Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Mercedes, Digital Technology, and the future of mobility

Stuttgart/Berlin. For the fourth time, Daimler is a partner at the internet conference #rp15, which takes place every year at the beginning of May in the German capital. Under this year's theme "Finding Europe", some 450 speakers from 45 countries are expected in STATION Berlin from 5 to 7 May. The over 6000 guests will have more than 300 hours of programme offerings to choose from. In keeping with the theme, everything will concentrate on identifying what is new in old systems and discovering digital innovations in the cultural space of Europe.
"It's just fun discussing 'tomorrow' with the ever-expanding community of this technophile, future-focused audience," says Wilfried Steffen, Head of Business Innovation at Daimler AG. He adds: "All the more so since, as an international company, we hope that this year's conference theme will give us some exciting ideas about Europe's growing diversity."
As in recent years, Daimler, with its Business Innovation department and moovel GmbH, is a partner at re:publica, where, with the subconference re:think mobility, it will once again provide a platform for innovative concepts while also offering opportunities to critically examine the existing situation with the participants. The cosy atmosphere at the joint booth will be a place to reflect and relax amid the hustle and bustle of #rp15. Yet, there too, the focus will be on communication: for example, movement and mobility will be made visible by interactions of the visitors.
Taking re:think mobility literally
"Our mobility innovations are the basis for a leading, international exchange of ideas through which we aim to play a key role in shaping the future of mobility. Digitally savvy people, like the ones who visit re:publica, are a valuable source of ideas for us," says Michael Kuhn, Head of Communications & Brand Management at moovel GmbH.
The programme for Daimler's re:think mobility sessions is as diverse as Europe itself and will take place at the second day of the conference from around 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For example, there will be a journey into the future in which humans and machines will share the roads. How will we communicate in the shared space of the future? What role can society play to ensure that living together works? Will we need to invent new languages? In this context, Daimler futurologist Alexander Mankowsky will report in his session on the new Mercedes-Benz research vehicle "F 015 Luxury in Motion” and discuss the relationship between humans and autonomous robots.
The scope of human communication will also be addressed by Philipp Wex, an expert on speech interaction and user sensing at Daimler, who will highlight the challenges of using technology in the context of voice control. After that, gesture researcher Vanessa van Edwards will provide multimedia access to the concept of digital body language. The session will be rounded off by a performance by the gesture artist Mathias Schäfer.
The "Female Leadership" session will involve a discussion from a variety of expert standpoints between Sanja Stankovic, freelance digital strategy manager, Regina Mehler, founder of the Women Speaker Foundation, and Kathrin Mahler Walther, member of the board of management of EAF Berlin, on the topical issues of women's quotas, gender equality and promotion of women in Europe. What are the promises of politicians and industry really worth? Especially in view of the high proportion of 40 percent female visitors to re:publica, the open Q&A session can be expected to throw up some new ideas. Alongside this panel, the other sessions of the re:think mobility subconference will be chaired by Stefanie Söhnchen, who, as a multimedia journalist and online communication strategist, feels at home in the area of mobility innovation.
A trip around the world is the subject of a presentation by Gunther Holtorf, who has many tales to tell after travelling through 215 countries in 26 years in his G-Class called "Otto". There are authentic insights into a fascinating kind of mobility.
There is no doubt that the future of mobility will be be more and more multi-layered and that the associated challenges will increase. How does a company best address these challenges and grow from them, especially when it is about the future of mobility and not a specific product or brand? The solution might be an international crowd in which every individual plays their part. With reference to moovel's crowdsourcing project, Rob Dawson, Chaordix, and Stefanie Söhnchen will provide a progress report on the future of mobility while also affording an insight into how and whether so-called crowdsourcing can work.
moovel GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler AG, offers its customers innovative mobility services. With its free-floating carsharing service car2go, the company is the world's largest carsharing provider. mytaxi, which has been a 100% member of the moovel family since September 2014, is Europe's leading taxi-booking app with over 10 million downloads. The moovel mobility platform offers such a smart combination of different services that getting around a city becomes child's play. 
Daimler's Business Innovation department is a pioneering ideas workshop tasked with addressing current trends, studying social, cultural and technological developments and enriching the core business of automobile production with creative solutions and business ideas. Thus, numerous pilot projects initiated in recent years have led to the establishment of successful corporate units such as the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy. Business Innovation has teams all over the world. Apart from the headquarters in Stuttgart, there are offices in Istanbul, São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Beijing and Sunnyvale in California. 
Programme for "re:think mobility"
Wednesday, 6 May 2015
Autonomous Cars: Is there a European approach in introducing automation into society?
Alexander Mankowsky, Futurologist, Daimler AG11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m., Stage J
Female Leadership: Defining and establishing female leadership in Europe
Sanja Stankovic, freelance digital strategy managerRegina Mehler, founder of the Women Speaker FoundationKathrin Mahler Walther, member of the board of management of EAF Berlin1:45 - 2:45 p.m., Stage 3
Lessons Learned: Creating the future of mobility with an international crowd
Rob Dawson, ChaordixStefanie Söhnchen, moovel GmbH3:00 - 3:30 p.m.Stage 3
Exceptional Journey: My trip, my wheels
Gunther Holtorf3:30 - 4:00 p.m., Stage 3
Future of Mobility: Possibilities for using speech and gesture recognition
Philipp Wex, Speech Interaction & User Sensing, Daimler AGVanessa van Edwards, Research into Body Language, Science of PeopleMathias Schäfer, artist4:15 - 5:15 p.m., Stage 3

Monday, May 4, 2015

Porsche 911 RSR at Laguna Seca

Victory for the 911 GT America – podium for the 911 RSR
Stuttgart. A successful outcome to an eventful race weekend for Porsche’s GT teams: At Laguna Seca/USA, the Porsche works pilots Patrick Pilet (France) and Michael Christensen (Denmark) scored the first podium of the year for Porsche North America, clinching third place in the GTLM class in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship after a sensational charge through the field in the 911 RSR. Americans Patrick Lindsey and Spencer Pumpelly celebrated their maiden win of the season with the 911 GT America in the GTD class. On Saturday, the Porsche Manthey team had already snatched two GTE-Pro-class podium spots in the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC at Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps: With the 911 RSR, Frédéric Makowiecki (France) and Richard Lietz (Austria) were flagged off in second, with Kévin Estre (France) and Sven Müller (Germany) concluding their strong WEC debut in third place. 

At Laguna Seca, Patrick Pilet turned heads when he overtook two competitors right at the start of the race on the 3.601-kilometre dune circuit not far from Monterey. At the wheel of his 470 hp 911 RSR, which is based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car, and last year won the American long distance classics at Daytona, Sebring and Petit Le Mans, he then set out in pursuit of the leader. However, when the Frenchman pulled in for his first pit stop shortly before the end of a safety car phase, and the field went green again whilst he was still in the pits, he suddenly found himself at the back of the strongly-represented GT field with Porsche North America’s #911 Porsche 911 RSR. Pulling out all stops, Patrick Pilet and Michael Christensen launched a charge and, over the 2:40-hour race duration, managed to make up lost ground. After a sensational drive, the pair was rewarded at the flag with third place. 

For Michael Christensen, the race weekend under the Californian sun was particularly busy. He not only shared the cockpit of the number 911 car with Patrick Pilet, but also teamed up with Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) in the second 911 RSR fielded by Porsche North America. In the #912 entry, they finished fifth. In the 911 RSR campaigned by the Falken Tire customer team, Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Bryan Sellers (USA) secured eighth place. Michael Christensen and Patrick Pilet, who normally contest the WEC, stood in for their works driver colleagues, Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) at Laguna Seca, who were competing for the Porsche team at the Le Mans dress rehearsal in Spa-Francorchamps in the third 919 Hybrid. 

In the GTD class, the Park Place Motorsports’ customer squad with drivers Patrick Lindsey and Spencer Pumpelly brought home their first win of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship season at Laguna Seca in the Porsche 911 GT America, which had been developed specifically for this series. Third place went to Mario Farnbacher (Germany) and Ian James (USA) in the 911 GT America run by the Seattle/Alex Job Racing outfit.

Comments on the race
Marco Ujhasi, Overall project leader GT works motorsport: “This race weekend was a huge challenge. Because of conflicting commitments with the WEC race in Spa, we had only three drivers for two cars here at Laguna Seca, and this required a special strategy. We got away well at the start and early on everyone was setting a quick pace. During the first pit stop the number 911 car fell back. The way Patrick got the car back into the top three was a stunning piece of work, perhaps the best I’ve ever experienced from a driver at a GT race. Michael did a great job too by bringing home the podium finish. Our drivers performed incredibly today, including Jörg in the second 911 RSR. It’s fantastic to have such drivers. More would simply not have been possible in this race.” 
Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “As always, it’s very difficult to overtake. As far as performance is concerned, the cars in the GTLM class are incredibly close. I had to risk a lot today, particularly in heavy traffic, but that was my only chance. Third place is a good result for us, also with an eye on the championship. We can’t expect much more. It’s a great feeling to be back on the podium.”
Michael Christensen (Porsche 911 RSR #911/912): “Switching back and forth between two cockpits was an interesting challenge. I tried to prepare myself as much as possible, but it was still hard. However, it all worked out. A podium spot with the number 911 car is a great result.”
Jörg Bergmeister (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “We managed to make up three positions on fresh tyres after the last pit stop. I’m pleased for the team that Patrick and Michael were on the podium. Everyone worked hard and they’ve now been rewarded for it.”
Wolf Henzler (Porsche 911 RSR #17): “I was held up at the start by a Corvette that suddenly slowed down in front of me. Later, we weren’t able to make up the positions that I lost because of this.” 

Round five of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship in Watkins Glen/New York will have to wait until 28 June to be contested due to the Le Mans 24 Hours.  

Race result
GTLM class
1. Edwards/Luhr (USA/D), BMW Z4 GTE, 108 laps
2. Auberlen/Werner (USA/D), BMW Z4 GTE, 108
3. Pilet/Christensen (F/DK), Porsche 911 RSR, 108
4. Kaffer/Fisichella (D/I), Ferrari F458 Italia, 108
5. Bergmeister/Christensen (D/DK), Porsche 911 RSR, 108
6. Magnussen/Garcia (DK/E), Chevrolet Corvette, 108
8. Henzler/Sellers (D/USA), Porsche 911 RSR, 108

GTD class
1. Lindsey/Pumpelly (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT America, 103 laps
2. Haase/von Moltke (D/USA), Audi R8 LMS, 103
3. Farnbacher/James (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT America, 103
4. Sweedler/Bell (USA/USA), Ferrari 458 Italia, 103
5. Davison/Nielsen (AUS/DK), Aston Martin Vantage, 102
6. Lally/Potter (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT America, 102

This is the Tudor United SportsCar Championship 
The Tudor United SportsCar Championship is a sports car race series contested in the USA and Canada which was run in 2014 for the first time. The series was formed from the merger of the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Series. Sports prototypes and sports cars start in four different classes: GTLM (GT Le Mans), GTD (GT Daytona), P (Prototype) and PC (Prototype Challenge). The Porsche 911 RSR runs in the GTLM class, with the Porsche 911 GT America contesting the GTD class.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Porsche 919 at the Spa, May 2 -- 2nd 3rd, and 6th

FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), Round 2, Spa-Francorchamps (BE): LMP1, Race
Thriller in the Ardennes – second, third and sixth for Porsche 919 Hybrids
Stuttgart. After an action packed six-hour race in Spa-Francorchamps, the trio of Romain Dumas (France), Neel Jani (Switzerland) and Marc Lieb (Germany) came second at round two of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). This is a repeat of the season’s opening race in Silverstone. Timo Bernhard (Germany), Brendon Hartley (New Zealand) and Mark Webber (Australia) had started from pole position, dropped back due to a penalty and a technical failure, but fought their way back to finish third. The third Porsche 919 Hybrid with Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Formula One driver Nico Hülkenberg (Germany) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain), that was being entered for the first time, started second but lost ground because of an accident which was followed by a stop for repairs. They recovered after dropping to the back of the field to finished sixth.

How the race went for car number 17:
Hartley took the lead from pole position. Just before he was due to hand over the car to Bernhard after 23 laps, he locked the brakes before the bus stop chicane and used the escape road to get back onto the track. He was given a 15 second stop and go penalty, which saw the car drop back to second place, before a damper change during the driver change to Webber after 47 laps cost even more time. Webber managed to improve to third during a double stint. After 95 laps Hartley took over, refuelled after 119 laps and handed over to Bernhard after 137 laps. Bernhard came in for his final stop for fuel after 161 laps and finished third.

How the race went for car number 18:
Lieb improved from third on the grid to second right after the start and stayed there. After 22 laps he handed over to Jani, who moved up to first place when the sister car received a stop and go penalty. Dumas got in the car after 46 laps and extended the lead to 27 seconds. After 94 laps Lieb returned to the car and re-joined the race in second. He had a strong fight with Benoït Tréluyer for the lead, which changed several times. After 133 laps he handed over to Jani. He had his last splash-and-dash after 157 laps and finished the race in second place. 

How the race went for car number 19:
Tandy started second and was third after lap one. On lap seven a misunderstanding led to an accident with one of the works Porsche 911 RSRs, and required a stop for repairs. After 32 laps Hülkenberg took over the car in ninth position for a double stint. After 80 laps Bamber got behind the wheel for the first time. He refuelled after 104 laps and handed over after 128 laps to Tandy, who picked up fresh tyres for the left hand side at his last stop for fuel after 152 laps before he finished sixth.

Quotes after the race:

Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “That was an extremely exciting and turbulent race for us. At the beginning we had a one-two-three lead before an unlucky accident. But with the two podium finishes and sixth we have achieved our target to finish the race with all three cars. We were absolutely up to speed. The result speaks for itself when first and the second are separated by only a few seconds after a six-hour race. We also once again made progress in terms of reliability. We are on the right path for Le Mans and look forward to the great challenge.  I take my hat off to the entire team – especially to the third crew and our three new drivers. They integrated themselves into the team very well and were competitive right from the beginning.”

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: “For the moment I must admit there is a feeling of disappointment. After having locked out the front of the grid with a one-two-three in qualifying, for sure we would have been able to win that race if it had all gone according to plan. Regarding the crew of car number 19, we can say: mission accomplished. The drivers completed all their race stints, and this was the main target to get ready for Le Mans. A big thank you to the pit crew who successfully managed two repairs in the garage during today’s race. After it all, I would say we have managed the challenge to enter three Porsche 919 Hybrids for the first time. We have finished the race with all three cars and took two out of three available podium places. This means valuable points for the World Championships.”

Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid number 17
Timo Bernhard (34, Germany): “Our car had a great start to the race from pole position and we were leading, despite a stop and go penalty, until that suspension problem required a stop for repairs. However, we never gave up and gave our utmost to at least reach a podium finish.”

Brendon Hartley (25, New Zealand): “At the end of my first stint I had a front brake lock and was struggling to slow the car down before the bus stop chicane. I tried to bring the car back onto the track safely when I went through the escape road. However, we received a stop and go penalty for this. Then we lost more time because of the rear damper change, but I think it was a very good recovery drive and effort from the team to move into third place. I did a double stint on the tyres and had to protect them in the first half. I think on average the lap times were good.”

Mark Webber (38, Australia): “Having a mechanical problem is never nice, and we lost a lot of time. In the first part of my double stint I didn’t quite find a good rhythm, but in the second half it was a bit better. I think today’s result is not what we were aiming for, but at least we were fighting strongly.”

Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid number 18
Romain Dumas (37, France): “In the beginning of my stint I found it a bit difficult because I had had very little driving in the dry here. But then I managed to increase the lead over André Lotterer in the Audi and this was good fun.“

Neel Jani (31, Switzerland): "My first stint today was almost uneventfull. I took over the lead from the sister car and didn’t have pressure from behind. My second stint was a bit unlucky: In almost every lap I had traffic in Eau Rouge, but this was our strongest sector and, therefore, we lost a lot time due to the traffic. Racing is like this sometimes. We were fighting hard and in the end just didn’t manage to win that race. But the car was really good today.”

Marc Lieb (34, Germany): “I had a good start, was able to improve to P2, but not follow Brendon in what was then our leading car. Later when I was in the car again it was a lot more fun out there. Because the regulation limiting the supply of tyres we did a double stint, but it didn’t quite work out with the tyre wear. It was a great battle with Ben Tréluyer and quite a moment when he hit me in the rear going down to turn nine, but that’s racing. To strike back we have some work to do in terms of tyre management.”

Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid number 19
Earl Bamber (24, New Zealand): “We tried to fight back after we dropped down the order, and we ended up in sixth. For us it is most important to get ready for Le Mans next month and the experience in traffic is part of it. I’m used to traffic from the U.S. racing, but the new element is the speed and having to overtake all the time. The car was handling very well and I enjoyed it a lot.” 

Nico Hülkenberg (27, Germany): “I felt good in the car during the race. I did a double stint with one set of tyres, which was tough on the rubber. Managing the traffic was a very interesting and enjoyable experience, although I had a few moments. Sometimes the timing to overtake is perfect and sometimes it isn’t.” 

Nick Tandy (30, Great Britain): “The accident with the Porsche 911 RSR early in the race was a misunderstanding. I obviously thought he would let me by and he clearly didn’t expect me to overtake. Then we had a technical problem with the car, which caused me to miss the pit lane entry and we lost more time. Of course, I’m not happy with how things went, but the car was great to drive and the tyres were holding up better than expected. Thanks to the team for a great job.”

Race result 6 hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BE):
1. Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (CH/GER/F), Audi R18 e-tron quattro, 176 laps
2. Dumas/Jani/Lieb (F/CH/GER), Porsche 919 Hybrid, 13.424 secs behind
3. Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (GER/NZ/AUS), Porsche 919 Hybrid, 1 lap behind
4. Albuquerque/Bonanomi/Rast (P/I/GER), Audi R18 e-tron quattro, 2 laps behind
5. Wurz/Sarrazin/Conway (A/F/GB), Toyota TS040 Hybrid, 3 laps behind
6. Bamber/Hülkenberg/Tandy (NZ/GER/GB), Porsche 919 Hybrid, 3 laps behind
7. Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis (BRA/F/GB), Audi R18 e-tron quattro, 8 laps behind
8. Davidson/Buemi (GB/CH), Toyota TS040 Hybrid, 14 laps behind

FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), after 2 out of 8 rounds, 
1. Lotterer/Tréluyer/Fässler (GER/F/CH), Audi, 50
2. Dumas/Jani/Lieb (F/CH/GER), Porsche, 36
3. Conway/Sarrazin/Wurz/ (GB/F/A), Toyota, 22
4. Davidson/Buemi (GB/CH), Toyota, 19
5. Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (GER/NZ/AUS), Porsche 17
6. Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis (BRA/F/GB), Audi, 16
7. Nakajima (J), Toyota, 15
8. Albuquerque/Bonanomi/Rast (P/I/GER), Audi, 12
9. Tandy (GB), 10
10. Bird/Canal/Rusinov (GB/F/RUS), G-Drive, 8,5
11. Bamber/Hülkenberg (NZ/GER), Porsche, 8

1. Audi, 70
2. Porsche, 53
3. Toyota, 47 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Three Porsche 919 Hybrids at the Spa, May 2

Porsche 919

New line-up for Spa: Porsche Team with three 919 Hybrids for the first time
Stuttgart. The Porsche Team is looking forward to having its first three-car line-up, as it has entered a third 919 Hybrid prototype for the second round of this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) on May, 2 in Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium). The third car will be raced by Formula One driver Nico Hülkenberg (Germany), Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain). Driving car No 19, the crew will take advantage of the 6-hour race to prepare for the Le Mans 24 hours in June. Porsche’s two regular WEC driver line-ups will be in the cockpits of the other LMP1 hybrid prototypes: Timo Bernhard (Germany), Brendon Hartley (New Zealand) and Mark Webber (Australia) in car No 17 and Romain Dumas (France), Neel Jani (Switzerland) and Marc Lieb (Germany) in the No 18 Porsche 919 Hybrid. 

Each of the three cars’ starting numbers has a certain meaning for Porsche: No 17 pays tribute to the Porsche 917 KH ("Kurzheck” translates into short-tail) that bagged the first of what are now a total of 16 overall victories for the brand in Le Mans in 1970. The No 18 is a symbol of the close technical relationship between the Porsche 919 Hybrid racing car and the Porsche 918 Spyder super sports car, which is also equipped with a hybrid drive. No 19 is a bridge to the 919 Hybrid that marked Porsche’s return to prototype racing last year. In Spa all three Porsche 919 Hybrids will compete with the usual white livery. The different colours that were shown at this year’s team presentation will be seen exclusively at Le Mans.

Racing a third hybrid prototype is a serious operational challenge for the young Weissach-based team. It underlines Porsche’s commitment to the future and the high-level of competition in the WEC. The revolutionary WEC regulations, introduced for the 2014 season, demand powerful and innovative hybrid systems, which was the decisive factor in Porsche’s return. The second generation of the Porsche 919 Hybrid has become even more efficient and stronger. Intense development work on the three-part powertrain has allowed Porsche to enter the highest energy recovery class of 8-megajoule for the very first time. No other race car turns over so much energy as the Porsche 919 Hybrid – that includes both Formula One cars and other car manufacturers’ Le Mans prototypes. The art of engineering to bring out hybrid systems with an extreme turnover of energy is of the highest relevance to electrified road cars such as Porsche’s range of plug-in-hybrid models.

Quotes before the race:
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “The speed of the second generation of the 919 Hybrid was convincing at the season’s opening race at Silverstone. This doesn’t go only for qualifying, but also on the long runs progress was visible and allowed us to keep in the lead with a one-two for one and a half hours. The third 919 Hybrid for Spa is an entirely newly built car for Earl, Nick and Nico. Handling three such complex cars and nine drivers will be challenging for the crew around Team Principal Andreas Seidl. All three 919s will compete in the same aero configuration, which is the same one we raced in Silverstone. Regarding the demands of the hybrid management in the 8-megajoule class, we are constantly learning. Generally speaking, Spa’s track layout should favour our car.” 

For the crews of car numbers 17 and 18, who compete in the entire WEC season, championship points scoring is the target for Spa. The crew of car number 19 has a different task: After comprehensive testing, they now have to get used to all the racing procedures, will experience the excitement of their LMP1 race debut and get ready for Le Mans, the season’s highlight.

Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid number 17
Timo Bernhard (34, Germany): “For two reasons Spa is going to be a special race for me. First of all it is not far from my hometown of Bruchmühlbach-Miesau, so we can expect many German fans. And secondly I will be racing with a special helmet in Spa in memory to Stefan Bellof, who died there 30 years ago. I am doing this because I have a lot of respect for him and I like to remind everyone about his exceptional abilities as a racing driver. Talking about the event, in Spa the track is always the star. The layout of this circuit, that has been embedded naturally into the landscape, hasn’t changed a lot. It has become much safer, but its character has remained untouched. It is a difficult track and requires precise set-up work. It is a place where good team work can make all the difference.” 

Brendon Hartley (25, New Zealand): “I will never forget how amazed I was when I came to Europe and saw the Spa circuit for the first time. I think it is a track every driver gets excited about. Corners like Eau Rouge are unique and fantastic. Spa should favour our car a lot more than Silverstone, and I can’t wait to race there.“

Mark Webber (38, Australia): “Spa is one of my favourite tracks. It’s one of the classics on the calendar with a lot of character, and it’s a real thrill to drive there because it’s very fast and you can really let the 919 hybrid have its legs The weather always plays a factor around there, as you could have it raining at one end of the track and dry at the other, as it’s such a long lap. Eau Rouge is one of the most famous corners in the world and it’s much steeper than it appears on TV. Silverstone didn’t turn out the way we would have liked, but we have a lot of good potential and want to get a good result in Spa.”

Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid number 18
Romain Dumas (37, France): “Last year with the old car we were very fast in Spa, and with the new 919 Hybrid it will be even better. Now with the higher downforce, this year Eau Rouge and Radillon should be flat. Endurance racing has a great heritage in Spa and there is normally a good crowd. One of my best memories from Spa is when I won the 24 hours in 2003 together with Marc Lieb.”

Neel Jani (31, Switzerland): “After a good season’s opening round in Silverstone, I can’t wait to race in Spa. I hope for more thrilling fights for the lead as I enjoyed them in England, and the fast Belgian track should suit us. Last year we took the maiden pole for the 919 in Spa and were leading for quite a long time early in the race. Certainly our target is to lead this time at the end of the race.”

Marc Lieb (34, Germany): “Spa is one of my absolutely favourite circuits. The high number of fast corners on this natural race track have a unique flow. In Spa I experienced the first highlight of my endurance career when I won the 24 hours with Romain Dumas. Having three 919 Hybrids to handle for the first time is challenging for the entire team. I think we are well prepared and can look forward to it.”

Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid number 19
Earl Bamber (24, New Zealand): “From last year I have very fond memories of Spa. It was great fun to win the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup race there from pole position. I love this circuit, as it is a spectacular place. I am so looking forward to taking the 919 through Eau Rouge and, anyway, I can’t wait to race that car. When the Silverstone race was on I was glued to the screen. It was one of the best races I have ever seen. It was like a six-hour Supercup race. I enjoyed working with Nico and Nick in testing and now I’m really looking forward to racing with our car crew for the first time.”

Nico Hülkenberg (27, Germany): “I am totally excited about what the coming weeks and the Spa weekend will bring. Of course I know the Grand Prix circuit pretty well and have raced there many times. But endurance racing is completely new to me and I’m really thrilled about seeing how everything will develop. I approach these challenges with an open mind, I want to have my experiences and, of course, I want to do a good job for Porsche and for myself. Being a high-speed track with long straights, Spa should suit our 919 Hybrid. To begin with it would be nice to have dry conditions, but in the Ardennes you never know and have to be prepared for everything.”

Nick Tandy (30, Great Britain): “I have raced many times in Spa. In single seaters, in the Porsche Supercup and when we won with Porsche in the GT Open back in 2012. Spa is one of the best circuits and it will be very exciting to have my first race in the 919 there. I feel as prepared for that as I can be. However, we don’t have huge expectations. Our job is to tick the boxes off and get ready for Le Mans.”

Facts and Figures:
- The FIA WEC season’s second 6-hour-race will start on May, 2 at 2:30 pm Central European Summer Time (CEST).

- TV station Eurosport will broadcast the race on the same day between 6:30 and 8:45 pm (CEST).

- The challenging Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps lies in the mountainous Ardennes region in the south of Belgium. The lap length of 7.004 kilometres is above average and the track features several high-speed sectors. The hybrid drivers are especially stretched on the long uphill sections. The daunting compression of Eau Rouge and Raidillon fills racing drivers of all categories with awe. Because of the track’s length it might well rain on one part of the circuit while other parts are still dry – a particular feature very similar to Le Mans.

- In 2014 the winner did 171 laps. 

- In 2014 Neel Jani and Marc Lieb clinched the first of now five pole positions for Porsche in the WEC. Their average lap time in the Porsche 919 Hybrid was 2:01.198 min. The sister car with Timo Bernhard/Brendon Hartley qualified fifth on the grid with an average of 2:03.672 min.

- In the race Dumas/Jani/Lieb came fourth, Bernhard/Hartley/Webber 23rd.

- After the first of eight WEC rounds Dumas/Jani/Lieb hold second position in the drivers’ table with a total of 18 points. Bernhard/Hartley/Webber gained a bonus point for pole position in Silverstone and rank 10th. Porsche is currently 3rd in the constructors’ championship with 19 points.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Draft Syllabus, HST 344, The Automobile and American Life, to be Taught in Leipzig, Germany, May 15 to June 19, 2015

    HST 344  -- Science, Technology and the Modern Corporation: The Automobile, American and European Life

            Instructor: John A. Heitmann

            Office Hours: whenever
            E-Mail: Jheitmann1@udayton.edu
                        Blog:  http://automobileandamericanlife.blogspot.com

            Texts:  John Heitmann, The Automobile and American Life.

            Grades: The final grade for this course will be based upon one Mid-Term Exam, (30%), occasional short essay assignments (20%), and a Final Exam (50%).  The grade scale is as follows: A  94 to 100; A-  90 to 93; B+  87-89; B 84-86; B-  80 - 83; C+ 77-79; C 74-76; C- 70-73.  A similar pattern applies to lower grades.  Letter grades are assigned a mid-point numerical grade. Additionally, attendance can influence your final grade at my discretion: if you miss more than 1 class, one letter grade will be deducted from your grade; if you miss more than 2 classes, a two letter grade reduction will take place.  Grade averages may be influenced by such factors as trends over the time of the course; for example, how you finish is far more important than how you start. Policies for exams strictly follows History Department Guidelines, and make-ups will only be offered with a valid, documented excuse.
Cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated and offenses will be punished accordingly. A first offense will result in a failing grade for the exam or paper in question; a second offense will result in a failing grade for the course.
Course Purpose:  It has been said that the automobile is the perfect technological symbol of American culture, a tangible expression of our quest to level space, time and class, and a reflection of our restless mobility, social and otherwise. But what of cars and European culture?  Far less has been said about this second aspect, particularly in English. In this course we will explore together the place of the automobile in American and European (especially German) life, and how it transformed business, life on the farm and in the city, the nature and organization of work, leisure time, and the arts. This is a most complex transition that we will study, as the automobile transformed everyday life and the environment in which we operate.  It influenced the foods we eat; music we listen to; risks we take; places we visit; errands we run; emotions we feel; movies we watch; stress we endure; and, the air we breathe.


May 18 Introduction;  What our cars tell us about ourselves. The car in                                         everyday life: the automobile age and its contradictions.                                                                          Automotive Pioneers – “European by Birth, American by Adoption.”  WWI.
Reading: Heitmann, Introduction, Chapter 1.
Film Clip from “Horatio’s Drive”
Powerpoint: European Auto Industry Lecture 1

May 19-21 Henry Ford and the Volkswagen;  The European Auto Industry during the 1920s; Opel, General Motors, and Sloanism
Reading: Heitmann, Chapters 2-3.
Powerpoints: WWI Trucks and Ambulance; German Auto Industry 1920s: VW

May 22 –VW Golf in Zwickau; afternoon at the Horch Museum Zwickau

May 23-25 – Long Weekend, Monday holiday – Pentecost

May 26-28 Highways and Autobahnen; The Remarkable European (and especially German) Auto Industry during the 1930s; Distinctive Trends in the American Automobile Industry to 1941
Reading: Heitmann, Chapters 4-6.

Powerpoints: Audi;
May 29 – Mercedes Sprinter plant tour, Ludwigsfelde Berlin; BMW Motorcycle Plant Berlin

June 1-5 at BMW

June 8- 11 WWII
Reading: Heitmann Chapter 7

June 9 – Mid-Term exam

June 10-11 -- The 1950s and 1960s
Reading: Heitmann Chapter 8

June 12 – Stuttgart, Mercedes Benz and Porsche
Powerpoints: Porsche; BMW Eisenach; The Great European Automobile Boom, 1950-1973

June 15 Oil Shock I and II, and the decline of American Hegemony: Global Competition
Reading: Chapter 9
June 16 – Opel in Eisenach BMW Machine tool Factory Eisenach

June 17 The Rise of China as Automobile Consumers and Producers
Powerpoint: Contemporary Automobile Industry Economics
Reading: Heitmann, Chapter 10

June 18 Final exam

June 19 Departure Day