Formula E New York City #NYCePrix


Formula E Super Fan Stephen Harvey
The FIA Formula E New York City ePrix was amazing! And, it made me a happy motorsports fan to attend such a great race weekend in the Big Apple. I flew from Long Beach, California to New York for the inaugural NYC double header weekend.

That’s right! I live in California and have followed Formula E since the all electric series was announced over 4 years ago. The Long Beach ePrix brought me great joy for 2 years. I volunteered both years in the eVillage so I could be closer to the action. It granted me the chance to talk with other people about how great FE is and what it is going to do for everyday vehicles. Seeing the latest in electric mobility and what is just around the corner regarding all aspects of driving made me an instant fan of Formula E.

Granted, when the season 3 schedule was published I was quite disappointed that Long Beach was nixed from the calendar. But, instead of bitching, I bought a plane ticket, made hotel reservations, and planned what to do on a long weekend in New York City. And, now that I’m back in LA, I have to say wholeheartedly that it was worth every penny and second I invested.

Back story… I was fortunate enough due to my online musings and constant social media posting to be invited by DHL Americas to attend the Friday press conference and pit lane walk at the Long Beach ePrix both years. They must have liked the online attention I brought to DHL because I got the invite to attend the Friday events in New York. It is such a privilege to meet, shake hands, get pics with, and hear from the people that make Formula E great.

A personal highlight on Friday for me was not meeting a particular person, but getting to see the DHL #effibot live and in action on the pit lane. The four wheeled cargo wonder just follows you around with stuff. It was really amazing to see.

And here’s a shot of me and Sam Bird (DS Virgin RE Team) as he was leaving the FIA tech station. Little did either of us know that Sam would win BOTH of the NYC double header weekend races and we’d both be on the podium stage at the end of Saturday’s race.

Great to get a pic with the winner of both #NYCePrix races, the talented Sam Bird from the DS Virgin FE team.

Posted by Stephen Harvey on Friday, July 14, 2017



And another celeb-fanboy shot. This time with super talented sports announcer Nicki Shields.

Friday at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal was a good day. But, nothing like what Saturday turned into…

Yes, the entire race was held at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It was off the beaten tourist path and transportation was a bit tricky, but all went well. Formula E ran shuttles (more like full size coaches) from the Barclay’s Center and it made getting there and back relatively easy. There were quite a few local eateries and drinking establishments close by too that helped to pass the time after the race on Sunday. All in all the location felt quite nice and I enjoyed the experience.

Back to Saturday’s event… I mentioned supporting and helping Formula E when they were in Long Beach and that continued on with social media posts and blogging about the New York event too. My efforts did not go unnoticed. I can honestly say that because I was contacted by Formula E staff via Instagram message on Saturday. A phone call happened shortly after the IG message.

The phone conversation was brief but went like this…

Formula E: Hello Stephen, this is Formula E.
Me: Hey, how are you?
Formula E: Are you sitting down? We have a little surprise for you.
Me: Oh really, what is it?
Formula E: We would like to say thanks to you for being a Super Fan. And, want you to present one of the trophies to a driver on the podium today. Is that alright?
Me: <drops phone, begins to tear up, goes speechless for a few seconds, regains composure slightly>
Me: <broken voice> Thank you so much. You don’t know how special this is… of course… what do I need to do.
Formula E: We’ll get back in touch. Stay where you are for now.

Well that brief conversation made me the happiest motorsport fan ever! I saw the Super Fan in Berlin and how ecstatic he was on the podium never thinking that it would be me next. Being picked as the NYCePrix Formula E Super Fan is one of the biggest honors of my life thus far. It’s an experience I will always remember and cherish.

I was fortunate enough to have my better-half right there too! She got the Saturday race podium ceremony video’ed. Take a look and see the perma-grin on my face the entire time. Oh, and did I mention that I was up there next to Sir Richard Branson of Virgin fame.

Formula E Super Fan, Stephen Harvey, presents 3rd place trophy to Stephane Sarrazin of the TECHEETAH FE Team.

All-in-all Formula E is growing in size, popularity, and overall fan experience. The series will continue to grow as electric vehicles take further hold in our everyday commuting lives. I am pleased to be a part of such an innovative racing series that is conducted by a fantastic team of individuals dedicated to the success of the budding all electric race series.

I can honestly say the people in the next picture are a driving force behind the success of Formula E. They are part of the talented team that produces awesome electric racing events that thrill audiences. I can’t thank them enough for my fantastic NYCePrix experience.

Formula E has a dedicated fan in me and I will travel to see and be a part of everything involved with it. I encourage any race fan to do the same. Start exploring here: FIA Formula E and get hooked like I have on FE.

BMW Ultimate Driving Experience Santa Anita Park Ca

The BMW Ultimate Driving Experience never fails to thrill and impress me. Santa Anita Park in California, with a backdrop of beautiful mountains and horse track, was a fantastic mini proving grounds. I certainly felt like an ultimate driver when I left there with a huge smile on my face.

BMW’s UDE didn’t make the rounds in 2016 because of the Olympic focus that BMW had being the official car of the games. So, seeing it again in 2017 after a year hiatus made the driving all that much better.

I went solo because of schedule conflicts, but others there had the same issues and arrived solo too. This worked out well because I was able to make friends quickly and get some pictures taken.

BMW Ultimate Driving Experience driver w Stephen Harvey

The staff, all the way from check-in to the instructors, were the utmost of professionals and always made you feel comfortable and welcome. They gave me the impression that their purpose was to ensure I had a great driving experience behind the wheel of a BMW. Just listen to the expert instructions from my UDE driving coach in the video… he was super patient and very helpful!

 

Posted by Stephen Harvey on Thursday, May 18, 2017

And, they showed me gracious hospitality with on-site food truck dining and a gourmet coffee stand manned with a barista making coffees to order. They even had a photo booth. https://www.thebosco.com/m/7331-B32QXF

BMW Ultimate Driving Experience Stephen Harvey

A personal highlight for me was placing 6th fastest in my group of 21 drivers. I am far from a race car driver so actually going faster than the majority of the group made my BMW experience even better.

All in all, BMW once again crushed it with innovative marketing and getting people into cars. The best way to sell a car is to get someone to drive it. Being able to take an expensive performance vehicle around an autocross track in anger, that will seal a deal. If you want to have a whole lot of fun and potentially purchase a new BMW, then look for the BMW Ultimate Driving Experience when it comes to your neighborhood.

Here’s some more eye candy for ya…

So much fun playing with #BMW today. Thanks @bmwusa for an #ultimatedrivingexperience

A post shared by Stephen (@havarino) on

FIA Formula E VISA eRace in Las Vegas 2017

The worlds of eSports and FIA Formula E were bridged during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on January 7th, 2017 with the VISA eRace. And, I was there to experience it first hand.

SIM racers and Formula E drivers went head to head in the finale of a season long promotion of eSport racing at select Formula E events over the past 10 months. It all started with the first round of qualification in Long Beach back in April 2016 and it all concluded over January 5,6, and 7, 2017 in Las Vegas at CES2017.

I was privileged enough to attend the eRace in person and got to feel the excitement first hand. It was not a proper motorsport event at a track, but it definitely had lots of energy around it like a “in real life” racing event.

Here are some of the pictures from the race…

After I posted the pictures above on Facebook, my friend and motorsports journalist, Edmund Jenks contacted me about getting my take on the Formula E VISAeRace. I was happy to oblige.

I thought this interview was only fitting because Ed and I actually first met at the DHL “Behind-the-Scenes” pit and paddock tour at the inaugural FIA Formula E event in Long Beach, CA. That was a great time hearing about the great new all electric racing series and seeing the logistics behind getting everything involved with Formula E from race to race.

Here is the SoundCloud recording of the interview.

And check out the full text article “Formula E At CES … Virtual Racing, Sensation Without Skin-In-The-Game Consequence” over on Motorsports Journal.

I am a big fan of Formula E and really like promoting it to others. Feel free to get in touch and we can talk more about FE or motorsports in general.

Electric Racing: Formula E 2016 Long Beach

It’s All About Electric Racing

Electric racing is Formula E and it came back to Long Beach, California again in 2016. On April 2, it made the 2nd appearance in Southern California and brought with it lots of innovation and motorsports. Formula E 2016 has done an excellent job bridging the divide that other motorsports have between fans and the series celebrities, i.e. drivers, teams, and series personalities. If you are a Formula 1 fan then you know what I am referring to.

Through my own personal experience, I have seen how drivers and key personnel in the Formula E circus make it easy for fans to interact with them. It is much appreciated and does wonders to promote the Formula E series and ensure it grows well into the future.

The local, on-the-ground marketing personnel from Formula E welcomed me and made me feel like part of a family. The OTG FE team members were excellent ambassadors for their sport through a range of wide reaching efforts. From their fantastic online work with Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to their in-real-life events at historic Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles and at Cal State Long Beach, people were engaged.

I had the personal experience to meet Formula E driver Salvador Duran at the Olvera Street event. He and I chatted about Formula E being electric racing and how it’s driving the future of mobility. And, we discussed the new Gulf livery color scheme of his Amlin Aguri team race car. The color scheme looks great and it is nice to see a traditional petroleum company supporting an alternative fuel motorsport series.

Great pic with me and Salvador Duran from Amlin Auguri Formula E team

Electric racing with Salvador Duran Formula E driver

Last year my social media activity on Twitter got me noticed by DHL Americas. This year, like last, they invited me on a “Behind the Scenes” tour and pit walk. Here is where I was able to meet several Formula E and DHL personnel along with some drivers and team members. Everyone involved was extremely helpful and truly wanted others to be aware of what is happening with Formula E. There is certainly a theme surrounding the series and that is bettering mobility through innovation. This motorsports series is driving the development to better solutions with every race. It is fantastic to see a motorsport series want to entertain fans but also give back by helping people with mobility developments and ultimately solutions.

Formula E shots

Look through these and see for yourself how up close and personal Formula E can be.




Great seeing & chatting w/ @daniel_abt at the #dhlformulae #lbeprix "Behind the Scenes" tour

A photo posted by Stephen (@havarino) on






If you can attend a Formula E event then I highly encourage you to do it. The money, time, and effort will be well rewarded. For information about upcoming races look on the FIA Formula E website.

Why I’m Ditching LYFT and Going Back to Uber!

DO NOT USE Lyft. Uber is better.I’m ditching LYFT. I used to be a fan of the service and used it regularly. I even wrote a post about using LYFT over other services like Uber. Now that has all changed and I will never use LYFT again if I can help it.

Here’s Why I’m Ditching Lyft…

In October 2015, I went to Austin, Texas for the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix. It rained for three straight days and central Texas recorded some of the most rain they’d ever seen. We’re talking feet of rain dumped in a matter of 72 hours, all driven by the most powerful hurricane ever recorded, Patricia. Things were soggy to say the least but that didn’t deter me from a day at Circuit of the Americas.

When the rainy race day was over, I called a LYFT to get me and my wife home from COTA. Uber even had a special arrangement with COTA and a designated pick up and drop off area, but we still chose LYFT. Being a bit rain drenched from hurricane style weather all day, I knew the hot shower in my hotel room was going to feel great. That’s when the first signs of a not so pleasant experience should have been recognized by me.

The first issue with the LYFT ride back to the hotel was that the driver wasn’t familiar with Circuit of the Americas and I had to guide him to my location while talking to him on the phone. I was patient and understood the difficulties of finding my wife and me given the circumstances of rain, dusk, and post race mayhem after the USGP. Plus, I didn’t want the LYFT driver to waste his time and gas driving to COTA and that’s what would have happened if I cancelled the ride. So, I persevered and guided him to my location.

Well he finally found us in a gravel and dirt parking lot near the entrance to COTA. He was approximately 30 minutes after the estimated arrival time. Regardless, we were thankful that he made it and that he was going to give us a ride back to the hotel.

My wife and I hopped into the LYFT and immediately the driver threw a green towel at us followed by “Don’t get it dirty back there. Use the towel for your shoes.” We did our best working with the towel in the dark and kept our shoes on the towel. Granted we both had to step into the car from the dirt parking lot before the towel was tossed over the seat and the instructions barked.

The actual ride back to the hotel was pleasant and we even gifted our last brand new camp chair to the driver as a thank you. And, the driver was given a good tip for the time and distance from the track to our hotel. The driver put the gifted camp chair in the trunk of his car, then inspected the back seat of his car. I asked if it looked OK and even offered to clean up any mess if the driver felt it warranted additional cleaning. The LYFT driver said all was good and we wished him a good, safe evening.

I felt everything was good with the ride until the email from LYFT saying there will be a $35 cleaning fee added to the LYFT ride. The driver even provided pics of the backseat. I felt like this was an experience ripped from an Uber headline, but no. Take a look…

LYFT nightmare in Austin. Why I'm switching back to Uber.LYFT nightmare in Austin. Why I'm switching back to Uber.To me it appears the majority of dirt is on the floor mats which are designed to collect and hold dirt. From the driver’s pictures, it looks like the mats worked as designed.

I replied to the charges and offered to pay a reasonable sum, $5 – $10, the cost of taking the mats to a spray-n-wash car wash and rinsing them off. That offer was rejected by LYFT and I was forced to pay the $35 fee. It makes me wonder how many other rides our LYFT driver gave that weekend with all the rain and upcharged people with a “cleaning fee”.

Seemingly unwilling to negotiate and unwilling to work with the customer (which is what I thought Uber was famous for doing), LYFT has turned someone who was once a big advocate FOR the LYFT ride service, into someone who WILL NOT knowingly promote LYFT in any manner… a person who will write posts like this and use social media to let as many people as possible know why LYFT is NOT a good ride service… a person that will go back to using Uber because I haven’t had a disaster story with them.

So please, when you need to get your happy behind somewhere for whatever reason, please DO NOT USE LYFT. Use Uber, or Metro, or a cab, but for whatever reason DO NOT USE LYFT. Thanks.