Monthly Archives: October 2015

ETCC : The European Touring Car Cup produced a great story with a beautiful ending

Dusan Borkovic only had to score a few points in the final 2 races of the FIA ETCC season to win the Single Make Trophy but crashed in the first of those after picking up a puncture. The final race was only 90 minutes later so Borkovic dragged his heavily damaged car back to the pits and brought his B3 Racing mechanics directly into the championship battle. They were able to repair the car before the final race and their frantic efforts against the clock were enough to seal the title.

This video captures the championship drama that unfurled in the garage and finishes with Borkovic explaining through tears just how much the title means to him in a year of personal heartbreak.

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MotoGP: The final 8 laps at Phillip Island were amazing

The 2015 Australian MotoGP race at Phillip Island was utterly thrilling all the way until the chequered flag. The race featured an epic four-way fight for victory, and this chart shows how frequently the top positions shuffled over the last eight laps.

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MotoGP: The rivalry between Rossi & Lorenzo is heating up

When Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo were teammates in 2009 their rivalry was so bitter that Yamaha built a wall down the middle of the garage to separate them. Things are a lot calmer these days (the wall is gone) but little incidents like Rossi blocking Lorenzo during Misano qualifying, or the pitlane moment in the video below, suggest there is still animosity there. When Lorenzo blamed his championship deficit on bad luck last week, Rossi responded by saying Jorge was being “disrespectful”, so there will be plenty of heat in final races of 2015. Fantastic.

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WEC: This crash has caused a lot of controversy this week

Although it seems the driver behind in this video (Gustavo Yacaman) simply shoved his rival off the road, the stewards actually reprimanded the driver in front (Richard Bradley) for braking too early. In response to this, Bradley’s team released data showing he only hit the brakes AFTER getting punted so officials have agreed to meet again at the next event to discuss the crash in more detail. Bradley has called Yacaman “a psycho and a lunatic” because they actually made contact a few times earlier in the race, and their teams are bitter championship rivals with a history of conflict, so this promises to rumble on for awhile.

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BTCC: Gordon Shedden won the championship in spectacular fashion

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Sunday’s British Touring Car Championship finale was a big highlight on a very busy weekend of racing. Gordon Shedden, pictured here a few years back, had to finish the final race in 6th place to become 2015 champion but was left starting down in 19th. With nothing to lose, Shedden went on a spectacular charge through the field that ensured this year’s title fight lasted until the final few laps. He passed 15 other drivers (with some help) and eventually finished 4th to get his hands on the championship trophy. Not a bad effort!‪

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V8SC: Mt Panorama without barriers is terrifying

Check out this video from the first lap of the 1978 Bathurst 1000. If you think the circuit is crazy now, just have a look at it without the barriers! It’s amazing to think that drivers once had nothing but a few pieces of guardrail spread around the circuit to stop them going into the trees.

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A brief and interesting history of the World Land Speed Record

The early days of the World Land Speed Record were highly controversial as there was no consistent process for measuring or validating the trials. However, that didn’t stop several keen entrepreneurs from claiming their car was the fastest in the world.

The first of these was a Frenchman, Charles Jeantaud, whose electric car reached 63kph way back in 1898. Impressively, this same car topped 92kph only three months later which illustrates just how advanced electric cars were at the time. It actually took quite awhile for petrol engines to emerge as the preferred option and in 1906 the speed record was held by a steam powered car that reached 205kph (which remained the fastest steam powered car in the world for over 100 years – the longest standing automotive record in history).

Early attempts at the Land Speed Record gave car companies the chance to drum up some publicity, and for that very reason Henry Ford himself held the unofficial record in 1904. Although he wasn’t best known for his driving exploits, Henry Ford’s efforts behind the wheel of a Ford 999 gave his new company a chance to make some headlines.

Speed records continued to be disputed until 1924 at which point the world’s largest auto clubs agreed to a formal set of rules. The record speed would be averaged over two runs in opposite directions on a flat surface and the car’s engine had to power the wheels directly (ie: no rockets). Competitors also had to beat the previous record by a big enough margin to ensure it wasn’t the result of a small discrepancy in the measurement.

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Pictured: Examples of the cars that competed for the World Land Speed Record prior to 1924.

At this point in time the British auto industry was booming and the UK took control of the Land Speed Record for forty years. From 1924 to 1964 the record was beaten 21 times and 20 of those successful attempts were made by British drivers. Malcolm Campbell became a household name in England during this time and he was even knighted as a national hero for constantly beating his previous efforts and fighting off new challengers. His son, Donald Campbell, would set the record for himself in 1964 but did so having always raced in his father’s shadow.

Many of those record cars were fairly basic in design and featured an aircraft engine bolted into a streamlined racing chassis. As the sixties drew closer, manufacturers started experimenting with jets and rockets which led to a massive change in the rules to avoid confusion over the outright record. In 1964 the restriction that a car’s wheels had to be driven directly by the engine was removed and the age of turbojets kicked off in earnest. Speeds increased dramatically and the cars effectively became missiles with wheels attached.

Once the rules were changed a number of specialist US teams fought each other for top spot but their reign was broken by Richard Noble, an Englishman who has stamped his own authority on the Land Speed Record since 1983. He set the new benchmark himself that year and then acted as Project Director for the next two successful attempts. The most recent of those, in 1997, was particularly special because the Thrust SSC became the first car to break the sound barrier (incredibly, this was achieved exactly 50 years and one day after Chuck Yeager’s first successful attempt to break the sound barrier in a plane). Creating a sonic boom with a car is simply astonishing.

That 1997 record still stands today but now members of the same team, including Richard Noble, are looking to go even faster with the Bloodhound SSC. Their target is 1000mph (1690kph) which is so incredibly quick that the test run, scheduled for October next year, will be enough to hold the record on its own. The car is amazing and amongst the list of impressive specifications is that a massive 542hp V8 engine powers the fuel pump. THE FUEL PUMP! The Bloodhound SSC is a beast and if it ends up being successful it will certainly be a machine worthy of holding such a prestigious record.

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Dakar: Peugeot have created the ultimate rally dream team

This is fantastic – Peugeot has unveiled the team it will take to the Dakar Rally in 2016 and it’s one of the best driver line-ups in motorsport history. It’s the rally equivalent of the 1992 US Olympic Basketball team and it’s amazing how the careers of these legends have overlapped enough for them to race in the same team at the same time.

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