Tuesday, March 31, 2009

2009 Malaysian Gran Prix Preview

It should be an interesting weekend in Sepang.  Intense heat and humidity have always been a challenge at this track, but the reliability of the mostly new cars in this hot environment will definitely be a factor in the race's outcome . 

Sepang will likely pose a larger challenge to the "non-protested-diffusor" teams, as the Sepang circuit is made up of mostly fast corners combined with long straights.  Any reduction in rear downforce to improve straight-line speed will directly affect cornering grip, and teams with standard diffusors will have fewer options than their rivals.

 Automotive TV, put together this preview of the circuit complete with commentary by ATT/Williams driver Nico Rosberg. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ferrai Challenge Highlights- Monza 3/28/2009- Day 2

After today's depressing showing in Melbourne by the better part of the F1 grid, (you know who you are). I'm still unable to discuss it publicly without getting upset, so until I can to come to grips with the outcome, enjoy Part 2 of the Ferrari Challenge in Monza from this weekend. Enjoy!

Australia Formula One Live Streaming

Watch live video from Dragons Bar on Justin.tv

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ferrari Challenge - March 27, 2009- Day 1 Monza

So with today's qualifying for the Formula One opener in Melbourne turning into a sprint to the back of the field for most of the top teams, I thought that we might be better served in checking out some video of the qualifying sessions for Italian series of Trofeo Pirelli and Coppa Shell and Historic Challenge. It's good to be a member of Corse Clienti!

Friday, March 27, 2009

2009 BMW Sauber F1 Preview Australia

More like a project from a first year film student at NYU than a release from a major automobile manufacturer, this video has it all; fast edits, grainy 8mm footage, screens within a screen, kangaroo petting and orangutan feeding.  Oh the glamorous life of an F1 Driver!

Then again, with all of the cuts in F1, maybe its just some footage of Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica working their second job at the Melbourne zoo. Enjoy!

Ferrari.com - The Movie

Leave to our friends from Maranello to develop a short film to highlight the launch of the new Ferrari.com site, which opens for business on March 29, 2009.   Not only are there interviews to provide prospective on the site, but there is also more  CGI animation in this 2:30 trailer than there was in The Dark Knight to underscore the broad world of Ferrari.  Enjoy!

Formula One - Australian Gran Prix Circuit Preview 2009

Nicely produced overview of the 2009 Australian Gran Prix at Melbourne, with track commentary from Nico Rosberg.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Car Porn Deluxe -McLaren F1 versus Ferrari Enzo - Fifth Gear

You have to love this segment from Fifth Gear courtesy of Chris Palmer, the owner of the two cars presented and thusly, the world's most fortunate man.   This is a fine comparison of two of the greatest objects of automotive lust ever created, the McLaren F1 and the Ferrari Enzo.  

While I could do without Tiff's vocal impression of the vibration he feels while sitting in the Enzo, it's still a fun piece that answers the question, "What would I do with unlimited disposable income?" Enjoy!

Felipe Massa - Ferrari 2009 Australian F1 Preview

2008 F1 Second Place Finisher Felipe Massa talks about some of the preparation and thought that goes into Formula 1 strategy at the one true Scuderia, Ferrari.  Go get 'em, Felipe!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Red Bull Racing/Scuderia Toro Rosso 2009 Season Preview

Another fantastically produced promo for the Red Bull Racing/Scuderia Toro Rosso 2009 Team effort, narrated by young Sebastian Vettel.  If their cars perform anywhere near as well as they look, they should have a fantastic season! 

F1 becomes La Cosa Nostra- Bernie makes McLaren and Renault "an offer they can't refuse" and Red Bull Racing hires a "hitman"

Bernie Ecclestone, aka "the Silver Shrimp," has stated that Renault and McLaren threatened to disrupt the start of the 2009 season in Australia by boycotting the opening event in Melbourne, due to a dispute over the distribution of F1 money.

Apparently Ron Dennis, aka "Ronny the Spinner" and Flavio Briatore, aka "Frankie Snug Pants," told Bernie that if they didn't get the money they were owed, the Renault and McLaren team cars would not be going to Melbourne for the race. In the true spirit of the phrase, "Let me make you an offer you can't refuse," Bernie reportedly said, "Fine, I'll just cancel the cargo charter for the entire grid. Done. That will save me a bunch of money in charter flights."

Having had their bluff thoroughly called, Flavio and Ron relented and both team's cars are expected on the grid in Melbourne.

The Return of "THE HITMAN" to Red Bull Racing

In related news, Red Bull Racing has hired back one of the most famous "hit-men" in motor racing as a reserve driver for the 2009 team effort, yes Mr. David Coulthard, aka, Dudley Dooright, will return to threaten the entire F1 grid with bodily harm, much as he has during the last two seasons of bouncing off of almost everything with four-wheels or a guard-rail. The good news is that David will only will be called in if Sebastian Vettel or Mark Webber aren't able to finish the job themselves. Here's a clip of one of David's more famous "hit's". Enjoy!

UPDATE- Apparently David Coulthard's "contract" with Red Bull is for one weekend only. He was called into service because team reserve driver Brendan Hartley has not received his FIA superlicence.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Truth in 24 available for free download on iTunes

If you missed watching Truth in 24 last Friday on ESPN, you can now get and watch it at your leisure at no cost to you, as you need is free Apple iTunes software installed on your computer and a connection to the Internet.  For more Scuderia sourced info on the film and access to the trailer it can be accessed here

For access to your free copy at iTunes please click here.

Mike Skeen - Trans Am Road Atlanta

A fantastic showing from talented racer and all-around good-guy Mike Skeen.  

You may know Mike from his his winning record in Spec e30's or from his fantastic showing on the series Set-up.  All I know is that he acted like a complete gentleman everytime Tommy Kendall pontificated about what it takes to be a great driver, (which seemed to go on and on, and don't even get me started about the co-host, Ms. DUI herself).   Anyway congrats again to Mr. Skeen. 

A write-up of the action and video of the event from Mike's car follows.
BRASELTON, Ga. (March 22, 2009) – Greg Pickett, of Benicia, Calif., captured his 17th-career Trans-Am win today at Road Atlanta, the season-opener for the Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am Series and the first Trans-Am race since 2006. Michael Skeen, of Charlotte, N.C., and Amy Ruman, of Kent, Ohio, completed the top three.

Driving the No. 6 Muscle Milk Jaguar XKR, Pickett started third behind polesitter Tony Ave’s No. 10 McMahon Group/Stumpf Ford Mustang and Tomy Drissi’s No. 5 X-Men Origins – Wolverine Jaguar XKR and fell back another position at the start to fourth-starting R.J. Lopez, of Bal Harbour, Fla.

Ave built a six-second lead in the opening seven laps over Lopez, Drissi and Pickett. On lap eight, Lopez began to separate his No. 06 WabashPower.com/Mobil 1/Goodyear Chevrolet Corvette from the pair of Jaguars and started to reel in Ave’s Mustang. Ten laps later, Lopez was all over Ave and took the lead on lap 20.

From there, Ave fell back into the clutches of the pair of Jaguars, eventually dropping from second to fourth on lap 24, with Pickett moving to second and Drissi remaining third.

All the while, Rookie Skeen, known to the road racing community from the 2008 television show Setup, was slicing through the field after starting last (19th) in his No. 70 Atlantic Autosport Chevrolet Corvette. Two laps later, he was clear of Ave with his sights set on the Jaguars of Drissi and Pickett.

In the meantime, Lopez drove away to a four second lead and looked to be in good shape to take a Trans-Am Series debut win. In traffic, Pickett was able to bring the gap down to the two second range, but on lap 32, it was back up to nearly three seconds. Eight corners later, it was all over, as the Corvette’s motor expired on the back straightaway without warning.

“It just went,” Lopez said. “I was 100 percent sure I had the win. I was starting to cruise, saw Pickett coming after the traffic and was able to pick the pace back up. Next time…”

At the same time Lopez’s motor was expiring, Ave tangled with another car and ended up in the Turn One gravel, ending a run that started with his first series pole earlier in the day. Both incidents brought out the full-course caution and when the field came around to be picked up by the pace car, Pickett was in front, with Drissi second and Skeen third.

As the cleanup ensued, it appeared that the final three would be locked in with the 36-lap, 91.44-mile contest ending under yellow, but on the final tour, Drissi’s Jaguar sputtered to a stop with a fuel pickup problem, promoting Skeen to second and Ruman’s No. 30 McNichols/Goodyear/Cenweld Corp Chevrolet Corvette to third.

“This is a little fairy tale, winning the first race in the series that Muscle Milk sponsors,” Pickett said. “I’m just tickled for the SCCA and our Muscle Milk brand. Trans-Am is back!

“It was a difficult race. I’ve done a lot of these races, and you can’t push too hard—it just won’t work over the course of a race. RJ [Lopez] was going faster than I wanted to go at that point. But he was gradually coming back to me. It was too bad for him, but look—we have two GT-1 cars on the podium. That’s fantastic. We need more people to bring their GT-1 cars out to race with us in Trans-Am!”

Skeen earned the Flowmaster Star of the Race Award and the Sunoco Hard Charger of the race for his drive from 19th to second. He set a new Trans-Am Series lap record during his run to the front of 1:22.650 (110.635 mph). Skeen was visibly exhausted after the race.

“This is our first race this long and I don’t have a cool suit,” Skeen said. “In fact, we’ve only had the car a month and weren’t really sure we were coming until last week. In qualifying, we had a wheel separate and didn’t turn a time. We knew we would have a good pace because we were good in practice and that was on old tires—we only had one set of sticker tires.

“From the start, we just went for all the marbles. I knew I was catching the Jaguars, and figured Tony [Ave] was running away. Toward the end, I was starting to get hot, but I was still keeping up. It’s great to finish second.”

Ruman started sixth and ran seventh for the first 20 laps before gradually moving up as other cars retired. When, Drissi stopped on course on the final lap, she wasn’t sure what to do and didn’t realize where she’d finished until after the checkered flag fell.

“This is just awesome,” Ruman, who equaled her father Bob Ruman’s best finish of third, said. “This McNichols team has worked so hard for so long. [Jeff] Emery and I were battling for a long time and when I got clear, I was about 14-15 seconds off the cars ahead of me and we were trying to close in and were beginning to. It really fell our way today in the end.”

Ruman’s accomplishment was particularly impressive as she was competing with a 310ci engine in a sea of larger-displacement powerplants.

John Schaller, of Fort Myers, Fla., moved from eighth on the grid to finish fourth in his No. 08 JRS Motorsport/Central Power Distribution Chevrolet Camaro, followed by Drissi, who was the first car one lap down.

Daniel Ramoutarsingh (Jaguar), Jon “Chevy” Leavy (Camaro), Bob Monette (Corvette), Glen Jung (Mazda RX-7) and Rob Foster (Corvette) completed the top 10.

After the race, Pickett revealed that he would donate his winnings to series programs that help GT-1 racers get to future Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am Series events.

The series next travels to VIRginia International Raceway April 17-19 as part of the North Carolina Region Double National weekend. For more information, please visit www.sccatrans-am.com.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Recap - Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring - Battle of the Titans

The Audi R15 and Peugeot 908 waged war for the entire 12 hours of the race, acting as though it was a 20 minute sprint instead of an all out endurance race. This battle proved to be an amazing way for the American LeMans Series to celebrate their 100th race. If you didn't have an opportunity to catch the action, here is small example of the type of racing that went on for the entire 12 hours.

I was excited to see the action in GT2. As I expected, the Ferrari 430's dominated the class, with an amazingly strong showing by PTG with their 3 year old Panoz, piloted by Ian James and Dominik Farnbacher. A special word of congratulations to Ian James in holding off Marc Lieb in the Flying Lizard GT3RSR. Unfortunately the battle ended in tears, but it must have taken some amazing driving to hold off the brand new Porsche with the under-powered and under-developed Panoz.

Of course my greatest disappointment of the weekend were the new BMW M3's, with both cars out of the race before the half-way point. According to Bobby Rahal, team Principal of Rahal Letterman Racing, the cars developed oil leaks and needed to retire. According to spectators at the race, this is exactly what happened, except that the oil leak was likely caused by a connecting rod ventilating the crankcase. That having been said, enjoy some (poor quality) footage from the brief time that the M3's were running.

Congratulation to Audi for winning a tough race and Peugeot for giving the Audi team a real run for their money. While these two titans won't be around much in ALMS this year, the 24 Hours of LeMans in June promises to be a true fight to the finish.

As for ALMS, if Porsche and BMW can up their game, the 2009 season in GT2 class may prove to be as exciting as P1 at Sebring, if they do not, I see many podiums for RISI Ferrari and (yikes) Panoz.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

American LeMans Series - 12 Hours of Sebring Live Feed

For those of you without the NASCAR Network, I mean Speed TV, here's the live feed of the 12 Hours of Sebring.  Sorry that it's so  late, but please enjoy the action anyway.

Monday, March 16, 2009

ESPN to air "The Truth in 24" on Friday March 20

To kickoff the American LeMans Series Race at Sebring on Saturday, March 21, ESPN will air The Truth in 24 in its entirety during prime time. (8pm EST/7PM CST).  So see your DVR's to catch this one-time event.

This documentary has been billed as one  of the finest racing film to be created to date, telling the story of Audi's quest for victory at LeMans in 2008.   The film was produced through a joint effort between Audi and NFL films, and as you can see by the trailer below, it tells a compelling story of competing in one of the most famous motor races in the world.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Finally Did It !!!!!

So after years of going back and forth, I finally pulled the trigger on a Brembo Gran Turismo Big Brake Kit for the M3. While I'm going to need to swap out the drilled rotors (I bought a used kit) for slotted rotors for track use, overall I'm extremely happy with the quality of the kit.

More to come on this conversion in the waning weeks of late winter/spring, as I get the M3 set-up for the upcoming track season.

It's amazing that you can go from having too much time on your hands, to being in a mad screaming rush over-night!!

Yikes! More to come.