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

            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                                     

Review of Heitmann and Morales, Stealing Cars

From the April, 2015 issue of the American Historical Review

Cars: Technology and Society from the Model T to the Gran Torino. Baltimore: Johns  Hopkins  University Press, 2014. Pp. ix, 216. $29.95.

According to 2013 insurance statistics, thieves steal a car every 33 seconds in the United States. As John A. Heitmann and Rebecca H. Morales write, although car theft has existed “at the margins of American life,” it is and was, nevertheless, “far from inconsequential” (p. 1). They prove this broad claim by surveying the reasons and methods for stealing cars and the technological, so- cial, and institutional responses to the crime. A long history of stealing cars has resulted in myriad anti-theft technologies, powerful federal laws to ameliorate the criminal activity that thrived by crossing state and in- ternational borders, and a trend toward more sophisticated, professional criminals who in the twentieth century set up global networks to trade in stolen vehi- cles.
Historians have mostly overlooked theft as an impor- tant part of Americans’ relationship with the automo- bile. But as Heitmann and Morales rightly argue, we can learn much about technology,  law  enforcement, and the role of insurance companies, by examining the changing contours of auto theft. Their work is part of a growing body of scholarship that examines how users changed the design and meanings of the automobile from the bottom up. However, here, users applied their ingenuity to illegal activities, from the fairly harmless act of joyriding, or stealing cars for pleasure, to more serious offensives. The authors ask: “Who steals cars, and why?” (p. 1). How did government and industry respond to the crime in an escalating battle to thwart a growing network of criminal activity? Heitmann and Morales mine their source material, which ranges from statistics and patent records to interviews and a range of popular literature, film, and digital games to under- stand the complex back-and-forth between criminals, technology, authority, and the wider culture. Their most significant claim is that automobility changed and increased the scale of unlawful activity beginning with the mass production and adoption of the car. The automobile became a prime target for thieves and con- veniently provided its own means of escape. Although, some saw the opportunity to enjoy a free ride or make money stripping parts or selling stolen cars, thus rob- bing car owners not only of an expensive durable good but also their own automobility, Heitmann and Morales conclude that American culture, as seen through films, songs, novels, and video games, has often glorified car thieves rather than condemning them.
The authors survey the landscape of auto theft in six chronological chapters, a brief conclusion, and a useful collection  of  historical  statistics.  Taken  together the chapters chart the trajectory of criminal activity from the 1910s to the present. The book is organized into periods, beginning with the 1910s to the 1940s; continuing into the postwar period to about 1980, when auto theft rose so rapidly that there was an unprecedented response; and ending with the 1990s to the present. Chapter 5 examines the history of cross-border activity between Mexico and the U.S. providing an in-depth case study of the globalization of automobile theft that should give historians much to consider.
Throughout the book we learn that average people and often skilled users participated in the process of stealing, stripping, masking, and trading in stolen cars. Chauffeurs, mechanics, assembly-line workers, small business owners, and a couple of generations of male teenagers all took part in stealing cars. Notably, car owners, through the 1960s, were often culpable as well; some reported their cars as stolen to get the insurance money, many more simply left the keys in the ignition or under the floor mat. Whatever the cause, we learn that this crime shaped the institutions and the larger landscape that governed the use and value of cars, including the insurance industry.  Insurance  companies led the way in developing new communications systems and technologies to protect and recover their invest- ments. Additionally, law enforcement, especially at the federal level, grew. Because the stolen goods crossed state and international borders, auto theft became a federal crime and the authors trace the legislation and developments in policing from the Dyer Act (1919) to the growth of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). They also explore efforts to outwit ingenious criminals through an array of devices from early ignition locks to General Motors OnStar surveillance system. In the last chapters, Heitmann and Morales suggest that there has been a definable shift in the nature of the car theft, from youth-centered impulsiveness to an organized and global crime. Although global trade in stolen cars existed as early as the interwar period, the scale increased  dramatically  in  the  late  twentieth  century. The chapter on Mexico and the U.S. provides a more careful look at this phenomenon and suggests that borderlands foster crime. Beginning with the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920), she provides an intriguing case study of how automotive theft became entangled in a more complex web of illegal activities including drug trafficking. As the authors conclude, “Crossing borders was, and remains, the car thief’s best strategy” (p. 158). The authors’ attention to the variety of people and technologies involved in stealing cars and the evolution of the practice into a global business make their study worth reading. Some small criticisms: The latter half of the book felt somewhat disjointed. The later chapters would have benefited from more historical context, especially with regard to the political and economic land- scape of the 1970s and 1980s. How did the energy crisis figure into criminal activity or its representation in film? But overall, Heitmann and Morales have added to a better and broader understanding of both crime and the

     automobile in American life and have pointed to other fruitful avenues for exploration.
American University