All posts by Chris Szczypala



Very few people have the need or even the means to purchase a vehicle like the 2021 BMW X4 M Competition, a luxury compact coupe-type SUV that has an army of 503 horsepower and all the dynamic qualities to stand up to many. top level sports cars on the circuits.

There is not much rational in this kind of racing car, which is both the expression of the sports madness of the Germans and their desire not to leave a competitor alone at the top, regardless of the segment. Steps. But you know what? We are really happy that it exists!


Our first contact with the BMW X4 M Competition was in June 2019 on the beautiful public roads of the US states of New York and New Jersey, but also on the fabulous private circuit of the Monticello Motor Club – a paradise.

Nothing to do with our recent test on damaged and slippery roads in Quebec at the very beginning of January … READ MORE

2020 BMW M2 CS First Drive | A BMW for the true believer

By Lawrence Ulrich

It’s a brilliant car. Exclusive, too. But this limited-run model comes with a hefty price

In the high-performance smorgasbord known as BMW Test Fest, held this year at New York’s Monticello Motor Club, there were richer, meatier dishes than the 2020 M2 CS. Among them: a 612-horsepower, $142,000 Alpina XB7, which plopped 5,900 surprisingly graceful pounds on Monticello’s tabletop-smooth track. The M5 and M8 Competition (at a respective $111,095 and $134,995), whose absurdly over-sauced, 617-horsepower V-8s make them faster than a C8 Corvette or Porsche 911 Carrera 4S from 0-60, or in the quarter-mile.

By those standards, the limited-run M2 CS coupe seems an amuse bouche, with “only” 444 horsepower from the twin-turbo inline-six used in the larger M4 Competition. But ask a subset of BMW fans — you know, the ones who bitch about BMW not building ‘em like they used to — to name their favorite current model, and the M2 CS will have them raising hands like a classroom nerd in the front row.


TEST DRIVE: McLaren 600LT Spider

David Haueter samples the McLaren 600LT Spider in latest Sportscar365 Test Drive series…

A photograph of a blue Mclaren

Photo: David Haueter

There are many great sports cars available today, but most of them are compromised when it comes to driving in its purest form.

The luxury and comfort features that need to be added to make them attractive to buyers as a car that can be driven every day add weight and place more filters between the driver and the road.

When you drive a car without all these filters it’s a revelation.

The McLaren 600LT Spider is one such car.

It’s clear before you even drive the 600LT Spider that it’s …continue reading.

Why the 2021 Mini GP is Just Fine Being Insane

The new Mini GP, which will only be sold for one year, is already hard enough to pin down—should you be lucky enough to get your hands on one through a dealer right now. It’s harder to label, written up elsewhere as, in no shot order: insane, impractical, overpriced, and too hairball. Those critics are dead wrong.

Let’s take these statistically driven (and clearly not passion-driven) arguments on one at a time.

First, however, a little background: This is the third-generation Mini GP. Each version has been a works Mini for the road. It’s not a package. It’s not some scraps of “special” leather trim and…Continue reading.

MINI Driving Experience Expands Locations

Woodcliff, N.J. – October 8, 2020 – After launching a successful driving school program at the BMW Performance Center West at The Thermal Club in Palm Springs, California, MINI USA is expanding the MINI Driving Experience to two new locations on the East Coast – the BMW Performance Center East at Plant Spartanburg in South Carolina and Monticello Motor Club in Monticello, New York.

MINI Driving Experience programs, which are offered for individuals or groups, such as corporate and team building events, are designed to teach performance hungry drivers how to…continue reading.

Vehicular Tonic for The Soul

By Roger Garbow

I remember every detail of the day I received my driver’s license. My 16th birthday fell on a dreary Tuesday with temperatures hovering near freezing and the skies filled with dark, threatening clouds. There was a periodic bone-chilling drizzle. That night, I took my first solo drive in my dad’s 455 c.i. Pontiac Grand Prix…and was pulled over by a police officer within an hour. It was a crappy day by most people’s standards. Yet, I was elated.

For those of us over a certain age, the car was more than transportation. It was freedom. And independence. In those days before technology ruled—or some might say ruined—our lives, the car was a conduit to the bigger world. Exploration happened behind the wheel and in the back seat. From discovering a new town or a new song to the furtive fumblings of young love, cars feature in so many memories. And it’s not just those teenage experiences. I recall obsessively strapping, and re-strapping, the baby seat into our first family car for my newborn son’s ride home from the hospital.

In the pre-internet days, every drive was an experience. Even for those who aren’t auto enthusiasts, riding together in a car was a chance to talk, laugh, see new sights, or jointly experience whatever was playing on the stereo. When I hear certain songs today, vivid memories spring back to specific times, places and most often, specific cars.

When it comes to us car people, the connection is infinitely deeper. Vehicles are so much a part of who we are and the lens through which we see the world. Before the global pandemic, I think most of us took our cars and car experiences for granted. Many of us were looking forward to the first track day of the year in 2020. Like opening day at Yankee Stadium, turning those first few laps after a long winter’s hibernation signals the start of spring.

In our current reality, with everything still uncertain, just taking a drive with no destination feels like therapy. After the lockdown began and looking to keep my family and elderly mother safe, I was hesitant to go anywhere beyond the grocery store and back. But one day, when a curbside pickup at a local shop was necessary (wine and cheese is an essential), I pulled the cover off my 20-year old S2000 instead of jumping into the daily driver. The store was only five minutes away, yet I was gone for nearly an hour.

In my part of northern Fairfield County, there are few straight roads. The S2000 was designed for these twisty two-lanes and I enthusiastically flicked through the gears, pushing the digital tach higher with each passing mile. The wind blowing through my near-Fabio length hair felt like the perfect cocktail of forbidden fruit and essential life force.

With no other traffic on the road, the turns were a bit quicker than normal, the g-forces feeling like a welcome hug from a friend. There was a distinct awareness of the anxiety and stress melting away as my grin, so rare these days, grew bigger with shift. I can’t remember the last time I was so focused on just driving. Every one of my senses was alive and soaking up every delicious detail, no matter how small.

Like all good things, and with my bounty secured, the drive came to an end. Pulling the cover back on the little red convertible, I reflected on my drive and the driving future in the weeks ahead. With the lockdowns easing up, our roads will again be frustratingly packed with distracted drivers. Yet, that also means we’ll be turning laps at Monticello Motor Club and other tracks around the country.


The pandemic has taken so much from some. Personally, I lost my mother in the midst of it. Yet, hopefully most of us will be able to get back to a somewhat normal life, including pursuing those non-essential pursuits that simply bring us joy. For enthusiasts, that first track day is going to feel somewhat different. Those first few laps will seem sweeter, even if our technique is rusty. We’ll savor the experience a bit more, and be more present for the driving and the conversations with friends that follow.


For motorheads, piloting an automobile has always been more than getting from point A to point B. This year though, I expect most of us have realized how much we take for granted and how lucky we are to share the simple pleasure of the drive.



The 2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Shows Other SUVs What Utility Really Means

By Chris Perkins  |  Road & Track

The TRD Pro looks new, but it’s still the capable, old-school off-roader you love.

The 2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro isn’t exactly new—the current, fifth-generation SUV just entered its tenth model year—but it’s good. Toyota recently updated the TRD Pro trim, introduced in 2014, with Fox Racing shocks, while all 4Runners get new safety and infotainment tech for 2020.

These revisions, combined with a severe case of Seasonal Affective Disorder at press time, seemed reason enough to head off road. On an icy December day, I aimed the Toyota’s snout northwest from New York City towards the Catskill Mountains and the Monticello Motor Club. While Monticello is best known for…Continue reading.

Chicago Auto Show: High performance ‘Desert Rated’ Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator Mohave debut

By Gary Gastelu  |  Fox News

2020 Jeep Gladiator Test Drive

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is the brand’s first pickup in nearly three decades, and aims to offer a unique blend of off-road and heavy hauling capability. Fox News Autos editor Gary Gastelu brought it to the Monticello Motor Club to see if it lives up to the Jeep name.

Jeep is turning its off-roaders into off-roadrunners.

The brand is introducing new “Desert Rated” versions of the…Continue reading.

2020 Mazda 3 And Hyundai Veloster N: Two Very Different Ways To Do An Economy Car You Actually Want

By Andrew P. Collins  |  Jalopnik

The Hyundai Veloster N and 2020 Mazda 3 are both, technically speaking, economy cars with hatchbacks from Asian countries. They’re even priced about the same. But that’s where the similarities end. We happened to have one of each parked next to each other the other day, so we’ve got the opportunity to debate the finer points of both.

(Full Disclosure: Mazda and Hyundai loaned us these vehicles for reviews with full tanks of fuel.)

Both of these cars showed up at our recent Jalopnik Track Day at Monticello Motor Club, and I had to…Continue reading.

Here’s how to crush a car with a tank

By Gary Gastelu | Fox News

If you really want to learn how to drive a tank, I suggest you read a different article. Go find one written by someone who has dedicated and risked their life perfecting the skills needed to operate one in the heat of battle. I’m sure it will be much more informative and interesting than this. That said, if you want to learn how you can drive a tank, please read on.

The Monticello Motor Club in New York is one of the swankiest private racetracks in the world. It’s the kind of place where billionaires …Continue reading.


Car crushing with a 35-ton battle tank is latest way to pulverize stress

Fox Business

Car flattening is one of the latest ways to blow off steam. automotive editor Gary Gastelu gave it a try on Tuesday by joining Monticello Motor Club’s tank experience in Monticello, New York.

“I’ve got to tell you, this feels as satisfying as it looks,” Gastelu told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo. “This is a new experience they have here for non-members. Anybody could come up here … I could do this all day.”

Watch video.

I Crushed A Car With A Tank, And I Would Highly Recommend Doing So If You Get The Chance

On a serious and not at all joking note, I’ve actually never driven a tank or an armored personnel carrier before, despite writing about them every so often. I expected to feel absolutely powerful while driving one. I was so right.

Where does one go to drive a tank or an APC, you ask? Well, if you’re in the tri-state area, then simply head over to Monticello Motor Club in Monticello, New York.

There’s a whole Tank Experience there…Continue reading.

Never Pass Up An Opportunity To Drive On Track With An Instructor

When you’re on track, you can pretty easily tell when you’re driving poorly. Everything becomes a thousand times harder, the tires are always squealing, you’re hitting curbs that shouldn’t be hit, and you’re having to re-correct your steering or braking almost constantly while moving through a corner. During Jalopnik’s big track day test last week, I knew I needed to be a lot smoother than I was—I just had no idea how to get to that point.

Today a contingent of Jalopnik staffers are hanging out at New York’s Monticello Motor Club to…

Luckily, I had an instructor sitting next to me. And whether you’re a novice like I was or pretty seasoned at this, it really is the best way to learn to go faster. If you get that chance, do not pass it up.

Until last week, I’d never done a track day. Minus a brief experiment learning stick behind the wheel of the Veloster N on an autocross course, I’ve never actually driven on a track. I’ve been driven multiple times, but I just haven’t been the person behind the wheel.

So I was very incredibly happy when …continue reading.

The 2019 Acura NSX Absolutely Rips

There are a lot of things people can, and do, say about the current Acura NSX. It’s “not as cool as the old one,” you’ll hear, or the front end “looks like it came off of a generic coupe.” From the outside, it might seem like Acura’s milking an old nameplate for $160,000 a pop, minus big rebates to entice more sales, just because it can. Who wouldn’t, after all?

But after eight minutes in the 573-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V6 hybrid NSX—a strawberry-red example from the 2019 model year with a carbon-fiber spoiler and a $10,600 upgrade to carbon-ceramic rotors—I have none of those thoughts. In fact, I could only make a few variations of the same sentence.

(Full disclosure: Acura tossed Jalopnik an NSX to take out for a track day at Monticello Motor Club, and that Jalopnik did. It was fun.)

“How was it?” a coworker asked as I brought the NSX back in from my few laps on track at Monticello Motor Club, where about half of the Jalopnik staffspent the day last week. I was so absorbed in how much fun those laps were that I’d almost forgotten about the severe food poisoning I’d had all day

continue reading.

All Of You Need To Drive This Damn Car

Listen up, you turkeys. There’s really only one car you need to be driving and it’s this, the 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350.

In my first drive, my street time with it only amounted to about 30 minutes. This time around, after spending several hours behind the wheel, doing normal car stuff, I’m going to really need you all to drive the thing and experience its greatness. In fact, we should all be driving them. Them’s the rules.

(Full disclosure: We asked Ford if we could get a GT350 for a Jalopnik track day at Monticello Motor Club. Ford said yes and shipped one down on a truck for us from Michigan.)

As wild as the GT350’s look are, they do get a little downplayed if there are six of them lined up at a racetrack. You need the context of other cars to truly appreciate how eye-catching it is, how low the front splitter is and how massive the rear wing is.

After fetching Jalopnik video producer Erica Lourd from her apartment in Brooklyn (“Holy shit,” were her words when she saw my large, American son waiting outside), we aimed the GT350 north and in the direction of Monticello Motor Club, a private track about…continue reading.

Could the SSC Tuatara be the first car to break 300mph?

Monticello Motor Club is about as far removed as you can get from a damp track day at Snetterton. This 4.1-mile ribbon of tarmac, nestled in a sleepy valley 90 miles north of NYC (a 90-minute drive in your favourite supercar… or, more realistically, given the clientele, a short hop in your helicopter), pitches itself as a country club.

Membership starts at $60,000 plus $5,900 per year for the Silver package and rises to $95,000 plus $13,900 per year for the Gold package… for which you’ll get unlimited use of the track, and the club will store, prepare and run your car, so when you arrive, all you have to do is don your race suit and drive. Ker-ching.

Monticello is where the real-life Bobby Axelrods come to play, where performance and speed are the primary currency. It is therefore as rich an environment as it is possible to imagine for a hypercar looking to establish itself at the top of the bragging rights food chain. Sat at the end of the pitlane is just the thing to spike the members’ interest: the SSC Tuatara…continue reading.

2019 BMW M5 Competition Second Drive | Mission: reignition

I’ve been trying lately to fall back in love with BMW. I’ll proudly champion the i3, drool over the i8, take the long way home in a 2 Series and gladly oblige my son with more exhaust bark from the M850i in the driveway. But the general, less-conditional love I felt for the lineup has dwindled. This love began with fetishizing the Z3 from “GoldenEye” and ended with the adrenaline crash that followed the ecstatic rush of slip-sliding the 1 Series M Coupe around Monticello Motor Club. When Autoblog Road Test Editor Reese Counts asked me if I wanted to review the M5 Competition, it seemed like a decent shot at recapturing that hormonal high that’s been slipping through my fingers in BMWs in recent years. Sure, Reese, I’ll do it.

But instead of taking it to the track, as Autoblog contributor Lawrence Ulrich recently did, I had far less exciting things to get done, and with my pre-schooler in tow. So while Ulrich chased down Porsches in an M5 Competition at Monticello…continue reading.