2020 has been a challenging year for many of us, both personally, professionally, and psychologically. While we live in a time where we’re more connected than ever thanks to the internet and social media, the global quarantine and resulting isolation from our friends, family, and co-workers has opened many of our eyes to just how much we all cherish face-to-face interactions. Despite the 24/7 car content that makes up many of our social media feeds, car culture and enthusiasm is rooted in friendships, motorsports, and events like MPACT that bring people together every year to share their passion for cars and racing.
Despite their best efforts, even the most experienced event organizers could not have planned for a global health pandemic and the continually changing regulations surrounding events and large public gatherings. Thankfully, MPACT founder and CEO, Jaycent Gebers, and his staff found a way to host their 2020 event and celebrate the 10th anniversary of MPACT!
MPACT is a BMW-focused motorsports festival and car show hosted at the famous Pocono Raceway NASCAR track in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Although some adjustments were required to promote social distancing at this year’s event, they continued with the car show set up around the paddock area, a NASA-sanctioned High Performance Driving Event (HPDE) on the infield racecourse, and roll racing on NASCAR’s longest straight.
I have visited the Poconos for MPACT and several other occasions over the years, and it has rained at one point or another during every single visit. It was no surprise to endure a rainy drive up to the Poconos on Friday night. I decided to get to the track early on Saturday morning 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. With parking being restricted in the paddock area this year, they had less space to work with compared to previous years. However, they made the most of what they had with a variety of high-quality cars on display.
While the Bavarian automaker is the company’s focus, their booth featured a variety of modern Porsche 911s, McLarens, and even a classic Land Cruiser. Further demonstrating the range of cars they love and support.
While the team at AUTOcouture finished getting set up, I walked down to the Akrapovič booth to check out the one-of-one BMW M5 Competition built by Turn 14 Distribution in partnership with the BMW CCA for their Dream Car Raffle. One lucky winner will take home this beautiful car, which features tasteful upgrades from industry-leading manufacturers like BBS, Akrapovič, KW Suspensions, Vorsteiner, and more. More details about the raffle and how to purchase a ticket can be found here!
Like previous years, before any of the vendors were finished getting set up, four rows of cars quickly formed alongside the paddock area in preparation for roll racing. Taking full advantage of the beautiful weather and slightly cooler Pocono mountain temperatures, the track was busy all day with fans lining pit lane to watch cars go head-to-head in a 1,600-foot top speed blast.
There may have been puddles around the grounds from the previous night’s rain, but the enthusiasts participating in the NASA HPDE event enjoyed a dry track. Unlike the car show and roll racing, which is predominately made up of BMWs, the HPDE always attracts a wide variety of cars.
In addition to the various racing at the event, attendees could also watch thirteen-year-old drifter, Rhys Conklin, showcase some of his skills on the skidpad in his E36 sedan! This year his car featured a new Fun-Haver livery along with a few other updates like an LS3 engine. Rhys may not be old enough to legally drive on the street yet, but I bet he can probably outdrive most of us.
In between Rhys’ demos on the skidpad, other attendees like this M4 took the opportunity to have some fun.
The mix of different motorsports and car show brings out a wide variety of cars each year. One of the more unique cars and tow rigs at this year’s event was this Suzuki Hayabusa-powered race car, which is transported inside the unique RV it is parked next to.
Shifting gears to the roll racing, which always seems to be a fan favorite throughout the day. It contained a mix of everything from street cars with bolt-on modifications, to roll racing-prepped exotics. It’s a fun experience watching some of the different matchups throughout the day.
While the overwhelming majority of vehicles in attendance from the German marque were modern M cars like the F8X, E9X, and E46 platforms, a few classics were scattered throughout the show. One standout was Willy Izaguirre’s 1973 3.0 CSL Group 4 restomod. This car features a turbocharged S52 motor with some beautiful titanium piping fabricated by Schmuck Built using a host of pieces from Vibrant Performance. If this car looks familiar, you might remember it from our coverage of PrimeNYC’s 7’s Day a few weeks ago, where it paraded Times Square with other inspiring builds.
It was interesting to see how varied the modifications were across many of the same chassis in attendance. This F80 M3 incorporated a unique accent color on everything from its lightweight BBS FI-R wheels to the CSF Performance charge air cooler mounted in the bay. The addition of the JRZ Suspension reservoirs and colorful burnt titanium charge pipes helped earn this particular car the award for Best Engine Bay of the festival.
Another classic and personal favorite of the day for me was this beautiful E30 M3 with Speedline wheels. This look is just timeless in my eyes, and I couldn’t stop capturing it from different angles.
Throughout all of the new abnormalities that this year has spawned, if 2020 has taught us nothing else, it’s that we should all appreciate the little things — like a day at the track with friends. Thank you to the MPACT team for working so hard to make this year’s event happen and for giving us a little taste of normalcy amid unprecedented times. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what they have in store for next year’s event!