Wheels and Waves Briefs

Rob Davis’ No. 37 Mini Cooper slips by a competitor at a race last weekend at Road Atlanta. Davis won in the B Spec series (Provided).

•Mini has peachy time in Georgia•

Races this past weekend for the Mini of Charleston team were, for the most part, a spring training exercise compared with big-name events later on.

Still, based on the results, the racing team should feel pretty stoked.

Father and son Brad and Rob Davis both drove at Road Atlanta March 15-16 in the SCCA National Majors Series double race weekend.

In what Brad Davis called “another tune-up” for the Pirelli World Challenge Series races later this year, the team took part in two motoring classes and finished at or near the top in both categories.

Brad Davis, driving a 2002 Mini Cooper in the H Production grade, was looking for his third win in a row after national victories at Sebring and Roebling Road courses. It wasn’t to be, as Michael Miller in a classic Austin Healey Sprite ran away with both races, Davis said.

Even so, the Mini Cooper finished third in the first test behind Miller and Tony Drum in a Sprite.

In the next race, Davis got caught behind slower cars before passing a Porsche, Mazda and BMW to close in on Drum. The Sprite driver spun late in the race, and Davis passed him for second.

Rob Davis, meanwhile, was a “walk-away” winner in the B Spec class, with other racers preparing their cars for the Pro Series races that start in May, Brad Davis said.

In Sunday’s mixed class race, Rob Davis started 25th and finished 22nd while setting a Road Atlanta B Spec lap record of 1:51.635.

With the performance, he has won all four races he’s run in the B Spec series this year to lead the Eastern Region Majors while setting track records at Road Atlanta and Sebring.

The final Majors race for the Davis pair will be in May at Summit Point, W.Va.

From there, Rob Davis moves onto the B Spec pro series at the new Circuit of The Americas Formula One track in Austin, Texas.

For more, contact Brad Davis at 843-402-6551 or Brad.davis@hendrickauto.com.

•Concours on the move at Hilton Head Island this fall•

From adding exhibits to branching into Savannah, the Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance & Motoring Festival has carefully tweaked its lineup.

The 2013 edition is in keeping with that approach. Organizers announced that the Concours d’Elegance will take place at the “world-class” Port Royal Golf Club for the first time.

The Oct. 25-Nov. 3 regalia of all things autos, motorcycles and boats is something of a motorized three-ring gala.

There’s the Savannah Speed Classic highlighted by a vintage motorcar race; the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival, which showcases a featured marque to be disclosed in early April; and the Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance. The concours is a luxury-filled grand finale show where dozens of tip-top antique, vintage and classic cars and their finely-dressed owners take center stage.

The fair’s theme this year is Two Cities, One Passion to highlight the complementary roles that Hilton Head Island and Savannah have played in the burgeoning event.

And the marketing pitch? “The South … a place where the tea is sweet, the people are darlin’, the moss is Spanish and, come autumn, the cars are plentiful.”

Port Royal Golf Club — a member of the Heritage Golf Group collection of top U.S. courses — will host the Nov. 2-3 events on Hilton Head Island. They include the Motoring Midway and Concours d’Elegance.

Previously, the Honey Horn outdoor convention venue served as home base for the island’s auto showcases.

According to organizers, advance ticket purchases come with price discounts. In addition, children under 12 get in free, youngsters 12 and up get in for $10 (including at the gate with student identification) and military receive 50 percent off at the gate with active duty ID.

•Upstate BMW plant increasingly runs on hydrogen•

Three years after installing a filling station, BMW can count on alternative fuel to power vehicles that move about its plant near Spartanburg.

The carmaker has expanded its hydrogen fuel-cell material handling equipment across its 4-million-square-foot production facility.

“BMW continues to complement its sustainable production model by adding alternative, efficient technology,” said Josef Kerscher, president of BMW Manufacturing.

In 2010, BMW finished fitting a hydrogen storage and distribution tank near the plant’s Energy Center. The facility powers about 100 pieces of fuel cell material handling equipment.

According to BMW Manufacturing, the company since then has more than doubled its hydrogen fuel-cell fleet to 230 vehicles that service the plant’s production and logistics needs.

“Successful implementation, and ultimately expansion, of our hydrogen fuel cell material handling fleet has provided a sustainable energy source that exceeds our expectations,” Kerscher said.

To get more use out of the hydrogen fuel cells, BMW Manufacturing added two new higher-capacity compressors, new storage tubes and distribution piping and eight new hydrogen dispensers.

Separately, BMW released a project update on its Landfill Gas-to-Hydrogen pilot project. The first phase, started in July 2011, showed that the project is economically and technically feasible. The project is now in the methane-to-hydrogen conversion stage. The project team, led by South Carolina Research Authority (which has a big operation in North Charleston), is testing and using equipment that will monitor the hydrogen purity.

To do this, BMW has installed a clean-up system that takes a stream of landfill gas, removes the sulfur and trace contaminants and produces hydrogen via a Steam Methane Reformer, the manufacturer said.

“BMW is very pleased with the progress we have been able to achieve in the last 18 months,” said Cleve Beaufort, BMW Group’s Energy Manager for the U.S. and Canada. “The objective of generating renewable hydrogen from methane is proving to be a possible option for BMW and will be transformational for the fuel cell industry.”

SCRA has been a leading funding and implementation partner throughout the project, and the U.S. Department of Energy has provided technical and funding support.

The final project phase is set to begin late this year. In that stage, BMW will conduct side-by-side trials of equipment fueled by landfill-gas-derived hydrogen and hydrogen from commercial sources.

According to the carmaker, the South Carolina plant currently produces 38 percent of its electrical requirements on-site, mostly from its landfill gas-to-energy program.