Sunday, July 31, 2011
?Why Would You Make a Motorcycle that You Can?t Wheelie, but that Wheelies Everywhere?? ? Kenny Roberts Sr.
Earlier this month we showed you the one-off Blue Angels Mustang built by Ford for this year's EAA AirVenture. The car features a unique blue chrome paint scheme and hand-painted graphics done by Creations n' Chrome, along with plenty of Ford Racing Performance Parts goodies, an interior styled after the Blue Angels pilot suit, and beautiful HRE 590RS wheels.
The Blue Angels Mustang was not only built to celebrate 100 years of U.S. Naval aviation, but to raise money for the EAA Young Eagles program as well. It did just that at the EAA charity auction Thursday evening, commanding a high bid of $400,000. In addition to the car, the winning bidder also received a Blue Angels flight helmet signed by all of the current pilots.
You can read more about the car and the auction in Ford's PR after the jump, or browse through our photos of the car in the gallery below.Permalink | Email this | Comments
IMO, this is huge, and will allow for great exposure to the hobby:
"Together with GearZ, Illinois-based Revell Inc. ��will conduct the inaugural Revell/GearZ National Model Car Championships. With the help of some 2,000 hobby shops and retailers, participants will be able to enter online or go to their local hobby shop to pick up an entry form and mail in photos of their models."
Got this old sorta built and will try to make into a true muscle car.................................
Hope to have some soon.....................
Jean Todt arives for Wednesday's hearing
?Whether you are for or against team orders, if the FIA could not back up its own rules and nail a competitor in a blatant case such as this the rule really does need reviewing. Perhaps Ferrari?s thinly-veiled threat to take the matter to the civil courts if they were punished too harshly scared the governing body, who as much as admitted the flimsiness of its rule."Paul Weaver, reporting for the Guardian in Monza, was in favour of the ruling which keeps alive Ferrari?s slim chances in an enthralling championship.
?The World Motor Sport Council was right not to ruin a compelling Formula One season by taking away the 25 points Alonso collected in Germany. That would have put him out of the five-man title race. But the council was widely expected to increase the fine and possibly deduct points from the team, as opposed to the individual. In the end, it could be argued that common sense prevailed. But the decision will dismay those who were upset by the way Ferrari handled the situation as much as anything else.?The Daily Mail's Jonathan McEvoy expressed outrage at the FIA tearing up its own rule book by allowing Ferrari to escape unpunished.
"Although the race stewards fined them �65,000 for giving team orders in July, the FIA World Motor Sport Council, to whom the matter was referred, decided not to impose any further punishment. It leaves the sport's rulers open to derision. It was, after all, their rule they undermined. In a statement, the WMSC said the regulation banning team orders 'should be reviewed'."
Saturday, July 30, 2011
UPDATED AT 1925 BST
After months of drawn-out and occasionally bitter wrangling, Formula 1's switch to 1.6-litre turbo engines for 2014 was rubber-stamped on Wednesday by the FIA world council, the sport's legislature. In theory, that should be the end of the matter.
But it may not be that simple. It has emerged in the last few days that many of F1's circuits share F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone's concerns about the new engines.
He believes the ear-splitting screech of the current 2.4-litre V8s is a critical part of the spectacle of F1 and that the introduction of the new engines, which will have a different and probably more muted sound, will reduce the sport's appeal.
Those with long memories in F1 have raised an eyebrow about Ecclestone's new concern for trackside spectators. This is a man who, until this latest political battle, appeared to some observers to have an eye only for the TV audience, from where much of the sport's income comes.
The circuits, though, are a different matter. Because of their contracts with Ecclestone's companies, the only way they can raise revenue out of F1 is through paying spectators. Costs are high and margins are tight. So if numbers will fall, they have a problem.
The circuits had already expressed their concerns privately to the F1 teams and the FIA but their worries became public courtesy of an article in a Sunday newspaper.
It claimed all the tracks apart from China and Korea had signed a letter to the FIA saying they would consider dropping F1 in favour of IndyCars if the new engines were adopted.
The story appeared in a newspaper to which Ecclestone often speaks, was written by a journalist who has close links with him and featured quotes from Ron Walker, chairman of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, who, you guessed it, is close to Ecclestone.
Neil England - the non-executive chairman of Silverstone, who deals with Ecclestone regarding the British Grand Prix - described the report as "a slight misrepresentation of the situation". Silverstone had not, he said, been signatories of any letter but they had made clear their discomfort about the new engine rules.
England does, he says, see the "media value" of the new engine - Ecclestone himself has described it to me as "PR" - but says he would prefer to focus on the "things that make a difference".
He agrees that the noise is a large part of F1's spectacle and, while Silverstone support attempts to reduce F1's carbon footprint, they feel a bigger impact could be made in other ways, such as producing co-ordinated travel plans for spectators and teams.
England denies he has been lobbied or manipulated by Ecclestone. "He's concerned and has an awareness that it's a potential issue," England says. "I don't feel manipulated and I don't think that's what happened."
Someone on the other side of the argument had a succinct response to that. "Of course they've been pressured by Bernie!" he said. "They've read all his nonsense about engine noise for weeks and weeks and weeks!"
As I said, the argument has got a bit heated.
The new engines were the brainchild of the F1 teams and they have been enthusiastically embraced by FIA president Jean Todt - with whom, incidentally, Ecclestone does not see eye to eye.
The idea behind them was two-fold:
- to popularise and make 'sexy' a direction road-car manufacturers were already heading with their engines
- and to insulate F1, in a world of diminishing fossil fuels and climate change, from charges that it was wasteful by playing a role in the increased development and sales of more efficient road cars.
The idea is that, by using these engines in F1, the public will increasingly understand that an exciting car can have an efficient, small capacity engine and regenerate as much energy as possible. In addition, it will speed up the development of the technology by exposing it to the white-heat of F1 competition.
Those in favour of the engines, then, say that to dismiss the new rules as having only "media value" somewhat misses the point.
It may be true that persuading spectators to get more buses and trains to a grand prix rather than driving their private cars would reduce carbon emissions more effectively than changing the engines in the F1 cars themselves. But it could also be said that if a significant proportion of the world's car users switched to more efficient vehicles, the effect of that would be exponentially larger again.
Those backing the new engines counter the arguments about noise as follows:
- F1 previously used turbo engines of almost exactly the same size as those being introduced in 2014 back in the 1980s (1.5-litre turbos as opposed to 1.6-litre turbos). No-one complained about the noise then. In fact, that time is remembered as a golden era.
- Audi and Peugeot use turbo-diesel engines at the Le Mans 24 Hours sports car race and have done for several years. These sound infinitely less dramatic than the new F1 engines will do - they are diesel, for a start, and they rev much lower - but spectator numbers at Le Mans haven't reduced. The event still attracts around 250,000 people.
- Many of the 'rebels' are old romantics who hark back to the glory years of the 1970s and the sounds of some of the engines used then. But they forget that the supposedly evocative Matra V12 and Ferrari flat 12 revved to no more than 12,000rpm, exactly what had been the initial limit imposed on the new turbos.
- No one knows whether spectators will object to the sound of the new engines because no one knows what they will sound like. That's because they haven't been in a car yet.
Following the intervention of the circuits, the rev limit of the new engines has been raised from 12,000rpm to 15,000rpm.
According to someone intimately involved with the negotiations over the new engines from the very beginning, this was done in response to the concerns about the noise, "even though we were quite confident that the sound was not going to be anything like as bad as most people feared".
It remains to be seen whether this will assuage the concerns of both the circuits and Ecclestone, although the fact England called for a "period of consultation" suggests not.
But there are many in F1 who believe Ecclestone is devoting his energies and concerns in the wrong direction.
As Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn put it: "There are many considerations we have to make when we are changing the power-plant in F1. Obviously the technology in the automotive field is changing and the big question is how relevant do we need to be and how relevant do we want to be?
"The technology we're working on with these new engines is the technology that is going to become commonplace in road car engines in the future: small capacity, turbocharged engine, direct injection, special Kers systems.
"We don't want to end up as a dinosaur in five or 10 years."
When you go to watch any In. These sexy women make the sport popular and far more interesting than any other sport that [...]
A thrilling German Grand Prix, capped by a superb drive to victory by Lewis Hamilton, confirmed the growing impression that this Formula 1 season has a lot of life left in it.
Sebastian Vettel retains a massive 77-point lead in the championship after salvaging a difficult afternoon with a fourth place snatched from Ferrari's Felipe Massa in a late pit stop duel between the two teams.
But Red Bull have lost the performance advantage they enjoyed at the start of the season. They have won only once in four grands prix and, far more tellingly than that, they have been outpaced in the last two races.
McLaren in general and Hamilton in particular, have taken a bit of flak from certain quarters in the last month or so, but they bounced back with a bang in Germany.
Hamilton drove a stunning lap in qualifying to split the Red Bulls on the grid, and he capped it with what he described as "one of the best races I've ever done".
The 26-year-old has produced so many inspirational drives in his career that it is difficult to say whether this was the best, but it was certainly right up there.
As has so often been the case, Hamilton owed his win partly to his unsurpassed abilities as a racer - Alonso's Ferrari emerged from his second pit stop in front, just ahead of the McLaren, but a trademark brilliant passing move around the outside of the red car at the second corner gave Hamilton the lead.
As Alonso struggled on tyres not quite up to temperature, Hamilton pulled out a 1.7-second lead on that lap and followed it with a succession of three fastest laps in a row to extend his advantage to more than three seconds. From there, it was simply a case of not making a mistake with the timing of the final pit stop.
It has been a turbulent few weeks for Hamilton. After pushing Vettel so close for victory in Spain back in May, the wheels seemed to come off a bit.
A difficult weekend in Monaco culminated in frustration and his ill-advised "Ali G" remarks. A disappointing qualifying session in Canada led to Hamilton seeking out Red Bull team principal Christian Horner for a chat about the future. High tyre wear left him fourth in Valencia, way off the pace of the Red Bulls and Alonso. And McLaren struggled again in Silverstone, hit harder than their rivals by the one-race restriction on the use of exhaust gases to boost downforce.
The effect that had had on Hamilton's optimism was clear on Friday when he said there was "no way" he could compete for pole, but his mood turned full circle on Saturday and he entered the race knowing he could compete for victory.
He grabbed the lead at the start, and although he was passed by Red Bull's Mark Webber following a mistake on lap 12, the Red Bull was not able to get away.
As Webber said, "the alarm bells started to ring then", and that analysis was spot on. Just as he had at the first stops, Webber came into the pits first, aiming to take advantage of the extra grip from fresh tyres. But the second time it did not work out, and the Red Bull was jumped by both Hamilton and Alonso, who then left him behind.
Just how much this win meant to Hamilton was clear in the post-race television interviews, as he tried and failed to fight back tears after he had finished speaking.
With those tears - and that drive - perhaps Hamilton has begun to shed the frustration of the past few weeks, and can now relax into a second half of the season that, on the evidence of the last two or three races, should make fascinating viewing.
In the last two races now, the three top teams have fought out victory - and slowly this season is turning into exactly what it had promised to be before Vettel's amazing start.
It remains to be seen whether McLaren are back for good, or whether they benefited from the unique chilly conditions in Germany.
As far as Ferrari are concerned, though, there is now little doubt that they are a genuine challenge for Red Bull everywhere.
As Alonso pointed out, they have been contesting the lead at the last four races, all of which have been on very different tracks, and he now has a win and two second places from the last three grands prix.
The Hungarian Grand Prix next weekend will be a very telling event. Red Bull totally dominated it last year, but the evidence of the last few weeks suggests it may not be so easy for them this time around.
Ferrari, one suspects, will at least give them a run for their money, having proved in the last couple of races that they have largely solved the aerodynamic weaknesses in their car that blighted the start to their season. McLaren, though, appear still to lack efficiency in the sort of long-duration corners that abound at the Hungaroring, which may make life a bit more difficult for them.
Vettel will go there on the back of a rare off-weekend at the Nurburgring, when he was never comfortable in the car and never looking like getting on terms with Webber.
In the race - as has often been the case when he is not leading from the front - he looked ordinary, unable to find a way past Massa for the last 20 laps of the race and needing his pit crew to do the job for him heading into the last lap.
And so the questions over Vettel's ability when he is back in the pack remain.
The last two races have been an eye-opener for Red Bull - and on Sunday both Webber and Vettel talked about needing more from the car.
In the circumstances, Vettel will be pleased to have salvaged a fourth place, and kept his lead over Webber to more than three clear wins.
With such a huge advantage - Vettel is 82 points ahead of Hamilton and 86 in front of Alonso - it is still unlikely that he will be caught. But at least now he knows he has a real fight on his hands.
The way I feel at the moment, why stop? I do it because I enjoy it. And yesterday is gone. I don't care what happened yesterday. What else would I do? People retire to die. I don't get any individual pleasure because we don't win races or titles in this job. I'm like most business people. You look back at the end of the year and you see what you've achieved by working out how much money the company has made. That's it.
This blog is dedicated to a lady who will be celebrating her birthday on the 20th July this year. I don't know her name or where she lives. But as far as I'm concerned, she epitomizes the passion and dedication of British motor racing fans.
Every year, our aim with the BBC coverage of the British Grand Prix is to convey the love, the atmosphere, the humour and the uniqueness of the event to the millions across the UK who would like to be there but aren't. It's our job to get you as close to Silverstone as possible. I'd love to 'borrow' one of Bernie's planes, pick you all up and drop you off in Northamptonshire, but sadly that's not going to happen!
Last year Eddie Jordan and I set out to do a BBQ for some of the 30,000 campers who help generate Silverstone's unique atmosphere as part of a feature for the BBC 1 coverage. This year we decided to do something a little different - a touch more challenging.
On Thursday, as it pelted down with rain, EJ boldly announced: "I started out selling smoked salmon on the streets of Dublin. I can sell anything!" So off we went to try and sell ice-creams, in the pouring rain, on a chilly and overcast Friday afternoon.
I had images of two slightly crest-fallen guys, a very empty field, and a grumpy ice-cream van owner. In reality I was blown away by the hundreds of fans who were literally soaking up the atmosphere.
One sight that really made me chuckle was the family of five huddled outside on a picnic table, eating fish and chips with only one umbrella between them. They bravely struggled on in a very British way.
Once EJ and I started selling a few ice-creams, we got to chatting to the crowd and the first person I spoke to about the race told me the most awesome story: She was born whilst her parents travelled home from the 1963 Grand Prix!
That race was won by Jim Clark in his Lotus-Climax the year he won his first World Championship. Jim shared the podium with John Surtees and Graham Hill and her story summed up what is special about the British Grand Prix: History.
It's part of the fabric of our nation, part of our culture, our past and our present, something that we can all relate to. Even the most non-F1 loving friend of yours could no doubt recall Nigel Mansell's heroics in 1987 or Lewis Hamilton in the rain 21 years later.
I love some of the new circuits and they have a place in modern Formula One, but all the money in the Middle East won't buy you history. It sends a shiver down your spine as you enter the circuit year after year.
Take a look at the video here and remember that this was filmed last Friday, 24 hours before there was any competitive action on the track!
Without the fans the British Grand Prix wouldn't be what it is and the same applies to the BBC's F1 coverage. It's you, the viewer, that make it. So it was great to jump on a three-seater bicycle with David Coulthard, a two-time Silverstone winner and Eddie to get around the campsites and local villages.
David made a great point, that as an F1 driver you never really appreciate this level of fanaticism as you arrive by helicopter, leave by helicopter, and the rest of the time you're just focused on delivering on the track.
By Thursday morning at 9am the fields were each like mini-metropolises. People not only had their tents up, but there were fully-stocked kitchen areas, communal living spaces where all the fans could get together and talk F1. Not to mention Coulthard flags, Jordan flags and many of the tents were daubed with a certain driver or team name...serious planning had gone into the whole thing. And they still had time to push us out of the mud!
Many of those campers have been doing it for years and have spent plenty of money cheering on DC or the Jordan team over the years, so it was great that we were able to get their heroes on the back of my bike to meet the people who make F1 so special.
The only slightly confusing moment was when the family in their pyjamas referred to EJ as 'Sexy Eddie', neither DC nor myself quite understood it!
So while it's fans, old and new, and the sense that you are connecting with history by being at Silverstone. It's still essential that the old girl can compete with the Abu Dhabis and Singapores of this world. And that leads me onto the Silverstone Wing.
It did feel odd shifting the whole focus of the circuit away from the old pits/paddock complex but it's a bold move that the BRDC has been applauded for.
I remember watching one of the Red Bull's pit during the race and as the camera panned along the pitlane, following the car, I couldn't believe it was Silverstone that we were looking at.
There will most definitely be changes and it may be that the focus of the in-field section moves towards the new building. There is a view that Silverstone must avoid a 'them and us' situation where the privileged minority in the paddock with the drivers and cars whilst the fans are in a totally different place. I'd also expect the pit-lane order to change so the grandstand can see the fast teams doing their stops.
However, I think this year's race goes down as a huge success. Building a new pit complex and putting in the infrastructure to match, however, wouldn't have made it a weekend to remember. It was the fact that despite the inevitable, slow march of time meaning Silverstone has to change - one thing remained. The fans, and it is they who truly make Silverstone a race weekend to remember.