Friday, December 30, 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011

What to watch this New Year's weekend (Dec 28th - Jan 4th)

  • Wheeler Dealers. Marathon of season 8. Saturday @ 9am - Sunday @ 6am (Velocity/Discovery's HD Theater) replays
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Marathon of all four seasons. Monday @ 9am - Tuesday @ 6am (Velocity/VelocityHD) replays
  • Touring Car Racing Triple Play: BTCC, GTCC & FIA WTCC (Round 5). Monday @ 12pm - 3pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD) re-airings
  • Top Gear (UK). Marathon. Monday @ 8am - Tuesday @ 5am (BBC America/BBC America HD) great day of replays
  • Formula 1 replay of the week - Turkish Grand Prix; Istanbul, Turkey/Istanbul Park Circuit. Race. Tuesday @ 12pm - 2:30pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD)
  • Vinsetta Garage. Passion. Tuesday @ 8:30pm - 9pm (Velocity/VelocityHD) new
  • One of a Kind. 57' Airbox Corvette & Ferrari 412P. Tuesday @ 9:30pm - 10pm (Velocity/VelocityHD)  new
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Here comes the Judge. Tuesday @ 10pm (Velocity/VelocityHD) replay
  • FIA GT1 World Championship. Round 5 @ the Silverstone Circuit in England. Wednesday @ 12pm - 1pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD) re-airing
  • Wheeler Dealers. Jaguar E-Type. Wednesday @ 9pm - 10pm (Velocity/VelocityHD)

More of the same televised goodies this week as last, plus a couple of new shows on the Velocity Channel Tuesday night. Have a safe New Year's weekend everyone.

Video courtesy of team220racing.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Quick Vid: FLD's Best cars of 2011

FLD's Road Testament discusses the best road and race cars of 2011.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What to watch this holiday weekend (Dec 23rd - Dec 29th)

  • What's my car worth? Marathon of seasons 2 and 3. Friday @ 9am -11pm (Velocity/Discovery's HD Theater) replays
  • Touring Car Racing Triple Play: BTCC, GTCC & FIA WTCC (Round 4). Monday @ 12pm - 3pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD) re-airings
  • Top Gear (UK). Marathon. Monday @ 8am - Tuesday @ 5am (BBC America/BBC America HD) great day of replays
  • Formula 1 replay of the week - Chinese Grand Prix. From Shanghai, China/Shanghai International Circuit. Race. Tuesday @ 12pm - 2:30pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD)
  • Porsche Super Cup. 2011 Highlights of Rounds 8-11. Tuesday @ 2:30p - 3pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD)
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Marathon. Tuesday @ 9am - Wednesday @ 6am (Velocity/VelocityHD)
  • FIA GT1 World Championship. Round 4 @ the Sachsenring Circuit in Hohenstein, Germany. Wednesday @ 12pm - 1pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD) re-airing
  • Goodwood Festival of Speed. 100 year Anniversary Indy 500 tribute. Wednesday @ 1pm - 2pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD) re-airing
  • Wheeler Dealers. Range Rover P38. Wednesday @ 9pm - 10pm (Velocity/VelocityHD)
This is a holiday weekend, so as expected there are marathons as far as the DVR can see. Instead of a newer video, I found this classic BTCC clip from 90' on the same track as Monday's 2011 BTCC Round 4 airing, Oulton Park. Replace the Chevy Cruzes with some Sierra Cosworths on BBS. Mmmm.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

For the love of P: Singer Porsche - a quick pictorial revisit

We here at ROTL like to see when a small firm makes good. Sure, these cars are far out of the average man's reach, but the keen eye for detail and insistence on quality (as well as their determination to push forward their vision for the perfect Porsche) is something we all can appreciate. Here are two of their latest. Keep on keepin' on, Singer.

see a few more pictures here

check out these in-progress pictures as well:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Motorsport Pron: TRG Racing finale

I was pleasantly surprised to see that TRG Racing put this video together after making it to my first ALMS event this past September. Fortunate enough to see their two GTC classed 911 cup cars compete at the BGP, this reminder of where The Racers Group outfit ended up at the end of this season, at the Petit Le Mans, makes me long for the 2012 season that much more. Until then...

The Racer's Group: 2011 Finale from TRG on Vimeo.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What to watch this weekend (Dec 19th - Dec 21st)

  • Touring Car Racing Triple Play: BTCC, GTCC & FIA WTCC (in that order). Monday @ 12pm - 3pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD) re-airings of this years races
  • Top Gear (UK). Mini Marathon. Monday @ 6pm - 12am (BBC America/BBC America HD) great replays
  • Formula 1 replay of the week - 2011 Malaysia Grand Prix; from Kuala Lumpur/Sepang International Circuit. Race. Wednesday @ 12pm - 2:30pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD) replay
  • Porsche Super Cup. 2011 Highlights of Rounds 5-7. Tuesday @ 2:30p - 3pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD)
  • Motorweek. Land Rover Evoque. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (Velocity/VelocityHD)
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Bigger in Texas. Tuesday @ 10pm - 10:30pm (Velocity/VelocityHD)
  • FIA GT1 World Championship. Round 3 @ Autodromo International do Algarve in Portimao, Portugal. Wednesday @ 12pm - 1pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD) re-airing of this years races
  • Wheeler Dealers.  Karmann Ghia and Chevy Bel Air. Wednesday @ 8pm - 10pm (Velocity/VelocityHD)
Most of the stations have gone into repeat-a-thon holding patterns for the rest of December, but there are some goodies still to be enjoyed per usual. Please note that if you want to catch re-airings of this years F1 races, it appears SPEED will be doing so every Tuesday (give or take) at noon. Enjoy the weekend, and remember if you're ordering presents online you should do so before Monday. Humbug.

Video courtesy of MotorSportForumla1.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Quick Vid: BMW M5 - Green Hell Fly and Drive 2011

I would've love to have traded in my turbo diesel Volvo for an F10M5 when I popped my Ring' cherry this summer. Next time I go back there had better be a ring taxi waiting.

Video courtesy of BMW.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Neo-Vintage: SLS AMG GT3 vs. OG 300 SEL 6.8

This video shows how far Mercedes-Benz has come over the past 40-odd years, in motorsport. The GT3-spec SLS AMG racecar plays with the legendary Red Sow. Make sure to turn up the volume.

Video courtesy of Autotuningnews.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Motorsport Pron: Audi wraps up the 2011 DTM Season

Audi goes behind the scenes to show the trials and tribulations on path to the 2011 DTM Championship.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What to watch this weekend (Dec 11th - Dec 14th)

  • Goodwood Revival - Annual historics race. Drivers hit the track with cars from the 40's, 50's and 60's. Sunday @ 12pm - 1pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD)
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Season 4 marathon. Sunday @ 2pm - 8pm (Velocity/VelocityHD) replays
  • Touring Car Racing Triple Play: BTCC, GTCC & FIA WTCC (in that order). Monday @ 12pm - 3pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD) re-airings of this years races
  • Top Gear (UK). Mini Marathon. Monday @ 6pm - 12am (BBC America/BBC America HD) great replays
  • Porsche Super Cup. 2011 Highlights of Rounds 1-3. Tuesday @ 2:30p - 3pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD)
  • Motorweek. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (Velocity/VelocityHD)
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Rolls vs. Rolls. Tuesday @ 10pm - 10:30pm (Velocity/VelocityHD)
  • FIA GT1 World Championship. Round 2 @ Zolder Circuit in Belgium. Wednesday @ 12pm - 1pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD) re-airing of this years races
  • Australian V8 Supercars - Telstra 500. From Sydney Olympic Park Street Circuit in Sydney, Australia. Wednesday @ 1pm - 3pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD) re-aired broadcast from 12/2-12/4/11
  • Wheeler Dealers. Chevy Truck and Karmann Ghia. Wednesday @ 8pm - 10pm (Velocity/VelocityHD)
Another good weekend of this years motorport action, capped off by the championship deciding race in V8 Supercars. Last year in Sydney was a wet one, but only time will tell if the elements will play a role in deciding the victor. Porsche Super Cup highlights have made their way into the delayed airing mix, which will make the next couple months a bit more bearable.

Video courtesy of Racing4thewin.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Quick Vid: Nakai-san of RWB

Luke Huxham brings us another gem in affiliation with Fatlace, interviewing RWB founder Akira Nakai.

Fatlace TV x RAUH-Welt BEGRIFF : Nakai-San from Luke Huxham on Vimeo.

What speaks most to me about this piece is regardless of how blinder-laden your vision is, its important to just do what you love. This isn't always easy to accomplish when keeping the lights on involves other people buying into your vision. When done right, however, the people that buy in will find themselves saying 'where has this (thing) been all my life'. There's also that innately human bit about evolving ideals; I believe we all manage this battle on a daily basis. Keep at it Nakai-san, but please don't dilute the brand through expansion.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bonk of the Year!

We aren't the first to report on this wreck, but thanks to our friends at Jalopnik, we can give you some decent coverage.

Moral of the story: wrecks are bad news.

Motorsport Pron: Rennsport Reunion Celebration

For those who missed it, the Rennsport Reunion television special on SPEED was quite entertaining. They interviewed drivers, past and present, did short recaps of the multiple short races held between models from the same decade and got pretty up close and personal with the cars. The production put into these promotional shorts by Porsche, however, are quite a bit more pron worthy, which is why it gets the post title above.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What to watch this weekend (Dec 4th - Dec 7th)

  • Mille Miglia. A North American tribute to the celebrated Italian Mille Miglia rally for vintage sports cars. Sunday @ 1pm - 2pm (Velocity/VelocityHD) replay Mon @ 8pm
  • Wheeler Dealers. Season 8 marathon. Sunday @ 2pm - 8pm (Velocity/VelocityHD) replays
  • Touring Car Racing Triple Play: BTCC, GTCC & FIA WTCC (in that order). Monday @ 12pm - 3pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD) re-airings of this years races
  • Top Gear (UK). Mini Marathon. Monday @ 6pm - 12am (BBC America/BBC America HD) great replays
  • Australian V8 Supercars - The Sandown Challenge. From Sandown International Motor Raceway in Victoria, Australia. Tuesday @ 12pm - 2pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD) replay of re-aired broadcast
  • Motorweek. Mercedes-Benz M Class. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (Velocity/VelocityHD)
  • Chasing Classic Cars. What comes around goes around. Tuesday @ 10pm - 10:30pm (Velocity/VelocityHD)
  • FIA GT1 World Championship. 2011 Round 1 @ Yas Marina Circuit. Wednesday @ 12pm - 1pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD) re-airing of this years races
Current season racing action will be over after this weekend (V8 Supercars in Syndey airing next week), but there's some nice weekend surprises in the delayed broadcasting of the worlds best racing series. The SPEED post-season replaying of the British, German and World Touring Car Championships has returned this week, and FIA GT1 racing will follow suit. Along with the regular shows that fill our dockets, a new special showcasing the US tribute to the legendary Mille Miglia race will air this Sunday at 1pm on SPEED. Enjoy your weekends.

Video courtesy of YasMarinaCircuit.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Quick Vid: 2012 Porsche 911 (991) Roadtest

Autoweek reviews the all new Porsche 991-chassis 911. Can't wait to see the new GT3...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quick Vid: Ford GT vs OG GT40

Autoblogger gives us a good excuse to post an American sportscar in here. Then again it really isn't an excuse as any legendary race car is welcome. Lets see how the 2nd-Generation Ford GT compares to the original, 40" high roof, 60's legend.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Car Pron: Mechatronik M-SL 430 V8

Remember our last Mechatronik feature? Well they have their own youtube channel now and whipped up a small vid to showcase their late model Mercedes '430' V8-swapped W113 SL. Quite a lovely combination if I do say so myself.

Video courtesy of MechatronikFilms.

Dope. #79

anyone have any more info on this one?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What to watch this Thanksgiving weekend (Nov 25th - Nov 30th)

  • Formula 1 - Brazilian Grand Prix; from Cicuito Carlos Pace-Interlagos in San Paolo, Brazil. Practice. Friday @ 11am - 12:30pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD)
  • Formula 1 - Brazilian Grand Prix; from Cicuito Carlos Pace-Interlagos in San Paolo, Brazil. Qualifying. Saturday @ 11am - 12:30pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD)
  • Formula 1 - Brazilian Grand Prix; from Cicuito Carlos Pace-Interlagos in San Paolo, Brazil. Race. Sunday @ 10:30am - 1pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD) replay Monday @ 12pm
  • WRC - Rally Britain. Days 1 - 3. Sunday @ 11:30pm - 1pm (Discovery's HD Theater) re-airing from 11/10-11/13/2011; not a live telecast - preview starts at 10:30am
  • Top Gear (UK). Marathon. Monday @ 9am - 12am (BBC America/BBC America HD) great day of replays
  • Tech Toys 360. Pagani Huayra. Tuesday @ 8:30pm - 9pm (Velocity/VelocityHD)
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Buffalo Collection. Tuesday @ 10pm - 10:30pm (Velocity/VelocityHD)
  • Australian V8 Supercars - The Sandown Challenge. From Sandown International Motor Raceway in Victoria, Australia. Wednesday @ 12pm - 2pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD) re-airing from 11/18-11/20/2011
  • Porsche Rennsport Reunion. Porsche's racing history is celebrated at Laguna Seca Raceway. Thursday @ 4am - 5am (SPEED/SPEEDHD) don't miss this replay!
With these final few days of the motorsport season on the horizon, things are going out with a bang. F1 is having its last race in Brazil, and I'm sure Bruno Senna will be looking to pull a Kobayashi during qualifying and the race in his home country; this will be a homecoming for Rubens Barrichello as well. The 2011 WRC season is coming to a head with multiple storylines; only Loeb and Hirvonen have a chance at the championship, tied at 196 drivers championship points each. Latvala has selflessly supported Hirvonen and Ford Abu-Dhabi with his late season brilliance behind the wheel, so we'll see if his efforts were done in vain. Olgier is still trying to show that he can compete for the championship, but Loeb is a cagey veteran with all the tricks. This race already took place so if you don't want the ending spoiled, make sure you stay off google through Sunday. I've seen this WRC finale and trust in the fact that you couldn't script a crazier (yet awesome) turn of events. Lastly, the V8 Supercars season finale is being aired next Wednesday. Don't forget the other listings above, but please don't forget the turkey n' stuffin...right now. Have a great Thanksgiving weekend everyone.

While you're still here...enjoy some Brazilian GP footage from 19 years ago.

Video courtesy of oldf169.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Current Events: Audi @ 2011 LA Auto Show

Motortrend brings coverage from the LA Auto Show. Audi brings out its 2012 R8, S7 and S6 models as well as the 2013 S8. As with all Audi's, the closer the model letters are to the end of the alphabet, the doper they are.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Quick Vid: Fisker Karma Review

Autocar reviews the worlds first luxury plug-in hybrid, the Fisker Karma. This is my kind of hybrid.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Current Events: 2011 WTCC Season Finale

MT89MotorsportMedia comes through again with highlights from the final race of the 2011 World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) season. The street course in Macau became the battle ground on which Yvan Muller and Robert Huff's championship aspirations would be decided.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What to watch this weekend (Nov 20th - Nov 22nd)

  • Australian V8 Supercars - Tasmania Challenge. Live from Symmons Plains Raceway in Launceston, Tasmania. Sunday @ 3pm - 5am (SPEED/SPEEDHD) re-airing from 11/13/2011; replay Monday @ 2am - 4am
  • Top Gear (UK). Mini Marathon. Monday @ 6pm - 12am (BBC America/BBC America HD) great replays
  • Motorweek. Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (Velocity/VelocityHD)
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Tuesday @ 10pm - 10:30pm (Velocity/VelocityHD)
Light weekend, but there's always Top Gear. And as the season winds down to a close, there is V8 Supercars action this Sunday on SPEED from Tasmania. Here are some highlights from last years events. Enjoy your weekends.

Video courtesy of V8supercars.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Car Pron: 2011 Geneva Int'l Autoshow (Loniek)

Here's a look at this years autoshow in Geneva from one of our favorite car-flick makers.

Motorshow Geneva 2011 from Loniek on Vimeo.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What to watch this weekend (Nov 10th - Nov 15th)

  • Formula 1 - Abu Dhabi Gran Prix. From the Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi in UAE. Practice. Friday @ 7am - 8:30am (SPEED/SPEEDHD)
  • Formula 1 - Abu Dhabi Gran Prix. From the Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi in UAE. Qualifying. Saturday @ 7am - 8:30am (SPEED/SPEEDHD)
  • Formula 1 - Abu Dhabi Gran Prix. From the Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi in UAE. Race. Sunday @ 6:30am - 9am (SPEED/SPEEDHD) replay at 3pm
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Marathon of old and new seasons. Sunday @ 1pm - 7pm (Velocity/VelocityHD) replays
  • Porsche Rennsport Reunion. Porsche's racing history is celebrated at Laguna Seca Raceway. Sunday @ 2pm - 3pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD) replay at 2am Monday
  • Wheeler Dealers. Range Rover and Frog Eyed Sprite. Sunday @ 9pm - 11pm (Velocity/VelocityHD
  • Top Gear (UK). Mini Marathon. Monday @ 6pm - 12am (BBC America/BBC America HD) great replays
  • Motorweek. BMW 1M coupe. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (Velocity/VelocityHD)
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Tuesday @ 10pm - 10:30pm (Velocity/VelocityHD)
Plenty of goodies this weekend, including the crown jewel that is Formula 1 at the majestic Yas Marina Circuit. Last years inaugural race showcased Vettel's dominance and Redbull Racing's vanquished reliability issues. This year will be another evening race under lights, but with the championship already decided the dynamic will be much different. The pinky ring of the weekend is the hour long special on the Porsche Rennsport Reunion. Porsche held this years fourth annual motorsport reunion at Laguna Seca, bringing an ungodly amount of their past racers, from the brutish 917s to more recent LMP1s. I posted a video from this event last week and will post more in the coming weeks, but I'm hoping this special will be better than all of the online content out there. Enjoy the weekend as well as the pole clenching (!) lap from the 2010 race.

Video courtesy of Emilbboy.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Quick Vid: 1993 BMW (E34) M5 Review

Maryland's own Motorweek reviews the 1993 BMW M5.

Video hosting courtesy of bajabusta. See the 1990 Motorweek M5 review here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Quick Vid: 2012 BMW (F10) M5 Review

Totalcarfan reviews the all new BMW M5. This Hungarian outfit does great work, hopefully they'll take on some additional reviews in the future.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Video Series: Best Motoring's M5 Mercy!

GT Channel does us all a solid by hosting Best Motoring classics. This special pits the worlds best against the 507hp V10 powered E60M5. Tsuchiya-san, the floor is yours.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What to watch this weekend (Nov 6th - Nov 9th)

  • MotoGP World Championship. From the streets of Valencia, Spain. Sunday 8am - 9am (SPEED/SPEEDHD) live - replay at 5pm
  • WRC - Rally Spain. Days 1 - 3. Sunday @ 11:30pm - 1pm (Discovery's HD Theater) not a live telecast - preview starts at 10:30am
  • Top Gear (UK). Replay marathon. Monday @ 6pm - 12am (BBC America/BBC America HD)
  • Motorweek. Audi A6. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (Velocity/Discovery's HD Theater)
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Money in the bank. Tuesday @ 10pm - 10:30pm (Velocity/Discovery's HD Theater)
The race season is winding down, but there's still some WRC action out there for our consumption. There have been team orders within both Citroen and Ford, over the past few races, but only the Citroen boys are butting heads because of it. Seven-time consecutive WRC driver's champion Loeb, despite some uncharacteristic accidents this season, is still the king of the mountain, but Ogier has a taste for the crown and won't be denied...if he has anything to do with it. The Spain Rally will help us all see what shakes out between the two Sebastien's, Fords' hopes for second place with Hirvonen and Mini's hope to make a bit more noise in their first season in WRC since 1967.

Video courtesy of Rallymedia.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Motorsport Pron: Rennsport Reunion Portrait

Porsche's motorsport history is as colorful and rich as the liveries used on their racecars over the past 60 years. This year Porsche organized a fourth Rennsport Reunion at Laguna Seca raceway, gathering factory racers from the past several decades for a motorsport bloodline family portrait.

Video courtesy of Porsche.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Car Pron: MIVW 2010 (Loniek)

The show season is over, but there's no reason why we can't live it year round like the NFL network.

MIVW 2010 by Wolfsgruppe from Loniek on Vimeo.

Monday, October 31, 2011

For the love of A: The Legendary Audi Sport Quattro S1

With all of the great road-going and track-only sports cars Audi has in its current portfolio, remembering their past technical exercises is a must. In order to do so, we have to go back to when Audi first introduced Quattro for use in motorsport. Quattro, or the all-wheel drive system created for military use under Volkswagen A.G.'s umbrella through the 1970's, is based around a longitudinally positioned engine/transmission with torque distributed between front and rear axles via a center mechanical differential.

In 1980 Audi debuted it's road going Audi Quattro coupe to the European public via the Geneva Motorshow and afterwards a competition version of this car was being run on a developmental basis much like the 911 GT3 Hybrid. Once this development evolved into early Quattro cars competing in motorsport, with the rule change in Rally allowing all-wheel drive, the game would forever change. The early Audi Quattro competition cars (A1 and A2) made about 300hp and topped out at ~350hp with the Group B Rally rule implementation of 1982.

Audi Sport Quattro (road car) on display at the Audi Museum in Ingolstadt.

The original Quattro competition car was replaced by the Audi Sport Quattro in 1984, along with a limited production homologation of road cars sharing the same name. This new animal put out ~300hp for the street version and ~450hp in competition trim. Visually, the differences between the Audi Sport Quattro and Quattro A1/A2 competition cars were minor, but the list of revisions were substantial; carbon-kevlar widebody and paneling, a 20v all aluminum I-5 with ~50% highter power output, wider arches and wheels and most notably the wheelbase was shortened by over a foot.

Audi Sport Quattro S1 on display at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart.

The pinnacle of this early, turbo, all-wheel drive racing development was the Audi Sport Quattro S1. After the 1984 Rally season, Audi made even more significant changes to improve performance. You can recognize an S1 anywhere on earth, mainly because of its aero kit created to help with downforce. Outside of its crazy shape, it also had some serious powertrain upgrades. The aluminum 20v heart received a trick recirculating turbocharger setup to reduce lag and made peak power at 8000rpm (480bhp early production & 591bhp(!) late). Combined with a fighting weight of ~2400lbs, it isn't not hard to understand why the Audi Sport Quattro S1's short list of talented pilots, including the likes of Walter Röhrl and Michèle Mouton, are still legends to this day.

Video courtesy of enniovernengo. Here's more great footage of the Audi Sport Quattro in its hay day.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What to watch this weekend (Oct 27th - Nov 2nd)

  • Formula 1 - Indian Grand Prix; from brand new Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, India. Practice. Friday @ 4:30am - 6am (SPEED/SPEEDHD) replay Sunday at 2am
  • Formula 1 - Indian Grand Prix; from brand new Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, India. Qualifying. Saturday @ 4:30am - 6am (SPEED/SPEEDHD) replay Sunday at 3:30am
  • Formula 1 - Indian Grand Prix; from brand new Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, India. Race. Sunday @ 5am - 7:30am (SPEED/SPEEDHD) replay at 3pm
  • Wheeler Dealers. Jaguar E-Type and Mini Moke. Sunday @ 9pm - 11pm (Velocity/Discovery's HD Theater) new
  • Top Gear (UK). Mini Marathon. Monday @ 6pm - 12am (BBC America/BBC America HD) great replays
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Double VW. Tuesday @ 10pm - 10:30pm (Velocity/Discovery's HD Theater)
The inaugural Indian Grand Prix will take place this weekend, on a brand new track built right outside of New Dehli. Much like the Korean Grand Prix last year, the relatively virgin track surface at Buddh and its affect on tire management will be of utmost importance; but when isn't that the case. According to reports, the Yeongam circuit in Korea hadn't been touched since the previous F1 race in the fall of 2010, and it showed in many areas away from those used in the race. Hopefully India provides a better product on this first go around and by the looks of the circuit design I'm sure it will be. Hamilton seemed to have mind state concerns last week so I'm looking forward to seeing how he handles the media, and more importantly his car, this weekend. Reaching podium for the first time in six weeks had to help Hamilton's overall mojo. Alonso, Webber, Button and Vettel are all doing what we expect them to, which is why they make up the top four in the standings, but 2nd place in the 2011 driver's championship is still mathematically up for grabs with just three races left.

Video courtesy of Steeroidsindia.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Quick Vid: 2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 Review

Autoblogger gives us a review of the scintillating GT3RS 4.0. With the forthcoming 998/991 chassis 911 and the base models' smaller displacement (3.4 liter), higher output flat-six, it makes you wonder what displacement the next GT3 motor will possess; will it start at four liters? Time will tell.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quick Vid: E46M3 CSL vs. OG 3.0 CSL

Jeremy Clarkson compares the original BMW (E9) 3.0 CSL to the E46 chassis M3 CSL.

Video hosting courtesy of RS6ryy.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Car Pron: Mechatronik M-Coupe 55 AMG

This video takes a look at a firm called Mechatronik out of Germany, which for the lack of a better word 'resto-mods' classic Mercedes-Benz (MB) automobiles with current generation MB engines and technologies; simply brilliant execution, but with a price to match. If you recall the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show post from last week, you saw Mechatronik showcasing their very classy wares.

Video courtesy of Motorvisioncom.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What to watch this weekend (Oct 20th - Oct 26th)

  • Australian V8 Supercars - The Gold Coast 600 (Race 2). Live from the Gold Coast street circuit in Queensland, Australia. Saturday @ 11pm - 2am (SPEED/SPEEDHD) live
  • Dan Wheldon Public Memorial Service, live from Indianapolis. Sunday @ 4pm - 5pm (VS/VSHD) live
  • Wheeler Dealers. Porsche 924 and Saab 900. Sunday @ 9pm - 11pm (Velocity/Discovery's HD Theater) replays
  • Top Gear (UK). Mini Marathon. Monday @ 6pm - 12am (BBC America/BBC America HD) great replays
  • Chasing Classic Cars. A king in Queens. Tuesday @ 10pm - 10:30pm (Velocity/Discovery's HD Theater)
A relatively light weekend ahead, but there are some quality highlights to look out for. The second live broadcast of an Australian V8 Supercars endurance event will be taking place this weekend on Versus. The Gold Coast 600, which will be a similar layout to that of the Bathurst 1000, will take place in a scenic waterfront streetcourse in Queensland, Australia. The second (and final) day of races in Surfers Paradise will be aired Saturday night at 11pm (EST). Lastly there will be a live memorial for the late veteran racecar driver Dan Wheldon after his tragic passing this past Sunday's IndyCar race in Las Vegas. The motorsport community is paying honor to Dan this upcoming Sunday, and it is more than well deserved. Have a good weekend all.

Video courtesy of Racing4thewin.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Quick Vid: Tunercars at the 2011 Frankfurt Int'l Auto Show

The Frankfurt International Auto show took place not too long ago with plenty debuts from the major manufacturers and tuners of said manufacturers. Autoblogger bombs the event and checks out some of the tuner cars that were on display this year.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Current Events: All-new Pagani Huayra

Motortrend takes a look at the Pagani Huayra, the newest supercar from the Pagani designhaus, which hopes to officially make it to US shores this year. Apparently those 'hopes' are currently trying to be dashed due to US airbag laws. Poor Horacio just wants his cars sold in the states. I'm using poor figuratively.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What to watch this weekend (Oct 13th - Oct 19th)

  • Formula 1 - Korean Grand Prix; from the Korea International Circuit in Yeongam, Korea. Practice. Friday @ 1am - 2:30am (SPEED/SPEEDHD)
  • Formula 1 - Korean Grand Prix; from the Korea International Circuit in Yeongam, Korea. Qualifying. Saturday @ 1am - 2:30am (SPEED/SPEEDHD)
  • Formula 1 - Korean Grand Prix; from the Korea International Circuit in Yeongam, Korea. Race. Sunday @ 1:30am - 4am (SPEED/SPEEDHD) replay at 11:30am
  • WRC - Rally France. Days 1 - 3. Sunday @ 11:30pm - 1pm (Discovery's HD Theater) not a live telecast - preview starts at 10:30am
  • Top Gear (UK). Replay marathon. Monday @ 6pm - 12am (BBC America/BBC America HD)
  • Motorweek. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (Velocity/Discovery's HD Theater)
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Tuesday @ 10pm - 10:30pm (Velocity/Discovery's HD Theater)
  • The Car Show with Adam Carolla. More Speed! Wednesday @ 10p - 10:30pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD)
WRC and F1 this weekend, so the main ingredients are there for a great showing. This is one of the few times a year where F1 races are held on back to back weeks, extending this Asian tour for the series. With the championship decided last weekend, its now its a matter of drivers and teams building towards the development of the 2012 cars and championship. There are five previous champions scattered around the field and they all have pride in how they will show throughout the rest of the year, even though one has nothing to prove. The Korea International Circuit is no longer a rushed-together racetrack that barely made the deadline last year; this should be another great race to see, with an live airing time of 1:30am EST on SPEED.

Image courtesy of

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Video Series: Top Gear - Budget Supercars

Hump day special; a great segment from seasons past with our favorite trio from Top Gear.

Parts 2, 3 and 4.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

For the love of A: Audi A1 Clubsport Concept

Project W11. For those of you keeping up on the appearances of Audi's A1 Clubsport Concept over this past spring, including it's pit stop at Wörthersee, you might have wondered what went into the build. Audi engineers took a standard A1, which I'd love to be offered in this country, and transplanted the 6-speed manual transmission operated 2.5 Liter 5-cylinder TFSI motor and Quattro drivetrain from the RS3/TTRS. The engine was then further tweaked to the tune of 503bhp and 487lb/ft. The stat sheet reads as follows: 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds, 0-124mph in 10.9 and 50-75mph takes just 2.4 seconds in 4th gear. Due to the more robust drivetrain the A1's f/r track was widened from stock. Accordingly, the W11 concepts' body sculpting was completed with subtle rallye-style flares added to both front an rear quarter panels. The result is a real stunner that I wish there was real world rolling footage of.

Video Courtesy of Audi.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Current Events: 2011 Bathurst 1000 race finish

What a great weekend in motorsport. If you were unable to get your hands on a TV remote this past weekend you seriously missed out. There have been some great races this year; Jenson Button racing from last place in the Grand Prix of Canada, overtaking Vettel on the last lap to top the podium. Or that crazy 24hr of Le Mans finish with the one remaining Audi R18 winning the race with a 14 second differential from Peugeot. This weekend didn't disappoint in providing stand up in your living room, mouth open, yell at the TV screen, close racing action.

Spoiler alert, Button snagged the win at the Grand Prix of Japan. Alonzo came in second with Vettel, abiding by team orders and maintaining his position in third, landed on the final podium spot. This was an almost perfect ending (depending on who you root for) as Button already planned on auctioning, selling and donating proceeds from his competition helmet to the recovery effort in Japan. And Vettel, even though he finished third on Sundays race, secured the 2011 F1 Driver's Championship with his newly awarded points.

Not too far away in Australia, 'The Great Race' otherwise known as the Bathurst 1000, was wrapping up with one of the most thrilling endings of 2011. This was a great year to start broadcasting this race live in the US. There will be a follow-up live V8 Supercars race broadcast, showcasing the Gold Coast 600, October 22nd on SPEED.

Special thanks go out to MT89MotorsportMedia, coming through as usual with great race rips.

Quick Vid: 2011 Audi Q7 V12

Autoblogger reviews the Audi Q7 V12.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What to watch this weekend (Oct 6th - Oct 12th)

  • Formula 1 - Japanese Grand Prix; from the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Japan. Practice. Friday @ 1am - 2:30am (SPEED/SPEEDHD)
  • Formula 1 - Japanese Grand Prix; from the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Japan. Qualifying. Saturday @ 1am - 2:30am (SPEED/SPEEDHD)
  • Australian V8 Supercars - The Bathurst 1000. Live from Mount Panorama in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia. Saturday @ 7pm - 2am (SPEED/SPEEDHD) live finally!
  • Formula 1 - Japanese Grand Prix; from the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Japan. Race. Sunday @ 2am - 4am (SPEED/SPEEDHD) replay at 3:30pm
  • What's my car worth? Mini-marathon of the current seasons episodes. Sunday @ 1-7pm (Velocity/Discovery's HD Theater) replays
  • Motorweek. 2011 Mercedes-Benz CLS. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (Velocity/Discovery's HD Theater)
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Porsh-ahhh. Tuesday @ 10pm - 10:30pm (Velocity/Discovery's HD Theater)
  • The Car Show with Adam Carolla. What's efficient? Wednesday @ 10p - 10:30pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD)
Some great racing action this weekend. Formula 1 brings us another battle from the far east, this time at the famous Suzuka Circuit. While this race will be entertaining as Suzuka is one hell of a track, the king of this weekend is the legendary Bathurst 1000 race. The fact that this race is actually being aired live instead of a 2-3 week delay says it all. With history exceeding 47 years at the current Mount Panorama track (51yrs overall), this is one of the most coveted podiums among race drivers in Australia. While the current V8 Supercars series only allows two marques, Ford and Holden (Chevrolet), this race used to have a wider cast of contenders, including Group A classed Nissan R32 GTRs and Super Touring classed 2litre BMWs and Volvos, during the period when British Touring Car Championship based regulations were in place. As with all endurance races, much like last weeks ALMS Petit Le Mans, it's a war of attrition that tests drivers, teams and automobiles to the utmost limit. The Bathurst 1000 will air at night here in the states and will be followed immediately by the F1 race on SPEED, so if you're a night owl tune in.

Video hosting courtesy of CRDTV

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Quick Vid: 2012 Porsche 911 (991/998)

Porsche unveils the all new Porsche 911.

Video courtesy of Porsche.

Video hosting courtesy of WorldCarFans.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Event Recap: H2o International 2011

This years H2o International was one I won't forget too soon, but not for the reasons you might think. I spent more time hanging out with friends this year than I ever have, stayed in a less than fantastic motel on an air mattress, drove my grey car down to the beach for the first time in two years and was under a seemingly constant rain cloud that never ran out of water...and that was just Friday. Outside of the annual socializing, I wasn't sure what to expect from the show this year. The showgrounds were set upon a Catholic School I never heard of and the confirmation of H2oi 2011 taking place wasn't set in stone until pretty late in the Summer. Reflecting on this years VAG weekend in OC, now that a week or so has passed, a few things have become glaringly clear. One, this years show was pulled off as expected and proved again to be the undisputed king of east-coast shows in turnout. Two, this show isn't what it used to be and I don't think it'll ever be as good an overall event as it was before 2010.

In the case you think I'm blaming my lackluster H2oi's experience on the oppressive weather this year, let me elaborate. What has made H2oi so good over the past fourteen years is a number of things (in no particular order); a great and familiar location, familiar staff, an organized show field, cool cars, parking with other cars like your own, judging by peers who intimately know the cars on their docket, laid back environment, ease of parking, seeing slick daily drivers/personal cars on the way out and show regulars. This years show had a sprinkling of what the previous shows brought to the table, but fell short in the majority of other departments. First off, the location was a train wreck; not because it was at a private school, but because public parking and the event/show parking were on two sides of a major road; Racetrack Road (Rt.589). In order to make this work, organizers had Maryland State Troopers and show staff in the middle of said major road, working it as a gate to let people in and out of both event and general parking sides. This directly lead to ~2 miles of backed up traffic coming from Rt.50, due to this major thru-way being clogged up. It took an hour to travel a mile and a half, at 3pm, the Saturday (Big Ass BBQ) before the show. In order to rectify the situation on Sunday, when the patron count would be quadrupled, the local police/signs told people to take Rt.113 and come to the show grounds from the other side of Rt.589. This was a band-aid solution at best.

Back from the dead!
1552's custom shoes for Alexi's Golf
The Quebec based Unix line-up was a good reason to attend.

Learning a lesson from the shenanigans on Saturday we left early enough to arrive around 9am Sunday morning. The car line was short, thankfully, and we all were directed to follow some of the show staff to be parked. Much to my surprise, there were no set rows or sections matching the details on the dash cards that showing participants received through registration, and the staff was just trying to jam cars in wherever there was room. There were lines of cars coming from all directions from within the showgrounds; I was later informed this was because the plan for arranging cars was different depending on the staff you spoke to at any given time. And to add insult to injury, we had some teenage kid that didn't know what the fck he was doing telling us to rearrange our cars every few minutes to squeeze more into a space that didn't exist. Not long afterwards we were notified judges would be working sections of the showfield, instead of the classes they were supposed to judge, since all the sscattered makes would be too hard to track down. Now I'm not a stickler for judging and enjoy a good parking spot more than anything else, but this is a judged carshow and for all those spending countless months building cars to showcase and compete, why would you want someone who knew nothing about your car (or cars in general in some instances) having anything to do with judging it? And don't get me started on the dubstep tent.

My soapbox back in storage now, let me tell you what was good about this years show. For one, it happened. This was a question mark for many regular attendees and vendors, some of which didn't make it in person due to the short-notice planning. Second, there were some cool cars worth showing up for, but you had to search for those that didn't find their way onto Top Dog row or Vendor alley. The Top Dog section was chock full of well built cars including Bynum toys and Alexi's mk3 golf. Alexi's golf, which was fantastic to see finally running after a stint at EuroAutoSource, was crisp-n-clean with some of his family present and dressed to impress. Third, the show turnout as big as last year if not bigger; this was hard to tell by sight given the layout was more compressed than years past. There were a ton of new faces in addition to the several hundred people you see at this event every year. Going forward I think the show needs a bigger and more purpose-built venue; after seeing what happened to traffic and the grass of Most Blessed Sacrament School, I wouldn't be surprised if this won't be a repeat location. Odd as this may sound to some, I think the show needs to slow it's growth. H2oi may have finally gotten too big for its own good. Think Waterfest. VWoA was there with the corporate paddy wagon and I'm sure vendor sales were up all around. But at what cost? H2o International is supposed to be the chill show with cool cars that isn't a hassle to attend; it is now.


Quick Vid: 2011 Porsche 911 GTS review

Autoblogger reviews the 2011 Porsche 911 GTS.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Car Pron Series: Targa Tasmania

Grab a drink, recline your (office)chair and check out this Porsche original series covering the Targa Tasmania Rally.

Leg 1 starting line, Leg 1 race start, Leg 2, Leg 3, Leg 4 and Leg 5 race finish.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What to watch this weekend (Sept 29th - Oct 5th)

  • American Le Mans Series. Petit Le Mans. From Road Atlanta Raceway in Braselton, Georgia. Saturday @ 11:15am - completion ( replay Sunday @ 4p on ABC/ABCHD
  • Australian V8 Supercars - L&H 500, from Philip Island Raceway in Victoria, Australia. Saturday @ 3pm - 5pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD) delayed broadcast of race from 9/16-9/18/2011
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Marathon leading into the Season 4 premier. Sunday 1pm - 10pm (Discovery's HD Theater) encore marathon on Tuesday @ 9am - 7pm
  • Top Gear (UK). Six episode mini-marathon. Monday @ 6pm - 12am (BBC America/BBC America HD) great replays
  • Motorweek. Ferrari 458 Italia. Tuesday @ 7pm - 7:30pm (Discovery's HD Theater) replay
  • The Car Show with Adam Carolla. Muscle Cars. Wednesday @ 10p - 11pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD)
It's a slow weekend overall, but the the quality is high. the Petit Le Mans will be raced at Road Atlanta on Saturday morning, but will need to be seen online in its entirety. This six hour short endurance race will have every team and racecar in attendance and class winners will get an automatic invite to the next 24 Hours of Le Mans. There's some V8 Supercars action from Philip Island, which is definitely a must-see. Last but not least, the new season of Chasing Classic Cars is now here on HD Theater (now called Velocity). Before the premier two episodes of Season 4, they will play a marathon of all previous episodes on Sunday afternoon. This works out great because I've gone through another DVR from my cable company so when the new one arrives there will be nothing on it. Silver lining says what? Enjoy the weekend.

Image courtesy of

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Quick vid: Aston Martin Zagato racer

An Autocar review of this lovely new Aston Martin racecar, the Zagato, which competed in this years 24 hours of Nurburgring.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Quick Vid: All-new 2012 Audi S6

After almost a decade of 'refreshed looks' Audi has released the all new S6. I cringe at the thought of replacing those headlights if damaged, but damn I'd find any excuse to turn them on. This is a long video, but it addresses every facet of this car you could think of.

Video courtesy of AutoTuningNews.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Car Pron: RAUH-Welt Begriff (Luke Huxham)

As Porsche lovers and as fans of modified cars, it probably goes without saying that we dig all things RWB. Well I'll say it, we do. This video, put together by Luke Huxam, shows the goings-on at the Tsukuba Circuit for an RWB organized race event.

RAUH-Welt BEGRIFF from Luke Huxham on Vimeo.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What to watch this weekend (Sept 22nd - Sept 28th)

  • Formula 1 - Singapore Grand Prix; from the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore. Practice. Friday @ 9:30am - 11am (SPEED/SPEEDHD)
  • Formula 1 - Singapore Grand Prix; from the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore. Qualifying. Saturday @ 10am - 11:30am (SPEED/SPEEDHD)
  • GT Racer - Carrera Panamericana cross country race. Saturday @ 10am - 11am (Discovery's HD Theater) replay
  • Isle of Man 2011. Senior TT Race and TT Zero. Saturday @ 11am - 12pm (Discovery's HD Theater)
  • Formula 1 - Singapore Grand Prix; from the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore. Race. Sunday @ 7:30am - 10:00am (SPEED/SPEEDHD) replay at 3pm
  • WRC - Rally Australia. Days 1 - 3. Sunday @ 11:30pm - 1pm (Discovery's HD Theater) not a live telecast - preview starts at 10:30am
  • Top Gear (UK). Season 17, Episode 5 & 6. Monday @ 9pm - 11pm (BBC America/BBC America HD) replay of Ep.6 at 11:40pm
  • Motorweek. 2011 Porsche Cayman R. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (Discovery's HD Theater)
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Tuesday @ 10pm - 11pm (Discovery's HD Theater) replays
  • The Car Show with Adam Carolla. Luxury for all. Wednesday @ 10p - 11pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD)
It feels like deja-vu from last year at about this same time, but yep...WRC and F1, what more can you ask for. Use your DVR and all that jazz. See some of you at H2oi. Enjoy the weekend.

Image courtesy of

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Quick Vid: Germanfest 2011 (MADEgarage)

A new videography outfit called MADEgarage is making a name for itself everywhere with a tidy vid covering Germanfest 2011 in Tarnow, Poland this Summer. It's reminder of what gets us exited for big events. Can't wait for this weekend.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Quick Vid: 2012 (F10) M5 driving footage

The all new fifth generation BMW M5 just debuted at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show last week, but here is a better look at this new benchmark for passenger cars that can do it all.

Videos courtesy of AutoMotoTV.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Car Pron: 2011 RUF RT 12 R (Option Auto)

OptionAuto is at it again, testing out the RUF RT12R. Here's a rundown on what we're looking at: 2011 RUF RT12R built on the Porsche 997 Mk2 Chassis, which debuted this past March at the Geneva International Motorshow. 3.8 litre flat-6 biturbo with 730bhp (@7000 rpm) and 693tq (@3500rpm). 0-62mph comes in 3.4 seconds and 0-120mph passes in 9.5. What's most impressive about this Ruf model is that it can hit a top speed of approximately 229 mph with primarily the same shape of a stock Carrera. There is substantial aero on this model, as you get a glimpse of in the video, but downforce works against top end rather than help it along. This Ruf model retains the all wheel drive of the 911 turbo and only comes with a six speed manual. It weighs in at just under 3300lbs.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What to watch this weekend (Sept 15th - Sept 21st)

  • GT Racer - Mangny Cours. Saturday @ 10am - 11am (Discovery's HD Theater) replay
  • Isle of Man 2011. Sidecar TT Race 2. Saturday @ 11am - 12pm (Discovery's HD Theater)
  • Rolex Sports Car Series. EMCO Gears Classic. From Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Saturday @ 3pm - 6pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD) live
  • American Le Mans Series. ALMS Montery. From Laguna Seca raceway in California. Saturday @ 4:15pm - completion ( replay Sunday @ 1p on ESPN2
  • IndyCar Series - Japan 300. From Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Motegi, Tochigi, Japan. Saturday @ 11:30pm - 2am (VS/VSHD) live
  • Top Gear America. Season 2 - Episode 8; Hollywood cars. Sunday @ 10pm - 11pm (History Channel/History Channel HD)
  • What's my car worth? Mini-marathon including Season 3 Episodes 1 and 2. Monday @ 8pm (Discovery's HD Theater) some new some replays
  • Top Gear (UK). Season 17, Episode 5. Monday @ 9pm - 10pm (BBC America/BBC America HD) replay at 11:40pm
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Tuesday @ 10pm - 11pm (Discovery's HD Theater) replays
  • The Car Show with Adam Carolla. Wednesday @ 10p - 11pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD)
A good selection of motorsport this weekend with the crown jewel being the ALMS Montery race. This is a 6 hour Petit Le Mans contest going down at Laguna Seca Raceway. Unlike the BGP two weeks ago, even more of the bigger ALMS teams/cars will be in attendance, including the continuously developing factory Porsche GT3R Hybird. It'll run late and there will be a possibly abridged replay on ESPN2 the following day starting at 1pm. Grand-Am racing is back at Mid-Ohio and lastly IndyCar goes to Motegi for the Japan 300; this race will be broadcast live on Versus and will be a nightcap affair due to the timezone difference. Set your DVRs and enjoy the weekend.

Image courtesy of

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Baltimore Grand Prix 2011 - Baltimore's Cloudless Thunder.

Motorsport isn't something that everyone flocks to. People who live for the sounds of engines or driving a well sorted automobile, spending countless hours building and repairing their own cars, don't understand the perspective of those that don't share the same mindset. People who love motorsport are an even smaller subset of that same group. Racing is loud, smelly, dangerous and expensive. Racing is also one of the purest expressions of competition and skill. Racing is called motorsport because it involves motorized vehicles of course, but also because there are no points tallied during a race for actions performed like a game; there is only crossing the finish line first; winning and losing. Fortunately for all of us motorsport enthusiasts in the greater Mid-Atlantic area, 'winning and losing' is what makes the draw of auto-racing occasionally skip past the lines of automotive enthusiast and non-enthusiast. The occasion I speak of was the inaugural running of the Baltimore Grand Prix (BGP).

After logistics and tax dollars were championed in 2010, the Baltimore Grand Prix (BGP) was green-lit for the streets of Baltimore Maryland's Inner Harbor. The IZOD IndyCar Series had lost a couple race venues from the 2010 season and the BGP group bid its way, filling one of those slots, ultimately becoming the 15th round of the 2011 IndyCar Series Championship. Things got more interesting when the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) signed on to hold its 7th round on the same weekend. ALMS hopping on board was important for the hardcore US road-racing fans who mainly watch European auto racing, and without them I suspect the draw on Saturday wouldn't have been half of what it was. Before the weekend was underway however, the question that remained was if the inaugural BGP could be pulled off and be profitable; given the Baltimore Festival of Speed is now over, it can comfortably be said that it was.

Pratt Street straight.
There have been reports stating the crowd count was as high as 75k on both Saturday and Sunday, and through my own misadventures getting from one portion of the track to the others, I don't doubt it at all. And here lies the biggest fault with the event; crowd management. Getting around the venue on Friday was reasonable due to the fact that it was a practice/qualifying day, and a work day for many, but Saturday showed the extent to which the event planners failed. There was a system of six bridges to walk back and forth from different parts of the venue surrounding the racetrack, but they weren't set up to have several hundred people pass through them simultaneously in different directions; much too narrow. What resulted was race teams, race equipment, media and fans all waiting in masses at the base of these bridges to cross over to where they needed to go. Doubling these bridges and making each one way will do wonders in this department, however, there's one bridge on the BGP map that will be impossible to double and that's the Bridge to Grandstand #7 at Turn #2. This bridge connects from hotel walkways normally used to help pedestrians cross above the street, from said hotels, to other buildings downtown. On Sunday there were so many people trying to cross over this bridge at once that security halted all foot traffic, for an hour or more at a time, from anyone coming from the area surrounding Grandstand #6. I experienced this first hand, and ended up enjoying the start of the IndyCar race while in line on this very bridge.

One of many bottlenecks on Sunday.

Now one thing everyone should understand is that a lot of these issues are symptoms of street race events in general, due to the nature of the event; street tracks are created from existing cities that aren't necessarily designed to handle the on foot quantities that result from a large public draw. There were a lot of local police assigned to manage the flow in areas like the aforementioned walkway, that had to deal with the direct outbursts of irate fans just to keep a potentially unsafe situation from escalating and I salute them for doing so. I hope BGP organizers took note of problems like these so that everyone involved can have a better experience next year.

The BGP was primarily created to earn money for the city of Baltimore, but a more important side effect in my opinion was getting people exposed to racing. From Friday to Sunday the sights and sounds around the BGP grounds had a common theme; hardcore race fans, fans of large public events, the occasional race event watcher and the completely green (children and adults), all gathering to see what types of things go on at an event like this one. Even the people who just wanted an excuse to put down a few drinks with friends somewhere were covered, just with better background music than most places.

When you think back to your first big public event as a child, Barnum and Bailey's Circus for me, it's something that sticks with you for a lifetime. You'll either love the experience or hate it, and aside from kids holding their ears because of parents not smart enough to buy them earplugs, I saw plenty of youth that were completely ecstatic about what was happening before them. I sincerely hope these kids, and the thousands of adults that came to their first race event in Baltimore, can continue to support things like the BGP. Unfortunately for road-racing fans, popular, financially-sustainable racing in America is pretty much NASCAR or nothing. Other forms of motorsport that take place solely on road courses (left and right turns), represented primarily by the Grand-Am and ALMS/Petit LeMans series' here in the US, need continued growth in popularity or they will become even harder to come by both on TV and in person. If the solution to this problem is ALMS piggy-backing IndyCar events (or vice versa) a couple times a year, then so be it. We need more American drivers represented in international racing series (F1, Touring Car, etc.) and for this to happen more kids in this country need to be exposed to racing early and often.

Conor Daly and two other IndyLights drivers taking military families on track tours.
The racing action at the BGP was fantastic and I learned quite a bit more about the 'AA' and 'AAA' levels of open wheel racing (IndyCar being the 'Big League') through seeing Firestone Indy Lights and Star Mazda series practice, qualifying and racing, weaved around the ALMS and IndyCar schedules. My cameraman Matt and I had the opportunity to talk shop with one of Indy Lights' rising stars, Conor Daly, after a Military family-specific Honda track tour gathering on Friday evening. It was good to hear his perspective on the business of racing and his current career path, and this event did a great job of making drivers accessible through various activities throughout the weekend.

IndyCar Paddock, pre-race on Sunday. Crew building Tony Kanaans' car after morning practice incident.

What made the competition so exciting at the BGP was not only the great drivers and legendary teams that participated, but the unique track that resulted from the absolutely incredible transformation of existing roads in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. I drive these roads several times a month and I was more than impressed with what organizers were able to do in such a short amount of time. There were some issues with the track that had to be tackled before teams were comfortable however; the first of which were the infamous Light Rail tracks that crossed over Pratt Street at the intersection with Howard Street. For road cars there is a reasonably manageable dip in the road, where these tracks lie, but for race cars hovering an inch or two above the pavement it was quite the prospect to hit this dip while accelerating to top speed on this long straight.

The chicane build on Thursday afternoon.
IndyCar official checks chicane condition prior to Friday's afternoon practice session.
The view while waiting in line to get to Grandstand #7 was pretty good.
The solution to this quandary, which was planned by BGP organizers months ago, was to build a chicane to not only slow down the race cars before the tracks but also direct them over the smoothest part of Pratt Streets rails. Chicane construction, which consisted of three swimming noodle shaped curbs being installed, 'ramped' with additional tarmac then painted red and white, was going on late Thursday afternoon and unsettled many who were participating. By Friday morning the chicane was painted, but additional fence reinforcement was being added to different sections of the track, delaying scheduled morning practice and afternoon qualifying. In order to keep delays within reason, the organizers shortened some of the extra-curricular track activities during the day, like the 2-seater IndyCar rides and Honda Accord ride-along's with pro-drivers. While the crowds were chomping at the bit for action prior to the start of Friday's first practice session, event goers in the grandstands stayed in good spirits.

Start of IndyCar practice session on Friday evening.
The racetrack was fast and tight with a few sneaky turns that caught several drivers out throughout weekend. The straight into Turn #1 was heavy braking funneling area that lead to several incidents, much like Turn #3. There were a few victims at Turn #10, which depending on the speed you come through it with can present a sneaky-sharp direction change without friendly tire-barriers to help out if you push wide. Drivers adjusted as the weekend sessions went along and continuously got faster. During practices on Friday and the ALMS race Saturday we had the opportunity of capture drivers navigating the pit exit junction at Turn #8, then blasting down the dogleg into Turn #9. The chicane at the beginning of the Pratt Street straight worked out as planned, with some short flight dramatics provided by a few of the open wheeled racers. On Sunday during the IndyCar race, we spent most of our time non-commuting time at Turn #4, taking full use of an aerial vantage point without equal (thanks Jerry). The track workers and officials worked a great race for ALMS and IndyCar, but there were some inexplicable extended caution laps mid-race in IndyCar that seemed to go on without end.

All in all I think the event was a great success that I would not have bet on days leading up to the race. Organization of the entire operation wasn't without flaws, ask anyone who worked this event as media, but the event expectation was met and the races were completed as scheduled for television broadcast. Hurricane Irene whipped the East Coast into a frenzy just days prior and potential turnout and racing team participation was questioned on every online fan portal you can think of. Not every local business benefited as much as they hoped due to the number of road closures and where they took place, but money was poured into the city via ticket sales, the local restaurants and vendors that setup within the grounds to sell to walkers-by, and the many local parking garages and hotels which got their best Labor Day weekend take in years. There was a wide variety of food and drink, activity areas outside and inside like the ALMS and Indy Paddocks, as well as live music performances outside of the Baltimore Convention Center (See yellow 'W'). All this and it was still reasonably easy to leave the city via 83N or 395/MLK Blvd since most people used the ever affordable MTA Light Rail to get there. IndyCar and ALMS drivers interviewed applauded the crowd that Baltimore produced and were impressed by this little thing called the Inner Harbor that so many of us locals have enjoyed for decades. The backdrop of harbor marinas, yachts and city skyline east of the Light Street grandstands was a sight to behold and as a poor man's Monaco, I think Baltimore fits the bill.