Saturday, June 11, 2011

HRPT Day 8 - Milford

This morning there was a special meeting at the General Motors Milford Proving Ground for the long haulers. I counted the number of cars on a row and the number of rows. I estimate that there were about 1,100 cars at the venue. Many people didn’t stay for today’s meeting. We probably had a total of 1,500 long haulers.
Milford was the industry's first dedicated automobile testing facility when it opened in 1924. It covers 4,000 acres and has 132 mi of roads representative of conditions found on public roadways and other specialty surfaces for vehicle testing. 
Our venue today was the VDTA ("Vehicle Dynamics Test Area"), also known as "Black Lake", a 67-acre pad of blacktop for vehicle dynamics testing. Waterfowl have been known to try to land on this "lake" of asphalt. At the ends of the VDTA are two semicircle tracks used for accelerating vehicles up to high speed before entering the pad. A controlled low-friction area made of ceramic tiles is on one side of the pad. Another area is coated with the asphalt sealant Jennite and can be watered down to produce a low friction surface. They had an airplane fly over and take a group photo of all of our cars. And they handed out posters, a sign for the garage wall, several $ off coupons, etc.
The very best part was when they let us drive on parts of the test track. Our driving tour lasted for more than 20 minutes and included many different segments of the track. GM had the good sense to not let us on the big, high speed oval. We probably would have killed each other showing off. But, we did get up to speed in other areas. The super banked turns were a blast. Other segments were like a sports car race track with hills and blind curves, lots of curves.
They gave away a 2011 Camaro SS Convertible. I didn’t win it.
Tonight we are in Springboro, OH. Only 800 miles to my very own bed and pillow.

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