Tag: Racing

By on September 20, 2017

Lamborghini Super Trofeo Evo

For such a venerable supercar manufacturer, Lamborghini doesn’t have much of a racing heritage. That’s not necessarily a fault, considering the brand has long been about ludicrous automotive pageantry over ensuring adherence to nonexistent track pedigree. But Lamborghini wasn’t willing to settle on just being difficult to ignore on the streets, it wanted something to rival Ferrari’s own Scuderia.

Half a decade ago, the gauntlet was thrown with the introduction of Lamborghini’s own Squadra Corse (Racing Team) but nobody took the introductory Super Trofeo (Super Trophy) cars all that seriously — not even the manufacturer. That changed a few years ago, when the company introduced the Huracán LP 620-2 Super Trofeo and GT3 racing cars.

After selling roughly 150 of the first-generation Super Trofeos, Lamborghini has prepared the new one — which it is calling the EVO.  (Read More…)

By on August 28, 2017

img_0171

If you haven’t been within shouting distance of me in the last 12 months, or if you don’t live somewhere that has the internet, you might not be aware that I was the winner of the Unlimited class in the Sports Car Club of America’s inaugural Targa Southland event last year. Targa, along with Track Night in America, is part of the SCCA’s new Experiential program, which focuses not only on bringing new types of experiences to existing members, but also on attracting new members to motorsports.

Granted, I had a bit of an advantage, what with having a pre-production Acura NSX and all, and having the world’s best autocrosser, Jadrice Toussaint, as my co-driver for the cone-dodging events. But still, at the end of the event, I went home with the trophy, and if you ask any racer — any real racer — they’ll tell you that winning’s winning.

In fact, we had such a good time driving all over the Southeast last year that I was among the first to sign up for this year’s Targa when registration opened. Of course, I knew I couldn’t get the NSX again, but thanks to my friends at Honda, I had another secret weapon scheduled to make its way across the country to Charlotte (where Targa Southland 2017 would begin). Yes, I would be the first person to have the opportunity to win a national SCCA trophy in the 2017 Honda Civic Type R.

(Read More…)

By on August 3, 2017

Image: 1966 Prince R380, image © Corey Lewis

This special racing edition of Rare Rides was made possible by the Infiniti Q50 First Drive event in Nashville, Tennessee, which also provided the source material for this Q50 review and this Q60 Picture Time. Our Rare Ride today also happens to be my 100th contribution to TTAC. Time flies!

Let’s have a little look at some Japanese racing royalty, starting with some history.

(Read More…)

By on June 30, 2017

gibraltar_g1_tesla_motors_model_s

I doubt that very many of you have seen Robb Holland’s series over on Jalopnik about turning a salvage-title Z06 into a Pikes Peak car. That’s okay; unless you’re a particular fan of Corvettes or of Robb Holland you aren’t missing much.

At the heart of it, the series is a fairly typical exercise in what I call “Journalist Stone Soup Motorsports” — you call everybody in the world to get as much free stuff as you can and then you offer to mention them on your website. Some people are much better at this than others; Mr. Holland’s vehicular opus looks like it consumed about a thousand man-hours of free labor and maybe fifty grand worth of free stuff. Feel free to compare that to the incompetent promotional efforts of your humble author, who won an AER race last month with uh, um… some year-old, half-worn tires courtesy of Dunlop. (Thank you, Dunlop!) This is no doubt due to the fact that Robb is a handsome, well-liked television personality, whereas I’m primarily notable for being kicked out of NASA Performance Touring twice in four seasons.

There is, however, something of value in Robb’s most recent article. In the process of excusing the Corvette Z06 from overheating shenanigans (hmm… why does this sound familiar?), he asks, “Personally, I think the whole [overheating] thing is load of crap… First, how long should a street car be able to run on track before having to stop? One minute, five minutes, 100 minutes? Twenty-four hours? What’s the benchmark? A race track is a very different environment than the street. You can’t design a car to work well in both.”

It’s easy to dismiss this by pointing out all the cars that can complete SCCA and NASA sprint races with bone-stock drivetrains, but if the question isn’t relevant now, it’s about to be extremely relevant. The electric car is coming, and it’s not going to handle racing terribly well. In fact, it’s not even going to handle hot weather or off-track high speeds terribly well. So what does it need to be able to do?

(Read More…)

By on June 26, 2017

Davey Allison

Ever since racers figured out they could trade a bit of real estate on their ride for some sorely needed cash, sponsors have been plastering their names on just about every flat surface of a race car.

Sometimes the results look like a person put a bunch of logos in their mouth and sneezed on the car, but other times — either through careful planning or happy coincidence — a team will create something for the ages.

(Read More…)

By on June 23, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, Image: GM

Another month, another fresh batch of Burgerkingring-related stupidity. This time it’s the General Motors PR machine and its ever-reliable Southern California appendix stirring the hype for the new Camaro ZL1 1LE, which obtained a seven-minutes-and-change time when driven by an engineer around the course.

Nine times out of 10 I ignore this stuff entirely, but insofar as I was at the Ring just two weeks before the Camaro crew got there I thought this would be a good time to remind everybody out there why these times are completely and utterly meaningless.

(Read More…)

By on June 18, 2017

aston martin le mans, Image: FIAWEC

While Porsche saw a remarkable comeback victory at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, clawing its way from the back of the pack as practically every LMP1 class car suffered a catastrophic breakdown, all the real action was taking place among the LM GTE Pro cars — as usual.

Jordan Taylor, masterfully piloting the No. 63 Corvette, kept himself in the lead for much of the race but everything morphed into a sphincter clenching contest in its final moments. Aston Martin had already suffered a nail-biting off with its No. 95 car, but it was the No. 97 Vantage of Jonathan Adam that had us cursing near the race’s end. Attempting a bold and ill-advised maneuver, Adam managed to pass Taylor momentarily by diving on the inside and exiting the corner wide. The two cars even made light contact as the Corvette retook the lead and everybody in the pits started screaming.  (Read More…)

By on June 1, 2017

Mazda MX-5 Cup Coolant Neck, Image: © 2017 Bozi Tatarevic

Our race weekend at New Jersey Motorsports park was months in the making and the MX-5 Cup car known as Marylin finally felt solid. We arrived late, so the plan was to pull the car off the trailer, complete an ABS calibration, and then head back to the hotel to get a little rest before the afternoon qualifying session.

The MX-5 had other plans and started steaming from the back of the cylinder head after the ABS test.

The qualifying session was just a few hours away and the leak appeared to be coming from an unreachable spot between the cowl and transmission bellhousing. Online diagrams showed an O-ring at the joint that was leaking but the closest Mazda dealership had none in stock. If we were home in North Carolina, the move would be to go to the sole local mom-and-pop store and raid their case full of various o-rings until we found the right one, but a quick Google search showed that all we had around us were national parts chains.

These stores had no such case and their computer system showed no rear water outlet o-ring for the MX-5. Time was running out. We had to qualify. We put the car back together and sent it out on track. When it came back, the bit of steam had turned into a waterfall coming down over the bellhousing and our race weekend looked like it had come to an end.

(Read More…)

By on April 23, 2017

BMW track day

For the most part, crash avoidance and driver assistance technology is a welcome addition addition to the automotive landscape. While they can be a little invasive sometimes, they’re usually doing what they’re supposed to and helping to save the lives of drivers who may have had a momentary lapse in judgment or focus. However, there is a lot of worry over how lane assistance or emergency braking software will behave when you bring a streetcar to the track.

Several chapters of the BMW Car Club of America and the Porsche Club of America have already decided to forbid any vehicle equipped with aids. The fear is that track day organizers or instructors could be found liable if a car suddenly jerks right when it approaches the apex of a corner or suddenly decelerate when in close proximity to other vehicles. A driver might be caught off-guard if a car unexpectedly takes over and be unsure how to mitigate inputs they were unprepared for.

The bottom line is that newer cars are finding themselves in danger of being banned wholesale, and that’s just not going to work if track days are to continue in the years to come.

(Read More…)

By on April 6, 2017

Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Car at Long Road Racing, Image: © 2017 Bozi Tatarevic

The Global Mazda MX-5 Cup car is one of the most affordable, ready-to-race cars on the market today. The racer starts as a fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 and receives over 250 changes to become track ready. Mazda wanted the cars to be built to a single spec, so it tapped Long Road Racing to be the sole builder of the car.

I paid them a visit to see just what goes into building these race-ready roadsters.

(Read More…)

By on April 6, 2017

2016 Subaru WRX at an autocross event, Image: © 2016 Bozi Tatarevic/The Truth About Cars

Talk about being careful what you wish for. I now have about 40 questions in my inbox for “Ask Jack,” with more steadily trickling in. I’m going to answer all of them, either here or via e-mail, and in a semi-timely manner to boot. So don’t be afraid to send your questions to askjack@jackbaruth.com. I’m ready, and waiting, to give you the kind of bad advice you can only get from somebody who’s crashed more marriages than he has crashed race cars!

Robert writes:

Hi Jack. In keeping with the mantra, “Want to be a better driver? Get a worse tire,” I do indeed want to be a better driver. Specifically, a better autocross driver. I’ve run the original equipment, 600-treadwear tires on my ’14 Honda Civic Si for my first four events. I suck, but I’m steadily improving with every event. I can get one, maybe two more events out of these tires before they’re down past the tread-wear markers. All the instructors I’ve driven with say the same thing: get Potenza RE71s because the tires I have are costing me 2 to 5 seconds. That gap would have gotten me on the podium at the last two events. But I know I’m still leaving seconds out there due to my inexperience. Should I go Potenza when I replace the tires?

This is the sort of question I love to get — thoughtful, easy to understand, and right in the proverbial wheel house. Even better, the answer to the question will be useful to many of you, even if you have no idea what an “autocross” might be.

(Read More…)

By on March 22, 2017

hardtop-available-for-mx-5-cup-race-car-1024x554

Nor should they, really. Mazda’s MX-5 Miata already offers the option of an aluminum-and-steel overcast with its delightfully gimmicky and functional RF variant.

Still, past MX-5 owners often shelled out for a simple and attractive fiberglass top to accompany their factory cloth top. You’d often find it stashed in the garage next to the lawn mower. So popular were these aftermarket accessories, Mazda saw fit to offer customers the all-weather confidence and convenience of a retractable hardtop, starting in 2006. With the RF, it chose a different way of letting the sun shine in.

Well, there’s now a new removable top available to MX-5 owners, but you’ll never see it on the street. (Read More…)

By on February 13, 2017

A touching moment of solidarity crowned the inaugural series event. During the second race’s podium, the winner and Nissan GT Academy driver decided to offer his two Nissan Canada cheques of 1,500 worth of parts to new driver Mario Berthiaume, who was unable to start the race after seriously damaging his car in a practice session accident. Image: Nissan Canada

There’s an old saying, coined by NASCAR legend Junior Johnson, that suggests the quickest way to make a small fortune in racing is to start with a big one. While my yard is notably devoid of multi-million dollar race haulers, I can certainly understand the seeds of truth in this cautionary tale: when the powers-that-be decide to change the rules in a particular series, it causes all hands to reach for their checkbooks.

There have been plenty of rule changes in motorsport over the years. Formula 1 changes its downforce packages more often than my wife’s teenage sister changes her Snapchat filters, for example. F1 is also known for decreeing the use of new engines, ranging over the years from turbo V6s to honkin’ V10s to small-displacement V12s, not to mention the bizarre powertrain configurations that appeared in the ’60s and ’70s. The amount of adaptation beggars belief.

Stock car racing isn’t immune to this trend, either.

(Read More…)

By on January 30, 2017

Rolex 24 Cadillac Victory

Cadillac took a definite “more is more” approach for its return to prototype racing. By handing over its engineering masterpiece, the V8 DPi-V.R, to the distinguished Wayne Taylor Racing, LeMans veteran Massimiliano “Max” Angelelli, and NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon, it assured itself the one-two victory at the Rolex 24 in Daytona.

However, despite an ideal finish, it wasn’t a perfect day for the team. (Read More…)

By on January 23, 2017

Bernie Ecclestone (Ryan Bayona/Flickr)

Formula One super-magnate and extremely old person Bernie Ecclestone was just ousted from his position as chief executive by Liberty Media — F1’s new owners.

Having bought the company and the voting rights, the American media group’s board of directors designated Chase Carey as Formula One’s new CEO. Unlike Ecclestone, who has been active in motorsport since the 1940s, Carey has a ridiculous mustache and no racing experience whatsoever.  (Read More…)

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