Post and Courier
December 19, 2014

Auto Briefs

Posted: 03/29/2014 12:01 a.m.


Mini start

In a year that's expected to be more limited due to outside events, the Mini of Charleston's race team - currently of one - held its own in Atlanta.

The Sports Car Club of America held its third 2014 SCCA Majors Tour event at Road Atlanta Raceway in Braselton, Ga., last weekend.

Mini "was well represented in both the B Spec class and H Production," said Brad Davis, executive vice president of Rick Hendrick Imports and a racer.

Eastern Region Majors points leader Travis Washay brought his 2008 Mini Cooper, looking to repeat his Majors race victory in January at Sebring International, Davis said in his roundup of the competition.

Washay took the lead in the first B Spec race and held it. Meanwhile Davis, in the Mini of Charleston 2012 Mini Cooper, battled Ryan Hall of Connecticut in his 2008 Mini Cooper for second and third.

After 10 laps, Davis was in second position followed by Hall "when a major incident in turn five involving four cars from another class brought the race to a halt," he says.

The race ended there and Mini took a 1-2-3 sweep.

On Saturday afternoon, Davis put his 2002 Mini Cooper on the H Production pole. The "production race" includes race cars based on factory production chassis. According to Davis, "The class is a wild mix of older sports cars with wide open engine and suspension modifications and 'limited preparation', more current model cars."

With temperatures dropping, Davis' starting tire pressures were too low and he ended up with a low inflation tire failure on the first lap.

He went back out Sunday morning, but weather intervened again and the expected 20 lap race became an 11 lap timed event, stopping at 40 minutes. Washay took first, while Davis and Hall swapped positions before Hall held on for second and Davis, third.

Davis spun out twice in the last day H Production race but still managed to gain on the eventual winner before finishing second. Austin Healey Sprites placed first and third.

"Where else can you create a race car from a 2007-2013 base Mini Cooper, add about $7,000 in parts and some tires and have a competitive race car? With a Mini podium sweep (in the B class), Mini is the big winner for the weekend," Davis said.

Zubie-dubie-do

Charleston-based Zubie has tied in with an e-partner to "combine the power of connected car and connected home," the high-tech company said.

Early this month, Zubie said it would partner with iControl Networks, "a leader in connected home technology and innovation."

The plan is for the two companies to offer consumers "connected lifestyle" solutions that would take in home automation, cars and phones.

According to Zubie, the Charleston company "makes driving safer, easier and less expensive by using vehicle- and driver-centric data collected from a device plugged into a car's On-Board-Diagnostics port. The services include safety alerts, "real-time location awareness and insights into vehicle health and performance."

Meanwhile iControl enables customers to automate their homes and easily manage home monitoring and security such as checking security cameras and sensors, locking and unlocking doors, turning on and off lights and controlling temperature inside, Zubie said.

Through the alliance, consumers will be able to control homes, cars and family location features all at the same time. For example, Zubie and iControl monitoring systems can "talk" to each other. That will enable "thermostats to be adjusted automatically when users are out-of-town, and doors unlocked automatically upon arrival at home. A home dashboard will provide real-time display of the location of family members on the road, or can alert users to emergency situations," the Charleston company said.

"For Zubie, this is a game-changing partnership and a natural evolution of our capabilities," said Tim Kelly, chief executive. "The features and benefits we offer take on new meaning and value when viewed through the lens of home monitoring and automation, using the car as another powerful sensor."

"For iControl, the integration with Zubie car and driver activity data dramatically expands our understanding of what our consumers want," said Jim Johnson, executive vice president and general manager at iControl Networks. "We are very excited about the things to come."

Zubie, formerly known as GreenLight Connectivity Solutions, was formed in 2012 and is headquartered in Charleston with operational offices in the Minneapolis area. Investors include Castrol innoVentures, the innovation arm of global lubricant company Castrol. For more, visit www.Zubie.com.