Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Less Than Ten Minutes

He takes it easy on some of the hairpins, but that's probably to give the engine a short rest, for reasons explained below.

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb took place over the weekend, along with the European Grand Prix and the Nürburgring 24 Hours. Not as many people know about this race compared to the other two, as it only happens once a year at Pikes Peak in Colorado. The task is simple: it's a rally-style Hillclimb event, in which the driver has no co-driver and there are many classes to suit different budgets and upbringings. The fastest time in each class wins. The fastest class is called the Unlimited Class, and oh boy do they mean unlimited. Anything goes (one of the 'Unlimited' cars was packing 1350bhp for crying out loud)! The spoilers are the size of picnic tables, and the turbochargers involved could cause a black hole they're so big.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The New "'Mini'" Coupé Even LOOKS Like A Douche

What happens when you microwave a diecast Mini model with a plastic roof
I already loath and detest strongly dislike the BMW 0-Series. I don't like that they want us to think it's like the original BMC Mini, a car that set the template for all small cars that followed after it was released in 1959 and gained popularity in the 1960s, which it held on to until (and even beyond) the bitter end in 1999 when Rover stopped making it (and arguably Rover went downhill from there until their own bitter end a few years ago). I don't like that they even used the Mini name and gave it a dinner-plate-sized speedo to emulate the '60s Mini's central dials in one of a few attempts to make it so blindingly retro.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Formula 1 - European Grand Prix 2011

In 2009 the Euro GP at Valencia had just one overtake on-track. Last year, it was only interesting when Mark Webber hit Heikki Kovalainen in a braking zone and did a back flip. This year? Normally I take ages to write a report on an F1 race. This is partly because of the way I construct sentences (they can be quite long), but it's also because the short-life Pirelli tyres, KERS and DRS have really helped spice things up a bit, letting the drivers overtake properly and giving everyone a lot more to watch/talk about. This weekend, however, continued Valencia's reputation for being really boring, especially compared to the rest of the season, and in particular after how the Canadian GP went down two weeks ago.

Basically, the Ferraris got fast starts, getting past both the McLarens. Nico Rosberg split the two McLarens for the first few laps, but Jenson Button got past him in one of the DRS zones (although it took longer than expected to pull the move off, due to the extra traction the Mercedes GP car had coming out of the previous corner). Vettel ran away from teammate Mark Webber in 2nd place and won the race. Alonso and Webber ended up racing eachother for 2nd place, swapping around during the pit stops, and Alonso ended up beating him. Michael Schumacher looked like he could mix it up with the McLarens, but after exiting the pits, Nick Heidfeld cut him up into turn 2 and broke his front wing, sending him straight back in the pits. He finished a dismal 17th place. Jenson Button's KERS stopped working, losing him around half a second a lap and allowing Lewis Hamilton past him, although Hamilton wouldn't make it much further, as he had to conserve tyres. He finished 4th.

There was some jostling for position further down, and some stubborn backmarkers, but that was basically it. One interesting fact is that this is only the third time in Formula 1 history that every single car which started the race has finished it. Here's a results/points table. Click to enlarge.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Le Mans Crash Analysis

Crash 1 - Allan McNish
Towards the end of the first hour of this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, Scotsman Allan McNish in the #3 Audi Sport North America Audi R18 TDI was overtaking a fellow Audi R18 when he suddenly realised why the #1 car was going slowly - there was a Ferrari GT car just ahead of him. The result was spectacular, and a demonstration of modern racing car safety. But did it need to be so severe?

You only really need to see the first 3 1/2 minutes of this vid

Monday, 13 June 2011

Race Weekend of the Year?

This weekend was unbelievably awesome for motor racing fans, with two high-profile races that will surely go down in history as all-time classics: One of the closest 24-Heures du Mans of recent times, followed by a Canadian Grand Prix that had absolutely everything in it.

Monday, 6 June 2011

The Everyday Supercar

Early '90s version
It was developed with help from none other than Ayrton Senna. It was a favourite of Gordon Murray, designer of the all-conquering McLaren F1, who actually used it as a benchmark for his ultimate driver's supercar. It had an illustrious career as a SUPER GT racer, and won its class at Le Mans in 1995. It remains a favourite among Gran Turismo addicts and Honda fans alike (so I really like it). It was the everyday supercar that never had the sales success it deserves. It's the Honda NSX.