After a huge wildfire delayed the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, it has finally had its day in the spotlight, and it did not disappoint. The entire PPIHC was chock-full of craziness and highlights, along with some low-lights worthy of mention.
The biggest highlight of the day was seeing a record set at last year’s race fall. It fell not only once, but twice in only 10 starts. Switzerland’s Romain Dumas – a PPIHC rookie – fired up the hill, completing the course in just 9:46.18 in his 2012 Porsche GT3 RS . This demolished the 9:51.278 record set by Nobuniro Tajima In 2011. Just 10 starts later, Rhys Millen, an 18-year PPIHC veteran, beat Dumas’ time by 0.02 seconds in his 2012 Hyundai Genesis coupe. Yeah, figure that one out; a Hyundai beat a Porsche GT3 RS .
Dejected, Dumas vowed never to race Pike’s Peak again, claiming it is unfair because he raced in rainy conditions, while Millen got a drier track to run on. In all honesty, though, 10 starts just doesn’t seem like a long enough time frame to cause a huge discrepancy in track conditions. We’re calling “Sore loser” on this one. That’s no way to get a good name in the racing world.
A huge low-light in this year’s race is the fact that the 2011 champion and former record holder, Nobuniro Tajima, didn’t even get a shot at the title, as his electric motor burned up. Tajima had a pretty good chance to win the race in back-to-back years, but that was apparently not in the cards this year. We’re sure he’ll be back near the top next year.
Let’s take a look at the top-3 in each class, plus the top-10 overall results.
There are tons of racing circuits in the world right now, but the fastest rising one in the U.S. is the Global RallyCross Championship circuit. You have super-fast cars on multiple surfaces (dirt, mud, sand, pavement, etc.) with little room to maneuver, plus they throw in obstacles and and ramps. No, we don’t mean relatively cushy dirt jumps in regular rally circuits. We mean ramps with huge gaps between them. So, who can blame us for falling in love with it?
It looks like the FIA is a little envious of the GRC and is planning to start its own international global rallycross circuit. With this potential entry into globalizing its rallycross circuit, the FIA is rumored to have forbid its drivers to participate in GRC. This would take some pretty high-level names out of the GRC, like Ken Block, Sebastien Loeb, Tanner Foust, and Liam Doran. To make matters worse, Tanner Foust is actually the points leader in the 2012 season, so that would be a major shakeup if the ban comes mid-season.
As we said, these are just rumors right now, but with multiple sources spreading the same whispers, there is likely some truth behind it. We have shipped off an email to GRC to get a quick statement and to see if there is any truth behind this, but we really doubt that they will confirm or deny the rumors.
For now, we just have to kick back and wait to see if the FIA follows through with this ban and if it’ll affect the 2012 season.
Typically the words “eco-friendly” and “performance” don’t mix together well, but sometimes they pull it off. A great example of a successful attempt is the ACAT Global Ferrari 575 by JBR Motorsports. ACAT Global specializes in making less expensive and lighter catalytic converters, whereas JBR focuses on building bad-ass race cars; a match made in heaven. This modified Ferrari 575 is set to take on one of the largest challenges in the world, and that is to overtake the world land speed record – in the Grand Touring class, of course – at the Bonneville Speed Flats.
JRB and ACAT have been tight lipped about what this Ferrari 575 has behind the rear seats, but we are 100 percent certain that it is a little more than the standard 515-horsepower 5.8-liter V-12 that the stock 575 boasts. Granted, that engine is good, but certainly not enough to beat out the Ferrari record of 232 mph.
The exterior of the Ferrari 575 is draped in a coat of French Blue Ferrari Racing paint with graphics by custom-graphics-extraordinaire, Troy Lee, but the remainder of the exterior modifications are still unknown at this time. We are certain that the Ferrari will boast a lower ride height to help with aerodynamics and a series of diffusers on the rear to help reduce the drag on the rear of the Ferrari.
As we approach the August 11th debut of the Ferrari 575, given it passes its 3-day testing phase, we will learn more about this super-fast Ferrari. We will pass information along to you, as we receive it.
Click past the jump to read the press release regarding its record-setting attempt.
Autonomous driving is on the tips of all of our tongues at any given moment, as it is the most likely “next generation” step in the automotive world. One of the key components of perfecting automated driving is the introduction of car-to-car-to-object communication – communication between cars and traffic-control devices. Think of it as a Facebook for the automotive world. Every car needs to update its status and plans to all of the other cars and the traffic controls “in its network” (in the area), so that they know how to plan accordingly.
Sure automated driving works okay via a series of sensors, but that only allows so much. This social networking allows car to plan routes, avoid traffic, avoid accidents, and so forth, ahead of time. Germany has taking the driver’s seat in this matter, by introducing the Safe Intelligent Mobility – Testfield Germany (sim TD) - which allows controlled testing of these communication systems. Mercedes-Benz is one maker that will provide Germany with cars for this testing program and has now chosen to do some of its own car-to-car-to-object testing at its own facility in Palo Alto, California. During its infancy, this system will utilize the network of cars to sense a line of stopped cars over the peak of a hill or around a blind turn, helping prevent a rear-end collision because the driver and automated sensing devices couldn’t see the stopped cars.
In the long run, this system may end up being the basis that automated driving on a regular basis spawns from. Using sensors alone to eliminate the driver’s need to control a car is pretty dangerous, as the sensors can only see what the human eye can see. This automotive network, on the other hand, allows the car to see things well in advance, making automated driving the safest driving method. That sounds like a good plan to us.
This picture may be a little old — from the 2007 Goodwood Festival of Speed rally — but it still captures the essence of rally racing. Not only are rallys hard to photograph because of the limited angles you have, but the high speeds and bouncing that the cars do make it nearly impossible.
Well, Kolin Tregaskes caught Colin McRae’s Subaru WRX heading up the Goodwood Forest Rally at the Festival of Speed . Yup, Goodwood has more than just an awesomely technical road course.
You get to see this blue rocket propelling between the trees, likely at speeds most of us would not hot on the interstate, let alone off road. In his trail is nothing but a light cloud of dust.
Even with Tregaskes’ steady hand and likely high-end digital camera, the violent bouncing of McRae’s car still comes through as a light blur. This makes you wonder exactly how these rally drivers can even see the path they are piloting.
Nice grab by Kolin Tregaskes. Make sure to catch his entire Flickr portfolio here to see other great shots.
Evanta Motor Company has made itself a nice niche in the automotive realm by manufacturing extremely accurate reproductions of some of the rarest Aston Martins in the world. The latest model it is selling is likely one of the most unique models to date.
Not only is this a model of the famed DRB1 that Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori piloted, but it is a full-size model. On the surface that sounds normal, but when we say “model,” we mean that as in the type you bought in the toy store as a kid... Yup, this model is a disassembled “AirFix” type model.
If you don’t recall, these are the types of models where the pieces are molded into square frames and you have to twist the pieces from the frames to separate them. This model includes all of the basics you would see in the standard “AirFix” model, including: race-ready seats, fiberglass body panels draped in Aston Martin Californian Sage Green, grille, wheels and tires, steering wheel, dashboard, gear shifter, and even a replica of the 1959 Le Mans trophy.
No, you can’t whip out the superglue and throw this bad boy together. This 20- by 10-foot beast is intended to sit in a rather spacious collection and be viewed by awe-struck onlookers. Everything in this kit is 100 percent identical to the model that won the 1959 Le Mans and to make it even more desirable, Evanta is including an Aston Martin baseball cap signed by Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori, both of whom past away earlier this year.
You can catch a glimpse of this massive dedicatory piece at the Goodwood Revival Car Show, which kicks off on September 14th and lasts through the 16th. If you have some extra scratch laying around, you can also snag up this one-off piece, as Bonhams will be auctioning it off at the Revival Car Show. Unfortunately, no estimated pricing was given, but we are certain it’ll fetch in the $100,000 range.
Click past the jump to read Evantra’s official press release.
The Lexus LFA is unquestionably one of the best-sounding exotic sports cars currently on the market. Its 552 horsepower, 4.8-liter V10 engine delivers an incredible howl unmatched by any of its competitors and the following video helps to demonstrate just how incredible the LFA sounds. Oh yeah, and it also appears to be quite tail-happy too.
Captured at an exclusive Lexus Spindle Night in Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan, three LFAs, including the uber-exclusive LFA Nurburgring Edition were brought together into an outdoor arena to perform what only can be described as a lovely Japanese ballet.
After all, drifting is arguably the largest and most internationally-recognized sport to have ever come out of the Land of the Samurai, and this video helps to demonstrate just how happy the Japanese are to test the true performance capabilities of every car out there.
Check out the video above and keep the following performance stats in mind. As mentioned, the LFA’s 4.8-liter V10 engine pumps out a Lamborghini Gallardo -equalling 552hp at an incredible 8,800 rpm at 354 lb-ft of torque at 6,800 rpm. Most impressively however, is the fact that 90 percent of that torque is available between 3,700 rpm and the car’s 9,000 rpm redline!
Anyone that has seen Super Troopers can appreciate the fact that some cops do play pranks on one another. As a friend of many law enforcement folk, I can attest to the fact that it does happen and its usually benign. Things like the cat prank are awesome and completely innocent, though no officer would ever actually do it, as it undermines his authority.
Alright, meow, enter in several boneheads from Florida and you have a complete and utter failure of a prank. It’s not that the prank itself was not a success, but rather the fact that said prank could have killed many people if it had gone awry.
These two officers we’re talking about meow decided it would be funny to go speeding through a construction zone at 90 mph and get a fellow officer to chase them. After a little while the car stops in the middle of the road, with the chasing officer still unaware of the “prank,” and the driver hops out as if he is about to run.
The pursuing officer, Christina Fowler, draws her gun, then the driver finally identifies himself as fellow officer, Marc Thompson, just before bursting into a fit of ridiculous laughter. In the speed car were two other officers, a sergeant and another beat officer. For this “prank,” Thompson and the sergeant were terminated and the officer in the rear got a one-day vacation without pay.
The firings are being contested by the union, but in our opinion, these guys got what they deserved. Imaging if a worker was late getting off his shift at the construction site and was hit by Thompson’s car. That prank wouldn’t be so funny then...
What would have really made us laugh is if Fowler would have very business-like just written Thompson a ticket, or better yet, taken him straight to jail for his idiotic idea of a joke. Check out the above video to see the idiocy unfold.
Toyota managed to climb itself back into road racing with the development of the TS030 prototype, but it wasn’t without its issues. The entire project was delayed by a month, due to damages caused to its monocoque from a wreck during a round of practice.
Some people may think that Toyota is haphazardly testing these cars without the drivers being properly trained, but they would be sorely incorrect with that thought. Sin ce before Toyota pulled out of road racing, it has had a racing simulator to allow drivers to get a good feel for the car they will be driving and the track they will be on.
The simulator, according to TMG driver, Kazuki Nakajima, has all of the pedal and steering wheel feel of the real cars, as well as the real feel of the track. Much like the simulator rides that were popular in the early-1990s and are still around today, the simulator is on a hydraulic base that bounces the car and moves it along with the driver‘s input through the steering, brakes, and gas.
The simulator includes 20 different tracks, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans track that you see in the above video. It also includes a slew of cars, so that drivers can get the feel of the varying cars TMG uses in races. Mild adjustments are made to the simulator to compensate for changes in the vehicle’s suspension, aerodynamics, horsepower, etc., making for a very real experience for the drivers.
Have a look at the above video and see the simulator in action yourself.
Just about every day, we see a new on-car camera shot that is exhilarating, but it’s always lacking something. This “something” that they always lack is the "real" feeling of the driver’s point of view, as the camera is usually connected to the car or on the top of the driver’s helmet.
Well, F1 Driver, Lucas di Grassi decided that it was time to give us a real-life driver’s-eye view of him racing his open-wheel car. He accomplished this by placing a small camera directly in front of one of his eyes, so he was literally driving with just one eye.
Granted, there were no other drivers on the course, but to see him navigate the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the rain was a thing of beauty. In addition, he gave us a taste of some of the speeds they drive by getting his car up to 280 km/h (174 mph) at the 2:45 mark, which is impressive enough in the rain, but with just one eye is simply nuts.
Take a look at the above video to get a true driver’s-eye view of the craziness that F1 drivers have to deal with every race day. It’s pretty intense to say the least.