I am completely at a loss to think of another sport that tests man and machine as much as motorsport. Maybe bobsledding? Nah, scratch that.Automakers have a history of testing their latest and greatest at road courses, ovals and street circuits all over the world. Some of the best technological innovations have come directly from racing. But, is that still the case? Is racing still the test bed it used to be for what we see on our cars a decade from now? And does it still help automakers capture the hearts and minds of the car-buying public?Formula 1, the multi-billion dollar single-seater racing series controlled by a British troll, has gone down the rabbit hole of high technology and, to a degree, fuel economy. The new breed of Formula 1 “power units” — as they are now called — are a combination of turbocharged V6 engines and electric drivetrain systems. The days of a relatively simple V10 are over, as is the noise and overall spectacle of … [Read more...] about QOTD: Is Motorsport Still Relevant?
Our recent post asking what possible relevance most automobile racing has to the consumer side of the auto industry has me thinking about a race series idea that’s been percolating in my head for a while. The goal of the concept is to come up with a racing series that will resonate both with consumers (read: auto manufacturers) and racing enthusiasts. So far, I have a pretty good idea of what kind of cars, rules, tracks and schedules would be involved, but as yet I haven’t come up with some kind of catchy acronymic name.To begin with, it would be based on production cars in North America and the races would be run in all three countries that make up the continent — Canada, Mexico, and the United States. That should get some manufacturers involved, if not fielding works teams, at least in terms of funding, PR, and technical support.Perhaps the result of NAFTA, automotive assembly and component plants in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico are now effectively interlinked … [Read more...] about How to Make Motorsports Relevant – the North American Racing Championship
The fraternity of automotive journalism was atwitter when blue Polestar Volvos arrived at the Chicago auto show last year. While the cars delivered increased performance and looks to match, Polestar also gave the high-performance Swedish offerings credibility with racing programs in Scandinavia (STCC) and Australia (V8 Supercars).It’s no secret, though, that Volvo’s marketing head, Alain Visser, sees no future for the brand in motorsport. Purchasing Polestar might be the Swedish manufacturer’s way of ending at least one of its racing contracts while still holding on to the blue-hot Polestar brand.Speaking with Swedish media late last year, Visser plainly stated, “Motorsport does not conform with our brand, where we stand for smaller engines and safety. We are therefore pulling out of STCC, for example, as soon as the contracts permits.”This goes along with Volvo’s official statement this morning where the only … [Read more...] about Volvo Could Be Buying Polestar To Exit Motorsport
Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah (about 45 minutes outside of Salt Lake City) has a new lease on life, Hot Rod is reporting. The racetrack will be purchased by Chinese carmaker Geely and renamed Utah Motorsports Campus. The facility could receive $50 million in upgrades to host more racing events in the future.The track had been on the ropes after the Miller family, who took over after patriarch Larry H. Miller died in 2009, said they weren’t renewing the lease and walking away from the world-class racetrack. After Larry Miller opened the track in 2006, the facility hosted American Le Mans Series, World Superbike and Rolex Sports Car, although those races abandoned their events after 2011. Part of Miller’s own extensive collection of Shelby race cars, including four versions of the Ford GT40, are displayed at a museum at the track.As reported by Hot Rod, the track’s designer, Alan Wilson, who also designed Gingerman, piqued … [Read more...] about Geely Buying Miller Motorsports Track in Utah, May Expand Facility
On Sunday, I watched a fantastic car race. Unfortunately, based on the shots of the crowd, I might have been among very few who did.The INDYCAR (are we still capitalizing it?) Pocono 500 had everything a race fan could want: upwards of thirty lead changes, some spectacularly competitive and aggressive racing (including one restart where the drivers went seven wide), and a tight points race where the season championship would be greatly affected by the outcome. Unfortunately, there was also a spectacular crash that has one racer battling for his life.Meanwhile, the race had far fewer fans in attendance than the 30,000 that Indy officials said that they would need in order for Pocono to be on the race schedule in 2016.On an August Sunday, where the TV sports calendar had no football or anything more compelling than Tiger Woods finishing tenth at a non-major tournament, the second-to-last Indy race of the season was relegated to NBC Sports Network — a network … [Read more...] about QOTD: Would Anyone in America Miss Professional Motorsports?
Apple today rolled out a slew of gadgets including an iPad the size of the 10 Commandments, a new iPhone that sounds a lot like the old iPhone that likes to be touched and touched hard, a Pencil that Steve Jobs never wanted and a Microsoft Surface Pro keyboard.Yadda, yadda, yadda. The new Apple TV may be what most people will be talking about and it could change how we watch motorsports. Imagine in-car feeds between cars chasing each other, live scoring and timing underneath the feeds, cold beer in your fridge and no lines at the bathroom.We live in exciting times, people.NASCAR already provides multiple views online for watching its races that could be integrated into a TV app.The official F1 app, while it doesn’t show video, already has a very well-designed live timing and scoring system. In the U.S., NBC Sports often posts multiple views from the live F1 feed that could be incorporated into an app.And so on.I’m not saying it will happen, all I’m saying is that … [Read more...] about The New Apple TV Could Change How We Watch Motorsports
The keen eyes at Motor Authority spotted something that sounds like it’s probably true, but no one knows for sure yet, like life on Mars.“Forza Motorsport 6” lists its specs for the upcoming Ford GT at officially 630 horsepower and 539 pound-feet of torque to motivate 2,890 pounds of supercar with a 43-57 front-to-rear weight distribution. If true, it would be the first word for Ford’s hyper car, which the company teased has “more than 600 horsepower.”Ford announced that production of its hypercar would be incredibly limited — 250 per year — and that buyers would need to apply to buy the car.The specs roughly align with the Ford GT’s rivals. The Ferrari 488 GTB produces 661 horsepower and 561 pound-feet of torque for a 3,252-pound car. The McLaren 675LT makes 666 horsepower, 515 pound-feet of torque for a 2,927-pound car.Ford hasn’t said how much the Ford GT will cost at launch. We reached out to Ford representatives … [Read more...] about Ford GT Specs Leaked In ‘Forza Motorsport 6,’ Apparently
Miller Motorsport Park is going to be caught up in a Chinese finger trap of lawsuits thanks to one butthurt losing bidder.Center Point Management, represented by Andrew Cartwright, is taking the winner — Geely subsidiary Mitime — and Tooele County to court over the bidding process.According to Deseret News, the lawsuit filed by Center Point Management states the county broke local and state laws by “basing its decision on future benefits of uncertain value” instead of Center Point Management’s higher bid amount.The future Utah Motorsport Campus is the result of a $20 million bid by Mitime Investment and Development Group. Their bid includes a manufacturing facility for racing cars and promises to make investments to the track. It also promises to keep the track open for public events.However, Center Point argues the Mitime bid cannot be considered: “Mitime’s promise in (its bid) to employ its best efforts to fulfill its … [Read more...] about Losing Bidder for Miller Motorsport Park Taking Winner, County to Court
A Utah judge has blocked the sale of Miller Motorsports Park to a Chinese investment firm because county commissioners may have illegally lowered the price to below fair-market value, KSL reported Thursday.In a filing, Judge Robert Atkins said Tooele county officials tasked with selling the shuttered racetrack ignored higher bids to sell the racetrack for $20 million to Geely-backed Mitime Investment and Development Group. According to the report, county tax officials estimated the value of the track at $28.1 million.A competing bidder, Center Point Management, said it offered $22.5 million for the park. The Wyoming-based company filed a lawsuit to stop the sale because they said county officials ignored their bid based on unverified promises by the Chinese group.According to KSL, the county commissioned an appraisal after the lawsuit was filed by Center Point, which valued the track at $9 million. The judge noted that the appraisal wasn’t believable considering the timing and … [Read more...] about Judge Overturns Sale of Miller Motorsports Park
Drew Bowler, the founding father of monstrous rally-ready Land Rovers, passed away unexpectedly on November 14th. For over 30 years, Bowler Motorsports has produced a succession of iconic vehicles for winning trials, hill rallies, comp safaris, and raids.Drew’s history in off-road rallying began in the early 1980s during some personal successes with his home-brewed Series I Defender. By the middle of the decade, he was building cloned and custom Defenders for enthusiastic customers all over the world. Bowler Motorsport has since been the leading authority in ludicrously modified Rovers capable of tearing through sand, snow, and dirt at speed.Despite the loss of its creator, Bowler Motorsport says it will continue to produce competitive off-road vehicles. Proceeding his death, the company’s website was changed to a single statement celebrating Drew’s achievements and confirming its own commitment to maintaining his … [Read more...] about Off-road Motorsport Legend Drew Bowler Dies