform a mock refuel of a racing car. Since I was with a pro, our official time was used as a benchmark for the rest of the competition. Let's just say that another team did the job in less than 60 seconds. Our score was 2 minutes and 15 seconds. That's due to the fact that I am a klutz. During the tire change, I put the lug nuts on backwards and then they flew off and went under the car. And forget about refueling the gas -- I couldn't even lift the can!
Chevrolet will auction off the first, sixth-generation 2016 COPO Camaro race car to raise money for United Way. The COPO Camaro, serial number 2016COPO001, was designed by NHRA Funny Car driver Courtney Force, and will be sold on Friday, Jan. 29, at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction. All proceeds of the winning bid will benefit United Way.
“I was extremely honored to work with Chevrolet and help design the 2016 COPO Camaro,” said Courtney Force. “The bright red color and the signature slash marks towards the back on the car bring a part of my Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro Funny Car to the COPO Camaro, which I think is really cool. The proceeds from this car go to a great cause and benefit the United Way, so it's an awesome project all around."
Here's a woman who is passionate about drag strips, the smell of nitro, and awesome-looking race vehicles. Meet Pat Caporali. She is the public relations manager for the Mopar Brand and NHRA Motorsports.
Dig beneath the surface and this enthusiast is a woman of many interests. In her blog she writes, "I cannot be left alone with a credit card in the following places: a pet shop, a bookstore, or Lululemon."
If you're a fan of the Rallye AÏcha des Gazelles, women across the United States have a new challenge to prepare for: the Rebelle Rally off-road auto navigation event scheduled to take place October 13-22, 2016.
Owned and organized by Emily Miller -- an experienced off-road competitor, driving and navigation instructor, and event producer -- the event will start in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada, with technical proceedings and ultimately finish in San Diego, California, for the closing gala celebration at the famed Del Mar Race Track. On October 14th, participants move to the first Base Camp location and begin a seven-day trek crossing more than 2000 kilometers of terrain on open public dirt roads, double tracks, trails, and sand dunes, crossing iconic landscapes of the American West.
Lexus teamed up with Christine Overstreet of Heels & Wheels to bring 22 women journalists to experience the performance side of the brand in Palm Springs, California. We were welcomed to the luxurious Ritz-Carlton in Rancho Mirage. The Ritz-Carlton has a beautiful view overlooking the panoramic sights of Palm Springs along with fire pits with comfy chairs to relax on chilly desert winter evenings. We dined our first evening at The Edge Steakhouse, a cliff-side dining experience 650 feet above the desert floor with a breathtaking view with entertainment provided by @jonigray automotive journalist and soul singing diva.
The Lexus Difference
Peggy Turner, VP Customer Service and Leigh Anne Sessions of Lexus Communications introduced us over flutes of champagne about "The Lexus Difference". This newly launched effort in 2015 is intended to attract the three demographics whose spending power is accelerating: women and millennials. "We treat our customers as guests in our home," said Lexus Vice President of Customer Service Peggy Turner. Along these lines, Lexus is teaming up with a Japanese perfumery At-Aroma to develop a signature scent so every showroom a customer walks into always has the same, comforting smell. We had an opportunity to smell-test and vote on our favorites, the human sense of smell affects 75% of daily emotions and plays an important role in memory. They're also looking to be more fashion-forward, currently in negotiations with a major designer to create a sophisticated uniform for their female sales team. This is a two-fold effort to not only have their employees looking sharp to guests, but to also attract more females to a sales career with Lexus.
Lexus understands how critical it is to speak to a female audience without talking down to them and this is essential factor in making a sale. "The Lexus Difference" program is available to any of Lexus’s U.S. dealership to opt-into and participate in. It will be interesting to follow if they do gain market-share with women luxury buyers as the program continues to roll-out in 2016.
"When I'm competing on the track there is no man-woman discussion. I'm just another racer," says 28-year-old Hungarian Edina Bus with determination. She is one of the five female drivers who participated in this year's SEAT Leon Eurocup, a one-make touring car racing series that ran on seven European circuits in 2015, including legendary circuits such as the Nürburgring, Silverstone, Estoril, Monza, and Barcelona.
All the drivers race specially tuned five-door 330-horsepower/2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder SEAT Leóns, and the events are run by SEAT Sport. Among the talking points about the racing series, one of the most prominent is that this was the International Series sanctioned by the FIA with the most female members in its ranks.