Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Car Pron: Porsche 991 Turbo S review (Autoblogger)

Our friends from Autoblogger review the great German ground-coverer known as the Porsche 911(991) Turbo S. We're always up for more looks at this beast.

Video courtesy of Autoblogger.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Motorsport Pron: First Winning Porsche 911 Racer Meets Last Werks 935 (CarAndDriver)

Car and Driver magazine brings us a very cool special on the first 911 racecar to grace the road courses of the United States, along side the final 935 race car Porsche built. Both of these special Porsche's won endurance races before it was conceivable that they'd be able to. Think about the 935 for a moment, though; 700hp+ turbo, low displacement, late 70's technology -- an engine that's bullet proof reliable over 40+ straight hours of abuse. Incredible engineering.

Video courtesy of CarAndDriver.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

What to watch this New Year's Weekend (Dec 26th - Jan 1)

  • WRC. Rally action from Italy. Thursday @ 10pm - 11pm (MAVTV) replay
  • FIA European Rally Championship. 2013 all rally's recap. Saturday @ 1pm - 2pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Top Gear (UK). Mini-marathon of past episodes. Monday @ 4pm - 10pm (BBC America(HD)) great replays
  • Motorweek. 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (VelocityHD)
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Mega-marathon. Tuesday @ 6am - 11pm (VelocityHD) replays
  • 2014 New Car Preview. Tuesday @ 7pm - 8pm (VelocityHD) replay
  • Wheeler Dealers. Mega-marathon. Wednesday @ 6am - 11pm (VelocityHD) replays 
Happy Holidays.

Video hosting courtesy of TopGear.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Quick Vid: The Tire-Punishing, 400HP Turbo BMW E30! (Tuned)

Matt Farah checks out a turbocharged BMW 325is, built by a kid who did all the work himself. Great stuff, looks like a fun car to get in trouble in. The red coupe project will be hopefully be getting an update post in the next couple week, but in the meantime enjoy your holidays.

Video courtesy of Drive.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Motorsport Pron: Driving the 2013 BMW M3 DTM (CHOC)

Chris fulfills more of our dreams by driving a 2013 BMW M3 DTM race car.

Video courtesy of Drive.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

What to watch this X-Mas Weekend (Dec 19th - Dec 25th)

  • WRC. Rally action from Greece. Thursday @ 10pm - 11pm (MAVTV) replay
  • FIA European Rally Championship. Rallye International du Valais from Switzerland. Saturday @ 1pm - 2pm (VelocityHD) new 
  • How it's Made: Dream Cars. Complete series marathon. Sunday @ 2pm - 7pm (VelocityHD) replays
  • Top Gear (UK). Mini-marathon of past episodes. Monday @ 4pm - 10pm (BBC America(HD)) great replays
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Mega-marathon. Tuesday @ 10am - 11pm (VelocityHD) replays
  • Wheeler Dealers. Mega-marathon. Wednesday @ 9am - 11pm (VelocityHD) replays 
Happy holidays.

Video hosting courtesy of TVR161.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Neo-Vintage: Ferrari 250 GTE on Special Assignment (Petrolicious)

The crew at Petrolicious bring a very cool short film on the only remaining example of a Ferrari 250 GTE Enzo Ferrari himself commissioned to the local police force, of Rome, back in 1962.

Video courtesy of Petrolicious.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Car Pron: Porsche 911 Turbo S v McLaren 12C: Road, Track, Drag Race. (CHOC)

Chris takes two of the hottest sports cars out there for a comparison test. All new Porsche 911 Turbo vs. the McLaren MP4-12C.

Video courtesy of Drive.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Car Pron: Pagani Huayra: Art, Emotion, Technology (XCAR)

XCAR brings us another great special, this time highlighting the Pagani Huayra. When the hell is this thing getting an exemption for sale in the US?

Video courtesy of XCarFilms.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013

What to watch this Weekend (Dec 12th - Dec 18th)

  • WRC. Rally action from Argentina. Thursday @ 10pm - 11pm (MAVTV) replay
  • FIA European Rally Championship. Rallye Sanremo from Sanremo, Italy. Saturday @ 1pm - 2pm (VelocityHD) new 
  • Top Gear (UK). Mini-marathon of past episodes. Monday @ 4pm - 10pm (BBC America(HD)) great replays
  • Motorweek. 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (VelocityHD)
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Mini-marathon. Tuesday @ 8:30pm - 11pm (VelocityHD) replays
  • Wheeler Dealers. Mini-marathon. Wednesday @ 3pm - 11pm (VelocityHD) replays 
Have a good weekend all.

Video hosting courtesy of TopGear.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Car Pron: Porsche 918 Spyder driven - is it better than a Bugatti Veyron (Autocar)

The crew from Autocar gives us a more recent look at the incredible Porsche 918 Spyder. Given its lofty price, is it better than a Veyron?

Video courtesy of Autocar.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Motorsport Pron Feature: How Brumos Endures - A Short Film (Drive)

Drive Channel presents a short film showcasing the legendary Brumos Porsche Racing Team and it's at this years' 24 Hours of Daytona.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Car Pron: Jaguar C-X75: We Drive Jaguar's Prototype Hybrid Hypercar (XCAR)

The gang at XCAR showcases a very special hybrid; the partially jet powered Jaguar C-X75.

Video courtesy of XCarFilms.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013

What to watch this Weekend (Dec 5th - Dec 11th)

  • Mecum Auto Auctions. Muscle Cars and More 2013. From Kansas City, MO (Part 1&2). Thursday @ 3pm - 9pm (Velocity/VelocityHD) new; replay @ 9pm
  • Mecum Auto Auctions. Muscle Cars and More 2013. From Kansas City, MO (Parts 3&4). Friday @ 3pm - 9pm (Velocity/VelocityHD) new - replay @ 9pm
  • Senna - Documentary. Friday @ 10pm - 12am (ESPNCL) must see
  • FIA European Rally Championship. Croatia Rally. Saturday @ 1pm - 2pm (VelocityHD) new 
  • Mecum Auto Auctions. Muscle Cars and More 2013. From Kansas City, MO (Parts 5&6). Saturday @ 3pm - 9pm (Velocity/VelocityHD) new - replay @ 9pm
  • Top Gear (UK). Mini-marathon of past episodes. Monday @ 4pm - 10pm (BBC America(HD)) great replays
  • Motorweek. 2014 Mercedes E250 BlueTEC. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (VelocityHD)
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Tuesday @ 10pm - 10:30pm (VelocityHD) replays
  • Wheeler Dealers. Mini-marathon. Wednesday @ 4pm - 10pm (VelocityHD) replays 
Have a good weekend all.

Video hosting courtesy of amer37365.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Quick Vid: Range Rover Hybrid: Tearing up Nature, Saving the Planet (XCAR)

The crew at XCar brings a review of the latest from Range Rover; their all new Hybrid. The only question that remains is if it lives up the Range Rover reputation as a luxury go anywhere vehicle...let's find out. Snow seasons a comin'.

Video courtesy of XCarFilms.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Automotive Topic: The Three Most Important Cars From The LA Auto Show (Afterdrive)

The crew at Afterdrive discuss the three most important cars showcased at last week's 2013 LA Auto Show.

Video courtesy of Drive.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Dope. #159

Image courtesy of Icypix from Wörthersee 2012.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

What to watch this Thanksgiving Weekend (Nov 28th - Dec 4th)

  • WRC. Wales Rally. Thursday @ 10pm - 11pm (MAVTV) replay
  • How it's Made: Dream Cars. Marathon. Black Friday @ 7:30pm - 11:30pm (VelocityHD) replays
  • Dakar Rally Series. Silk Way Rally, Russia. Saturday @ 1pm - 2pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Australian V8 Supercars - Phillip Island 360. From the Phillip Island Circuit in Phillip Island, Australia. Sunday @ 3pm - 5pm (FS2(HD)) delayed airing from 10/22-10/24
  • Top Gear (UK). Mini-marathon of past episodes. Monday @ 4pm - 10pm (BBC America(HD)) great replays
  • Motorweek. 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (VelocityHD)
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Tuesday @ 10pm - 10:30pm (VelocityHD) replay
  • Wheeler Dealers. Wednesday @ 8pm - 10pm (VelocityHD) replays 
Light weekend ahead, but you should be eating turkey with your family and friends anyways. Enjoy your holiday weekend and be safe out there behind the wheel.

Video courtesy of V8supercars.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Motorsport Pron: Aston Martin Vantage V12 vs. Aston Martin Vantage GT4 (Jalopnik)

Continuing with our motorsport week here on ROTL is a piece from Jalopnik. Aston Martin's V12 Vantage road car is known to be the best performing chassis/engine combo Aston puts out, but in an interesting contest it's pitted against the new Aston Martin GT4. The GT4 is a race spec factory car running a V8 rather than a V12, a cage, race suspension, track diet etc., but the sticker price on both is roughly the same. I think you know how this will end.

Video courtesy of Drive.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Vintage Motorsport Pron: The Addiction of VARA Racing (Petrolicious)

We love motorsport and more importantly vintage racing. Our friends at Petrolicious put a piece together showcasing VARA, the Vintage Auto Racing Association, and a couple gentlemen that can't get enough of this pastime.

Video courtesy of PetroliciousCo.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Motorsport Pron: McLaren 12C GT3 Race Car. Carbon Dreams. (CHOC)

@HarrisMonkey experiences the McLaren MP4-12C GT3 race car first hand and shares the fun.

Video courtesy of Drive.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What to watch this Weekend (Nov 21th - Nov 27th)

  • Mecum Auto Auctions. Muscle Cars and More 2013. From Anaheim, CA (Part 1). Thursday @ 6pm - 10pm (VelocityHD) new; replay at 10pm
  • WRC. Wales Rally. Thursday @ 10pm - 11pm (MAVTV) replay
  • Mecum Auto Auctions. Muscle Cars and More 2013. From Anaheim, CA (Part 2 & 3). Friday @ 4pm - 10pm (VelocityHD) new; replay at 10pm
  • Formula 1 - Brazilian Grand Prix; from Cicuito Carlos Pace-Interlagos, San Paolo, Brazil. Practice #1. Friday @ 11am - 12:30am (NBCSN(HD)) live
  • Formula 1 - Brazilian Grand Prix; from Cicuito Carlos Pace-Interlagos, San Paolo, Brazil. Qualifying. Saturday @ 11am - 12:30pm (CNBC(HD)) live; replay Sunday @ 1am on NBCSN
  • FIA European Rally Championship. Rally Poland. Saturday @ 2pm - 3pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Mecum Auto Auctions. Muscle Cars and More 2013. From Anaheim, CA (Part 4 & 5). Saturday @ 4pm - 10am (VelocityHD) new; replay at 10pm
  • Formula 1 - Brazilian Grand Prix; from Cicuito Carlos Pace-Interlagos, San Paolo, Brazil.  Race. Sunday @ 11am - 2pm (NBC(HD)) live; replay Sunday @ 3:30pm on NBCSN
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Marathon of past and current seasons. Sunday @ 2pm - 11pm (VelocityHD) replays
  • Top Gear (UK). Marathon of past episodes. Monday @ 4pm - 3am (BBC America(HD)) great replays
  • Motorweek. 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Tuesday @ 10pm - 10:30pm (VelocityHD) replay
  • Top Gear America. Tuesday @ 10pm - 11pm (History Channel(HD)) new
  • Wheeler Dealers. Wednesday @ 8pm - 10pm (VelocityHD) replays 
It's a sad weekend; as the motorsport season is all but officially over. There are many great things to look forward to in 2014, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. V8 Supercars has two more races, one being this weekend, but I'm not sure where you can view it for free yet (if you 'subscribe' on the official website you can stream). And of course F1's 2013 season comes to an end in Brazil. Without any further delay let's get our Iron Butterfly Inagaddadavida extended-version recap of the US Grand Prix started.

In F1 news, Heikki Kovalainen is filling in for Kimi Raikkonen who's out for the rest of the season recovering from successful back surgery. Heikki has never been to COTA and doesn't know the car he's driving, but is working hard to get seat time in. Felipe Massa signed with Williams for 2014 (Maldonado is out). Alonso hurt is back in Abu Dahbi hoppin crubs, but has been cleared to race. Sergio perez, despite his performances and moxie out on the track this season is out at McLaren. They signed 21 year old Kevin Magnussen for 2014 to join Jenson Button. It turns out that the broken rear wishbone on Hamilton's car from the last race wasn't the only thing wrong with his car; additional examination revealed that he had cracks in his monocoque. This explains Lewis's confusion after the race was over in Abu Dahbi. In other racing news, Dario Frachitti retires at 40 after getting not so promising news from his doctors post-surgery, in the aftermath of that brutal crash earlier this IndyCar season. Additionally, Paul Di Resta, cousin of Dario was rumored to have a in at Chip Ginassi for Dario's seat if he doesn't find a drive in F1 for 2014. Current word is that Hulkenberg will pickup Paul's seat at Force India.

Alexander Rossi - American GP2 racer, participates in FP1, driving one of the Caterhams to help them finish in the Constructor's top 10 (in the money). Noteably, Alex out paces Charles Pic in FP1. American Conor Daly hangs out in the Sahara Force India pit, but doesn't get a go today. Foggy in Austin for FP1, cool track temps. Red flag shows up because the medical helicopter goes missing...or perhaps it never showed up. And then it shows up. FP1 clock gets started again, but a lot of time was lost before it was frozen, in addition to the fog earlier. Lewis has a new chassis this weekend, but he seems to be slowly getting used to its feel. Alonso and Button are tops in FP1.

With as short as FP1 was, now FP2 is loaded with empty garages a plenty. Track temps warm up, times drop, but the dial-in of the cars continues. Plenty of people trying to find that great balance for the connected corners of COTA, avoiding both front end push and snap oversteer. Marussia engine failure in FP1 and Marussia brake failure in FP2. Yikes. FP2 ended familiarly with Redbull, Redbull, Mercedes, Mercedes. Kovalainen has put in 40 laps during practice to get up to speed and his pace is solid; his fastest time is right behind the Mercedes and more importantly, ahead of Grosjean.

Q1 starts off windy. It would seem from the driver's comments that the wind is changing the temperature of the track and along with the wind is affecting car performance. That said, Bottas (rookie) is in the top five with 5mins left in this session. Hards seem to get up to temperature better than the mediums and thus are working better despite the lesser stick. Also, people are getting speed up, 137:xxx at the top with Hamilton's Mercedes. Sutil puts in a flyer, but when attempting to pull another one out of his hat it appears something broke on his front end and he goes off the track, then pulls to a stop. Massa, in 16th, is slowly working his way around the track like his pit told him to save the tires; people are swerving around him on flyers. When the smoke clears Bottas is at the top with a 1:37.821, followed by Hamilton, Gutierrez (lookin fast), Webber ang Hulkenberg. Traffic in Q1 was pretty bad.

It turns out when Adrian Sutil went off at the end of Q1, he had a right-front brake failure (same thing that happened to Fore India teammate Paul Di Resta in Abu Dahbi). Q2 starts off with Hamilton shooting to the top early (138.104) and Perez, his replacment at McLaren, second (1:38.116). The Grosjean jumps into the 1:37s. Then the RedBulls come out with mediums. Webber takes the lead, then Bottas shows he ain't going no where (P4), Alonso pops up and then Vettel grabs the belt with 1:45 left, nearly breaking into the 136's (1:37.065). The real surprises are towards the bottom of the field; Mexican driver's Gutierrez and Perez, who's fans have come out in droves, both make Q3 respectively in P8 and P9, Kovalainen gets himself into P10 by the skin of his teeth, but Ricciardo, Button, Massa and more notably Rosberg fail to go forward. It appeared that Massa didn't even put in a flyer, just came back to the pit knowing he couldn't advance with thier existing setup. It would appear that those drivers that weren't able to get thier Engineers the information needed to dial in the car fell short; of course on some situations those not making Q3 were never going to have the pace. Massa when interviewed afterwards talked about being confused with the lack of performance between FP2 and Q1; several drivers had the same experience. Me thinks that depending on weather conditions on Sunday, the pace could shuffle once more.

Q3 starts with Webber pulling out a 1:36.699. Bottas pulls a 1:37:836 out of his sleeve with :30 left, taking P3, for the time being. The flyers start rolling in and Kovalainen improves to P8, Perez to P7, Bottas falls to P9, Gutierrez p10, Hamilton P5, Hulkenberg P4, Grosjean P8 and even though Webber improved to a 1:36.441, Vettel snatches pole from him by 1 tenth (1:36.338). "Shake and Bake." What's special about Valtteri Bottas' performance in this race is the fact that Williams is trying to edge out Marussia for the last cash payout position in the Constructor's Championship, worth a bit over 40mil. If he can finish in the points they can separate themselves enough to grab the cash. This cash, is especially important for development with Massa coming into the fold in 2014 and thier hopes for not being a bottom feeder going forward.
Race day is sunny and calm. This is actually a better playing field for all, but that just means RedBull still holds their typical speed advantage over the field. Remember the traffic issues during qualy? Estiban Gutierrez, who held up Maldonando, got a 10 spot grid penalty. Charles Pic got a 5 spot grid penalty and Max Chilton gets a drive-through penalty, for their impedance of drivers in qualifying.

The start was interesting; Webber looked to have a run on Seb into turn 1, but grosjean stuck his nose in and got around the outside, assuming P2; meanwhile Hamilton got a run and passed Webber mid turn (following right behind Grosjean), taking P3. Vettel takes off as usual. Hams is hounding Grosjean with pressure, but meanwhile in the back of the field Sutil and Maldonado come together, leaving some carbon on the race track. Next thing you know Sutil's Force India breaks lose on all 4 tires and puts it into the wall on the straight. Safety Car released. Upon further review it appears he came into contact with Maldonado on the straight resulting in the crash. The drivers roll behind the safety car as they move Sutil's car off the track (3/56).

4/56 the yellow flag drops after Vettel bunches the field up, pretty aggressively I might add. Grosjean is in persuit, but has still fallen outside of the DRS usage range within a relatively short distance (1.3sec). Perez and Hulkenberg go at it and Nico gets the better of him, in 6/56. Max chilton takes his drive through penalty. DRS is enabled in 7/56.

Maldonado has a broken front wing and lets his pit know about it. Maldonado may not be getting much support due to his comments from yesterday post-qualy, essentially stating that the team messed with the cars settings to keep him from succeeding. The reality is probably much different, but the relationship is strained since the annoucement that he's out in 2014.

Heikki starts pretty well, but has fallen to P12 which isn't going to help in Lotus' Constructor's Championship chase. Vettel is holding onto a pretty solid 3.5 second lead over Grosjean and Hamilton is holding off Webber. The conditions and these harder tire choices (only Medium and Hard compounds this weekend) are setting this up to be a one stop race. 11/56 and all drivers are going strong on thier original tires. Perez is racing for the Mexican fans and is delivering thus far. Sergio is holding onto P6 in 12/56. Webber stays in Hamilton's mirrors and the Petronas pit tells Lewis to manage the tires; quite the catch 22. Webber finally gets him on 13/56 with an outside line pass.

Rosberg and Ricciardo dice it up in the battle for 10th in 20/56. Button gets called into the pits on 21/56; this could be the first of many. Button comes in for hards. Massa, in P12, is told to speed up and box on lap 22; he comes out on hards in P15 ahead of Jenson Button. Meanwhile in a parallel universe, Alonso and and Perez are going at it. Perez is told to come in and he comes back out in P10. Bottas comes in on 24/56 for Hards, coming back out in P10. Hamilton's pit tells him to get as big a gap up as possible as he'll be coming in for primes(hards) soon. Gutierrez, Vergne and Perez mix it up in a battle for 6th while the leaders come in. Hams pits on 26/56 for hards. Vettel Grosjean and Webber stay out on thier mediums, looking to have stickier tires at the end of the race. In the meantime though, traffic may cause Vettel issues.

Alonso pits on 27/56 for hards, comes out in P7 with Perez breathing down his neck. Vettel pits for hards on 28/56 as he was losing time in traffic, returning in P1. Hulkenberg pits for hards as well, coming out in P5. So the question is what can Grosjean and Webber do? Webber is told to pit on 29/56, so Romain may be the odd man out; he's in P1 with old tires. Alonso gets by Gutierrez after having to work for it. Grosjean is in the pit on 30/56 for hards, falling to P2 on exit. Webber goes purple, chasing down Grosjean, now in his mirrors. Depending on how this goes, they both could burn through thier tires. Accordingly, Vettel's pit tells him to watch his tires as he'll have a couple more laps on them than him come the end of the race. Rosberg gets by Di Resta on 34/56 to take P10. Gutierrez passes Bottas, who's looking to score his first Championship point, for P8 on 35/56. Not much after that happened, Bottas takes the position back with a solid maneuver going into turns 5-8.

The numbers are showing that Hamilton is reeling Mark Webber in, so his chase of Grosjean may have crippled him given there are 20 laps left. Gutierrez pits for hards on 37/56 (3rd stop), comes back out in P15. Heikki is not doing so well, hanging in P17. Massa pits for the third time for mediums (39/56). Ricciardo and Di Resta battle for P10. Alonso gets by Hulkenberg for P5 on 45/56 with a textbook out and under (switch-back); these possible points are cruicial in the Constructor's Championship chase. Vettel and his pit exchange words concerning longevity, so apparently tire wear isn't the only concern.

Grosjean has Webber all over him like a cheap suit with 8 laps left. Charles Pic gets a drive through penalty for ignoring blue flags (held up Hamilton). Di Resta pits from P11 on 50/56, oh well. As of 53/56, Grosjean has cut Vettel's gap to 7 secs, as Vettel is in cruise (and possible damage) control. Webber can't get by Grosjean and is looking for answers; now his rears are going off 54/56. 55/56 and Vettels camp is still telling him to manage the race (goes purple). Button tries to take P10 from Ricciardo and takes it on the inside on the last lap. Everyones tires are going off, including Alonso, however he has used the switch-back to maintain P5. Gutierrez, in the back of the pack crossed tires with a Torro Rosso and spun out; disappointing day for him.

Vettel takes the win (8th in a row), gets introspective and touch emotional with his team on the radio, then does a few donuts to continue his new tradition. Grosjean comes in second, Webber in third, Hamilton fourth, Alonso 5th, Hulkenberg 6th, Perez 7th (great showing for the Mexican fans - "Viva Checo!"), Bottas P8, Rosberg P9, Button P10 (taking a championship point for McLaren which they need plenty of). Hamilton, while missing the podium, did have some positives come from this race. He placed 4th, had no major issues, leapfrogged Kimi in the Driver's Championship for 3rd position and has a car he believes in the chassis he now has under him. Lewis is also very fond of the US, COTA and success of this event/venue.

Brazil will bring a lot intrigue. Alonso will be racing to show he's the best of the field behind Vettel and also wants Ferrari to beat Mercedes in the Constructor's. Massa will essentially be doing to same to a degree, but will be enjoying performing on his home course in front of his family, friends and fans. Grosjean will be looking to assert himself as the new best of the rest as well as the new captain of Lotus Renault; I think he's already established the latter. Kovalainen will be looking to get more comfortable in the car so he can remain at Lotus in 2014. Hulkenberg will be trying to finish on another good note. Di Resta wil be looking to get one more showcase of his talent to try suring up a seat another possible team, in or out of F1. Bottas will try to keep his momentum going with another good showing to help William's get that final slice of Constructor's money. Webber will be trying to get one more good showing before retiring from F1, most importantly a win and the end of Vettel's current streak. Vettel, of course will be looking to match Ascari's record of 9 consecutive win's in Grand Prix racing; he'll also be trying collect another pole and fastest laps; much like he stated to his team over the radio, the good times will end at some point, so I'm certain he'll be trying to get it while the gettin's good. Enjoy your weekends.

Video courtesy of V8Supercars.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Motorsport Workshop: Jackie Stewart / 'Weekend Of A Champion' Film (Shakedown)

Leo Parente of Drive's Shakedown interviews legendary racing driver Sir Jackie Stewart. Before doing so he looks at the newly revised classic film, Weekend of a Champion, which is composed of footage of Jackie Stewart's experiences during the 1971 Monaco GP.

Video courtesy of Drive.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Car Pron: 2014 Jaguar F-Type V8 S: The Meanest and Loudest Jag in the Jamboree! (MotorTrend)

MotorTrends' Carlos Lago analyzes the new Jaguar F-Type V8 S to get a more accurate picture of what it's capable of. 447whp dyno numbers most likely put this model in the 500hp club.

Video courtesy of MotorTrend.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Car Pron: Audi RS 6: Family Looks, Supercar Pace (XCAR)

The gang from XCAR bring us a review of the latest Audi RS6 Avant. We love fast estates.

Video courtesy of XCARFilms.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What to watch this Weekend (Nov 14th - Nov 20th)

  • WRC. Rally action from Spain. Thursday @ 10pm - 11pm (MAVTV) replay
  • Fifth Gear (UK). The Flying Spur. Friday @ 10pm - 11pm (VelocityHD) new
  • FIA European Rally Championship. Barum Czech Rally Zlin; from Zlin, Czech Republic. Saturday @ 2pm - 3pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Formula 1 - US Grand Prix; from Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Practice. Friday @ 1pm - 3:30pm (NBCSN(HD)) live
  • Formula 1 - US Grand Prix; from Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Qualifying. Saturday @ 1pm - 2:30pm (CNBC(HD)) live; replay at 6:30pm on NBCSN
  • Formula 1 - US Grand Prix; from Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Race. Sunday @ 1pm - 4:30pm (NBC(HD)) live
  • How it's Made: Dream Cars. Marathon. Sunday @ 8pm - 11pm (VelocityHD) replays
  • Top Gear (UK). Marathon of past episodes. Monday @ 4pm - 3am (BBC America(HD)) great replays
  • Motorweek. 2014 Bentley Flying Spur. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Wayne Meets Triplets. Tuesday @ 10pm - 10:30pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Top Gear America. Tuesday @ 10pm - 11pm (History Channel(HD)) new
  • Wheeler Dealers. Wednesday @ 8pm - 10pm (VelocityHD) replays 
Good weekend ahead, yadda yadda, but lets roll right into the F1 recap. There's been a big buzz with the verbal exchange Lotus pit had with Kimi when Romain was trying to get by him in the last laps of India. Peeling the layers of this onion back shows that this may have been a more deep rooted issue than what showed on the surface; Raikkonen is owed money by Lotus, who is in financial trouble. Lotus has a chance to rectify that with a 2nd place finish in the constructors championship (4th place currently) and coincidentally Kimi could help them do so. If what has been reported is true and Kimi has not received about 8-digits worth of pay in 2013, then this could get uglier before things are resolved.

In FP2 Romain Grosjean's right front brake rotor exploded into three pieces. The big take away was that the softs have some serious longevity on this track as opposed to the reality of India. This will make a medium tire seemingly turn into a one stopper, and possibly as little as two stops for a soft then medium change over.

Q1 Hams is tops almost breaking into the 1:39s. Massa takes a flyer to the top 5 once again to make the cut. Di Resta makes Q2, but his Force India stablemate Sutil doesn't.

Q2 Alonso has some issues towards the end of the session and has to abort the lap, then try for a late (and I mean late) flyer. Comes up about a tenth short, missing Q3, behind Massa who just makes the cut in 10th. Massa out qualifies Alonso again. Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Hams, Rosberg(P1) Vettel, Webber, Perez make Q3 along with Grosjean & Raikkonen. Button misses the cut.

Q3 goes by relatively quietly, but finishes with a bang as usual. Vettel takes the early lead with a 1:40.091, which looked to stand up, but Webber pulls out a 1:39.957 to take P1. Vettel's flyer can't top it (1:40.075 -- noticably pissed in the car), Rosberg (1:40.419) couldn't top it and Hamilton (1:40.501) -- he spun off surprisingly and shut it down, remaining in P4. Webber(P1), Vettel(P2), Rosberg(P3), Hamilton(P4), Raikkonen(P5), Hulkenberg(P6), Grosjean(P7), Massa(P8), Perez(P9), Ricciardo(P10). Hamilton states that something broke in the rear of the car (turned out to be a broken rear wishbone).

Webber started the race in P1, but better launches by Rosberg and Vettel edged him out early. Before long Vettel had a 3+ second gap. Hamilton had another bad start; got going well but his moves set him up for a cutoff at the first turn helping him fall to 5th. Button got into a rear tire at the turn 1 mixing bowl and damaged his front wing. There were worse results from turn 1 for Lotus, as Kimi, starting from the back of the field due to some post-qualy issues, ended up breaking his steering on the back tire of Pic's Caterham in the first turn of the race. He retired and left the track.

Aside from Vettel's predictable 7th consecutive run away to a checkered flag, this was an entertaining race over all with some notables. Hulkenberg gets pinged for a unsafe release in the pit on a Marussia. Alonso pulls a pretty aggressive move coming out of the pit to rejoin the field, in order to get out ahead of Massa, who was in front of him for most of the race up to that point. Alonso came out and buzzed Vergne, going off the track with all four wheels in order to hold his position. He didn't quite have a choice, but it's still under review through the next race. Force India ran a one stopper again with Di Resta and Sutil, this time with much better results; P5 and P10 respectively. Felipe Massa and Romain Grosjean have another strong race, but Massa was let down by a bad front left tire change late in the race; this made it possible for Alonso to even have a chance of coming out in front of him. Hamilton made as much lemonade as possible with his rebuilt rear suspension and worn tires, but along with Rosberg's P2 the Petronas Mercedes camp pulls further away from Scudaria Ferrari (11pts up). Lewis also pulls on Kimi's 3rd position in the Driver's Championship (8pts behind Kimi). Vettel gets another burn out in post victory, but returns his car afterwards, so we'll have to see what the FIA has to say this time.

Austin should be entertaining. Lewis won this event last year with McLaren, Vettel is trying to chase down Shuey's consecutive win record, Massa is going for it, Grosjean is strong and Kimi could blow off the last two races if he decides the 15mil Lotus owes him is too big a deal to let ride as is. FYI, current word is that New Jersey F1 is on for 2014 after Monaco. Remember The F1 race on Sunday isn't on NBCSN, it's on NBC -- hopefully NBC won't screw this live broadcast up like many Fox broadcasts of the past for SPEED. Enjoy your weekends.

Video courtesy of Top Gear.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Motorsport Pron: 850hp Electric Racing Car: Driving the Drayson B12/69EV (CHOC)

Chris Harris talks to Paul Drayson, builder of an electric powered Lola LMP1 chassis making 850hp, who wants to push the envelop of what electic power can do in a motorsport environment. The battery usage life of existing technology is still an issue, but as a technical exercise this car attempts to show what can be possible once the battery tech catches up to our imaginations.

Video courtesy of Drive.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

Automotive Workshop: Talking SLS, C63, CLA45 & More with Mercedes AMG Head Tobias Moers! (MotorTrend)

MotorTrend's Wide Open Throttle crew bring in Tobias Moers, the current head of Mercedes AMG. They talk AMG models and the future of the brand.

Video courtesy of MotorTrend.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thursday, November 7, 2013

What to watch this Veteran's Day Weekend (Nov 7th - Nov 13th)

  • WRC. Rally action from Spain. Thursday @ 10pm - 11pm (MAVTV) replay
  • Fifth Gear (UK). Volvo S60 Polestar. Friday @ 10pm - 11pm (VelocityHD) new
  • FIA European Rally Championship. Sibiu Rally Romania. Saturday @ 2pm - 3pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Retro Car Kings. A cool documentary on the top retro car builders of Japan. Saturday @ 10pm - 11pm (VelocityHD) great replay
  • Top Gear (UK). Marathon of past episodes. Monday @ 4pm - 3am (BBC America/BBC America HD) great replays
  • Motorweek. 2014 New Car Preview. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Backyard Finds. Tuesday @ 10pm - 10:30pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Top Gear America. Season 4 - Episode 6. Tuesday @ 10pm - 11pm (History Channel/History Channel HD) new
  • Wheeler Dealers. Wednesday @ 8pm - 10pm (VelocityHD) replays 
Lighter weekend that we're used to, but solid array of regulars and specials to watch. Enjoy your weekends.

Video hosting courtesy of Lucas Neto.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Car Pron: 2014 Pagani Huayra: World Beating Hyper Car or Just Plain Hype? (MotorTrend)

Jonny Lieberman of MotorTrend visits Pagani in Modena, Italy to check out their latest flagship, the Huayra, in the flesh.

Video courtesy of MotorTrend.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Car Pron Feature: Magnus Walker: Turbo Fever (XCAR)

Magnus Walker sits down with XCAR and discusses his four Porsche 930 Turbos; originality of a classic car goes a long way. German, 4-speed, non-intercooled turbo technology from the 70' was way ahead of its time thanks to the motorsport development Porsche was winning with on the track at the same time.

Video courtesy of XCarFilms.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Motorsport Pron: Mercedes 300SL Gullwing at Bonneville Gives Us Salt Fever (Petrolicious)

If you had an original 300SL Gullwing, would you drive it? Would you race it? Would you modify it into a race car built for Bonneville Salt Flat runs? Bob Sirna would -- "Enjoy your toys", ladies and gentlemen.

Video courtesy of PetroliciousCo.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

What to watch this Weekend (Oct 31st - Nov 6th)

  • WRC. Rally action from Spain. Thursday @ 10pm - 11pm (MAVTV) replay
  • Fifth Gear (UK). Aston Martin 100th Anniversary. Friday @ 10pm - 11pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Formula 1 - Abu Dhabi Gran Prix; from the Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi in UAE. Practice. Friday @ 9am- 10:30am (NBCSN(HD)) same-day delayed airing
  • Formula 1 - Abu Dhabi Gran Prix; from the Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi in UAE. Qualifying. Saturday @ 1:30pm- 3pm (NBCSN(HD)) same-day delayed airing
  • FIA European Rally Championship. GEKO Ypres Rally from Belgium. Saturday @ 2pm - 3pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Formula 1 - Abu Dhabi Gran Prix; from the Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi in UAE. Race. Sunday @ 7:30am - 10am (NBCSN(HD)) live
  • Australian V8 Supercars - The Gold Coast 600. From the Gold Coast street circuit in Queensland, Australia. Saturday @ 11pm - 1am (FS2(HD)) delayed airing from 10/25-10/27
  • Top Gear (UK). Marathon of past episodes. Monday @ 4pm - 3am (BBC America(HD)) great replays
  • Motorweek. 2013 Chevy Cruze Diesel. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (VelocityHD) replay
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Back to the Beach. Tuesday @ 10pm - 10:30pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Top Gear America. Season 4 - Episode 7. Fully Charged. Tuesday @ 9pm - 10pm (History Channel(HD)) new
  • Wheeler Dealers. Willy's Jeep. Wednesday @ 9pm - 10pm (VelocityHD) replay
We have a good bit of motorhead action to look forward to with the start of November. But without further adieu, let's recap last weekend's action from F1 GP of India and get the weekend started...

Maldonado has a wheel nut fly off in FP2 (not a whole wheel this time) resulting in a new fine for Williams Renault. Vettel has the fastest time of both FP1 and FP2. Front left tire wear on the soft tire has been the talking point, most notably some blistering being seen as fast as 4 laps in (Hulkenberg's car), but most averaging about 10 laps. The medium tire is lasting more than twice that (20+ laps), so the qualifying strategy will be interesting to see who wants to start the race on the softs. Pirelli's Director tells Will Buxton that FIA didn't want another boring one stop race (like Vettel enjoyed in 12') so softs and mediums have been offered rather than last years mediums and hards. The current rumor is that Massa could be heading to Williams; he has plenty of Brazilian backing for where ever he goes next, which presumably would replace Maldonado's bank roll. Buddh International circuit is off the F1 schedule for 2014 and its future is unclear; we'll see how things work out going forward, but this could be the end of a relatively short era here in India.

In related tire news, Pirelli's Chairman tells the FIA if they don't allow them to perform winter testing before the season begins they're backing out of supplying tires in 2014. This is what happen prior to the beginning of this season and all hell broke loose when it was made known that they had some private testing sessions with one of the teams, as Pirelli wanted to get more data. They want to avoid this problem for 2014 -- especially with the numerous spec changes, from chassis minimum weight to engine configuration to KERS.

Grosjean just misses Q2 in 17th position while Botas takes his 16th spot. It appears that the team misjudged the cutoff time for Q2 and Button went a bit quicker than most accounted for; he was caught out in the pit, but he's quick enough to work from the back as he's done in the past. Massa pulls a flyer to make the cut once again, and Alonso take matters into his own hands earlier in the session, throwing on the softs to ensure a time low enough to make the cut.

Q2 starts much like Q1, Alonso throwing down another hot lap in the softs to ensure Q3 entry. It appears people are using the softs through Q2 at least. The pace quickens and Vettel and Alonso break into the 1:24s after Webber puts down a 125.097. Button starts off high on the lineup but by the end of Q2 he's barely hanging on. The McLaren chassis looks better in India than most previous races and both Perez and Button make Q3. Kimi, Hulkenberg, Perez, Rosberg and Massa make the cut as well.

Q3 starts off with the heavy hitters on softs. this is interesting as if you get your Q3 time on softs you'll be starting with a full tank on them. Vettel throws down a 124.119 with about 5mins n change left. Webber throws down a 125.215 with the mediums. Alonso puts in a 125.826 on softs. Now the other teams react and pit. 4:30 to play and Mercedes puts hams on newer softs. Raikkonen is still out on softs. Vettel pits for another set of new softs, seemingly trying to improve on his time and starting the race on an even newer set of softs, but it doesn't quite work out after going wide on his flyer. Q3 ends with Kimi's 125.248 on softs sticking him into P6. Massa (125.201) pulls off P5, out qualifying Alonso again. Rosberg (124.871) and Hamilton (124.941) take P2 and P3, respectively on softs, Webber (125.047) P4 but will be starting on mediums which could be a serious advantage. Kimi (125.248), Hulkenberg (124.334), Alonso (125.826), Perez (126.153) and Button (126.487) round out the top 10.

The race starts off with a great launch from Hamilton, leap-frogging Rosberg for P2 but unable to pass Vettel. Shortly afterwards, Massa takes off passing both Petronas' and taking P2. Alonso mixes it up in the field and loses elements on the front left when coming into contact with the back of Webber. Webber also gets into Kimi in traffic, but doesn't take on any damage. Vettel gets a 2.5 second gap after lap one, but after lap two he pits quick for the mediums; reason is to avoid the mid-pack traffic he'd be coming out in if he pitted later on. Alonso comes in shortly afterwards as he needs a wing and swaps to mediums while he's in. Massa assumes the lead and tries to put a bigger gap between himself and Vettel. This strategy isn't working as Vettel is going faster than the leaders on softs on the mediums. By lap 6 the softs are done and the pits begin. Rosberg comes in for mediums on 7/70, Massa is in for mediums on 8/70. Vettel is back up to P8 by 9/70 and P5 in 10/70 (his pit cautions him on being too aggressive). Webber now assumes P1 on 10/70, still on the mediums. Oddly enough Perez and Ricciardo are P2 and P3, respectively, all on mediums.

Vettel is up to P4 by 12/70, now chasing the top three down. He passes his 2014 teammate on 13/70. Massa is in 8th by 14/70. Grosjean pits on lap 14 for another set of mediums, coming out in 15th. Webber is still in front, Perez 8secs back and Vettel going purple, 4secs back from Perez. Hamilton is P10.

Rosberg and Hamilton are running P7 & P8 on 21/60. Vettel finally passes Perez and starts chasing down Webber; the gap is 11.8. After some dodgy defensive moves by Gutierrez, Alonso finally passes Esteban Gutierrez. By lap 26 the gap to Webber is 10.8. It appears that since Webber has to run softs still, now would be the time so he could then go onto mediums for this last stop of the race about the same time that Vettel goes in for his last set of tires; this would make for a great shootout. 

Rosberg pits on 28/60 for a set of mediums and it feels he's going to finish the race out on them. He comes out in 13th ahead of Grosjean. On 29/60 Webber comes in for softs to bang in some hot laps; comes out in 2nd behind Vettel. Gutierrez continues his double blocking moves on 29/60, keeping Grosjean behind him in a very unsportsmanlike manner. On 31/60, the runs for the last sets of tires for the other players begin; Massa comes in for mediums, Hamilton and Alonso do the same. A lap later Vettel comes in for his mediums (32/60) as Webber is flying on the softs. Webber comes in and gets his mediums back on to wrap this race up (33/44); he returns to the field in 3rd. 

Meanwhile Daniel Ricciardo is in P2 as he's yet to pit this entire race, but he finally comes in 34/60. Now it appears the RedBull showdown is about to begin, as Vettel is going purple, Webber has a gap of 12.5 seconds to cut down and Vettel's Engineer is telling him to save his tires so he can finish the race out. The only other driver that hasn't pit yet is Adrian Sutil in his Force India, who is currently out on lap 37 with his original mediums; he's running in 3rd, but he'll need to pit some point soon.

Then all of a sudden Webber is told to shut it down due to the now notorious Renault alternator issues affecting the gearbox -- "gearbox Synch". He pulls off after letting his feelings be known, via inflection, over the radio. Vettel's team tells him that Mark has retired for electronic issues and Vettel acknowledges that he's aware. Given the two RedBulls are identical, the RedBull pit looks anxious. Webber gets picked up by a track marshal on a scooter; this has happened to Mark so many times in the last few races it's almost expected his luck will be crap for the rest of 2013. 

Sutil finally pits on 43/60 for his second set of tires. Hamilton is behind Massa and can't get by him; Massa is have another solid outing. Alonso is further back as he's still making up for the damaged from wing from early in the race. Currently it's Vettel, Raikkonen, Rosberg (44/60). Raikkonen's pit tells him to conserve fuel as it appears he's going to stay out for the rest of the race (50/60); trouble is his tires are older than those around him...Rosberg is coming.

Rosberg takes P2 on the straight 52/60. Vettel's pit is telling him not to use the drink bottle in order to take the lightest possible toll on the electrical system; seven laps left and it's getting real. Hulkenberg has to come into the pit on 54/60 for some reason. Alonso is in 11th trying to make lemonade and Grosjean has worked his way into 4th and is aiming for the podium; remember that he started in 17th(!). 

Unfortunately on lap 56/60 Hulkenberg comes into the pit again and retires the car for good; he had a great race, but once again his car has let him down despite his best efforts. Meanwhile Grosjean is up Raikkonen's ass; Kimi's tires are going off. The Iceman doesn't do Roman any favors as they jockey for P3 (56/60). Shortly afterwards the Lotus pit tells Kimi to let Roman through and he makes the pass -- Lotus Renault has a new #1 (57/60). Massa, who was capitalizing on the Lotus battle, passes Kimi also. Then the train of drivers come; Hamilton who's tires are failing him as well is getting reeled in by Perez, who has had an awesome weekend so far. While trying to get around Raikkonen Perez and his happier mediums makes an outside move and takes the position. Hams makes it around Raikkonen as well, but doesn't have the tire to claw the position back from Perez (59/60).

Grosjean takes 3rd and holds onto it through the checkered flag. Rosberg keeps 2nd position for a great result in the battle of Mercedes and Ferrari in the Constructors Championship (Hams in 6th). Perez has his first top 5 finish ever and possibly the best finish for McLaren this year. Vettel goes on to win his 6th race in a row and the drivers title, doin donuts after his victory lap at the start finish line, with standing ovations. There are a lot of things we learned with Vettel taking his fourth Driver's Championship as a 26 year old. For one he's very talented and two he has a great working relationship with his very talented Engineers (arguably the best of all time -- ie, Newey), who have built a car that exploit his driving style (or vice versa). Third, it's clear that Vettel has some of the best luck in motorsport; he hasn't had a significant mechanical failure (well...alternator issues in Spain) all season and no retirements in over a year. All of these things have resulted in a mind boggling run that will not be matched in quite a long time. Vettel is now one of the greats and it'll be interesting to see who, if anyone, can dethrone him (and Horner/Newey) with the start of the V6 Turbo era in 2014.

Current Drivers standings are as follows: Vettel, Alonso(-115), Raikkonen(-139), Hamilton(-153), Webber(-174). Current Constructors standings are as follows: RedBull. Ferrari, Mercedes(-157), Ferrari(-161), Lotus(-185). The race for P2 is still yet to be determined in both departments and I think we'll still see plenty of fight in the remaining three races. This will start tomorrow with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Enjoy your weekends.

Video courtesy of V8Supercars.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Quick Vid: Audi S3 review (2013) (Autoblogger)

Our friends at Autoblogger check out the 2013 Audi S3 (8V). I'm still not sure why Audi won't bring this 3-door to America, but apparently knocking folks over the head (~40k) to get a Golf R, alone, is still better business for VAG than having two similarly priced high-end 3-door hatchbacks.

Video courtesy of Autoblogger.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Quick Vid: The One With The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon! (MotorTrend)

Justin Bell takes the newest E63 AMG Wagon to the track to see what it's made of. I can't think of many other family haulers I'd rather own without a manual transmission. Someone would have to gift it to me though; we're taking donations.

Video courtesy of MotorTrend.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

What to watch this weekend (Oct 25th - Oct 30th)

  • Formula 1 - Grand Prix of India; from Jaypee International Circuit in Greater Noida, near New Delhi. Practice. Friday @ 4:30am - 6am (NBCSN(HD))  live
  • Fifth Gear (UK). Mercedes G63 AMG. Friday @ 10pm - 11pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Formula 1 - Grand Prix of India; from Jaypee International Circuit in Greater Noida, near New Delhi. Qualifying. Saturday @ 4:30am - 6am (NBCSN(HD)) live
  • FIA European Rally Championship. France. Saturday @ 2pm - 3pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Formula 1 - Grand Prix of India; from Jaypee International Circuit in Greater Noida, near New Delhi. Sunday @ 5am - 7:30am (NBCSN(HD)) live; replay at 2pm
  • Top Gear (UK). Marathon of past episodes. Monday @ 4pm - 3am (BBC America(HD)) great replays
  • Motorweek. 2014 Cadillac CTS. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (VelocityHD)
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Cannonball's Run. Tuesday @ 10pm - 10:30pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Top Gear America. Season 4 - Episode 6. Can cars float? Tuesday @ 9pm - 10pm (History Channel(HD)) new
  • Wheeler Dealers. 57' Chevrolet Bel Air. Wednesday @ 9pm - 10pm (VelocityHD)
Solid line up ahead, with new shows and more importantly the countdown to the end of the Formula 1 season. Last week we saw the end to the ALMS franchise, which will be rolled up with Grand Am into the IMSA 2014 TUDOR USCR Series (see video below). FIA F1 won't be going bye bye, but it will be saying good bye to V8 engines and hello to an all new turbo V6 setup which will bring Honda back to grand prix racing. With change comes new challenges and intrigue, but let's not get too ahead of ourselves. The Grand Prix of Japan was full of surprises, but was far from surprising simultaneously.

The story of FP2 was Spoon corner; this lovely yet quick bend caught a wide variety of drivers out. Perez barely put a rear tire off the track heading into it, locked up the rear and went right into the tire wall. Alonso lost it on this corner as well, but was fortunate and didn't hit anything. Vettel ran wide around Spoon too, getting the now trademark green dye of the fill grass on his tires. Kimi found himself in the kitty litter on the way through Dunlop curve, resulting in his need for a lift out. Suzuka is loved for the very reason that is pushing these drivers to the edge; it's an old school technical track that demands a lot from the driver to master. Earlier though, in FP1, Maldonado had an spin-out where his rear wheel fell off without any noticeable evidence of the wheel nut removing itself; a seemingly clean release of the most disconcerting kind. The FIA investigated and later fined Williams for an improperly fastened wheel nut. Maldonado went off track again in FP2, however on this occasion, all four wheels stayed on.

Q1 started with Redbull working to get Vettel's car together after a KERS battery failure in FP3. Additionally Adrian Sutil went into the barriers backwards during FP3, requiring a gearbox change, as if his season could go any more wrong than it has over the last three races. Esteban Gutierrez quickly hops out of his Sauber Ferrari in the paddock due to a flash fuel vapor fire that erupted before he headed out for his first run of Q1. On a sad segway, RIP Maria De Villota, who passed away at the young age of 33 from "natural causes", seemingly stemming from her terrible accident as a Marussia test driver last year. 

Webber is at the top early in Q1, but his pit is telling him to run again as the seemingly building wind gusts could impede a later run. Meanwhile Jean Eric Vergne's Torro Rosso rear brakes both catch on fire (along with his chassis), resulting in a red flag halting Q1 with 2:55 left. Everyone low in the qualy standings are getting a tough draw, as when the green flag comes there is traffic out the wazoo. Everyone high up is sitting in the pit to avoid the gridlock. Massa, facing a knockout, throws a mean lap down with the options, taking P2 in Q1. Maldonado just makes the cut. Grosjean takes P1 with a 131.9.

Q2 starts off with both Lotus's running 132.0xx. It appears they're both quite dialed in, accomplishing these times on the hard tires. The option/mediums start circulating the paddock -- Alonso, Hamilton and Button pop off 131.8xx's. Vettel throws down a 1:31.290 with the mediums, Webber following shortly afterwards with a 131.513. Grosjean puts mediums on and puts in a 131:565. Hulkenberg's strong outings continue this weekend, taking P5 in Q2. In the final seconds drivers are getting pushed down the order. Perez and Di Resta are out, but Massa out paces his teammate Alonso on a flyer, again, taking P6 ahead of Rosberg, with Alonso, Button and Hulkenberg rounding out the top 10.

Q3 starts off with Vettel getting radio concerns about a KERS failure requiring adjustments for his brake bias. He almost goes off the track, putting two wheels off in a quick drift, but still puts down a 131.3xx. Webber puts the hammer down shortly afterwards, breaking into the next echelon with a 1:30.975. The big hitters (read Lotus) scramble to adjust to the news that Vettel is having issues. Alonso and Hamilton come by with high 1:31s, but hit the pits again for new options. 1:56 left and everyone is working their tires up to temp for the final flyer for pole. After the smoke clears, not much changes; Webber takes pole for his final Suzuka F1 farewell, lowering his time to an incredible 1:30.913. This is Webber's first pole all season and his first time out qualifying Vettel this year. Vettel improved slightly (1:31.089), but whatever issues concerning his KERS system put a ceiling on his potential. Hamilton hustles to take 3rd (1:31.253) followed by Grosjean 4th (1:31.365), Massa 5th (1:31.378), Rosberg 6th (131.397), Hulkenberg 7th (1:31.644), Alonso 8th (1:31.665), Raikkonen 9th (1:31.684) and Button 10th (1:31.827). Hulkenberg is a contender, Webber seems to have gotten some good fortune and Massa is working on his 'Ferrari can kiss my ass tour' with another solid performance. That last bit is my own opinion of course, but I'm happy he's still fighting hard since getting a very stylish leather boot from Maranello. Oddly enough on this same story line, Alonso isn't so keen on Ferrari either. He's on record stating how he's had a car 8/10ths a second off the leaders pace for the past four years; it'll be interesting to see where Alonso decides to 'take his talents', if anywhere else, this off-season.

Race day in Suzuka, Japan is as beautiful and sunny as it's been the last couple days with strong wind gusts to match. During the warm up lap Massa complains of throttle issues and Rosberg has issues with his steering wheel electronics. Alonso is trying to make Vettel's road to the Driver's Championship as hard as possible, so immediate success is measured in if he can finish above 8th position. Vettel's KERS issues have seemingly been addressed last night, but will this be enough? 

The race started off with plenty of contact, Webber and Vettel both getting jumped by Grosjean and Hamilton, but Hamilton gets into Vettel's front wing and starts losing air by Turn 1. Further towards the back of the pack Bianci and Van Der Garde touch and fly into the kitty litter (much like Alonso's retirement on this same track last year), with Van Der Garde hitting the tire wall. Hamilton's right rear tire falls to pieces as he makes his way around the track to the pits, takes on the hard tires and heads back out with a new strategy from the back of the pack. Roman Grosjean is killing it (5/53), doing his best Vettel impression with a ~1 second lead. Vettel meanwhile isn't going fast enough to catch the front runners, in a major turn of events. Kimi isn't doing very well, in 11th 5/53. In additional bad news for Hams, the rear damage the destroyed tire did in some of his down force so he's running a second behind the leader.

By 8/53 Alonso is trying to chase down his stablemate Massa. Hamilton retires on lap 9/53, suggesting there was more damage than just aero. Hulkenberg is catching up with Alonso, but then pits for hards on 11/53. Ferrari's both stay out. Vettel seems to be getting into a grove and is starting to reel Webber in...then Webber pits for the hards on 12/53. Webber returns in 6th. Massa and Raikkonen pit for hards, Hulkenberg passes Massa when he returns to the field. Grosjean comes in for hards and gets a smokin' stop (2.6), comes out ahead of Webber. Rosberg pits for hards and is released right in front of Perez who's looking to pit; FIA investigating unsafe release. Alonso pits for hards on 14/53 to try passing Massa, but he still comes out behind Massa on pit exit. Perez and Button mix it up in a battle for 11th. Vettel pits from P1 for hards and comes out in 3rd behind Webber (15/53). Grsojean goes purple.

Ricciardo, who hasn't pit yet (hards) is holding up Hulkenberg in 5th, playing into Ferrari hands (20/53). On the front straight Massa is looking for his opportunity ahead a bit too much and gets passed in the DRS zone by Alonso. Hulkenberg finally passes Ricciardo into 130R in a ballsy maneuver, then Alonso works his way past into the front straight. Unfortunately for Massa, he's stuck behind Ricciardo which is leaving him open to the advances of Esteban Gutierrez. Massa and Gutierrez bump wheels, but Massa stays ahead (23/53). 

Webber is reeling Grosjean in, now within 1sec (25/53). Vettel, trailing those two is being told to stay patient, but is still locking up here and there trying to catch up. Webber comes in to pit on 26/53, so it appears that Redbull is trying to make their passes in the pits. It's odd Webber came in so far ahead of Vettel, so it's possibly they're on two different strategies. Vettel, still out, is chasing down Grosjean. Webber comes out in 3rd, 15 seconds back. Grosjean pits on 30/53, coming back out in 3rd. By lap 33/53 Vettel is losing time to Grosjean, who is flying, taking 3/10ths out of him per lap. This may play back into Webber's hands, who appears to be on the short end of the RedBull strategy stick currently. By lap 35/53 Vettel is still losing time to Grosjean, but he stays out. It appears his pit is trying to make this last stop as short as possible to have the best tire strength possible to fight it out for the finish. Massa speeds in the pit lane on his last stop, so his drive through penalty is going to hurt his current 6th position quite a bit; comes back out in 11th. Vettel finally stops for hards on lap 38/53, bypassing the mediums. He comes out in 3rd behind Grosjean and starts the hunt. It appears that Webber, currently 1st, will be going onto mediums for his final stint. A bit further back on the track, Raikkonen is reeling in Alonso for 5th (39/53). Hulkenberg is still holding onto 4th.

Vettel passes Grosjean on 41/53 on the front straight, his newer hard tires the take the edge this time around. Now we talk pit deltas. If Webber comes in, there's a good chance he won't be able to take the win. His gap on vettel is 14 seconds, but the pit delta is about 22 seconds and will mediums be enough for him to pass Vettel before the end? Will the RedBull pit let him pass Vettel? Welp, Webber comes in on 43/53 for mediums. Time for a 10 lap firefight for the race. Webber is now 5 seconds back from Vettel, 3 seconds back on Grosjean who presumably needs to stop again (43/53). By 45/53 a small blister appears on Vettel's left front. Webber is taking hearty chunks out of Grosjean's time. Vettel is running into lap traffic, the pressure intensifies. Webber gets within reach of Grosjean, but there's no where to pass (47/53); he's losing time. Roman isn't going to pit either, too little time left. Vettel is sounding frustrated on the radio, stuck behind 3 lapped cars on 49/53. Webber still unable to pass Grosjean on the straights, almost like Webber's DRS/KERS isn't working. By lap 50 Grosjean and Webber come upon the same lap traffic Vettel did previously.

Webber finally gets Grosjean on lap 52/53. Rosberg has low fuel, but is stuck behind Esteban Gutierrez who is trying to get some championship points for himself and team. Vettel takes the checkered flag, Webber comes in second and Grosjean third (and pulls off and stops right past the finish line). Alonso follows in 4th, Raikkonen 5th, Hulkenberg 6th and his Sauber stablemate Gutierrez takes 7th, Rosberg 8th, Button 9th, Massa 10th. The question is if RedBull subtlety sabotaged Webber's change of winning by having him pit so early for that second to last set of tires when he was still in a good place gap-wise. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that RedBull wanted Vettel to win this race and despite the x-factor here, which was Grosjean holding Webber up, this appeared to be one last "Vettel is our guy" jab in the ribs before Webber leaves the team. Then again, Mark was slowed by Grosjean for about 4 laps so it's up for debate. Regardless, this makes five straight wins for Vettel and Grosjean has a hell of a race. What did we learn? Sauber Ferrari put in work for 6/7 finish, Massa sabotages his own possible strong finish, Alonso did himself a service by taking 4th, Hamilton's bad luck lead to a retirement and Suzuka was one of the best races of the season. Renault power plants sweep the podium and there are only 4 races left.

The current standings are as follows: Vettel, Alonso (-), Raikkonen (-), Hamilton, Webber (-). Vettel has all but sown up the Driver's championship and barring a DNF in India he'll be crowned there. The Manufacturers championship P2 is the real battle, with Petronas Mercedes and Scuderia Ferrari neck and neck; this contest will probably be determined by the last race of the year. Enjoy your weekends.

Video courtesy of Drive.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Car Pron: 2014 BMW M5 Competition Package: A Better Driver's Car? (MotorTrend)

MotorTrend's Carlos Lago checks out the 2014 BMW M5 Competition package to see if it improves upon the base F10 M5. Video courtesy of MotorTrend.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What to watch this Weekend (Oct 17th - Oct 23rd)

  • WRC. Rally action from France. Thursday @ 10pm - 11pm (MAVTV) replay
  • Fifth Gear (UK). Bently Headquarters. Friday @ 10pm - 11pm (VelocityHD) new
  • American Le Mans Series. 2013 Petit Le Mans. From Road Atlanta Raceway in Braselton, Georgia. Saturday @ 11am - 12pm (FS2), 12pm - 2:30pm (FS1), 2:30pm - 6:30pm (FS2), 6:30pm - 8pm (FS1), 8pm - 9pm (FS2) live; abridged replay Sun @ 4pm (FS1)
  • FIA European Rally Championship. Portugal. Saturday @ 2pm - 3pm (VelocityHD) new
  • DTM. From Hockenheim Circuit. 2013 Season finale; Race #10. Sunday @ 7am - completion (SPEED2.comlive
  • Australian V8 Supercars - The Bathurst 1000. From Mount Panorama in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia. Sunday @  11pm - 1am (FS2delayed airing from 10/10
  • Top Gear (UK). Marathon of past episodes. Monday @ 4pm - 3am (BBC America/BBC America HD) great replays
  • Motorweek. 2014 Cadillac CTS. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (VelocityHD)
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Invitation Only. Tuesday @ 10pm - 10:30pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Top Gear America. Season 4 - Episode 5. Sturgis. Tuesday @ 9pm - 10pm (History Channel/History Channel HD) new
  • Wheeler Dealers. 57' Chevrolet Bel Air. Wednesday @ 9pm - 10pm (VelocityHD) 
Great weekend ahead folks. The race season finale of DTM, the delayed airing of the Bathurst 1000 (albeit abridged), the return of Top Gear America and new Fifth Gear. The crown jewel of this weekend is the ALMS season ender, otherwise known as the Petit Le Mans. The winning team gets an automatic invite to the big show in France next year and as part of the World Endurance Championship, all the heavy hitters will be in attendance. It's a shame Fox Sports will be screwing cable subscribers everywhere over with flip flopping coverage through completion. Enjoy your weekends.

Video courtesy of Drive.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Orbital Dreams: Polishers and Swirl Removal Tips (DriveClean)

Larry of AMMONYC gives use some tips on paint correction, using his recently acquired 964 as the demo mule. I had the privilege of having a real pro work over a heavily swirled 993 not too long ago (see fb page) and while I'm decent with an orbital I don't think I would've been able to accomplish the same results in the same time frame; having a day job doesn't help! When paint correction is done properly, it's a lovely thing to behold.

Video courtesy of Drive.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Motorsport Workshop: Crashes, Technology, And Business Deals That Should Change Racing (Shakedown)

Leo Parente presents Shakedown with the help of Drive channel hosts Mike Spinelli and Ian Whelan. They discuss, among several points, recent accidents in motorsport, track design/safety and recent business moves within F1. For those of you who checkout the blog at work, this is a long feature.

Video courtesy of Drive.

Monday, October 14, 2013

For the love of B: BMW Roadsters: 1929-2013 (XCAR)

The crew from XCAR bring us a comprehensive history of BMW drop tops from the past 84 years. Sit back and enjoy the history lesson, and try to think of what may not have been for BMW if business didn't work out for them in the 50's.

Video courtesy of XCarFilms.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013

What to watch this Weekend (Oct 10th - Oct 16th)

  • Mecum Auto Auctions. Muscle Cars and More 2013. From Chicago, IL (Part 1). Thursday @ 5pm - 9pm (Velocity/VelocityHD) new - replay @ 9pm
  • WRC. Rally action from France. Thursday @ 7pm - 8pm (MAVTV) delayed airing from 10/6
  • Formula 1 - Japanese Grand Prix; from the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Japan. Practice. Friday @ 1am - 2:30am (NBCSN(HD)) live
  • Mecum Auto Auctions. Muscle Cars and More 2013. From Chicago, IL (Parts 2&3). Friday @ 3pm - 9pm (Velocity/VelocityHD) new - replay @ 9pm
  • Formula 1 - Japanese Grand Prix; from the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Japan. Qualifying. Saturday @ 1am - 2:30am (NBCSN(HD)) live
  • FIA European Rally Championship. Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Ingles. Saturday @ 2pm - 3pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Mecum Auto Auctions. Muscle Cars and More 2013. From Chicago, IL (Parts 4&5). Saturday @ 3pm - 9pm (Velocity/VelocityHD) new - replay @ 9pm
  • Formula 1 - Japanese Grand Prix; from the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Japan. Race. Sunday @ 1am - 4am (NBCSN(HD)) live
  • Top Gear (UK). Marathon of past episodes. Monday @ 4pm - 3am (BBC America/BBC America HD) great replays
  • Motorweek. 2014 Jeep Cherokee. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (VelocityHD) replay
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Chance of a lifetime. Tuesday @ 10pm - 10:30pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Wheeler Dealers. Mini-marathon. Wednesday @ 4pm - 11pm (VelocityHD) replays
We have a boatload of entertainment this weekend; auto auctions from Chi-town, rally action from two different continents, regular shows with the headline being another week of F1 action in Asia. This weekend the usual suspects will take their talents to Japan's Suzuka Circuit to essentially see who will make their mark on this season. Before that, lets recap the action from Korea...

Latest news is that Massa is being considered for the Mercedes DTM program. He's still all 'team' in public comments despite earlier comments stating he wasn't going to help Alonso with the championship chase, but in the grand scheme everything Massa does from this point forward is advertisement for his next gig. Do your thing Massa, Ferrari won't give a sht when you're gone. Adrian Newey's exhaust blown diffuser is a work of engineering art, if you haven't been watching. In addition to the new turbo v6 power-plants in the F1 cars next year, the new minimum weight limit for 2014 is 690KG/1520lbs. This is important to think about due to the size of some of the better drivers out there, who won't be competitive as long as horse jockey sized drivers still have the wieght advantage. Webber's retirement from Singapore was due to a water leak (coolant). The FIA wasn't to pleased with him getting a ride from Alonso in Singapore (Alonso stopped slightly impeded Hamilton's cool down lap) and due to accumulation with previous reprimands (three to be precise) he'll be docked 10 grid spots at the start of the Korea GP. Boo. Kimi's back is still bothering him, but he won't have surgery on it, just treatment.

Kimi got into the tire wall during P1, but was back together and for P2. Hams was tops in P2 with Vettel following. Medium tire endurance testing went well for Mercedes so in addition to the difference in track layout We'll see if Mercedes can capitalize on this this opportunity. McLaren's were both throwing out big black soot from the fronts in heavy braking areas, so this is something to watch out for.

Q1 goes by with Raikkonen up top. Q2 moves along pretty slowly, then next thing you knew there was no time left and guys were running flyers to make the top 10. McLaren's both missed the cut (Button held up on his flyer by a Lotus), along with Ricciardo. Vettel (137.5xx), Hamilton (137.7xx), Webber, Hulkenberg, Alonso, Rosberg, Grosjean, Raikkonen, Massa and Gutierrez round out Q3 qualifiers. Q3 begins with Webber dipping to 137.464 and Vettel besting him with a 137.202. The drivers do thier tire saving pit stop then come back out with 2mins left for fireworks. Rosberg takes the first flyer, finishing with a 137.8 not bettering his previous time (P5). Hamilton (137.420) can't get closer to Vettel, but jumps Webber to take P2. After a few more times come in Webber skips the finish line and hits the pits (P3), accordingly Vettel gets off the gas to save the supersofts for the race (P1). After the grid penalty to Webber (P13) the starting 6 are Vettel, Hamilton, Grosjean, Rosberg, Alonso, Massa.

The race starts with Vettel getting the jump on Hams and Grosjean getting the jump on Hams. At the end of lap one Vettel has a 2 second gap. Going into turn 3 there's a mild pileup resulting in some busted front wings and Massa getting turn around...after further review it looks like Massa locked up his cold rears when going in about 4 wide and trying to avoid contact. After things get going again, Massa is second to last place. Webber and his small rear wing is working his way through the field, getting to P11 by lap 3. Button has to box for a new front wing on 4/55. By lap 8 Webber is in 8th. The Pits get active with those who have cooked thier front rights or had damage from the Massa incident.

Alonso pits on 10/55 for mediums. It seems the supersofts are lasting as long as what was expected. Vettel's pit tells him to watch his fronts as he stays out. Grosjean pits on 11/55 for mediums. Rosberg does the same. Grosjean comes out just in front of Hams and just about pulls a double move to keep him behind him in the DRS zone. Vettel pits on 12/55 as his fronts are going; he comes back out in first. Webber stays out until 12/55, going from P2 to P9. Daniel Ricciardo is still out on mediums at lap 15/55, so it's unclear if he's trying to go for a two stopper or less.

Hulkenberg is still having a great race, ahead of Alonso in 6th on 16/55.  By lap 17 everyone's front right tires are noticeably grained, especially Alonso. Vettel still has a big gap, but its obviously being managed due to the race tire wear that's being experienced. Hams is losing a bit of time to Grosjean; more than likely he's managing his tires. Vettel meanwhile has a terrible front right by lap 19. It seems like the mediums have gone faster than the super softs...pretty surprising based on the practice and qualy data. Mixing it up for position on this track is leading to some advanced tire wear, so drivers are trying to maintain gaps for the best air possible. Then all of a sudden in lap 22/55, the graining on the mediums starts to go away and the mediums come into their own.

Button pits for another set of mediums on 23/55 with an odd stop and go after leaving his pit. Nico Hulkenberg's tires are starting to go off, but his pit tells him he needs to stay out. Hamilton tells his pit his fronts are toast on 25/55, and they tell him about the passing of the graining the others have experienced. Lewis makes clear that he's already gone through that progression and his fronts still blow. Kimi pits on 26/55, coming back out in 10th on mediums. Paul Di Resta retires again (sound familiar?) with an odd rear end lockup mid-chicane. Local yellow.

Rosberg is up Hamilton's ass as Rosberg's tires are in much better off (28/55). As Rosberg passes Hamilton on the long straight, sparks start flying from the front of his car. Somehow his nose has partially come unclipped and under front downforce load the front wing is dragging on the track. I'm not even sure how that's possible, but it happened. Now Rosberg takes up the pit time for this lap and Hams stays out on his crap fronts; he lets the pit know about it. The nose swap on Rosberg's car didn't look that clean, but we'll see how that goes. Hams comes in the following lap 30/55 for mediums on a quick stop; comes back out in 5th.

Vettel is running in 1st, but is now up on lap traffic behind the last two cars. He weaves through smoothly not to wear his tires down with drama. Perez is running in 4th, locks up hard with Kimi behind him into a corner, then his right front tire delaminates in a small explosion tearing up the side of his car; smoke comes out the back while the carbon fiber undertray grinds while he steers off track. He limps the thing around the track on kevlar belts, the carcas is still on the straight. sergio makes it back and Grosjean and Webber pit as well. Webber had to pit more than once as he ran through the debris and was called back in; he's back out on supersofts (35/55)...he's out of medium tires. If you thought Webber was up against insurmountable odds with having one set of supersofts to finish 20 laps in, have no fear, because his streak of bad luck continues when Sutil loses his rear end and slams into Webber's side exhaust on turn 1. Shortly afterwards the car goes up in flames and Webber gets out. Then things get interesting on the track. For some reason the circuit officials take forever to get a extinguisher on Webber's car. Then they release a fire safety vehicle on the track before the safety car comes out. Meanwhile the rest of the field that passed this incident earlier are working their way around the track at full race pace, Kimi passing Grosjean for 2nd and then Vettel ahead comes to a halt behind this Jeep Compass fire safety car that shouldn't have been on the track. Then the real safety car comes out (SLS AMG), the the fire safety car pulls off.

The melee subsides with the green flag on lap 41. Everyone makes a mad dash for position with the remaining 14 laps; if everyone stays out until the end it'll be survival of the best on tires. If everyone has to pit, then position is even more paramount. Raikkonen is holding onto 2nd with both hands, his tires are old. Some really good action is going on mid-pack; Massa gets the benefit of Gutierrez and Perez battling each other to move forward. Hamilton is trying to get past Hulkenberg without success; he can't beat him out of the exits and Alonso is looking to pounce on Hamilton. Ham's finally passes Hulkenberg on 48/55 for 4th, but he gives it back on the straight in the DRS zone. Too much pace for the Mercedes at this point in the race.

52/55 and everyone's front right tires are looking like crap. Hamilton tells his pit how much more traction Hulkenberg is getting out of the corners. Grosjean's lead engineer tells him to stick it to Kimi, but his Team Principal tells him to back off. Vettel's pit tells him to watch the right front then they tell him something cryptic as if something has failed on the car (53/55). Rosberg swerves to keep Button from passing, Vettel's pit tells him to make it home and Daniel Ricciardo retires off the side of the track on 54/55. Hams tires are going but Alonso doesn't have enough grip to catch him. Vettel takes the checkered flag, followed by Raikkonen, Grosjean, Hulkenberg, Hamilton, Alonso and Button. Nico Hulkenberg had a hell of a race. The current top five standings are as follows: Vettel, Alonso (-77), Raikkonen (-105), Hamilton(-111), Webber (-142).

Suzuka is a legendarily difficult circuit and the fireworks should continue. Make sure to start your F1 meal with Practice on Friday morning; set your DVRs. Enjoy your weekends.

Video hosting courtesy of WRCforeva.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Neo-Vintage: This Saab 900 Was Built to Last (PetroliciousCo)

Despite the semi-misleading title, Petrolicious delivers another solid piece on one of those new-classic Euro's that has spoken to most of us in years past. I always wanted a Saab 900 Turbo as a kid growing up in the 80's, even drawing them during class in Elementary School, but never got one. I'm happy to live vicariously through owner Jordan Melville, though, as I have enough projects on my hands these days.

Video courtesy of PetroliciousCo.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Neo-Vintage: Magnus Walker's '66 Irish green Porsche 911 (XCAR)

XCAR interviews Magnus Walker about one of his favorite Porsche 911's -- his Irish green 66'. Not heavily modified at all, but sometimes that's the point. I feel like the 993 generation 911 will be as nostalgic for me when I'm in my 50s as the 66' is for Magnus. Tape deck,

Video courtesy of XCARfilms.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Car Pron: Alfa Romeo 4C First Drive, Road and Track. (CHOC)

After years concept reveals and promises of a production version, the Alfa Romeo 4C is finally drivable in the flesh. Chris Harris gets to check out this new ultra light, carbon-fiber tubbed, 4-cylinder turbo powered, mid-engined sports car in Italy. Pretty awesome little car imo, but I was hoping there would be a manual option to compliment the double clutch automatic as this car was spec'd out to be much like a modern Lotus'(i.e., Elise). Regardless, I think that driving enthusiasts everywhere benefit from the existence of the 4C.

Video courtesy of Drive.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

What to watch this Weekend (Oct 4rd - Oct 9th)

  • Formula 1 - Korean Grand Prix; from the Korea International Circuit in Yeongam, Korea. Practice. Friday @ 1am - 2:30am (NBCSN(HD)) live
  • Fifth Gear (UK). Aston Martin Vanquish. Friday @ 10pm - 11pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Formula 1 - Korean Grand Prix; from the Korea International Circuit in Yeongam, Korea. Qualifying. Saturday @ 1am - 2:30am (NBCSN(HD)) live
  • FIA European Rally Championship. Rally Liepaja-Ventspils from Latvia. Saturday @ 2pm - 3pm (VelocityHD) new
  • American Le Mans Series. VIR 240. From Virginia International Raceway. Saturday @ 2pm - race end (ESPN3.com) live; delayed broadcast Sunday @ 5:30pm on ESPN2
  • Formula 1 - Korean Grand Prix; from the Korea International Circuit in Yeongam, Korea. Race. Sunday @ 1am - 4am (NBCSN(HD)) live
  • Top Gear (UK). Marathon of past episodes. Monday @ 4pm - 3am (BBC America/BBC America HD) great replays
  • Motorweek. 2014 Corvette Stingray. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (VelocityHD) replay
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Red hot and rowdy. Tuesday @ 10pm - 10:30pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Top Gear America. Season 4 - Episode 4. America's Biggest Cars. Tuesday @ 9pm - 10pm (History Channel/History Channel HD) new
  • Wheeler Dealers. Triumph TR6. Wednesday @ 9pm - 10pm (VelocityHD) replay
A solid weekend of entertainment ahead with more of the usual suspects. We're back in Korea for F1 this weekend, but before we get to that lets recap the action from Singapore two weeks ago...

The major news in F1 is that Kimi is officially going to Ferrari, leaving Massa a free agent. Word is that if Massa doesn't jump on an existing team there may be a DTM opportunity for him. In the meantime though, Kimi re-injured his back (pinched nerve) and it affected his performance in Q3, missing the cut.

Practice was mostly uneventful, but Webber clips the wall a few times with his right rear. Vettel shows his dominant pace in practice with a 1:44.2xx. Qualy starts with Massa teetering on getting booted from Q1, but hops up into the teens to make the cut. Hams is tops in Q1 with a 1:44.196, Button right behind in P2. Red Bull started to separate itself from the field in Q2, ending with Vettel throwing down the gauntlet with a 1:42.905. Q3 wasn't even close at first; Vettel put down a 1:42.84x and pitted. This almost cost him as Rosberg puts down a 1:42.932 on a flyer. Grosjean rounds out the top three of qualifying with a 1:43.058. Webber, while starting his flying lap practically even with Vettels' pole setting lap in the first couple sectors, fails to keep the pace up in the end, finishing 4th with a 1:43.152.

The race starts with Rosberg beating vettel into the first major turn, but overcooking it, letting Vettel back ahead. Then Seb takes off. By the end of lap one he has a 1.9 second lead on Rosberg. Things shake out as expected, with the first tire pitstops coming around lap 13. By lap 15 Vettel is still going purple with old tires while Webber pits for mediums. Lap 16 Rosberg comes in for mediums, while Grosjean follows for another set of softs.

On lap 17/61 Raikkonen is getting word from his pit that KERS performance is dropping. Vettel gets told by his pit to box -- he comes in for mediums. After Vettel returns to the field, he still has a extremely comfortable lead. Di Resta is running (super)softs and is still out at lap 18/61, showing very solid tire wear, putting him in 3rd for now. Hamilton is in 7th at 20/61, complaining about the mediums to his pit about their feel (much like he did in qualy). 

Di Resta's soft tire marathon finally ends with a pit stop on lap 21, bringing Alonzo into 3rd position. He returns to the field in 13th. Rosberg is running well, but is still 9secs back from Vettel. Hams is now in 6th. Kimi's KERS is still an issue, but the pit won't disclose more over the radio. Things are going smoothly overall then our new RedBull front man, Ricciardo, puts it right into the wall on a slow turn he overcooked (25/61)...it appeared to be a mechanical issue as he was all by himself. Singapore is notorious for safety car laps, and now Vettels lead has been shrunk to nothing. The teams scramble for the pits for new tires, however the top 4 haven't pitted as they're all committed to the same strategy. Vettel, Rosberg, Alonzo and Hamilton are all still out with one stop under their belts.

Safety car stays out through 30/61 and when the green flag waves Vettel takes off in usual fashion. Within a lap and a half, Vettel incredibly (and predictably) has a 3+ second lead. Grosjean, running comfortably in 6th, has the rug pulled from under him when his pit found there was an issue with the pneumatic valve control system on his car, as the compressed air used to run it springs a leak. The refill takes 40 seconds, effectively ruining his chances of a podium; I'm sure he's hoping for another safety car deployment. It also appeared that the mechanic that filled the air tank didn't have a fire suit on, so this could be an issue. Sadly, Grosjean ends up having to retire on 40/61 as the leak continued.

Hams tires are going off on lap 40, Webber pulling away from him. Vettel now has a 20 second lead on Rosberg; Rosberg's pit is telling him he has rubber clag in his front wing which is affecting his front-end downforce, but super slow-mo isn't cooberating that tale. Rosberg pits on lap 42, losing a position to Webber(11th), when he came back out (12th) on mediums. Hams stays out, sitting in 2nd, 27 seconds back from Vettel. Hams pits on 44/61, comes out in 10th...4sec stop. Vettel is told to pit on 44/61 for his brand new set of super softs (that he was able to save in Qualy by pitting after that hot lap). He comes out in 1st.

Rosbergs' pit implores him to push, but he sounds like a beaten man; probably exhausted from the hottest and most physically demanding race of the year. Button is now in 3rd (46/61), and could possible pull this out if his tires hold up. Alonzo's strategy seems to be a pit late for softs affair where goes nuts to try to finish strong; he sits in 2nd currently. Hams is now behind his tired teammate Rosberg (49/61), both of them behind Webber. They're going to try to pass Webber, but easier said than done. The tricky thing here is that if the drivers ahead of this trio (7-8-9) decide to stay out on tires, including Alonzo, they all need to pass like crazy over the next ~11 laps if they want to see the podium. Raikkonen is sitting in 4th behind Button, which makes you think about the issues Grosjean had and if they'll rear their head in his Lotus as well.

Webber is working his way to Hulkenberg and up front, Raikkonen and Webber go at it for P3. Vettel slows the pace after the pit tells him to look after his brakes. Tires up front are starting to go off and things are heating up. Lap 55/61, ol' bad back Raikkonen pulls a great move over Button and speeds off. It appears Buttons tires are just about roasted. Rosberg and Hams jump Hulkenberg, then Di Resta puts his nose into the wall on 56/61. Safety Car is looming and everyone else is making moves. Webber passes Button for 4th and Hamilton and Rosberg are chasing down Perez for 6th. Hams is trying to take 7th spot from Rosberg, he's being held up. Rosberg passes Perez for 6th and Massa tries to pounce on Hamilton while he tries to get past Perez. Webber gets told to short-shift all gears (sound familiar?) by the pit.

(59/61) Hamilton gets by Perez, but is now very far behind Rosberg as Perez held him up. Rosberg passes Button for 5th. Now Buttons sinking and Massa passes him. Rosberg is reeling Webber in, but he may be too far back (60/61). But with the short-shifting Rosberg gets him on 61/61 followed by Hamilton. Webber's engine is giving up on the last lap, smoke starting to come out the back...three miles worth of a single lap left. Vettel meanwhile is taking the checkered flag. Webber's car goes up in flames, he pulls off to get out of the car. Alonzo pulls off second, getting 36 laps out of a set of mediums. More impressively Raikkonen comes in third, behind his future stable-mate, on a bad back, from 13th place. Vettel has just about sealed up the Championship at this point, 33 career wins, new age records, yadda, but what else do you expect. Alonzo picks up Webber on his way around the track after finishing the race, providing a gentlemanly lift back to the paddock. The ceremony wasn't as crazy as Monza, but in similar fashion and large crowd gathered on the track to hear the national anthems of both Germany and Austria. Third Singapore Grand Prix win in a row for Seb. The current top 5 driver standings are as follows: Vettel, Alonzo (-60), Hamilton (-96), Raikkonen (-98), Webber (-117).

This weekend should be another exciting scrap for Manufacturer and Driver's Championship points in Korea. In related news it appears the group responsible for paperwork and capital to get the 2014 NJ/NY F1 off the ground has met the deadline for submission; cross your fingers for a second US F1 race next year. Enjoy your weekends.

Video courtesy of Drive.