As auto enthusiasts, we all often dream about racing cars professionally and how sweet it must be to navigate these powerful machines to within inches of the bounds of physics. Well, unfortunately, we tend to overlook the fact that with all of that risk comes the potential for severe injury and even death. Unfortunately, we experienced the risk involved in car racing this weekend as up-and-coming rally co-driver, Gareth Roberts, perished in a crash at the young age of 24.
Gareth was in his typical position in the Peugeot 207 Super 2000 that Craig Breen was piloting in the Targa Florio-Rally Internazionale Di Sicilia, rattling off the upcoming track directions and related speeds when Breen lost control of the Peugeot and put it into a guardrail. According to reports, Gareth was impaled by the guardrail and lost his life as a result of the injuries.
According to statements from teammates and crew members, Breen and Gareth had been really working well with one another and were starting to garner a lot of attention in the rally world. Gareth also had a bright future as a driver, once he learned the necessary skills, but that unfortunately, never came to fruition.
We are deeply saddened by the death of this young man and pass our condolences onto his family, friends, and his racing team. This is really a reminder of just how dangerous racing truly is, especially rally racing, and we hope that the rally world can learn from this tragedy and make strides toward this type of thing not happening again.
Any fan of professional wrestling is used to seeing per-produced challenges/invitations via video and in dramatic fashion, but racing fans rarely see such drama. Well, that was until Travis Pastrana decided his competition at the upcoming X-Games just wasn’t tough enough this year and sent a video challenge/invitation to 8-time WRC champ, and fellow Red Bull athlete, Sebastien Loeb.
This was far from the professional wrestling-esq “I challenge you to a cage match” style of challenge, as Travis’ video was short, sweet and complimentary to Loeb‘s skills as a rally driver. Red Bull put together Loeb’s response in a much more dramatic fashion, as it was dubbed over with some music and had a plethora of information regarding his super-fast car built just for this event. It even included an auto show-like red cloth veil removal. Still it wasn’t an over-the-top wrestling response, but it was still a tab on the dramatic side relative to Pastrana’s original video.
So let’s have a look at what Pastrana has gotten himself into… Loeb is running a car built-to-suit by Citroen Racing. It comes with a 2.0-liter four-pot that pumps out an unreal 545 ponies and 590 pound-feet of face-deforming torque. According to the video, the hot Citroen will hit 60 mph in just under 3 seconds.
Needless to say, Pastrana and his 2013 Dodge Dart are not only going up against the best rally driver that the world has to offer today, but also a car that is as good as any in the X-Games. Has Pastrana bitten off more than he can chew? Only time will tell, so we will have to wait until the RallyCross event kicks off on July 1st to find out.
We’ll keep you up to date with any other news that pops regarding this friendly rivalry.
You can see Pastrana’s challenge video above and Loeb’s acceptance video after the jump.
We are always coming across crazy videos of races of car vs. other various non-automotive things, like horses, cheetahs, fighter jets, etc. This latest one was set up by Infiniti and Red Bull, and it pitted the Infiniti G37S against the most natural thing on Earth, gravity. How exactly do you measure gravity? Well, you toss a man out of a helicopter at 3,500 feet with a parachute strapped to his back, of course.
The above video starts off with professional F1 driver, Mark Webber, and professional skydiver, Jon DeVore, learning each other’s trade – Jon behind the wheel of the Infiniti and Mark in a skydiving wind tunnel. After each one got a taste of how tough the other one’s sport is – both actually fared pretty well in the other’s sport – they decided a race was in order.
A helicopter lifted DeVore 3,500 feet in the air and he took a dive, as Webber raced around ICAR circuit and Mirabel airport. The race was amazingly close, considering the vast difference between the two modes of transportation, but from what we can tell, the Infiniti beat gravity by at least a few seconds. Of course, gravity had that pesky resistance created by the parachute holding it back. We are willing to bet that without that hunk of nylon slowing DeVore down, gravity would have won by a long shot. But, uh, yeah… That would be a tad bit dangerous.
Anywho, enjoy the above video. Our favorite part is watching each athlete try the other one’s sport. It’s simply amazing how these guys can just jump into something like that, having never done it before, and do well at it.
Carroll Shelby touched the lives of many people in the automotive world. During his racing career, he greatly changed the fortunes of Aston Martin by helping the British automaker take home a 1st place overall finish in the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans. Shelby was not alone in this victory, as his co-driver, Roy Salvatori, and the car’s chief engineer, Ted Cutting both had heavy influence on this notorious victory.
Sadly, the automotive world has lost all three of these men this year, all within a handful of weeks of each other. First came Cutting’s death on March 22nd, then Shelby’s passing on May 10th, and finally capping off with Salvatori’s passing on June 3rd. Aston Martin feels that all three men deserve the proper send off and what’s better than bringing the car that all three of these men had a hand in to the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Unfortunately, it appears as if this 1959 Aston Martin DBR1 will not be making a tribute run around the course, but it will be present for the pre-race festivities. While this is not quite on the scale of the thousands of cars that gave Mr. Shelby a moment of noise in tribute, it is still a gesture that proves Aston Martin truly feels that Carroll Shelby, Ted Cutting, and Roy Salvatori are extremely important to its storied racing history.
Our hats have to go off to Aston Martin for rolling out the old DBR1, we are very curious to see what kind of condition it is in. We are willing to bet it is exactly as it was the day it pull out of Le Mans boasting the checkered flag on June 21, 1959.
If you live in the south especially, you are rather familiar with the various low-speed spectacles that occur on racetracks that typically involve a $500 Dodge Omni without windows and a glass-pack muffler. You know, the amateur circle track circuits, of course. Having owned and operated various mechanic shops in the southern United States, I have become accustomed to these races and the mechanics that show up on Saturday mornings with their “race cars” en tow for that afternoon’s race.
I personally have never frequented these races, but I can only imagine the hilarity that takes place when you get a bunch of race-fuel adrenaline junkies on a track that is too small and they are battling for position at speeds in excess of a sound-barrier-breaking 45 mph. Well, sometimes a little fun breaks out at these fine automobile competitions, as some get a little bit too excited and go way overboard.
The scene in the above video is a prime example of what happens when a non-professional racer gets a little too angry and goes on an exhaust fume-fueled rage. The driver of the red car, which looks to be a circa-1987 Nissan Pulsar, apparently has some sort of beef with the driver of the black car with green numbers and decides to turn his sub-compact “racecar” into a missile.
The driver veers through the infield and rather impressively aligns his car up with his moving target – clearly using advanced physics to make such a precise maneuver – and slams into the side of the enemy racer. The driver of the black car does what any self-respecting racer does; he proceeds to exit his cockpit and confront the red car’s driver. Well, that didn’t turn out well either, as the red car’s driver wasn’t done yet and proceeded to beat the hell out of the black car’s driver.
It looks like Toyota, after a very huge hiccup, is set to return to the world of Lee Mans racing. Its pair of TS030 Hybrids have completed their first testing run at Cirque De La Sarthe – the name of the 24 Hours of Le Mans track. This test wasn’t just any test either. The all-new hybrid tested very well, as both cars finished the 10 laps required to qualify and the fastest lap amongst the two was 3:27.204, which was only 1.277 seconds slower than the fastest car (the Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro).
The only issues with the run that Toyota Motorsport GmbH reported were a few bits of “minor bodywork damage,” which the team didn’t elaborate on in its press release. Other than that, the test was a complete success for the Toyota team, but it was down its main driver, Stéphane Sarrazin, who is recovering from injuries sustained in a bicycling accident. Sarrazin is expected to be ready to resume driving duties before the race starts next week, so everything is looking good for Toyota. With Sarrazin missing, Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima were behind the wheel of the No. 7 car, and the No. 8 car had Anthony Davidson and Sébastien Buemi piloting it.
With all of the new cars, like the Toyota TS030 and the extremely intriguing Nissan DeltaWing, this 24 Hours of Le Mans is sure to be a fun one to watch. The race starts on Saturday, June 16th and the green flag drops at 3:00 p.m. Le Mans time, which is 7:00 a.m. EST.
Click past the jump to read Toyota Motorsport GmbH’s full press release on the debut.
We all have our own tolerance level for speed and danger, and rally racing is about the limit for most automotive buffs. We see these guys whipping around turns and sliding in loose gravel at speeds best reserved for smooth tarmac and we think “yea, not for me.” All we ever really get to see though is the outside of the car and rarely do we ever get a look at what really goes on inside the car during a live rally.
Subaru rally driver, David Higgins, and his co-driver, Craig Drew, decided it was time to let us in on what it is really like behind the wheel of a 300+ horsepower machine in loose dirt. First and foremost, Craig Drew sounds like he was once an auctioneer, as he quickly blurts out the upcoming turns, and its recommended speed. How exactly he manages to keep an eye on his track notes while flying around turns and bouncing up and down is beyond us.
Secondly, Subaru mounted a forward-pointing camera, so we can see the track live as Drew and Higgins tackle it. Even seeing the video of their running in the Rally America Susquehannock Trail Rally in Wellsboro, PA was enough to make us a little uneasy, so we could only imagine what kind of training both drivers went through to manage to slither down this track that is barely wide enough for a four-wheeler, let alone a rally car, at speeds obviously in excess of 100 mph.
Truly scary stuff. Take a look at the video and see if you could actually handle the craziness that these guys do.
Ken Block has accomplished many things in his career, including being a professional rally driver with the Monster World Rally Team, one of the co-founders and recently appointed Chief Brand Officer of DC Shoes, and a major competitor in skateboarding, snowboarding, and motocross races. All of those accomplishments aside, the one thing Block is mainly known for is being the man behind Gymkhana.
For those living under a rock, Gymkhana is an automotive sport that requires drivers to skillfully maneuver using their car around obstacles using extreme acceleration, braking, and drifting. The definition on its own sounds cool as hell, but seeing it in action is way better, which is why Gymkhana has become such a viral phenomenon in recent years. As of 06/01/2012, the Gymkhana franchise has raked in 135 million views on YouTube, surpassing even the most watched TV broadcast ever - 2012 SuperBowl - which received 111 million views this year. Gymkhana even took the title of the most shared viral ad of 2011 with over two million shares of Gymkhana 4.
This infographic breaks down Gymkhana to explain why it has become such a phenomenon, including a few details about Ken Block, details behind the Gymkhana car, and an explanation of the Gymkhana livery. Take a look and learn how it took only seven seconds to burnout the tires during the final spin of Gymkhana 4. This will definitely not be a time-waster.
Hit the jump to check out the full Gymkhana infographic and stay tuned for the next installment in our Car Infographics series.
Underground Racing has one of the most illustrious track records when it comes to twin-turbocharging Lamborghini’s and it’s little wonder why. In top tune, they can extract upwards of 2,000 horsepower from the Gallardo’s 5.0/5.2-liter V10 engine. As a result, their cars are some of the fastest in the world as demonstrated by the videos above and after the jump.
However, that’s not the route a 1,500AWHP TTG went in a run at the recent Unlim 500+ event where top speed was the aim of the day. Running up the perfectly straight road which stretches for in excess of one mile, this incredible Gallardo Nera managed to top out at 251mph just past the 1 mile mark. It also hit 240.84 mph just a few seconds earlier and completed the one mile run in just 23.861 seconds.
Thankfully, the whole run was captured in an array of impressive camera shots and we have both of these videos which really show just how impressive this car is. In the second video at the 55 second mark, you’ll see the driver kicking the car into 6th gear before the 251mph run was reached just 5 seconds later, suggesting that this car could go even further if its aerodynamics were improved further, there was more road to continue, and if the driver was brave enough to keep pushing it.
Nevertheless, this is a truly incredible achievement so check out the videos!
McLaren has continually stated that it will stop at nothing in order to turn the MP4-12C into the world’s greatest junior supercar, and as we know from past experiences from the legendary F1, perfection in McLaren’s eyes is just around the corner and development will not end until it is reached.
In line with this popular statement, or motto, McLaren has revealed that all early MP4-12C owners are now being offered a free power upgrade to help bump the supercar into what McLaren hopes will be its very own league. This bump will be well above all rival cars, including the Ferrari 458 Italia and the recently launched Porsche 911/991.
Power is said to be increased by 25HP, lifting the car’s overall output to 625 horsepower which is around 50HP more than the top-of-the-line 458 Italia, meaning Ferrari better be planning something special with its upcoming 458 Scuderia. It’s unclear if any torque gains have been achieved through the simple remapping of the engine’s computer system, but we this is the case.
In addition to this relatively large change in power, McLaren is also said to be offering remote passenger door opening to try and get around the MP4-12C’s notoriously difficult to open doors, while a programmable engine note and a few tweaks to the high-end Meridian sound system will also be conducted free of charge.
All of the aforementioned changes should be fitted to cars by October 2012, before McLaren finishes its upgrades on the new IRIS navigation system which we suspect will also be fitted to all 12C’s once the British marque has perfected every last component of the system.