Friday, January 30, 2009

2009 Toyota F1 - Testing the "make it or break it" TF109

Toyota has finally gotten around to posting some video of their testing the "make or break" TF109.

I think the video is brilliant as it captures the spirit of Toyota's F1 program to date - it's two/thirds about them getting ready, and 1/3 about driving the car!

Lamborghini Gallardo 560 LP-4 in the snow

Great video of Tiff Needell  wringing out a gorgeous electric green Lamborghini Gallardo 560 LP-4 in the snow with traction control off.  Definitely not recommended for mere mortals.  


Thursday, January 29, 2009

2010 Porsche GT3- there is no substitute!

Okay so here it is. . . Center lock wheels, 435hp from a larger 3.8L of displacement flat 6, an updated VarioCam system that adjusts both the intake and the exhaust valves . The end result is a 0-100km/h sprint time of 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 312km/h. Need I say more.

Monday, January 26, 2009

American LeMans Series 2009 - Sebring testing

So if I understand the final list of attendees there will be no one in LMP1, as Audi has pulled out, (although its unclear if the new Aston LMP1 car will come to the states to test for LeMans.)

Acura and will be the only major player in LMP2, (with maybe a Dyson Mazda entry).

GT1 will be unoccupied, (except for maybe the  LISTA Maserati MC12 that shows up on occasion).

The real excitement will be in GT2, with the return of the BMW M3, the newly launched Porsche GT3 RSR and Corvette now competing with an actual Corvette, (not the Pratt and Miller beast disguised to look like a Vette) and Ferrari F430’s.  

Although I am very sad to see the current M3's in white instead of team PTG colors, it is nice to see BMW back in the series.  I wonder how long it will be be until Tom Milner dumps the Panoz's and finds his way back to Munich's finest.

From what I have read of the current Sebring testing, (although very early) there should be some fantastically close racing action in GT3. Thanks to SpeedTv for the Winter testing photos.

Congratulations to Turner Motorsports - Auberlen/Bell in their win at Daytona

Congratulations to Turner Motorsports for their win in the  Grand-Am Koni Sports Car Challenge race at Daytona Speedway. Bill Auberlen and Matt Bell brought home the first ever Koni Challenge win ever for a BMW M3 at Daytona Speedway which has generally favored higher horsepower or more aerodynamic cars. The Speed Channel's broadcast of this race will be this Saturday, January 31, at 4:00pm ET.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

VW Fun Cup

Do you want a tube-frame, mid-engine, purpose built race car with a body designed by Porsche, center mounted seat, and full areo for 35K?

Welcome to the VW fun cup. Complete with a coil-over suspension, steel wheels, a VW/Audi 2.0liter 150hp engine and full safety equipment, not to mention a fuel cell and easy to replace composite body work, the Fun Cup car makes for a stout, cost-effective package. Not the fastest car around a track, but a great safe way to experience close racing action at some the world's most prestigious tracks.

Check out the action from Spa below. While you won't confuse it with Porsche Super Cup, the money you'd save over the course of a season would buy you a small condo in Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ultimate BMW M compilation.

If I won the lottery I would have this video playing on flatscreen monitors in my garage 24/7.  Thanks to Jalopnik for pointing this one out.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Nissan develops GT-R launch control, Hitler threatens legal action

I'm sure that by now most of you have read that Nissan has had some issues with GT-R's transmission longevity when launch control is used repeatedly.   Apparently when 500 hp (more or less depending on who you believe) instantaneously and repeatedly slam into a transmission that is connected to four grippy and motionless tires bad stuff can happen.

When I say, "bad stuff", I mean total destruction of a $20,000 transmission and the creation of a $76,840 (plus dealer mark-up) paperweight.  This has resulted in at least one-class action lawsuit, with I'm sure more to come.

This has become a significant enough issue for Nissan that they have dropped launch control for the 2010 GTR's.

While I always saw Hitler as more of a Mercedes SSK guy, I thought that this was a fun way to start the week and reflect on who is responsible for one more launch program being eliminated. Enjoy.  

Monday, January 12, 2009

Nurburgring - Porsche 956 Derek Bell

Road and Track have produced an decent multi-page section on the Nurburgring in their February 2009 Issue.  It includes a section by section breakout of the track, as well as listing of current record holders by car type, a overview of  Mercedes' AMG Nurburgring school and the 75experience school (which readers of the Axis of Oversteer Blog would have learned about last year in a much more detailed and entertaining posting on the Nurburgring experience.)

That having been said, as I read through the article and watched a bunch of video taken during laps of the 'ring,  I still find it hard to wrap my head around the record setting lap of 6minutes, 11 seconds, posted by Stefan Bellof in a Porsched 956.  While I was unable to find a complete video of Bellof's lap, the closest thing that I could locate was this one shot from Derek Bell's Porsche 956.  Although the speeds are different, I thought that this video provides some context for how fast Bellof was going.  

When watching the Bell lap (which looks like a Gran Turismo flyer) it is hard to believe that the he is 30 secs SLOWER than Stefan Bellof's record 6:11 lap of the Nordschliefe. 

To Bell's credit, his car was equipped with the type of heavy movie cameras popular in the day and it's unclear how much fuel he had onboard versus the Bellof lap, so his time is still extremely quick by almost any standard.  That Bell is moving slower than is possible is clearly  demonstrated by Jacky Ickx, who provides Bell with a filmed clinic on how one should be driving through the Fuchsröhre

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Finding time around Road America using Traqmate data:

I came across this well crafted write-up on data-analysis on another forum and thought that it should be shared, (with the permission of the author, Collin Mizeur).

Most posts that I have seen on the topic show the raw data, but a little thin in identifying how to use to improve performance. Collin's write-up provides some nuance into how you turn Traqmate data into faster lap-times.

Thanks again to Collin Mizeur (aka Hornswoggler) for the write-up.

Finding time around Road America using Traqmate data:

Just for example, this is how I use Traqmate data and their traqview software to find opportunities for going faster. The tools are slightly different but the concepts and goals can be the same. (not trying to compare the two data acq products, just talking through how I use data acq and what I look for..)

Same track: Road America. Data is from a month earlier (with NASA Midwest). Creating similar segments to yours, my difference from theoretical best lap (TBL) to best is also around 2 seconds per lap. Using TBL is the reference, we know the car can do it, and we know the driver has done it (atleast once, haha), so how do we identify those areas to focus on for next lap? Data can explain what happened!

The below screenshot is velocity (mph) vs distance travelled. I use distance instead of time because time can shift, but distance is fairly constant no matter the laptime. Red is my fastest lap of the session (2:41.251) vs my TBL that session (2:39.215). The question is this: where did those two seconds go??

I also add a graph called Time Gap, which you'll see at the bottom. Where velocity vs distance shows me where I was slower, time gap can help quantify exactly how much time was lost (or gained) due to the difference in mph at a given point.

Thanks to a higher min speed in turn 3 (59 mph vs 54 mph), I was able to carry a slight mph advantage down the straight heading into turn 5. Up until the braking zone, this was worth .2 seconds.

By starting my Turn 5 braking zone 50 feet later, TBL made the largest single gain of .6 seconds. This is why I find braking references so important... you can make or break a single lap by just the slightest inconsistency in where you begin braking. 0.6 seconds is HUGE! Data has made me a believer in braking late and braking hard!

The next big gain comes from getting a better corner launch out of turn 8. I carry that speed into and through the carousel. It is worth about .5 seconds.

Coming into the Turn 12 braking zone, I must have hit some traffic on TBL as I start slowing much sooner than usual, and not as hard on the brakes. This was worth about .2 seconds. (in favor of my fastest lap)

Carrying more speed (83 mph vs 79 mph) through turn 13 gained me .2 seconds carrying that momentum all the way to turn 14.

Summary against TBL: (in order of opportunity)
Braking 50 feet later into Turn 5 is worth 0.6 seconds
Higher Turn 8 exit speed is worth 0.5 seconds
Higher Turn 3 min speed (59 mph) is worth 0.2 seconds
Higher min speed for Turn 13 (83 mph) is worth 0.2 seconds

If I can remember the top three things on my list next sessions, I may be able to pick up 1.3 second! I still need to find another 0.3 seconds though to take first place in TTC... so I keep digging using other tools!

Next tool I use is lateral g's vs distance. This is where I look to see if I am using maximum lateral grip in the corners. For the slow stuff, this is pretty easy.. but it takes a pretty brave person to discover these limits without (or even with) data acq.

Looking at my lateral g's vs distance, I notice my right-hand turns can sometimes hit 1.2 g's. So, I look at what non-event corners (meaning corners not immediately after a braking zone) do I not hit 1.2 g's? Both Turn 1 and The Kink stand out as I only sustain about 1.08 g's in those corners. Both of these corners are hairy for pushing harder, but my data shows the tires can handle a little more speed.

In order to quantify how much time I might be able to gain in turns 1 and 11 (kink), I load up all my data from the weekend to see if I had even one "Superman" run through there. If so, I might be able to compare segment times vs best lap of the weekend. Turns out I never took turn 1 over 70 mph, so inconclusive using my own data. Next step is to use data from a better driver in similar car (sharing is easy with the traqmate) and was lucky enough to find someone who took the kink a bit faster (they also had different tires, so not exactly apples-to-apples). From a 98 mph kink min speed to 103 mph, there is gains of atleast .25 seconds.

Below graph shows my plot as blue, and a kind data sharing person in pink. Highlighted is the difference in kink speeds and lateral grip utilized:

I hope this post gets the wheels turning on ideas and ways to use the data for performance gain. Again, this is just me typing outloud what I look for and how I would adapt my driving after seeing the data.

Whichever of these data acq tools we choose to use, the power is there.. just gotta take the time to understand and interpret it. Data by itself is just data, the real value is the information you can derive from the data, which can be converted into real-world gains on the racetrack.
Collin Mizeur

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Can Am - 1967 - Road America

At the risk of being too heavily focused on Road America, I thought that I would share a few clips from glory days of Can-Am, when cars were light and powerful and the driver's cockpit was large enough to accommodate a large set of male attachments.

For those of you familiar with the 4 - mile wonder of the North that is Road America, check out the distinct lack of concrete barriers, catch-fences, and the tiny gravel traps that all but ensure that a tree will be the device that arrests your forward progress.  

Enjoy!  Thanks to BMWizardofOz for the video.

Part 1 

Part 2

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Iron Chef Meets Twin Ring Motegi

I was actually surprised by the winner in this three lap race between a Ferrari 355 and 360, a Lamborghini Gallardo LP560, a Nissan GTR and a Porsched GT2. My surprise comes not from the published performance figures of the cars but is based on recent test results that have appeared in the international press.

Some great sounds and fun in-car, plus the standard overly-enthusiastic Japanese announcer. How can you go wrong?

Friday, January 2, 2009

AdvanTech Studios HPDE Tribute - Calabogie

A great look at Calabogie Motorsports park provided the AdvanTech Studios. Not only do they make a HPDE look as cool as a shuttle launch, but the productions values are off the charts. If you like Porsches, especially GT3RS's and Carrera GT's this will be a great use of the next three minutes of your life. Enjoy!

The X5 M - Further proof that the end is near!

It's official--the end of the world is close at hand.  

I may be over-reacting but based on BMW's latest moves it appears that some evil forces are at work.

First BMW put the S54 motor out to pasture (Sad),  then the CSL version of the new M3 was canceled (Crazy), after that the extremely sexy CS concept was killed.(Bad idea)  

Why was this done? To bring you the X5 M.  Further diluting BMW's M brand and providing soccer mom's a faster way to get a latte.

Keep an eye out for frogs and pestilence.  It can't be far off.