Friday, October 28, 2011 03:36
Remember that science fair in fifth grade when you got an award for building a papier mache volcano? A team of students at BYU has upped the ante for science projects by designing and building an electric car that set a world land speed record at Bonneville.
The BYU students built the streamliner, dubbed Electric Blue, out of carbon fiber, and used a computer-based wind-tunnel program to refine its aerodynamics. It was designed to run in the E1 streamliner class, which is for electric cars weighing less than 1100 pounds, but because the lithium iron phosphate batteries are so heavy, getting sufficient speed out of the car without breaking the weight limit was a problem.
Possibly because of this power-to-weight issue there were no prior records in the E1 class. Last year the BYU team made one run at 139 mph, but rolled the car on the required return pass. This year Electric Blue made one pass at a record 175 mph, and averaged 155.8 over a two-way run, setting the record in the E1 class.
Thursday, October 27, 2011 09:00
So you won a tote bag in a drawing at the local auto-parts store, huh? Good for you. Meanwhile, in the Johnny Walker Drive of a Lifetime contest, which totally makes all other contests look second-rate, one lucky motorsport fan got to drive Lewis Hamilton’s 2008 World Championship-winning Formula One car. So enjoy that tote bag, okay?
To celebrate its partnership with the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula One Team, the makers of Johnnie Walker offered fans the chance to train as an F1 driver and meet World Champion Lewis Hamilton. Out of thousands of entrants 17 winners were chosen to visit McLaren’s headquarters and have their on-track skills assessed at former F1 driver Jonathan Palmer’s driving center, and later at Silverstone.
There were, of course, a raft of terms and conditions entrants had to meet in order to qualify for the chance to sit in Hamilton’s seat, such as a maximum weight of 187 pounds; a minimum height of 5 feet 2 inches and a maximum of 6 feet; a maximum shoe size (UK size 10); and a fluency in English to be able to communicate with the very nervous men whose priceless race car you’d be driving.
Finally, the fan thought to have the best chance of piloting Hamilton’s 750-plus-horsepower 2008 McLaren without planting it in the weeds was chosen. The lucky bast... er, fan was Djorge Simic, a bank employee who’ll probably find it pretty hard to go back to the world of finance feeling anything but crushing boredom after stepping on the loud pedal of a Formula 1 car.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011 07:00
It’s hard to call yourself The Motor City when you haven’t hosted a professional motorsports event in years. But that’s about to change, because Indycars are returning to Detroit’s Belle Isle circuit in 2012 for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, June 1-3.
The three-day event will include four races: the Chevrolet Indy Grand Prix; the Chevrolet Detroit Sports Car Challenge, where Chevrolet Daytona Prototypes and Camaros will compete in the first GRAND-AM Rolex Series race held on Belle Isle; the Cadillac V-Series Challenge, where Cadillac CTS-Vs will compete in the second Pirelli World Challenge series race held on Belle Isle; and the Firestone Indy Light Series race, featuring the rising stars of open-wheel racing.
Belle Isle is a jewel of a racetrack, a temporary street circuit on a 982-acre island in the Detroit River between Windsor, Ontario, Canada and Detroit, Michigan. The helicopter shots during the race give a spectacular view of the track, the action, and the amazing setting.
Next year will also mark Chevrolet’s return to the IZOD IndyCar Series with a new twin-turbocharged, direct-injected V-6 racing engine developed by General Motors and Ilmor Engineering. The 2.2-liter V-6 will have an aluminum block and cylinder heads, and will be a fully stressed chassis member supporting the gearbox and rear suspension. Honda has been the sole engine supplier in Indycar since 2006, so look for a great rivalry between these two companies, both with long racing histories.
Monday, October 24, 2011 06:00
Most of the time when you go to an auto parts store you come out with less money than you had when you went in. Here’s your chance to turn that around. O’Reilly Auto Parts is having a Tune Up Your Wallet Cash Giveaway with up to 20 winners of $100 every day.
Entering is an easy two-step process. First, enter on the web at O'Reilly Auto Parts, then again on O’Reilly’s Facebook page, and you’re in. You only need to enter once to be eligible for the entire sweepstakes.
Of course, you want to skew the odds in your favor as much as possible. You can get additional entries by referring friends via Facebook, and if one of them wins a $100 prize, you get $25. Sweet!
The more entries to the Tune Up Your Wallet Cash Giveaway, the more daily prizes will be awarded, so sign up now, and get your friends to sign up, too. Over 55,000 people have entered so far, and the sweepstakes ends at midnight tonight -- October 25, 2011 at 11:59 pm (EDT) --, so don’t wait. Enter now and watch the money slide across the counter at the auto parts store the other way for a change.
Friday, October 21, 2011 05:00
Many of today’s top racing drivers got their first taste of speed in go-karts. But what started out as crude tube-framed toys with lawnmower engines and wheelbarrow tires are now miniature versions of real race cars. Now Group Lotus is introducing two new racing karts named after two legendary figures in Lotus racing history.
The Colin C30, named after Lotus fonder Colin Chapman, and the Jimmy C32, named after Lotus driver Jim Clark, are licensed by Group Lotus to be built by Wildkart, specialists in aeronautics precision engineering since 1996 and manufacturer of karts since 2002. Competing under the “Lotus Racing Karts” banner and forming part of the Lotus Motorsport division, Lotus Racing Karts will field a factory-backed team operated by Jefra Racing out of its headquarters near Treviso, Italy.
With the move into karting, Group Lotus becomes the first car manufacturer to have a presence at the entry level of motorsport, where future talent first comes to light. Two-time F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel is the perfect example of the benefits of early driver development, as are fellow F1 drivers and former World Champions Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.
Lotus Racing Karts will unveil its 2012 karts at the annual AUTOSPORT International event on January 14, 2012, in Birmingham, England.