Despite all the focus on the Detroit International Auto Show this week, Motorsports around the world are still continuing. Starting tomorrow, January 14th, the World Rally Championship kicks off in Monte Carlo with the opening ceremonies. Drivers and navigators commence their “shakedown” runs of the course the following day, while the race officially begins on Thursday the 16th and continues to Sunday the 19th.
WRC is one of the most intense motorsports with wildly varying terrain ranging from gravel, mud, and snow to smooth pavement. Massive jumps and wrecks make watching WRC an edge-of-your-seat experience while the competition between drivers and sponsors keeps the excitement stirred.
The infographic after the jump lays out some interesting facts about the upcoming race and how the entire event is organized. Trekking between Monte Carlo and France, the race has different stages and sections – all designed to challenge both man and machine as they race against the clock.
Click past the jump for the full infographic
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.
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
McLaren’s future crown jewel supercar, called the "MP4-27", hasn’t been stopped in any way shape or form out on the roads - even through the lenses of some of the best carparazzis in the world.
But the latest rumblings surrounding the McLaren F1’s successor is that McLaren will be using a unique event to debut the MP4-27. And no, it won’t be in any of the world’s biggest auto shows.
Instead, the word going around is that the McLaren MP4-27 will be unveiled at the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo. The event, which will take place from May 24 to 27, 2012, is the glitziest race in the F1 calendar and, when you really think about it, is an appropriate venue for the MP4-27 to be unveiled.
Nothing spells glamour and luxury quite like Monaco, and if the MP4-27 is everything it’s being touted to be, then it has to makings to have an extravagant world debut.
As far as the car itself, there have been plenty of rumors going around as to what it looks like, but the safest description, albeit one that’s still reaching for straws, is that it will be "bigger, angrier, and more functional-looking" than the MP4-12C. McLaren illustrates that with a reported 5.0-liter V8 engine that produces an output of 800 horsepower with a top speed of 260 mph.
Last Sunday, the second episode of Top Gear’s 17th season aired and like most of the shows these days, we were treated to some hilarious segments, a rather pointedly pointless car review, some canned and scripted studio jokes, and - for once - a surprisingly fast lap on the Kia Cee’d. Par for the course for Top Gear.
In this episode, James May will tell you things about the Aston Martin Virage that you already probably know. This is then followed by a highly-entertaining hot hatch triple threat madness along the streets of Italy that included finding a dog, an ice cube, and branch from a cedar tree.
Comedian Russ Noble also stopped by for a little chat with Jeremy - an entertaining interview by our measure - after which the former strapped on his helmet for his hot lap on board the show’s Reasonably Priced Car.
The show concludes with a sort of dream of dreams, at least as far as Jeremy Clarkson was concerned: three laps around the Monaco Grand Prix. It probably didn’t matter that the cars they were driving were the same three hot hatches they drove in Italy. At the end of the day - Clarkson especially - had a blast to finally drive their way around Monaco’s world famous street circuit.
Full details after the jump.
Tired of church wedding, beach weddings, and the ever-so popular spur-of-the-moment Vegas romps? Here’s an idea for you: why don’t you get married at the Monaco Grand Prix race track?
OK, pulling that off is easier said than done. But if you’ve got strings to pull, then you can certainly make it happen. Bob Bondurant has the strings, and they’re mighty long, too. Together with his wife Patricia, Bondurant was able to exchange vows at the legendary race track, much to the delight of all the spectators who showed up to watch the F1 race. Joined by some family and friends who served as witnesses, the couple certainly had quite a follow-up ceremony to the one they previously had back in the US.
By the way, in case you don’t know who Bob Bondurant is, he’s a former race car driver that once scored a fourth place finish at the very same track way back in 1966. So, yeah, you could say that he knows the track and the people behind it to pull off something like this.
We don’t know whether to be happy for the two or jealous of the fact that they had such an awesome setting to exchange - renew, to be exact - their vows. Maybe it’s both. Either way, it was just about as awesome a wedding as any of us could have thought of.
Press Release after the jump
More than any other Marvel movie franchise that we’ve seen recently, Iron Man has not only given us some pretty good entertainment, but it’s also featured some pretty snazzy supercars to go along with billionaire/superhero Tony Stark’s penchant for fast rides.
The soon-to-be released Iron Man 2 is no different and, if you ask us, it’s taken the whole Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous angle up a notch. Not only do we get to see the movie debut of the Audi R8 Spyder – it’s hard-top brother made a similar appearance during the first Iron Man movie – but as these photos show us, the producers even had the cajones to do an explosion scene at the – of all places! – world-famous Circuit de Monaco. You can watch the video at MSN France.
And oh yeah, a Rolls Royce Phantom even makes a cameo on-track, which makes us wonder if that exotic piece of beauty is bound for the scrap heap too.
Make no mistake, we like a lot of the movies Marvel has released recently, but neither Spiderman nor the Incredible Hulk can fit luxury cars, supercars, and exploding race cars at the Circuit de Monaco in their storylines like iron Man can.