Despite their best efforts even the most experienced event organizers cannot control the weather. After two consecutive years of rainy forecasts, and torrential downpour at last year’s MPACT, I’d say they were due for a rain-free event this year. Thankfully, that is exactly what they got at the ninth annual MPACT event—the cool, crisp mountain air and sunny skies made for perfect racing weather and a beautiful day to check out a car show.
MPACT is a BMW-focused motorsports festival and car show hosted at Pocono Raceway, the famous NASCAR track nestled in the mountains of Long Pond, Pennsylvania. With a car show set up around the paddock area, a NASA-sanctioned HPDE event running on the infield racecourse, and roll racing on NASCAR’s longest straightaway, MPACT is not your typical car event.
I have visited the Poconos for MPACT the past two years—and several other times prior—and it has rained at one point or another during EVERY single visit. Since I was beginning to think that was just part of every Poconos trip, I decided to get to the track early to capture some of the cars arriving and vendors setting up before the gates opened to spectators.
AUTOcouture Motoring, one of the premier BMW shops on the East Coast, was once again the headline sponsor for this year’s event. Each year they try to outdo the previous year’s lineup of cars, by keeping things fresh with a new layout.
This year AUTOcouture’s booth featured a variety of modern 911s, Ferraris, and McLarens in addition to the traditionally strong BMW lineup, which further demonstrates the variety of cars supported by the company.
While the guys at AUTOcouture finished setting up, I walked the paddock to check out some other booths, including BBS Wheels’ impressive lineup of M cars and its latest wheels on display. The new bronze finishes on the FI-R and LM caught my eye.
Another regular at MPACT, VAC Motorsports, had its E46 M3 showcased right up front, along with many of the high-quality parts and services the company provides. The car is a participant in the NASA German Touring Series. The shop didn’t just display; it also hit the track and had fun roll racing with its E36, which was one of the fastest cars of the day.
Before any of the vendors were even finished setting up, three rows of cars quickly formed in the paddock area, and owners went over their cars one last time and applied their number plates in preparation for roll racing. The racers took full advantage of the beautiful weather and slightly cooler Pocono mountain temperatures, as the track was busy all day with cars going head-to-head on NASACAR’s longest straight, and fans lining pit lane to watch!
At the same time, the guys participating in the NASA High Performance Driving Event were also enjoying a dry track. This gave the BMW owners less interested in top speed or showing their car a chance to get their cars out on a road course and improve their driving skills. This portion of the event is also open to all makes and models so it was cool to see such a diverse group of cars running together on the track.
In addition to the roll racing and HPDE event, 12-year old drifter Rhys Conklin (yes, you read that correctly) displayed some of his skills on the skidpad in his E36 3-series sedan. It will be amazing to see where Rhys goes in the sport, as he continues to hone his driving skills at such a young age.
Despite the name of the event geared towards the BMW marque, the mix of different motorsports and car show bring out a wide variety of cars each year.
Shifting gears back to the show area… I was happy to have the opportunity to check out the Live to Offend (LTO) E30 M3, which debuted at SEMA last year and was designed in collaboration with famed concept artist and EA games contributor, Khyzyl Saleem (aka The Kyza). Although Khyzyl is based in the UK, LTO founder Eric Penelow is from New Jersey and that is where this E30 (which features their LTO E30 V1 kit) resides.
Another favorite of the day that I have seen every year I’ve attended MPACT is this beautiful Boston Green E36 M3. From a distance, it looks like an original M3, and you might notice the larger tires. Stepping closer, you notice more happening under the hood—especially the Precision 6870 turbo—that boosts the engine up over 950 wheel horsepower. The term sleeper is often overused, but I think it’s fair to say this car probably catches some people off guard.
While the overwhelming majority of the BMWs in attendance were modern M cars like the F8X, E9X, and E46 platforms, there were a few classics scattered throughout the show. One of which, Willy Izaguirre’s of Nostalgic Grains 1973 3.0 CSL Group 4 restomod, was really a standout of the day. This car features a turbocharged S52 motor with some beautiful Vibrant Performance titanium piping fabricated by Jason Schmuck of Schmuck Built and paired with Vibrant HD clamps. You might remember it from our coverage of the Turn 14 Distribution Car Meet, where it won the Best in Show award.
Willy’s wild CSL also won the Best of Show at this year’s MPACT event. Funny how that happens when you have a car of this quality.
After the awards were completed and vendors started to pack up their booths, I found a few cool cars remaining in the paddock and spectator lot.
Although the MPACT team has never let a little rain slow them down, this year’s perfect weather really allowed them to showcase BMW’s Ultimate Driving Machines, both on and off the track. There really aren’t many events where you can see so many facets of motorsport in one place, and enjoy beautiful cars on display. I am already looking forward to attending next year’s 10th Anniversary event!