Sunday, November 30, 2014

Just Accept It: Autocross Isn’t Racing

Hat Tip to Larry N.

I really enjoyed reading Just Accept It: Autocross Isn’t Racing from Bark M. - an experienced autocrosser who's competed and trophied at national level. It rang true to someone like me who switched to endurance racing after 12 years of autocrossing. Autocross is a fantastic foundation for your driving skills and definitely something that everyone should do at least a couple of times a year. It's just not something that anyone should call "racing". Racing is when cars fighting for 51st position on the track go at each other -- a lot like this.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Very Cool Compilation of Eau-Rouge through the Last 20 Years!

This is a very cool compilation of one of my most favorite turns of any track: Eau Rouge at Spa-Francorchamps. Make sure to read Wikipedia's page on Spa as well, especially the section on Eau Rouge (copied below as well).

Until 2000, it was possible to travel over the race track when it was still a public road. At Eau Rouge, southbound traffic was allowed to use the famous uphill corner, while the opposite downhill traffic had to use the old road and U-turn behind the grand stands, rejoining the race track at the bottom of Eau Rouge.

The most famous part of the circuit is the Eau Rouge / Raidillon combination. Having negotiated the La Source hairpin, drivers race down a straight to the point where the track crosses the Eau Rouge stream for the first time, before being launched steeply uphill into a sweeping left-right-left collection of corners with a blind summit. Properly speaking, the Eau Rouge corner is only the left-hander at the bottom. The following right-hander that leads steeply uphill, which was introduced in 1939 to shortcut the original hairpin "Ancienne Douane", is called "Raidillon". The corner requires a large amount of skill from the driver to negotiate well and the long straight ahead often produces good overtaking opportunities for the best drivers at the following "Les Combes" corner. The corner was tighter and narrower (it was made wider in 1970, when the circuit was updated) on the old circuit than it is today on the current circuit, which made it considerably slower.

The 2005 and 2006 F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso explains: "You come into the corner downhill, have a sudden change [of direction] at the bottom and then go very steep uphill. From the cockpit, you cannot see the exit and as you come over the crest, you don't know where you will land. It is a crucial corner for the timed lap, and also in the race, because you have a long uphill straight afterwards where you can lose a lot of time if you make a mistake. But it is also an important corner for the driver's feeling. It makes a special impression every lap, because you also have a compression in your body as you go through the bottom of the corner. It is very strange – but good fun as well."[10]

The challenge for drivers has always been to take Eau Rouge-Raidillon flat out. Regular touring cars can take the corner at 160–180 km/h, Formula One at over 300 km/h.[11] This is due to the huge amount of downforce on the cars. World Champion Jacques Villeneuve once spoke of the effects of downforce saying that to get through the corner they have to go faster as the faster the car is going the more downward force there is, thus explaining the phenomenon of Eau Rouge flat out.

Still, a loss of control in this section often leads to very heavy shunt as usually the rear-end of the car is lost and the impact is most of the times lateral. Eau Rouge has claimed several victims over the years, including Stefan Bellof in a Porsche sportscar, Guy Renard during the 24h of Spa-Francorchamps in 1990 in a Toyota Corolla GT and also caused Alex Zanardi's in 1993 and Jacques Villeneuve's spectacular off in qualifying in 1999, which he described as "My best-ever crash", followed by his team-mate Ricardo Zonta's similar accident, leading cartoonist Jim Bamber to show BAR boss Craig Pollock telling Zonta: "Jacques is the quickest through Eau Rouge, so go out there and do exactly what Jacques does…"

Following the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna at Imola in 1994, the following F1 races saw the introduction of chicanes made up from stacked tyres. The entry to Eau Rouge was obstructed in such a way in 1994, although it was returned to its previous glory the following year. The corner was slightly modified for 2002, but still retains its character.

Testimony to the fame and beloved character of the Eau Rouge corner can be found in fan reaction to the Istanbul Park circuit in Istanbul, Turkey. When fans first got to see the course configuration at the start of the weekend of the 2005 Turkish Grand Prix, many noted that an uphill kink on the back straight was very similar to Eau Rouge; many jokingly dubbed the kink "Faux Rouge" (a pun on the name of the original Spa corner using the French word "faux", meaning "false"). 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Summer Tires Club Get-Together

Join the Summer Tires Club anywhere in the area indicated in white on the map below.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Watch This Video And Carefully Rethink Your Roll Cage

This is one of the most horrifying crashes I have seen to date, simply because it hits so close to home. This could've been any of the Miatas that I've seen racing at Chumpcar and LeMons. It begs so many questions -

Is it too dangerous to race an open-top car?

How high should the roll cage be?

Should every race car have an arm restraint?

Shouldn't every race car have a window net?

How about padding on the cage?

There's a lot that goes into a properly built roll cage and you should take a few minutes to understand it better. The Chumpcar roll cage rules (starting on p. 50 of their rule book) are an excellent starting point. Since I know that most of you will be too lazy to drag your asses over to another link, I am pasting the Chumpcar rules below:

Roll Cages
A. At minimum, all roll-cages must include:
1. Full rear, main-hoop with either: (i) front-hoop appropriately braced to each other along the
roofline; or, (ii) halo-hoop appropriately attached to two front vertical legs; or (iii) front vertical
bars bent rearwards at the roofline, connecting to the rear main hoop and cross-braced
horizontally along the upper windscreen line;
a. On all closed cars, the main hoop must be as close as possible to the roof (in height) and “B”
pillars (in width).
b. The main hoop (behind the driver) must be the full width of the cockpit for all cars. It must
be one continuous length of tubing with smooth bends and no evidence of mandrel crimping
or wall failure.
c. A 3/16” inspection hole must be drilled in the main hoop, such that a Tech Inspector has
access to measure the wall thickness of the main hoop without obstruction.
2. Two driver-side door bars that will prevent cockpit intrusion (NASCAR-style or X-design is
a. The spacing between the fore and aft terminal ends of all door bars (including X-design)
must include a separation of no less than six inches of open space when measured at the
centerline of each bar. Triangulated bars that meet or join at the front hoop are allowed so
long as the spacing of the upper and lower bars (attached to the main hoop) is a minimum of
six inches when measured at the centerline of the tubing bar.
b. The upper door bar shall not be placed higher than the top of the door or window sill.
c. If the distance, measured at any point between the highest portion of the door sill or floor
pan (whichever is higher) and the lowest edge of lower door bar is greater than ten inched
(10”), a floor or lower-sill intrusion bar, mounted as low as possible on each side of the rollcage,
at or just above the door sill, joining the front hoop and the main hoop.
d. A minimum of one (1) door bar shall be required on the passenger side. This bar can be a
floor- or sill- or mid-level door bar.
3. Appropriate main-hoop rear-supports (backstays) with no bends, located as close to 45 degrees
from horizontal as practical;
4. One main-hoop diagonal support bar; installed in the same plane as the main hoop, with one end
terminating in general proximity to the main hoop bend above the driver’s head and the other
end terminating in general proximity to the lower end of the opposite side of main hoop. The
diagonal support bar may be of one (1) or two (2) piece construction and it may intersect with
or cross-through the horizontal support bar (used for seat belt harness attachment and/or seat
5. Complete 360-degree welds at all welded joints. All welds to be sufficient in heat, penetration,
bead and consistency.
6. Each major load-bearing member must be formed from its own single, continuous tube.
7. Shoulder-harness bars strongly encouraged (over floor-mounted harnesses), and virtually
necessary for proper shoulder-harness mounting in some applications; dash bars are not
required but very strongly encouraged.
Your roll-cage GENERALLY better have the same main bars in the same main places as shown in
the picture below or you’re going home.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Does Ken Block Still Remember How To Drive in A Straight Line?!

Gymkhana 7 is just as entertaining as the first 6 editions. This one has some of the best engine sounds, so make sure to crank up the volume. Just wondering if Ken Block still remembers what it is like to drive in a straight line...

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Tractor Trailer Jumps over A Formula 1 Car

It's pretty insane for a tractor trailer to jump over a Formula 1 car but the Lotus F1 team pulled it off with one of their cars. This is not the most convincing ad for EMC's capabilities but the guys at Lotus must have had a lot of fun shooting the video. Hey -- why not have some fun, if you can get someone to foot the bill?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

An Insanely Fast Hill Climb in A Single Seater!

Fasten your seat belt - onboard with David Hauser (Dallara GP2) - Course de côte de St. Ursanne - Les Rangiers 2013

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Race Between a Volvo Truck and a Koenigsegg?

The Volvo truck looks so menacing on the track, you can't not root for it!!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Now THIS Is How You Hoon a Ferrari!

Hat tip to Hristo S.

I'll admit it - the only time I'd want to be a passenger in a car is if Kimi were driving me around the track in a Ferrari F12! And what a blatant omission that OneHotLap wasn't invited to THIS media event...

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Perfectly Executed Slide!

What a perfectly executed slide! You can take Loeb out of rally, but you cannot take the rally out of Loeb!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A 207-mph BICYCLE, Are You Kidding Me?!

Here’s a bicycle capable of 207 mph and 1/4 mile under 7 seconds. Doesn't matter that it outran a Ferrari - it would outrun any car out there, at least on a short run. It begs so many questions:
  1. Who in their right mind would think about slapping a rocket on a bicycle with skinny tires AND actually implement the idea?
  2. What bicyclist is crazy enough to actually ride the damn thing at 207 mph?
  3. Do speeding tickets apply to this? I mean, what self-respecting cop would pull over a bicyclist for exceeding the speed limit on public roads?
  4. OK, where can I buy one? 

Monday, November 10, 2014

An Epic Spec Miata Battle At Road Atlanta!

This is great racing all around. The video is long and if all you have is two minutes to watch it, start Here.

Thursday, November 6, 2014