Categories
Goodwood Historic

Art & history combine for the launch of Goodwood Festival of Speed

Every year the Goodwood Festival of Speed creates an impressive centrepiece for its Central Feature. 2014 is no exception and sees  Gerry Judah create an enormous sculpture to celebrate of 120 years of motorsport participation by Mercedes-Benz.

Goodwood Festival of Speed Central Feature launch

The sculpture soars 26 metres over Goodwood House, weighing 160 tonnes and measuring 90 metres in length. Two cars spanning 80 years form an integral part of the sculpture – a replica of the 1934 Mercedes-Benz W 25 Silver Arrow of the kind raced by Manfred von Brauchitsch to victory at the Nurburgring Nordschleife and a MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS F1 W04, the same chassis raced by Lewis Hamilton in 15 Grand Prix in 2013.

The unveiling was accompanied by a spectacular evening fireworks show and a fleet of Mercedes-Benz road and race cars making a dramatic run up the Goodwood Hill.

Details and to buy tickets

Categories
Formula E

British racer Katherine Legge is the first female driver in new electric racing Formula E

British racer Katherine Legge has become the first female driver to be confirmed to race in the new all-electric FIA Formula E Championship after signing for the newly rebranded Amlin Aguri Formula E team.

1 British racer Katherine Legge has today signed for newly titled Amlin Aguri Formula E team becoming the first female driver for the new all electric FIA Formula E Championship

After rising through the junior single-seater ranks, in 2005 Legge competed in the Toyota Atlantic Championship winning the series opener at Long Beach and ending the season third overall. Later that year she made history by becoming the first woman to test a Formula 1 car since Sarah Fisher (2002) with Minardi. The following year she signed to drive in the 2006 Champ Car season and became the first woman to lead a lap in the series’ history. After a second year she switched to the DTM series enjoying seasons with Futurecom TME and Abt Sportsline. In 2012, Legge moved to the States to make her IndyCar debut, remaining in the US for a second season although this time competing in the American Le Mans Series.

“For me this is a really exciting opportunity”,  Legge commented . “The car is fantastic, it looks amazing and it will be very quick. Racing through the streets of the world’s leading cities will be an incredible experience and I think it’s a great chance to bring racing to the people. We will be driving in their cities on their streets.”

Formula E is the world’s first fully-electric race series designed to appeal to a new generation of motorsport fans, whilst accelerating the interest in electric vehicles and promoting sustainability. Competing entirely on city-centre circuits – with races in China, Malaysia, Uruguay, Argentina, US, Monaco, Germany and the UK – it uses cars capable of speeds in excess of 150mph (225kph). Its 10 teams feature some of the leading international names in motorsport including Alain Prost and Michael Andretti, along with high-profile environmental supporters including Sir Richard Branson.

 www.fiaformulae.com

Categories
Formula 1 Monaco

How to walk the Monaco F1 circuit – a guide for visitors

It’s the time of year when the Monaco police stop enforcing the 50kph speed limit. Suddenly F1 cars appear on the streets of the tiny principality reaching speeds in excess of 250kph. That’s more than twice the UK motorway speed limit, along a narrow race track that weaves between pavements, buildings, a swimming pool complex and the sea.

As the Monaco Grand Prix is run on the streets of the city, you don’t have to visit in May to walk around the track. Granted it’s easier as the Armco barriers and advertisement hoardings easily point the way. You can still follow the track the rest of the year, you just need to know the route. Click here for a detailed map of the track

Photo 1 PNG

We’ll start at the train train station, as this is either where you will arrive, or is easy to find. Once there you need to take the southern exit, one of the signs for which is labelled Jardin Exotique. This will lead to a long pedestrian tunnel. Once outside keep going in the same southerly direction and you will hit the Sainte-Devote corner. The race begins to the right along Boulevard Albert 1st, next to the Monaco Automobile Club building. It’s about 200 metres from Place Sainte-Devote and if you want to walk the entire track in perfect order head down to the start line and then turn around to come back the way you came.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-fkNmiiu7s?feature=oembed]

Sainte-Devote is the first corner. Follow the main road right up the slope of Avenue d’Ostende which will take you past the kink of Beau Rivage. Leave the main road before it curves away to the left and head along Avenue de Monte Carlo, keeping the Gucci shop on your left. This will take you up towards Casino.

Pass the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo on your left, then turn sharply right down Place du Casino. This leads into Avenue des Spelugues – follow this around the right bend at Mirabeau. The road now leads down to the famous hairpin.

Take the righthand road towards the sea, then turn right onto Boulevard Louis 2nd. Next comes the tunnel. Walk through then dink left onto the Quai des Etats Unis. This leads onto the Route de Piscine, where Tabac bends left to take you to the swimming pool. After that head right onto the Quai Albert 1st. Take a left off this to circle La Rascasse before heading away from the sea and joining Boulevard Albert 1st again. Here you cross the start finish line and start another lap if you want to. 78 will complete the full race distance!

Monaco F1 Grand Prix website

Categories
Endurance FIAWEC

Start of the fan-friendly FIAWEC World Endurance Championship coming soon to Silverstone

Le Mans is the most famous endurance race in the world, but it is only one of eight races that make up the FIA World Endurance Championship. Le Mans is during June, but the season opener is at Silverstone on 20th April. Whilst the famous French race lasts for 24 hours, the other races around the world from Shanghai to Sao Paulo last six hours.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpVFmONVQ_I?feature=oembed]

Along with F1, the FIA WEC is one of the pinnacles of motorsport, and the arena where new electric-hybrid technologies are developed. These innovations are already being seen in road cars, showing the relevance to the everyday driver of the endurance series. To further prove the point, Nissan will be entering their ZEOD, the first all-electric car in Le Mans this year.

The FIAWEC is a fan-friendly championship, with pit walks and meet-the-driver sessions at all the races of the season. Endurance racing has an illustrious history and the WEC continues to push the limits of automotive design.

If you want to experience an exciting motor-racing show with all the drama that can be packed into a six hour race then attend one of the WEC races this year. With Ferrari, Porsche, Audi, Toyota and Aston Martin amongst the big names competing there will be plenty of excitement.

Categories
Formula 1

F1: Double points? Imagine if some football goals counted more than others!

Formula One has to decide if it is a sport or a game

A tweak to the rules is nothing new in sport. Football has played around with the offside rule, cricket developed LBW to avoid gamesmanship and rugby has changed the rules so often that I am no longer sure exactly what they are. But these changes were intended to make the sports fairer. The new rule change that Formula One has just announced does precisely the opposite.

Following a meeting of the F1 Strategy Group it has been announced that the points awarded to drivers and constructors for the last race of the year will be doubled. The stated intention is to ‘maximise focus on the Championship until the end of the campaign’. It is not the first time that one race in a series has been given more points than the others. The Le Mans 24 hours race awards double points for competitors. But that is because the other races in the series last 6 hours, and to win the 24 Heures du Mans is a more impressive achievement.

In F1 it is not more impressive to win the season finale at Abu Dhabi than any of the previous races. To give the final race undue importance denigrates the performances in the rest of the season. It reduces the purity of the sport and turns it into a high-speed board game. Where will the manipulation end? Will teams will be forced to pick up ‘Community Chest’ cards which allow them to skip a lap or force them to give 10 seconds to every other team. A new penalty of driving an extra lap might as well be introduced.

Anyone who remembers Clive Anderson presenting Whose Line is it Anyway will be familiar with this style of scoring. It is nonsensical and makes for a ruined season. Each race will retain its own individual integrity, but the season as a whole will not. How will the press treat a racing driver who only wins the World Championship because he has been handed double points?

Imagine how football would be ruined if the goals in the final games of the season counted for double. Goal differences would be changed, a season-long record could be obliterated. F1 needs to concentrate on being the pinnacle of motor-sport, not gimmicks. Although if gimmicks are the way forward please tweet your ideas to us. We’ll pass the best ones on to Bernie.

Winner so far…

Choose grid position by a driver hot-dog eating competition the night before each race?

Categories
Historic

The fun of the RAC London to Brighton Veteran Car Run

See all the images from the RAC London to Brighton Veteran Car Run here.

Hyde Park Corner is not the place I would chose to ride a penny-farthing. It’s a brave fellow who mixes his 1880 mode of transport with four lanes of modern traffic exuberantly making its way in and out of central London. Maybe the dapper chap I spotted cycles that way every day, but I presumed his appearance had something to do with the RAC London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. This also crossed Hyde Park Corner but as each group of veteran cars approached the modern stuff was held back by stewards and the Napiers, Oldsmobiles, De Dion Boutons, etc were allowed to drive straight across the roundabout.

Red flag

The fun started at dawn. Before then a red flag was ripped in two in front of the four hundred cars lined up in Hyde Park. This re-enacted an event at the start of the first run in 1896, known as the Emancipation Run which celebrated the new law no longer forcing new-fanged automobiles to have an escort waving a red flag walking twenty yards ahead of them.

IMG 7918

6.58am is an early time to be starting anything, but there was still a crowd of enthusiasts waving the cars off. VIP cars start the run, which this year included a restored Darracq 1903 driven by Edd China and Mike Brewer, stars of a televisual programme. The rest of the vehicles start in age order, and particularly interesting was car 002. This was a Salvesen from 1896, which goes everywhere doing a creditable imitation of Stephenson’s Rocket. Not because there is something wrong with it, but because it is a steam-car. Now that is the way to travel.

Steam1

Seen individually all of these cars would be impressive. However seeing so many early automotive examples is like visiting an art gallery so rich in treasures that we race past the works by Botticelli to see those by Michelangelo. The highlights become the unusual or seemingly mad. The steam powered car towing a dustbin of coal. The motor-trike with a seat on the front, just where a bumper ought to be. Not a position I would like to take up on a UK road, the passenger was a brave girl.

First to brighton

Some cars can take until evening to make the journey to Brighton, and of course many break down, but  the first cars started to appear at the checkpoint in Preston Park around 10.15am. The first back was a 1902 Darracq driven by Allan White. Of course it’s illegal to race on the Queen’s highway, so there are no prizes for first place – although considering it’s not a race the drivers seemed surprisingly keen to know what position they had finished.

The ceremonial finish line is on the Brighton seafront on Madeira Drive. Drivers that make it that far get a pennant, a ceremonial medal and the applause of a large crowd.

Finish

The London to Brighton Veteran Car Run is the world’s longest running motoring event and only cars from before 1905 may enter. With all the costumes, cars and trikes it is  a great British spectacle, a Mille Miglia for even older cars that only takes a day and is ideal for busy modern schedules. I now have a new item on my bucket list. If anyone can lend me a pre-1905 car for next year’s run then please get in touch…

Categories
Endurance Extras FIAWEC FILM Other TV

24 Hours – A matter of seconds – Preview of new documentary about Le Mans

A new documentary has been released about the Audi and Michelin victory at Le Mans 2013. The race may last 24 hours, but it can be won or lost on the tyre choices and on the seconds spent in the pits. The documentary offers exclusive behind-the-scenes content, sharing the Le Mans experience from the inside of Audi’s pits.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ljx5U76wSEE?feature=oembed]

Including insights from industry pros, from Michelin engineers to star drivers Benoît Tréluyer, Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen: race preparation, vital decisions that happen in a split second…24 hours of gruelling competition at Le Mans.

Categories
Classic Other

Octogenarian wins Peking-Paris Rally Classics division

Octogenarian Gerry Crown is celebrating after winning the fifth Peking to Paris Rally with navigator Matt Bryson in a 1973 Leyland P76 – just as the vehicle is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Australians Gerry, aged 81, triumphed in the Classics division for the second Peking to Paris running with navigator Matt after a relentless battle with British duo of Peter Lovett and Tim Smith in the 1965 Porsche 911, who had to settle for second place. However Peter and Tim still had cause to celebrate after winning the new European Trophy for the classics.

Peking paris

“I’ve competed in the Peking to Paris four times and this one was the most demanding and the most competitive”, said Gerry with a bottle of champagne in his hand as he crossed the Paris finish line. “The victory is all down to the car. Every night Matt got under the car, checking and fixing everything to make sure we kept going hard. It’s the best rally car I’ve ever driven!”

The ex-1974 World Cup Rally winning Citroen DS23, crewed by Robbie Sherrard and Peter Washington, came third in a car that Peter described as “continually punching above its weight.”

Out of the 96 cars that left the Great Wall of China on 28th May, 86 cars crossed the finish line in Place Vendome, Paris today, with thousands waiting, including friends and family wanting to see their loved ones after 33 days on the road.

The crews have travelled around 8,000 miles, driving almost half way around the globe, crossing two Continents and the biggest single land-mass between two capital cities that has seen a full east to west crossing of the World’s greatest wilderness. Its too early to ask them if they’d do it all again even though most would jump back in their cars at the chance.

The next Peking to Paris Motor Challenge takes place in 2016 and organisers the Endurance Rally Association are promising a route through Nepal and Tibet, retracing the wheel tracks of the Himalaya Rally.

For the full Peking to Paris results and information on future Endurance Rally Association events, visit www.endurorally.com.

Categories
Endurance FIAWEC

Audi electric hybrid cars win Le Mans 2013 and Michelin Green X Challenge

The World’s Greatest Race has been won by Audi, but thoughts are with Simonsen’s family and team.

For the second year in succession, Audi has won the Le Mans 24 Hours with a hybrid race car. Victory was clinched by an Audi R18 e-tron quattro driven for 24 hours non-stop by Loïc Duval, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish (GB). However the 90th anniversary of the Le Mans 24 Hours was overshadowed by a fatal accident that occurred in the GT class shortly after the race started. Unfortunately Allan Simonsen crashed his Aston Martin and was the first fatality at Le Mans in 15 years

NewImage

Photo credit: Audi

“Obviously, this horrible incident dampens the joy about another great Le Mans victory for Audi” commented Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “This is the first fatal accident we’ve had to witness in 15 Le Mans years. I hope it’ll remain the last.”

Rain showers crossed the track again and again during the race. They resulted in numerous incidents and the race ran for more than five hours under ‘yellow’ while the track was cleared and repairs were performed.

NewImage

Photo credit: Audi

The three Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars, which are equipped with an electrically driven front axle, were the fastest vehicles in the field throughout the entire race – as well as the most efficient ones: Victory in the Michelin Green X Challenge, a competition of the cleanest, fastest and most efficient prototypes, went to Audi as well.

Driver Loïc Duval said it was “A really great moment in my career,” whilst Tom Kristensen said “I’m proud to drive for the world’s best team.’ He added ‘This Le Mans success I’m dedicating to Allan Simonsen.”

More details

Categories
F1 Formula 1

British F1 drivers say the British Grand Prix is “One of the very best on the calendar”

As Silverstone makes final preparations ahead of this year’s FORMULA 1 SANTANDER BRITISH GRAND PRIX, the next round of the 2013 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, Britain’s four F1 drivers – Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Paul Di Resta and Max Chilton – came together for a British Grand Prix photo shoot, in support of their home race.

NewImage

The British Grand Prix, taking place on 28-30 June, is the UK’s flagship motor sport event and, as one of the most well-attended Grands Prix in the world, is a highlight on the UK sporting calendar. With four British drivers lining up on the famous Silverstone start grid, support from the passionate home crowd promises to be electric, while the combination of unpredictable tyres, new upgrades on cars and five different winners in the first seven races means it is all to play for at the Home of British Motor Racing.

Lewis Hamilton, now driving for MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS said, “Winning the British Grand Prix in 2008 was an incredible moment for me. Silverstone is so special for the British drivers and the weekend is made by the amazing support from our home fans. The atmosphere, the flags flying around the circuit and just seeing everyone supporting us really does lift you. I hope we can put on a good show for them and we’ll be pushing as hard as possible to give them a great weekend.”

Jenson Button of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes added “The British Grand Prix is one of the very best grands prix on the calendar – and Silverstone is absolutely unique. Firstly, it’s one of the greatest circuits in the world. Becketts, quite simply, is the greatest sequence of corners in motor sport – you cannot believe the speeds you’re able to pull through there. And Copse and Stowe are incredible too.”

Newcomer Max Chilton of Marussia Racing is about to start the first British GP of his career. “Every race so far in my debut season has been a fantastic learning experience and I’m sure the same will be true of Silverstone, but with additional support from the super-enthusiastic fans of all four British drivers. The atmosphere is amazing and there’s a sea of Union Jack flags wherever you look around the circuit. It’s my home race but also that of the Team, so we’ll be looking to do well and put on a good performance in front of the home crowd and so many of our Team Partners. I can’t wait.”

Finally Paul Di Resta, driver for Sahara Force India said, “For me it’s the biggest event we go to, especially in terms of support from the British fans, which is always amazing. You feel it as soon as you arrive on the Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon because the fans are already there camping. The atmosphere is electric and I remember last year the drivers’ parade was one of the highlights of the year – it really sent a shiver through me because of the reaction we received and the fact that there wasn’t a seat left in the place.”