Friday, July 5, 2013

Wallpaper of the Week. #15

C63 AMG Estate chillin' outside the Nürburgring Circuit. Courtesy of AP.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

What to watch this Independence Day Weekend (July 4th - July 10th)

  • WRC. 2013 action from Rally Italy. Thursday @ 3pm -3:30pm & 7pm - 8pm (MAVTV) new
  • Formula 1 - Grand Prix of Germany; from the Nürburgring in Nürburg, Germany. Practice. Friday @ 4:30pm - 6pm (NBCSN(HD)) live
  • Formula 1 - Grand Prix of Germany; from the Nürburgring in Nürburg, Germany. Qualifying. Saturday @ 8am - 9:30am (NBCSN(HD)) live
  • American Le Mans Series - North East Grand Prix. From Lime Rock Park in CT. Saturday @ 2:45pm - completion ( & 3pm - 6pm (ESPN2) live
  • Formula 1 - Grand Prix of Germany; from the Nürburgring in Nürburg, Germany. Race. Sunday @ 7:30am - 10am (CNBC(HD)) live; replay on NBCSN @ 12:30pm
  • Top Gear (UK). Season 20 premier. Monday @ 8:30pm - 10pm (BBCAmerica(HD)) new
  • Motorweek. Buick Encore. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Chasing Classic Cars. 275 Ferrari. Tuesday @ 8:30pm - 9pm (VelocityHD) replay
  • Wheeler Dealers: Trade Up. India. Wednesday @ 9pm - 10pm (VelocityHD) new
We've got another stacked weekend in a row, with the first of the action starting today July 4th Independence Day here in the states. WRC Italy this afternoon and evening. ALMS action on Saturday at historically significant Lime Rock Park. Brand new season of Top Gear, airing a week delayed as usual on BBC America. New Wheeler Dealer series starting next Wed called Trade Up where the host has to start off with a cheap car and flip his way up to a high end motor. An most importantly, after last weeks controversial and immensely entertaining race at Silverstone last week, we have another F1 race at the legendary Nürburgring.

To catch you up on the latest, Current Sauber chief designer Matt Moore is moving to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes in 2014. Vettel signed a 1-yr contact extension to extend him through 2015 with Red Bull Racing Renault. Mercedes and Pirelli essentially get a slap on the wrist for the private tire testing that took place prior to Monaco. More notably, however, Webber announced his retirement from F1 at the end of this season, leaving to join the factory Porsche LMP effort. There are many drivers chasing this seat, including Vergne, Ricciardo and Raikkonen among others. 

Qualifying was intense as usual, Sutil of Force India impressing with great pace once again. Sutil's stable mate Paul Di Resta qualifies fifth, but gets put in the back of the pack due to a weight discrepancy. Massa crashes in qualy for the third race in a row, starting the race towards the back.

The race was pretty crazy to say the least. It start off with Webber getting front wing damage on the opening lap, Massa picking up 5 spots with his best start of the season and Rosberg getting leap-frogged by Vettel on the first lap (sound familiar?). Hams started great and pulled off a pretty damn good Vettel impression, seperating himself from Vettel. And got interesting. Hams left rear explodes for seemingly no reason on lap 8. Massa loses his left rear the following lap. For some back story, Pirelli was going to replace the the current steel-belted structure with the kevlar-belted structure used in 2012, prior to the Canada GP. This was vetoed by a few teams (including Lotus Renault) who were doing well on the original tires and didn't want ruin things. Now it's too late in the season to make any manufacturing change through this normal process and at this point in the race it was still being debated if the cause was debris between turns 4 and 5 or regular wear and tear.

"Kimi is faster than you," the Lotus team radios' Roman, as Kimi and his teammate mixed it up for position right before Jean-EricVergne's left rear self destructs in Kimi's face. Vergne loses a left rear on the hanger straight, tire exploding in Kimi's face, increasing the amount of sharp debris on the track. Meanwhile, the Red Bull Renault team inspects the first set of tires off Vettel's car, observing serious cuts/gouges on the inside shoulder. His tire did not fail, but if Red Bull didn't react as quickly as they did forcing him to box, he would've surely had the same fate. Around lap 19/52 the teams all communicate that staying off the curbs is paramount, and most were increasing tire pressures to effectively strengthen the sidewall. Safety car was out and ~50 track marshals were running around picking up as many shards as possible.

With Vettel looking like he was going to put this race in the bag on lap 42, much like Hamilton looked early in the race, his gearbox suddenly took a sht -- it just stop selecting gears. The crowd went wild. Teams in the top positions react (or don't) to fight it out for the final laps. Webber in ~8th pitted for the options and Rosberg in 1st pitted for primes. Raikkonen questions his pit not bringing him in before this last sprint for soft tires, but it's too late now. Red Bull pit tells Webber to go for it and he's like whats my name? His last British GP would be quite memorable indeed.

Perez loses his left rear (reminiscent of practice session #2 where he experienced the first left rear failure of the weekend) on lap 46/52. He goes in for tires and ends up retiring before rejoining the field. Webber works his way through the field as promised, chases down Kimi and is now aiming for that DRS one-second gap to Rosberg with 5 laps left. Hams reaches 5th as Sutil's tires go off. Alonzo is firing through the field himself and Kimi's lack of tire change is starting to prove problematic. He's passed by Alonzo then Hams. Webber is reeling Rosberg in. Hams into 4th. Massa gets by Sutil too to snag 6th. Rosberg wins his second race of the season, Webber a close second, Alonzo third and Hamilton in fourth. The result was amazing to watch, but in the aftermath Pirelli has some questions to answer. When interviewed after the race Paul Hembrey essentially said they take the failures seriously, but can't comment until they analyze all of the data from failed tires. Given it's past the time to vote on a tire change, I think something will have to be done sooner than later. This is a major safety issue and the German GP is now upon us. Let's see what the FIA and Pirelli comes up with on Friday morning.

Enjoy your holiday weekends and drive safe.

Video courtesy of rallymedia.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Car Pron: Jaguar C-X75 hypercar - LaFerrari and McLaren P1 rival (Autocar)

Autocar experiences Jaguars latest flagship, the C-X75, being driven around Jaguar's Gaydon Proving Ground circuit. This car was debuted in international auto shows over a year ago, but hasn't been accessible to journalists until recently. As the title states the C-X75 was a concept built to be Jaguars answer to the existing hybrid hypercars, the LaFerrari and McLaren P1, but this may never become a production car due to cost.

Video courtesy of Autocar.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Quick Vid: Golf GTI Mk.VII Road Test. (CHOC)

Chris takes a Mk7 GTI out to see what it's made of.

Video courtesy of Drive.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Car Pron: BMW M5 Is Power & Speed in an Unassuming Frame (Petrolicious)

Petrolicious brings a short film on an E28M5 and it's owner. Truly inspiring upkeep of a 400k mile car; and that sound is what always keeps me a fan of BMW straight sixes.

Video courtesy of PetroliciousCo.