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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Racing

The Long Beach Weekend

On: Mon, Apr 19, 2010 at 12:11PM | By: John Welch

The Long Beach Weekend test 1-1

This past weekend, April 17th and 18th, we had the most televised racing available to us so far this season. To say that I was "sedentary" this weekend would be like saying "gators eat Cocker Spaniels only if they really have to." A gator will devour a Cocker Spaniel at given any opportunity, and I have La-Z-Boy-sores. Similar to bed sores, made worse by constantly dusting the wounds with Dorito flavoring and spilled beer for a solid 36 hours. The odor was pungent when I finally separated myself from the soggy lounge-chair; I had become one with the dyed, seemingly donkey-derived leather.

These are the hardships that I suffer for you, brave readers, in an attempt to explain and describe the wonders of high-dollar racing to you and your contemporaries. It's hard work, but somebody has to do it. I suppose I can be that "somebody". Never have festering, gooey sores been so much fun to cultivate; never. Inside the post we cover the Long Beach Weekend (ALMS, Formula D, and the IRL*bleech*), and the F1 Chinese Grand Prix will get its own post. If you care, the NASCAR race in Texas was rained out . . . good thing I don't really care . . .

The Best Seat In The House

On: Fri, Apr 16, 2010 at 1:29PM | By: John Welch

The Best Seat In The House test 1-1

Going through the Flip it dawned on me that there were some hidden gems we hadn't yet shown you, the faithful 'Shopper Blog reader.

First up, we have "The Best Seat In The House". This video was taken from the driver's seat of my Subie, pointing directly at the exit of NASCAR Turn Two. I could have died happy.

More interesting videos inside the post . . .


The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

On: Fri, Apr 9, 2010 at 12:49PM | By: John Welch

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

Carlos Ghosn and Deiter Zetsche hopped into bed this week, and this unholy Franco-Hun alliance is already producing some interesting love children. Mercedes four cylinder in an Infiniti? Wouldn't that be a little, I don't know, difficult for Benz dealers to swallow?

GM is repaying tax-payer loans five years early, sure, but does that mean that they are on the road to profitability? Short answer, NO. Long answer, Double NO! The General has shed $4.3 billion dollars since bankruptcy, $1.9 billion in the last three months of 2009. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it's still a pin-hole. Profit in 2010? We shall see . . .

Audi has dominated sports car racing for the better part of a decade. With countless R8s and R10s, the storied marque has taken every major trophy more then once, from Le Mans to Laguna Seca. Their red and silver rocket-sleds have yet to win any beauty contests, however. With its racing introduction this weekend in the south of France, at the Paul Ricard Circuit 8 Hour, Audi continues a proud tradition of function over slightly hideous form. You be the judge, inside the post . . .

Web Review: New F1 Teams

On: Fri, Apr 2, 2010 at 12:13PM | By: John Welch

Web Review: New F1 Teams test 1-1

Is this post just a big excuse to mention that the US government might be bailing out USF1 to the tune of $100 million dollars? Yes, it mostly is. Our Great Red White and Blue hype has failed us, fellow 'Murrikens, but have faith, our Government may swoop in and save the day . . . oh, wait, yesterday was April 1st, wasn't it? Uhm, so this must be complete BS (an interesting jibe at American politics however), which describes the whole USF1-mess pretty accurately.

There are a few other new teams in Formula One this season, actual, functioning teams, with cars and drivers and everything! Virgin Racing, Lotus F1, and Hispania Racing Team have made it to both rounds of the 2010 F1 Championship. They have had a tenuous introduction to F1, these new teams, as evidenced by how many of them have actually finished a race -- Lotus has seen one car finish twice, and HRT's Karun Chandock was able to take the checkers last weekend in Melbourne. Virgin, arguably the prettiest of the new cars, has yet to finish a Grand Prix. A side-note, Prodrive (famous for campaigning Subaru's now defunct WRC team, as well as DB9.Rs and 550 GTs for Aston-Martin and Ferrari) has thrown its hat in the ring for 2011. Supposedly they had a car prepared for 2010, so their addition next season should be a successful one, assuming it even happens.

Within this post we review the new teams and their websites, if they have a website. Intrigue to follow . . .


Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring: The Race That Was Pt. 3

On: Fri, Mar 26, 2010 at 10:04AM | By: John Welch

Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring: The Race That Was Pt. 3 test 1-1

Ahhh, the third and final installment of the AutoShopper Blog's Sebring coverage. My ass and legs are still a little sore, and my ears are still ringing, but I am happy as a clam to be bringing you another gallery and a another movie of the action. I am, of course, so thrilled, because now that I'm done gushing over Sebring, I get back to updating internet ads. Yaa-Hoo.

This post rounds out our coverage of Sebring; there are several videos and images to pore over. GT car-centric as I am I feel like we've been ignoring them. Notes and observations, inside yon post . . .

Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring: The Race That Was Pt. 2

On: Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 11:25AM | By: John Welch

Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring: The Race That Was Pt. 2 test 1-1

Over-exertion can be a bad thing, but it can also be a very good thing. It's Tuesday morning, and my heels still hurt like crazy. From last Saturday. I did a lot of walking, a lot of standing . . . a lot of getting in other people's way . . . typical "suburban-dick" stuff.

This here post will fill you in on the hard numbers: who made it to the podium of the Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring. It also contains several videos, some from our intrepid 'pit' (shyeah, right) reporter, and some from media outlets who have slightly higher production values. It's an ALMS-Media-Overloadblitz-a-thon!! Enjoy!

Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring: The Race That Was

On: Mon, Mar 22, 2010 at 4:37PM | By: John Welch

Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring: The Race That Was test 1-1

OOOhhhh, man, how much do I love living in Florida? Not much; however, there are perks. For instance: Endurance Sports Car Racing!! Lots of it!! The 'Shopper was there for the Rolex 24, and we were also able to attend the Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring, the second most famous endurance race on the planet.

Held on the grounds of a WWII B-17 aerodrome, the Sebring race draws huge crowds to Highlands County every year. So, who was racing? Who won? How many sets of tah-tahs did I see? Uhm, go to Speedtv.com for all of that crap; what you will find here is a detailed description of all things visceral . . . engine sounds, tire squeals, smoke, dust, fire. The stats and figures you can find anywhere . . . actually feeling like you were there? That is what the 'Shopper does best. . . .

Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring; Le Mans Protoype Hawtness

On: Thu, Mar 18, 2010 at 3:17PM | By: John Welch

Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring; Le Mans Protoype Hawtness test 1-1

The Sports Car season is about to get into full-swing, the Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring presented by Orange Juice or Hair Cream or Cell Phones or something . . . is this Saturday! Eff!

The 'Shopper will be there and we will have freaking bells on! Getting the tickets we wanted didn't turn out to be such a snap, but the plans are lain and the Subie is gassed up. Now, to pound enough Unisom to make me just effing sleep until Saturday morning, March 19th. My liver has got to hate my guts . . .

The cars are more varied and exciting than ever, especially in the GT2 class. The number and variety of factory-backed full-bore GT2 cars is just astounding: Porsche, Corvette, BMW, Ford, Jaguar, Ferrari, Panoz, the list goes on.

Also thoroughly exciting, the prototype classes are going through some major changes this season. In order to emulate the fantastic LMP1 vs. LMP2 battles that took place between Audi, Penske (Porsche RS Spyders), and Highcroft-Acura. During the 2007 and 2008 campaigns, the LMP2 cars were working so well (and the then-new Audi R-10 was driving like a panel-van) that the significantly underpowered Acuras and Porsches were able to steal several over-all victories from the mightier (re: more powerful) LMP1 juggernauts.

For 2010, the ALMS has combined the LMP1 and 2 classes, and added a third, 'spec' class- LMPC. By taking weight off of the LMP1 cars, and taking the restrictors off (well, sort of; made the openings larger) the engines of the LMP2 cars, the playing field has been leveled between the two classes- essentially creating one mega-classification. The LMP2s are faster, but now the LMP1s can keep up with them in the corners . . . it's going to be very interesting . . .

Vettel Let Down By Renault Engine, Americans Not Surprised

On: Tue, Mar 16, 2010 at 1:46PM | By: John Welch

Vettel Let Down By Renault Engine, Americans Not Surprised test 1-1

Fernando Alonso is a hell of a driver. Everbody knows that. Sebastian Vettel is also a hell of a driver. Together, it appears they will out-right dominate the 2010 F1 Championship. Just my opinion, but I doubt I'm the only one who thinks so.

Now then, that being said, which car is better, the Red Bull RB6 or the Ferrari F10? Difficult to tell. In case you missed it (which I can't understand; what could possibly be better than F1 at 7:30 Sunday morning?! What, sleep??! Sleep when you're dead, Loser!) Sebastian Vettel absolutely dominated the opening stages of the Bahrain Grand Prix, first race of the 2010 Championship. Dominated. Then, as the laps wound down (49 laps this year, compared to last year's 56; more on that later) Vettel's Renault-powered land-missile began to lose time to the pursuing Alonso. Huge, fatty chunks of time. Alonso gained a full five seconds on one lap. Not good for Vettel or Red Bull. Eventually Alonso executed the finisher, drafting up to and then slicing around Vettel as if he were standing still. This lead to the first 1-2 finish for Ferrari in the opening race of season since 2004. Fillipe Massa made short work of Vettel, who also fell to Lewis Hamilton's McLaren before ending the race an embarrassing fourth position. So, "Whaa Happund?!"

Other topics discussed inside: Shui's return, the new teams, and my unholy disappointment in USF1 . . .

Ganassi Takes The Miami Grand Prix At Homestead

On: Tue, Mar 9, 2010 at 1:57PM | By: John Welch

Grand Prix of Miami test 2

Germany had a small civil war on the track at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday. Scott Pruett was able to hold off David Donohue by .255 seconds- Pruett, behind the wheel of a BMW-powered Riley, and Donohue piloting a Porsche-powered Riley.

"This is tough competition. You never know what's going to happen until the checkered flag falls. It was pretty exciting in my seat, that's for sure. I sure didn't want to see that last caution, but I was happy for the fans," Pruett said after scoring his 23rd Rolex Series overall victory.

The caution he speaks of dissolved a healthy lead Pruett had put together, bringing the #59 Brumos Porsche right up to Pruett's wing. Pruett managed to weave through GT traffic in the infield on the final lap and maintained the lead through the superspeedway banking. Donohue was able to pull up to the back of Pruett several times in the closing laps, but was unable to get by. Alex Gurney finished third in the #99 Gainsco-Riley Chevrolet. Overall, another awesome race conducted under the banner of "Grand-Am"!

Mopar Releases Meanest Challenger Yet, Uhm, From Mopar Itself Anyway

On: Mon, Mar 1, 2010 at 1:40PM | By: John Welch

Mopar Releases Meanest Challenger Yet, Uhm, From Mopar Itself Anyway test 1-1

One of the problems with America is that we just can't accept a good thing and then leave it well enough alone. Mopar (Dodge, whatever) has seen its darling baby, the Challenger, hacked to pieces by every tuner from the reputable, Hennessey and Steve Saleen, to the less than reputable.

So, just like last year, Dodge has decided to produce a limited run of 'Drag-Pack' Challengers. Perfect mod's for a slightly hampered muscle car? Or total waste of money and engineering effort? You be the judge, inside the post . . .