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. Since 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.
Videos of people tackling the `Ring are becoming more and more precious, as we await the outcome of its bankruptcy proceeding and find out if the Nürburgring will continue to exist or not. In the above video, we get a great look at just how awesome this sacred track really is, as we watch Kazunori Yamauchi navigate a Lexus IS F racecar around this technical track.
It’s not necessarily the most intense video, as it is relatively event-free, but watching Yamauchi whip the steering wheel as he feathers the throttle is a thing of art. You also get a front-row seat at seeing what it’s like on the `Ring, a thing that none of us will likely ever experience.
What’s even better is that this video was taken during the 24 hours race, so this isn’t the short version of the Nürburgring. This race includes the GP circuit of the `Ring, which also adds significant time to his lap, which YouTube commenters left so much negative feedback on, the poster had to add a disclaimer to the video.
So, crank up the speakers, kick back, and enjoy a spot in the passenger’s seat as Kazunori Yamauchi and his Lexus IS F take us for a tour around the `Ring. It’s definitely worth the 10 minutes.
With all of our past Photo of the Week images simply being pictures of stationary cars, we thought this week we’d bring you something even more special. The following picture taken by Bruno Terena definitely meets those prerequisites.
The following image was captured in Serra do Rio do Rastro, Brazil back in 2010 where Rhys Millen took to the mountainous roads in one of many promotional activities for his sponsor, Red Bull.
Now you may be asking yourself as to what separates this drifting photo from the thousands of others circling the net? Well, let me describe the reasons. First, it’s very rare that one will stumble upon a drifting photo actually captured out in the wilderness rather than a ‘drifting arena’ in the middle of a bustling city. Second, we absolutely adore how this image manages to capture both the Hyundai Genesis drifter and the stunning backdrop in one frame.
Finally, the awesome smoke trail following the Genesis up the mountain and around the hairpin in the center of the photo also played a part in our selection for this weeks’ Photo of the Week.
Be sure to check out Terena’s flickr account for more great photographs!
After we lost racing and general automotive legend, Carroll Shelby on May 10th, a squabble ensued over his remains. His estranged wife, Cleo, claimed that she had the rights to his remains and the documentation that his children had, which requested that he be cremated and his ashes split between his children and his burial plot in Texas, was forged.
According to reports, Shelby had filed for an annulment of the marriage, citing that his wife had lied about her background and even her name, just before he died. Unfortunately, the annulment was not awarded posthumously, so it appeared as if the only other way to settle the dispute was in court.
Fortunately, the two sides managed to keep the case out of court by coming to an agreement on Monday and Mr. Shelby’s body will be laid to rest in the way that he requested, except for one minor compromise. The minor compromise is the fact that his estranged wife gets part of his ashes.
We’re glad to hear that the issue is settled, though we would have preferred to see his wife completely cut out of it. The most important thing, however, is that the issue is done and this legend can now be laid to rest peacefully and his children can hold their heads high that their father was laid to rest in the way he requested, though his son Michael says that they are still not happy with the results.
If you’ve ever been to a tire shop for four brand-spankin’-new tires, you can typically expect to sit around for at least an hour. If you show up on a Saturday, you had better just drop off your car and come back in three or four hours. That is, of course, unless you are F1 driver Jenson Button.
At the German Grand Prix on Sunday, Button was in 3rd place and pulled into the pits for a new set of tires, which you can typically expect to lose at least one position when doing. Button, on the other hand, pulled in and didn’t even lose a single position. It’s not because the car trailing him was so far behind, but rather because his pit crew was ridiculously fast. They lifted the car, removed four tires and rims, and installed four new tires and rims in 2.31 seconds.
That’s not only insanely fast, but it is also a new world record. One YouTube user managed to get a shot of the record-breaking pit stop and posted it for all of us to see. Literally, if you blink, you’ll miss almost everything.
Check out the above video to see just how fast this crew gets this job done. The lightning-fast work of Button’s crew also enabled him to overtake the No. 2 slot, as Sebastian Vettel pitted shortly after Button.
Way back in 1983, we all knew and loved a far less creepy and odd-acting Tom Cruise, who was best known for movies like "Top Gun" and "Risky Business," and less known for being love-drunk crazy on the Oprah Winfrey Show. In the 1983 Warner Brothers’ classic, “Risky Business,” Tom Cruise’s character, Joel Goodsen, drove a gold-colored Porsche 928. Now the Profiles in History auction group is offering up the car that Cruise drove on the set for auction.
Actually, there were three cars driven on set, but this 1979 928 saw far more screen time and seat time with Cruise than the other two drive cars. We know that the 1979 Porsche 928 is one of the least desirable Porsches ever built, falling just short in undesirability to the 924, but c’mon, Tom – freaking – Cruise learned how to drive a stick shift in this car.
So, how has this car held up after Cruise was finished burning up, err, learning to use the clutch? What is a car like this selling for? Is it really worth my money?
For the answers to these questions and more, you’ll have to click past the jump to read our review.
As the Nürburgring sinks into its bankruptcy proceedings and the light at the end of the tunnel of relief for the famed `Ring looks bleak, everyone in the automotive industry would love to help, but they all have their own problems. F1 has its own lineup of issues to deal with, especially its boss, Bernie Ecclestone, but it has stepped up to the task and is offering a much-needed hand to the failing track.
Ecclestone has vowed to do whatever he can to save the track and isn’t just saying it to sound good. According to a report, Ecclestone has said that he will waive the typical sanctioning fee to bring an F1 race to the Nürburgring. For those that don’t know how significant that really is, the fee to bring F1 to Austin, Texas ran a full $25 million. That would bring huge attendance to the ’Ring and general tourism to the suffering area, possibly giving it the injection of cash that it needs.
F1 is still an extremely popular series in Europe, so the entire area could see income in the hundreds of million of dollars, if it is planned correctly. The biggest issue is whether the `Ring is suitable for F1 racing, as low income typically leads to poor track conditions. If it is not in acceptable shape, would Nürburgring officials have the spare cash to fix it up? If there is no cash to fix it, would F1 be willing to inch closer to that plate by helping fix the track to get it race-ready?
According to reports from `Ring officials, there is only a short time frame to get an F1 deal done, but it may be a little too late to completely save the famed raceway.
We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available.
After Jeremy Clarkson confirmed a few months ago that Top Gear U.K. wouldn’t be returning until 2013, we had all our hopes rested on the USA version to deliver our Top Gear fix. Thankfully, they’ve come through for us, recently confirming that the third series of Top Gear USA will hit American screens on August 14 at 9pm eastern time.
Six episodes will air in the lead up to 2013, and after the New Year, a further 10 episodes will conclude the third season, totaling 16 episodes all together.
Co-presenter Rutledge Wood confirmed the news recently via his Twitter account stating “So happy it’s out! #TopGear on@HistoryChannel returns Aug 14th 9pm! 6 New shows, then 10 more after new year! You guys will love them!”
We have no idea what the trio of presenters have planned for us this time around, but it’s sure to be an epic season full of all the crazy adventures that the second half of the second season delivered. Add to that the always enjoyable segments of Big Star Small Car and new performance tests, and there’s no question that season 3 of Top Gear USA should be the best yet.
Are you as excited about this news as us, or is Top Gear USA simply not your cup of tea?
Ron Howard has been more involved with racing in the last year than he probably ever expected he would. He just completed filming his movie based on F1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, which included plenty of racing, to say the least, including a controlled recreation of Lauda’s famed Nürburgring crash.
Now Howard is taking a hands-on approach to racing, as he has agreed to drive in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. No, he’s not hopping behind the wheel of a racecar, but rather he is hopping in the BigMachineRecords.com pace car and leading the way to the start/finish line.
Jeff Belskus made it clear that Howard’s involvement in the filming of “Rush” had a lot to do with NASCAR inviting Howard to drive the pace car when he said “Ron has become immersed in motorsports’ culture and history through the filming of ’Rush,’ so he’s an ideal person to pace the field for one of NASCAR’s biggest races at ’The Greatest Race Course in the World.”
So, the moral of this story is that if you are not skilled enough to make it into NASCAR, just take a left turn into the filmmaking business – that has to be easier to get into than NASCAR – make a movie about racing, and watch the pace car invites come rolling in. Easy enough, right? Yeah, that’s called sarcasm...
We wish Ron the best and hope he has a safe journey around the track. You can catch Howard in his pace car on Sunday, July 29th.
We are always writing article about this and that sports cars trekking around the famous Nürburgring course in Germany, which we have nicknamed the `Ring out of necessity. We have even seen some not-so-sporty cars lapping the ring, like a CR-V that found out it did not belong on a race track. We never really gave any thought to the financial health of our favorite circuit.
According to a report from Germany, the `Ring is in some serious financial trouble and is in need of a financial bailout. Officials running the Nürburgring have reached out to the European Union for a roughly €13 million bailout, but the EU has said “No way.” In addition to the denial of funds, there is also a pending investigation on a €524 million payment the `Ring and its surrounding attractions – an amusement park, mall and hotel – received.
The reasoning behind this investigation is that German Land Rhineland Palatinate (RLP) provided the €524 million in funds for the building of the aforementioned leisure activities under the guise of tourism. It was later found by the EU that the Nürburgring was already in financial chaos at that time and the funds are seen as a potential bailout, which requires EU approval.
Ultimately, the Nürburgring has already filed for bankruptcy and its future will be decided by either the courts or its new owners.
We knew that the `Ring was in some trouble back in 2010 when the Save the Ring group was formed, but we never would have expected this. We guess Porsche is likely happy with its decision to buy its own track, as the `Ring very well may not exist in just a few years. We hope that is not the end result, but it is a distant possibility.
So there have been a few new details to emerge about Lindsay Lohan’s rented Porsche turned derby car since we last paid the story a visit, so we figured we should package it all up nice and neat, and let you know what’s up.
It all begins with Lohan driving a Porsche 911, which was rented, to the studio where her newest TV show was being filmed. In the process, she managed to position the front end of this beautiful piece of German engineering firmly under the tail end of a semi-truck. Shortly after that, we found out that the insurance company insuring the TV show she is in strictly prohibits her from driving while the show is being filmed, thanks to her many run ins with the boys in blue while behind the wheel.
TMZ, our leading informant on this topic, then dug up a report that Lohan was claiming that the brakes on this nearly brand new Porsche failed to stop the car when the 18-wheeler [ahem] “cut her off.” So it couldn’t have been her fault, right?
It just so happens that Porsche decided that it needed to find out what was wrong with the brakes on this flagship sports car, so Porsche investigators called up the rental company that owns the car and had it shipped to a testing facility so the investigators can check the brakes. The investigators tested every inch of the braking system trying to find the root cause of his high-profile Porsche smash-up job.
There was just one problem with the tests... The brakes passed all of Porsche’s tests with flying colors! So, now Lohan is caught in a boldface lie and has officially garnered a large portion of our attention to see what kind of boneheaded excuse she can come up with next.
As we said before, we highly doubt that this is the end of this story and we anticipate a lot more information coming out soon. As soon as we get wind of anything else, we’ll let you know.