You know it’s race season with all of the awesome races we are talking about and one lesser known, but equally awesome, race is set to take place June 15th – 17th, 2012. This race is appropriately dubbed the Pageant of Power, as it boasts some of the world’s fastest supercars all battling for the fastest lap time on a 1.2-mile-long track.
This race is headlined by a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport featuring a 258 mpg top speed, one of now 76 remaining Aston Martin One-77s following the horrific death of one earlier in the week, and a Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale. We venture to say that with the Bugatti is in this year’s running and the 62.68-second lap time record set by Nikki Faulkner in 2010 is in jeopardy, but we will have to wait and see.
The event is expected to pull in a total of 75,000 fans and with tickets starting at just £26 ($39) for a single-day pass and ranging up to £85 ($127.50) for a full 3-day pass with access to the fireworks display and the Mossley Brass Band show, there is no wonder it draws such a high number of fans. $127.50 for three days of supercars tearing up a track and a well-produced fireworks display to follow sounds like a sweet deal to us!
In addition to the supercars, there is a class dedicated only to AC Cobras with the same purpose of completing the 1.2-mile track in the shortest amount of time. There is also a series of Autograss races run throughout the weekend, which occur on a 400-meter-long oval soil track plus there is an ultra-technical Supermoto class, which is a mixture of motocross and road racing.
Needless to say, there is plenty of piston-thumping excitement throughout the entire weekend to keep any motorhead interested.
The Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Spyder Performante is unquestionably the ultimate expression of what a convertible supercar can be. Despite it being almost exactly the same as its coupe sibling, Lamborghini did implement a number of unique features on the Spyder variant, but unfortunately a crash in Houston means that there is one less of these incredible cars roaming American streets.
As you can see from the following pictures, the crash was quite serious and took place at around 9pm on Westheimer Road, in Houston, but fortunately, no occupants were killed in the accident although the female passenger had to be cut out of the wreckage by the Houston Police Department. She complained of neck pain, but was able to move her arms and legs, as well as hold a conversation.
It’s not yet known exactly what caused the crash as the investigation has not yet began in earnest, but an eye witness did report seeing the car traveling at high speeds through the city streets before flipping for a reason also not known. Turns out, the female driver of the Performante was racing another Lamborghini, also being driven by a female.
This latest crash marks yet another exotic meeting its fate this week, after an extremely-rare One-77 was involved in an incident just a couple of days ago.
Looks like states are finally jumping on the autonomous-driving bandwagon, but this time it has a little “oomph” behind it. Having Nevada pass a bill specifically to allow and regulate automated driving was great, but this time it’s California that gave it the green light. California’s driving and automotive laws have always had a big influence on federal laws – except lane splitting, thank goodness – so chances are more states will follow and the NHTSA will eventually jump on board.
The thing to remember here is that this bill was not to allow autonomous cars to drive on California roads, as California has no laws barring self-driving cars. This law is to govern the production and testing of these cars in hopes of giving manufacturers a clear set of rules regarding these cars, which may press more automakers into this realm.
The first thing that California cleared up is defining an autonomous vehicle. This is any vehicle that can drive without any human intervention, so this eliminates Cadillac’s self-driving car for now and leaves only the Google car (seen in the above video). It also specifies that it is legal to manufacture your own autonomous car and drive it on California highways, which is an interesting topic of debate.
The bill goes on to state that the car must have a licensed driver in the driver’s seat and that driver must be designated by the car’s builder as a legal driver for said vehicle. The only exception to this rule is on a closed course. The manufacturer must also have an insurance policy or bond in the amount of $5 million prior to testing the vehicle. From there the bill goes on to define what safety issues the manufacturer, car, and driver must comply with.
Keep in mind that this is only the first step for this bill, as it must pass the State Assembly next. Given the bill passed 37 – 0, we doubt it will be held up.
Click past the jump to read the bill. Yes, it is in regular English, not “politicianese.”
As always, the Grand Prix of Monaco provided a fairly spectacular showing, likely one of the few in this year’s F1 series. As most would expect, Circuit de Monaco lap-time record holder and five-time winner, Michael Schumacher took the pole position, but officials forced him back five grid positions after he caused a collision during qualifying. With the technical nature of Monaco, that pole position is very important and Schumacher’s penalty was an ominous sign that this would not be a good race, as he retired due to fuel issues 63 laps in.
Schumacher’s penalty propelled Red Bull’s Mark Webber into the pole position. Webber held onto that pole position, despite a lead change during a pit stop, and took home the checkered flag on a rain-coated Circuit de Monaco. As we said in our preview of the 2012 Grand Prix of Monaco, this race had some serious overall points influence, as the leaders were only separated by a few points each.
This victory for Webber places propels him up to a second place tie with Sebastian Vettel at 73 points and puts Fernando Alonso, who finished third, in the points lead at 76. An impressive run by Nico Rosberg placed him in second, just behind Webber, proving that his wide margin of victory in China was not just a one-time deal. This superb finish by Rosberg jumps him up two slots to fifth place overall.
From the looks of it, this season is shaping up to be a rather close points race with a few new faces near the top. Unfortunately, the leader board, for the most part, looks identical to the 2011 and 2010 seasons. The lack of parody in F1 has really been its Achilles heel in recent history. An overall points victory by Nico Rosberg would certainly be a push in the right direction for F1, so we’ll keep a close eye on his performance.
Click past the jump to see the complete placement board for the 2012 Grand Prix of Monaco and the overall points standings.
Nearly every driver has done it, but we all fear getting pulled over for doing it. No, not speeding. We mean flashing your headlights to warn oncoming traffic of a cop car hidden off the side of the road getting ready to pounce on a fast driver.
Most of us have been told at some point that the practice is illegal, but I once learned that it actually is not illegal, just frowned upon. Apparently, the police in Seminole County, FL seem to have not gotten the memo that there is no law forbidding it in Florida, or any other state, and handed a ticket to a driver for that exact reason. They certainly got that memo in direct fashion as a Florida judge ruled against the Seminole police saying that flashing your lights to warn other drivers of a speed trap is covered under free speech. This court date was just a civil hearing and the driver still has yet to take the ticket to traffic court, which he surely will win.
The worst part of the whole thing is that the police officer gave the driver, Ryan Kintner, the ticket based on Florida’s law banning aftermarket flashing lights on civilian cars. Flashing your headlights is in no way having an aftermarket flashing light on your car. That is abuse of power to a “T,” but we’re not here to debate police and their power.
Now, before you all go out there and start flashing your lights like crazy to oncoming traffic every time you see a cop, make sure to review your state, county and city laws in regards to high beam usage. Every state or municipality has a rule on when you have to dim your high beam lights, most of which are at 500 feet from the oncoming traffic or 200 feet from traffic heading in the same direction as you.
One feature that automakers have teased us with and even installed on concept cars is an LED screen and camera in the place of the old-style rearview mirror. With all of the cameras placed all around cars these days, like Subaru’s EyeSight system and the various backup cameras, we are surprised this hasn’t become a reality. The assumed reasons for rearview screens not taking the place of rearview mirrors are NHTSA and DOT regulations.
Honestly, we don’t see why the NHTSA and DOT would think a hunk of glass glued to the windshield is safer than a crisp LED image from an HD camera. Then again those two government offices – as with all government offices – make strange regulations. Apparently an LED screen and camera are plenty for Audi’s future Le Mans cars, as the automaker has just announced, via a press release, that its closed LMP prototype will run with an AMOLED screen in place of the mirror and a rear-mounted camera feeding the images to the screen.
The main reasoning behind this is that the LMP prototype’s cabin is fully closed, with exception of the front windshield, so a rearview mirror would display nothing but the rear wall of the cabin. So, if this technology is good enough for racecars, why are we not seeing it installed in street cars yet? Well, we just very well might, as you likely do not remember, but the rearview mirror was not used on motor cars until Ray Harroun’s Marmon “Wasp” used one in the first Indianapolis 500, in 1911. It later became standard per NHTSA regulations for all cars to come with this item, thanks to its overwhelming success in racing.
Odds are that if this system is successful in racing that the NHTSA will adopt it, especially given the fact that rearview cameras are soon to become mandatory on all vehicle.
Click past the jump to read the full press release.
Robert Himler first came to our attention when we brought you the ever-entertaining video of him filming a reaction video of his mom whilst driving his 1250hp twin-turbo Lamborghini Gallardo. Since that time, his YouTube channel has moved onto bigger and better things with his large selection of supercars also featuring heavily in future videos. However, that’s not what you’re here for. You are here to see just how fast this ‘TTG’ is when combined with 110 Octane racing fuel.
Despite owning this incredible supercar for upwards of a year, Himler has never ran it with racing gas before and as all automotive enthusiasts know, this expensive fuel mixture adds significantly to the overall horsepower and torque outputs of cars tuned to run it.
During the time of filming, the car was running at 20PSI of boost and put down an incredible 1,222AWHP on the dyno, significantly more than anything offered by Bugatti and even Hennessey and SSC.
If all of this wasn’t enough, a selection of different camera angles are shown throughout the video and the one at the 4:30 minute mark really caught our attention. If you look closely at the speedometer and the time of the video, you may notice the car accelerates from 50mph to 145mph in less than 7 seconds; a truly incredible feat!
Rarely is something both the slowest and the hardest at the same time, but that all goes out the window when you’re talking about the Grand Prix at Monaco. For the majority of the F1 season, the drivers get to open up their cars a good bit. At Monaco, those chances to go wide open are limited to about three, as there are only a three extended straightaways on the track.
Besides those three straights, drivers get to deal with a plethora of intense twists and blind turns that require great care to negotiate correctly. These tight turns all amount to Monaco being the lowest average speed course on the F1 circuit, and arguably the hardest one on the circuit.
Well, the 70th running of this ultra-technical road course is due to start on May 27, 2012 and we’re going to provide a quick preview of what’s to come.
Click past the jump to read all about the Grand Prix at Monaco
The Gumball 3000 is back for its 13th rendition in 2012 and it guarantees to be just as wild and crazy as it has always been. The 2012 Gumball 3000, for those that do not know, is a roughly 3,000-mile rally that begins in New York, heads into Canada, and eventually ends up in Los Angeles, all while hitting five check points between New York and L.A.
At each checkpoint, the entire group gets together and throws one massive party with the key party coming at the very end in L.A. Though the Gumball 3000 is touted as a race, it is more of a leisurely drive that features a wide array of celebrities and all types of awesome cars, from the downright powerful and sexy to the economical and environmentally friendly.
This year’s Gumball 3000 is set to kickoff on Friday at noon and is in no way lacking celebrity appearances and tons of flashy rides.
Click past the jump to read more about the Gumball 3000, as well as the cars and celebrities making appearances.
We just love infographics because they are created to inform readers of different facts and figures on a particular topic. This infographic, however, takes that love to a whole new level by being the most complete and informative infographic we have ever seen. It breaks down the details of the 2012 F1 season, even going into the different cars and drivers.
Ever wonder what an F1 car consists of? Take a look at the very first section of this infographic. Want to know what kind of changes F1 drivers and teams had to prepare for in the 2012 season? This list goes into all of them, including the new nose height requirement of being 550mm above the base of the car to avoid a T-bone crash.
The rest of the infographic goes into the incredible precision driving on a Formula One cricuit, facts people may not know, details about the cars and drivers, and the entire race calendar, including preseason testing results at Jerez and Barcelona.
Check out the rest of the infographic to get more helpful information and remember to check back with us for the next installment in our Car Infographics series.