Wednesday, February 1, 2012 09:26
Powerless in St. Pete? The IndyCar series is showing signs of growth not seen in decades. Insiders think there may be more than 30 entries for the season opener in St. Petersburg. That’s great news in my book—and an alternative to NASCAR mania. If you haven’t noticed, the stock car series is headed downhill, showing weaknesses in team sponsorship, TV ratings and track attendance. The problem at IndyCar is the very real prospect that there may not be enough of the new turbo engines to go around. While the established teams have no worries, it’s the new guys who may be holding the short end of the stick.
This is baffling given the fact that there are three engine manufacturers. Small teams have offered engine suppliers every penny they have (and their first-born male child), yet have heard nothing but the droning hum of the phone line going dead. Hopefully, IndyCar brass will light some fires under the recalcitrant engine manufacturers—or have to add a big “soap box derby” style hill to the St. Pete road course, and add a “Coaster” class for the engineless entrants.
Ford Unveils the 2013 Racecar Ford scooped all the other Sprint Cup manufacturers when they unveiled the 2013 Fusion racecar during the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour. The new design departs from NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow “kit car” that basically required all manufacturers to run identical bodies. The only difference comes from manufacturer specific decals on the noses and tails of the COT. The 2013 Fusion racecars now have real bodywork. They look a lot more like their street-going brethren. More...
Monday, January 30, 2012 12:17
The trick to getting started in racing is to get the most amount of track time for the least amount of money. If you’re looking for a fun and cost-effective class to get your start in road racing, consider B-Spec racers, based on small and inexpensive models from Honda, Kia, Mazda, and Mini.
In 2012, B-Spec racers will hit the track at SCCA, World Challenge, and Grand-Am races all across the country. The most popular car appears to be the Mazda 2, the lightest and least powerful of the cars eligible for the class. A $2600 racing kit that includes suspension and brake updates, an oil cooler, and an air filter should go on sale soon enough to help bring the Mazda 2 forward in the pack. Honda Performance Development is offering a kit for the Honda Fit, and similar kits are available for the Mini.
Other eligible cars include the Fiat 500, the Ford Fiesta, the Toyota Yaris, and the Nissan Versa. All are cheap, even new, compared to a dedicated race car. And their relative lack of power compared to bigger cars means you’ll develop your drivers skills faster so that when you move up you’ll be ready.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011 08:00
If you haven’t made plans yet to attend the SEMA show in Las Vegas beginning November 1, you might want to clear your calendar. Among the tasty cars, trucks, and accessories on display will be a 2012 Honda Civic Coupe built by Fox Marketing. But this isn’t your average tuner car, with flared fenders and fat wheels and not much else. The Fox Civic’s payoff is under the hood––a turbocharged engine that puts out 500 horsepower.
Some skeptics are already pointing out that putting a 500-horsepower engine in a front-wheel-drive car isn’t likely to do much more than reduce the front tires to rubber dust every few thousand miles. But while that might be true, it’s also fair to point out that who cares?! We’re talking supercar power here, folks! In a Civic!
The Fox Civic will also be getting upgraded suspension and brakes to handle the kind of cornering forces that much power will help generate. After all, with great power comes great responsibility, including the responsibility to keep from wrapping your car around a tree. More...
Thursday, August 11, 2011 07:12
Boys have at it in IndyCar? The spate of IndyCar on-track crashes seems like Brian Barnhart and Al Unser Jr. are adopting their own version of NASCAR’s “boys have at it.” Left unchecked, the results could be far worse than driver temper tantrums. Veteran drivers say front wing contact with rear tires is most likely accidental. Wheel-to-wheel incidents, on the other hand, are deliberate. They can have fatal consequences. Remember what happened to Jeff Krosnoff when he got clipped by Stefan Johannsen at Toronto several years ago? It was avoidable contact and a highly ill-advised attempt to pass. I remember an SCCA driver’s school instructor telling us: “It is the responsibility of the overtaking driver to make a safe pass.” I don’t see any wiggle room there, do you?
And there’s more Brian Barnhart announced Friday that Ryan Hunter Reay, Alex Tagliani and Mike Conway will be on probation for the rest of the year for “avoidable contact.” Hunter Reay accepted his wood shedding then added “What about Helio (Castroneves)?” Earlier in the season, Castroneves crashed into everybody except the pace car. Indy watcher Robin Miller also called the IndyCar brass on the matter. “How about some consistency here? Castroneves was a bowling ball earlier this year.” he said. More...
Tuesday, August 2, 2011 08:00
Baseball legend Satchel Paige once said, “Don’t look back. Someone might be gaining on you.” Honda has apparently been looking back a lot lately, in this case toward the glory days when the Civic was the darling of the automotive press and the buying public alike. Possibly as a result, Honda just got a reality check from Consumer Reports, which ranked the 2012 Civic LX––the latest member of a once-invincible family of cars––too low in testing to be recommended.
Wait, what? The mighty Civic, which as late as 2007 was named a Top Pick by Consumer Reports, not even earning a recommendation to buy?
Consumer Reports noted that for the Civic LX automatic’s $19,405 price tag, you don’t get a lot of...well, anything in the interior. The CR testers noted that Chevy’s Cruze, Ford’s 2012 Focus, and the 2011 Hyundai Elantra all offer more than the Civic in terms of cosseting the driver. More...