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.


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
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

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.