Sunday, April 30, 2017

At the Gilmore Automobile Museum, April 28-9, 2017

This museum features American cars, but did have a very nice room exploring the sports cars of the 1950s. Note the wonderful wall graphics

The cars of the Golden Age of the 1950s
Franklin Air-cooled Engines -- their evolution depicted

An earlier Franklin engine. Historian Sinclair Powell has published extensively on this firm

A Kaiser-Darrin interior

Kaiser-Darrin dash with an accessory Stewart-Warner Mileage Minder

a Packard Hawk

a 1934 Pierce-Arrow in the Background

A Tucker Engine

A Tucker with 50 original miles!

Look at that 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser in the Background. Buck Rodgers  Hits the Interstates!

Near Kalamazoo, MI, in Hickory Corners, the Gilmore is a must-see destination. Stay at the Sheraton 4 Points in Kalamazoo. Best buffet breakfast anywhere on the planet!

Friday, April 28, 2017

A Drive Into the Past: Riding in Andy Beckman's 1964 Studebaker Lark Daytona

Left to right -- owner Andy Beckman, Don Capps, and Ed Garden. The Lark design resembles  a Chrysler Valiant in terms of grille and roof profile.

Note the cool Studebaker inscription on the rear of the trunk!

In my opinion, clean lines and a great Glasspak sound. Note Gilmore Automobile Museum Heritage Center  in the background.

So I had a real treat this morning as I got a front seat ride to the Gilmore Museum in Hickory Corners, MI in Andy Beckman's 1964 Studebaker Lark Daytona. Its color is Bordeaux, powered by a 289 V-8, and with a Ford 5-Speed from a 1993 Mustang GT.  It also has a Hurst shifter.  Andy has done much of the work on this car himself, and its solid and assured ride is a testimony to his abilities as a mechanic.

When you ride in this car it feels like a car should be. It reminded me of cars that I experienced when I was much younger.  The sounds, vibrations, road feel, seat position (rather high) and visibility is not like anything you experience when in a Toyota or Honda. Whether you like it or not, you are a part of the human-machine relationship, and know it.  Thanks, Andy, for a 30-minute experience that took me back to when I was in high school!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Brief Comments on Two Chapters Dealing with Early American Automobile Racing in John F. Ross' "Enduring Courage: Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed"

I must confess that I came to this book with an attitude of negativity. You see dear Friend David Lewis, now deceased, wrote a definitive biography of Rickenbacker and it seems that his book had no legs compared to the book By John F. Ross. I ask myself, why do non-academics get their boos out their in far broader exposure than academics like Lewis, or that matter Charlie Hyde whose work on Detroit during WWII was over-shadowed when compared to a journalistic version.

But I must say I was pleasantly surprised when reading Chapter 3 -- "Death on the Track" and Chapter 4 "Airplane vs. Automobile." It goes to show you what careful prose and an absence of footnotes can do to make history come alive. I thoroughly enjoyed Ross' analysis of drivers and why they drove -- the exhilaration of speed and the weighing of risk. The personalities were well characterized and the nature of early road and track racing well described.  I don't find "Captain Eddie" such an engaging personality, but I remember how David Lewis was so energized in talking about Rickenbacker and his life.

So what conclusion can we draw from my reading?  Academics -- work on who your market is and on your prose.  When do you stop digging and start explaining? You will never find every last bit of material on any subject, but how you cast it -- that is the rub!

The Mercedes-Benz W 125 Silver Arrows: 1937

Cutaway drawing of the Mercedes-Benz W 125 racing car, 1937.
Manfred von Brauchitsch ahead of Richard Seaman at the Masaryk Grand Prix in Brno. They finished in 2nd and 4th respectively, with Rudolf Caracciola winning the race. All driving the Mercedes-Benz W 125 750 kilogram racing car..
Silver Arrow Mercedes-Benz W 125 built for the 750 kilogram weight limit in 1937.

Victory at debut race: Hermann Lang (leading) won the 1937 Tripoli Grand Prix in the W 125.

On 9 May 1937, the 750 kilogram W 125 racing car from Mercedes-Benz celebrated its racing debut with a victory at the Tripoli Grand Prix. Following this opening triumph, it went on to dominate the entire season – yet it would prove to be its one and only season. This was because 1937 was the last season in which the 750 kilogram weight limit was the formula applied for the Grand Prix European Championship. The drivers from the Stuttgart-based racing team won four of the five Grand Prix races that counted towards the European Championship in the W 125. This included two 1-2-3 and two 1-2 finishes. At the end of the season, Rudolf Caracciola was crowned European Champion for the second time. The W 125 also racked up some great successes in other races and on record-breaking drives.

The goal was an extremely ambitious one: produce a brand new Mercedes-Benz racing car within the space of just a few months in time for the 1937 Grand Prix European Championship. This was the task that the young engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut, who was technical director of the Stuttgart brand's newly created racing department, set his team of design engineers in the summer of 1936. It was necessary because the first of the legendary Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows models, the W 25, could no longer compete with the Auto Union racing cars, its fiercest rivals. It was quite clear what the new racer, christened the W 125, needed: a more torsion-resistant frame, different suspension tuning, a more powerful engine, plus further modifications besides.
Rethinking the racing car concept
In August 1936, the design engineers got to work on the development of the racing car, which would compete in 1937 as the W 125. The established concept of the first Silver Arrow car needed to be completely rethought. By 9 September 1936, Josef Müller already had an overall design ready that included all the characteristics of the final racing car. The wheelbase was extended from 2505 to 2798 millimeters. And fitting oval tubes as longitudinal members and circular tubes as crossmembers increased the frame's torsional stiffness by a factor of 2.65 compared with the W 25.
The suspension's set-up featuring soft springing and strong damping was nothing less than revolutionary. The developers of the W 125 achieved this by using a trapezoidal link front suspension with coil springs and a de Dion rear suspension with reduction of the roll center. Front and rear spring travel grew significantly, with an increase of 50 millimeters at the front axle to 140 millimeters. The aerodynamics of the body with its distinctive three cooling openings in the front end were also improved, lowering the Cd figure from 0.620 to 0.589.
When considered from a modern standpoint, the development of a brand new engine bears particular testament to the visionary power and boldness of the project. For 1937 would be the last season in which the 750 kilogram weight limit was the formula applied – in 1938 a new formula based on engine displacement was to be introduced. This meant it would no longer be possible to use the new power unit in motor racing's most elite event. But all those involved, from the company management down, gave their full backing to the plan. With engine designer Georg Scheerer overseeing development, the result was the M 125 – an eight-cylinder inline engine with a Roots-type supercharger and a displacement of 5660 cubic centimeters. In the races held during the 1937 season, the W 125 attained speeds in excess of 300 km/h. In the process, its engine generated between  409 kW (556 hp) and  430 kW (585 hp), while on the test stand, output was even higher at 475 kW(646 hp).
The Silver Arrow becomes a serial winner
The first of a total of eleven W 125 cars was finished in February 1937 and underwent initial testing in Monza with Rudolf Caracciola and Hermann Lang at the wheel. It made its racing debut in early May at the Tripoli Grand Prix, which Lang promptly won. Originally from Stuttgart, Lang recorded an average speed of 212.5 km/h on his way to his first ever Grand Prix triumph. During the remainder of the 1937 motor racing season, the new Silver Arrow triumphed over its rivals exactly as hoped. Mercedes-Benz won four of the five Grand Prix races that counted towards the European Championship. There were 1-2 finishes at the German Grand Prix on 25 July (Rudolf Caracciola followed by Manfred von Brauchitsch) and at the Italian Grand Prix on 12 September (Caracciola followed by Hermann Lang). And Mercedes-Benz achieved a clean sweep of the podium at the Monaco Grand Prix on 8 August (von Brauchitsch followed by Caracciola and Christian Kautz) and at the Swiss Grand Prix (Caracciola followed by Lang and von Brauchitsch). At the end of the season, Rudolf Caracciola was crowned Grand Prix European Champion for the second time following his 1935 triumph. And Caracciola would pick up his third title the following year in another racing car developed completely from scratch, the 3-litre W 154.
There were further victories for the Silver Arrow car during 1937: at the International AVUS race in Berlin on 30 May, in which a car from the previous season also competed (1st run: Caracciola, W 125; 2nd run: von Brauchitsch, W 25 short; final run: Lang, W 125; all cars fitted with streamlined body) and at the Masaryk Grand Prix, Brno on 26 September (Caracciola).
The W 125 was also used by Mercedes-Benz for record-breaking attempts and hill climbs with great success. On 28 January 1938, Rudolf Caracciola bettered various international Class B speed records in a W 125 with full cladding during record-breaking drives on the autobahn between Frankfurt am Main and Darmstadt. The car was powered by a  541 kW (736 hp) 5.6-litre twelve-cylinder engine. Caracciola covered one kilometre with a flying start at a speed of 432.7 km/h and one mile with a flying start at 432.4 km/h. These marks still stand today as the highest speeds attained during a record-breaking attempt on a public road.

Friday, April 21, 2017

World Endurance Championship Results at Silverstone, Easter Weekend, 2017

After six hours of racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship season-opener on the challenging British Grand Prix circuit, the trio of Earl Bamber (NZ)/Timo Bernhard (DE)/Brendon Hartley (NZ) crossed the finish line just 6.173 seconds behind the winning Toyota of Sébastien Buemi (CH)/Anthony Davidson (GB)/Kazuki Nakajima (JP). Buemi had clawed in Hartley in a breath taking final stint with only seven laps to go. The second Porsche 919 Hybrid of reigning world champion Neel Jani (CH), André Lotterer (DE) and Nick Tandy (GB) finished third.
The first race of the 2017 WEC was accompanied by typical cool and changeable British weather with rather low ambient and track temperatures of around 11 degrees Celsius and occasional light rain. However, this did not hamper the atmosphere with 50,200 fans attending over the weekend. The Porsche LMP Team – Le Mans winner and world champion in 2015 as well as in 2016 – leads the manufacturers’ classification after the first of nine championship rounds on 33 points with Toyota second (26.5). In the drivers’ standings, the Porsche crews are currently second and third.
How the race went for car number 1:
Jani starts three on the 27-car grid but slips behind the sister car in the first part of the opening lap. He pits after 28 laps for fuel only and continues in P4. At the second regular pit stop (fuel and tyres) after 57 laps, Tandy takes over and resumes in P4. He is up to third on lap 64 ahead of Toyota #7 which appears to have an issue. After 86 laps, Tandy comes in for fuel only and afterwards attacks the #8 Toyota. When rain sets in, Tandy stops again only three laps later (after 89 laps) and takes intermediate tyres. Having completed 98 laps, Tandy hands over to Lotterer who continues on slicks in P3 behind the leading #8 Toyota and the #2 sister Porsche. On lap 117, the #7 Toyota crashes causing a safety car period that Lotterer uses for refuelling. With 141 race laps completed, the tyre performance has dropped significantly and the team decide to stop early and let Tandy take over again. At his final stop for fuel after 171 laps, the Brit only changes the two left hand tyres – used ones from qualifying and comes home third.
How the race went for car number 2:
Hartley moves up from his fourth place start to third in the opening corners on the first lap. At the end of lap 29 he refuels and resumes in P3, consistently matching the Toyota lap times. After 59 laps, Hartley hands over to Bernhard, the German rejoining second and now ahead of Toyota #7. After 87 laps, Bernhard initially comes in for fuel only but on short notice, has intermediate tyres fitted. He rejoins the race in P2. Bamber jumps into the car 99 laps into the race, the car now on slicks again and continues in P2. During the safety car period triggered by the #7 Toyota crash, Bamber comes in for refuelling after 117 laps. On 149 laps, Hartley takes over again to chase the leading Toyota. When Hartley pits for his final refuelling after 178 laps, he leads the race by almost one minute. This and a perfect service from the pit crew enables the Kiwi to rejoin with a lead of eight seconds. It is still half an hour before the chequered flag and the Toyota not only benefits from better aerodynamics due to the high downforce configuration but also is on fresher tyres. On lap 190 of 197, and in light drizzle, Buemi squeezes himself through on the inside of Hartley’s car to take the race win.
919 Hybrid, WEC, Silverstone, 2017, Porsche AG

The new 919 Hybrid in Silverstone

How the race went for the GTE classes
At the Silverstone six-hour race, the new Porsche 911 RSR started its maiden season in the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC with a podium result. Richard Lietz (Austria) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) planted the 911 RSR with the starting number 91 on the third grid spot in the GTE-Pro class on Easter Sunday in front of more than 50,000 spectators. With four automobile manufacturers, this category is the most strongly represented and treated fans to 171 laps of thrills and spills right from the start of the season. For 2017, the completely newly developed 510 hp race car from Weissach is fielded by the Porsche GT Team in the WEC as well as the IMSA SportsCar Championship in the USA and Canada.
Twenty-seven cars lined up on the Silverstone Circuit to kick off this year’s Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC. The sky over the storied racetrack in the British Midlands was overcast, a cold wind blew, and light showers fell especially in the second half of the race. However, this dampened neither the spirits of the enthusiastic British motor racing fans on the grandstands nor the pilots, who, instead of switching to wet tyres on the partially wet track, stayed out on slicks and treated the spectators to gripping fights and spectacular overtaking manoeuvres. The Porsche GT Team used the entire qualifying session to prepare for the race and to save the tyres. This season, only four instead of six sets of tyres may be used per race weekend.

Consistently fast lap times

This strategy paid off. In the #91 Porsche 911 RSR, Frédéric Makowiecki made up three positions in the first lap; after nine laps he was already running in third. In his slipstream, his works driver colleague Michael Christensen (# 92) turned consistently fast lap times and was within striking distance of the frontrunners. After just half an hour, the Frenchman was in second with the Dane in third. In his pursuit of the leader, Frédéric Makowiecki didn’t let the first drops of rain halt his charge. After 26 laps, he snatched the lead for the first time, which he then had to reclaim again and again over the course of the race. After two hours he handed the 911 RSR off to his teammate Richard Lietz. In the #92 vehicle, Kévin Estre took the wheel and continued to chase down the front group. However, at just over the halfway mark, he had park his 911 RSR with a technical problem.
Frédéric Makowiecki on the other hand seemed unstoppable. When the safety car was deployed a good two hours before the finish, he took over driving duties from Richard Lietz and promptly turned the fastest lap of the race. With one hour and twelve minutes to go, he pulled into the pits as the leader. Even as he pitted for a splash-and-dash fuel stop shortly before the finish he was still running at the top. Since his rivals had already made their final pit stops at this stage, Makowiecki returned to the race action in fourth. Still, with a breathtaking final push in the final laps he managed to snatch third – which everyone had believed to be lost – and made the much hoped for good start into the WEC season.
In the GTE-Am class as well, Porsche had every reason to celebrate. With the 911 RSR campaigned by the customer squad Dempsey Proton Racing, the Porsche Young Professional Matteo Cairoli (Italy) joined forces with his German teammates Christian Ried and Marvin Dienst to claim third place after a dramatic final lap. Matteo Cairoli was also one of the pilots who secured second in the 911 RSR of Proton Competition at the season-opening round of the European Le Mans Series ELMS at Silverstone the day before.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Red Light Cameras

Do red light cameras actually make for safer streets?  Are the fines just revenue generators for local government? Do these programs line the pockets of the companies that work with the local governments in setting up the equipment and maintaining it?

WHIO-TV in Dayton had a news story today on this topic and the effect of turning off the cameras. Police argue that a 40% spike in crashes this past year was in part due to the absence of cameras.

An Ohio State Supreme Court mandate decided that an officer must be present at the site of the camera surveilled intersection for an arrest to be made.  Dayton police have said that they will comply with this additional caveat within another month.

Cameras, cameras, becoming commonplace in our everyday world, although not at the same level as the British.

50 Years of the Mercedes-Benz Test Track

A Mercedes-Benz 123-series Vehicle on the rough-road section of the test track at the Untertürkheim plant.

In 1967 the roads of the world converged at Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart: the scenarios that can be replicated on the company's test track in Untertürkheim range from storm-swept motorways and slippery wet tracks to bumpy country roads. It was completed 50 years ago, following extensive expansion work. To mark the occasion, the company presented the otherwise top-secret track to the media, on 9 May 1967. The work to extend the test track made it ideal for high-speed, endurance and rough-road testing. The possibilities for testing are as varied as the Mercedes-Benz product range – and, to this day, they continue to provide important input into vehicle development.
Stuttgart. Saloon and truck, Unimog or sports car, bus and racing car: by the 1950s, Mercedes-Benz had the perfect product in its portfolio to suit virtually any automotive purpose. And the model range was steadily being extended, refined and further developed as demand in those early days of the "economic miracle" continued to grow. All of which presented the development department with some major challenges. What was missing, in order for the engineers to meet these challenges as efficiently as possible, was a versatile test track located at one of the major plants. It was an issue whose importance was stressed by Dr Fritz Nallinger, Head of Development of the then Daimler-Benz AG, to his colleagues on the Board of Management as early as November 1953.
Nallinger's suggestion: a long stretch of company-owned land directly adjacent to the Untertürkheim plant, known as the "bottleneck", should be given over to building a test track. A planning application was submitted to the City of Stuttgart in January 1955, and in July 1956 the Board of Management of Daimler-Benz AG gave a green light to the proposed investment. As 1957 dawned, the first phase of the test track was taken into operation. The layout at that time already included a skid pad featuring concentrically arranged circular tracks with different surfaces: vehicles can be tested here on blue basalt, concrete, slippery asphalt and large cobblestones. The integrated sprinkler system allows wet-surface testing.
It soon became evident that the test track was still inadequate for the many and varied demands of the passenger car and commercial vehicle testing departments: the engineers were keen for better facilities that would allow high-speed, endurance and rough-road testing. They also wanted to be able to test commercial vehicles on steep inclines. The site was therefore gradually extended to accommodate all these ideas.
Major stage for future potential
Activities on the test track are normally conducted in secret since, after all, this is where Mercedes-Benz also tests the prototypes for forthcoming series models. However, once the extended and improved facilites had been completed, Mercedes-Benz seized the opportunity to present the full details of this new, major platform for vehicle development to the media, on 9 May 1967. The cumulative length of all test sections is 15,460 meters, including 3018 meters of high-speed test track. The two parallel tracks are connected by steep-bank curves with a diameter of 100 meters. A source of wonder back then were the seven different incline sections with gradients of between 5 and 70 percent, along with the steep-bank curve with a transverse inclination of as much as 90 degrees. A maximum speed of 200 km/h is theoretically possible on this steep banking, but this would physically be almost unendurable for a human being.
For long-term testing purposes it is particularly important instead to be able to drive through the steep-bank curve at 150 km/h with no hands on the wheel. At this point, namely, there are no longer any lateral forces impacting on the tyres and the vehicle remains on track through the bend without any steering input. The driver's weight nevertheless rises by a factor of 3.1, pressing him or her into the seat.
Another indispensable part of endurance testing is the "Heide", or heathland, test section. This rough-road track in Untertürkheim was built to scale to replicate a particularly poor stretch of road in the Lüneburg Heath in the north of Germany as it was in the early 1950s, hence its name. Here, as on other so-called washboard, boneshaker and potholed sections, is where Mercedes-Benz submits its newly developed products to lengthy endurance testing. Tests like these are so stressful that drivers have to change over every two hours. Further features of the circuit include extreme distortion tracks for commercial vehicles and off-roaders, along with ramps used to force extreme spring compression and rebound.
Handling safety in adverse weather conditions is tested with the help of a 34-metre-long crosswind section. This features 16 blowers, designed to produce gusting side winds of speeds up to 100 km/h. A world first was the slalom section introduced by the head of vehicle testing at the time, Rudolf Uhlenhaut. This was a stretch of track designed to test the driving stability of suspensions at high speed and during abrupt changes of lane, using measurement loops embedded in the road surface to deliver electronic data. Such data is used in conjunction with the test driver's personal assessment to evaluate the suspension tuning. For the purposes of precise analysis, the tests have also always been recorded using radar, other measuring equipment and on film.
Since the expansion work was completed 50 years ago the 8.4-hectare site, with its cumulative 15.5 kilometres of different test tracks, has continued to be adapted constantly to new conditions. A section of road with a low-noise "whisper asphalt" surface, for example, was created for the measurement of noise. This continual updating of the test track in Untertürkheim means that it remains, to this day, an important development tool for new technologies and vehicles.

Monday, April 17, 2017

1932 -- The Ford V8 Engine: A Remarkable Video

Hi folks -- this video is surprisingly good. Representative of the times and the people. It tells a remarkable tale in the history of technology using period film footage.

Historic Vehicle Association Registry -- Cars Designated to Date

This is what I have so far on the HVA list of cars to make their registry. It is eclectic to say the least, and seemingly scattershot in terms of relevance and impact on American life.  One big question is how are these cars chosen?  Is there any system to these decisions? How does personalities, power, influence and possibly investment come into the equation?

This list takes on importance beyond just a list established by an organization funded by Haggerty Insurance when the Department of the Interior and the Federal Government gets involved. Senate Bill 3381 makes the beginning of taking this activity to an entirely higher level.  Who will be entrusted, if this bill is passed, to write narrative descriptions of each vehicle, collect photographic records, 3D scans, line drawings and engineering drawings that will be archived at the Library of Congress?

Here is my take on these cars.

1. 1907 Thomas Flyer -- well it was a product of a fine company in Buffalo, NY, and winner of the race around the world.  Plenty of recent promotion by the grandson of one of its drivers, George Schuster. More important but unanswered is the role of French engineers who worked at Thomas at this time.

2. 1918 Cadillac Type 57 -- I saw this car in Allentown last October. A representative Cadillac perhaps, but what makes this Cadillac more significant than many other years and models?

3. 1938 Buick Y-Job -- OK, Harley Earl's longer, lower, chrome light-value demonstrator. I agree on this one.

4. 1920 Anderson Convertible Roadster -- Yes, I know this was manufactured in Rock Hill South Carolina and thus is distinctive for that reason alone. Did this car have much impact on American life?  I doubt it.

5. 1940 Ford Pygmy (Precursor the the Jeep) -- Sure.  But one should stress the imacpt on the home front as well as in WWII -- literature, film, song.
6. 1947 Tucker "48"-- no quibble with this choice.

7. 1964 Shelby Daytona Coupe -- maybe from the standpoint of racing history.
8. 1964 Myers Manx "Old Red" -- on a scale of 1 to 10 a 5.
9. 1911 Marmon Wasp -- yes, because it won the first Indy 500.

10. 1967 Chevrolet Camaro -- why not a number of other choices, including the GTO, Barracuda, Mustang?
11. 1938 Maserati 8CTF -- the Mike Boyle special.  Read Brock Yates book on this car.

12. 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL -- it captivated the automotive imagination of many Americans.  Germans were maybe not as bad as thought previously.
13. President William Howard Taft's 1909 White Steam Car  -- yes, presidents and their cars.
14. 1962 Willys Jeep CJ-6 -- Why?
15. !940 GM Futurliner -- Motorama had a vision of a future of American automoblity that was patricianly realized with unintended consequences we live with today.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Cars and Coffee, at the Greene, Beavercreek, Ohio April 15, 2017

Hi folks -- I got there quite late own Saturday morning, and did not spend a lot of time at the event.  By the time I got there a good number had left, although maybe 60% of the lot was still filled with cars.  Lots of kids on the  side of the road leading up to the parking garage, and on the ramp going up.

My only complaint is that the younger crowd with high performance cars really should be more respectful when leaving -- you don't have to peel out to show off your stuff. The noise can be offensive to some, and the site could be lost if a number of outsiders complain.

So three cars featured here -- a DeLorean, a newer version of the Avanti -- I don't know what iteration this one was, although it is not an original -- and a low-rider.

Greene County Ohio Cruise-In, April 14, 2017

I only spent a few minutes at the Cruise-In yesterday. Of all the cars there, one in particular, a vintage Midwest dirt track racer that began its life in 1948 caught my eye.  Here are a few photos from yesterday:

Friday, April 14, 2017

World Endurance Championship at Silverstone, Easter Weekend, 2017


WEC: High tension expected for first duel of the season

The coming weekend, April 14 to 16, sees Porsche start the first out of nine rounds of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship. The Silverstone six-hour race will be the first duel between the reworked Porsche 919 hybrid and the latest Toyota TS050 Hybrid. It also marks the return of a Porsche GT works team following a year-long development period.
919 Hybrid, 2017, Porsche AG
Porsche, world champions and Le Mans winners in 2015 and 2016 respectively, targets the defence of both titles. But in England the LMP team expects a difficult start. In support of the aerodynamic strategy for the entire season, the Porsche 919 Hybrids will run at the Northamptonshire circuit with significantly less downforce than the fast bends of the challenging Grand Prix track realistically demand.
The race marks the return of the Porsche GT works team following a year-long development period. It runs two newly developed 911 RSR. The 510 hp race car from Weissach, which is based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car, celebrated its successful debut in January at the 24 Hours of Daytona. FIA, as the world’s governing body of motorsport, has further enhanced the GT category of the WEC by officially giving it world championship status this season for the first time.
The eagerly anticipated first race for the 27-car field gets underway on Sunday at 12 hrs. Track action on the 5.9 kilometre long Formula One circuit can be followed live from basically all over the world.
The race
The Silverstone Circuit with legendary corners such as Becketts, Copse and Stowe is one of the world’s most storied racetracks. On 13 May, 1950, the circuit hosted the first modern-day Formula 1 Grand Prix.
The Porsche drivers
The newly assembled line-up of the Porsche LMP1 works drivers feel well-rehearsed after winter testing and the WEC Prologue in Monza (IT). Reigning world champion Neel Jani (CH) has the number 1 on the car he shares with Nick Tandy (GB) and Porsche newcomer André Lotterer (DE). The number 2 sister car belongs to the two New Zealanders, Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley, together with Timo Bernhard (DE).
Four works drivers tackle the GTE-Pro class with the new 911 RSR for the Porsche GT Team at the season-opening round in Silverstone. Sharing the cockpit of the #91 vehicle are Richard Lietz (Austria), the WEC GT Champion of 2015, and Frédéric Makowiecki (France). Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Kévin Estre (France) man the #92 car. In the GTE-Am class, the Porsche customer team Dempsey Proton Racing campaigns a 911 RSR from last season with the Porsche Young Professional Matteo Cairoli (Italy), Christian Ried (Germany) and Marvin Dienst (Germany) sharing driving duties.
919 Hybrid, WEC Prologue, Monza, 2017, Porsche AG

The new 919 Hybrid

The vehicles

The Porsche 919 Hybrid

The Porsche 919 Hybrid has been widely reworked for the 2017 championship. 60 to 70 per cent of the Le Mans prototype’s components are new developments. This goes especially for the areas of aerodynamics, chassis and combustion engine. However, the power train in principle remains the same. The innovative hybrid race car develops a system power of around 900 HP (662 kW) that comes from a compact two-litre turbo charged V4-cylinder (nearly 500 PS/368 kW) and two different energy recovery systems – brake energy from the front axle combined with exhaust energy. The combustion engine drives the rear axle while the electro motor boosts the front axle with an output of more than 400 PS (294 kW). The electrical energy that comes from the front brakes and the exhaust system is temporarily stored in a liquid-cooled lithium ion battery.

The Porsche 911 RSR

The 911 RSR is a completely new development: the suspension, body structure, aerodynamic concept, engine and transmission have all been designed in Weissach from scratch. Depending on the size of the restrictor, the motor, which is now positioned in front of the rear axle, puts out around 375 kW (510 hp). Thanks to the particularly large rear diffuser combined with a top-mounted rear wing, the level of downforce and the aerodynamic efficiency were significantly improved. The 911 RSR also contests the WEC sporting the further developed factory design with the primary colours white, red and black.
911 RSR, WEC Prologue, Monza, 2017, Porsche AG

The new 911 RSR

Quotes before the season’s opening race

LMP Team

Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “The team has done an amazing job during the recent weeks and months. Now it’s time to finally go racing. The Prologue has proven that we can expect a very tough fight with Toyota. Silverstone is going to be a six-hour sprint race.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: “With regards to reliability, we have been fine at our 30-hour test in Paul Ricard as well as at the Prologue in Monza. We feel well prepared for the first six-hour race. However, with regards to lap-times, Silverstone is going to be difficult. In the name of cost saving, the 2017 regulations permit only two aero kits per season. We have managed our resources the way that we focus on developing and testing our Le Mans aerodynamics until the third race of the season is over. This means low downforce for the benefit of low drag and this unavoidably will be a disadvantage in Silverstone. After the Le Mans 24 Hours in June we will consequently arm the 919 with more downforce for the remaining championship rounds. Another new challenge that is addressed by the rules is the reduced amount of tyres. Two fuel tank fillings – in other words about 90 minutes racing – with the same set of slick tyres will be standard. This requires very sensible tyre management.”

GT Team

Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport: “It feels good to be back in the WEC with the GT works team and with our entirely newly developed 911 RSR. At the Prologue a week ago in Monza, our team was able to prepare for all possible racing situations and the drivers’ feedback on the 911 RSR was very positive. Still, the competition in the extremely popular GTE-Pro class is hard to gauge. After the first race we’ll have a better idea of where we stand. In any case, Silverstone promises to be an exciting start to the season.”
Marco Ujhasi, Overall Project Manager GT Works Motorsport: “We travel to Silverstone well prepared. We used the WEC Prologue at Monza to work on setting up the car and try out double stints on one set of tyres with a view to the first race of the season. The grip level on the Silverstone Circuit is very high and puts very special demands on the setup. The fact that we’re only permitted four sets of tyres per race this season makes it all the more important to use the tyres optimally.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Deal of a Lifetime: 340 Vintage Cars for Sale along with British Columbia Canada Preperty

This project will keep you busy for the rest of your life.  340 cars, along with a renovated 2 bedroom home and a shop are up for sale in  British Columbia. A De Lorean and 1941 Dodge 3 window coupe are featured in this sale.  Frankly, these cars don't look very special, but if you have many talented restoration friends and time, this could amount to be living the dream. Original story in the British Sun, 4/12/17.