Friday, June 24, 2016

Cashflow Positive Lotus Delivers Refreshed 3-Eleven & Elise Cup 250 To A Performance Hungry World

Interior dash look of the newly released Lotus 3-Eleven. Image Credit: Lotus Cars

Cashflow Positive Lotus Delivers Refreshed 3-Eleven & Elise Cup 250 To A Performance Hungry World

Fresh on the announcement that Lotus was on track to become ‘cashflow positive’, and having the car-making business focused on turning a profit in the next financial year (the first time it has ever done so in its 68 year history), Lotus Cars introduces two newly updated models that prove the statement that has formed Lotus from the beginning.

Weight Is Speed!

The 3-Eleven and the Elise Cup 250 will turn the heads on some of the most exposed of performance specialists with their command in design looks and outright acceleration.

Less weight and technological tweaking combine with continued iconic Lotus design to bring this profitable automobile manufacturer to the pinnacle of affordable competition super cars.

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc (front right) and Aslam Farikullah, COO of Group Lotus plc (front left) with some of the production and engineering teams responsible for the new Lotus 3-Eleven and Lotus Elise Cup 250. Image Credit: Lotus Cars

This excerpted and edited from Lotus Cars - 

By Lotus Cars - Thursday, June 23, 2016 - 11:00

Ready to humble some of the fastest cars that money can buy, two of the greatest, most extreme Lotus models ever produced, the Lotus 3-Eleven, finished in matt and gloss Black colour scheme and the Lotus Elise Cup 250 in Red, have driven off the production line for the first time at the famous Hethel factory.

The two, hard-hitting lightweights represent the latest generation of Lotus sports cars, combining high-output engines with the company’s dedication to cutting mass, and so boosting performance through intelligent engineering. Developed through the company’s Lightweight Laboratory philosophy, every component in each as been assessed, optimised and re-engineered as required.

Surrounded by some of the production and engineering teams responsible for the two cars, Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc, commented: “The lucky owners of these will be the first to find out just how special the latest Lotus cars really are. We’ve raised the bar yet again, to produce two vehicles which the competition cannot hope to match. From the outright firepower of the 3-Eleven, to the sublime handling of the Elise Cup 250, these cars, better than any other, encapsulate our ‘light is right’ mantra.”

Updated Lotus 3-Eleven. Image Credit: Lotus Cars


Showing clear intent for the Lotus high-performance sports cars of the future, the 3-Eleven is the company’s quickest and most expensive series production car ever.

The 3-Eleven offers a giant-slaying power-to-weight ratio, thanks to a revised V6 supercharged engine developing 460 hp, to provide in excess of 500 hp per tonne. It is capable of sprinting from 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds before reaching a maximum speed of 180 mph (290 km/h).

Updated Lotus 3-Eleven. Image Credit: Lotus Cars

Designed to deliver a pure, undiluted driving experience, the Lotus 3-Eleven utilises an all-new lightweight carbon composite body, and a bespoke chassis evolved from Lotus’ ground-breaking work with extruded and bonded aluminium sections.

As part of its development the Lotus 3-Eleven spent time at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, where it was one of the fastest road going cars to ever tackle the track, capable of setting a sub-7 minute lap time.

One year on from its global unveiling, this matt and gloss Black 3-Eleven will be on display at this years’ Goodwood Festival of Speed with Bell & Colvill, the most successful and longest serving Lotus dealer in the world. A second giant killing Lotus 3-Eleven will be taking part in the Michelin Supercar run on all three days of the Festival.

Updated Elise is faster and prettier than ever ... for the street or the club race track. Image Credit: AUTOMAG KZ via Instagram

Elise Cup 250

With the Lotus Elise recently crowned as Readers’ Champion during the Autocar Awards, this latest version of the legendary car is the faster ever - with a 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 154 mph (248 km/h).

Powered by a new higher-output version of the supercharged, 1.8-litre 4-cylinder engine, the Elise Cup 250 boasts 243 hp. However, in order to make the most of its power, it’s shed 21kg compared to its predecessor, to weight just 931 kg. Customers wanting to cut weight still further, and so boost performance, can select the optional Carbon Aero Pack to reduce the vehicle’s mass to 921 kg.

The hand-built sports car has long been regarded as a benchmark within the industry, providing a level of precision and driver involvement that rivals cannot match. Capable of lapping the company’s test track in 1 minute 34 seconds, the changes and engineering adaptions to the Elise Cup 250 have taken an impressive four seconds off the previous Elise Cup 220’s best time.

The arrival the new cars coincides with the 50th celebrations for the founding of the famous factory in Hethel, Norfolk, when, in 1966, founder Colin Chapman moved Lotus to the purpose-built facility. Lotus is marking this milestone in the company’s history with special edition cars and events throughout the year.

Every new Lotus 3-Eleven and Elise customer can personalise their vehicle through the Lotus Exclusive programme. Developed by the Lotus Design team, it combines traditional British craftsmanship with the best of modern design. Conceived to inspire customers, allowing them to tailor vehicles to their personal taste, it offers a comprehensive array of options and provides an alluring alternative to an off-the-peg sports car.
[Reference Here]

Welcome Lotus Cars to profitability and keeping the statement of Weight (or the lack, thereof) Is Speed ... alive!

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Lotus, Lotus Cars, 3-Eleven, Elise, Elise Cup 250, Profitability, Group Lotus plc, Lotus Design, cashflow positive, Weight Is Speed, The EDJE

Monday, June 20, 2016

Olli - Olly Oxen Free Autonomy Hits The Streets

I'm symbolic. Image Credit: Local Motors (2016)

Olli - Olly Oxen Free Autonomy Hits The Streets

Local Motors, in partnership with computer giant IBM through Watson, introduces an organic small group/mass autonomous transportation solution perfect for most any community.

No oxen were used in this creation - Actually, "Olly Olly Oxen Free" is a catchphrase used in such children's games as hide and seek, capture the flag, or kick the can to indicate that players who are hiding can come out into the open without losing the game, that the position of the sides in a game has changed, or, alternatively, that the game is entirely over (ht: Wikipedia).

In this case the Olli is the name given to a driverless/autonomous vehicle that seats 12 people which through its computer partner, IBM's Watson, can interact with passengers and navigate the streets and deliver the people riding inside to their destination.

The game of driverless/autonomous vehicles has changed with the Olli concept because this application does not currently partner with a software services company like Google or Yahoo that are focused on individual transportation pods thus removing any pursuit of happiness from the process of actual driving.

This excerpted and edited from Electric Cars Report -

Local Motors Debuts First Self-driving Vehicle to Tap the Power of IBM Watson IoT

Local Motors, the creator of the world’s first 3D-printed cars, today introduced the first self-driving vehicle to integrate the advanced cognitive computing capabilities of IBM Watson.

The vehicle, dubbed ‘Olli,’ was unveiled during the grand opening of a new Local Motors facility in National Harbor, MD, and transported Local Motors CEO and co-founder John B. Rogers, Jr. along with vehicle designer Edgar Sarmiento from the Local Motors co-creation community into the new facility.

Olli exterior. Image Credit: Local Motors (2016)

The electric vehicle, which can carry up to 12 people, is equipped with some of the world’s most advanced vehicle technology, including IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) for Automotive, to improve the passenger experience and allow natural interaction with the vehicle.

Olli is the first vehicle to utilize the cloud-based cognitive computing capability of IBM Watson IoT to analyze and learn from high volumes of transportation data, produced by more than 30 sensors embedded throughout the vehicle.
Furthermore, the platform leverages four Watson developer APIs — Speech to Text, Natural Language Classifier, Entity Extraction and Text to Speech — to enable seamless interactions between the vehicle and passengers.

Olli interior. Image Credit: Local Motors (2016)

Passengers will be able to interact conversationally with Olli while traveling from point A to point B, discussing topics about how the vehicle works, where they are going, and why Olli is making specific driving decisions. Watson empowers Olli to understand and respond to passengers’ questions as they enter the vehicle, including about destinations (“Olli, can you take me downtown?”) or specific vehicle functions (“how does this feature work?” or even “are we there yet?”).

Passengers can also ask for recommendations on local destinations such as popular restaurants or historical sites based on analysis of personal preferences.
It's a beautiful Father's Day in #NationalHarbor! Catch up with CEO @johnbrogers & #meetolli- our latest innovation. Image Credit: Local Motors via @localmotors

As part of Olli’s debut, Local Motors officially opened its new National Harbor facility in Maryland to serve as a public place where co-creation can flourish and vehicle technologies can rapidly advance. The company’s 3D-printed cars are on display, along with a large-scale 3D printer and an interactive co-creative experience that showcases what the future of the nation’s capital might look like.
Olli features a 15 kWh battery pack powering a 20 kW continuous, 30 kW max electric motor that delivers 125 N·m of torque. Maximum speed is 20 km/h (12 mph) and all-electric range is 58 km (32.4 miles). Olli is equipped with 2 Velodyne VLP16 LiDAR units, 2 IBEO ScaLa laser scanners, 2 ZED optical cameras and an Ellipse N GPS.

The very first Olli will remain in National Harbor this summer, and the public will be able to interact with it during select times over the next several months.
[Reference Here]

So now we say "Olli Olli Oxen Free" - to indicate that players who are hiding can come out into the open without losing the game, that the position of the sides in a game has changed, or, alternatively, that the game is entirely over - community driverless/autonomous transportation has arrived with a form factor and application that allows everyone the pursuit of happiness while pushing the technology envelope of possibilities forward.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Local Motors, Watson, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things, IoT, driverless, autonomous, vehicle, Olli, 3D-printed cars, 3D printer, electric motor, ZED optical camera, Ellipse N GPS, Speech to Text, Natural Language Classifier, Entity Extraction, Text to Speech, National Harbor, Maryland

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Releases 2016 Automotive Week Posters

In 2015, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance featured mark was Ferarri. So on August 16 the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance honored Ferraris that raced in the Del Monte Forest through holding a set of parade laps around the original course. The old Pebble Beach Road Race course includes a closed portion of the original course that was last reopened in 1990 for a reunion of Allards. Image Credit: Copyright © Kimball Studios - Courtesy of Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Releases 2016 Automotive Week Posters

Pebble Beach and the Monterey Peninsula in California thrive each August as the center of the motoring universe.

The area hosts the convergence of two major events, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, offering an unbeatable combination of beauty and technology. The Concours pays homage to the past with prized collector cars displayed on the famed 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links, while making history with the latest new car debuts.

A tradition of poster art has grown up around the promotion of this grand event and this year's official posters grab the essence of Automotive Week through three releases - from the hands and minds of Ken Eberts, Barry Rowe, and Tim Layzell - that show off this icon of motor culture series of events with strength and grace.

In 1965, as a young designer fresh out of Art Center College of Design, Ken Eberts went to work for Ford Motor Company, helping to design cars like the Ford Econoline, the Ford Falcon, and the Ford Galaxie. But it was the Ford GT40 that Ken dreamed of styling.

“At the time I was a 21-year-old beginning designer,” said Eberts. “Virtually every young designer I knew thought the ultimate assignment was to design a sports car. The icing on the cake was that this Ford was to challenge Ferrari at the 24 Heures du Mans.”

That dream was unfulfilled in 1968 when Ken left Ford to focus on fine art, eventually founding the prestigious Automotive Fine Arts Society (AFAS). But this spring, nearly five decades later,

Ken finally got his chance to paint the famous sports car when he was asked by Edsel Ford and commissioned by Concours Chairman Sandra Button to create the main event poster for the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance—which features the Ford GT40s that finished 1-2-3 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.

“While I didn’t actually work on the design of that American icon at Ford, I am honored to be doing this painting of the three Le Mans winning GT40s now,” said Eberts, who has produced approximately 1,300 automotive fine art paintings in his lifetime.

Barry Rowe, another member of the AFAS, has created the poster for the 2016 Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance presented by Rolex. The Tour poster features the BMW 507 once owned by the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley.

“In my teens I collected car brochures, and I remember drawing the 507, with its beautiful modern lines, in my sketchbook,” said Rowe. “It’s amazing that I have now painted a poster featuring the BMW 507 on the Pebble Beach Tour!”

The 2016 Pebble Beach RetroAuto poster was painted by respected artist Tim Layzell, whose creations have also gained worldwide recognition. This poster features the elegant stylings of Chapron-bodied Delahayes of the Classic era.

“I paint this style in block color so there is no shading, to give a clean poster finish,” said Layzell. “These Delahayes have such beautiful lines and also such stunning color schemes, which work well with my style. Hopefully I've captured the elegance of it!”

Other automotive events held around the area cater to a variety of interests, whether it is sophisticated German technology that is being featured through the BMW mark at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion races held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca - the delightful minis at "The Little Car Show +" in Downtown Pacific Grove on Wednesday 8/17/2016 at 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm - sleek Italian coachwork as exemplified by the Jim Busby "One Of" standout Ferrari 400i GTC which will be a centerpiece at the 25th Anniversary McCall’s Motorworks Revival Monterey Airport party,  Wednesday 8/17/16 - 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm and two days later, featured at The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering, Friday 8/19/16 - 10:00 am - 4:00 pm, or The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance featuring the Ford GT40 that will take place on August 21, 2016.

For a full listing of Automotive Week/Monterey Car Week motor culture events to attend, please find them here and have fun.

Pebble Beach Automotive Week/Monterey Car Week truly has something to offer every motor culture enthusiast.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance®, Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance®, Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Pebble Beach RetroAuto™, Pebble Beach Classic Car Forum™, Pebble Beach® Auctions presented by Gooding & Company, Pebble Beach®, Pebble Beach Golf Links®, Racing Through The Forest, The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering, The Little Car Show +, McCall’s Motorworks Revival Monterey Airport, The EDJE

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Dean Kirkland Talks Racing Through The Forest Pre-Release Screening Post AutoMoto Detroit

Dean Kirkland shares a moment with Slot-Mods creator David Beattie and car designer Camilo Pardo about ten minutes before the pre-release screening. Image Credit: AutoMoto Film + Arts Festival

Dean Kirkland Talks Racing Through The Forest Pre-Release Screening 
Post AutoMoto Film + Arts Festival Detroit 

Interview Script:

Dean Kirkland has quickly become a highly accomplished commercial, television and film director by combining his keen visual eye to unusual and powerful subject matter. His unique style and sophisticated approach have allowed him to transition from a-list photographer to well-respected filmmaker with an esteemed client list that includes the Home Depot, Lamborghini, Antonio Tetro, Clint Eastwood and Martin Sheen.

Dean is recognized for his innovative and unique style of automotive photography and is regarded by many high-profile collectors throughout the nation.

In 2012, he combined his talents with the knowledge and racing experience possessed by his production partner, Le Mans winning driver Rick Knoop, and the two men established K&K Productions.

Their first collaborative project is a beautifully engaging look into the Pebble Beach Road Races from 1950 through 1956 titled, 'Racing Through The Forest' which has been scheduled for a Autumn 2016 release.

Illustrating these wonderful stories through documentaries allowed Dean to photograph, interview and film some of the world's greatest cars and drivers.

Dean is currently developing several documentaries which include Parnelli Jones, Bobby and Al Unser, Mario Andretti and Sir Stirling Moss.

The ability to continue capturing and preserving this valuable automotive history in his unique style and aesthetic vision is the goal for K&K Productions and the living dream for Dean Kirkland.

Welcome Dean Kirkland ...

The very first screening of Racing Through The Forest was held in conjunction with the Concours d'Elegance at Pebble Beach on August 13, 2014 at the Inn at Spanish Bay. When did you first meet Rick Knoop and became involved with and accumulate the materials from which to draw the story that has now become Racing Through The Forest.

After this first screening, what were the impressions received?

In 2015, an interest was expressed to prepare the documentary for broadcast over public television ... how did this shape the documentary?

When did this version air and what were the post airing impressions?

I understand that the latest version of Racing Through The Forest is in its 4th and final revision. You are fresh off a pre-release screening of Racing Through The Forest at the AutoMoto Film + Arts Festival held in Detroit May 12-14, 2016. Tell us a little about how this screening came about, and your impressions as to the size of the attendance and make up of the crowd at the screening.

Every filmmaker is confronted with issues of distribution and broadcast content access - where is K&K Productions on this arc of awareness and access to the Motor Culture and Documentary consuming public?

Are there any future pre-release screenings planned for 2016 before the scheduled Autumn release?

A documentary film produced by renowned racecar driver Rick Knoop and filmmaker Dean Kirkland entitled, “Racing Through the Forest – The History of the 1950-56 Pebble Beach Road Races” .

The documentary was filmed over approximately three years and includes 50 interviews of legendary names in road racing such as Fred Knoop, Mick Marston, Bill Pollack, Jim Hall and Phil Remington. It chronicles the events from the first through the last Pebble Beach Road Races, which included legends like Carroll Shelby, Phil Hill and Bill Pollock in 1956. Some of these racers will attend the private screening reception and Q&A session emceed by racer Derek Hill.



Internet Movie DataBase:

TAGS: Racing Through The Forest, AutoMoto Film + Arts Festival Detroit, Motor Culture, Documentary, K&K Productions, Dean Kirkland, Rick Knoop, Parnelli Jones, Bobby Unser, Al Unser, Mario Andretti, Sir Stirling Moss, Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Automobile Week 

Monday, May 30, 2016

100th Running Indianapolis 500 Winner's Press Conference - Andretti, Herta, & Rossi

Alexander Rossi gets a winner's share of a self-delivered milk shower. Image Credit: Shawn Gritzmacher

100th Running Indianapolis 500 Winner's Press Conference - Andretti, Herta, & Rossi

Sometimes, looking at and reading transcripts becomes an effort that feels like the process of digging for hidden treasure in order to find the meaning of what is being discussed at the conference.

At the end of a most pleasurable of modern era, formula style Indianapolis 500 races out of a total of 100 INDY 500's that have been contested - which saw 54 lead changes between 14 drivers with an average speed of 166.634 mph - we end up with a press conference that included team owners Michael Andretti, Bryan Herta, and driver Alexander Rossi that becomes a great read and provides an understanding into the dynamics of automobile racing motor culture.

Epic Race. Epic Place. 100th Running INDY 500 graphics on the IMS Panasonic Pagoda. Image Credit: David Yowe Photography LLC

It is not just the fact that a 100th observance/running of anything becomes historic, but the way the additional factors in the historic nature of the participants and event details ... the Andretti and Curb-Agajanian families, Formula 1 and American Open-Wheel Racing, #98 - Parnelli Jones - Bryan Herta - Dan Wheldon connections, race management and team dynamics, first time NAPA Auto Parts sponsorship and more ... all converge to deliver one of the greatest stories in sports so far in this millennia.

Sunoco hat dance photo shoot (L to R) Bryan Herta, Alexander Rossi & Michael Andretti. Image Credit:John Cote

This Excerpted and Edited from IndyCar.Com -

THE MODERATOR: Joyous day for a family that's been so much a part of this place. The hundredth anniversary. To have a victory and have it so dramatic, [to] have most of your squad be incredibly strong, [this] had to be great.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: It's amazing. At the start of the race, it looked really good. Ryan [Hunter-Reay] and Townsend [Bell] were running really good up front. We thought they were going to be the guys to beat in the end. Unfortunately they had their problem in the pits there, which I could not believe. At that point I thought our day might have been over for a shot at winning.

All of a sudden I watched the way Carlos [Munoz] and Alex [Rossi] were coming up through. Maybe they still have a shot at it.

After that last pit stop, I knew that Alex was going to try it. We knew then, All right, if he's going to try it, we're going to try different strategies. It really worked out. We had two cars that had a shot at winning with two different strategies [fuel mileage pace | speed pace].

So to come home 1-2 is just incredible. My hats off to Bryan Herta. He was the strategist there. Like I said, I think he used some of that NAPA know-how [title sponsor of the #98] to get himself there to the end. They were on fumes at the end.

Alex did an awesome job at saving fuel, to the point where he's pulling in the clutch and coasting. It just was crazy. It was amazing. I don't know what to say. Great day. To be a part of history, to win the hundredth running, to win it with a 1-2 finish is incredible. I'm a bit speechless.

Rookie American driver Alexander Rossi takes the twin checkers in the No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts Andretti Herta Autosport Dallara DW12 to win the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. Image Credit: Walter Kuhn

THE MODERATOR: My wife sent me a text almost immediately and said, Are you surprised? I said, Not much. Alex is kind of a quiet guy. He has been strong from the moment he got here.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Absolutely. He had never seen this place till a couple months ago. He had no idea. He came in and was on pace, was not intimidated from the first lap on. Really went to school, used his teammates, learned every day throughout the month.

I saw that he was very confident going into the race. I'm like, Hmm, who knows, we'll see. He did a hell of a job. Kept his composure the whole race. Even when there were some problems, he still kept his head in the game.

Like you say, I'm not surprised, but it's still amazing to be a rookie and to win this race. I just heard a stat that a rookie won the first race [Ray Harroun], won the 50th race [Graham Hill], and now the hundredth race. Pretty crazy.

BRYAN HERTA: I don't know about you guys. I'm shocked.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I kept saying, Wow.

BRYAN HERTA: Like, I can't believe this happened. I don't even know what the next question is. February 23rd, he [Rossi] said, I'm clueless about this.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: He [Rossi] had no idea. He honestly had no idea. He was 100% Europe, the way he was training and everything. He never even saw an oval except for Phoenix before this. Impressive. Really impressive.

Four strong partners [co-drivers Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Carlos Munoz, & Townsend Bell] all month long to help. I'm proud to say, every time we've had a rookie in our car [at Andretti Autosport], I think we've won Rookie of the Year, so...

Long Beach Motorsports Walk Of Fame plaque as it was christened in the sidewalk on Pine Avenue during the 2010 at the Toyota Grand Prix of long Beach. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

THE MODERATOR: Bryan Herta has joined us.

The first thing that came to my mind in thinking about the history of this race, the hundredth, Parnelli Jones wins in 1963. You've been a part of a couple big wins with the 98 number on the side, as well.

BRYAN HERTA: It's amazing. I got to say, we had such a weird off-season. This partnership with Michael and his group kind of came out of a set of bad circumstances. I told him on the parade lap there, I said, Thank you so much. Without him [Michael Andretti], I'd have been watching this one on TV.

What a difference. We worked really hard together. Just so appreciative of the opportunity that Michael and his organization have given me, and the guys that came over from Bryan Herta Autosport. This race was amazing. To be part of a second win [first was Dan Wheldon] is beyond words.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: It's been great. The partnership has been fantastic. We've always been good friends. It was great to have him back part of our family. Hopefully we'll stay together for a long time.

Winner's milk captured in the No. 98 sidepod. Image Credit: John Cote

THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions [from the gathered members of media].

Q. Michael, Penske had four cars, Ganassi had four cars, you had five. What kind of challenges were there? Did the five cars make you stronger?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Absolutely. It's one thing we've been able to do, is use the five cars to our advantage. You have that much more information throughout the month.

Yeah, you know, it's a great formula that we do have. We do a really good effort on that fifth car. It's not a half-assed deal. It's a winning effort. It just adds to it. It doesn't take away at all.

BRYAN HERTA: I got to say, Townsend and Ryan were so strong early. They had their trouble. They played a big role in Alex winning this race. Townsend dragged us around. We were on a fuel plan, we were on this strategy. Townsend dragged the No. 98 for a while. Late in the race, Ryan came around us and we were able to draft him and save more fuel. You guys saw how close it was. Without our teammates, we don't make it.

Q. Bryan, is this reminiscent of what Dan Wheldon did in 2011, with a little different twist?

BRYAN HERTA: It's different. I can't compare it other than to say I'm so happy. I can't overstate how hard it was for Alex to do what I was asking him to do on the radio: to drive to a fuel number that was almost impossible, but still keep pace and keep track position.

We had a few debates about it, but he kept pushing, he kept digging. He did exactly what we asked him to do. Obviously things came right for us at the end there.

Q. How impossible is 36 laps [on one tankful of fuel while racing at IMS]?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Well, it's possible (laughter).

Q. The biggest [number of laps ever achieved] was 31, and that included pace laps.

BRYAN HERTA: It was huge. But we ran the numbers. I have to say, the guys on the timing stand, it started off every half lap, then every quarter lap giving us updates. We were watching it that close.

Like I said, it's one thing to have the plan, it's another thing to be able to execute and execute under that kind of pressure [an INDY 500]. It's amazing.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I told them that it was the NAPA know-how.

Final Qualification Practice - Rossi Andretti Herta NAPA Auto Parts Paying Dividends - Image Credit: Screen Capture IndyCar Race Control

THE MODERATOR: Alexander, I mentioned to Michael, if anyone has been watching, you've been strong the entire month. You've been in here a few times because of that. I will have to say, when I saw you go into the winner's circle, I thought to myself, That's a guy who doesn't know what just happened.

ALEXANDER ROSSI: No, I still don't. I'm still on the last lap actually with Bryan yelling at me. He is like, Pull the clutch in and coast.

I'm like, What? ... Okay.

But, no, I mean, it's an unbelievable result for the team. Just is a testament to how hard everyone has worked this entire month. We've been strong from day one, on Monday. It's made my life that much easier. Made my debut at Indianapolis and the 500 a lot more smooth than it could have gone.

Alexander Rossi signals "Number 1" to fans watching a photossesion with the members of Honda Racing in winner's circle at the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. Image Credit: John Cote

THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with questions [from the gathered members of media].

Q. How tough was it? Did you actually run out of gas coming down the main straight? Looked like you were coasting.

ALEXANDER ROSSI: I was sputtering out of [turn] four for sure. But I was afraid, so I just pulled in the clutch anyway. They were walking me through where P.T. [position & timing?] was.

I mean, it was close obviously, close for comfort. But obviously the people on the timing stand knew what was going on and we made it work.

Q. As a rookie, you had to do a lot of things to put yourself in that position, be very disciplined. When you look back on this first experience, how tough was it to do all that?

ALEXANDER ROSSI: I was really focused on taking it one lap at a time. The emotional rollercoaster of this race is ridiculous. There were moments where I was stoked, moments where were heartbroken, moments where I was stoked again. I need to see a psychiatrist after this (laughter).

It was tough. But I just really focused on doing the job I could. Bryan has a calming demeanor on the radio. The spotters were fantastic. I knew everything that was going on. I focused on my job: making sure the car was in the right spot all the time.

Q. Alex, it was February 23rd, you said, I have no idea what I don't know. You were clueless about this series.

ALEXANDER ROSSI: Thanks, man (laughter). Actually, he [Bryan Herta] said it.

Alexander Rossi and the Andretti Herta Autosport team kiss the bricks following their win in the 100th Indianapolis 500. Images Credit: David Yowe

Q. Three months later, you're an Indy 500 winner. This is not where you thought you'd be.

ALEXANDER ROSSI: It isn't. It isn't at all. That's no secret. I'm ecstatic to be here.

From the first race in St. Pete, I felt immediately at home in this championship. There's been some struggling with some difficult weekends, we've had our struggles. It's been a new experience for me. It's been a new experience for the merger of Bryan Herta Autosport and Andretti Autosport. We've worked very hard every day to try to improve and get things better.

Really the Indy GP [Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis - Rossi finished P10 of 25 cars] for us was a big step forward in terms of confidence, kind of a general understanding of where we were at. To carry that forward into all the practice, qualifying, and now this, it's phenomenal. It's just a huge testament to the great people I have around me.

Q. Bryan, you found this driver. Where did you find him and how?

BRYAN HERTA: Actually, thank you, but Michael found him. He was known to us.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: We followed his career all the way through when I was [watching] in Formula One and Formula 3 even, all the way through. He was our hot, young American prospect to be in Formula One. He finally achieved his goal last year, which was awesome.

Unfortunately it didn't work out for him. Maybe in the end, it [being in F1] could work out for you.

ALEXANDER ROSSI: I think it worked out just fine at the end of the day.

Q. "Indianapolis 500 winner, Alexander Rossi", you'll be introduced with that title for as long as you're racing. How cool is that for you? When will that sink in?

ALEXANDER ROSSI: It won't sink in for a while. I don't want it to. I want to enjoy this moment, enjoy it with the people around me. It's obviously a huge honor and privilege, something I'm going to carry with a great sense of responsibility.

We need to really push this forward. It was an incredible event for the hundredth running of the Indy 500. We need to do everything in our power to continue the momentum forward, make it even bigger next year.

Alaska Coffee Roasting opened in 1993 in Fairbanks, a town of about 30,000 people in the heart of the state by Michael Gesser, owner and master roaster of Alaska Coffee Roasting. The business has grown every year. In 2011, Michael opened a sister store all the way in Miami, to be near his family and to have a good “launch point” for travel to Europe so he could follow Alexander Rossi. Caption & Image Credit: Alaska Coffee Roasting via

Q. As someone who has lived in Alaska, I wondered how you hooked up with the coffee people [sponsorship] in Fairbanks? Have you ever been to Alaska?

ALEXANDER ROSSI: Yes. Anchorage. It was cold (laughter).

Q. Did you watch the Monaco Grand Prix this year?

ALEXANDER ROSSI: I watched it this morning.


ALEXANDER ROSSI: Basically, he was a guy that my father raced in an amateur series in northern California, he raced against him. Michael Gesser of Alaska Coffee Roasting. My dad pulled him up to a go-cart track at Sonoma one day, had him watch [me race]. He was impressed, liked our story, liked what we were trying to do. He's been involved [with sponsorship] every step of the way through the good and bad times for over 10 years now.

Q. Alex, headlines across the world are going to be talking about the rookie winning the Indy 500. With your extensive open-wheel background, how fair is that to call you a rookie? Also, how has your previous experience prepared you for IndyCars, especially the Indy 500, if at all?

ALEXANDER ROSSI: Well, considering the only actual site of an oval that I'd ever been to was Phoenix in February, I'm definitely a rookie on ovals for sure. Obviously street courses I have an understanding about. But regardless, IndyCar is a whole different can of worms than anything I've been a part of. It's incredibly competitive and incredibly close. You have to be perfect all three days, everyone around you, drivers and teams.

There's a lot that goes on that people don't really see. It's incredibly challenging, the championship. There's a lot that I have learned. I have a lot to learn still. I need to continue working hard to carry that forward to Detroit [Dual In Detroit - June 4 & 5] and Texas [Firestone 600 - June 11].

Alexander Rossi, as being winner of the 100th running Indianapolis 500 sinks in. Image Credit: Shawn Gritzmacher

Q. Alex, one of the other journalists mentioned, Where did you find this kid? For those of us who followed you throughout this, trying to get the break, share with us that journey from when you left California.

ALEXANDER ROSSI: That's a long journey.

Yeah, no, I left California when I was 16 to go to Europe. The goal was to get to Formula One. It was that way ever since I was 10 years old.

The reason I went to Europe was I won a test with BMW Sauber F1 after winning the Formula BMW World Finals in 2008. Went over there, started racing in Europe. Got involved with at the time it was Team Lotus. Kind of a junior development driver. Started to learn the world of Formula One. Kind of stayed in that kind of role all the way through 2014 when I got an opportunity to be the reserve driver for Manor Marussia or Marussia at the time.

2014 was an incredibly challenging year for a lot of different reasons. At the end of the year I didn't actually know what I was going to do. It was the beginning of '15 when I first met Michael in an owner and driver capacity. We talked about potentially putting something together for 2015.

I got an opportunity to go back to Europe and race in GP2. I took that chance. It resulted in doing five Grand Prix at the end of last year, as well as finishing out GP2.

Things didn't go quite according to plan for 2016 in Europe. As we already said, things worked out incredibly well for me to come here and work with Andretti Autosport with a car they were forming with Bryan Herta. Four months later, here we are.

Q. Alex, you hadn't even seen this place till Easter Sunday. What did you think at that time? Did you even daydream what it would be like to win here?

ALEXANDER ROSSI: Every time I get in a racecar, I want to win. I was incredibly disappointed with 11th [in INDY 500 Qualifications]. A lot of people were expecting me to be happy with it. There was a bit of criticism that I wasn't happy with 11th as a rookie. Well, I'm here to win. That's the goal I have every single time I get in a racecar.

Did I imagine it would happen? No. Did I want it to happen and was I working for it to happen? Absolutely. I was glad we were able to make it all come true.

In Monaco luxury competition is breathed in every corner, and therefore would not miss a fast food restaurant like this. Inspired by the Hard Rock cafe, famous worldwide for being rock museums to eat something, in Monaco have the Stars N Bars, a place to take our burger viewing photos of racing drivers' overalls famous, and even a couple of Formulas 1 hanging from the ceiling. Caption & Image Credit: Víctor Gómez

Q. I think you said the other day the place you watched last year was the Stars and Bars Monte-Carlo [in Monaco]. How big of a cheering section do you suppose you had there today?

ALEXANDER ROSSI: I got a lot of good luck messages from people that were in Monaco. I know quite a few were watching. Hopefully they stayed till the end. At the middle of the race, it wasn't looking so great (laughter).

But, yeah, to be able to pull it out, there will be quite a lot of people happy over there.

Q. You talk about Formula One. It didn't work out the way you wanted. Have you and Michael had some connection or bond over that?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I don't know if I would say that. I guess there are some things we can definitely relate to. The scene is quite different over there than it is here.

The thing that I tried to explain to him, when you come over here, you're going to really enjoy the racing. Over there it's a lot more politics and it's just not as fun. Over here, it's all about racing, and it's fun if you're a driver.

I think he sees what I was talking about now.

ALEXANDER ROSSI: Yeah, for sure.

Obviously, I mean, having both of these guys next to me who have been incredibly successful in American open-wheel motorsports, motorsports in general, has been hugely helpful for me. You can relate to someone that gets it, can kind of talk to you from a driver's perspective. That makes a huge amount of difference.

Q. Alexander, can you talk about the role that your teammates played in getting you to the finish, helping you save fuel. Michael, obviously you don't want to see people crash in the pit lane, but that delivered the win. Does that make it easier to pay for all that crash damage?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Does make it easier. But it's an unfortunate thing for those two. They were really, really strong. I think they were going to be a major factor at the end of the race. I honestly couldn't believe it when I saw them take each other out. Couldn't believe it.

But like I told you earlier, still got three more bullets in the gun. As it was going, seeing him and Carlos come back up through, we knew his strategy, we knew that we had two different strategies going there in the end. Hoped one of them was going to pay off. So they both did because we came home 1-2.

Alexander Rossi leads 2016 Verizon Indycar Series points leader Simon Pagenaud and 2013 INDY 500 winner Tony Kanaan through the exit of Turn 1 during the 100th Indianapolis 500. Image Credit: Mike Harding

Q. Alexander, much has been said about the fact that you excelled the last four laps. What skills got you to that position from the beginning of the race to that point?

ALEXANDER ROSSI: It was just patience. Bryan kept reminding me the way we were going to win this race was by hitting the fuel number. It was very difficult because obviously I had at the time cars in front of me that I knew I was quicker than. Throughout the whole race we were overtaking cars. It was very hard to then not do that, look big picture. I wouldn't have been able to do that without Bryan on the radio and offering the support and wisdom that I needed.

What else that made the job easier was the NAPA Auto Parts Curb Honda was unbelievable to drive. I could focus solely on hitting the fuel number. I didn't have to think about balance issues or inconsistencies. Like I said before, it's a testament to all the people in the background.

Q. Alexander, at what point in the race did you think you could win it? Was it when you led laps early on or trying to hit that number?

ALEXANDER ROSSI: Probably lap five, if I'm honest. I had a bit of a conservative start. I was able to overtake cars. I was overtaking big cars. I knew if that was the case, we definitely had the opportunity to go forward. There were a couple setbacks we had, pit stops that put us back. We had to come forward again. Every time we fell back, we were able to come forward. I knew we were strong, the pace was there, we were able to pass cars, follow cars. It wasn't much of an issue.

That's why I mentioned the emotional rollercoaster because I knew we had a car that was good enough to win. When you see yourself on the pylon, 29th, whatever, you're like, This isn't great.

Yeah, I mean, it was kind of through the whole race. I just made sure the overtakes I did were necessary and strong.

It was a culmination of a lot of things that got us there.

Q. Alex, you told me on Saturday flat out you were going to win. I thought it was great you were so optimistic. Did you think on Saturday afternoon you were going to win?

ALEXANDER ROSSI: I think the question was -- I don't know. Like I said, I get in the car with the goal of winning, being on pole, being the fastest car on the track. I'm pretty pissed off if that doesn't happen. I go in with that mindset. I didn't have any preconceived notions of me winning, but I was certainly doing everything to make it happen.

Q. Michael, during your career, you came awfully close to winning. Are you a little bit jealous today?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: No, I was happy for him. My driving career, just wasn't meant to be. We led a lot of laps here, but we never led the right one.

No, I was just so happy for our team. Not jealous at all. Just proud to have these guys, proud to be a part of it with all of them. The whole team, not only these guys here, everybody on the 98 car, but everybody on Andretti Autosport. This is absolutely a team effort, all five cars.

No, not jealous at all.

Q. Alex, what did you think of the nature of this type of racing? Very high speed, a lot of passing. The only other oval you raced on was Phoenix, which is a different style of racing.

ALEXANDER ROSSI: Yeah, I mean, it was okay. I obviously was comfortable with it. That was largely in part to the fact that because we have a five-car team, we were doing organized group runs at the end of every single day. Where I started Monday on the start of a group run to now is completely different.

As Michael just said, it's a team effort. All four other drivers were totally willing to help me understand how the car's supposed to feel, what you're supposed to do, little tricks.

We do that every single night. We discuss things. It's a huge effort on all of our parts. I'm just honored to be able to drive next to all four of them.

Alexander Rossi sits in his NAPA Auto Parts sponsored Honda for his post Indianapolis 500 qualifying photo after just missing making it into the Fast 9. Image Credit: David Yowe

Q. Michael, you bring in NAPA as a sponsor. You give them a victory in the hundredth Indianapolis 500. Is this going to remain on the car the rest of the year?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I hope so. I mean, we'll see. We'll have to talk. When we did this deal, it came together so fast, but we already were starting to talk, What could the future be? I'm hoping this might speed it up a little bit.

Q. Alexander, when you look at your whole month of May, running practice every day, qualifying, it's not like a standard race weekend. What did you make of the month and the extracurricular activities that come with this month?

ALEXANDER ROSSI: It was busy. I was very happy to get in the racecar at 12:03 today. Finally I can go do this and I don't have to talk about it anymore, but here I am talking about it. The next three, four days is going to be pretty incredibly busy as well. The PR team is pretty great, so we'll get through it.

Q. Michael and Bryan, what did you see in this guy that told you he was something special? What makes him different from someone else?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Well, I think his career. He was brought up in the right way. He was always competitive in every formula he was in.

I think what makes him different from some others is he's quite calm. He doesn't get excited over anything, it seems like. Here he is winning the Indy 500, he's like, Yeah, yeah, well (laughter). It's just the way he is, which I think works good for him when he's in a racecar.

BRYAN HERTA: I had no idea he was good this. I mean, I was aware of him. Frankly, Michael had a previous relationship. When we started putting this deal together, when we got to the point of topic of drivers, immediately they brought Alex up. He was always the first choice. We were able to get that deal together really quickly.

But I really enjoy working with him. I think personality-wise, he and I have some similarities, although he's even calmer than me.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: You think you're calm (laughter)?

BRYAN HERTA: It works really well together. Again, I have to give Michael the credit. Back when I drove for him, when we had all those great years together with the four of us, it wasn't an accident. He chose people based on how they fit in, putting these groups of people together.

I think he really saw the same thing here, a good fit. I don't know if he gets enough credit for having the vision of understanding what a team is and not just individuals, but putting a team together.

Q. Michael, the guy sitting next to you has other irons in the fire. We might see him in a Grand Prix car later in the season.

ALEXANDER ROSSI: Really (laughter)?

Q. Rather than him driving in the back of the grid in Formula One.

ALEXANDER ROSSI: I can certainly say I'm not in a Grand Prix car anytime soon. I'm a reserve driver. I sit around and pretend to look important (laughter). There is no driving involved. I drive to the track in a rental car.

Sam Hornish, Jr. won the 2006 INDY 500 race by passing rookie Marco Andretti on the final lap, about 450 feet from the finish line. Image Credit: Indy Racing League

Q. Alex, tell us about the drivers that inspired your career in Formula One and also the Indy 500.

ALEXANDER ROSSI: So in Europe, it was Mika Hakkinen because he was the underdog against Michael in Ferrari. You always want to go for the underdog a little bit. So to watch him pull off some pretty incredible victories, upsets, was pretty cool for me to watch.

Honestly, the very first Indy 500 that I remember watching, and I'm not saying this because of what's sitting next to me, but it was 2006 with Marco. That race still stands out in my mind. It blew me away that somebody as a rookie was about to win. That is something I'll remember for the rest of my life, for sure.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.
[ht: IndyCar - Indianapolis 500 Winner's Press Conference - 5/29/2016 - FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports]

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Michael Andretti, Bryan Herta, Alexander Rossi, 100th Running, Indianapolis 500, Verizon IndyCar Series, #VICS, #IndyCar, #100thRunning, #Indy500, @IMS, NAPA Auto Parts, The EDJE

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ferrari 400i GTC - A One-Of (not 1-off) For The Motor Culture Ages

Jim Busby begins to step into his researched and refined Fly Yellow Ferrari 400i conversion build to a full GTC racing class creation. From the choice of color all the way down to the Forgeline Motorsports custom creation of Ferrari spec wheels that would hold modern, low-profile, full racing specification tires, this Ferrari 400i GTC motor culture surprise has to be studied, and possibly slept with, for full appreciation. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2016)

Ferrari 400i GTC - A One-Of (not 1-off) For The Motor Culture Ages

There is no such thing that defines the term '1-off' than where this term came from and was intended to be - "One-Of" - and that is exactly what this latest Fly Yellow Ferrari vision from the garage and mind of Jim Busby is ... One-Of.

No Ferrari 400i was ever created as a racing platform the way the Ferrari engineering staff would have created one if they had turned their attention to this unique creation for pedestrian grand touring use.

Through the research and ingenuity of proven racecar designer Jim Busby and his capable crew, this "One-Of" GTC (because there is only one-of Ferrari 400i GTC) is now a reality.

Le Mans winning driver, Rick Knoop puts Jim Busby's Ferrari-engineering 'channeled' 400i GTC vision through its paces during one of the initial shakedown tests at Willow Springs in Rosamond, CA after the 60 day build. Image Credit Edmund Jenks (2016)

This excerpted and edited from FORZA Magazine -

Competition Conversion - Jim Busby builds the 400i race car Ferrari never did
Story by William Edgar - April 21, 2016

When I decided to do this,” Jim Busby tells me of his inspiration two years ago, “I thought to myself, what if somebody had walked into Enzo Ferrari’s office and said, ‘Mr. Ferrari, we need to make a GTC version of the 400i because the FIA will change the rules and that car could be perfect in a new category.’ What would Enzo build? How would he do it? I tried to imagine what that would be.”

The answer? According to Busby—former drag racer, perennial hot rodder, two-time class winner at Le Mans, IMSA icon, F1 Clienti aficionado, and race-car constructor—Ferrari would have created something like the machine you see here: a one-off track-ready muscle marvel Busby calls the 400i GTC.

A side-view of a stock 1982 Ferrari 400i 2-door 5-speed GT roadcar not too dissimilar to what Jim Busby started with before conversion build to a full GTC racing class creation.. Image Credit:

In order to build a competition version of a road car, of course, you need to start with that road car. Busby found this once dingy grey non-running 1982 example (s/n 39227), then housing dead leaves and old bird nests, in Los Angeles. It had no traceable past—its last owner’s name redacted on the title, the last valid registration in Maine 14 years ago—which is uncommon for a classic Ferrari. But then the 400i, of which 1,308 were produced between 1979 and ’84, was a relatively unpopular model, being expensive, heavy at 4,100 pounds, and only brought to the U.S. through the grey market.

“I was told the car had been in a flood,” Busby recalls, “and it smelled like it, even though there wasn’t a speck of rust or corrosion anywhere.”

It was the perfect starting point for a track car, so Busby bought it for, as he puts it, “virtually nothing.” Good enough. On April 24, 2015, he had the Ferrari hauled to his shop, Jim Busby Racing, in Laguna Beach, California.
Cockpit - once stripped, it doesn't require much leather, sound proofing,and cosmetic overlay to have it become race ready. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2016)

Busby and crew stripped out 400 pounds of factory insulation and heaps of rotten leather. “We threw everything away right down to a bare tub and went to work,” he says. The weight loss didn’t stop there, however. All in all, the 4,034-lb. Ferrari was relieved of 1,000 pounds of not-necessaries.

Busby goes on. “We took out the original 4.8-liter motor, put in a 75-pound lighter, more powerful 5.7-liter 575M [motor], and moved it back 8 inches,” he says. Rather than using Ferrari’s original intake and engine-management setups, Busby converted to individual intake stacks and a MoTeC 400 racing system. 

Busby located this V12 engine at auction on Craigslist for way under $20,000.00. The engine did not have to be crated and shipped from a geography that was far away - no, the engine was picked up locally in the Los Angeles basin. Further, given the low cost, Jim expected that the engine would need some deep repair - "all we did is clean it up and it fired the first time," said Jim Busby with the surprise of landing an inside straight, Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2016)

The 575M powerplant currently makes 510 horsepower, the same as stock, but later this year Busby  plans to pump up the engine to 700 hp. This will be achieved by porting the heads, installing new cams, and other refinements he learned while building a 575M to race on the salt flats of Bonneville, Utah.

“The car came with the stock four-speed Borg Warner Hydro, an awful gearbox,” continues Busby. “We got rid of that, obviously, and put in a Tremec T-56 Magnum six-speed with two overdrives that we had modified for racing. We went with a 5.12:1 final-drive differential that will work at almost every racetrack. It’s got drop gears just like in a sprint car, so we can change the ratio in about ten minutes.

Gear swappable rear-end differential would probably not be a modification the Ferrari engineers would envision or place into their FIA version of a 400i racecar. Notice a second modification in the build that Ferrari would not have had access to ... would be the steel drag racecar wheel tubs. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2016)

“The limited slip is made by Speedway Engineering right here in southern California,” he adds. “And, by the way, this car uses Lobro ‘930-type’ CV joints, so we have rifle-drilled IndyCar-like axles for the rear that slide right in.”

The Ferrari’s full frame was preserved, despite the new engine and driveline, although slight modifications were needed to adapt the quick-change rear end, and a roll cage was added. Then it was time to sort the suspension.

“We put an honest-to-god front anti-roll bar in it, but the rear anti-roll bar is the stock one,” says Busby. “And rather than run the enormous coil-over hydraulic shocks that were used—these cars had self-levelers—we got rid of those and installed JRi racing shocks. We then lowered the car almost a full six inches in front and about four in back. We moved the suspension pick-up points up at the same time, so the factory geometry remains the same. We used all the Ferrari A-arms, reinforcing them where necessary, and fitted aftermarket Ferrari-style bushings.”

Brembo front-end package that measure out at 14" with six-piston calipers. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2016)

Busby did toss the stock brakes, replacing them with Brembo 14-inch rotors and six-piston calipers fore, and 12-inch rotors and four-piston calipers aft. Tilton master cylinders reside at each corner.
“Because the 400i had a strange wheel offset, we couldn’t put on wheels that went inside, so we modified the bottom arms so we could mount a wide wheel,” he explains. “It’s now got 18×13s in the rear and 18×11s in the front.”

The "One-Of" would not look or race right with the original 15-inch five-spoke hex-nut center-lock racing wheels, so Jim had them re-created in modern sizes for current technology racing tires. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2016)

Busby has always loved Ferrari’s classic 15-inch five-spoke hex-nut center-lock racing wheels. He wanted them in a modern sizes, however, so he turned to Forgeline Motorsports in Ohio to make a forged-alloy replica using Ferrari’s gold color code. Forgeline owner Steve Schardt tells me that, once he got specifications, the three-inch larger wheels were developed by his engineering staff, then finished with in-house powder coating. Now, says Busby, “You can lay Ferrari wheels next to these and, except for diameter, you cannot tell the difference.”

Nothing like an original look and feel when creating from whole cloth. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2016)
“I didn’t want to put gigantic flares on this car like almost everybody in GT racing has always done,” Busby says. “It would have looked silly. So we tubbed it in steel at all four corners, much like a Pro Stock NHRA car would be. We cut out the original fender wells and put these wider tubs in to take our wheels and make wheel clearance.”
“We cut the steel fenders off and bent them out three and a half inches, so they bow out from the turn signals and come back into the stock doors,” explains Busby, who was determined to keep the body in steel since that’s what he believes Ferrari would have done in period. “Then the rear quarter-panel behind the door was cut completely off the car, and moved three and a half inches. That too bows out and goes right back into where the taillights are mounted on the aft section. It’s so subtle you have to look closely to see it, which is what I wanted.”
Frontend conversion including splitter,  headlights, and hood scoop modification. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2016)
Needless to say, the heavy stock bumpers had to go. The rear one was simply deleted, while a 45-lb. lighter fiberglass replica was installed in front. Busby then fitted a splitter underneath for an aerodynamic boost—as well as an aesthetic one. “If you follow that line back,” he notes,” the splitter rake is exactly the same as the rake of the car—à la, a racing car.”

Pins, straps, vents and scoops add to the aluminum hood. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2016)

The 400i’s original hood was reworked with a riveted-on scoop, new louvers, and some unusual vintage touches. “The aluminum hood is a lift-off, in the style of Ferrari’s racing cars,” says Busby. “It has pins in the front, and at the back we did leather straps. The GTO-type hold-downs, which are handmade by a guy in Holland for GTO restorations, I found on eBay.” Since the 400i is no GTO, the hold-downs’ tolerances had be modified in order not damage the hood or fenders.

Busby’s next target was the Ferrari’s ugly, oh-so-’80s pop-up headlights: “We dropped correct-period Cibies, that we still had in our shop, down inside buckets we made in the fenders.” Aircraft Windshield Company in Los Alamitos, California, made the lights’ clear covers, which look similar to those found on Daytonas that raced at Le Mans. AFC also replicated the side, rear, and quarter windows from Lexan polycarbonate, and made the side-window sliders. For safety reasons, the windshield is standard Ferrari glass.

Last but not least was the rear deck’s spoiler, which looks so at home you might think it’s inspired by a Ferrari part. It’s not. “I always liked the look of the ’69 Camaro Z/28 rear spoiler,” Busby admits. “So I found one and we cut it up and copied it.”

It’s difficult to fathom, but the process that turned a wiped-out 400i road car into Busby’s vision of a race-ready GTC took only sixty days (albeit after it sat idle for a half year during planning). Of course, no one person builds a race car. It takes a shop-full, and Busby’s crew works as a team. Metal whiz Tiki Alvarez joins ranks with primary fabricator Keith Hickson and first mechanic-fabricator Steve Bounds, whose son Nathaniel built the front spoiler and splitter. Paint, details, and minor bodywork are handled by Chris Hukill, while Van Butler’s gig is cabin interior. Dave Strader wired the entire car, then Shane Tecklenberg, who Busby called “the final baton runner in a relay race,” installed the self-contained MoTeC management system and its harnesses. Once that was done, and the car dropped off its stands on January 13, 2016, all that was left was to push the start button.
Smack dab behind the driver's seat is the source of balancing weight and propulsion ... the fuel cells. Simply a work of art in engineering. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2016)

“Without a whole lot of sorting, this is perhaps the most balanced GT car I’ve ever driven,” Busby tells me the day after testing [test #4] at Thermal, “and I’ve driven a lot. Remember that we moved the engine back eight inches, and we placed the transmission dead in the middle of the car. The fuel cells are where the back seats used to be, centering the weight, and by moving all of the suspension up, which essentially moves the car down, we retained the roll centers.

Engine placement is displaced through a re-engineered firewall toward the cabin of the car in order to enhance the driving center of weight. One has to ask - would Ferrari have this attention to detail? Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2016)

“I like a car that you turn with the steering wheel and steer with the throttle—that’s a balanced car,” he continues. “If the car has a bit of understeer, then you’ve got to chase it with the throttle sooner; if you get the car sideways, you’re wasting time. So if you can get the car to turn in without understeer and then get on the throttle and steer it with that, more power brings the tail around and less power keeps it in the middle. I have always liked that, and this car, without any sorting except 100-pound-stiffer rear springs, is perfectly balanced. You can drive it anywhere you want on the race track. It was truly a prize to have the car this way virtually right off the jig. I’m pleased and really proud to have played a part in creating it.”

Rick Knoop, who has been working and racing with Busby for years [they won at Le Mans together], also drove the Ferrari at Thermal. “The car is a thoroughbred that wants to be driven,” reports Knoop. “It’s about as accurate as anything I’ve driven, and I have been driving these massive-horsepower M8F [Can-Am] McLarens. The 400i goes where it’s supposed to go. And, boy, does it have the music. It’s got quite a bit of torque and has the symphony all the way up to about 7,500. This was maybe Enzo’s dream, if he was still around.”

Jim Busby's dream of a Ferrari 400i GTC come true. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2016)

“Our impressions were exactly the same,” notes Busby. “Rick told me, ‘The faster I go through the corner, the car keeps saying, ‘Come on, a little bit more, come on!’ And he’s right. I never got the car sideways or out of shape, but I could have.”

So how fast is this incongruously-based car, really? “Top speed would depend on the race course, but given the longest straight 200 mph would be achievable,” says Busby. “In testing we saw 172. And you know what’s remarkable about this car? It has such good manners you don’t have to be brave.”

Busby built the 400i GTC for the racetrack, but its next few events are anything but. Gordon McCall has invited it to be a centerpiece at his 25th Anniversary McCall’s Motorworks Revival Monterey Airport party this coming August [Wednesday 8/17/16 - 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm], during Monterey Automotive Week. Two days later, the Ferrari will go to The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering [Friday 8/19/16 - 10:00 am - 4:00 pm]. Don’t miss it if you’ll be in Monterey.
[Reference Here]

Automotive Week - Tuesday through Sunday, Monterey in August 16-21, 2016, will be this dream-come-to-reality, for one of the most forlorn of Ferrari platforms, coming out party.

So if you plan to attend the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca or take in the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance make it a point to look-up this "One-Of" for the motor culture ages, the Busby Fly Yellow Ferrari 400i GTC - this effort will never disappoint.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Ferrari 400i, Ferrari 400i GTC, Jim Busby, Rick Knoop, Willow Springs International Raceway, Forgeline Motorsports, Brembo, Tilton, Forza, 25th Anniversary McCall’s Motorworks Revival, The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering, The EDJE,