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Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Racing

12 Minutes Of V8 Super Cars That Reaffirms Our Lust For Racing

On: Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 11:42AM | By: John Welch


12 Minutes Of V8 Super Cars That Reaffirms Our Lust For Racing test 1-1

We don't cover the Austrailian V8 SuperCar Series that often in the AutoShopperBlog. Like NASCAR and Formula One, this series is well-covered across the interwebs, and doesn't hit close to home like the ALMS or Rolex Grand Am Series. Just like NASCAR and F1, sometimes we just can't ignore the Aussie V8s.

In case you are totally uninitiated, V8 SuperCars are very close to their production brethren, the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon. Though we have not had anything similar to the (completely badass) Ford Falcon on these shores, you may recognize the Commodore as the late, great Pontiac G8. Don't cry for me, Catalina, though we no longer get the G8, it's chassis lives on as several Holdens, and a Vauxhall or two; don't forget Chevrolet-badged versions sold in Saudi Arabia and China. Hilarious how our own government likes to screw us over in the name of "good relations" with these countries, while at the same time General Motors sells the most ‘American’ of vehicles not to Americans, but to our financial "frienemies". Sooo funny. The world just isn't fair.

Political rant stifled, I must now turn your attention to the video inside this post. It comes from last weekend's Gold Coast 600 (600 Kilometers, not miles) and it features a veteran Holden driver, Jamie Whincup, holding off an upstart Ford rookie, Shane Van Ginsbergern. The two drivers are bumper-to-bumper for a long time, the racing action too good to ignore. Sit back in your office chair, watch out for Eye-Hustlers, and let this video rip; it is sure to be the best ten minutes of your stuffed-shirt, cubicle-dwelling day!


Sebring Historic Fall Classic 2010

On: Sun, Oct 24, 2010 at 6:23AM | By: John Welch


Sebring Historic Fall Classic 2010 test 1-1

We have covered a lot of "Classic" events lately, the Sebring Historic Classic being one of the most exciting. Vintage racing machines from all eras converge on Sebring International Raceway this weekend for some "friendly" racing. This event is labled as an exhibition, but you wouldn't know it watching the action on track. Yesterday's action included Trans-Am Mustangs from every decade, 60s, 70s, 80's, and 90s. Porsches of all varieties were in attendance, as well as the big surprise, two Champion Audi R8s. Their presense not advertised prior to the race, I never imagined I would be given a chance to photograph these cars on track.

Here we have a brief teaser gallery; many more pictures, video and information from the 2010 Sebring Historic Fall Classic throughout the week.


CNN Recognizes ALMS, Covers Petit Le Mans

On: Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 10:05AM | By: John Welch


CNN Recognizes ALMS, Covers Petit Le Mans test 1-1

Despite rumors suggesting the American Le Mans Series has no television package for 2011, the series ended 2010 with as much media exposure as it could have possibly hoped for. Being the second stop of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, the event welcomed many news outlets and organizations from overseas, and recieved an unusal amount of coverage from our own North American outlets.

One such member of the media elite, CNN, sent a crew up to Braselton to cover the pre-race ceremonies at Petit. They did an excellent job, speaking with every important personality they could find in the paddock. It appeared that CNN, like all North American news outlets, had never witnessed big time sports car racing before. They made up for their lack of knowledge by asking the right questions, of the right people. Scott Atherton, Doug Fehan, Patrick Long, Giancarlo Fisichella, Allan McNish, Scott Sharp were all interviewed in this piece, and all had interesting things to say. Other North American Series may wonder why attendence and viewership is down; could it be that American race fans are more interested in variety and competition than who the drivers are married to? HHhmmm, food for thought . . .


ALMS Wrap Up Pt.2: Best GT Season Ever Comes Down To The Last Corner

On: Fri, Oct 8, 2010 at 10:55AM | By: John Welch


ALMS Wrap Up Pt.2: Best GT Season Ever Comes Down To The Last Corner test 1-1

The LMP classes provided us with fewer thrills than we were hoping for at the 2010 Petit Le Mans, but this minor let down demonstrates the beauty of multi-class racing: the LMP race isn't the only race going on. There are also GT cars, and this year, many GT cars. By the end of 2008 GT1 had grown too expensive for its own good, reduced, in North America, to a near exhibition race between the two defacto-winners, Corvette Racing C6.Rs No.3 and No.4. By 2009 there wasn't even an Aston Martin DB9R racing in the ALMS, needless to say Saleens, Maseratis or Lamborghinis. GT1 had to go, and GT2 had to step up and fill the huge gap left by the massive engined, carbon-braked premier class. No problemo.

How does 6 manufacturers, all fielding two or more fully funded cars, sound? Maybe even a four-way points battle for all three championships: Drivers, Teams, and Manufacturer? You got it, and just for fun, that points battle came down to the last corner on the last lap. Purty dang exciting, especially considering some of the catastrophic accidents seen this season. Those BMWs have been rebuilt, what? Eight hundred times? Since March? Yeah, that sounds right . . .

The Petit Le Mans was a fitting end to a grueling season, the Corvette Racing ZR1s out for blood and everyone else just trying to survive to the 70% mark. Having never gone a season in ALMS competition without winning a race, things looked pretty bleak for the fledging GT2 squad coming into Road Atlanta. New engines and the associated teething problems that come with them have kept the yellow and black fiends out of the winner's circle for nine rounds; would their season end with heartbreak?

Risi Competitzione and BMW Rahal/Letterman enter Petit Le Mans determined to capture the Manufacturers title, while Porsche veterans Flying Lizard Motorsports attempt to use a relaxed strategy to ensure they get the Drivers title, then race balls out to the finish for the Manufacturers and the win. Endurance races have seemed like elongated sprints for the ALMS this season, and Petit would be no different. These cars and others duked it out for 1,000 kilometers and covered the holes in LMP excitement rather well. GTChallenge, a pro-am class made up of Porsche GT3 Cup cars, came down to the wire as well, and what of that silly 911 Hybrid deal? It lasted the entire race, and under different circumstances could have been very competitive. More on the stunning Porsche Hybrid, race results and recap inside the post.


 

Denny Hamlin Boosts Toyota's Sprint Cup Hopes

On: Fri, Oct 8, 2010 at 9:25AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Denny Hamlin Boosts Toyota's Sprint Cup Hopes  test 1-1

Denny Hamlin has reportedly signed through 2011 with Joe Gibbs Racing; although no official contract details are available, but it is widely believed Hamlin's contract looks like it is through at least 2011.

That the Joe Gibbs Racing driver is in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup isn’t surprising—he’s qualified for the 10-race playoff for five consecutive years. That he’s leading the point standings? Well, that’s another matter. “It is a little different position than we’ve been in,” Hamlin admitted Friday. “Usually I’m at least 80 or 90 points behind when we get to this race right here.”

“And I’ve always felt like I had to make up points and then I would get even more frustrated if we lost more points to whoever the championship leader was at the time.” Toyota is seeking its first championship at NASCAR’s highest level and Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch are the only two Toyota representatives in the 12-driver Chase. After Sunday's race at Kansas, Hamlin who finished 12th, is currently second in the standings, eight points behind Jimmy Johnson. Busch, who finished 21st, is 80 points out.


Big Changes In 2012 For Rolex Grand Am Series

On: Thu, Oct 7, 2010 at 10:35AM | By: John Welch


Big Changes In 2012 For Rolex Grand Am Series test 1-1

The AutoShopper Blog has been religious in our coverage of two of North America's premier road racing series, The American Le Mans Series and the Rolex Grand Am Series. We covered the changes in the ALMS in previous posts, but have only just now had some light shed on the changes for Grand Am, which we will see in 2012. The ALMS is getting smaller, LMP1 is going to downsize to LMP2-size power plants, and LMP2 is going to switch to straight-up production-based engines such as Ford's EcoBoost V6. The prototypes will all get slightly smaller, and there is a new "big honking fin" that will be added to the engine cover of all LMPs in an attempt to prevent blow-over type accidents. Grand Am solved that problem in 2003 by implementing an enormous cockpit and huge side pods on all Daytona Prototype chassis. These features have worn out their welcome, the DP chassis design has proven to be a safe one, and now it's time to let the engine manufacturers loose on the DP's bodywork, effectively clearing the way for Daytona Prototypes that closely resemble the design language used by their engine providers.

Before 2012 I would have recognized the Krohn DP as a Ford/Lola, whereas a layman wouldn't have had any idea what they were looking at. Hopefully, for the 2012 season, everyone, from veteran fans to the freshly initiated, will be able to recognize this car as a FORD. The Ganassi Rileys will be obvious BMWs, and GM-powered cars will be unmistakable as one Chevrolet sports car or another.
 
The GT field will change as well. Realizing the need for higher car counts and greater variety, Grand Am is already allowing GT3 Audi R8 machines in for next season, and will hopefully expand that rule to all FIA GT3 machines. Grand Am is not forgetting its current GT teams either; currently they are working on a rules set that will allow the GT3 cars and the current crop of Production 1 (road cars like the Corvette) and Production 2 (tube frame Riley chassis like the Mazda RX8 and Chevy Camaro) to race under the same classification.

Despite a disturbing economic climate that is supposedly ruining racing as we know it, it is an exciting time for the two best professional series in the world, and Grand Am isn't resting on their success. 2012 looks to be an incredible season for the Rolex Series.
 


ALMS Wrap Up Pt.1: Peugeot Plays Proud Protagonist, Audi Alarmed Antagonist

On: Mon, Oct 4, 2010 at 3:09PM | By: John Welch


ALMS Wrap Up Pt.1: Peugeot Plays Proud Protagonist, Audi Alarmed Antagonist test 1-1

So many crazy things happened before, during, and after the 2010 Petit Le Mans that one post just won't cut it. In the name of clarity and full coverage, let’s start with the Prototype categories.

As we should know by now, the American Le Mans Series generally acknowledges two prototype classes, LMP and LMPC. For longer endurance and ILMC-sanctioned events the LMP class is split into LMP1 and LMP2; LMP2 cars are light and average 550 bhp, LMP1 vehicles are heavier and have more power on tap. It really should be classified "The Diesels and everyone else" as the Audi and Peugeot diesels are nearly unstoppable, under the current rules.

So, for last Saturday's 10 Hour Enduro (or 1,000 kilometers, whichever comes first) in Braselton, Georgia, we had a shoot-out between the dominate diesel entries, another race-within-a-race between the ALMS LMP regulars, and a third contest for LMPC honors. Because of the rule changes between the ALMS and the ACO's Le Mans rule book, the LMP2 class was rendered inert—the real races were between the Audis and Peugeots, the LMP1 Lola of Intersport Racing, the Patron-Highcroft ARX-01c, the Drayson Lola, and the Cyto-Sport Porsche RS Spyder.

LMPC, a new for 2010 category featuring identical (at the start of the season) Courage FLM-09 prototypes, has been hard fought by the Green Earth Team Gunnar and Level 5 Motorsports teams. Going at it tooth and nail all season, these two teams have helped elevate LMPC far beyond its original expectations as a boring spec-class that will only slow down serious competitors in the LMP and GT classes. That hasn't been the case; besides offering extremely economical racing for the teams (a few entries have run the same Chevrolet LS3 crate engine all year) the class went into Petit with a tie in the points lead. Pretty exciting for a "field filler" classification.


Petit Le Mans 2010; Audi, Peugeot, Hybrids, Oh My!

On: Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 4:33PM | By: John Welch


Petit Le Mans 2010; Audi, Peugeot, Hybrids, Oh My! test 1-1

It's been a while since we covered America's most entertaining road racing association, probably because it has been a while since the American Le Mans Series has raced. The Autoshopper was there in March for the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, and though we can't make it to Braselton, we will cover every heart-stopping minute of the 2010 Petit Le Mans. To ramp up excitement for the event we have here a primer for the slightly uninitiated, a short guide to the new cars, new teams, and of course, the fearsome diesel monsters that will be murdering the Road Atlanta tarmac on Saturday. 

Two practice sessions down, two more scheduled for today. Venture inside the post for a break down of the new teams, and the time sheets from this morning.


Gymkhana 3 Part 2 Unleashes Mayhem On The Interwebs

On: Fri, Sep 17, 2010 at 9:52AM | By: Chris Weiss


Gymkhana 3 Part 2 Unleashes Mayhem On The Interwebs test 1-1

Part 1 of Gymkhana 3 was a disappointment by all accounts when it was debuted a few weeks ago. It watched more like a music video with a little bit of teasing of the actual drifting action that everyone was expecting to see from the latest Gymkhana release. As driver Ken Block had promised, it was different. But different in a bad way.

Now that Part 2 is out, we have a new respect for Part 1. It basically got the mandatory advertising and BS out of the way, so that Part 2 could focus on all-out, balls-to-the-wall asphalt assault-and-battery. And Part 2 should leave no one disappointed.


SSC Ultimate Aero II Pictures Slip Forth

On: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 4:46PM | By: Chris Weiss


SSC Ultimate Aero II Pictures Slip Forth test 1-1

Due to some security issues, Shelby Supercars did not reveal the next-generation Ultimate Aero at a scheduled event at the Museum of Flight in Seattle last month. Instead, the company has indicated an official reveal for this month. Though no hard date has been given, SSC created a teaser site last month that showed a little bit of a carbon-fiber nose with the simple words: "The next generation is coming soon..." The site also stated "September 2010."

Now that it's actually September, we're getting more than a little anxious to see what the new Aero is all about. Luckily for us, some industrious industry folks have gotten their hands on a couple of pre-release pictures and aren't shy about sharing them. Over the holiday weekend, Jalopnik published the first photos of the car, which showed it head on and from the side. Top Gear, the source from which the photos had originated, followed up with a shot of the rear end. What the pictures show is a dramatically new car that capitalizes on the prowess of lead designer Jason Castriota.


AutoShopperBlog Personas For Mozilla Firefox!

On: Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 9:48AM | By: John Welch


AutoShopperBlog Personas For Mozilla Firefox!  test 1-1

We know you love reading the AutoShopperBlog on a daily basis, not because you have to, because you want to. With that in mind we have developed a way for Mozilla Firefox users to stare at their favorite AutoShopper photography instead of finishing those dreaded TPS Reports. These "Personas" work only with Firefox , are free, and feature as much racing hooliganism as we can fit into a 3000x200 rectangle. A very kewl way to spice up your browser that doesn't involve unicorns or Japanese animation or blinged-out Escalades that are so off-center you can see only half of one massive chromed wheel.

The next three Personas bring our total to six, and feature content that again spans the AutoShopperBlog's exploits during 2009 and 2010. We have some Sebring, some Lake Mirror Classic, and some RedLine Time Attack, all prominently featured on this blog over the course of the last year. Venture inside the post for AutoShopper Mozilla branding worthy of the finest desktops . . .