We just got back to our hotel room after a stunning event at BICE restaurant in Montreal.  Because it was too far to walk, we decided to drive there.  I checked with the restaurant, and they have “special parking”.  So we arrived, and on the way I was a bit concerned about showing up to the party in a non-BMW car.  Oh well, no time for those kinds of worries.  We arrived and were given a primo parking spot on the curb right in front of the restaurant.

I screwed up a bit because I thought dinner started at 7pm, but when I looked at my email on the way to get the car, I saw that it started at 6:30..Oops..So we arrived a bit late.  We saw Lindsay Duffield, the CEO of BMW Canada, and the kind gentleman who has extended the invitations to these events.  We were taken to a table next to his, and introduced to the people at our table.  What an interesting group.  Sitting right next to me was a Hollywood Movie/TV producer.  You’d definitely know his work.  We hit it off right away, and were pretty much brothers by the end of the dinner.  We laughed alot.  Dining with him was a very impressive woman who is the CEO of a major automotive company.  I spent most of the dinner bantering back and forth with my new LA friend, and enjoying the atmosphere of this very nice restaurant.

Shortly after we arrived and were introduced, Dr. Mario Theissen arrived.  He’s the head honcho of BMW Motorsports.  I had met him a few years ago when Hans and I went to my first BMW Team party.  Then there was an announcement that the BMW Sauber drivers had arrived.  I wasn’t sure who was going to be doing PR duty tonight, but to my surprise and delight, both pilots, Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica were present.

After a few minutes of Q&A from the moderator, Nick and Robert mingled with the crowd.  Sitting next to the CEO’s table has it’s benefits.  Dr. Theissen was seated there, and the drivers came over to meet and greet.  Some of the kids there lined up to get an autograph, and that’s when I struck.  I’ve been carrying around on F1 weekends a speeding ticket I got from Cornwall OPP officer Lalonde in my M5.  I had Dr. Theissen sign it a couple of years ago, and got Robert Kubica and Sebastian Vettel last year.  Now I could complete the collection with Nick’s autograph.

So there I stood, surrounded by kids, waiting my turn.  I got up to Nick and said “Nick, could you please autograph this?”.  He gave the paper a puzzled look, and said “What is it?”  I told him “It’s a speeding ticket I got in my M5!”.  He laughed and asked “How fast?”.  When I told him I don’t think he was impressed.  Then he signed it.  I showed him where Dr. Theissen, Robert and Sebastian had signed it, and told him that now I can get it framed and mounted in my office.

The drivers then left, to get a good night’s sleep.  Robert qualified P2, although he had the pole right up until Lewis Hamilton secured it on his final lap.  Nick was further down the field in P8, but is likely fueled heavier.

As the night proceeded, the conversation turned to the Paddock Club.  For an F1 fan, the Paddock Club is Heaven.  It’s close (right above) the pits, and is overflowing with great food and drink.  My LA friend and the CEO asked me if we were in the Paddock, and we had to admit that we were out with “the unwashed masses”.  So then the question came:  We have a single Paddock Pass for tomorrow, because the CEO is flying to Italy.  Do I want it?  Now, the way this plays out will clearly piss off Hans, and he’s probably forever question my judgement, but because it was 1 pass and not 2, I had to pass on the Pass.  I really enjoy these events with Helen, and I can’t imagine leaving her out there while I literally partied like a rock star.  But still, it was a tantalizing and very generous offer.  When we do the Paddock Club one day, we’ll do it together.

So with dinner finished, we took our leave, and thanked everyone for a wonderful night of conversation and laughter.  I do hope to see these folks again one day.  Mr. LA made me promise that we would do the South Carolina BMW M Driving School, and also said “I have to take you to some Premiers”.  That would be pretty amazing.

So, that’s the update from Montreal tonight.  I’ve started reviewing/editing pictures and will try to post some to flickr tonight.  For those looking for my pix, you can find them at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ph-stop

Tomorrow is Race Day.  Weather is likely going to be a major factor, because the forecast calls for rain.  Can’t wait!

mJm

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