Tag: FIA

By on March 4, 2019

The FIA wants to safeguard the future of rallying by imposing new standards that target mischievous fans. While it hardly seems fair to burden fans with safety under normal circumstances, certain rally stages in the WRC have a habit of attracting risk-taking behavior, where fans intentionally get as close to the course as possible as vehicles fly by. Truth be told, amateur rallying isn’t much better.

Even as safety continues to improve, danger is a major component of motorsport and, conversely, one of the primary reasons rallying remains so popular. There is a level of heightened unpredictability that many, including this author, find intoxicating. But the FIA still doesn’t want to see fans getting creamed by drivers, so it’s understandable to see it making an effort to further improve safety protocols — one of which involves using on-board cameras to identify thrill seekers putting themselves in harm’s way.  (Read More…)

By on June 21, 2018

Three decades ago, video games could only offer the vaguest approximation of driving. Things are very different today. While a lot of modern software still forgoes realism for the sake a fun, simulators have grown in popularity and are becoming incredibly realistic. Real tracks are built to scale, weather effects have meaning, and automobiles behave in a faithful manner. Gamers can even swap their gamepads for honest-to-god cockpits.

Racing simulators have become so effective that Nissan’s PlayStation GT Academy program is now in its eighth year. The event pits thousands of gamers against each other in order to find some they can put behind the wheel of an actual race car. Players then receive additional simulator and on-road training before being allowed to compete in legitimate races.

While we could endlessly debate how well video game skills translate to actual racing, they do provide gamers with an opportunity to learn the tracks and sharpen reaction times. They’ve certainly proven competitive enough for the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile to sanction virtual racing leagues.  (Read More…)

By on June 14, 2018

Over the weekend, model Winnie Harlow mistakenly waved the checkered flag a lap early at otherwise dull Canadian Formula One Grand Prix. While not the first incident of its kind, the error has pushed the FIA into considering the adoption of a digitized checkered flag, leaving the black-and-white banner to serve in a more symbolic capacity.

Apparently, Harlow had been informed by an official that the race was ending and prematurely flew the flag — an understandable mistake on her part.

Sebastian Vettel still nabbed his 50th career grand prix win, despite the confusion. However, there are dangers stemming from accidentally calling a race early that the FIA wants to address. With drivers perpetually plugged into their team via radio headsets, it’s unlikely most would automatically assume the event was over. But risks remain if the pilot of a lead car suddenly assumes victory has been cinched. Bleeding off speed for a victory lap could result in pursuing cars passing or even striking the vehicle.  (Read More…)

By on November 26, 2017

f1 logo for 2018

With the conclusion of the 2017 season, Formula One decided it was time to unveil its new logo at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The change underlines a “new era” for the sport under Liberty Media and, admittedly, does seem to be a bit more with the times.

While it was a fine race, Valtteri Bottas beat both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, there was no upset in the final standings. Hamilton had secured ultimate victory for himself and Mercedes earlier in the season, while Vettel and the Ferrari team held onto second place. Bottas took third overall, leaving the new logo as the only genuine surprise of the day. (Read More…)

By on November 25, 2016

1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC 5.0 (C107), Image: Daimler

In 1978, Mercedes-Benz made the decision to expand its efforts in rally competition. But its choice of platform to enter into the World Rally Championship was, to say the least, unique.

At the time, the WRC was dominated by small sedans like the Fiat 131 Abarth and Ford Escort RS1800 — cars that finished first and second in the championship that year. Mercedes-Benz took a decidedly different route, as it had no small sporty sedan.

What it did have was a large, heavy and expensive personal luxury coupe in the C107 SLC. While the choice would seem unnatural, under the direction of Erich Waxenberger the premier 450SLC was prepared and developed over the next few seasons into a rally winner. (Read More…)

By on September 23, 2016

Golf Country

The recent news that Volkswagen is pondering an all-wheel-drive Golf for U.S. customers surprised many.

“All-wheel drive is now part of the Volkswagen DNA,” commented Dr. Hendrik Muth of Volkswagen at the U.S. launch of the Alltrack.

That means Volkswagen will be taking on Subaru, the reigning king of all-wheel drive for the masses in the U.S. And since the Golf is already fairly dear in price, adding an all-wheel-drive option to the hatch will make Volkswagen’s compact a near-luxury item. At that price, why wouldn’t you just buy an Audi? It’s the brand with the all-wheel-drive expertise in the VAG clan.

But the reality of an all-wheel-drive Golf is now 20 years old.

Let’s take a look back at nine of the more interesting pre-Alltrack, pre-4Motion versions of the Golf that most U.S. customers have never even heard of.

(Read More…)

By on June 2, 2016

Rallycross! Lydden Hill, 29 May

This past weekend was one of the best in motorsport, with action from the Nurburgring, Monaco, Indy, and Charlotte.

Not to be left out, the entertaining FIA Rallycross paid a visit to Lydden Hill in the UK. Next, they’re off to the Hell Circuit (yessir, that’s its name) in Norway on June 10th.

(Read More…)

By on March 23, 2015

2015-toyota-yaris-wrc

Find the Toyota Yaris a bit ho-hum? Thanks to FIA’s homologation rules for the World Rally Championship series, it soon won’t be.

(Read More…)

By on September 17, 2014

geely-f4-b-1

While Formula 1 fans contend with the new, quieter turbo era — a result of rule changes regarding power for the 2014 season — Chinese Formula 4 fans may be celebrating in the stands next year when Geely-powered competitors roar off the starting line.

(Read More…)

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