There are many great moments in Rush, but although the film is a cocktail of fast racing, faster women, old-school male bravado and general chicanery, Niki Lauda’s fiery crash during the 1976 German Grand Prix puts it all into brutal perspective. It’s the section that anchors the film, the one that elicits audible gasps among the audience before plunging them into a contemplative silence. And no wonder. Ron Howard handles the aftermath with elegance and sensitivity, but he doesn’t hold back on the unimaginable pain Lauda endured as he defied the priest who read him the last rites and the doctors who doubted he’d ever recover. This is a man who had his lungs vacuum pumped repeatedly, and had a nurse peel off his bandages under neon lighting while his wounds were at their worst. They were still raw when he climbed back into his car at the 1976 Italian GP 43 days after his crash, to finish fourth in front of a stunned tifosi and bemused paddock. … [Read more...] about Top Gear chats to Niki Lauda
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Red Bull will part ways with Renault at the end of this season after reaching a "mutual agreement" to conclude their partnership a year early. It had been known for a while that the break up was coming but the question was when. That has now been revealed by team owner Dietrich Mateschitz who says it will happen at the end of this campaign. He told Austria's Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper: "The separation from our engine partner at the end of the season is by mutual agreement. "There was no sense in working together any more. You couldn't put the teams through that any longer." Red Bull are now looking to Ferrari to power the team for the foreseeable future amidst reports that Volkswagen could step in in 2018. Mateschitz stated that Ferrari would be a "very acceptable solution for the next two or three years." In a separate interview, the Austrian told Autosport that Ferrari talks are "positive and encouraging." He added: "How Ferrari has improved since winter testing, when they … [Read more...] about Mateschitz confirms 2015 Renault split
It was doomsday weather in Stuttgart. The temperature gauge read minus two degrees Celsius (28 degrees Fahrenheit) as the swollen skies emitted a mix of rain, sleet, and snow. Could it be that the whole adventure was in jeopardy? The day before, Frank Walliser, the Porsche 918 Spyder’s high-strung project leader, had called an emergency meeting. There was no way that this triple-hearted roadster could be unleashed in such adverse conditions on uncompromising, low-profile summer tires. Officially, Porsche does not yet offer winter rubber for the 918. Unofficially, however, a friend of a friend of Walliser’s who works in the prototype shop produced a set of black wheels shod with brand-new Pirelli Sottozero winter tires. That promptly led to another minor complication, namely the need to find space for four wheels with summer tires, not to mention the noncollapsible, four-foot-long torque wrench required to mount them. Despite these snarls, the factory gates opened promptly … [Read more...] about Shakedown Cruise: 1082 miles — The first-ever road trip in the 887-hp Porsche 918 Spyder
Don’t dismiss the new KTM 125 Duke just because it’s ‘only’ a 125 street single. Because this motorcycle, launched at Intermot 2010, might actually be the most significant and important new motorcycle launched on planet Earth in this century. Here’s why.The new downsized Duke is the first fruit of joint labour between the second-largest motorcycle manufacturers in both India and Europe. On April 16 this year, Bajaj brought its shareholding in KTM up to a total of 35.67 per cent. By any standards, that makes the Indian company – the fourth-largest two-wheeler manufacturer in the world – a key influence in the future direction taken by KTM under its majority owner, Cross Industries. East meets West.‘In my opinion, the biggest single challenge for today’s motorcycle manufacturers is this: how can we direct our future products towards a younger customer?’ says KTM president Stefan Pierer. ‘One way is the Zero Emission … [Read more...] about EXCLUSIVE FIRST RIDE – KTM 125 DUKE: Let’s Duke ’em!
The start of the European Grand Prix last July at the Nürburgring was a dog’s breakfast. What had been a light rain before the race turned into a blinding monsoon. Formula 1 cars began skittering and darting like cockroaches surprised by sudden light. But the lone American, Scott Speed, 18th on the grid in his Ferrari-powered Scuderia Toro Rosso (STR) car, saw only opportunity. The car was mediocre in the dry, but in the wet, it was lightning fast. Two months earlier, in a rain-drenched practice at Monaco, Speed had been fastest of all. Now, in the rain and liking his chances, he shortcut the chicane on his way to the pits for rain tires, passing friend and teammate Tonio Liuzzi. Incredibly, he had moved from 18th to 6th. But the pit crew anticipated that Liuzzi would come in first and fumbled Speed’s tire change. Sixty-five precious seconds were lost, and the torrential rain had quickly flooded the lower course. Racing into Turn One, in quick … [Read more...] about The Education of Scott Speed
L'Aéroport Nice, Côte d'Azur, France: The four young Americans turn up late at the gate, arriving just two minutes before it closes, nearly missing the Friday plane home. They have run through the airport, but walking down the aisle of the plane, they aren't even breathing hard. They are a striking group: young and boy-band handsome, as lean as antelopes, with the frictionless grace of athletes with all their cartilage intact. They could be ballet dancers or Zen archers or Navy fighter pilots—anything that requires a super-abundance of nerve endings. They are, in fact, the winners of the first Red Bull F1 Driver Search. They stow their gear, take their seats, and promptly fall asleep. Are they dreaming of their next year of fully funded rides in European road racing? Are they dreaming of girls? The odds are yes to both, since to talk to them it seems they know and care about little else. Four Cinderellas. Their Prince Charming is not an American but … [Read more...] about So You Want to Be an F1 Star?