Wednesday, 23 November 2011

How To Fix The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

A is the original layout and B is my version. You can tell because they're labelled in Altastrada font, which is superior to your font.
Although double DRS and a lack of Vettel helped to spice up this year's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, it wasn't exactly Canada or Silverstone. Much of the problem with this race is in the track layout, as Hermann Tilke was probably far more interested in a) grandstands and facilities, and b) getting paid lots by sheiks, thus the track doesn't really lend itself to overtaking. Does someone without a background in circuit design or any proper real-life motor racing experience honestly believe they can do better at designing a Formula 1 racing circuit than a paid professional?

Well duh. Haven't you been on the internet before?

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Two Ways To Make A Porsche

There is a right way and a wrong way to build a Porsche. Or is there? Maybe, with the Panamera and Cayenne selling just as well or better than the 911 and Boxster/Cayman, there are two ways to make a Porsche, or maybe it's proof that people will buy anything with a Porsche badge on it... except a new-age Need For Speed game, perhaps. They all suck and so does EA for claiming exclusivity on using Porsches...

Anyway, what we have here are two new cars based on existing Porsches. One is an official model, called the Panamera GTS. The other is a heavily modified version of a '73 911, called the dp Motorsports "dp11 RS 2011". Catchy. But which one is best?

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Formula 1 - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2011

Yas Marina Circuit. Grotesque Ferrari World theme park adjacent...
The Race In a Nutshell:
> Sebastian Vettel's luck finally runs out as he gets a right-rear puncture into Turn 2.
> 2nd place-starting Lewis Hamilton leads by 2.5s after lap 1.
> Jenson Button slips back from 3rd to... 3rd. KERS fails for a while, partially reset later on, battles Mark Webber
> McLaren make lightning-fast pit stops, Red Bull botch Webber's, he falls out of contention for 3rd.
> Webber battles Felipe Massa, causing the pair to fall behind Button.
> S├ębastien Buemi and Paul Di Resta battle, Di Resta runs wide at T11 and falls behind Buemi, who later retired.
> Kamui Kobayashi overtakes a lot, finishes 10th to move Sauber ahead of Toro Rosso.
> Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna penalised for ignoring blue flags, Maldonado does it again later.
> Hamilton wins on his mum's birthday.

Top 5 Finishers: Hamilton, Alonso, Button, Webber, Massa

Since this track appared at the end of 2009, it has played host to some boring races. The only thing that spiced it up last year was the fact that the championship was in the balance, and even then it was disappointing, because Fernando Alonso was stuck behind Vitaly Petrov and Mark Webber couldn't get the job done, so Vettel won from pole and snatched the championship, leading to some complaining rightly that it didn't allow overtaking. If they had DRS last year at this race, Alonso would've been champion. This year, the pressure was off, everyone had time to vomit on the world's fastest roller coaster at the hideous Ferrari World theme park behind Turn 7, and it looked to be a 55-lap parade after he siezed pole position for the 14th time this season...

The New Chevrolet Corvette (Apparently)

It looks 'shawped. I can tell from teh pixels and from seeing quite a few shawps in mah tahm.
38 minutes after they said they would, Jalopnik have released what they say are images showing exactly what the next Chevrolet Corvette will look like. For some reason they based it on an assumed ZR1 version, so I had a go at toning it down to show you what the normal C7 Corvette may very well look like. I'm having mixed feelings towards it even after de-ricing it. Here's what else The Internet may know about it....

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Video Sunday - Every Second Counts

Uploaded: 16/11/10
Running Time: 5:22
Views When Posted: 243,648

If you don't really get the attraction of motorsport, if you think it's just tubes with spoilers going round in circles and turbocharged Subarus driving past anoraks wearing anoraks in a wood, watch this video. I'm sorry it has orchestral music - you may find it atmospheric, you may find it intruding or cheesy, but I didn't put it there, so I can't help it - but the choice of clips and the quotes from legends and masters of the sport, living and dead, make this an incredibe and moving video. Enjoy. That is all.

Also, as you may have noticed, the background is now carbon fibre, an idea I pinched off a friend's Tumblr blog. This page is now lighter and stronger than before! The smallblock V8 that validates the pun is now in the title image.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Video Saturday - Celebrating In Style

Uploaded: 5/11/11
Running Time: 5:40
Views When Posted: 72,321

You know you're living your life right when you can turn up at Monza and get to sit alongside Valentino Balboni, long-serving former chief test driver at Lamborghini and all-round cool guy. You also know you've made it on the internet when such a man says your username on camera and lets you film him hounding round the Italian Grand Prix circuit in a Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera. Marchettino has made it, and is living it right. I don't know if he actually makes money from filming supercars around Italy - although he has enough for a shiny red Abarth 500 and a fancy camera - but he should. That would be the perfect job. Here he is commemorating his 900th video in true style.

Supercar Weekday - Toyota 2000GT

Written for Jalopnik's gift to Jezebel each night

Think Toyota and you may well think Prius, or Corolla. Toyota have built their reputation on well-made, economical sedans (and nearly threw it away with the whole "Unintended Acceleration" fiasco, but let's not get into that now). The only problem with being known for cars like that is that it earns you quite a mundane image. Back in the 1960s, Toyota decided it didn't want such an image, and wanted to prove that they could not only build an original car, but something that could compete with the world's sports cars. In 1967, they stunned the world with the 2000GT, which was developed in partnership with Yamaha. This, then, is Japan's first 'supercar'.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Photo Dump - McLaren

First of all, if you haven't already, check out the new blog title image I made! Pretty cool, right? It's quite simple, but the redesign needed a proper title image to look finished. Since I used the same engine for that as the background, I might consider changing the bg to a different small block V8, but for the time being, enjoy the new pic. Anyway...

 Gran Turismo 5's Photo Mode is brilliant, because not only do you get all the professional camera settings to choose from, but the resulting image can look incredibly realistic, even though the cars are no different to the ones you actually race. Because I've filled up my Flickr account, I'm going to post a set of photos on here every so often. This time, the theme is McLaren.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Lightest Car Ever Made Should Be Easy To Park

In recent years, cars have suffered something called "model bloat", wherein each new generation of a model gets longer, wider and heavier as more safety features and creature comforts appear. Happily though, the last couple of years have seem most makers fight against this in various ways, partly to improve their cars' efficiency, and in some cases also to improve the driving experience by making them less cumbersome. Leading the charge, it seems, is a group of Dutch scientists, who have created what is undoubtedly the smallest and lightest car in motoring history. That is, if you consider it to be a car at all...

Sunday, 6 November 2011

SBV8 Spec 2.0

Farewell, original layout.
Yes, this here blog looks different now. I might have to get used to it myself, but it was necessary, because the site now looks cleaner. It also has a new background, which is still a General Motors LSA smallblock V8 (so the pun still stands), which powers the Cadillac CTS-V, and will eventually power the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 when it's unleashed next year. This slightly-wider SBV8 also allows for more tabs, which means I can give Video Sunday posts their own tab, seperating them from "SBV8", which usually refers to posts like this one.

I tried the new "Dynamic Views", but none of them quite did it for me, inventive as they were, so it's all layed out the same as the original. Consider it a facelift, like when a car is revised and tweaked to keep it fresh.

Otherwise, it's same old same old. Enjoy!

Video Sunday - It's All Uphill From Here

 Uploaded: 29/10/11
Running Time: 5:22
Views When Posted Here: 38,805

Yesterday, I went to a local rally event in Yateley Wood. I might write about it later, but one thing I noticed when the 2WD class was climbing up a little hill after a tight hairpin is that compared to the 4WD cars, some of them struggled with it. This guy, however, won't struggle one bit in his 2WD car. This is partly because he's racing on tarmac (ok, it's entirely because he's on tarmac), but it's also because he is driving a hillclimb car. You might want to adjust your volume.

The car in question is a Mercedes-Benz 190E, apparently an ex-DTM car, which is propelled by a mix of slick tyres, a 6-speed sequential gearbox and a 564bhp 3.4-litre Judd V8 (apparently an old Formula 1 engine), which is revving to nearly 10,000rpm as it flies up this hill. With a vehicle weight of around 816kg, "flies" would be the operative word were it not for all the extreme aerodynamic add-ons. As you can see at 3:42, the rear wing could do with being fixed on with something a little sturdier, but it doesn't seem to be an issue. If you've seen this video before and/or want to skip the montage, go to 1:50 in the video... and experience the noise.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Toyota FR-S - More Specs

Whoever scanned this needs to take the bar out the middle...
I was going to put this in an update to my original post about Toyota's and Subaru's antidote to the likes of the pious Prius, but there's been another sizeable spec-drop for the first fun affordable Toyota since the MR2 was killed off. This time it's about handling and the components and calculations that make this a rival to the Mazda MX-5 in terms of driver satisfaction. In case you didn't know, the MX-5's one of the very best small sports cars money can buy. Hopefully this won't get the same "chick car" image...


Stats Page. I can also see what browsers you're all using. What the hell is "Jasmine"???
This is just a little post to myself for having reached 10,000 views. It's quite lame that I feel the need to commemorate this, but never mind. I thought I'd put up something that those of you who don't blog may not have seen before, which is the Stats page. Here I can see what you're clicking on, why, how often, what with and from where, which is nice. The slightly depressing thing is that the majority of hits are from Google Images, but I guess that's fair enough for a small-time blog like this one. It's not like SBV8's being republished all over the internet.

Formula 1 - Korean and Indian Grands Prix 2011

2011 Standard Issue F1 Podium
First of all, my apologies for missing the report on the Korean Grand Prix. It's only the second one I've missed out (the other being round 2 at Malaysia), so I'll sum it up here:

The Korean Race In A Nutshell:
> Lewis Hamilton out-qualifies Vettel by 0.2s, the first time a non-Red Bull gets pole in 2011
> Vettel overtakes Hamilton at Turn 4 on lap 1 and pulls away, Jenson Button falls behind Felipe 
   Massa at Turn 3, then passed by Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso at Turn 4, Webber passes 
   Massa later in the lap
> Button and Nico Rosberg swap places a couple of times after first pit stop, Button gets ahead
> Massa forced to wait as Michael Schumacher and Vitaly Petrov beat him out of the pits, the pair 
   also overtake Alonso during pit stops
> Petrov and Alonso brake too late for Turn 3, Alonso runs wide to narrowly avoid Petrov piling into 
   the back of Schumacher, Petrov later given 5-place grid penalty in India for taking himself and 
   Schumacher out of the race
> Safety Car out, Hamilton now very close to Vettel, but the Red Bulls were superior in 
   twisty sections, so Hamilton fell back towards Webber, who didn't end up beating him despite 
   spectacular battling through the twisty sections and passing him at Turn 1, after which Hamilton 
   could use DRS to re-pass, Webber finished 0.4 seconds behind Hamilton
> Ferraris both overtake Rosberg, who then pits and finishes out of the points
> Alonso passes Massa on pit strategy, he and Button catch up to LH and MW, but no-one 
   changes places
> Vettel gets 10th win in 16 races, Red Bull Racing win constructor's title

Top 5 Finishers: Vettel, Hamilton, Webber, Button, Alonso

You can see the full race results by clicking this link, but now we move onto India, which held its first ever Formula 1 Grand Prix this past weekend, at the (very) newly-built Buddh International Circuit in New Delhi. While the race itself was simply a demonstration of how F1 in 2011 works, the track was certainly interesting and received much praise from the drivers, but less so from Martin Brundle, who complained online about the commentary box being a room with no window rather than in a tower overlooking the circuit, as is usual. In fact, a lot of the facilities and such behind the pit lane looked plain and simple, suggesting that they didn't have a great deal of time to build it all in. Another sign of that was the amount of dust on the track, apparently from when it was still being built mere weeks ago...