The dangers of auto racing aren’t limited to just race drivers; in some instances, especially when they get really too close, spectators open themselves up to the same risks as the drivers.
Unfortunately, that reality reared its ugly head last weekend in Serbia during the FIA European Hillclimb Championship when a Mitsubishi rally car lost control on one of the turns before hitting a crowd that was sitting a little too close to the action.
The high-speed crash had fatal results, with three spectators dying when the rally car barreled its way toward them. The video that was captured of the crash is only 17 seconds long, but it was long enough to paint a real picture of what happens when things go terribly, terribly wrong.
Organizers of that event immediately banned all spectators from staying in the area, but it was a case of being too little too late.
Watch the video and see how the crash came about. If for nothing else, it’s a far cry from the video we saw last week of a rally driver performing an unbelievable save with, coincidentally, another Mitsubishi rally car.
Almost on a daily basis, we express our complete obsession with rally racing, as their drivers have to have ice in their veins to even consider whipping a car around these often treacherous tracks at triple-digit speeds. With this incredible speed and loose surfaces come some of the most incredible wrecks, but also some of the most incredible saves.
The above video comes to us from a Polish rally and from the date stamp on the video, it occurred on the August 11th. The driver of this Mitsubishi Evo came into a wet turn just a little too hot and went over the embankment at the end of the turn. Suddenly the car ends up on two wheels, but somehow it winds up back on the road and heads in a straight path.
Typically, when a racecar hits two wheels, an inexperienced driver simply plays damage control. He prepares for impact and hangs on. This driver is obviously rather seasoned, as he maintains control, doesn’t panic, and acts as if nothing happened once the car is back on all fours. This definitely qualifies as an entrant into the Save of the Year running for 2012.
Check out the video for yourself. There is one video above and two more after the jump. It’s rather impressive, but pretty loud, so you may want to adjust the volume on your speakers a little.
Click past the jump to see the two alternate views. Full story
Toyota’s Motorsport division has its eye on a return to rally racing and they’re bringing a new ride for the occasion. This new model should come in just in time for the ninth round of the World Rally Championship at the ADAC Rallye Deutschland on August 24th to 26th, 2012.
The car will be the Toyota Yaris, the company’s lovable little hatchback that has been rechristened as the "Yaris R1A." In order to comply with FIA R1A regulations, Toyota gave the Yaris limited performance modifications that include a new racing exhaust, a catalytic converter system, shorter final drive gear, a new motorsport suspension with adapted springs and adjustable ride height, and cursory safety enhancements like the bolt-in roll cage, rally seats, safety harnesses, a power cut-off switch, fire extinguishers, and sump guards.
Talking about the new Yaris R1A, TMG president Yoshiaki Kinoshita said: "It is a great thrill for TMG to return to rallying, a discipline in which we enjoyed a great deal of success in the past. The TMG Yaris R1A is a completely different project compared to our WRC past; it is an affordable but exciting car which makes rallying‟s major events accessible to a whole range of participants."
For now, the Yaris R1A will participate at the ADAC Rallye Deutscheland as a "Zero Car" with Toyota setting a goal for their new rally baby to become the first car in the world to be awarded FIA R1A homologation, allowing it to compete in regional, national, and international competitions, including the WRC.
For a car that has been priced at €22,500 ($27,800), the Yaris R1A is already getting plenty of interest in the rally world. "We have already received numerous inquiries about this car so we know there is a huge appetite in the rally world for a new TOYOTA," said Kinoshita.
"I hope this is the start of a new rally dynasty at TMG."
UPDATE 11/25/12: The Toyota Yaris R1A Rally Car will be on hand at the 2012 Essen Motor Show in a week’s time. Watch out for it as it tries to gt some attention from the expected throngs go people headed to Europe’s biggest aftermarket auto show.
Typically, when you think of a 90-year-old person driving you think of the following: a cushion on the seat so they can see over the wheel, the never-ending turn signal, hard and unnecessary braking, 15-second delays between the light turning green and them pulling away, and taking every small turn as if it were a hairpin turn. Okay, maybe that’s a little bit of stereotyping, but we’re going to call it like we see it.
One thing that would likely not cross your mind is a gravel and dirt stomping, tail wagging, rally grandma. Well, you can scratch that one, as we have just come across a video of a 91-year-old lady, who neither looks nor acts her age. She decided to give rallycross a shot and wagged an `ol Suby’s tail all over some gravel and dirt.
Though she looked to be in a subdued panic a lot of the time, she really did a pretty good job navigating the course. Her co-driver was right along with her, guiding her through the course as she went. She does, however, fly off-course at the end. You can actually hear her say “Did I hit the cone.” Her co-driver then jokingly responds “You went off course, which is worse than hitting a cone, unfortunately.”
Okay, maybe she’s not the next Sebastien Loeb, but it still takes a little bit of gall to do what she did, regardless of the fact that she never actually left first gear. Take a look at the video, it’s definitely worth it.
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.
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.
You’ve just gotta love rally racing. No barriers, limited pavement, a co-driver telling you where in the hell to go and high rates of speed all make it a blast... to watch, at least. Sometimes after a gnarly crash, the driver and co-driver have a little chit-chat about what went wrong and in this case, the co-driver and driver obviously have a good relationship as they joke about the track “drops outside,” which means the outside edge has a steep drop-off.
The fun starts with the Brakim Racing driver getting the co-driver’s “drops outside” warning a little too late and comes in a little too hot. The car rolls down an embankment and the two have a joking exchange before finally figuring out how to get out of their rolled over Dodge Neon.
The co-driver decides that his window is the best exit path and starts climbing out. Well, we guess the crash wasn’t quite over at that point, as the co-driver needs some pretty quick reflexes to keep himself from getting smashed.
What exactly happened? Well, you’ll have to check out the above video to find out. Keep in mind that some of the language in this video is a little NSFW, so you might want to save this one for when you are at home.
So, Toyota is ready to present their GT-86 endurance race car? Subaru isn’t sweating that one out because they themselves have a racer up their sleeves.
The Subaru BRZ, the GT 86’s sister from another mister, is getting a race-spec version, except that instead of it hitting the endurance block, it’s being primed for the rally scene.
The car, which is being called the BRZ "Zero Car" or "Opening Car," actually made its debut at the 2012 Japan Rally Championship on July 28th and 29th as a race-livered sports car that has been customized for rally use. It has a number of new features, including a front chin spoiler and a rear wing, as well as a new set of white-finished alloy wheels.
Further details about the car are expected to be revealed by the Japanese automaker in the coming days. What we do know is that, judging by the photo Subaru dropped on us over the weekend, the BRZ "Zero" is looking like it has a future in the rally scene, not just in Japan, but everywhere else as well.
Travis Pastrana and his 2013 Dart rally car have had a run of bad luck in this year’s Global RallyCross Championship, as a series of crashes have knocked him out of just about every race. Well, Travis’ run of bad luck appears to be coming to an end, as the Dart he pilots finally won a RallyCross race.
The win came on the New Hampshire Motor Speedway last weekend and it began nearly as well as it ended. Travis pulled in a 3rd place start, giving him an advantage over the majority of the field. He took advantage of his great positioning to overcome the two cars ahead of him and pull out the checkered flag in this heat.
Thanks to that win in his heat, Pastrana got a front-row seat to start the final race and managed to secure and keep hold of 1st place through the race. Needless to say, Travis has been rather disappointed with his results so far this year, as he was quoted saying “It’s been so long, I almost forgot what it’s like to win.”
Pastrana is definitely a TopSpeed favorite, thanks to his openness to hop in front of the camera and give us witty comments, awesome rally videos, or even challenge his own teammates, so to see him finally bring home a checkered flag is nice. Here’s to many more this year and we hope the worst is behind him.
Travis and his Dart tackle their next race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 28th and 29th.
You can check out the above video to see the summary of the entire event.
The wait took longer than we had hoped, but you know what they say, "to those who wait, there is prosperity."
So we waited...and finally, our patience has paid off. Ladies and gentlemen, Gymkhana 5 has arrived!
As promised, July 9 was the date of reckoning; the day where Ken Block goes back to his roots, away from the Hollywood look of the fourth installment and back to the raw, uncut, thrill ride of a lifetime.
This time around, the stage was set for the urban jungle that is San Francisco. Just as we expected - and hoped - Block absolutely takes the Bay by storm, complete with sick drifts, plenty of burnt rubber, and mind-bending jumps that completely blew us away. Then there’s a Travis Pastrana cameo in there too. We had hoped that he would do a few stunts of his own, but we certainly aren’t complaining on how the finished product ended up looking.
Gymkhana 5, you made our day and hopefully, the wait for 6 won’t take as long.
UPDATE 07/13/2012: Ford has unveiled a series of exclusive new images of Ken Block’s Gymkhana FIVE: Ultimate Urban Playground; in San Francisco. The car featured in this series is a Focus ST developed jointly by Ford’s Team RS in Europe and its Special Vehicles Team (SVT) in the United States.