All posts by Chris Szczypala

The Porsche Ice Experience with Monticello Motor Club

XOJET’s President of Commercial Operations, James Henderson, recently had the chance to partake in Monticello Motor Club’s exclusive Porsche Ice Experience. Spending four days with the crew, he received a thrilling introduction to the Porsche 911’s handling techniques on ice and snow, inspiring him to recap the one-of-a-kind experience for XOJET Arrivé:


It’s a picturesque scene from the chalet at Mecaglisse Motorsport Park in Quebec: As a cup of coffee warms my hand, huge snowflakes drift down in front of the window, adding to the blanket of snow on the course below.

But while the view from the hill is beautiful, my eyes are glued to a row of 20 brand new Porsche 911s, color-coordinated by model with their engines running. I am about to spend the next four days driving sideways in the snow, and I’m a kid again, primed and grinning ear to ear—this is going to be insanely fun.

A lineup of Porsche 911s in a snowy sceneMecaglisse is about 80 miles north of Montreal and comprises a variety of circuits and large open skid pads for precision drifting and slalom exercises, including narrow trails through the forest. In February, Porsche takes   Continue reading…

Trading Fairways for Straightaways at Automotive Country Clubs

Some people like to hit the links; others would rather do laps. For those affluent people who feel that a great drive involves a Porsche instead of a tee time, a different breed of country club is eager to cater to their hobby.

In a 2017 piece for Automotive News, Robert A. Lutz, the outspoken retired auto executive, lamented the inevitability of driverless cars. “Automotive sport — using the cars for fun — will survive, just not on public highways,” he said. “It will survive in country clubs such as Monticello in New York and  Continue reading…

After 2018 Growth, XOJet Eyes Expansion Under New Owner

XOJet closed out 2018 under new ownership with an 8 percent bump in total revenues, 17 percent rise in brokerage revenues, and expansion in its membership programs and fleet. Acquired by Vista Global Holding in the fourth quarter, XOJet surpassed 1,000 members last year, a milestone reached in a little more than 18 months after the Brisbane, California–headquartered firm rolled out its Access Solutions membership programs.

Access Solutions offers three options: Select Access for occasional fliers; Preferred Access for fliers of more than 25 hours each year; and Elite Access for frequent fliers seeking guaranteed rates and availability. Growth was particularly strong with the Elite Access program, XOJet noted. Continue reading...

Watch a 1967 Jaguar E Type Playfully Drift Around an Ice Track

A fresh dumping of snow in upstate New York meant one thing to Monticello Motor Club track director Chris Duplessis: make an ice track. The former four-time rally champion took three days to painstakingly groom a chunk of the track to get a slick but manageable surface. The next step? Invite the private track’s members to bring their toys and hoon.

Only 1.6 miles that comprise the South Course were used, but that was more than ample for the 40 or so guests who turned out in all manner of vehicles. While there were predictable Ford F-150 Raptors, a killer Mercedes-Benz G550 4×4, a few Jeep Wranglers,

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Safe driving tips even the most experienced drivers need to know

 – Traffic accidents can be a big problem expecially when the weather turns snowy and icy. To avoid being ‘that guy’ who makes the rest of us late for work, I caught up with Chris Duplessi at the Monticello Motor Club for tips on winter driving.

The private racetrack is the place where those with money in their wallet and gasoline in their veins go to have fun in cars like a $70,000 BMW X4. You can take your own car out on the track or you can use one of the exotics idling in the gourmet garage.

You can even improve your driving skills by taking lessons from one of their pros.  Continue reading…

Watch a Jaguar E-Type, a Ford Raptor, and Porsches Galore Dance in the Snow at Monticello Motor Club

Apparently, the folks at Monticello Motor Club are getting antsy for spring. As the calendar turned over to February, New York’s MMC threw open its gates for the inaugural “track day” of 2019, despite ski-worthy conditions at the Catskills-area road course. Track director and former rally champion Chris Duplessis spent a few nights plowing MMC’s 1.6-mile South Course to create a slippery-yet-drivable surface, while MMC’s multitalented Chris Szczypala captured the frightful, delightful winter action in this cool drift video …Continue reading


All-New Defender Coming to America in 2020!

Land Rover is ringing in the new year a little early this year by announcing that the next Defender will be coming to the shores of North America in 2020 after making its debut in 2019.

You may have seen on Instagram and Facebook recently that testing of the new Defender in camo is already underway in multiple locations around the world. The first of the all-new Defender prototypes started testing in North America in early December and JLRNA was nice enough to send us photos from a few of their varying proving grounds in America. Land Rover plans on subjecting the truck to rigorous extremes to make sure the new Defender is the most off-road capable Land Rover vehicle ever; operating in temperatures from -40F to +120F while driving the test vehicles on- and off-road at altitudes of more than 13,000 feet above sea level. North America provides Land Rover Engineers with a wide variety of terrain and surfaces on which to test their vehicles.

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Minty Porsche 934s And Corvettes Wearing Ferrari Stickers Are Just Part Of This Collection

Courtesy of Petrolicious:

Deep in the Catskill mountain range in upstate New York is Monticello Motor Club, a private race track that was developed from a defunct airport. The asphalt strip once saw small aircraft barreling down the runway until rotation; now it sees everything from spec Miatas to manufacturers testing still-secret concept race cars, and these days the last thing any driver wants to do on this old runway is rotate.

With all the excitement buzzing on the track, it might be easy to overlook some serious automotive firepower sitting in the Gallery, a museum-like warehouse with a motley crew of race cars littered throughout. One of the founding members of Monticello Motor Club is fond of Porsches, so what’s on display slants towards the teutonic. 

In the corner sits the most modern 911 on display, a GT3 Cup masterpiece built by Brumos and owned by Jerry Seinfeld, not to mention that it was raced by the likes of Leh Keen and Hurley Haywood. It still proudly wears streaky black pick-up marks from its Grand Am days on the rear flares.

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Off-Roading the Most Ridiculous Factory SUV on Four Wheels

Courtesy of Road & Track:

Week With a Car is a recurring look into the garage and multiple outdoor parking spots of Sam Smith, R&T’s globetrotting editor at large. Expect it to hold magazine test cars, vintage race cars, whatever he’s driving that week. The form—everything from road diary to rambling brain dump—varies, but it’s always interesting. It doesn’t always make sense, but then, that’s Smith.

And a special thanks to Monticello Motor Club for the use of the amazing off-road park to really test the G550.—The Editors

THE CAR: 2017 Mercedes-Benz G550 4×4²

4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8, 416 hp, 450 lb-ft

7-speed automatic

$225,925 base price

11/11 mpg EPA

What in sweet unholy Satan-blazes is this?

This, my friends, is the 2017 Mercedes-Benz G550 4×4². It is a lifted, carbon-fibered, portal-axled version of Mercedes-Benz’s venerable G550 SUV. It is available at your local Mercedes-Benz dealer. It carries a warranty; 22-inch wheels; electronically adjustable, remote-reservoir dampers; and three locking differentials. It is the Kool-Aid Man in four-wheeled form. It is a bougie-thunder road cannon simultaneously magnificent and terrible. It is the German equivalent of a Gold’s Gym filled with ‘roid-raging Disney cartoons. It is the king of the sovereign land of Driveoverthatshitenstein. It is Der Spiegel for people who want to know what happened today in the Federal Republic of Send It.

It is also what you build if you are:

  1. One of the world’s largest carmakers
  2. Still selling a luxury SUV (the standard G-class) based on a quasi-military vehicle designed in the 1970s
  3. Fully aware that the development costs and tooling of said luxury vehicle were paid for decades ago
  4. Fully aware that brand equity and fashion have allowed said luxury vehicle to command a six-figure MSRP in 2018
  5. Fully aware that most governments regulate trucks and truck-based SUVs far more leniently than they do “normal” automobiles
  6. Looking to sell something more absurd and costly than the G65—which costs $222,700 and has a V12—because rich folk always want something more absurd and costly than what the rich folk down the block have.

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