February 26, 2015

This rally driver was totally lost!

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Photo:Peter Märkl/Amotion Photography/Flikr

There is steely determination in Jonathan Hirschi eyes as he waits for his turn to attack  SS1 of this year's Jänner Rallye, the Austrian stop of the European Rally Championship.

Unfortunately, trouble for the Swiss driver starts just a minute into the stage:  perhaps too many "allez" and not enough "droite" in the notes read by the navigator and Hirschi hits a snow bank.  

Things seem a little tense in the cabin after that as the now noseless Peugeot  pops out of the forest and onto a fast open section.

I wish we had audio from inside the car for what happened next.   The conversation between the two must have been quite lively as they made their way out of a snow bank, onto a parking lot, into another snow bank, back into the parking lot, attempt to head into a field in the wrong direction and finally decide to take out (and with them) the parking lot gate.

We are not sure if, then making a 90 degree left turn soon after, the driver decided to bury the car in snow again to make a point.

Hirsute finished sixth overall.

February 24, 2015

McLaren issues statement on Alonso's crash, many are still skeptical.

Pastor Maldonado crashed in the same place in 2014/

With Fernando Alonso still in the hospital under observation and  talk of his missing the final pre season test,  McLaren's official explanations don't satisfy.

McLaren issued a press release blaming the accident on a sudden gust of wind and categorically denying there was any mechanical or electrical issues with the car.

McLaren should have done this immediately after the accident rather than wait for people to come up with their own explanations.  

Not that the official version completely satisfies all questions, especially since F1 teams are notoriously unreliable when it comes to admitting technical failures.

Sudden gusts of wind are indeed common at the Circuit de Catalunya yet the photographer who took the only know pictures of the crash said that at that moment the wind was not strong.

McLaren said the wind gust blew Alonso onto the Astroturf (in a somewhat similar dynamic to Maldonado's practice accident last season) yet the same photographer claims the McLaren never put a wheel off on the outside.

Others are wondering why there is only one tire skid mark.  Is that an indication of a possible brake by wire issue?

If it was just a "normal testing crash", why did Alonso stay inside the cockpit for 20 minutes and had to be sedated?

If it was not a mechanical issue, why did McLaren stop Button who was scheduled for the afternoon?

The one guy who saw better than anyone was Vettel of course who was right behind.  He saw Alonso just turn into the wall. "It was strange" he said.

Yes,  strange indeed.

I wonder if F1 might consider mandating concrete walls be protected by Safer barriers as NASCAR did for Daytona's inside wall after Kyle Busch's crash.   If a relatively slow speed hit in what might possibly be the safest racing car designed by man can put a racer out of commission then, perhaps, it's time to act.

February 23, 2015

Top Gear is right: Ferrari and McLaren, grow up!

Porsche 918, LaFerrari, Mclaren P1 on Top Gear

Back when Mr. Harris choked on his tortellini and threw his parmigiano out of the pram on Jalopnik,  he neglected to mention Mclaren behaves in essentially the same manner when it comes to how their cars are tested vs their rivals.

All car manufactures do this to one degree or another but Ferrari AND McLaren seem to have taken this behaviour to a new a new level. Top Gear confirms in their latest episode.

Who would be fastest around Top Gear's track, the Porsche 918,  the Mclaren P1 or the La Ferrari (it pisses me off every time I have to write that name,  thanks Luca Montezuma!).

I agree it's wholly irrelevant but I, and I'm sure you, would love to see it right?

If anyone could actually make it happen it would be Top Gear but no,  neither Ferrari nor McLaren would allow it.    Porsche was fine with it as they have nothing to lose,  not the fastest and they can claim they are close at a significant savings.  Win and someone in Woking and Maranello is losing a job.

But Jezza's right, c'mon,  group a pair.  Take the cars to Le Castellet or some properly fast track and have at it already.

February 22, 2015

New Porsche GT3 RS 4.0 specs


Remember when that die cast model of a yet to be announced Porsche 991 GT3 RS appeared on the internet?   Turns out it was quite accurate.

Later we learned the new über-GT3 would have a 4 liter engine and 500ish horsepower with a Magnesium roof and composite front wings.

Now, what purports to be the spec sheet for the new car was "leaked" on the internet.

Here are the main details:

4.0l, 500hp, 460 Nm.

PDK only.

Torque vectoring and "sport tuned" rear wheel steering.

9.5 x 20" and 12/5 x 21" wheels

Wider than GT3 body.

CF reinforced plastic hood and fenders, Magnesium alloy roof.

and amusing for what is, in the end,  a street car:

“PIT SPEED” in the centre console switch panel for local speed restriction at the push of a button, e.g. in the pit lane of a race circuit

Sale date in Europe March 2015.  Time to sell that kidney.

Alonso in heavy testing crash.


It's tempting to start thinking of Fernando as a tragic figure, a supremely talented driver that will just not catch any breaks.   McLaren Honda is behind while Ferrari is instead showing promise now a heavy crash in practice.

It happened today at the Circuit de Catalunia in Barcelona.   Alonso lost control of his Mclaren-Honda coming out of turn 4.  From the pictures it's hard to tell what the dynamic of the accident might be but the car does not look severely damaged.

However Alonso was in the car for 10 minutes before medical personnel extracted him.  Reports say that Alonso complained of dizziness and was then loaded onto a stretcher and taken to the hospital for observation.

His manager, Luis Garcia Abad tweeted:

 "Fernando está bien y consciente. Muchas gracias por vuestro interés. Fernando is OK and conscious. Thank you !"

Hopefully, nothing too serious.

You can see the whole photo sequence over at MARCA

February 21, 2015

Aston DB10 and Jaguar C-X75 Bond filming a chase scene in Rome.

James Bond's Aston Martin DB10 filming in Rome

Spectre, the next James Bond film will include a chase scene on the banks of the Tiber.  The latest Bond car, the Aston Marting DB10 was photographed there along with the Jaguar C-X75 and a more "pedestrian" V12 Vantage.

Presumably,  the magic of editing will make the chase scene look a bit more exciting than it did on home video but, last time the Bond production was playing with cars in Italy,  an Aston Martin DBS did end up in Lake Garda!

Safety boats are probably a good idea.

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