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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Technology

Monza Does Not Disappoint

On: Mon, Sep 14, 2009 at 12:14PM | By: John Welch

Monza Does Not Disappoint test 1-1

The Italian Grand Prix lived up to its historic billing as the fastest and one of the most exciting races on the F1 calendar. Force India continued to show their increased competency, even after losing their number one driver to Ferrari. McLaren showed inpressive pace, unfortunately Lewis Hamilton crashed out of the race on the third to last lap. The story of the weekend however, Brawn GP return to dominance with a one-two finish!

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

On: Fri, Sep 11, 2009 at 12:02PM | By: John Welch

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly test 1-1

The Good: Turbine-powered race cars. They're good, promise. In 1967 and 1968 several took to the track attempting to break the piston-engine stranglehold on motor racing. Howmet Corporation, a metal fabrication company, built two Le Mans style protoypes and entered them in the 24-hour races at Le Mans and Daytona. Howmet manufactured intricate aluminum parts used in military turbines and saw a turbine-powered sports car as an excellent marketing tool. And so, the Howmet TX was born. The advantages of the turbine were obvious: it produced (the equivalent of) 325 brake horsepower, yet due to its aluminum construction it weighed in a feathery 170 lbs. Unfortunately the Howmet team suffered mechanical issues and were never able to finish a race.

2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, Yes Please!

On: Wed, Sep 9, 2009 at 1:04PM | By: John Welch

2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, Yes Please! test 1-1

The Mercedes-Benz Gullwing was an absolute classic. Perfectly proportioned, race-bred and shamefully German in the most Teutonic sense. Mercedes has resurrected the Gullwing with its new SLS AMG, a faithful recreation if ever there was one. Instead of following the lead of American manufacturers, who are digging up the sixties for their retro-rods, Mercedes has reached all the way back to the mid-fifties for its stylish reflection of the past.

Ford's New Power Stroke

On: Wed, Sep 2, 2009 at 2:54PM | By: John Welch

Ford's New Power Stroke test 1-1

Deciding that the engines they have purchased from supplier Navistar were more trouble than they are worth, Ford has designed and constructed their first pick-up truck diesel. The 'Scorpion' 6.7-liter V-8 diesel has many innovative features that contribute to lower emissions and NVH. Each set of valves has its own rocker configuration, the block is cast of a lighter iron, the cylinder heads are now aluminum. On top of those improvements, the motor has a unique turbo set-up.


SR8LM pulverizes the 'Ring

On: Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 12:32PM | By: John Welch

SR8LM pulverizes the 'Ring test 1-1

Last week we reported on the constant struggle to own the 'production' lap record at the Nurburgring. Here is a video of the lap in question: A Hyabusa-engined Radical SR8LM screaming around the 'Ring, driven by the narrator, Michael Vargers. Bon-appetite!

Renault may use KERS at Monza

On: Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 10:48AM | By: John Welch

Renault may use KERS at Monza test 1-1

Kinetic Energy Recovery systems were a hot topic before the 2009 F1 season got under way. Every team wanted the advantage of extra horsepower, but the drawbacks associated with the system proved to be insurmountable for most teams. BMW-Sauber went so far as to run KERS on Nick Hiedfeld's F109 chassis but not on Robert Kubica's car. Kubica you see, is not the size of a jockey, like most F1 drivers, and it was determined that managing weight distribution would be to difficult with him in the car. Kubica is a measly inch taller and fifteen pounds heavier than Hiedfeld. In a Formula one car that could be considered the difference between a thimble and an elephant.

Audi announces return to Petit LeMans

On: Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 2:55PM | By: John Welch

Audi announces return to Petit LeMans test 1-1

. . . All of my wildest dreams are coming true. Last week, Autoshopper reported that Peugeot and ORECA will both contest the Petit LeMans this year, with no immediate word from Audi. Well, that word has been given; Audi will campaign two R15 Diesels in this years Petit.

Following this announcement, the LMP1 field is now so populated with awesome cars and teams that I don't think I can stand it (I'm excited; can you tell?). Along with Team Joest Audi, LMP1 will feature both Peugeot 908s, ORECA's Courage-derived prototype, De Ferran and Patron/Highcroft Acura ARX-02s, as well as the Intersport Lola, the Zytek Hybrid prototype, and several other private entries. Somebody pinch me, I'm dreaming.

Joining the LMP1 fracas are the LMP2 cars, BP Lola/Mazda coupes, as well as the Fernandez Acura ARX-01b. I've already gushed wildly about the GT2 class, featuring BMW, Corvette, Porsche, Ferrari, Panoz, the Robinson Ford GT, and many others. This is literally shaping up to be the best Sports Car race, on American soil, ever. If you'll excuse me, I have to go hyperventilate into this paper bag for a minute . . . I wonder if this ridiculous 'Joker Smilex' grin will ever leave my face?

The next round of the American Le Mans Series is the Mobil 1 Presents Grand Prix of Mosport at 3:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 30. The race will air live on SPEED.

The ALMS release can be found here, on americanlemans.com

Barrichello, BrawnGP take the win in Valencia

On: Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 3:19PM | By: John Welch

Barrichello, BrawnGP take the win in Valencia test 1-1

The European Grand Prix was held in Valencia, Spain this weekend. As far as I'm concerned the show could have been better, but the result was nothing short of inspirational. Rubens Barrichello, at age 37 the oldest driver on the grid, performed flawlessly to take his first win in over five years. This win is also the first for him since leaving Ferrari to join the Honda F1 team (Now 'BrawnGP'). His win Sunday has changed Barrichello's view on his future in the sport. During the current season he has expressed dismay at what he perceived to be unfair "team orders," stating that he felt the team was concentrating more effort on his BrawnGP stablemate Jenson Button. Barrichello had also alluded to retirement after after the 2009 season, stating that he "didn't really see the point in racing in 2010" which would be his eighteenth consecutive season at the top level of motor sport. He has changed his mind, after the race expressing his desire to stay on with Brawn.

Web Review: Porsche

On: Thu, Aug 20, 2009 at 10:47AM | By: John Welch

Web Review: Porsche test 1-1

I like to pretend that I'm rich instead of just good looking. I like to pretend that I am able to wake up in the morning, dine on Eggs Benedict and lobster, then trot off to buy any new car my heart desires. In the process of feeding these irrational fantasies, I tend to peruse manufacturer websites, finding out exactly what ultra-expensive vehicles with what ultra-expensive options are available in my area. Most of these experiences are good; the car companies definitely drop a little cash on their websites. However, sometimes the site is clunky, or the interface doesn't provide an option I'd like, etc. This series of posts will leave no stone unturned in the name of finding the best, most informative, most complete Auto Manufacturer Websites. This week's subject: Porsche.

ALMS to restructure rules for 2010

On: Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 12:39PM | By: John Welch

ALMS to restructure rules for 2010 test 1-1

In an effort to return to the excellent racing seen between 2006 and 2008 the American Le Mans Series has announced rule changes for the 2010 season. Series President Scott Atherton made the announcement on Tuesday.

“Our sport has always been about evolution, and our plans for 2010 and beyond reflect it. We intend to stay ahead of the rest of the industry. We are the first movers to embrace a value-based new set of classes while at the same time retaining the core elements of what has made the American Le Mans Series the benchmark professional sports car racing series in modern times. The automotive industry is going through radical changes, and the same can be said for most of the motorsports industry. With today’s announcement we are adding value-based opportunities that expand accessibility to a broader base of competitors, manufacturers, and teams,” declared Atherton.

The proposed changes deal with several aspects of the class structure, most notably combining the two top-tier classes, LMP1 and LMP2. Through the magic of "competition equalization" the series will be able to slow the LMP1 cars while increasing the speeds of LMP2, making the distinctly different machines preform much the way they did in 2007. Equalization can be achieved many different ways: adding ballast to lighter cars, allowing less restriction on smaller engines. The idea is to create a situation where the larger LMP1 cars have advantages at certain tracks, and the LMP2s at others. Other interesting additions include a low cost 'spec' prototype class, all participants running the same equipment.

For the entire story, click over to the official ALMS website

Weekend Viewing: How I Wasted My Sunday..

On: Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 5:05PM | By: John Welch

Weekend Viewing: How I Wasted My Sunday.. test 1-1

There was no sports car race, ALMS or Grand-Am. Ahem; there was no televised sports car race. The NASCAR event at Pocono was doomed at eight a.m. Torrential downpours the week prior had left the racing surface soaking wet and "weeping". Even after drying, the track will secrete water from beneath the initial layer of asphalt. It rained again on Sunday and the race was called off by five. Nice. This sort of Sunday will affect my mood for weeks.