* for $450,000 or so.
Audi announced Wednesday that it would make available its race-winning R8 LMS GT3 car for anyone comfortable with its $443,348.12 price tag and access to the race series for which this car is appropriate.
For your cool half-mil you get the R8 LMS, presumably that wing, some spare parts and 585 of the loudest horsepowers you could imagine. Customers can order their cars starting today. (Take a check?)
Seven spectators are dead after a rally car plunged Saturday into a crowd of 20 people, killing at least seven and injuring at least 12 more, media outlets are reporting.
The BBC reported that six people were initially dead after the crash in the province of Galicia, which is in northwest Spain. The Daily Mail reported that a young girl who was severely injured in the crash died from her injuries Saturday night.
The La Coruna rally was immediately cancelled after the deadly crash.
Ford is out at Sebring testing their newest toy — the Ford GT LM GTE — in preparation for the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship. Thankfully, someone was on location and captured a few laps on video.
I’d like to personally thank this intrepid track video reporter. The car sounds like a four-wheeled warzone, completely with six turbocharged AK-47-esque cylinders.
Former and current drivers have called on IndyCar officials to review safety equipment in place after racer Justin Wilson died Monday from injuries suffered Sunday at Pocono Raceway, Reuters is reporting.
Wilson was struck in the head by debris from a car that crashed ahead of him, driven by Sage Karam. The incident was similar to accidents in other race series with open cockpits; Felipe Massa was hit by debris in Hungary in 2009 and required surgery, James Hinchcliffe was struck in the head in 2014, which caused a concussion. Wilson’s death was the first for IndyCar since Dan Wheldon was killed in 2011.
“Safety is not one of those things that because you have a clear record for a certain amount of time that you stop doing development,” former race driver Eddie Cheever told ESPN.
Justin Wilson died Monday from injuries sustained Sunday, when a piece of another crashed race car struck him. He was 37.
His family released a short statement thanking well-wishers and fans for their support after the crash. Wilson was a native of Sheffield, England and lived in Longmont, Colorado with his wife and two daughters.
“Justin was a loving father and devoted husband, as well as a highly competitive racing driver who was respected by his peers.”
Wilson was an advocate for track safety, not only for the racers but also for the spectators.
The fine folks over at The Atlantic (yeah, the fancy magazine) have posted a 5-minute short film on the experience that is LeMons. We love it.
(Spot fellow TTAC scribe Murilee Martin in the robe at 1:45.)
For the uninitiated, it’s a expertly captured glimpse at the personalities that make home-grown racing the best kind of racing. For the car nut, the film serves as motivation to get out and work on your race mongrel — now.
V8 Supercar racer James Courtney was injured when an Australian Navy helicopter fly-over dislodged debris near pitlane, which struck and injured the racer, media in Australia is reporting.
Courtney was transported to a local hospital with relatively minor injuries, but is expected to remain there for several days, effectively ending his race weekend. Courtney is currently fifth in the championship standings with five races to follow this weekend’s Sydney Motorsports Park SuperSprint. Courtney’s missed weekend effectively ends his championship run.
Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah (about 45 minutes outside of Salt Lake City) has a new lease on life, Hot Rod is reporting. The racetrack will be purchased by Chinese carmaker Geely and renamed Utah Motorsports Campus. The facility could receive $50 million in upgrades to host more racing events in the future.
The track had been on the ropes after the Miller family, who took over after patriarch Larry H. Miller died in 2009, said they weren’t renewing the lease and walking away from the world-class racetrack.
News on Thursday that two teens were injured at Lime Rock Park near Salisbury, Connecticut brought forward questions about track safety and security.
Namely, how could tracks be safer and more secure when they’re not operational? And could insurance companies, who already charge a considerable amount of money, eventually sink small town tracks that can’t afford to lockdown tracks completely?
Many tracks are rural parts of the country, and run with skeleton crews — even during race events. That’s because tracks are like golf courses and graveyards, most of their open ground isn’t consistently used and therefore, not always insanely profitable.
Update 2: Connecticut police have sent over a statement.
Update: We’ve received a reply from Lime Rock Park’s Press, PR & Editorial Director, Rick Roso, detailing what happened last night. It is included below.
Police say several teens broke into Lime Rock Park on Wednesday night and crashed go-karts, injuring two teenagers. According to police, a 15-year-old girl was transported to a Hartford children’s hospital via helicopter and a 15-year-old boy was transported to a local hospital, both with non-life threatening injuries. Both teens are in stable condition.
Police were called out to the track around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Germany’s Nurburgring Nordschleife will be reopened next year for manufacturers’ bragging rights after officials announced Tuesday that the track’s speed limits — added after a crash during a race killed a spectator in March — will be lifted, PistonHeads is reporting.
Track officials also announced they would be smoothing some parts of the track to keep cars from launching into the air, including the section that launched a Nissan GT-R GT3 into a crowd in March, and keeping spectators from certain areas of the track.
The track may be open for full-speed testing in 2016.
Here’s a little bit of racing trivia you may not have known. In addition to getting a check with a couple of commas in the amount, the winning driver of the Indianapolis 500 is also awarded the pace car for that year’s race. I’m not talking about one of the thousands of replicas they sell at the dealers or even one of the dozens of courtesy cars with pace car graphics that they use at the race. I’m talking about the actual vehicle used to pace the drivers as they come into formation for the flying start and then functions as a safety car when yellow flags are unfurled. That means that racers driving for Roger Penske’s team have won sixteen of those pace cars.
Apparently those drivers’ contracts give the team the right to buy the pace car if they win because Roger owns all sixteen paces cars from the years that his team has won the 500. To celebrate this year’s edition of the massive Woodward Dream Cruise, the Penske organization paraded their collection of authentic Indy 500 pace cars from the Penske Corp’s hospitality tent in Royal Oak all the way up to Pontiac and back, with the spiff that many of the cars were being driven by current and former Penske racers.
Jenson Button and his new wife were the target of apparent Bond villains last weekend after robbers allegedly knocked the couple and their guests out with gas pumped in through the vents and made away with $465,000 in jewelry, the BBC reported.
The Formula One driver, his wife and their guests, who were all staying in St. Tropez, weren’t injured in the robbery. A spokesman for Button muddled things further (emphasis ours):
“The police have indicated that this has become a growing problem in the region with perpetrators going so far as to gas their proposed victims through the air conditioning units before breaking in.”
So you’re saying this happens a lot? That doesn’t sound right.
After Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn said they would have to reassess whether their GT-R LM program was fruitful, the company announced Friday it was pulling the car out of competition.
“We know people will be disappointed, but be assured that nobody is more disappointed than us,” said Shoichi Miyatani, president of NISMO.
The car had struggled in competition this year with one car finishing at Le Mans well behind the leaders, one disqualification and one DNF at the famed race in France.
Topped only by FIFA, the two next-least trustworthy international sports associations have joined forces today to speculate that we could see Formula E cars race through Tokyo streets for the glory of games and country in 2020, according to F1Insider (via Road & Track).
The original report, which was written in German, says FIA executives pitched the idea to Olympic organizers and offered the Formula E cars for competition.
Canadian driver Jacques Villeneuve said he would “definitely” participate and added that 30 years ago tennis wasn’t part of the Olympic program, but now it’s a staple.
But that’s not even the best part.
The coupe, which will be unveiled in August ahead of its first public appearance at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, looks remarkably similar to the C-Class sedan from which it’s based.
Somewhat oddly for the site that used to prioritize being FIRST POST above everything else, Jalopnik was last out of the gate with their review of the Viper ACR. I think it was worth the wait, because it was written by legitimate sports-car-racing hero Andy Lally. You can check it out here. As competent a racer and driver as I think I am, Andy’s obviously on the proverbial next level.
Which is why it made me sad to read one of the story’s last paragraphs.
The Southern California Timing Association announced Tuesday that its annual Speed Week, held at the Bonneville Salt Flats near Salt Lake City, will be canceled this year. Officials said poor conditions meant they could only find 2.5 miles of usable salt, far less than the 7 miles needed for the race.
The decision came down one day earlier than expected, and a little more than a week after officials canceled an earlier event at the salt flats for the same reason.
Race officials said nearby salt mining operations have deteriorated salt conditions at the famed flats. Officials say future races could be canceled if the flats aren’t protected.
After a less than stellar result for Nissan at the 24 Hours of LeMans this year, Carlos Ghosn has stated the program — at least in its current form — is under review.
If you’d like to own one of the most gorgeous pieces of American motorsport without paying seven figures at the next Barrett-Jackson auction, you might be in luck.
Shelby American is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its FIA World Championship win in style by offering up recreations of arguably the prettiest vehicle to ever wear the badge. The Daytona Coupe — of which only six original race cars were built — is making a comeback in your choice of fiberglass or aluminum and powered by 289 c.i.d. engine with the Coupe’s serial number if you so choose.
The run of aluminum units marks the first time Shelby has offered the Daytona Coupe in the metal since the original cars were built in 1964 and 1965.
The final decision on Speed Week will come down July 22, organizers said this week. The Southern California Timing Association, who hosts the event in Utah at the Bonneville Salt Flats near Salt Lake City, said Thursday that they’re still planning on test runs on July 21, ahead of a final determination.
A smaller event was cancelled last week at the salt flats because of poor conditions, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
The annual Speed Week event, which has more than 600 racers registered this year already, could become extinct in coming years.
Volvo has purchased Swedish high-performance tuner Polestar, the automaker announced Tuesday. The company will own and operate Polestar as an in-house performance division much like Ford’s SVT division or Subaru’s STI group (anything other than another Mercedes-AMG or BMW M Division reference).
You could be forgiven for thinking Volvo owned Polestar already — the Swedish automaker already exclusively contracted with the Swedish tuner in 2013 to produce the V60 and S60 Polestar editions and the two have worked together since the 1990s.
Volvo said in the medium-term it would double output of Polestar branded cars — which could mean more than 80 sedans and 40 wagons a year coming to the United States.
Next year’s Formula 1 season may have 21 races, including the first in Azerbaijan and a race in Germany after this year’s planned event was cancelled.
The provisional calendar for F1 was released Friday with 21 races scheduled, the same number of races on last year’s provisional calendar. The race on the streets in Baku, Azerbaijan this year would be dubbed the European Grand Prix and could be held in July.
The 2016 season would begin in Australia in April and end in Abu Dhabi in November.
Chances are you probably won’t see this Golf in the Volkswagen showroom anytime soon. Volkswagen Motorsport rolled out its race-tuned Golf on Thursday, built to compete in the Touringcar Racer International Series.
The 2.0-liter turbocharged four, which has been tuned to 330 horsepower and 302 pound-feet of torque, is mated to a six-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission and is front-wheel drive.
The huge rear wing, front air dam and side skirts obviously add 15 percent more go-fast.
Guidelines for the new Australian V8 Supercar series outline specifications for its new cars, including an option to use smaller engines for the manufacturers who compete.
According to the racing series, the new platform “allows more flexibility in terms of body style and engine configuration, provided they comply with the regulations. The V8 engine, which has been mandated for more than 20 years, is also expected to continue as the dominant power plant of the sport.”
The guidelines allow for 4-, 6- or 8-cylinder engines, as long as they meet power specifications. The plans also call for a minimum noise limit of 85 to 95 dB. Take that, Bernie.
Rally legend Tommi Mäkinen will lead Toyota Gazoo Racing’s World Rally Championship team when it begins competition in 2017, the automaker announced today. Mäkinen was announced as team principal, which will race a Yaris-based car, for the WRC team.
Toyota boss Akio Toyoda, who will be the team’s chairman, said the 51-year-old Mäkinen was an ideal fit for the team.
“Tommi has abundant experience and fresh ideas for vehicle development, both of which will be valuable assets to us. With Tommi behind us, Toyota will forge ahead with our return to the WRC and also our efforts to make ever better cars,” Toyoda said in a statement.
Per Road and Track, the operators of the famed Nurburgring in Germany may be preparing to dump its speed limits for manufacturers and may mean a return for manufacturer records.
After a Nissan GT-R GT3 crashed and killed a spectator, the famous road installed speed limits during specific sections for safety and enforced those limits during testing for manufacturers — effectively ending record run chest-thumping.
A Formula 1 study released yesterday shows that in just 5 years fans have gone from describing the sport as “Exciting” to “Boring” and that the more things change, the more things stay the same.
The 17-page report, which polled more than 200,000 fans of the sport, also revealed that fans are growing older and many fondly remember an era that didn’t go over so well in its time.
All-around fast driver and New Zealander Rhys Millen had roughly 20 miles of experience behind the wheel of his Latvian-made eO electric race car before Sunday’s race.
That apparently didn’t matter as he piloted the first electric car to an overall win at the 93rd running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on Sunday.
On September 14th of last year, a participant in the “Rusty Wallace Racing Experience” at Kentucky Speedway crashed into first the inside track wall, then the SAFER barrier on the outside of the track. One week later, he died from the multiple and severe injuries he sustained in that crash.
On Wednesday, the text of the lawsuit filed by his estate against multiple parties was released. The allegations contained in the lawsuit should horrify anyone who has ever considered participating in, or instructing for, one of these rent-a-stock-car “experiences”.
TVR, along with announced partners Gordon Murray and Cosworth Engineering, is planning a rebirth for the storied British shed-built brand for 2017. The new car is expected to be powered by a unique Cosworth-developed V8.
But, don’t hold your breath, as we’ve heard this story before.
After a weekend of rain for this year’s running of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, critics questioned IndyCar and the CDBIGP honcho Roger Penske’s decision to schedule the race event in late May, making it the first race in the schedule after the series’ marquee event, the Indy 500. While in most recent years the racing at Belle Isle has experienced picture postcard worthy sunny skies, holding a race on an island during late spring in the Great Lakes region will always carry some risk of rain. Penske should know that. It was bad weather experienced by another racing promoter that resulted in Penske acquiring what would become one of the more successful business enterprises of his exceptionally successful career.
It’s a little-known fact that I was the first person to coach famous LeMons Judge Phil, also known as Murilee Martin to TTAC readers, around a racetrack. It’s a semi-known fact that I was his boss for about a year recently.
That didn’t stop him from hammering the Busted Racing 944 Turbo with twenty penalty laps for its maiden LeMons race at MSR Houston this weekend — nor did it stop the team from getting three black flags while I made my usual leisurely way to the racetrack for Saturday’s nine-hour session.
By most accounts, the debut of the American Endurance racing series was a success. Mixing racers and cars from the SCCA, BMWCCA, NASA, LeMons, and ChumpCar sounded like a tricky idea to start with, but yesterday’s podium contained representatives from several different series. The common thread is street tires: in AER, you can have whatever car you want, but you need to keep it on high-treadwear, low-grip rubber.
Most of the drivers weren’t used to the wear characteristics of those street tires, and as a result very few teams made it through the day yesterday without flat-spotting, rounding-off, or grinding the tread off their Dunlop Direzzas. So naturally today’s race started with standing water on the track and heavy rain in the forecast. By the end of the day, not all of us would be driving back onto the trailers.
This weekend will be the inaugural race for the new American Endurance Racing (AER) series. It’s a run-what-you-brung, take-no-prisoners approach to low-cost endurance competition that welcomes everything from prepped SCCA racers to the cheaty-est of LeMons Class A rides.
As you might expect, former Editor-In-Chief Jack Baruth will be there — but this time, he’s the enemy.
Or maybe not.
Monday, we alerted you that the 2015 Chevrolet SS will come with a manual transmission and Magnetic Ride. Today, the current SS has thrown on some red and silver pace-car clothing to lead its tube-frame brethren over the strip of bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 20th running of the Brickyard 400.
The inaugural season of the “World Racing League”, and the final season of operations at soon-to-be-McMansion-ized Texas World Speedway, experienced a little celebrity excitement Saturday evening when our own Sajeev Mehta took the checkered flag in an AMC-liveried Thunderbird.
I’m reliably told that “reality shows” are extremely popular. Consider this, therefore, TTAC’s own reality show. We will follow me, your temporary editor-in-chief, as he tries to return to NASA club racing with a part-time crew, a few not-quite-healed fractures, and a car that hasn’t turned a lap in competition since 2009. Our first episode, naturally, is a nearly complete failure.