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Sunday, 18 September 2011

Video Sunday - Eargasm

Uploaded: 9/9/11
Running Time: 2:21
Views At Time Of Posting: 22,033

Formula 1 features 24 cars with screaming high-pitched 2.4-litre V8 engines. We know this. But it's also worth listening out for the AMG medical cars. As well as the SLS Safety Car, the Medical Car that follows behind them for the first lap or two in case of early accidents has to pack more stuff into it, so instead they use a Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Estate, which is like a normal C-Class estate, but with a 487bhp version of the C63's grizzly, low-pitched 6.2-litre V8. Plus it has lights on the roof. I suggest you either turn up your speakers or put some headphones in, because someone was nice enough to film it doing its thing (and being driven satisfyingly hard) at last week's Italian Grand Prix... and it sounds good. Really good. Especially when the 7-speed automatic gearbox blips the throttle on down-shifts.

If you were hoping for a little more of the SLS AMG though, don't worry, YouTube user Jorrie2 has got your back. If you're hungry for more ear candy, him and 'Marchettino' are generally the people to search for.

Uploaded: 6/9/11
Running Time: 1:26
Views At Time Of Posting: 9,910

Formula 1 - Italian Grand Prix 2011

Autodromo Nazionale Monza track map (including disused oval)
The Race In A Nutshell:
- Liuzzi's HRT fishtails off and slides into turn 1, wiping out Rosberg and Petrov while causing chaos and bringing out the SC. Meanwhile, Alonso went from 4th to 1st from the start to the end of turn 1.
- Vettel overtakes around the outside of Curva Grande (no DRS) and into Della Roggia, first sign that he can actually overtake people on merit.
- Webber hits Massa off at Rettifilio, loses front wing and slides off at Parabolica, retiring.
- Hamilton gets stuck behind Schumacher for many laps, Schumi told off for illegal defending and Button catches and passes them both.
- Button takes 2nd from Alonso, Hamilton finishes 0.5s behind the Ferrari.

Top 5 Finishers: Vettel, Button, Alonso, Hamilton, Schumacher

Autodromo Nazionale Monza is the home of Italian motorsport, and of course the venue for Ferrari's home race each F1 season (there's even an old Ferrari 348 medical car that you can see behind the grid at the start of the race). Scuderia Ferrari are effectively Italy's national team, and there's an article of some kind in Italian newspapers about them every day, so it's a race they're keen to win, and did win last year thanks to Fernando Alonso. Going from Spa-Francorchamps to Monza, with its old and abandoned banked oval from over 40 years ago, you really appreciate the history that Formula 1 has, and these classic tracks are good things to keep on the calendar. As more and more new tracks in increasingly richer places provide slightly lacklustre racing, the old guard remind us that F1 isn't just a financially-driven parade, it's a sport. A sport for brave, talented speed freaks. Not many of said speed freaks would last the entire 53 laps and 308km at this year's Italian Grand Prix, however...

Monday, 12 September 2011

EcoVelocity 2011

Yes, this is a deer. Made out of a Yamaha bike. Any questions?
The inaugural EcoVelocity motor show has wrapped up after four days of displaying the latest green machines available in the UK. Selling itself as "the low-carbon motor festival" despite the lack of tents or mud, visitors could walk around poking, prodding and going "ooh, that's clever", or they could test drive a variety of new cars, ranging from super-clean petrol/diesel cars like the Fiat 500 TwinAir and Ford Focus ECOnetic, to hybrids like the Vauxhall Ampera and Honda CR-Z, to full-on electric cars like the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Nissan Leaf. Kids were also entertained by an 11-to-17-year-olds driving school with Seat Ibizas and R/C racing, while the over-18s waiting for test drives could also try out a Segway witchcraft-on-a-stick in a controlled environment.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Video Sunday - Now That's Dedication

Uploaded: 3/9/11
Running Time: 2:47
Views At Time of Posting: 6,732

Normally when you can't slow down enough for a tight corner on a race track (most commonly street circuits), there's a handy escape road for you to slither into. When Jeroen Bleekermolen got it wrong during qualifying for the ALMS Baltimore Grand Prix, he tried to go through a gap that wasn't quite big enough for his Porsche 911 GT3-R, and the left front wheel came off. Having traversed the maze of tyre walls to slow you down, he remembered a rule stating that if he didn't qualify on the same tyres he started the race with, he would be demoted to the back of the grid. What's a bear to do?

Either you can call it quits and take the hit, or you can run away to save the day as it turns out. He jumped out of the car, picked up the wheel, rolled it towards his 911, put it in the passenger door and crawled to the pits in tripod mode. The team then reattached it and he went on to secure Pole Position and win the race the next day! This is what you get for keeping your head and thinking creatively, whereas most drivers would just flap their arms around and moan to the interviewer afterwards. Credit to Mr. Bleekermolen.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Video Sunday - Rolls-Royce Silver Sacrilege

Uploaded: 22/08/2011
Running Time: 1:03
Views At Time of Writing: 11,040

Rolls-Royce has always been the epitome of luxury cars. If you have a "Roller", you are the daddy. A Rolls-Royce is meant as the ultimate in luxury, comfort, and perhaps status symbols. It is not, however, meant to have a Twin-Turbocharged 9636cc (588ci) Big-Block Chevy V8 engine shoehorned into it and a parachute attached to the boot lid. It's quite a creation, though.

The turbos were apparently running at a "Conservative" 17lbs of boost, yet the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow you see here did a standing quarter-mile in just over 8 seconds. A brand new Nissan GT-R takes 11.6 seconds or thereabouts to do the same thing. Once the project is finished and the engine is running at full whack, it should be capable of producing a tremendous 2300bhp and a quarter mile comfortably under 8 seconds. To quote James May, owner of a Rolls-Royce, "If this car had a monocle, it would fall out now". I shouldn't like that someone did this to a Roller, but frankly, it's awesome.