Friday, September 6, 2013

Wallpaper of the Week. #21

Image courtesy of AP from BGP 2013.
I guess this counts as sneak peek #2. BTW, we've received a couple questions on how to get the full-res image from our WPOTW posts. It's easy; for the newer ones just click the image and it'll route you to our original. For older posts just right-click (or two finger click on Mac) the image to 'open link in new tab/window'. You can then open the large version from our Photobucket archive then set it as your background picture. We'll be updating all previous wallpaper images to be single-clickers over the next week or so. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

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

  • Mecum Auto Auctions. Muscle Cars and More 2012. From Dallas, TX (Part 2 & 3). Thursday @ 3pm - 9pm (VelocityHD) new - replay @ 9pm
  • Formula 1 - Grand Prix of Italy; from Autodromo di Monza, Italy. Practice. Friday @ 8am - 9:30am (NBCSN(HD)) live
  • Mecum Auto Auctions. Muscle Cars and More 2012. From Dallas, TX (Part 4 & 5). Friday @ 3pm - 9pm (VelocityHD) new - replay @ 9pm
  • Formula 1 - Grand Prix of Italy; from Autodromo di Monza, Italy. Qualifying. Saturday @ 8am - 9:30am (NBCSN(HD)) live
  • Mecum Auto Auctions. Muscle Cars and More 2012. From Dallas, TX (Part 6 & 7). Saturday @ 3pm - 9pm (VelocityHD) new - replay @ 9pm
  • Formula 1 - Grand Prix of Italy; from Autodromo di Monza, Italy. Race. Sunday @ 7:30am - 10am (NBCSN(HD)) live
  • Rolex Sports Car Series. Continental Tire Sports Car Festival. From Laguna Seca raceway in California. Sunday @ 5pm - 8pm (FS1(HD)) live
  • Top Gear (UK). Marathon of past episodes. Monday @ 4pm - 11pm (BBC America/BBC America HD) great replay
  • Motorweek. 2013 Audi A8 TDI. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Top Gear America. Season 4 - Episode 2. Tuesday @ 9pm - 10pm (History Channel/History Channel HD) new
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Wet Wild and Willy's! Tuesday @ 10pm - 10:30pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Wheeler Dealers. TVR Cerbera. Wednesday @ 9pm - 10pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Patrick Dempsey: Racing Le Mans. Episode 3 - Rebirth. Wednesday @ 10pm - 11pm (VelocityHD) new
Another solid weekend of action I ahead, including Rolex at Laguna Seca, more great specials, Mecum Auto Auctions and of course the return of F1. Where we last left off...

Practice went by without much of a hitch, sunny and all. Then came the mixed conditions so familiar to Spa. Qualifying became a wet and dry affair in Q1, dryish in Q2, then the rain rolled in strong for the very beginning of Q3 after everyone queued and got driving on the initial tire warm-up lap. Paul Di Resta talked his pit into a quick pit stop; they threw him on intermediates to jump the field as they hit the garages, aiming to get a great lap in before the rain picked up in strength. This strategy appeared to be pure genius, until it dried out just minutes later at the very end of Q3. Four consecutive purple laps later, Hams took pole (again) with Vettel sharing the first row with him. This means we'll have another Mercedes on pole in 2013. Di Resta pulled off 5th spot for his efforts which still was a great spot for Force India.

On a side note word is Ferrari has given Massa this race and the next in Imola to prove his worthiness to the team. He qualified 10th just behind his teammate Alonzo, so time will tell how this shakes out. Massa still believes he has a lot in the tank regardless of where he ends up next year; he would prefer to stay put of course.

The race started of with Hamilton getting a great start, but within a handful of corners Vettel sweeps past him and pulls away like nothing. By lap 3/44 he's 2.5 seconds up. It appears the lesser use of rear wing on the Redbull is working wonders on this very top end centric track. Meanwhile, Alonzo is tearing through the field from 9th and is trying to take 5th from Button. Massa has gone backwards to 12th spot.

By lap 8 Alonzo has reached 3rd while Hams was still trying to keep within reach of Vettel. Raikkonnen's brakes are belching large clouds of black soot under load like nobody's business. It's now becoming clear who is setup for high speed and those setup for better handling and tire management (especially in the case of rain). Vettel made his softs last 15 laps, much longer than anyone else.

Alonzo passes Hams for third and doesn't give it back. Looks like the Petronas cars aren't as quick on this track as they'd like to be. Webber switches on the harder tires to see if he can't reduce his stops. Button is looking to pull a one stop, still out around lap 20. Grosjean is still out on his softs, dropping off the pace of the field a bit. Raikkonnen's front brakes give up on him while chasing Alonzo down in lap 26, the team retires his car. His consecutive streak is now broken. Also this has major implications for the championship chase, just taking the second spot not long ago.

Hams and Massa both pit their last set of tires on 27/44, hards, to finish the race. Meanwhile in mid-pack, there's a four man battle going down. On the last chicane before pit entrance Maldonado gets into the side of Di Resta and Di Resta took the worst of it; destroyed rear suspension and retired from the race. Maldonado, who t-boned Di Resta while trying to make a last second trip to the pit, actually limped it into the pit to get his front end fixed. After the stewards reviewed this incident, Maldonado was surprisingly given a 10sec stop and go penalty even through his race was already ruined. Webber comes in for softs on 30/44 and Vettel is in for his hards on the following lap.

It doesn't look like rain is coming, but there's plenty of time left for a surprise. At this point the order is Vettel, Alonzo, Button. Hams is currently in 4th and reeling Button in due to aging tires. The radar shows a couple of small clouds in the area, but none are very close...but the RedBull pit is telling Vettel to go hard to build a gap as there could be rain late. A pit stop at the end of the race could rewrite the finish on this one.

Button and his pit change from the one stop strategy, goes in for hards on 35/44 and returns to the track in 6th. Grosjean is still on a one stop strategy in 7th spot. Rosberg takes assumes 4th. Massa is slowly making this a decent race, working his way up to 7th, passing Grosjean and his old tires on lap 40/44. Vettel goes purple only to have his pit give him subtle hints to slow down a couple laps later. He has this in the bag and they don't want any surprises; in the end there were none. Alonzo has gone from 9th to 2nd, finishing the race with a sharp drift as a nod to his team and fans, effectively leap frogging Raikkonnen for 2nd spot in the Driver's Championship points. Vettel takes his first win in a few races, Hams comes in 3rd (sound familiar?), followed by Rosberg, Button and Massa.

This weekend in Italy should be a good measurement of where Massa will end up, whether Kimi can recover from this DNF and if Alonzo can continue to chase Vettel down. Additionally, can Petronas give Hams a car he needs to win in Monza, like he did last year driving for McLaren? Can Perez get McLaren on the podium for the first time this season, repeating his finish in 2012? Can Webber snag a win before he retires from F1? While the Driver's Championship seems sown up, there's still room to some movement if some bad luck spreads its way around the field. One thing is for sure, the second seat at RedBull Renault has officially been given to RedBull Torro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo. I'm sure Vettel is fine with the teams' decision. Enjoy your weekends.

Video courtesy of NARLtv.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Car Pron: Alpina B3: Perfect Road Car (Thrashed on Track) (CHOC)

Chris takes a thorough look at the newest Alpina B3, based on the 2013 BMW 335i (F30). Still haven't had the new front end grow on me, but it is rollin' twankies on rubber bands.

Video courtesy of Drive.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Quick Vid: BMW 1M Manhart Biturbo review (Autoblogger)

Autoblogger brings us a review of a tuner not very well represented here in the US; Manhart. Manhart (aka MHR) is based out of Germany and happens to make tuned versions of late model BMW's, including M-cars that utilize turbocharging. This review is of Manharts' BMW 1M.

Video courtesy of Autoblogger.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Baltimore Grand Prix 2013: Sneak Peek #1

This past weekends Baltimore Grand Prix was quite the three day adventure. The sun was shining, not a drop of rain to speak unlike last year and the sun was beaming. Did I mention it was warm? Our sweat and pain is your gain. We're working to get a few thousand things edited to share with you all along with a forthcoming official article per usual. In the meantime, thanks for sharing our posts and articles with your friends and hitting our website on a daily basis. You all, our readership, help showcase worthiness to get access to more major events and should continue to pay off in terms of your entertainment.


Image courtesy of AP from BGP2013

Motorsport Workshop: KRÜGSPEED Lotus - How 'Fast' Happens Part 1 (Shakedown)

Leo Parente visits Limerock Park to bring us a look at an Lotus Elise SCCA track car built by an outfit called Krügspeed. He's also out to show you what makes 'fast' on a road course. Let's see what ya still got old man.

Video courtesy of Drive.