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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Racing

Racing Results from the forbidden LMS

On: Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 5:37PM | By: John Welch

Racing Results from the forbidden LMS test 1-1

Aston Martin was able to nail down a 1-2-3 finish at last weekend's Nurburgring 1000km, putting them securely into first place in the LMS. ('LeMans Series', the European equivalent to the ALMS,) Good thing Speedtv.com reports on these things, because they definitely DO NOT broadcast them on television. Why not? Chalk it up to economics, blame it on NASCAR fever that doesn't really exist, whatever the case the average racing fan gets gypped.

A Ginetta-Zytek 09S took the LMP2 crown, being run by the Quifel-ASM Team. GT1 became a battle of attrition, the Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C6.R and Larbre Competition Saleen S7-R leading most of the race, both cars retiring with mechanical issues. This delivered the win to Larbre’s Roland Berville, Sebastien Dumez and Laurent Groppi; piloting another S7R. GT2 went to Team Felbermayr Proton’s Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz in their Porsche GT3.

Heres hoping Speed decides to broadcast this exciting series, along with many others they choose to overlook because of advertising concerns . . . ihk . . .

Full race coverage can be found at Speedtv.com

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.

Ecclestone releases 2010 F1 schedule

On: Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 9:48AM | By: John Welch

Ecclestone releases 2010 F1 schedule test 1-1

The schedule for the 2010 Formula One season was confirmed yesterday. As per the demands of most of the major teams, Formula One will return to North America next year. Most the manufacturer-based teams (Ferrari, Mclaren-Mercedes, Toyota) consider North America to be their most important consumer market. They certainly sell more passenger cars in the United States, for more money, than any other country.

After the debacle that was the 2005 US Grand Prix, interest in F1 supposedly waned in our country. The race was canceled after 2007, and the Canadian Grand Prix canceled after last year. (Robert Kubica won that race, bringing the only win to the BMW-Sauber team. I was pleased).

The F1 circus is going to return to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Contrary to popular rumor the European Grand Prix will be held on the Valencia street circuit, as it was last week. Eh, this track makes for a boring race, but hey, they have a bridge!

Personal beefs aside, the race schedule increases to 18 races from the 17 races scheduled this season. For more info you can visit Speedtv.com.


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.

Running Round the 'Ring

On: Thu, Aug 20, 2009 at 2:16PM | By: John Welch

Running Round the 'Ring test 1-1

Ahhh, the Nurburgring. Possibly the world's greatest race course (that's debatable, of course; Indy and La Sarthe may take offense). Considered by most of the world's automakers as the ultimate test for their machinery. Manufacturers are so high on the 'Ring koolaid that they've been waging a 'fast lap' war around the circuit for the better part of three years. The waters surrounding these records are starting to get a little muddy. In the last four days three different manufacturers (Devon, Gumpert, and Radical) have made claim to the 'production car' lap record. Huh? The PRODUCTION lap record is held by the Corvette ZR1, at a time of 7:26.4. It could be argued that none of these other cars are 'production' cars. They are all hand-built, small volume rocket sleds that surely required serious bribes in order to get street legal. Take a look at the Radical; it's a LMP2 car with slim bodywork for barkinoutloud.

Besides the epic ego-war being waged between Porsche and Nissan, the fight between these small firms has become increasingly interesting. Following is a breakdown of the supposed records and as much media as I can find to go with them.

Devon GTX
: a Dodge Viper with frilly body cladding. Whoopee. It is 100% American, which I like, but they're shooting for a time of 6:55. MMmmm, that's a little hard to swallow.

Gumpert Apollo
: Here a we a have a serious beast. In the back of the wildly styled chassis lays an Audi V8. Oh, and a couple of hairdryers. You can order the performance flavor that best suits you: 600, 650, and 700 horsepower. Delicious. The Apollo even beats the Corvette by eleven seconds! To bad it looks like Falcor.

Radical SR8LM
: And here we have the new Champ. Though I refuse to call it a production car, it is remarkably reliable. The car was driven from England to South West Germany, and ran its lap on the same tires used for the transcontinental trip. I'll let you read the story for the lap time, but I assure you, it's eye-watering.


BMW wins GT2 at Road America

On: Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 3:43PM | By: John Welch

BMW wins GT2 at Road America test 1-1

BMW finally made its way to the top of the ALMS podium this weekend, finally taking their first win in the GT2 category. "Big Deal," you say. "I wanna hear about the Corvettes!" you say. "This Hot Pocket isn't cooked all the way!" I hope you just suck it up and chew the ham/ice/cheese in the middle. Also, I'm a Bimmer Nut Case so they will receive just as much attention on this blog as the Corvettes. Is that Hot Pocket tolerable?

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

Renault allowed to race on Sunday

On: Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 12:55PM | By: John Welch

Renault allowed to race on Sunday test 1-1

A mistake is just that, a mistake. "Mooom, I didn't mean to draw an outline of Road Atlanta on my bedroom wall, in pastels; it was a mistake!" Yeah, right. She didn't buy it either. Apparently the FIA is more forgiving than my Mother.

When last we saw the venerable F1 circus, the moving pictures were coming to us form Hungary, a track named the Hungaroring. Fernando Alonso was making a routine pit stop. Upon being released form the pits Alonso began to notice a bad vibration coming from his right front wheel. Ah, mistakes. As it turns out the wheel was not properly fastened, causing it to come loose and fly off the car. The stewards were not pleased. So upset, in fact, that they banned Renault from the next round almost immediately. Now we're dealing with two mistakes. The next round of Formula One racing takes place in Valencia, Spain, the "European Grand Prix". Telling Spaniards that Fernando Alonso will not be allowed to participate in his home race is about like the University of Florida telling Gators fans that they're benching Tim Tebow during all home games, for any reason. A bad situation from a P.R. standpoint. The best case scenario would be nobody showing up to the track on race day. The worst case, inciting riots.

The FIA certainly knows which side its bread is buttered on, today overturning the suspension. It was made very clear that the sactioning body was not happy with Renault, fining them and giving the team a brutal tongue lashing. They will however allow Flavio's yellow cars on track this weekend.

The entire story can be read at Formula One's offcial 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.