Remember the days when car racing was “Car Racing.” The rules were loosely written and even looser followed, and it was considered more entertainment than sport. Those were the good old days, when the purpose was to build a car faster than the others and hire a driver that can keep the thing on the tarmac. Those days all went away in the 1980s, as all of the major professional racing circuits – NASCAR, Indy, F1, NHRA – turned these entertainment spectacles into damn sporting events.
While we love our sports – I for one am obsessed with NFL football – the turning of driving a car fast into a sport led to the injection of fairness and parity. This led to restrictor plates, horsepower limits, and barred modifications. It even led to drivers starting to whine and boo-hoo about a little paint scraping… Well, if you are ready to see some racing in its truest form, take a look-see at the Global RallyCross Championship.
Sure, it piggybacks along with the aforementioned whiny racing “sports,” but it couldn’t be much farther from these sports in terms of real life competitive racing. The rules are few, the paint trading is a plenty, and there is no one crying foul when a fellow driver pulls a pit maneuver on your car’s tail end. He just pops it back in gear and thinks “why didn’t I see that guy there,” then gets ‘em back.
To boot, there are freaking bike-style ramps and barricades in the middle of the track to leap over or drive around. There are even shortcuts on each track. Granted the shortcuts are typically more difficult to drive through, but they are there. The only rules regarding the engine is the fitment of an intake restrictor and that the engine block must meet the manufacturer’s specification. This means you can bolt on as many ponies as you like, just don’t modify the block. Ah, you’ve got to love it.
Check out the above video to catch a glimpse of the awesomeness that is GRC!
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.
Chris Harris is at it again, only this time he has snagged up a rather shoddy looking and running Land Rover, borrowed a clunky trailer with egg shells for tires, bought a £4,000 ($6,225) E30 BMW 325i “Rally car” (that’s at least what the dude that sold it to him called it), and attempted to try and get the rally car to a local track to test it.
Getting to the rally track turned out to be a task in itself, as it began with the cooling fan on his shoddy old 3.9-liter V-8-powered Land Rover crapping out and him repairing it in a not-so-correct-way that ended up causing it to pop fuses like crazy. Add on top of that the fact that this now hot-wired fan was constantly killing the battery and you have quite a situation.
On top of the crappy tow car, there is the fact that he borrowed a trailer from a friend that has tires that are magnets for punctures and replacements are not available at any tire shop. After popping and shredding two of the four tires on this trailer, Harris and his crew manage to get the £4,000 Bimmer to the track and beat the living hell out of it. The Bimmer took it well until Chris pushed it a little too far and spun it out coming out of a turn. Fortunately, the car was fine and the rallying continued. You can see it all of this in the above video.
The rally racing is only half of the fun of the video, as the trip getting there had plenty of interesting twists. To boot, the trailer from hell gave Chris and the boys another surprise on the way back home… Ah, the joys of budget racing!
If you watch Formula One as religiously as we do, then you’ll be aware that the commentators continually refer to F1 drivers as the best in the world, and while we respect their talent immensely, we do have a firm belief that rally drivers possibly possess even more skill. This is simply due to the fact that they often drive cars which can accelerate as fast as F1 cars on roads less than half the width of a common F1 track.
Additionally, rally cars have a lot more personality than F1 cars as classic rally cars were not as clinical as F1 cars of the time and right now, and if you love rally just as much as we do then the following video is a must.
In the latest episode of ‘Chris Harris on Cars’ on the Drive YouTube network, the man himself, Chris Harris, was lucky enough to be invited by Pirelli to the Italian launch of its new P7 Corsa Classic racing tire specifically designed for classic rally cars.
In a first, Harris rides shotgun in a selection of incredible rally cars, rather than drive them, but this has to go down as one of our very favorite Chris Harris reviews. Cars featured heavily in the video include the Lancia Stratos, Lancia Delta S4, and the incredible Lancia 037 which produces a noise so incredible that it will literally send shivers down your spine.
Add that to the fact that a host of extremely successful rally drivers were on hand to drive Harris around in the cars, including Markku Alen and Juha Kankkunen, and you have the makings of a truly incredible video.
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.
About 10 years ago, Hyundai Accent owners ever walked with their chests puffed out a little bit, as their daily driver econo-hatch was actually being raced in the World Rally Championship. Despite the impressiveness that Hyundai actually got this car into the WRC, it was a widely unsuccessful attempt because it never got a podium appearance and Hyundai cut funding in 2003.
It looks like Hyundai is ready to jump back into the WRC circuit, only this time with a more highly modified vehicle. It will also not be an Accent, but rather a heavily modified i20. However, don’t expect this Hyundai rally ride to look as much as the i20 in your garage as the Accent rally car did, as this model will sit on a chassis that is significantly wider and lower than the factory model.
In addition to the modified chassis, this i20 will ditch the 1.2- and 1.4-liter gasoline engines that it comes standard with and instead have the turbocharged 1.6-liter from the Veloster. There is no way that Hyundai would enter the WRC with a stock 201-horsepower 1.6-liter engine, so we assume that Hyundai will pump this engine to over 300 ponies to keep it competitive.
We definitely expect a much better performance by Hyundai this time around because the company has really come into its own when it comes to technology. Hyundai has also become one of those brands that folks can rally around, as it has really come from often being the butt of automotive jokes to a well-respected company that actually gives the big boys – Honda, Toyota and Nissan – a run for their money. So, don’t be surprised if to see the fancily written “H” on the podium at some point in the 2013 WRC series WRC.
If you recall, that video was full of everything: drifting, screeching rubber, explosives, and some added special effects mixed into the equation. Fast forward to today and the people behind Gymkhana 4 have decided to release a re-edited version of the video with less of the pyrotechnics and more of Block’s real-life driving.
The result, as you can see with the video, is a "purer" version that doesn’t attempt to enhance the spectacle of Block’s insane drifting talents through explosives and digital effects. This video is more about Block and his trusty Ford Fiesta H.F.H.V plowing through the course in true Gymkhana fashion.
Check out the re-edited version above and the original after the jump. Then tell us which version you like more. On our end, we appreciate the substance of Block’s talents without having to deal with the "infused" style of special effects.
Trophy trucks are pretty bad-ass and so is the BMW X6. So what would that leave any automotive nut to figure? Well, the folks at All German Motorsports let us know the answer, as they pieced together a trophy truck based on the styling of the X6. Nearly every single component on this AGM-built X6 dune truck was custom fabricated, as components to build an X6 Trophy Truck are just not readily available.
In the end, AGM ended up with a pretty sick creation, as this beast weighs a whopping 2,000 lbs less than the typical trophy truck, and even 300 lbs less than the lightest stock X6. Those weight savings are thanks to a Jimco Racing-built frame that is several hundreds of lbs lighter than the average trophy truck and a McGrath Fiberglass-built carbon fiber body, which saves a significant amount of weight over the average trophy truck.
After all of that body and frame work, a BMW V-8 engine was shipped off to Denzo for a complete build up. This custom-built V-8 produces a massive 725 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. All of this combined with a plethora of custom suspension and braking work netted the team one nasty, dune-ready X6.
In its inaugural running, the truck had an axle failure and had to retire early. The following day, this trophy truck clawed from its last place slot to finish in 10th place for the series, which isn’t bad considering it dropped out of the first race. There’s nothing like seeing a luxury SUV cruising through the desert at speeds well in excess of 100 mph and getting some serious airtime at the same time.
We will keep you updated on how this X6 Trophy Truck performs in future races, so stay tuned!