Friday, June 8, 2012 09:15
The most prestigious 24 hours in motorsports is nearly upon us, as the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans has completed testing and will qualify this week before the 88th running of the race begins on Saturday.
The race is a marathon, not only for the drivers but the spectators as well. Whether you’re watching at home or from Tertre Rouge or the safety of your living room, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a grueling but ultimately rewarding experience. The initiated will be hooked from the start; newcomers will quickly be bored and slowly give in to the racecars’ euphonic, slow burn. You’ll be sleep-deprived with the cognition of a zombie, and you’ll never be happier.
To some, it barely matters what cars are on the track. But nevertheless there are some fascinating storylines in this year’s Le Mans 24 that deserve your attention.
Audi has won ten of the last twelve runnings since the year 2000, and one of those failures went to an Audi-powered Bentley, so it barely counts as a loss. Still, you’ll never find a sports team more determined to achieve victory, and this year they’ve brought a few game-changing cars into the fold. The Audi R18 ultra is an extremely lightweight prototype, while their R18 e-tron quattro is a hybrid version of the R18 ultra that sends additional power to the front wheels. In practice, Audi ran 1-2-3 with two e-trons leading an ultra. Audi is the hands-on favorite to win the race comfortably with the technology and experience to tackle the world’s most insane racing event. More...
Friday, February 24, 2012 12:27
Less than one year after the Valvoline brand introduced a revolutionary recycled motor oil that stands up to racing's demanding standards and high-quality performance, Roush Fenway has decided to switch all its Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams to Valvoline NextGen motor oil technology for the duration of the 2012 NASCAR season. RFR will kick off the shift at the 54th annual Daytona 500 race on Feb. 26, 2012.
The total shift to NextGen represents the culmination of a rigorous validation process that began last summer with drivers like Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards, and is a continued illustration of Roush Fenway Racing's commitment to going green on the track while keeping performance paramount.
NextGen motor oil is made of 50 percent recycled motor oil and delivers 100 percent Valvoline quality, offering optimum engine protection in a product that's also better for the environment. "Closing the Loop" – for professional drivers and everyday consumers alike – is a step towards reducing our dependence on foreign crude oil and preserving our existing resources by collecting and returning your used oil for recycling, and then refilling crankcases with NextGen.
"We couldn't be prouder to have NextGen technology pumping through the engines of the world's elite stock car drivers on the sport's biggest stage at Daytona," said Darryl Gaines, NextGen brand manager at Valvoline. "Having NextGen technology running in all of Roush Fenway's racing engines is just one more way for people to be certain of NextGen quality." More...
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 15:15
GoDaddy, through Stewart-Haas Racing, purchased a guaranteed starting spot in the 2012 Daytona 500 for Danica Patrick. Those involved hope they also bought an assured starting spot for the other nine 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup races she plans to enter.
“Why did NASCAR allow this?” you ask.
The short answer: Guaranteeing a starting spot for the top 35 teams in owner’s points is NASCAR’s version of the franchise system in other sports. It allows the top teams to assure the sponsors their cars will start every Sprint Cup race. (Imagine the riot if Junior wasn’t fast enough to earn a starting spot at Talladega!)
Also, race teams have something to sell when they leave the sport. Formula 1 employs a different system to assure all but the worst team starts every race, and that owners have residual value. More...
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...
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 01:54
The twice around the clock event at Daytona officially launches professional racing in North America every year. The last 50 years are full of notable events, not the least of which is the first, where Dan Gurney rolled dead stick across the finish line in victory. And the cars, Ferraris, Porsches, the Nissan GTP, the purple and white TWR Jaguars and, the fastest of them all, Gurney’s Toyota GTP. I still remember the first time I went to this race. We were serenaded by the wail of Bob Tullius’ V-12 Jaguar engine echoing off the empty grandstands as we came out of the infield tunnel.
I would have given anything to be there this year at the 50th Anniversary just to see the parade of iconic cars that have won the grueling enduro as they drove from the beach to the track.
How grueling is this race? On my first visit to the event as an IMSA Mazda GTU groupie, I recall seeing one of the Mazda crew guys sleeping behind the pit stall with an empty oil bottle as a pillow. I can’t remember for sure, but I think it was a Valvoline bottle.
This year, overall honors went to A.J. Allmendinger who has been richly blessed with a Cup ride with Roger Penske, and a Rolex Daytona watch last Sunday with his “second best” team owner, Michael Shank. Shank kept his praise to himself when he said, “I won’t get all Tebo on you” after Rt. Rev. Allmendinger flashed across the finish line. The 'Dinger gave Ford its first win in more than a decade and led a Blue Oval sweep of the podium. As part of a pre-race wager, Shank will soon go to the nearest barbershop where the letters “AJ” will be shaved into his hair. More...