Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Save Automotive Education & Conversion From EPA Regulation Deathgrip And Control

Built upon the shoulders of many shade-tree mechanics and decades spent competing on a race track, BMW badged Rahal Letterman Lanigan racecar follows the Whelen Racing Chevy Corvette into the top of the famed "Corkscrew Turn" at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca which, itself, was built upon a history of hundreds of thousands of shade-tree mechanics and automobile engineers. All of this activity is set to decrease if the EPA has its way with its newly proposed phalanx of regulations. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Save Automotive Education & Conversion From EPA Regulation Deathgrip And Control

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA - a non-elected regulatory department of the federal government) is working to make it illegal, through regulation(s), to convert automobiles originally designed for on-road use into racecars, even though such conversions have been done since automobiles have been produced in a factory for sale to the general public.

Under the EPA’s proposed regulation(s), it is proposing that it would also be illegal to sell any performance-related products for those cars that would aid in the conversion.  The EPA’s proposal would have a devastating impact on any conversion including motorsports since many types of racing rely on production vehicles that have been independently modified (due to cost and availability) for use strictly at the track.

Autobooks Aerobooks book signing of Mazda MX-5 Miata: Twenty-Five Years by Thomas Bryant (Author), Bob Hall (Foreword) - this would never exist if the progressives in the EPA and federal government had their way. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

Table of Contents of Mazda MX-5 Miata: Twenty-Five Years by Thomas Bryant (Author), Bob Hall (Foreword) - Chapter Four titled More Performance: Second Generation (NB), 1999-2005 or Chapter Seven titled The Greatest Turnout In Racing would never exist if the progressives in the EPA and federal government had their way. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

One has to ask, is this really the role of government that was organized under the construct of the United States Constitution?

This excerpted and edited from Wikipedia -

The Preamble was written to establish the origin, scope and purpose of the Constitution. Its origin and authority is in "We, the people of the United States". This echoes the Declaration of Independence. "One people" dissolved their connection with another, and assumed among the powers of the earth, a sovereign nation-state. The scope of the Constitution is twofold. First, "to form a more perfect Union" than had previously existed in the "perpetual Union" of the Articles of Confederation. Second, to "secure the blessings of liberty", which were to be enjoyed by not only the first generation, but for all who came after, "our posterity".
[Reference Here]

Special 1967 Chevy C10 pick-up truck with turbo-charged radial airplane engine custom conversion on display just outside of the Las Vegas Convention Center halls. Question(s): What has been done to modify this engine to increase performance? Is the extreme horsepower developed in this aftermarket power plant used in racing? Would this too be rendered illegal by the new regulations proposed by the EPA? Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

So, what can anyone do to stop this march toward total elimination of the freedom to learn, create, transform, produce, capitalize, and generally enjoy the process of conversion of an automobile to a purpose it was not originally produced to be intended for?

Enter a political action committee that was formed for addressing the bureaucratic regulatory activity over-reach - The SEMA Action Network (SAN).

This excerpted and edited from the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association -

What Is SAN?

The SEMA Action Network (SAN) is a nationwide partnership between vehicle clubs, enthusiasts and members of the specialty auto parts industry who want to protect their hobby. Founded in 1997, the SAN was designed to help stamp out legislative threats to the automotive hobby and pass favorable laws. The SAN regularly:

Rallies the support of 3,000-plus car clubs, thousands of individual contacts, and 100-plus publications, with an estimated reach of 36 million enthusiasts nationwide, amplifying SEMA’s political voice on issues affecting the specialty equipment auto parts industry.

Sends out action alerts to generate an abundance of responses to state and/or federal legislative actions and regulatory proposals.

Issues timely updates of legislative and regulatory developments.

THERE ARE NO COSTS, FEES OR HASSLES to participate in the SAN. 

The concept is simple:

SEMA provides detailed, regularly updated information on legislative and regulatory issues that impact your hobby. The more hands that touch this information, the more eyes that read this information and the more people that stand up and do something about this information…the more effectively we protect our hobby. If action is required, we will urge SAN members to contact legislators and regulators to express support or opposition to a particular bill or proposal that directly affects the automotive hobby.
[Reference Here]

There is something an enthusiast can do right now in order to voice their displeasure with this government action that plans to eliminate a whole for-education, for-profit, and for-fun activity and marketplace that has developed over the course of over 100 years.


Say “No” to EPA’s Threat to Motorsports : SEMA Opposes Regulation Prohibiting Conversion of Vehicles into Racecars

Please sign the White House Petition asking the EPA to withdraw its proposal.  We need 100,000 signatures in 30 days, so don’t delay!  Add your voice now and forward to your friends.  Stop the EPA from making racecars illegal!

SEMA Opposes Regulation Prohibiting Conversion of Vehicles into Racecars. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is aiming to make it illegal to convert automobiles originally designed for on-road use into racecars, even though such conversions have been done for decades.

Under the EPA’s proposed rule, it would also be illegal to sell any performance-related products for those cars.  The EPA’s proposal would have a devastating impact on motorsports since many types of racing rely on production vehicles that have been modified for use strictly at the track.

SEMA is working with all stakeholder groups to oppose the regulation through the administrative process and will seek congressional support and judicial intervention as necessary.

(ht: SEMA via SAN)

Please help to save for-education, for-profit, and for-fun activity of converting automobiles for other purposes from elimination through EPA regulation by - first, signing the petition - second, voting for candidates that wish to move government back to being out of the business of control over every aspect of all peoples lives ... which was the original construct of the United States Constitution.

As the Preamble of the Constitution outlines as the intention of the founding document itself - to "secure the blessings of liberty", which were to be enjoyed by not only the first generation, but for all who came after, "our posterity".

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: The Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, Preamble, U. S. Constitution, Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association, SEMA, SEMA Action Network, SAN, NASA, SCCA, PWC, sports cars, racing, Off-Road, education, training, research and development, Free Market, The EDJE

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Renault e.dams Sebastien Buemi Posts 2nd ePrix Season Win At Julius Baer Punta del Este

FIA Formula e Podium, Race 3 of the 2015-2016 season. P1 Renault e.dams Sebastien Buemi (center, blue, holding trophy), P2 Abt Schaeffler Lucas di Grassi (left, red), and P3 Dragon Racing Jerome D’Ambrosio (right, white). Image Credit: FIA Formula e

Renault e.dams Sebastien Buemi Posts 2nd ePrix Season Win At Julius Baer Punta del Este

Sebastien Buemi recharged his title assault with a sensational win in the Julius Baer Punta del Este ePrix.

For the first time this season the Renault e.dams star failed to take pole position, but from fifth position on the grid he produced a charging drive to the delight of over 10,000 passionate Uruguayan fans to score his fifth career victory.

The seed was sewn at the start, and from the ‘clean’ right-hand side of the grid, he sprinted off the line to instantly take fourth place from Abt Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi. The DS Virgin car of Sam Bird and the Dragon Racing entry of Loic Duval soon fell prey to the Swiss, and it was only a matter of time before pole-sitter Jerome D’Ambrosio (Dragon Racing) yielded as well.

Sebastien Buemi bounces a wheel off a rumble strip to maintain the lead. Image Credit:

The move for the lead was met with a huge cheer from the grandstands, and once ahead Buemi showed no signs of relinquishing his grasp on the winner’s trophy.

Buemi said: “The start was really important for the outcome of the race. Pulling away from the clean side of the grid meant I could jump di Grassi and then close in and pass D’Ambrosio and Bird in the opening laps. I was ahead and lost a lot of time under Full Course Yellow. Normally you get a 10 second countdown from the race director but the boards were already out so I backed off, I didn’t want to take the risk. It’s good to bounce back from Putrajaya but Lucas is really close and consistent so we have to remain focused.”

Julius Baer Punta del Este track map. Image Credit: TBK LIGHT

On the ‘dirty’ side of the grid, di Grassi knew that keeping Buemi behind at the start would be a tough ask, and knew he had to try to keep pace with the eventual winner as he fought through the field. In his attempt to pass Duval he very nearly hit the wall and instead lost a place to his Abt Schaeffler team-mate Daniel Abt. A small error by Abt allowed di Grassi back through and he pushed hard to ensure he was as close as possible to Bird and Duval when they all came in for their mandatory car change.

Compilation - Images Credit: FIA Formula e

A perfect pitstop meant he leapfrogged into second place and closed right in on Buemi as a Full Course Yellow was thrown after a Battery Management System error caused Bird’s car to stop on track. Di Grassi gave everything to put Buemi under pressure, but couldn’t get close enough to force a move or a mistake and settled for second.

Di Grassi said: “Today second was the maximum we could achieve with Renault again showing they have the car to beat. Also this result is thanks to my team who did a really good job in the pitstop where I moved ahead of both Dragon cars. I managed to catch Buemi and tried to manage the gap but he was too fast, they have been the quickest in the first three races. He’s the man to win the championship but if he doesn’t do it we’ll be here to do it.”

Race start as led by Formula e Pole winner, Jerome D’Ambrosio Dragon Racing. Image Credit: FIA Formula e

From his first-ever Formula E pole, D’Ambrosio made a perfect start and comfortably led from Bird, who beat Duval off the line to slot into second. A few tenths at a time, D’Ambrosio eked out the lead, but as soon as Buemi made it into second his advantage was decimated – Buemi lapping a full 1.5s faster than the Dragon Racing star in his first lap in clean air.

An overly-cautious entry into the pits gave di Grassi the chance to steal second place, and in the closing stages D’Ambrosio was once again in a fraught battle with his team-mate Loic Duval. D’Ambrosio held on for third, and with Duval fourth it was another strong race for Jay Penske’s team.

Dragon Racing team-mate to Jerome D’Ambrosio, Loic Duval manages to grab P4. Image Credit: FIA Formula e

D’Ambrosio said: “Getting both Dragon cars in the top-five was a good achievement. Starting from pole you want to win the race but realistically the other cars are faster. I just did my own race. Loic and I had a close one here as in Beijing, I didn’t have much energy left and was in a close fight. I was under pressure but managed to hold on.”

Just over six second covered the top four, but there was a huge gap back to fifth place and Renault e.dams’s Nico Prost. Sixth place went to Team Aguri’s Antonio Felix da Costa, easily the lead season one tech runner and he felt it was genuinely the best result possible in the circumstances.

Sebastien Buemi has a personal moment of celebration, with Lucas di Grassi walking by, as he gets out of the car at races end. Image Credit: FIA Formula e

Jacques Villeneuve was unable to take the start after seriously damaging one of his Venturi chassis in a qualifying shunt. Jean-Eric Vergne used FanBoost to make his way by the Venturi of Stephane Sarrazin and into the top-10. He gained a place when Oliver Turvey was penalized for his NEXTEV TCR team releasing him too early from his pitstop, and set to work on battling with Turvey’s team-mate Nelson Piquet Jr.

Coming onto the final lap the pair traded places and paint, but Piquet remained ahead. However, he lost rear grip on the entry to the chicane and slammed sideways into the tire barrier. Vergne was elevated to seventh, while Piquet was unhurt but out.

Daniel Abt was eighth, Sarrazin ninth, while Robin Frijns, whose Andretti team changed the entire powertrain (including battery) in his second car in between qualifying and the race, rewarded their efforts with the final point in 10th.

With a beach party following on from the amazing podium ceremony at the famous hand, there was a fantastic ‘end of year’ feeling about the whole event. There’s now 48 days until Formula E returns to South America for the Buenos Aires ePrix. Last year it was arguably the most exciting event of the season, and Buemi’s rivals will be hoping that he doesn’t have things his own way.
[ht: ePrix]

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Formula E, Renault e.dams, Abt Schaeffler, Dragon Racing, NEXTEV TCR, Venturi, Team Aguri, Virgin, Buenos Aires ePrix, The EDJE

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Naughty Or Nice For 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Placed Under The Tree

Scott Dixon on 'pit-out' at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach ... a race he finally won for the first time in his IndyCar career. This race win helped Dixon to achieve his fourth American Open-Wheel Racing championship secured on lap 51 by never giving up the lead for the win of the final race, GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma held at Sonoma Raceway. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Naughty Or Nice For 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Placed Under The Tree

To many who have followed professional American open-wheel automobile racing over these last fifty plus years, in terms of talent in the paddocks on both teams and drivers, the 2015 season would easily rank in the top five all-time seasons.

The 2015 season was the first season that featured the new rules governing aerodynamic body panels manufactured by Dallara but utilizing input and designs dictated/negotiated by the manufacturer of the engines used by each team - Chevrolet or Honda. Once each team was given the solution of body and wing parts to use on the racing platform, within limits, the teams could decide upon the configurations and settings allowed.

One million possible adjustment combinations with the Honda/Dallara aero-package. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Early in the season, the cars that ran Honda seemed to be a bit behind Chevrolet on in and out cornering speed ... to wit Honda put forth, (paraphrased) our wing and body panels can be configured in about a million different ways given all of the options available. The problem with this potential breadth of choice options, once a proper engineering set up has become competitive with the more simple approach settled on by Chevrolet, about 999,000 options for adjustment become useless or irrelevant.

So on this issue ... who's Nice or Naughty?

The manufacturer, the engineering staff who figured out the best set-ups?, or the overall rules package crafted by the Verizon IndyCar Management?

In an effort to place the gifts of this season under the tree, Josh Farmer's Championship Racing Radio in show #4, with Edmund Jenks, seeks to discuss the Best (Nice) and Worst (Naughty) of this 2015 breakout season that began with an out of country race cancellation in Brazil without having a make-up race be run at any time for the balance of the season.

The discussion in show #4, however, will not focus on Verizon IndyCar Management but, rather, the races run, teams, and drivers.

Management, for the most part, may qualify for a lump of coal beginning with their policy of "Race Control By Committee" which had the person who was in charge of this policy - Derrick Walker - resign from the position after 2/3ds of the season had been put to bed ... with cookies and milk.

Championship Racing Radio 4: Naughty or Nice?

Time of show: (45 minutes at the maximum)
Intro: (Less than 5 minutes) introduce ourselves.
Rest of show: Best/worst of the 2015 IndyCar season in the theme of Naughty or Nice list. We both talk about who we think is the best driver

●    Nice List

○    Best Driver – Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon - The driver from Auckland, New Zealand kept his cool and capitalized on an unbelievable mistake by Team Penske midway through the race. That allowed Dixon to win his fourth Verizon IndyCar Series championship with a victory in season finale's Go Pro Grand Prix of Sonoma race (ht: Bruce Martin)

○    Best Race – Farmer - MAVTv500, Auto Club Speedway | Jenks - Honda Indy Grand Prix Of Alabama, Barber Motorsports Park (road/street course) - MAVTv500, Auto Club Speedway (superspeedway, oval course)

○    Best Rookie – Farmer - Bryan Herta Autosport's Gabby Chaves | Jenks - Bryan Herta Autosport's Gabby Chaves – Total Laps was 2nd best after Ryan Hunter Reay (2211 – RHR 2218) - Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Sage Karam - Honorable Mention 12 races – 2 Top 5 / 2 top 10 – excitement generated – No ride this season with 3 seats open – SPM / KV Racing / Dale Coyne

○    Best Move –  Penske Racing's Will Power – Sonoma for the Verizon P1 Pole Award - Will Power saw the performance CFH Racing's Josef Newgarden was able to do by placing Black sidewall tires on his Dallara so Will ordered up a set be placed on his Chevy and with the last seconds of qualifications winding down, snatched the Verizon P1 Pole Award away from Newgarden.

○    Most Improved driver – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Graham Rahal – He improved so much as a driver, it made him marriageable – Courtney Force and Graham got married Nov. 21, 2015 and are honeymooning in Fiji and New Zealand.

Ryan Briscoe before he took to the track at the MAVTv500, Auto Club Speedway. Image Credit: Ken Manfred (2015)

○    Best underdog – Farmer - Schmidt Peterson Motorsports' Conor Daly (points for Detroit) - Dale Coyne Racing's Tristan Vautier (showed great promise behind substitution runs) | Jenks - Schmidt Peterson Motorsports' Ryan Briscoe – 8 Races – ½ season – 1 Top 5 / 4 Top 10 / 2 DNF … one DNF at ACS on last lap caused by Ryan Hunter Reay

●    Naughty List

○    Worst Driver – Farmer - Dale Coyne Racing's Francesco Dracone (never finished in the Top 20) | Jenks - KV Racing Technology's Stefano Colitti – 16 Races with 5 DNF / Dale Coyne Racing's Francesco Dracone – 5 Races with 2 DNF - Josh Farmer compared Francesco Dracone as being "as slow as Milka Duno." Edmund Jenks asked Josh, "So you believe that Dracone is Milka Duno without the mascara? ... as far as we know, right?

○    Worst Race – Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana "NOLA"

Penske Racing's Simon Pagenaud leaves the track after contesting space with Ryan Hunter-Reay and take a mud ride. This image, with Andretti Autosport's Marco Andretti in the foreground, was taken at the beginning of an accident that colored the late stages of the shortened race at NOLA. Image Credit: Bret Kelley - VICS (2015)

○    Worst Move - Farmer - Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay (2015 P6) - The final full course YELLOW Flag came from a massive incident between Sebastien Bourdais, Ryan Hunter-Reay (RHR), and Simon Pageneud (on the outside) as the drivers attempted to go three-wide in turn 3. RHR ended up pushing Pagenaud off of the track | Jenks - Penske Racing's Will Power - Diving move in Turn 10 at St. Petersburg on teammate Juan Pablo Montoya with many laps remaining in the race. It turns out that these two drivers got together during the final race of the season at Sonoma Raceway. Given that both drivers were in the hunt for the championship, one wonders if these points were able to be retained, would Scott Dixon have his 4th IndyCar crown.

Pageneud slid off the track into the mud, and then back on the track in the next right-hand corner 4, collecting Hunter-Reay and Bourdais sending all three cars across the grass.

Bourdais slides to the tire wall and hits broadsides cracking the hull of his No. 11 Dallara (all preceding crash images by Bret Kelley for IndyCar)

Penske Racing's Helio Castroneves in the pits at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Qualified well at many 2015 venues but just could not make the performances stick. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

○    Most disappointing driver - Farmer - Penske Racing's Simon Pagenaud (high hopes not realized - 2015 P11) - CFH Racing's Ed Carpenter (better set up with Conway last year - 2015 P27) | Jenks - Penske Racing's Helio Castroneves (2015 P5) - What was more surprising: Helio going without a win for only the second time in the past 16 IndyCar seasons, or his comparative disappearance at Indianapolis, where he's always expected to vie for the win? It's probably his not visiting Victory Lane, especially considering it was one of Helio's best-ever seasons in terms of qualifying. His four poles were complemented by the fact he never started worse than fifth through the first 11 races and his average starting spot was a dazzling fourth for 16 races. He lost Long Beach only because of a long pit stop to avoid contact. As for Indianapolis, other than his thrilling duel with RHR in 2014, the three-time winner has not been a factor at IMS the past few Mays but this year was more puzzling because of Chevy's obvious advantage. Finishing seventh and leading only two laps is not what three-time Indy kings are made of and it was the only oval he never really looked like a factor (ht: Racer, Robin Miller)

●    Anything else that we might want to cover - If anyone finds themselves in the Los Angeles area over the holidays, make a special trip to the newly renovated and re-opened Petersen Automotive Museum which resumed operations December 7, 2015.

Named 10 best automotive museums in the world by CNN.

Precious Metal display room at the Petersen Museum. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

The Petersen Automotive Museum



(323) 930-CARS (2277)

Here's hoping that all who happen to follow Verizon IndyCar Series never see a lump of coal and are always thought of by Santa Claus as ... Nice!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Verizon IndyCar Series, Graham Rahal, Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, Stefano Colitti, Francesco Dracone, Will Power, Verizon P1 Pole Award, Barber Motorsports Park, Auto Club Speedway, Derrick Walker, Josh Farmer, Championship Racing Radio, Edmund Jenks, Petersen Automotive Museum, 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

124 Spider By Fiat Seeks To Recapture Imagination And Space

Welcome the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider with top up.  Image Credit: FCA (2015)

124 Spider By Fiat Seeks To Recapture Imagination And Space

A 2-seat convertible roadster from Fiat was introduced at the LA Auto Show with the aid of the re-imagined platform that had held the lead in this class for decades and fueled the first rung of many racing ladder series efforts ... the Mazda Miata.

In today's vernacular, where millennials mash together two or more names (from people, places, & things) or concepts into one word, the Fiat 124 Spider becomes the Fiata.

This name ... Fiata, has a touch of fun, but ultimately, minimizes the heart and effort to re-establish Fiat back into the American and world motor culture when this proud Italian mark owned the imagination and space of the affordable and stylish 2-seat roadster sports car.

This excerpted and edited from CarScoops -

A Visual Comparison Between The Fiat 124 Spider And The Mazda MX-5
Sunday, November 22, 2015 at 6:35 pm | Posted by Bogdan Zoltan 

We knew for quite some time that Fiat was prepping to build a small, sporty roadster on Mazda’s ND platform, but we didn’t expect such a divergent result from the original MX-5. 

Even though the new Fiat 124 is technically a Mazda MX-5 with Italian-tailored clothes and a turbocharged engine, it manages to adopt a completely different character than its Nippon counterpart. But how can two cars built at the same plant (at Mazda’s Hiroshima facility) look so different?

2017 Fiat 124 Spider “romantic motoring” rear deck/quarter-panel line, badge, and tail-light are far different than the modern, non-nonsense euro-style of the Miata MX-5.  Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

While the MX-5 appears to be a sharp, driver-focused roadster, the 124 Spider appeals to the forgotten art of “romantic motoring”, centering its existence on driving as a form of delectation, instead of performance. 
The Italians did a pretty good job of (almost) completely masking the original design. 

Fiat’s vision mirrors the original 1974 Sport Spider, especially the later, Pininfarina-marketed Spider Azzura, both designed by the Italian coachbuilder. In fact, the similarities between the two are so striking, it actually seems like Fiat brought the Azzura in the 21st century. 

Fiat’s brand new roadster is on a completely different visual pathway compared to the Mazda’s approach. Even the proportions are somewhat changed on the 124, as it’s a bit longer with more extended overhangs; or at least it looks that way, since its back end isn’t slightly raked and the front end doesn’t slope towards the tarmac like the MX-5’s aggressive, pointy design.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider “romantic motoring” front grille.  Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Mazda’s front end is clean, clear and crisp, with a very unique and original style. Fiat’s front fascia, on the other hand, has a familiar vibe to it (especially the grille), even though you can’t pinpoint where it got it from. It kind of resembles Mini’s current style philosophy, even though we know it’s a very good interpretation of the original Azzura. 
At the back, the Fiat takes a trip down to memory lane once again, almost plagiarizing the Azzura. There’s no doubt the simple, gimmick-free approach, along with the slightly tilted taillights were taken from its ancestor, as the new 124 was sketched as a safe, evolutionary approach to the old car that left its distinctive mark on the US market. 

2017 Fiat 124 Spider side view has the look of a larger, more mature roadster than the 2016 Mazda Miata MX-5. With the top up, a "class effect" is imparted and adds to the sense we are entering a re-newed age of "romantic motoring."  Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

And yes, it looks markedly different than the MX-5, which appears to be at least 10-years younger than the 124 Spider.

In the cabin, things take a 180 degree turn, because there are practically no differences between the two models. Both the 124 Spider and the MX-5 have exactly the same layout and design. In fact, the only major game changer is the badge on the (slightly thicker) steering wheel. Perhaps cash-strapped Fiat couldn't, or wasn't prepared to, fork out for a new interior. 

Fiat’s classic approach may have cleared Mazda’s path and appeal to potential buyers, but its somewhat dated design can still spawn its very own cult of followers.
[Reference Here - Includes Photo Gallery]

In only one small way does the effort feel that Fiat, in its re-purpose of the Mazda Miata MX-5 into the 124 Spider, did not go far enough to differentiate itself from the original platform so as to make the term "Fiata" irrelevant ... like the simple addition of a factory made, integrated snap-on, hard top, for example.

Of course, this becomes a perfect SEMA segment company opportunity for product of the year in Las Vegas come 2016.

... notes from The EDJE

 LA Auto Show - OPEN TO THE PUBLIC//NOVEMBER 20-29, 2015

TAGS: Fiat, 124 Spider, Mazda, Miata, MX-5, Miata MX-5, romatic motoring, Azzura, 2015 LA Auto Show, The EDJE

Monday, November 23, 2015

LA Auto Show - Mercedes Benz Presentation

LA Auto Show - Mercedes Benz Presentation


L.A. Auto Show 2015: Mercedes Benz GLS
By Brian Thevenot - LA Times

What is it?
A full-size, full-luxury, seven-seat people hauler. Mercedes calls it the “S-Class among SUVs.” The automaker hasn’t released pricing, the S-Class reference – the same one applied to its flagship sedan – likely signals the starting price will rise over the GL model it will replace, which starts in the mid-$60,000 range. With options, figure easily six figures. An ultra-luxury Maybach model is also planned.

Why it matters:
Luxury sport utility vehicles are among the hottest and most competitive segments in the auto industry, and the GLS could be among the highest-caliber offerings. If it truly matches the luxury and performance of the S-Class sedan, it will be a formidable competitor.

What’s new:
A full range of powerful gas and diesel engines carry on in similar form, some with decent bumps in power. The top-line performance GLS63 gets a whopping 577 horsepower, 27 more than on the previous model. A lot of extras and details have been upgraded, including Dynamic Select transmission modes; Airmatic air suspension; a 9-speed automatic transmission; a redesigned exterior and lights all around; redesigned center console; and a range of new lightweight alloy wheels.

The competition:
Lexus GX and LX, Cadillac Escalade, Land Rover Range Rover, BMW X5. In Maybach trim, the GLS could rival the ultra-luxury Bentley Bentaga and an expected SUV offering from Rolls Royce.

The details:
Powertrain: 3.0-liter V6 diesel; 3.0-liter V6 Biturbo; 4.7-liter V8 Biturbo; 5.5-liter AMG Biturbo

Transmission: 9G-Tronic 9-speed automatic; AMG Speedshift 7G-Tronic

Fuel economy: not released; 2015 version gets 13 to 19 mpg city/17 to 26 mpg highway, depending on engine choice.

Horsepower: 255; 362; 449; and 577 for the respective engines

Torque: 455; 369; 516; 561 pound-feet


L.A. Auto Show 2015: 2016 Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster
By Charles Fleming - LA Times

What is it:
Mercedes is refreshing the vaunted SL line, adding a 450 version to the 550 and two AMG models, bringing a slightly more affordable entry-level car to this high-end division.

Why it matters:
In a strengthening economy, the luxury sports car segment is hot again. Porsche is coming out with a revised 911 line. BMW has refreshed its 7-Series. Jaguar is pushing forward with its XE. Mercedes is adding more power, performance and luxury to the SL line. Horsepower figures for the four models range from 362 on the SL450, 449 for the SL550, 577 for the AMG SL63 and a whopping 621 for the AMG SL65.

What's new:
The SL line has a new lower, sleeker face with a more steeply sloped radiator grille. Short A-pillars and a long hood enhance the race car look.

The competition:
Porsche 911, Aston Martin Vantage, Jaguar XE

The details:
Powertrain: BiTurbo engines ranging in size from 3.0 liters on the 450 to 6.0 on the AMG SL65

Transmission: 9-speed automatic in SLs, AMG Speedshift in AMGs

Fuel economy: N/A

Horsepower: 362 to 621

Torque: 369 to 738



... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: L.A. Auto Show, 2015, Mercedes Benz, GLS, SL, Roadster, AMG, The EDJE, LA Times

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Formula E Race 2, Season 2, Gets Racy And Viewers

Image Credit: FIA Formula E

Formula E Race 2, Season 2, Gets Racy And Viewers

In the short life of FIA's technology promotion of automobile street racing known as Formula E, most expect reliability and stable performance, with few accidents to characterize an event. After all, the cars are based on a formula that uses electric-power that has to be modulated during the race in order to get the most from a two car, one exchange pit-stop race to the end.

What happened on the track during the YCM Putrajaya ePrix ... the second race of season two came to be as unexpected as the level of TV broadcast viewership in North America.

Image Credit: FIA Formula E

Even before the race had started, Stephane Sarrazin was in trouble as his Venturi cut out on the dummy grid. With the Frenchman unable to take up his place on the front row alongside the Julius Baer Pole Position winner Sebastien Buemi, the start had to be delayed as he was pushed to the back of the field.

With no one directly alongside him, Buemi (Race 1 and driver points leader) had a clear run into the first corner, and as was the case in the season-opener in Beijing, the Renault e.dams driver pulled away to a comfortable lead.

Image Credit: FIA Formula E

But this would be no back-to-back win for the Swiss native as his car ground to a halt as the race neared its mid-way point.

With Buemi’s car stopped on track, the Renault e.dams team opted to pit team-mate Nicolas Prost at this point. He had also been suffering issues with his car cutting out. The early pitstop ensured the Frenchman took over the lead after all of the mid-race car swaps took place, but as he had to make his energy last for longer than his rivals, combined with his car troubles he was unable to prevent the trailing pack from passing him ... modulation.

Lucas di Grassi - Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport. Image Credit: FIA Formula E

Lucas di Grassi - Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport took over in second following the pitstop phase, but only because Dragon Racing’s Loic Duval suffered an over-long stop. The Frenchman had briefly held the lead following Buemi’s troubles, but was now behind, not only to di Grassi, but the impressive Team Aguri car of Antonio Felix da Costa as well.

As Prost struggled with his car cutting out, di Grassi made his move for the lead. Behind these two, Da Costa and Duval entertainingly disputed third. Eventually both found a way by the Renault e.dams and Duval started to close in on the leader. But when a damper broke in the suspension of his car, his great run was ended and di Grassi was left without being pressured at the front and eventually collected the win.

Image Credit: FIA Formula E

“You can see how difficult the conditions were with the amount of sand I have in my eye, the amount of sand I have in the car,” he admitted. “It was an extremely tough race, mainly determined by battery temperature. But gladly we managed it better than the others, we did a fantastic job. The team in the background did a perfect job with the strategy and we managed to claim the victory and I’m now the leader in the championship.”

After a mistake in qualifying and a brush with the wall, DS Virgin’s Sam Bird started back in 14th.

But the 2014 Putrajaya ePrix winner has an affinity with the circuit, and while those around him were having troubles he was able to concentrate on driving his own race, staying out of trouble and when Jerome D’Ambrosio crashed out of second place for Dragon on the final lap, the Brit inherited the runner-up spot.

“I’m absolutely chuffed,” he beamed. “This one is for the boys at Virgin – I don’t think that too many people know that before the race we were down in the dumps because I didn’t think we were going to finish the race because we only had one battery in the car. The Virgin boys fixed the car so quick, this is for the Virgin boys! If people don’t say Formula E is exciting, then I think they didn’t watch that race. It was carnage, but cool carnage. It’s a series that people should watch because that’s fantastic racing, it’s unreal.”

Da Costa’s great run for Aguri ended when his car cut-out too, which handed a podium finish to Andretti’s Robin Frijns. However, the Dutchman was exceptionally fortunate to finish the race after clouting the wall as he made a passing move on the hobbled Duval.

Even though the suspension and steering were deranged, he somehow kept the car pointing in the right direction and crawled over the line for his first Formula E podium.

P1 Lucas di Grassi - Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport | P2 Sam BIRD - DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team | P3 Robin FRIJNS     Andretti Formula E Race Team spray podium celebration champagne around to all. Image Credit: FIA Formula E

“I felt like I was a rally driver!” he exclaimed. “Duval had a problem in front of me and he also had a suspension failure. I overtook him before Turn 9 and I went in just a bit too quick and there was a lot of rubber and dirt. I was on it and I saw the wall coming and I said, ‘this is it, it’s over’.

It was quite a big hit and the rear was completely bent, the steering was totally not straight any more. Right corners were fine but in left corners I really had to take it easy. But I’m surprised how strong the Formula E car is.”

Image Credit: FIA Formula E

Despite his problems at the start Sarrazin came through to fourth, while Bruno Senna took fifth for Mahindra Racing. Da Costa managed to get his car restarted and came home sixth, while Daniel Abt finished seventh for Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport.

Nelson Piquet Jr was again a FanBoost winner and kept out of trouble to score his first points of the season for NEXTEV TCR in eighth, while Nick Heidfeld finished ninth despite having been tipped into a spin at the first corner following a three-way tussle with Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Virgin Racing) who was eliminated on the spot and Jacques Villeneuve (Venturi).Prost picked up the final point in 10th, while Buemi had the consolation of securing the Visa Fastest Lap and two bonus points.

After one of the most eventful races in Formula E’s short history, the teams and drivers now have a well-earned break before the series resumes in the amazing beachside setting of Punta del Este on December 19.

FIA Formula E Podium - P1 Lucas di Grassi - Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport | P2 Sam BIRD - DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team | P3 Robin FRIJNS     Andretti Formula E Race Team. Image Credit: FIA Formula E

This excerpted and edited from APEX RACING PR -

APEX RACING PR - November 11, 2015

The US has a growing appetite for electric racing according to the latest TV viewing figures, which demonstrate that Formula E has greater popularity in North America than F1.

The Nielson ratings demonstrated that the Putrajaya ePrix coverage on FOX scored a 1.2 overnight rating for the replay on Sunday afternoon – a higher rating than any F1 race achieved this year in the US, with the Monaco Grand Prix drawing a peak rating of 1.1 as the most watched race.

The live broadcast of the Putrajaya race on FOX drew 60,000 viewers, despite its early morning billing. It is believed that the Sunday replay of the race received a boost in viewers owing to the NFL game that preceded it.

In contrast, NASCAR drew a 2.6 overnight rating, its highest of the year to date, while the much-billed MotoGP title showdown generated an average of 130,000 viewers on Sunday morning on Fox Sports 1, according to

These are impressive figures for Formula E as the burgeoning series is just two races into its second season, particularly when competing with established motorsport categories, as well as one of the most intense and promoted title showdowns in recent MotoGP history.

Formula E returns to the US for the Long Beach ePrix on 2nd April 2016.

For more information on Formula E visit

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: FIA, Formula E,  Putrajaya ePrix, YCM, Lucas DI GRASSI, Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport, Sam BIRD, DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team, Robin FRIJNS, Andretti Formula E Race Team, Sébastien BUEMI, Renault e.Dams, The EDJE

Sunday, October 25, 2015

FIA's Formula E 2015-2016 Glycerine Racing Season Begins In Earnest

Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest (鸟巢; niǎocháo), is a stadium in Beijing, China. The stadium was designed for use throughout the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics and will be used again in the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. It serves as a backdrop to the first race of the 2015-2016 FIA Formula E racing season - Beijing ePrix. Image Credit: FIA Formula E

 FIA's Formula E 2015-2016 Glycerine Racing Season Begins In Earnest

The sanctioning body that sponsors Formula 1 has put together the elements of an electronic-powered, self-contained, open-wheel, 11 venue world-wide high-speed automobile racing series known as Formula E.

Last year (2014-2015 season) was a first year of the multi-year agenda to make viable motorsports racing using 100% electric power generated solely at the event site itself. Glycerine, a substance that looks and tastes like a clear Karo syrup, is a carbon-neutral non-toxic replacement for diesel used to power special diesel electric-power generators which produce enough clean-energy to meet the needs of the race cars and the paddocks that support them. The aim is to show what is possible, improve technologies through competition, and allow all involved to have fun in places rarely exposed to high-speed motorsports, city streets-course racing.

FIA Formula E season event venues in the following cities. Click link HERE to access the additional information called for in info-graphic. Image Credit: FIA Formula E

The FIA Formula E season will race in venues around the world in the following cities:

1    Beijing ePrix     China    Beijing Olympic Green Circuit    24 October 2015

2    Putrajaya ePrix     Malaysia    Putrajaya Street Circuit    7 November 2015

3    Punta del Este ePrix     Uruguay    Punta del Este Street Circuit    19 December 2015

4    Buenos Aires ePrix     Argentina    Puerto Madero Street Circuit    6 February 2016

5    Mexico City ePrix    Mexico    Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez    12 March 2016

6    Long Beach ePrix     United States    Long Beach Street Circuit    2 April 2016

7    Paris ePrix     France    TBD    23 April 2016

8    Berlin ePrix     Germany    Tempelhof Airport Street Circuit    21 May 2016

9    Moscow ePrix     Russia    Moscow Street Circuit    4 June 2016

10    London ePrix Race 1     United Kingdom    TBC    2 July 2016

11    London ePrix Race 2    3 July 2016

Race teams are staffed with two drivers that are provided with two cars to use during the race. Since the electric engines develop a very strong power response, in order to include strategy and allow for enough driving time during the race to be entertaining, a pitstop is included where drivers change cars after the first car's on-board power has been depleted, then continue racing to the end.

The driver who is able to manage the depletion of his car's power reserve, perform a flawless pitstop car change, have the best set-up on technology and balance, stays out of contact trouble with other drivers and the track, usually wins.

Drivers and teams come from several backgrounds and countries ... it is notable that even though this series was developed and managed from Europe, two American race teams are there to compete in earnest - Amlin/Andretti Formula E Race Team and Jay Penske's Dragon Racing.

The Bird's Nest serves as a backdrop for the driving class competing in the 2015-2016 FIA Formula E racing season. Image Credit: FIA Formula E

Teams and drivers are as follows - Country - Team - Drivers:

France - Renault e.Dams
Sébastien BUEMI | Nicolas PROST

Germany - ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport
Lucas DI GRASSI | Daniel ABT

India - Mahindra Racing Formula E Team

United States/England - Dragon Racing

China - NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team
Nelson PIQUET JR | Oliver TURVEY

England - DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team
Sam BIRD | Jean-Eric VERGNE

Japan - Team Aguri
Nathanaël BERTHON | Antonio Felix DA COSTA

Monaco - Venturi Formula E Team

United States - Amlin/Andretti Formula E Race Team

Switzerland - Trulli Formula E Team
Vitantonio Liuzzi | Salvador Duran

October 24, 2015, Beijing, China hosted the first race of this 11 venue second season, the SWUSP Beijing ePrix.

Beijing ePrix race winner's podium - (L to R) P2 - Lucas DI GRASSI - ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport | P1 - Sébastien BUEMI - Renault e.Dams | P3 - Nick HEIDFELD - Mahindra Racing Formula E Team. Image Credit: FIA Formula E

This excerpted and edited from ITV -

Buemi wins first ePrix of season two in Beijing
ITV - 10:05 - 24 Oct 2015

Sebastien Buemi started the second season of the FIA Formula E Championship in perfect fashion becoming the first driver to ever score the maximum possible points haul of 30 points.

After taking the Julius Baer Pole Position in the the new Super Pole shoot-out, the Swiss ace then went on to dominate the SWUSP Beijing ePrix setting the Visa Fastest Lap in the process to complete a unique hat-trick.

“It was a good race. It’s a bit of a weird feeling because I felt I was a little bit on my own, but I would not be against that. It’s good to win with a bit of a margin.

“I’m happy, the team has done a great job and Renault has done a good power train so I’m just looking forward to the next races right now. I think we even managed to have the fastest lap, which was very difficult last year."
WUSP Beijing ePrix race start - cars spread out and bunch up as they enter the challenges of making it into Turn 1. Image Credit: FIA Formula E

Buemi admitted he didn’t make the best of starts, but he fended off the fast-starting Mahindra of Nick Heidfeld into the first corner to hold the lead. From there on after he dominated the race.

His ability to stretch his lead was stymied twice by the intervention of the Full Course Yellow. This caution system was making its Formula E debut and was given a thumbs up by the drivers.

Lucas DI GRASSI - ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport leads a string of cars back out onto the track at the SWUSP Beijing ePrix. Image Credit: FIA Formula E

Di Grassi said: “It’s certainly good from a sporting side as it’s safe and allows the track to be cleared fast and we also do it in others categories that myself and other drivers in this series race in.”

Buemi didn’t quite lead every lap, however. He was the first driver to pit for his mid-race car swap, which allowed Dragon Racing’s Loic Duval to spend a lap at the head of the field before he too came in to change into his second car.

Dragon Racing did well as a team in their results at the SWUSP Beijing ePrix. Loïc DUVAL and Jérôme D'AMBROSIO - Dragon Racing finished P4 and p5 respectively placing the team P2 in overall points after Round 1. Image Credit: FIA Formula E

The pitstop process proved to be Hedifeld’s undoing, and as the team struggled to get his belts fastened he lost places to di Grassi and to Renault e.dams Nico Prost. A fine opportunistic move took him back ahead of Prost, and the pair, who famously duelled for victory in season one only to end with a spectacular accident, once again went wheel-to-wheel around the Beijing Olympic Park circuit.

Prost eventually came out on top, but there would be no podium celebration again for the Frenchman. For reasons the team are yet to ascertain, the right-rear wheel guard fell off his car, breaking the rear wing support in the process. Although Prost was able to continue at race speed, the car was considered to be mechanically dangerous and he was shown the black and orange flag by the race officials. This forced him into the pits where he retired.

Beijing ePrix race winner, Sébastien BUEMI - Renault e.Dams, rounding the last turns with Formula E "Drive The Future" banners behind him, as he claims Round 1 victory. Image Credit: FIA Formula E

This promoted Heidfeld back into third place to score the first ever podium finish for the Mahindra team.
During the closing laps there was a fantastic duel between Heidfeld and the Dragon Racing team-mates Duval and Jerome D’Ambrosio. There was less than two seconds covering them as they crossed the line.
The new era of Formula E is here. The racing was as spectacular as ever and with 76,000 people attending the Olympic Park during the event there was a fantastic atmosphere. But Buemi’s rivals will be hoping that his incredible start to the season can’t stand the heat of Putrajaya, when Formula E returns on November 7.
[Reference Here]

P2 Podium holder Lucas DI GRASSI - ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport shares champagne with the crowd at the SWUSP Beijing ePrix. Image Credit: FIA Formula E

Putrajaya, a city nearby Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, hosts the second round of this second season of the fully-electric FIA Formula E Championship - November 7, 2015.

The city of Putrajaya was created in 1993 in order to become the federal administrative capital of Malaysia and is located roughly 30 kilometres south of the capital Kuala Lumpur. The name of the city literally means ‘princes’ (putra) ‘success’ (jaya). It is an open and green city where many iconic buildings have raised recently, like the pink coloured Putra Mosque, the Seri Perdana (enormous official residence of the Prime Minister) and the Millennium Monument, but also beautiful gardens like the Taman Putra Perdana and the Putrajaya Boulevard are worth visiting.


Fans can give their favorite driver an extra speed boost by voting for them both prior to and during the opening six minutes of the race. Voting opens 12 days prior to the race with the three winning drivers receiving an additional 100kJ of energy in their second car only to be used in a power window of 180kW and 200kW. When deploying FanBoost it can only be used once, a series of short bursts will not be possible.

DS Virgin Racing’s Jean-Eric Vergne leads the early running in the FanBoost vote for the Putrajaya ePrix. The Frenchman was a five-time FanBoost winner in season one and is on course for a sixth win ahead of the November 7th race.

Nick Heidfeld, fresh from securing Mahindra’s first podium position in Beijing, lies second, while his team-mate Bruno Senna is currently third. The Brazilian is a four-time FanBoost winner, but hasn’t received the fan vote since Miami in March during the 2014-2015 season.

There are four ways you can vote for your FanBoost favorite:

1. via the official Formula E website –
2. via the official app, which is free to download for iOS and Android
3. via Twitter, where you have to Tweet #FanBoost #DriverName
4. via Instagram, where you have to post a picture or video and #FanBoost #DriverName

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: FIA, Formula E, Glycerine, FanBoost, SWUSP Beijing ePrix, China, ePrix, Putrajaya ePrix, Malaysia, Sébastien BUEMI, Renault e.Dams, Lucas DI GRASSI, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, Nick HEIDFELD, Mahindra Racing Formula E Team, Dragon Racing, Amlin/Andretti Formula E Race Team, United States, The EDJE,