While 2017 might have been a bit of a down year in Detroit for the North Americanican International Auto Show, the same could not be said for the goings-on at the Consumer Electron-electronics Show (CES) – thatat show crackled and pulsated with activ-activity and intrigue. The hallsalls at the Las Vegas Convention Center were literally crammed with interestingsting and innovative technology from a huge cross section of industries andnd companies, each eager to show off their wares and draw show-goers inn with the promise of something new. And from what I saw during my 36-hour blitz of the show, I saw plenty that was noteworthy, especially from mainstreamnstream auto manufacturers, many of whom are using CES as their preferreded venue for introducing new technology, especially when it comes to connectednected cacar and autonomous driving. Space limits my ability to list everything that caught my eye, but here are a few worth mentioning.
Corv Corvette enthusiasts were agha aghast when a 30-foot sinkh sinkhole opened up and swall swallowed eight whole cars inside the National Corvette Museu Museum three years ago. To commecommemorate the second anniversarniversary and to satiate public interest, the Museum opened the Corvcorvette Cave In! The Skydomedome Sinkholesin Experience exhibithibit that guides visitors through a recap of what happened, highlights the media coverage and pop culturecu impact, the cars themselvesthemselves, the recovery and repair process,proce caves and karst landscapes, toward a grand finale cave-in experience.
Though theth 1984 PPG Pace Car, 1993 ZRZR-1 Spyder, 1993 40th Anniversary, 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 and 2009 “1.5 Millionth” Corvettes are considered unrepairable, all eight cars are still on display in the exhibit (in nearly the same spots as they were prior to the 2014 sinkhole). General Motors rebuilt the 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” for the 2014 SEMA Show soon after the sinkhole incident, and has since returned it to the Museum. The 1992 “One Millionth” Corvette's restoration then took four months and 1,200 man-hours to restore with preserving the signatures of those who built the car its top priority.
In early February, the 1962 Corvette (donated to the Museum in 2011 by its original owner David Donoho) was removed from the exhibit and transferred to a garage bay where GM is footing the $25,000 bill to have it completely rebuilt, too. Throughout the expected year-long process, visitors to the Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky will be able to follow the restoration's progress firsthand, and online at Facebook.com/ Corvettemuseum, Youtube. com/corvettemuseum and Corvettemuseum.org.
Fellow Canadians, Indycar star James Hinchcliffe and Nissan Micra Cup driver Stefan Rzadzinski, represented Team ROC Factor Canada at the 2017 ROC Nations Cup, an annual event bringing together the world's finest motorsport drivers, to decide the fastest country on earth. Drivers pair up with fellow countrymen, and compete in head-to-head battles against drivers from opposing nations in identical cars.
The Mayor of Hinchtown beat Kurt Busch in his first heat, but lost to Ryan Hunter-reay and Travis Pastrana. Remarkably, his virtually unknown teammate put on a dazzling performance, winning his heats against Alexander Rossi, 2016 Indy 500 Champ, and two-time Global Rallycross Champion and former F1 driver Scott Speed.
Team ROC Factor Canada's three points couldn't get them out of the first round, but the 24-year-old Edmontonian's surprise performance was enough put the motorsport world on notice of his immense talent and potential.
“(ROC Factor) gives unknown drivers an opportunity,” said Fredrik Johnsson, Founder and CEO, Race of Champions. “Stefan has done amazing job first getting here, mobilizing so many people to support him, and now here in the race, he's impressed everybody, competing in cars he has never driven before against the world's most experienced and fastest drivers. Stefan is very impressive and has a big future ahead of him.” As the American Rally Association and Canadian Rally Championship (CRC) ran their inaugural races side-by-side for the first time at the 2017 Rallye Perce-neige in Maniwaki, Quebec, a total of nine Subaru vehicles crossed the finish line in the top 10. Leading the pack were Subaru Rally Team USA (SRTUSA) teams David Higgins with co-driver Craig Drew and Travis Pastrana with co-driver Robbie Durant, finishing in first and second, respectively.
The top Canadian finisher was “Crazy” Leo Urlichich, who along with co-driver Alex Kihurani powered to a third place finish overall in his 2007 STI. Subaru Rally Team Canada's driver Antoine L'estage and newly re-united co-driver Alan Ockwell had a strong start, winning four stages outright and finishing near the front of the pack in several others, before a terminal failure ended their bid deep in the forest stages of the rally's final leg. - Shaun Keenan