Wednesday, May 2, 2012

F1 Update

Four races have been completed already in an action packed 2012 F1 season. I remember reading on Eurosport that having six world champions in the field won't be as exciting as people are making out it to be. Well I have one word for that as of right now, rubbish. This has been one of the most exciting seasons I've watched and although my heart is with Red Bull Racing and Sebby Vettel, having such a strong field is so much more exciting than having one person run away with the title. This time last season Seb had over a twenty point lead in the championship but now he only leads by a few. He finally got his first pole and first place finish of the season in Bahrain, although the headlines may have been more focused on other events in Bahrain. The constant debate whether or not F1 should have raced there remains a heated discussion. There have been four different constructors and drivers who have won these opening events and wouldn't you know three out of the four are previous world champions. We can talk about McLaren's dominance and how it really hasn't gotten them the victories I was expecting. Lewis Hamilton came third three times in a row and while he is saying consistency is key, I'm not sure how much longer his positive attitude will last. Hopefully it does last and his efforts are rewarded because when Lewis is on form he is capable of some real flyers. That being said McLaren need to clean up their pit stops because Nico Rosberg's first win may not have been if Jenson Button wasn't stuck in the pits for such a long time. Congratulations to Mercedes and Nico as well for his first career victory after he took his first career pole in China. Mercedes got their tire management right that time. The saga of Felipe Massa continues as the Brazilian finally scored his first points of the season. It is hard to judge this situation because while Fernando Alonso has already gotten a victory this year, Massa has struggled. But in my opinion the only reason why there is such a performance gap between the two is not because Massa isn't a good driver but because Fernando is so talented. If there was anyone else at Ferrari other than Alonso, the gap between Massa and that other driver would be much smaller. The roles can be reversed as well, if someone other than Massa was there, say Sergio Perez, they would be behind Fernando as well. It's a lose-lose situation for Massa because of that. I also have to argue that how much of it is really Massa's fault? The F2012 is, let's be honest, average at best. Ferrari cannot complain about Massa not performing when they give him a less than ideal chassis and expect marvels. Testing in Mugello this weekend gives me another talking point. As I write this now, Romain Grosjean is currently sitting on top of the time sheets. I am in no way surprised by this because I saw him as a real talent in the sport right from the beginning and in Bahrain he got his first podium finish. Keep an eye on him as the season progresses. Kimi as well, came second in Bahrain and Lotus look extremely pacy. The results of Williams cannot go unnoticed either, Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna have been putting in great drives for the team. All in all exciting things to come in the next couple months, I can't wait. These three week breaks are driving me insane. I can't finish this post without saying something about Ayrton Senna. The Brazilian passed away eighteen years ago yesterday and it is a truly sad event. The best racing driver to walk the earth left the sport he loved too early and may he rest in peace.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

And They're Off!

What better way to spend a weekend than watching the first Formula One race of the 2012 season. Honestly I have been waiting since Brazil last season for this weekend, and by no means did it disappoint. That being said there were plenty of disappointments and delight up and down the paddock. This season sees six world champions lining up on the grid and some say that is nothing to be too excited about. I believe however that it is exciting, having such a wealth of quality and experience will only add to the excitement. There's so much in fact I'm not sure where to begin. Let's start with Ferrari and how they're starting this year like they left off in 2011, not well. The F2012 struggled for pace all weekend and qualifying was nothing short of a disaster, Massa and Alonso failed to make it to Q3. With Ferrari needing a big season it seems they're already being left behind by old and new faces. Then there is the question of Massa. It was made clear that he must deliver or he is history. I can see where Ferrari is coming from, but maybe if they gave him a decent car he would be able to prove his worth. Something else I've always stressed, Alonso makes the car and the team look much better than they actually are. He is an unbelievable talent, awesome to watch.  I'm not sure where they'd be without him. With Massa likely to be replaced at the end of the season, there's only one replacement for him as far as I'm concerned. A young man named Sergio Perez. I've been banging on about him since the end of last year. He is a hugely talented driver who has an uncanny ability to make tires last almost twice as long as they should. He started this weekend dead last due to a grid spot penalty and finished in the top ten, scoring points for his Sauber Team. With his strong ties to Ferrari, he seems the likely choice. However, I was thinking about it today and we forget that Mark Webber is also out of contract at the end of the season with him looking more likely to retire. If he doesn't, great, but if he does and I were Red Bull I'd love the snatch Perez up. Seb and Sergio would make a team for the present and the future. Speaking of Red Bull Racing, sitting in front the of the TV seeing the RB8's fifth and sixth on the grid was an eye opening experience. When compared to last year, Webber would qualify anywhere from first to a few back but Seb was almost always a lock. Watching the last thirty seconds of Q3 last year and seeing Vettel on his flying lap when the clock hit zero was exhilerating. That's not to say this qualifying session was any different. I still maintain that the most exciting part of the race weekend is Q3. I'm a massive Vettel fan but I think having the pace of all the cars more closely together will be so much more exciting for every aspect of the season. I love seeing more mid-table cars being racy and competitive. It was great to see Schuey way up in the front with his Mercedes, as well as his teammate Nico Rosberg. The new Lotus driver Romain Grosjean looked excellent in qualifying, managing a very impressive third position. Unfortunately his race ended prematurely thanks to Pastor Maldonaldo who looked good during the race as well, getting up Alonso's backside a number of times. He lost the back end on the final lap crashing hard into a barrier on driver's right. Hopefully he continues the pace into next weekend. The Iceman was another surprise. After a disappointing qualifying session and many people writing the Fin off in preseason, he showed that Finnish car control and his skill to claim an impressive top ten finish in his first start in two years. Of course I can't forget Mclaren. All weekend the team showed incredible pace and Lewis set a blistering time in qualifying that was not going to be beat. You could tell from his reaction after the fact that it was special. Everything seemed to come together. Jenson was just as quick as his teammate and his start after the lights dropped didn't let him down. He took the lead from second by the first corner and never lost it. He pulled away from the pack like I've only seen Vettel do. After the safety car restart, he had almost two seconds on Seb by the next lap. Vettel showed his skill in making up four spots to end up second with an inferior Red Bull compared to the Mclaren. Their pace was frightening and once Hamilton can put a weekend together they'll dominate even more. It seems that Jens is determined to show that he is the better racer of the two and I've always been one to think that. I think he is more professional than Hamilton and is much more level headed. I love watching him race, his lines are unbelievably smooth. All in all great weekend of racing and everyone is looking forward to Malaysia in one week's time. Any predictions? Lotus looks super competitive, as does Mercedes and Sauber. Ferrari have some serious work to do though and if Mclaren keeps this up I'd say it is theirs to lose. Especially Jenson who looks to be on it right now. Red Bull has a few things to work out but it's early days so plenty of time left to get the lap times to tumble. If I had to say right now who will win the championship I'd say Button but I'll never count Vettel out. It will be between those two for sure. I think they're the best two drivers right now and have been since last year. It's anyone's guess right now but for the time being lets sit back and enjoy the season!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I Need to Defend My Boys

Porsche is one of the biggest names in the business, and yes the 911 "hasn't changed in 40 years", we know all about it. Except in almost every way possible it has. Lets end this whole discussion on the engine being in the wrong place because yes, dynamically it is in an awkward position. But I'm curious, where's the engine in a Formula One Car? It isn't in the front, or the middle. They don't seem to have too much of a problem since they can corner at 190 mph and pull 4 lateral G's. Weight distribution was somewhat of a difficult task in the early 911's but you cannot deny the fact that it is what defines Porsche as who they are. Porsche 911's of today are some of the most poised cars on the road. However they will never feel as good as a cayman because of the engine placement, but a cayman will never be a 911. The 911 is one of the most iconic cars in the motoring world, and anyone who would argue this doesn't really grasp the ideas of sport cars or motor sports too well. I'm sure we've all watched Top Gear, it is my favorite show, but please don't listen to every word that comes out of Mr. Clarkson's mouth. He always says that Porsche design is so lazy and it hasn't changed, but it has. So when you go and say the same thing, it's an immediate clue that a) you have no idea what you're on about and b) you're taking the words out of his mouth with no real knowledge of the subject. Having never been in a 911 makes your argument even less credible. I've been in 911's from every era, from the first 930's all the way up to the 997.2 GT3 RS. Want to try and tell me there's no change? Obviously they look somewhat similar but every time they evolve to make it that much better. When looking at other car models and seeing the drastic change, it's usually because they have to change them. The 911 has always been the case of fine tuning and keeping with tradition. There's a sense of pride these engineers have about this car, why are you trying to deny them from it? The same could be said about Audi. Their engines were almost in front of the front axel, which would cause horrific understeer. But they weren't too bothered by that, seeing as how they won countless rallies and branded the "Quattro" name doing so. Every car has a defining feature, BMW's inline six, which has always been fantastic. But again, you get people who will listen to a straight piped e46 M3 and say "That rasp is terrible, sounds like my lawnmower". That rasp however doesn't sound like your lawnmower, it is an iconic soundtrack that a connoisseur will recognize. In closing, please take some time to look past all the common stereotypes to investigate the truth, you may turn out to love something you once didn't.  A while back I bought into all that talk about being lazy and the cars were ugly, but spend a day with one and you'll start to understand. I've developed a passion for these cars and I'm sure you could as well. Oh and for good measure, here's a list of all Porsche's achievements due to their "lack" of design...

                14 Makes and Team World Championship              
                3 IMSA Supercar-Series
                6 German Racing Championship
                20 European Hill Climbing Championship
                22 Daytona 24 Hours 
                15 IMSA Supercar-Race (USA)
                16 24 Hours of Le Mans
                18 12 Hours of Sebring
                1 Rallye-Weltmeisterschaft
                11 Targa Florio
                4 Rallye Monte Carlo
                2 Paris-Dakar Rally
          1 Formula One victory 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Bring me spring

Few things in the world can excite petrol heads as much as car racing. Maybe watching it on the television can get boring, but there is nothing like being at a track. All the noise, the smell, the excitement and the beautiful machines is a great experience. Unfortunately, the winter months up north mean that most car racing is on stand by. For those seeking a thrill indoors though, there is always the indoor carting experience which holds us over till the brisk spring days. But there is nothing like being outside in real cars. Not only are people up north affected by the winter, these months also mean breaks for various race series. I've made a habit this year of waking up at ridiculous hours to watch Sebastian Vettel claim his second Formula One title. I miss Formula One and the American Le Mans Series. Winter needs to be over quick, or at least have some snow so we can all go to empty parking lots and make ourselves either look like heros or the exact opposite of that...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I think we could all use a divine wind...

I'll start off by apologizing now if I seem to be too biased but it is just passion. The same type of passion this beautiful man has shown the world through his automobiles. Horacio Pagani is a man with a vision, much like all of us. I believe Pagani to be a link between the heavens and the mortal world. He started from scratch learning his trade with Lamborghini and eventually went out on his own to conquer the supercar frontier. A place where companies like Ferrari and Lamborghini leave no prisoners, the "built in shed" supercars come and go. I already did a piece of Mr. Pagani so you already know his story. He started with the Zonda, one of the all time greats, and now that his company is flourishing it is time for his newest creation. The Pagani Huayra is the latest masterpiece and has taken him and his designers seven years to build. The new model looks fantastic and keeping with Zonda tradition, it is still as crazy. It is named after a South American wind god, keeping in the Pagani tradition as well. The attention to detail with the car is something to behold. It is an aesthetic beauty that you can only find on some of the greats, and this car has it in spades. Every single piece has such acute detail, from the carbon fiber weave to the metal finishes. The gauges were built by Swiss watch makers and are said to cost around $5000. The engine is the usual Mercedes built AMG. A 6.0 liter V12 power plant, blown with bi-turbo's and producing over 700 horsepower and 1000nm of torque. With a top speed around 230 mph and low 3 second 0-60 times, the Huayra also goes with the vigor that a Pagani should. While the Huayra is the Zonda's successor, the two cars are not alike. Other than the Huayra's astronomical price tag of 1.3 million, something I wouldn't even think twice about, the cars are designed on two different concepts. It was very interesting listening to Mr. Pagani speak about his influence for the two cars. He has always said the Zonda philosophy was based on a group C Le Mans prototype and with the looks and that unbelievable soundtrack, it isn't hard to see where he is coming from. The inspiration for the Huarya however was taken from an airplane at take off, just as it leaves the ground. Watching him struggle to explain this to interviewers, you can feel the passion through the screen. He loves these cars so much, they essential are him, reincarnated into a carbo-titanium shell that will leave almost every car in its wake. Listening to the Huarya on full chat, you will quickly understand the airplane reference. I will leave a video to watch, so please do that. Oh and I almost forgot the best part about the Huarya, it will be sold in the United States. If you can afford one get your checkbook out, if you can't then get the cameras ready, because this car is going to be quite a spectacle. Watch the whole thing if you want or just go to 2:30

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Powering The Future

Hybrids seem to be the "it" thing at the moment and to be brutally honest, I can't see why. This whole idea about saving the environment is very important, but how much saving are you actually doing with your eco-box? If you were to look beyond all the hype, I'd say not much. Of course you'll use less gas than a normal car, but in the real world, you will struggle to get the claimed numbers. And what about that battery? The nickel for a Prius battery is first mined in Canada at a location known as the "smoke stack", where there is no significant form of life for approximately three miles due to the pollution. Then it must be shipped to Europe and refined, then on to China and Japan for final production. The battery does more miles before being put in the car than you'll do in the first year, not to mention all the pollution along the way. Disposal of the battery is another issue, they are extremely expensive and I doubt the acid will recycle well. Electric cars powered by batteries alone are just as bad, only even more impractical. The range is extremely limited and charging stations are far and few between. But remember, when you do find a charging station, where is that electricity coming from to power your "save the world" car? It's coming from a massive power plant, burning an enormous amount of fossil fuel and throwing more carbon dioxide into the air than the "saved" plants can convert. People buy into the hype too much and overlook some possible options. Diesel power is just as economical as a hybrid but with almost none of the drawbacks. I think diesel is hugely underrated and the demand for diesel powered cars in the United States should be greatly increased. It is a very useful power plant. Yes, you are still using fuel, but you are in a hybrid as well. All of these options are only temporary fixes as I see it. To me, there is one clear choice to save us all, hydrogen. The Honda FCX Clarity is absolutely brilliant and the rest of the world needs to get on board with what Honda is doing because it is near perfect. It uses an electric motor, but it is powered by hydrogen, not a battery. The only waste product is water, and it doesn't need to be charged. You simply go to a gas station and fill it up like a normal car with compressed hydrogen which is man-made and inexhaustible. The way I see it, everything that is powered by a gasoline engine can be replaced with a hydrogen drive. It is a new technology so quirks would need to be dealt with, but once moved past that, the possibilities would be endless. Airplanes, trains, ships, trucks and cars would never need fossil fuels again. The fuel crisis would be over and the environment would thrive. I am a massive petrol head and I'll want the sports car to never die, but with this new hydrogen power, I think the sports car would be preserved. This was an observation Jay Leno made and I think it is absolutely spot on. The time is now for hydrogen to power the future, the world and future generations desperately need it.


To all my readers out there, I would sincerely appreciate it if you could follow the link below. I'm trying to get the page likes up. I'm looking to make the Facebook page a more lively event with pictures and captions. Please do your best. Thank you...

Friday, December 2, 2011

"Old School"

Growing up in the 21st century, I've been surrounded by sleek, modern and advanced cars. The posters in my bedroom are all of recent 997 Porsches and newer BMW's. New is the only way I've known so far. But over the last year or so, I've come into touch with more classic rides. I believe that older cars of previous generations had something special about them. There was an aesthetic substance to them which you can't really quantify. New cars are jammed full with new technologies making them faster, stronger, safer and "better" than whatever came before. Apart from the safety part, which I have no issues with since I don't want my knees to be a crumple zone, do these "better" technologies really mean better? I'm going to argue that they do not entirely. Of course, using launch control is very impressive, showing all you're friends how quickly a computer can get you off the line. But wouldn't you have a greater sense of satisfaction in doing it yourself? And what about this ongoing horsepower war? When will it end? I have to utmost respect for those constantly pushing the boundaries of what an engineering team can get out of an engine, look at Porsche's flat six, or Ferrari's tiny V8's. They continuously push the envelope, achieving marvels only certain car companies could dream of doing. Other car manufacturers use force induction to get massive amounts of horsepower from smaller capacity engines. But these new engines and cars are quieter, sound generators are becoming an ever-present part of new cars. Baffles in exhaust open and close depending upon your preference. Why can't they be open all the time? Again, I'm not going to say these new cars and technologies are bad, but sometimes simpler is better. There is a raw, mechanical feeling that is lacking in these new models. There is such a visceral component of older super cars. If you haven't heard the engine note of a Mclaren F1 at full chat, I beg of you to search Youtube immediately.Whenever I go to Lime Rock Park, I see all these beautiful new super cars and I really do mean beautiful. But then you see the occasional '72 Carrera RS, or the original e30 M3 with ///M livery and I am just a loss for words. They seem so much more special and unique. Cars of this nature seem to form relationships with those who drive them. You really do become "one" with them. Someone who values the art of driving can appreciate this type of relationship. Sitting low and slung, cocooned in a metal shell. With no electronic aids, a manual gearbox and the sound of brutal engine. I believe the folks at Singer Porsche know what I'm on about. Their 911, "Restored-Reimagined-Reborn", is an excellent example of how fantastic old cars can be. They capture this aesthetic substance that I've been banging on about.  Unfortunately, I think this time in automotive history has finally peaked. The last couple years have marked the last of the true breed. Yes, cars will continue to get faster, lap times will continue to drop and economy will go up, but at what cost? With news of increased pressure on fuel economy and emissions, I can't see some of the companies who made their name in motorsport, thrive like they have. Could you imagine the governing body walking through the front doors of Sant'Agata Bolognese and saying by a certain date your cars need to produced over 40 mpg? Ferruccio would roll over in his grave, if he hasn't already. I understand this is the way forward for cars, and I realize people will still buy them. I respect this and I will be forced to take part in it as well, but it doesn't seem right. I just want to be taken to a place where it's me, seat, stick, and a truly great road. Something old school...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dangerous Materials in Automobiles

Feature written by Brian Turner...

Dangerous Materials in Automobiles
For many automobile owners, there is nothing more exciting than that “new car smell” that lingers inside recently manufactured automobiles. But did you know that distinctive smell is actually the plastics, adhesives and carpeting in the automobile releasing volatile organic compounds that have been linked to liver, kidney and neurological disorders?

In fact,
modern automobiles are made with many hazardous materials, and these materials are not just located below the hood. In the course of driving your vehicle each day, you may be coming into contact with a variety of substances that have been linked to serious – and, in some cases, life-threatening – health ailments.

Flame-retardants are regularly added to materials in the interiors of vehicles in order to protect driver safety. But the flame-retardants themselves are often unsafe, and many contain dangerous levels of bromine and antimony. Bromine is a toxic chemical that is so corrosive that it must be transported in lead-lined tanks. Aside from affecting the thyroid, bromine can cause neurological impairments ranging from an inability to focus to decreased memory and mood changes. Antimony is a toxic metalloid that can cause headaches and nausea in limited doses, or organ damage and skin disease after prolonged exposure.

The plastic in many car parts – from the steering wheel to the glove box – also may contain
polyvinyl chloride, known commonly as PVC. Many landfills do not like to handle PVC, but car manufacturers do not hesitate to include it in there manufacturing processes. PVC has adverse affects on the liver and kidneys, and should be avoided by pregnant women at all costs. PVC has been linked to premature births.

Of course, the dangerous materials used in car manufacturing are not confined to vehicle interiors. Many vehicles, especially older vehicles, have
brake pads and clutches that contain dangerous amounts of asbestos. Automobile manufacturers use asbestos because it is cheap and withstands high temperatures, but asbestos fibers are easily inhaled and asbestos exposure has been linked to mesothelioma, a serious form of cancer that attacks the linings of organs, such as the lungs. Some car mechanics refuse to work with asbestos brakes and clutches.

The materials used to construct automobiles are toxic enough – and many car owners make a bad situation worse by bringing toxic materials into their cars. Many air fresheners and cleaning products include toxic chemicals or volatile organic compounds that can cause a variety of health problems. And, believe it or not, many infant car seats are made with the same toxic plastics and flame-retardants found in standard automobile seats. Carefully read all labels and warnings before using any product on your car or before adding any aftermarket item. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Must all good things come to an end?

The past couple of weeks have been some of the saddest times in the motoring community. With the loss of Dan Wheldon and Marco Simoncelli, the Indy and MotoGP world is left grieving. I was never a huge fan of Indy car racing or MotoGP, but when you hear news like this, you have no choice but to feel the intense pain felt by thousands of fans around the world. I can't even imagine what their families are feeling but all we can do as a motoring community is offer our support. Two beautiful men in their own right have sadly passed doing what they loved, doing what they were born to do. Dan was 33 years old and Marco a mere 24, described as "A future champion." Of course there will always be talks of making the sport safer but as Ferrari F1 driver Fernando Alonso has said, "We love racing, we know it is dangerous." Even with continued efforts to make the racing world a safer place, there is always the unknown variable. Regardless of how much you plan and protect, the possibility of tragedy will remain an ever present part of our beloved sport. In preparation for this weekend's Formula One, Jenson Button and Mark Webber will be wearing black armbands as well as Dan's logo on top of their helmets. With the excitement for the race, I can't help but feeling timid as to what may happen next. You never know when something tragic may happen but all we can do is continue to watch and pray for the safety of the drivers. Whether it be in a kart, a stock car, an Indy Car, an F1 car or even a motorcycle, we are all one in motor sport. To all petrol heads and motor enthusiasts, stay safe this weekend in your travels. On behalf of all the people saddened by these tragic events, I wish the best for Danny and SuperSic. God speed and rest in peace.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sibling Rivalry

Why buy a Porsche 911 when you could spend less, and have a better handling car. The Porsche Cayman is in the middle of the Porsche lineup and ironically that’s where the engine is too. Which of course makes for better balance than the rear engined 911. The new Porsche Cayman, with a limited slip diff, is a better set up car than a base Carrera or many other 911’s. Now with even more power, the Cayman defends this claim even more. Of course Porsche, the king’s of making more special editions has released the Cayman R. This new Cayman, with more power and less weight, has taken the Cayman even closer to the 911. Power is up to 330 hp and weight is down to a little more than 1300 kilos. More power and less weight, that formula sounds familiar; check my write up about Porsche and Rennsport. There are some who will say, it’s still not a 911 and this car is not deserving of the “poor man’s” Porsche tag like the Boxster. Which is still a ridiculous claim, I wish I were “poor” enough to buy a Boxster. By no means is the Cayman R a “poor man’s” Porsche and by now means is it as good as a GT3, but at half the price, it’s not a bad alternative. See what it can do!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Great Car Pics III

Lamborghini's Newest Bull

Porsche's 918 Spyder

Coolest New Hot Hatch, Citroen DS3 Racing

The Godfather...Don Maserati

Ever since Ferrari revitalized the Maserati brand, they’ve been in Ferrari’s shadow. They had their own cars, they used Ferrari derived engines, but they never really set themselves apart from their younger brother. Before Ferrari was born, Maserati was building cars and winning races.  But there was a time when there was no Maserati. They went bankrupt and it wasn’t until years later that Ferrari brought them back. Now the roles have reverse a bit, but in the last couple years or so, Maserati has come into its own. Maserati still uses a Ferrari engine, but the badge is completely their own. I don’t know of a car that has a cooler badge, something with so much presence on the road. Even parked, a Maserati will give you chills. In my opinion they’re more beautiful than Aston Martins, cooler and even more evil. The soundtrack of a Maserati is unlike any other, quite possibly one of the best sounding v8’s in the automotive world. The Maserati Granturismo is a perfect example of this new found class. It is gorgeous and evil at the same time. A car that can quite literally seduce you. It’s not all show on this new model, like the redone Quattroporte, it’s full of technology that actually works. The gearbox isn’t a jerky neck breaker like you got in the older Masa’s. It’s a new ZF automatic transmission with flappy paddles behind the wheel, and they actually work. But even better than that, when you’re not belting down a back road, the transmission is super smooth. Other than all these advances in their cars, Maserati now has a clientele that says something about their cars. A Maserati is exclusive, and that makes it even better. Maserati has now given someone who drives a Ferrari at the track, a car to drive home in.

Another Milestone

It's still been less than a week, and yesterday this blog broke 1000 views. When I first started this page I would have never guess or expected something that great, I'm truly staggered. All of this is down to the dedicated viewers and supporters who put up with my constant tweeting. I'm sorry for being so annoying, it's my only real way of advertising. So again, thank you for all your continued support. Happy motoring!

Rennsport At Its Finest

Having only touched base on the new Porsche GT3 RS 4.0, I don’t think I’ve done one of the greatest car models enough justice. “RS” or Rennsport, is directly translated as “Race Sport” and is something Porsche tagged one of their 1973 Carrera models with. Called the Carrera 2.7 RS, it was built just so Porsche could compete in certain races. You needed to sell a certain number of road versions, to use the race version of the car. Many car manufacturers have accidentally created streetcar icons by having to do this. This “RS” created 210 hp, weighed a little more than 2300 lbs, and had larger brakes, wider rear arches, stiffened suspension and a ducktail spoiler. Then in 1974 Porsche created the RS 3.0 liter, making 230 hp thanks to Bosch fuel injection. These cars were light and basic, raw and powerful. They created the formula for street legal track cars, lightening, adding power, and precision. What Porsche did in 1973 and 1974, was set the mantle for the “RS” cars of the future. There were "RS" models during all generations of 911 but it wasn't until the 996-generation when "RS" took center stage. Porsche created the GT3 for the road, based on their racecar. It was produced from 1999-2004 and during that time Porsche went one better. They took the GT3, stripped even more bits out of the car to make it lighter and called it the GT3 RS. Since these two cars were so successful, Porsche developed them even further in the 997 generation. The GT3 RS was back with even more power and presence.  The outlandish paint schemes showed signs of the original “RS”. In 2009, the 997’s receive a bit of a facelift and some internal reworking as well. The MK 2 GT3 RS received a new 3.8 liter flat six making 450 hp. This was the first time the GT3 and GT3 RS had a power difference. Along with the “RS” versions of the GT3, Porsche decided to give their GT2 some more racing credentials. Their creation, the GT2 RS, is the fastest street legal car Porsche has ever produced. Only 500 were made and they were sold out after two months. I was lucky enough to see one in person and it happened to be number 500/500, the last one ever made. Despite being the fastest Porsche for the road, it is not the best “RS” model. Since the 997-generation is coming to a close, Porsche decided to make a sending off model, a last hurray. And what a machine it is. The GT3 RS 4.0 liter is also a special edition, only 600 will ever be made and they sold out quicker than the GT2 RS. It has the racing block from the RSR racecar and develops 500 hp from a naturally aspirated flat six. That is just a testimony to Porsche’s Engineers and their ability to push the envelope. And that’s what Porsche’s “RS” models are all about. They push the limit of things possible, constantly improving what they can. They put their soul into these cars. Anyone who says Porsches aren’t designed with passion is talking absolute rubbish, just drive an “RS”.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

An "AMG" That Floats

Mercedes Benz has always been a car company full of innovation and design. The current SLS Gullwing is a perfect example of this. It looks outrageous and the amount of power it churns out is staggering for a naturally aspirated v8. The engineers at “AMG” are among the best in the business at what they do, and recently they teamed up with another industry best. Cigarette Powerboats are some of the finest, most thoroughly designed craft in the world. They are the Mercedes Benz “AMG” of the water. Much like “AMG”, Cigarette is a no compromise company that is focused on one thing, speed. The two companies teamed up to create a powerboat unlike any other, an “AMG”. They were working for two years on this boat and last summer it went on sale. Much like the SLS it has mind boggling numbers, 2700 hp from two supercharged Mercury racing engines and the price…$1,200,000. That will get you six SLS super cars. If you haven’t guessed, it’s fast too. Said to reach around 130 mph, which may not seem like much on land but on water is a whole different story. The new Cigarette 46-foot “AMG” features hand-applied “AMG” Alubem silver paint, the same color offered on the Gullwing. This process, used exclusively by “AMG”, covers surfaces like a metallic skin to highlight the body's stunning lines. Designo Mystic white metallic paint is also used on the boat's exterior. Quite an impressive machine for those “AMG” lovers to run up and down the coast in. This boat even sounds better than the SLS. Have a look, and ENJOY…

More Car Pics

Classic RennSport

Original SLS Gullwing

Lamborghini Miura

Bugatti Atlantic

Car Pics

E46 M3

The Hills Are Alive...With the Sound of Horsepower

After yesterday's American Le Mans race series, I thought it would be appropriate to pay tribute to one of the most storied tracks in America. In the very northwest corner of Connecticut lies 1.5 miles of twisting asphalt. Welcome to Lime Rock Park. The track opened in 1957 and has been home to numerous car clubs and race series events. Nascar, SCCA, BMW CCA, PCA, Grand-Am and ALMS are among the many groups to partake in racing at this beautifully storied track. Currently owned and operated by Skip Barber it has made many new modifications to improve safety and drivablilty. One that stands out is the relatively new asphalt surface. Before this, there were patches of material in the corners different to that of the rest of the track. It was very difficult because all the grip was lost and then gained again due to the inconsistency in the track surface. The track was completely redone in 2008. This spring I had the privilege to come to Lime Rock Park for the annual PCA race. This being my first time, I didn't know what to expect and as we pulled up, rolled down our windows at the main gate, my ears were filled with the "sound of horsepower". Pulling down into the track area, I saw more cars that I wanted to own in the last 30 seconds than the previous years of my life. Just seeing these beautiful machines pounding around such a historic track was making me grin from ear to ear. We walked around, exploring the track a little and taking in the scenery. There was a break after qualifying and an announcement saying, "Any of you who would like a ride around the track please report to pit lane". My friend and I looked at each other and bolted. Porsche of Danbury CT was kind enough to bring eight of their showroom cars to give people a ride around the track. I hurried my way to the front of the line so I could get a ride in a Porsche Cayman S, the actual pace car for the race. I jumped in the passenger seat and my wonderful instructor Nancy showed me the way around LRP. After one lap we pitted and then she told me it was my turn. If you could imagine the look on my face, that still wouldn't fully explain my excitement. It was my turn to give it a go, and that's what I did. I had two laps in this great machine and with my instructor's help I was mastering the turns. This was one of the best days of my life. Since this April I've gone back five times, still wanting more. There's something special about racing and about Lime Rock Park, and whatever it is, I'm hooked.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Original "Hot Hatch"

The Mk 1 Volkswagen GTI started a revolution. Much like a political figure or icon, the GTI is a self-made icon in the car world. In 1975, at the Frankfurt Auto Show, Volkswagen released something that would change the auto industry forever. The car began production in 1976 in Europe but the United States didn't see the GTI till 1983. It was a overnight success, a total trendsetter. It was the first small car to use mechanical fuel injection and it helped give the pocket rocket 108 hp. This may not seem like much, but in this time period, for an average car that didn't weigh much, it was plenty of "pep". What made this car so great was it could be practical, cheap and easy to use. But at the same time you could drive the hell out of it and have a blast. It was a sports car without all the drawbacks. The GTI continued to develop over the years and in that time it lost some of its magic. But more recently, with the MK 5 and 6 models, it's looking to the past to go forward. These models looks great, feel great and go with the same enthusiasm as the original. Like the original, it's practical with three or five doors, relatively inexpensive, and beautifully built.  Its too bad VW didn't patent the "Hot Hatch" design because they would have a monopoly. There are too many carmakers to list who have some type of small, cheap hatchback with sporting credentials. I have VW to thank for this because I too own a "Hot Hatch". My Mini Cooper S is in many ways like the GTI, its fast and looks to its grandparents for inspiration. The Mini is not just an icon in Britain, but in the car world as well. Its the same with the GTI. These are cool cars and someone with any car background will see a Cooper or a GTI and say, "I like that, that's a cool car". My good friend has a GTI and it's fantastic. To be in one means your driving something special, something that has changed the car world forever. And that's how a car should make you feel. It's something that can't be explained, it's just how it is. This is a picture of me and my mate's cars. ENJOY

Great Cars, Poor Owners

As you may know, I started this blog less than a week ago and it has been more successful than I could ever imagine. That’s down to all the people who have graciously decided to look at all the links I tweeted at them. I promise I didn’t mean to spam you; it’s my only real way to get the news out. So I thank you for that. Not all of you have replied but most of you have looked at the page and that’s all I can ask for. The ones who did reply had nothing but kind words to say and I really appreciate that. You all have helped me receive over seven hundred views in just four days, it’s fantastic. While doing some more “promoting” yesterday I came across someone who seemed very interesting to me, a big Audi fan. I was doing a piece on Audi that night and I followed him and asked him graciously to give it a look. The post was written to not only give Audi some press but also show my readers one of my friend’s car reviews, which are hugely popular on Youtube. I do like Audi cars and a good friend of mine whom I went to school with is an Audi fanatic. While at an Audi event at Lime Rock Park, I met many other pleasant Audi folk who even took me around the track a couple times, all in all great people. But like everything else, you will always find those few Audi drivers who are, as Jeremy Clarkson refers to them as, “c*cks”. The ones, who tailgate you on the highway, don’t let you into a lane and in my case, decide to tell me that I was a loser. I will admit it’s not just Audi drivers who are like this; everyone has an example of someone in some type of car being rude. That’s just the world we live it, modern day America. I will not name names for respect of this twitter user, even though I was showed no respect what so ever. But when he responded as rudely as possible, saying to “promote another way” and “I’m not interested” really upset me. Is it such a chore for you to click on a link? Maybe you forgot when you were just getting started as a blogger or editor or whatever it is you do with your life. To all those people who drive Audi’s and are pleasant people, this is in no means directed at you and I respect you and your machine. Much like most cars, they get a bad reputation from the people who drive them. This is the same for every carmaker. BMW drivers are usually jerks; some Mercedes Benz drivers think they’re better than everyone else. But there are always exceptions to the stereotypes and those are the people I like the associate with and respect. Thank you guys for the continued support. I will continue to work hard and with the help of you dedicated viewers I will “succeed” despite what Mr. Negative said. Happy Motoring!

Quattro GmbH

In the world of rally cars, there is one car that stands out in the 1980's, the Audi Quattro. It was the first rally car to take advantage of the rule change, allowing cars to use four wheel drive rather than just two wheel drive. The car won the World Rally Championship two years in a row after its introduction. Despite its rally success, Quattro GmbH's most important contribution to Audi has been the production of road cars for people to buy. The original Quattro was their first and it set the benchmark for high performance Audi's to follow. To clarify, Quattro GmbH is a private subsidiary of Audi. The production plants are completely separate and Quattro GmbH sells their cars under the Audi marque. They're are responsible for giving us cars such as the RS3, RS4, RS6 and R8. All of these cars are high performance models with speed and handling in mind. Much like Porsche, Quattro use the "RS" tag for these pumped up machines. RennSport is translated directly to "racing sport". While you can also buy "S" models, they are not manufactured with the RennSport models of the car. Quattro GmbH simply makes the parts for the "S" models and they are then build next to their regular siblings in Audi's factory. That, among many performance upgrades is the main difference between an "RS" model and any other Audi. Quattro GmbH is much like BMW's "M" division or Mercedes Benz's "AMG". Quattro GmbH has given us some of the most powerful road cars in the world. The RS5 has an all new Lamborghini derived v8, making over 450 hp and a noise that could start an earthquake. A new RS4 is also in the making, although details are far and few between. The newest edition from Quattro GmbH though, is a fire spitting version of the TT. It's called the TT-RS, naturally. This little roadster has approximately 335 hp from an inline 5 cylinder and can get to 60 mph in under 4 seconds. But the best part is that finally after a four year absence, Audi is bringing an "RS" model back to America. It gets even better because not only is the TT-RS coming to the US, it will have even more power than the European version (360 hp), thanks to new software. Quattro GmbH is one of the most accomplished car companies in the world. They are a no compromise sports car manufacturer that took Audi to the next level. They continue to do so with new models coming down the pipeline with all new technologies that look to the future. A friend of mine who does car reviews has a great video on not just the Audi Quattro but the RS6 as well. It really connects the company from their start, to where they are now. Enjoy everyone...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Boss Status

I'm not a fan of American cars for their lack of engineering or beauty but there are a few that will grab a second glance from me. The Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca is one of those cars. I like the color combo and the way it looks with the improved splitter. That being said I wouldn't buy one with my own money since its an American muscle car. Regardless of my opinion it has some good points. Ford has decided to try and make a car that can not only go in straight line, but left and right corners as well. They've stiffened up the suspension, increase the anti-rollbar thickness and given it driver selectable settings. There are three modes, comfort, normal and sport. These settings sound familiar actually (check Europe). And of course there's loads of power and torque. But the biggest surprise of all is what happens in this video. The results are truly shocking, have a look for yourself

Mr. Pagani and his creation

In Italy, you have two supercar makers. There’s the class and beauty of a Ferrari, or the brute strength and passion of a Lamborghini. I suppose you can count Maserati and Alfa Romeo as two other big carmakers but they never trespassed into Ferrari and Lamborghini territory. Trying to build a car faster than a Ferrari or more extreme than a Lambo is a big Italian no-no. But one man with more passion than both companies decided to give it a try, and that man’s name is Horacio Pagani. Mr. Pagani is an Argentinean man who moved to Italy in the early 80’s to pursue his life long dream of building cars. He started off with Lamborghini but eventually went down his own path to create one of the biggest names in the business, Pagani Automobili Modena. Mr. Pagani set to work on his dream car and in 1999, it debuted at the Geneva Motor Show. Using a Mercedes Benz “AMG” v12, the car cost about $320,000. It was called the “Zonda”, named after an Argentinean wind. Only a handful were made and Mr. Pagani continued to improve and tweak the car until eventually his Zonda’s were some of the most potent automobiles the world had ever seen. Usually when a small, independent car company attempts to make a supercar, they last a few years. The reason why they last such a short time is because companies like Ferrari and Lamborghini are too big to compete with and their cars were always better. Not this time though, Mr. Pagani’s wonderful creations were smashing lap records and leaving F430’s and Murcielago’s for dead. Every year the “AMG” tuned v12 would grow stronger and faster. Every year the price tag grew higher and higher as the car became more sought after. Until finally, Zonda production came to a close. The Zonda however, went out with a bang, or a howl I should say. Enter the Pagani Zonda R, the most radical, quickest and most expensive Zonda ever made. It is an orgy of unbelievable numbers, 740 hp and 525 lb ft of torque, 2358 lbs and wait for it… 1.8 million dollars. Making it more expensive than a Bugatti Veyron but it is in every way better than a Veyron apart from the top speed. The feel, the sound, the power deliver, the weight, the poise, the list goes on and on. "0-60 mph, no one knows, top speed, no one knows", only that the 6 speed sequential gearbox will go through gears with an unorthodox precision and speed. The “AMG” v12 bellow is like nothing I’ve ever heard before. Oh and did I mention it holds the lap record at the Nurburgring? There isn’t enough that can be said about this car and in my opinion it is currently the best car in the world, with Pagani being one of the best carmakers in the world. A man with such passion and love for speed was able to set up shop in Ferrari and Lamborghini’s backyard, and teach them a lesson or two. A man, who is truly inspiring to us all, was able to do the impossible and succeed. This video really sums that up...

The Italian Job

I'm sitting here on a raining day watching the usual amount of car videos and reviews, when I remember one of my favorite automotive specials. Clarkson: The Italian Job and yes that would be Jeremy Clarkson from BBC's "Top Gear". Jeremy is one of my favorite TV personalities and "Top Gear" is my favorite show. When I stumbled upon a link for this special I had to check it out. It is a great showing of many different cars he tests and he spends an entire day at Imola Race Track in Italy. I can only hope to drive this track one day. So I figured I'll share my viewing pleasures with you.

"M" Takeover

Over much speculation about the new BMW M3, we finally have some solid facts. In this new trend of less cylinders and more turbo's, BMW has taken it to a whole new level. The 2014 BMW M3 will have not one, not two, but THREE turbochargers to power a 3.3 liter straight six. Rumored to offer about 450 hp and much more torque than the current e92 M3, this radical new design will hopefully distance themselves from their German rivals. It's not like Audi and Mercedes Benz ever really gave the M3 a scare on a track, and we can forget about the Lexus IS-F all together. There is more futuristic technology other than the tri-turbo engine, construction will consist of ultra light weight carbon fiber and steel. This will take the weight down from its predecessor and bring speed up significantly. On a boring note the emissions and fuel consumption has also been improved. Not only are there talks of this new monster, but also a successor to the M1, BMW's first super car. Dubbed the M2, this car will be taking on rivals from Aston Martin, Lamborghini and Ferrari with either a v10 or v12. Maybe if we're lucky they'll use their design from the McLaren F1 engine. Also coming down the "M" pipeline is a CSL version of the 1m coupe. All in all, expect some great things from BMW and their pro's at the "M" division in the next five or six years. I can hardly wait.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Return of the King...BMW M5

The e60 BMW M5 was one of the greatest sports sedans money could buy. It had a viciously howling 5.0 liter v10 with 507 hp and a redline of just over 8000 rpm. It not only worked as a businessman's every day car, but it could be given a thrashing at the track. I could probably use that sentence to describe every BMW "M" car, and I'm sure I will. The M5 was enjoying life until a car company by the name of Cadillac decided to make an M5 "killer". Their creation, the second generation CTS-V, succeeded in many categories to give the M5 a nervous breakdown. It had more horsepower and loads more torque, 556 hp and 551 lb ft from the supercharged v8, compared to the Bimmer's 507hp and only 380 lb ft of torque. The new CTS-V became the quickest sedan to 60 mph with a short sprint lasting only 3.9 seconds and held the lap record at the Nurburgring for sedans. I know that's difficult to understand but the CTS-V is actually good at going around corners, unlike most American cars. It was faster than the M5 in every category and also much cheaper. The Germans were not pleased and if you couldn't already guess, they're back with an all new model to show Cadillac who the boss is. Under the "F10" model designation, the e60 successor is designed to take back the throne it created. This new M5 is based on the new body style of the 5 series, BMW's mid-sized sedan. BMW has thrown away the high revving v10 and have gone with a 4.4 liter v8. The German's are fighting fire with fire, or force induction with force induction. That's correct, another "M" has succumbed to being turbocharged. Apart from the redline lacking in numbers closer to ten and less noise, it's all good news. Power is confirmed at 560 hp and torque is up to 502 lb ft, huge gains over the previous model. It'll take you 4.4 second to get to 60 mph, although I suspect less time than that due to BMW's conservative numbers. Not to mention the help of launch control from the seven speed twin clutch gearbox (DCT). Although it will probably still be slower to 60 mph than the Caddy, BMW has said they're not overly concerned with that because 0-60 isn't at the top of their priority list. Something that can't be said about American muscle. They were looking for an overall better track experience and I will put money on the new M5 beating the CTS-V's lap time at the 'Ring. Not only is this car's engine impressive, there are other new toys that the M5 can boast about. This car is dripping with "M" technology. It has a new "M" differential with a torque vectoring system that splits the power between the rear wheels. The electronically controlled multi-plate LSD will optimise traction and stability in high speed maneuvers and acceleration out of corners. The BMW "M" drive logic control center allows you to select the feel of the car such as throttle response, steering input and damper settings. I haven't even gotten to the best part yet, not only is there a lightning fast 7-speed DCT with paddles but it will come with the option of a 6 speed manual for those die-hards out there. I think its safe to say the king of the super saloon is back. It's not officially back until its debut this September but this should hold you over till then...


I just want to take the time and say thank you for all your support. It's been a crazy two days and none of it would've been possible without your views. One thing that I ask is anyone reading the blog here to please please please look at the right side of the blog and click the Facebook "like" app. This goes directly to my Facebook fan page and I really want to get the "likes" up. The FB site is where I send all my updates and car photos that you guys would love to see. Thanks again!!!


The BMW Car Club of America is one of the most prestigious and largest car clubs around. They serve over 75,000 members across the country, myself included. Last year I purchased a 2010 Mini Cooper S and immediately was looking for ways to get involved with my car and community. This past April I went to a race at Lime Rock Park in CT. I've never been to such a beautiful place with more cars than I have ever seen in my life. "You should join the BMW CCA", I was told. So looking into it I found an entire community devoted to BMW's and their owners. Having spent a little time on the website, I took the plunge and joined as well. I was very excited to receive my membership card and club sticker. It immediately went into my back window for everyone to see. I could tell the BMW CCA was such a great club just by looking at all the functions on the club's website. It's great to see members and pictures of their beautiful BMW's. I love that everyone can share their story with the rest of the community and I will probably be doing the same soon enough. My Dad also just purchased his first BMW, a 2005 545i sedan. I can honestly say it's the best car that's ever been in our garage. So with Father's Day coming up and me needing to get my dad a gift, I thought why not buy him a membership as well? It's a good thing I bought the membership when I did because I received an email saying the site would be closed for a few days while they built a new site. My dad was happy with his gift and I was even more pleased when I saw the new site, only unveiled about a week ago. It is so much more user friendly with a great layout. I'm constantly on the site catching up on my BMW news and combing through the classifieds for a track car to buy. My Dad and I went to the track again for our club chapter's first driving event of the year (Connecticut Valley). Meeting all these people was a great experience and I can only imagine that the rest of the club's members are just as friendly. Not only do they have a great website but there are many ways to connect with the club. There are Twitter accounts, Facebook groups and a great magazine that I just received today, "Roundel". It's filled with great stories and happenings across the country. Any BMW owners who are reading this and are not in the club, I encourage you to join. It was one of the best decisions I have made and look forward to renewing my membership next year. In closing I would just like to congratulate BMW CCA for its new site and I hope for the best.

A "New" Porsche 911

The Porsche 911 has been around for years now and every year its gotten that little bit better. The 997 generation has been out for some time. Production started in 2006 with the MK1 and is now coming to a close. The MK2 997 has given us some of the most amazing 911's to date. It was during this time period that we saw the "King of the Road"or GT2 RS. Having seeing one of these in person I can tell you it is a truly amazing piece of engineering. Check out the pictures of it on the "CT Auto News" Facebook fan page. The GT2 RS is the most powerful road car they've ever made, although I still believe the Carrera GT should have been left with this title. We also saw a new line of turbo's in the way of the turbo s. Offering more power and even more technology to combat the ruthless Nissan GTR. Different 997 variants such as the Sport Classic, the GTS, the Black Edition and the Speedster all give you a sense of Porsche's expertise. The encore for the 997 generation is the brand new GT3 RS 4.0 which I spoke about earlier in my first blog post. But come September at the Frankfurt Auto Show an all new 911 will be officially introduced. Tagged the 991, this new 911 is going to be a bit larger than the current 997 models. The wheelbase will grow and the interior room will as well. One crucial change in this new 991, is that the engine will be moved ever so slightly forward. Having the engine in the rear has always been what defined Porsche but with the Cayman being so successful with its balance and mid engined poise, bringing it forward won't be such a bad thing. It will still remain "rear engined" in name, but the dynamics will change for the better. Other than the movement of the engine, the gearbox is the next and probably the largest talking point. Car makers are slowly doing away with the manual transmission, something that almost brings a tear to my eye as well as anger. Double clutch gearboxes may be quicker and slightly more economical but they just can't compete with a manual when it comes to driver feel or engagement. Porsche has also gone the way of a double clutch gearbox (porsche doppelkupplung) or PDK but they still offer a manual box for almost all their cars. With this new model though, they are still offering a manual but it is going to have seven speeds instead of the usual six. I'm still trying to work out how they will line the gears up and hopefully it won't be awkward when you're going through them. I have been in touch with one a Porsche Racing spokesperson who was reporting from the 24 hour Nurburgring Race last week and he gave me a few details about this new set up. It will be based off the PDK since that is also a seven speed gearbox, but crucially it will weigh less than the current six speed gearbox. He said because of this twenty pound weight reduction, the longer wheelbase, and moving the engine up a bit, this new 911 will be even more balanced than the outgoing 997. Not only am I intrigued by this new seven speed manny, but also relieved because like I've said before, changing gear yourself is a nice thing to do, its engaging. Taking away this mechanical interface between you and the car might ruin the whole experience. You'd be faster, but not having as much fun. Here's some video of the new 991 911 doing some practice laps at the 'Ring...ENJOY as always