Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Scuderia on track - Road Trip edition

The Porsche contingent of the Scuderia was at VIR this last weekend with NASA southeast. Cars from all of sports-cardom were there from Spec Miatas and Spec E30s to F430 challenge cars, a couple of stock cars, and this beautiful F430 droptop that parked next to us.

Paul Newman said "If there is a heaven on earth, it is VIR." For the track enthusiast, I agree. The rolling hills are quite picturesque to look at and make the driving quite interesting and challenging. This track can be fun whether you have 100 or 500 horsepower. The climbing esses can be navigated at 100+ MPH, but dont ever apex early here:

The back straight after the oak tree turn is long and lets the high horsepower cars stretch their legs. You can always go into turn 14 faster than you think. There is also the 3-4-5 section where you will be punished if you get too greedy with the throttle. The amazing thing about the technical nature of this track is that it was laid out back in 1957 mostly by a trial and error method of grading the dirt, driving around on it, and grading some more.

According to Dr. Hooper Johnson, one of the founders of VIR: (courtesy of virhistory.com)

"The club members were looking for a place to build a track. George Arnold said he knew of a place that was not being used. He brought us some aerial photographs of the Foote farm up in Milton. I sat down at a table in the dining room at Baptist Hospital and sketched out where I thought the track should go. One of the doctors, Jesse Meridith knew a couple of road grading contractors, Horace and Harry Strickland from near his hometown of Mount Airy. They actually lived over in Virginia at Fancy Gap. Ed Welch, George Arnold and I took them up to the farm and drove through the grass to show them where the track should go. Dick Snyder was there with his Mercedes 300SL and we used the turning radius of his car to mark the radius of the horseshoe turn at the end of the front straight. The turning radius of the Strickland brothers' road grader was used to set the radius of Oak Tree turn. After they did the rough grading we would take our cars up there on weekends and run around on the dirt at up to 100 mph. We found one place where the cars would get airborne so Horace just took his grader and shaved off enough dirt to correct the problem. We became concerned about the drainage around the track so we waited for a big rainy spell and went up there and corrected the problems we saw."

Here is some video of my laps around the place: (no track records were broken here!)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Porsche Intelligent Performance - 911 GT3 R Hybrid

(via Edmunds) The GT3 R Hybrid will be used as what the Porsche engineers describe as a "racing laboratory" to gather knowledge about hybrid drive under the pressure of a racing environment. At the same time it will also advance the German carmaker's plans to introduce hybrid technology to selected road cars in its lineup. Indeed, a gasoline-electric hybrid was recently spied testing at the Porsche R&D facility at Weissach, near the company's headquarters in Stuttgart, apparently part of a program dubbed "Porsche Intelligent Performance."
In a departure from conventional battery-based electric systems used for hybrid drive by makers of both street cars and even racing cars, the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid features a flywheel system. It gathers kinetic energy under braking to power two electric motors that are mounted in a single assembly connected to the front wheels. After each charge, the motors provide 6-8-second bursts of power.
The flywheel will spin as fast as 40,000 rpm. In the 911 GT3 R Hybrid, it's mounted where the passenger seat ordinarily would be and connected to the electric assembly in the front by a high-voltage cable. Two electronic management modules oversee the complete hybrid system, and the electric motors are engaged by pressing a button mounted on the steering wheel.
The electric motors provide a burst of 120 kilowatts (161 horsepower) to the front wheels, supplementing the 911 GT3 R Hybrid's 480-hp 4.0-liter flat-6 that powers the rear wheels. The benefit, according to Porsche, is quicker acceleration out of corners and during overtaking, and there are apparently unspecified fuel savings as well.
No official performance claims for the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid have been made prior to its unveiling in Geneva, but Porsche has confirmed the new car will appear at the Nürburgring 24 Hours on May 15. Meanwhile, Porsche's new purpose-built racing car with hybrid technology is expected to be prepared for the 2012 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, when the race's regulations will favor hybrid racing cars.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Zen lap of the Nurburgring - BMW M3

I thought there was something beautifully simple about this lap of the Nordschliefe in this perfectly stock e46 M3. If you happen to be one of the folks, (like me) that started with a bone-stock car for track days that soon morphed into a collection of adjustable shocks, springs, brakes, wheels, seats and harnesses, it is kind of nice to see the purity of machine and track that exists in this video.  Enjoy!

The new Porsche Turbo S - In Four Acts - Responsibility, Personality, Efficiency and History

Although it sounds a little like a cross between the seven deadly sins and the launch of a new car, we bring you four new spots for the new Porsche Turbo S.  Please enjoy "Responsibility," "Personality," "Efficiency demands Performance," and "History".  A mix of some amazing footage with the narration style of a high-school hygiene film. (via Porsche)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Fall-line Motorsport at the Fresh from Florida 200 at Daytona.

Some great video from 8 five 8 Pictures highlighting the efforts of Charles Espenlaub and the Fall-Line Motorsports Team during the Fresh from Florida 200 at Daytona.  It's nice to see video that's not shot with a giant wide-angle lens. so that some perspective of speed is retained. It's even better to see Charles behind the wheel of a BMW. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Instructor = Fail - aka "Dan's last day as an Instructor"

"I wasn't going to post this initially because it seems to be popping up everywhere, but after consideration I wanted to make certain that everyone had a chance to see how not to instruct your students on track.  This guy is an embarrassment to all driving instructors. 

Please note that the good folks that run Hooked on Driving  have made certain that "Instructor Dan" is done with HOD events.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Car Porn Deluxe- "Spirit of Vic Elford Edition"- Porsche Legacy at Daytona

The 48th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marks the 42nd anniversary of Vic Elford's victory in the Porsche 907, Porsche's first 24 hour endurance win. To celebrate the occasion, David Donohue pilots a 2010 Porsche GT3 around the Daytona road course while Vic Elford, the Grand Marshal for this year's race, tells the story of his victory for Porsche.