Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Jim Hall would be proud! How to turn your M3 into a Chaparral

I'm not sure what series still allows for movable aerodynamic devices, but if you happen to compete in a series that does I'd recommend checking out this wing from Aeromotions. It adjusts wing angle for both left and right sections of the wing depending on g-load and speed. If the results are accurate it could shave seconds off your lap times. In this video the difference between no wing and the active wing is more than 2 seconds faster for the active wing.

If you ever wanted to drive a Chaparral or just want to go faster, you may want to give Aeromotions a serious look.

Monday, December 28, 2009

NASCAR returns to Road America - NASCAR meet Right turns and cheese.

For the first time since 1956 it looks like the no-wiper, solid-axle and carburetor gang will be holding a national-series race at Road America. Thanks to AutoJava for the tip.


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 21, 2009) – NASCAR announced today that it will continue its 17-year streak of racing on a national-series level in Wisconsin with the addition of the historic Road America course to its 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule.

The Road America 200 at the 4.048-mile, 14-turn track located in Elkhart Lake, Wis., replaces the event previously scheduled at the Milwaukee Mile and will be run on Saturday, June 19. “We’re excited to be staying in Wisconsin and racing in front of the passionate fans there at a historic venue that’s new to our NASCAR Nationwide Series,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s vice president of racing operations.

While Road America is new to the NASCAR Nationwide Series, it’s not the first time NASCAR has raced there. On Aug. 12, 1956, Tim Flock won the only other NASCAR national series race, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, at the then one-year-old track. In 2001, current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver – and Eau Claire, Wis. native – Paul Menard won there in the former NASCAR Re/Max Challenge Series.

“It’s a really great race track,” Menard said. “It’s in a very picturesque setting in the Wisconsin countryside. It has every kind of corner you can imagine. When I was a kid, my dad would take me to Road America. The fans love it there.

“By the second practice, I’m sure everyone will be up to speed because the drivers are so good in the Nationwide Series. Braking will be the hardest aspect. Strategy will play a big part in this race. I’m really excited about (the series) running there.”

Road America will be the third road course on the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule. The series also will race at Watkins Glen International and at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. As recently as the 2007-08 seasons, the NASCAR Nationwide Series also had three road courses on its schedule, racing at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City in addition to The Glen and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
“Road America is a very unique track that will provide great racing and will test driver skill and ability on what is a very large course,” said Joe Balash, director of the NASCAR Nationwide Series. “And yes, we’ll be prepared to race in the rain if necessary,” he said, in reference to the series’ last two races in wet weather in Montreal. The 2008 event was the first NASCAR national series points race contested in the rain.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Scuderia

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Everyone!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Michael is Back - Schumacher to return to F1 in 2010

So it's official, Michael Schumacher will drive for Mercedes F1 in 2010. He's the interview right from the horse's mouth.

Monday, December 21, 2009

It doesn't SUCK - Block vs. Pastrana - Game of SUCK highlights

These two deserve an award for creative use of paintballs in a short film. Brilliant!

(via DC Shoes)

Friday, December 18, 2009

VIR Summer Slam - NASA GTS4 - Bryan Watts

Some great action from NASA Summer Slam at VIR, these are taken from the great Bryan Watts' GTS4 BMW M3. Some great action and great driving Bryan and Derek Schwartz. Enjoy!

(via Bryan Watts and Vimeo)
Part 1 of the GTS4 Sunday sprint race. Derek Schwarz (#815 white Porsche) and I traded positions 4 times, hanging out on each others bumpers for most of the race. A last lap pass at the end of the back straight into the top of roller coaster decided the winner.

It is interesting to see the differences between Derek's lighter car and our heavier, more powerful car (313 rwhp and 2760 in GTS4 trim). Derek seemed to have an advantage out of the hole and in braking while our car seemed better at the end of the straights and in the high speed corners. This was also the first weekend I've run R-comps on our car in 9 years...the "slicks" setup resulted in some interesting oversteer as the race went on.


Part 2 of the GTS4 Sunday sprint race. Derek Schwarz (#815 white Porsche) and I traded positions 4 times, hanging out on each others bumpers for most of the race. A last lap pass at the end of the back straight into the top of roller coaster decided the winner.

It is interesting to see the differences between Derek's lighter car and our heavier, more powerful car (313 rwhp and 2760 in GTS4 trim). Derek seemed to have an advantage out of the hole and in braking while our car seemed better at the end of the straights and in the high speed corners. This was also the first weekend I've run R-comps on our car in 9 years...the "slicks" setup resulted in some interesting oversteer as the race went on.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Car Porn Deluxe-" Sturm und Drang"edition - Clash Productions Promo

Another genius effort at capturing motor racing from the folks at Clash Productions. As per always, a gorgeous views and terrific sounds. Enjoy!

It's not just the sexy name that confuses me...

So, I give you the BMW Z4 sDrive35is, (remember when you could just say M Roadster?) , possible the most confused car, in both name and part list, available for sale today. Say it out loud, Z4 sDrive35is, it makes the Qvale Mangusta sound sexy.

If you can look past the name,(good luck) then, try to reconcile it's non M-badged flanks with the high number of M-badged parts, although remember this is not an M-car, nor is there to be an M-version of the Z4. More power under the hood, twin-clutch drive, and a sexy convertible top, but for some reason I'm still just not feeling it. What are your thoughts?


Monday, November 30, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Car Porn Deluxe-" Falken-er"edition - Go-Pro HD around Laguna Seca

Some great HD footage around Laguna Seca in the Falken Tires Porsche 911GT3 RSR shot with the new GoPro Hero cam HD. I think that the Scuderia needs to pick one up for next year's track season. Enjoy!

Jenson signs with McLaren - Six Million Pounds for Car #1

It's funny how much McLaren is willing to pay for a #1 and #2 on their cars in 2010. Everyone's best guess is about 6 Million Pounds per year. Too bad that between Jenson and Lewis they only tend to win races in the beginning of the season (when they have the technical edge) as opposed to the end of the season. What do you think? Is this pairing the next Prost/Senna or is it Alonso/Piquet?



Car Porn Deluxe-"Balls of Steel"edition - Lotus Elise Racing

I'm often impressed with how close the competition is within a spec racing series. Similar cars and driver skill levels keep the racing close and the cars stacked up. This short clip of spec-Elise racing action shows what it takes to get to the front of the field, when everyone shows up with the same car. I think that the short-answer here is "balls of steel". Enjoy!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Top Gear Season 14 - Convertible Supercars Driven - James May Crashes a Lambo in Romania

Season 14 Episode 1. Enjoy!

UPDATE - Part 6 Restored!


Part1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Car Porn Deluxe - "Fast guy in a Fast car" edition - Mike Skeen in a 996

So we've seen Mike Skeen in Spec e30's, regular e30 325's and Pontiac Solstices giving clinics to other drivers on the fastest way around the track. This time Mike shows us (and the car's owner) what this 996 car do around CMP. Enjoy!

BMW M3 GTS - Part 2 - In Motion

Starting to want one...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

BMW M3 GTS - Quick teaser video

From BMW

2010 BMW M3 GTS - The Perfect BMW track car if you have 115,000euro and don't live in the USA.






Confirming months of rumors and photographic evidence, BMW M GmbH has released photos and details of it's newest M model the 2010 BMW M3 GTS. Adding racing hardware and lightness to the current M3 chassis, the track-ready M3 GTS should be better able to keep up with more serious hardware on a racetrack, including BMW's obvios bogey, the Porsche GT3 Clubsport.

Unfortunately, there are no current plans to bring this car to the US, and based on BMW's past history around limited production models, (M3 CSL) I would say that it's a pretty safe bet that the only place a US citizen will see one in the United States is in a magazine.

(via NetCarShow.com)

With the BMW M3 GTS, BMW M GmbH now offers a truly outstanding performer based on the BMW M3 Coupé also ideal for Clubsport events - exactly the right car for the truly discerning customer demanding the very utmost in terms of power and performance. The BMW M3 GTS is largely hand-built by the most skilled craftsmen at BMW M GmbH as a perfectly harmonised package of outstanding modifications, with production exclusively to the customer's personal order. Focused on motorsport, the modifications comprise both the drivetrain, the suspension and the body of the car, as well as its interior. Market launch of the BMW M3 GTS will be in spring 2010.

Offering this truly exclusive model for the genuine motorsport enthusiast, BMW M GmbH is continuing a great tradition introduced on former generations of the BMW M3. Once again, the outstanding sports potential of the BMW M3 is being consistently enhanced and upgraded to an even higher level, the customer benefiting from the Company's wide range of know-how in the development and production of racing cars. Through its race-oriented modifications enhancing both performance and safety, the BMW M3 GTS is ready to go in Clubsport events on the track and comes with the option for homologation on the road. So that the driver is able to make his way to the race track in the very same car he will use for racing.

Consistent lightweight construction, adjustable aerodynamic units, an increase in engine size and output on the V8 high-speed power unit and suspension technology meeting all the requirements of motorsport - all this gives the BMW M3 GTS a top position among high-performance cars built for Clubsport racing. Unladen weight according to the DIN standard is less than 1,500 kg (3,300 lb), the lightweight body comes with special mounts for six-point seat belts and a rollcage fitted behind the B-pillar.

Through its design and construction, the materials used and its special equipment, the BMW M3 GTS is a lightweight performer all the way, offering a genuine motorsport driving experience in every respect. In addition to the carbon fibre roof already featured as standard on the BMW M3, weight is consistently optimised by features such as silencers made of titanium, the extra-light centre console and door linings, the omission of rear seats, automatic air conditioning and an audio system, as well as sound insulation tailored specifically to this very special model.

V8 high-speed power unit: derived from motorsport, optimised for motorsport.

The eight-cylinder power unit of the BMW M3 GTS enlarged in size to 4.4 litres and boosted in output to some 450 hp boasts construction principles and technical details carried over directly from motorsport. A supreme surge of ongoing power throughout a wide range of engine speed characterises the outstanding performance of the V8 with its high-speed concept. The features typical of a motorsport engine include the crankcase made of a special aluminium-silicon alloy and constructed in bedplate design, individual throttle butterflies, anti-knock sensors with ion flow technology, and, wet sump oil supply optimised for supreme driving dynamics.

Seven-speed M DKG Drivelogic with race-bred gearshift.

Power is transmitted in the BMW M3 GTS by the M double-clutch gearbox with Drivelogic also available as an option on the regular production model. This seven-speed M DKG Drivelogic gearbox follows a principle also developed for motorsport, shifting gears without the slightest interruption of engine power. The transmission was developed specifically for a particularly powerful high-speed engine and offers ideal qualities for truly dynamic acceleration at all times. The gearshift characteristics on the seven-speed M DKG Drivelogic have been tailored specifically to the modified power unit of the BMW M3 GTS and the driver is able to shift gears both through the selector lever on the centre console and through special M shift paddles on the steering wheel.

High-performance suspension with purpose-built brakes.

To convey the supreme power of the engine to the road in equally supreme style even under the most extreme conditions, the BMW M3 GTS comes with suspension technology likewise derived from the highest realms of motorsport. While the suspension is based on the front and rear axle of the BMW M3 Coupé, the rear axle subframe is bolted firmly in position and the suspension features adjustment threads on the dampers for individual variation of the inbound and rebound strokes.

The high-performance brake system of the BMW M3 GTS features fixed callipers with six pistons up front and four pistons on the rear wheels. The race-oriented set-up of DSC Dynamic Stability Control naturally considers the supreme dynamic potential of the BMW M3 GTS. Different-sized tyres front and rear running on 19-inch M light-alloy Competition rims in double-spoke design ensure optimum transmission of acceleration and brake forces to the road.

Aerodynamics: optimised components with variable geometry.

To optimise the flow of air and adjust the car's downforce as required, the BMW M3 GTS comes with a race-oriented front air dam and rear wing. This allows appropriate adjustment of the car's aerodynamic qualities in motorsport and for other purposes, tailored to the specific profile of the respective track. The air guidance units on the front air dam, for example, may be varied in their geometry, just like the position of the rear wing based on the wing already featured on the BMW 320si raced in the WTCC World Touring Car Championship.

Exterior features such as the BMW kidney grille and the gills at the side finished in chrome on the regular BMW M3 come in special dark eloxy-plated chrome on the BMW M3 GTS.

Special interior for supreme performance and safety.

The interior of the BMW M3 GTS clearly reflects the focus on supreme performance and safety on the race track. The interior features include classic bucket seats, interior trim in carbon and an M steering wheel finished in alcantara. The door and side panels at the rear also come in alcantara, while six-point seat belts delivered with the car for subsequent use, a fire extinguisher and preparation for an emergency-off switch in motorsport round off the wide range of special features inside the car.

Car Porn Deluxe- "Double Special Edition" Edition - New Porsche Boxster Spyder

Calling this latest Porsche special edition the Boxster Spyder, feels a little like when VW came out with the Cabrio Convertible, but like most things manufactured in Austria and marketed by Stuttgart, I'm sure they'll sell a bunch of them. Dentists need cars too ya know!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Least surprising newsflash ever- Toyota leaves F1 !

In one of the most predictable news stories of the racing year, Toyota has announced that they are departing the F1 scene in 2009. After spending $400M a year without a win,Toyota has decided to stop lining Bernie's pockets with gold on what is becoming the most boring, controversy laden spec series in the world. Bon Vonyage Toyota.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Car Porn Deluxe -"I'd like to live there" edition - BMW e92 M3

Gee...when I slide around corners my wife just looks pissed! No the case in this video fantasy from, wait for it, BanditoGarage . Enjoy!

Internet Forum Debate Over - We finally have pictorial evidence that Bolt-in cages can fail, catastrophically.






Found these photos of a 5.0 Mustang and Super Fords Magazine's December 2009 cover car leaping over the fence at the Hallet Circuit in Oklahoma. Surprisingly the real story isn't that a car with a ton of brake and suspension mods apparently can't slow-down or turn, it's that as we have been cautioned about multiple internet forums, bolt-in roll bars may in fact punch through the floor of the car in a roll-over crash. In this case it was 10 inches of an Autopower bar that came through on both sides of the car.

So before your next flame-baiting knock down drag out fight on this forum poisoning topic, remember these photos and have some plates welded to the bottom of your bolt-in roll bar.

(via Jalopnik)


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Car Porn Deluxe - "$80,000 Point-by " Edition - Mike Skeen Gives a Clinic

Came across this excellent video showing how a truly skilled driver car make a car faster. Mike is piloting Jason Franklin's e36 325i, and as you can see from the video is running down cars with significant advantages in traction and power. Thanks for the video and the lesson Mr. Skeen. Bravo!

Car Porn Deluxe - "Supra-er" Edition - The Lexus LF-A


At an asking pricing of $400,000, I might have suggested that they call it the LmFAo. And while the specs are impressive,

* 4.8-liter 72-degree V10 putting out 560 hp at 8,700 RPM (that's 116.5 hp/liter) and 354 lb.-ft. of torque at 6,800 RPM
* Redline: 9,000 RPM
* Titanium valves, connecting rods, forged aluminum pistons, dry sump lubrication and a tita
nium exhaust manifold
* Six-speed sequential gearbox
* Torsen limited slip differential
* 3,263 pounds with a 48/52 front-to-rear weight distribution
* Power-to-weight ratio of 5.8 pounds/hp
* 65 percent of the body is carbon fiber
* 20-inch BBS wheels wrapped in 265/35 ZR20 Bridgestone tires in front and 305/30 ZR20 in the rear.
* 0-62 MPH (100 km/h) in 3.7 seconds
* Top speed of 201.94 MPH
* Production limited to 500 units


I just can't see how many folks will want to sign-up for Ferrari 599 performance and price, with the cache of Lexus.

Enjoy?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Car Porn Deluxe - "Cool, but's its not coming here" edition - BMW e92 M3 CSL / GT4 Prototype

Although BMW's M Division is reluctant to confirm the existence of a e92-bodied M3 CSL / GT4 program, the short video below would lead me to believe that BMW is serious about producing a track day version of their 3800 lbs GT car. While I'd love to see BMW get serious and provide a GT car that car carry four R-comp tires to a track day and then give reasonable chase to a Porsche GT-3, my guess is that BMW is just trying not to get too much sand kicked in it's face by the upcoming Audi RS4/RS5.

Only time will tell. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Scuderia back on track - Bratwurst and Snowtire Edition- Badger Bimmer's Oktoberfast

The Scuderia finished up the 2009 Midwestern track season with a three-day home stand at the friendly confines of Road America in lovely Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The Badger Bimmers Fall event is know to attract drivers from around the region and from across the country to this extremely friendly and well-run HPDE. While this event is traditionally held in September, schedule fallout from the SCCA run-offs, as well as a planned BMWCCA national Octoberfest planned for 2010 contributed to a shift in dates to the second weekend in October.

Historically this weekend treats us to temps in the mid 60's to low 70's with lots of Autumn sun. This wasn't the case this year with hotel parking lot temps ranging between 32 and 28 degrees welcoming us to the Dairy State, and variable snow showers testing the fortitude of the drivers, corner workers, and safety crews throughout the day on Saturday.

One thing that makes this weekend worth the trip (aside from a great breakfast at The All-Season Restaurant with the corner workers) is the wide range of metal that shows up for this event. This year there were some of the usual suspects (for this event) Ferrari 333sp, a handful of race prepared Corvettes, a Porsche Cup Car, multiple Porsche Turbos, and Prepared M3's, but this year they were joined by a Radical SR3, Viper ACR and Porsche GT-2 (in black/orange RS colors )

The weekend ended with a minimum of incidents, given the prevailing weather conditions, with all of the Scuderia able to drive off and/or able to mount a trailer on their own power. Looking forward to seeing you at Road America in 2010. Maybe you too can get some experience with the snow-line, or find out what slicks are like in the snow at 140mph, its worth the trip.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Renault Guarantees Pole in 2010 - Signs Robert Kubica as Alonso's Replacement


While it appears that the 2009 Silly Season in Formula 1 started in March this year, the number of confirmed drivers for 2010 just increased by one with the Renault F1 Team's signing of Robert Kubica. Based on the press releases that have been circling it appears as though Robert Kubica's contract with Renault in for one year only, not surprising in a sport where the remaining manufacturer-based teams keep a clear path to the exit just in case the share-holders get nervous about the F1 budget.

The move to Renault is actually a return for Robert who started his F1 career with a Renault test session before being snapped up by BMW-Sauber. Hopefully Robert finds the 2010 Renault more to his liking than the 2009 BMW-Sauber, which combined with some of his ambitious passing maneuvers has netted him only 9 points so far this year.

Best of luck Robert, anyone that can take the kind of hit that he did in Montreal in 2007 and return to racing cars is one of the few bright spots in Formula 1 today.


Car Porn Deluxe - "Snow-Shoe Edition" - Porsches and White Powder and it's not even Miami

As someone who mounts up the snow tires on his M3 and chugs through the Chicago winters, I truly respect and admire Porsche for shaming those who park their cars in inclement weather. Cars are meant to be driven, and with some decent winter tires and a little talent it can even be fun. Enjoy!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Car Porn Deluxe - 1963 SCCA USRRC Championship at Road America

Some amazing footage of the 4.01 mile wonder that is Road America from the days before ARMCO barriers, harnesses or proper helmets. Some great Elva, Porsche and Cobra action as well from Bob Holbert, Ken Miles and Augie Pabst. Enjoy!

(via William Stenson and Jalopnik)

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tribute to Attilio Bottega in Anticipation of The Discovery Channel HD carrying the WRC tonight at 8PM est

Attention WRC fans in the USA, the Discovery Channel HD Theater will be showing the Rally of Ireland tonight at 7pm CST/8pm EST. While The Discovery Channel will be showing 4 hours of rally racing action as a lead up to to the action, we thought that it would be fun to serve up some rally action from the salad days of rally racing with a tribute to one of the masters, Attilio Bottega. Enjoy!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Grand Am Koni Challenge -Turner Motorsports' M3 at Miller Motorsports Park w/ Joey Hand

Awesome dusk battle between the Turner Motorsports e46 M3 piloted by Joey Hand and a smattering of Porsche 911's, and an e92 M3. Nice work Joey!

Friday, September 25, 2009

2009 SCCA National Championships at Road America









View it live here!





It should be an exciting weekend.


NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACES
ALL RACES 13 LAPS OR 40 MIN., WHICHEVER ELAPSES FIRST.
RACE TIMES ARE GREEN FLAG TIMES.


FRI 9/25 SAT 9/26 SUN 9/27
8:30 GTL T3/SSB FE
9:30 CSR FM GT2
10:30 T2 SM F500
11:30 S2 SRF HP
LUNCH
1:30 AS FV FF
2:30 SSC T1 GT1
3:30 FP FC DSR
4:30 FA GT3 EP


Monday, September 21, 2009

New Evidence in Crashgate Probe

I can see why the FIA took the actions that they did...they evidence looks indisputable!

(via Syrax @ Jalopnik)


Briatore Banned ! Renault and Pat Symonds Suspended for Two Years and Five Years!

So Flavio is out, sentenced to a life of billionaire excess with his super-model wife. Pat Symonds and Renault were banned for 5 years and two years respectively, but as Renault had the good sense to push Flavio and Symonds onto their own swords, their ban is suspended. As for Nelson Piquet Jr., the man who never was, he will need to be content with the knowledge that he took the cowards' way out...twice.

This lifetime ban is the harshest ever handed out in the sport of motor-racing, and "Crash gate" is the latest blemish in a sport and series that truly has lost it's way. Even after all that, I'm still surprised that a room full of people think that Nelson Piquet Jr. had the car control skills to crash at will.

I thought that the article below was an interesting take on the matter.

(via the Independent.ie)

So Renault F1 will not contest the allegations against them of race-fixing during last year's Singapore Grand Prix. Team boss Flavio Briatore and engineering director Pat Symonds beat a hasty exit once they knew the game was up. For Renault, after all their years in F1, they end up with their valuable name and the word 'cheating' juxtaposed. It is a public relations nightmare.

The highly regarded CEO of Renault, Carlos Ghosn, whose sobriquet is 'Le Cost Killer', said they will not act irrationally in advance of the hearing by the FIA tomorrow. That roughly translates as 'this is the perfect opportunity to exit the sport'. Not only is it a get out of financial jail card, but with Renault's name tainted, they need to keep a low profile. Whether the manufacturer leaves of its own volition, or gets forced out by the FIA, remains to be seen.

It is inconceivable that their F1 lieutenants should have jeopardised Renault's reputation with such an outlandish plan to get one team-mate, Nelson Piquet Jnr, to deliberately crash out in order to help another team-mate, Fernando Alonso, win the race. That is taking race strategy beyond the pale.

Briatore forced this young driver to effectively hold a gun to his head in a game of Russian roulette and in doing so the Renault F1 boss lost all rationale and perspective. To treat people with such contempt, especially when they are already out there risking their lives, is pernicious.

Eddie Irvine doesn't see it like that and believes the whole thing has been blown out of proportion. "F1 has always been a war, and in war all is fair. When I was in various teams, you would do anything to win. In those days it was normal."

Well, when you enter the world of F1 you make a pact with the devil, but even Satan would raise an eyebrow at the tactics employed by Briatore.

It is also incredible that Piquet should accede to such a demand. When it was pointed out to him on a map of the circuit which part would be the most opportunistic to crash out, did he not say: 'You are asking me to crash into a wall and possibly kill myself, are you f****** crazy?'

There is also a conflict of interest. Flavio Briatore was not only his boss but also his manager. Piquet was hanging onto his drive by the skin of his teeth. Briatore put him in an impossible position -- do as I say or you're out. It is said that Briatore is regarded in the paddock with a mixture of fear, suspicion and envy. Sounds like he earned his spurs.

Was Flavio so naive as to think Piquet wouldn't go straight to the FIA with his little secret when he failed to renew the Brazilian's contract? So far we've had blackmail, threats of lawsuits and counter-threats. But Briatore sealed his own fate. The flamboyant 59-year-old Italian had become more famous for being in the gossip columns than for his day job. He had more supermodels than you could shake a carrot at. He had so many fingers in so many pies he'd run out of digits.

Apart from his Renault gig and managing the careers of Mark Webber and Heikki Kovalainen, he'd been hanging out on Billionaire's Boulevard, co-buying Queen's Park Rangers with Bernie Ecclestone and Lakshmi Mittal. He owns The Billionaire Club in Sardinia and Monte Carlo. He has a posh London restaurant, a nightclub and a Kenyan estate 'Lion under the Sun', frequented by Bono.

Last year he took time out to marry his girlfriend, a 29-year-old wonderbra model, though what first attracted her to the would-be-billionaire is not known. At least Flavio can now spend more time on his $68m super-yacht banishing his billionaire blues.

It wasn't all plain sailing for this self-made high-achiever. Back in the 1970s, he was an assistant to an Italian businessman who was later mysteriously killed by a car bomb, which had nothing to do with Briatore, but around the same time he was sentenced in the Italian courts to four and a half years in prison for fraud. He fled to a Caribbean island and that was the end of that.

Meeting Luciano Benetton when he worked at the Italian stock exchange was a watershed moment. He became a director of Benetton's US division and subsequently took over the reins of Benetton F1.

He pinched Michael Schumacher from under Eddie Jordan's nose and the German went on to win two drivers' titles in 1994 and '95 and gave Benetton their first constructors' championship in '95. In 2000, Renault purchased the Benetton team and Flavio's new charge, Fernando Alonso, won two drivers' and two constructors' championships.

Briatore fired Jenson Button in favour of Alonso and back then he commented: "Time will tell if I am wrong." Eddie Jordan and Briatore were close. They both enjoyed the partying and razzmatazz of F1. Flavio, in a show of friendship, once offered Eddie and his family the use of his Kenyan retreat. Eddie duly accepted and enjoyed the hospitality in the wonderful surroundings of this fabulous facility. Meanwhile, back in the UK, Briatore, it is alleged, worked overtime luring a sponsor away from Jordan. By the time Eddie returned from the holiday, the sponsor had switched teams. There are not many who can boast of pulling the wool over EJ's eyes.

In the 1980s, when there was a bomb scare close to where he lived in London, it turned out the IRA had abandoned a bomb outside his house.

Piquet described Briatore as his executioner, but it turned out to be the other way round. So after an illustrious career in F1, Briatore faces an uncertain future. He always said he didn't want to spend his dotage in F1 so he got what he wanted, albeit earlier than expected.

Next weekend we re-visit the scene of last year's crime, the Singapore Grand Prix. Remember it's a night race and the drivers' body clocks will have to adjust to strange racing times in a foreign time-zone. They will try to keep European hours which means eating dinner at 5am, a challenge in itself. The inaugural race proved a resounding success last year and the floodlit setting looked spectacular.

It's a pity there's a scent of scandal hanging over it. Though that's the least of their worries; the smog haze that has enveloped their city is a more immediate problem and one they hope will have gone by the weekend.

Brawn's Button and Barrichello will be fighting tooth and nail as their battle gets personal. Barrichello seems to be in the ascendancy having won again in Monza, while the money is on Button. But since it's Singapore, maybe it should be a case of 'all bets are off'.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Car Porn Deluxe - "okay I get it already" edition - Ferrai 458 Italia Official Video

A "track mouse" versus "country mouse" exhibition of the Ferrari 458 Italia. I know which one I would vote for. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Scuderia On Track - Porsche contingent @ TRAC 2009 DE/club race




I spent the Labor Day weekend at Road America for the Chicago Region PCA's TRAC DE and club race. It was a busy weekend from Friday to Monday, with DE sessions on all days mixed with test and tune for club racers on Friday, sprint races on Sunday, and the enduro races on Monday. Saturday evening there was a concours in front of Siebkens. 356 luv after the jump:





TRAC concours photos

BTW, the silver speedster is for sale if anyone is interested!


Here are some pics mostly from the Enduro race on Monday:

If you look closely at the one of the pictures of the pack heading toward turn 5, you will see a red Cayman pace car. I didnt drive on Monday because I had volunteered to be the "communicator" in the pace car, which basically means sitting in the passenger seat and relaying the pace car drivers response to the race steward. 30 minutes before the race start, we went to pick up the car that had been volunteered and found that it was leaving early with its owner. So, I volunteered my car for the day. The closest I have gotten to club racing so far!

Here are some video clips taken from various points around the track of the Yellow enduro group race. The camera is hand held so it is a bit shaky at times.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

An (Old) Man's Dream Comes True - Fisichella to Ferrari for 2009


So it looks like Giancarlo Fisichella is having the best week ever...Pole at Spa with Force India, followed by a Podium at Spa with that same Force India, and now he is joining Ferrari for the remainder of the 2009 Season.

This should be good news for the Tifosi, based on how Fisi challenged Kimi for position for most of the race, in his non-KERS equipped Force India-Mercedes. In the same car, Fisi will likely give the Finn some much needed competition.

Of course this news puts to rest any opportunity to see Michael Schumacher back in an Ferrari F1 car, so maybe Michael's neck injury was worse than reported. Full story below.

It as been confirmed this afternoon that Giancarlo Fisichella has been released from his contract with Force India to join Ferrari for the remainder of the season, starting next weekend with the Italian Grand Prix.

“I am very grateful to Vijay Mallya for allowing me this opportunity to drive for the Scuderia Ferrari,” said Fisichella. “It is true that it has always been an ambition to do this, and for Vijay [Mallya] to have allowed it to become a reality is very generous. I hope in my turn I have helped Force India grow up and be on the right path to achieve their own ambitions. They are now a very competitive team and I wish them all the very best.”

With Felipe Massa, currently recovering from injuries sustained in Hungary, out of action for the remainder of the season and test veteran Badoer failing to shine at both Valencia and Spa Francorchamps, the Italian team were left with little alternative other than to look elsewhere for the remainder of the season.

"Giancarlo and his management team approached me yesterday with the proposal from Ferrari," stated Force India team principal Vijay Mallya. "For any Italian driver, a Ferrari race seat is a long-held dream and for Giancarlo it was no exception. No one should stand in the way of this.

"Furthermore the agreement will secure Giancarlo's long-term future with Ferrari and it would be incorrect to jeopardise this, particularly when Giancarlo has made such a vital contribution to Force India.

"

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali was keen to praise the outgoing Badoer as well as welcoming Fisichella to the Italian team.

“We have chosen Fisichella because we can expect him to make a valuable contribution in this final part of the season,” said Domenicali. “Giancarlo has shown, throughout his long career that he is fast and competitive and we are therefore proud to be able to run an Italian driver in our home race.”

For Badoer, his final two Grand Prix were something of a ‘thank you’ from Ferrari for his long standing service to the team as test driver. "We wish to thank Luca Badoer for the team spirit he demonstrated in these circumstances," said Domenicali. "It is a shame he was unable to show his true worth in these last two races, tackled under conditions which anyone would have found difficult.”

Ferrari is third in the constructors’ championship and heading to its home race at Monza and will be looking to extend their 12 points cushion over the recovering McLaren Mercedes team.

Force India is expected to promote test driver Tonio Liuzzi to the race team in place of Fisichella with an announcement “in the coming days”.

Here's the proof in the pudding...Fisi's qualifying lap at Spa.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Duck is Back and Madder than Hell - Porsche Limited Edition 911 Sport Classic.





This may appear to be shameless pandering to wealthy Porsche collectors that haven't been able to find a RS 2.7 for their own personnal collection, and likely it is just that. But I have to say that Porsche appears to have created a thing of beauty by adding the ugly duckling's tail to their current wide-body 911 chasis. Some will call this an attempt by Porsche to help boost flagging sales, which is true no-doubt. But listen to the exhaust note of the race-bred 3.8 from the video and tell me that you don't want one. Even just a little?

(VIA Motorauthority)
A legend is back. Porschetoday unveiled a modern interpretation of its legendary 1973 Carrera RS 2.7, complete with a 'ducktail' spoiler and ‘Fuchs-style’ custom alloy wheels. The new car is called the 911 Sport Classic and it’s set to grace the automaker’s stand at this month’sFrankfurt auto show.

The latest model will be limited to just 250 units worldwide when it goes on sale early next year and both right- and left-hand-drive models will be available.

Other unique elements of the car include its 'double bubble' roof, similar to the design seen on the Carrera GT supercar and some of Porsche’s racing cars, as well as a new front spoiler, bi-xenon headlamps with black surrounds and the Sport Chrono Package Plus.

Although based on the Carrera S, the 911 Sport Classic gets the 44 mm wider body of the Carrera 4S and a 400 horsepower version of the legendary 3.8-liter flat-six engine. The extra power is courtesy of a new intake and engine management system, as well as modified cylinder heads.

There is also the new variable-resonance intake system, featuring six vacuum-controlled flaps that optimize the oscillation of air in the intake manifold for a better cylinder charge. This ensures there is the perfect amount of air in the combustion chamber at all times to optimize torque, which peaks at 310 pound-feet at 4,200 rpm.

The end result is a 0-62 mph time of just 4.6 seconds and a top speed of 187 mph. Other modifications include a 20 mm suspension lowering kit, a limited-slip differential, and carbon-ceramic brakes.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Mike Skeen at Road Atlanta - e36 M3

The Scuderia always enjoys an opportunity to watch Mike Skeen pilot a car around a track. It's a double payoff when it's an M3 and a nationally known and well liked track like Road Atlanta. I love the way he casually cuts through the field. Nice Work Mike.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Track Addicts Rejoice - Porsche Announces 2010 GT3 Cup




Introducing the 2010 Porsche Gt-3 Cup, which will debut at the 2009 Frankfurt auto show. Wearing a wing likely designed by Airbus, but sharing most body panels and engine with the 2010 GT3RS the Porsche 911 Gt-3 Cup offers a factory built race-ready version of the current 997 chassis. So for the bargain basement price of $215,000 (probably less than you will be able to buy a GT-3RS from a dealer) you will be able to order this plutonium-grade track weapon directly from Porsche.

Any takers?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Scuderia On Track @ Putnam Park - The Aftermath

We were at Putnam Park last weekend with the Windy City BMWCCA. Aside from some clouds, the cool weather was quite a welcome break from the usual 90 degree August temperatures.

I have some video from the 2007 Putnam DE, which was my first time on the track with the Cayman and my second HPDE. I had been at Road America in April of that year with my wife's E90 BMW 330. I had fun at RA with the BMW, but I didnt get hooked until I got out there with the Cayman.









This is some video from the 2nd session on Sunday:













During this 2 year descent into track addiction, I have lowered the car with Bilstein PSS9s and put in some Racetech seats w/ 6 pt. harnesses. I have avoided doing any engine related mods. I am running Nitto NT-01 tires.

From my advanced video analysis, it looks like I am doing about 1:23-1:25 laps. According to Trackpedia, I am about as fast as a Spec Pinata or 944. I guess I have more work to do :) Maybe time for a Traqmate and Hoosiers?