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,

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Runway Racing Top Speed Challenge Delivers Two World Record Runs & More

Steve Huff of Steve Huff Motorsports posts a second world record top speed run of 1/2 mile 167.0, 1 mile 193.7, and 1.5 mile 202.8 with his 2007 80ci/1,339cc Destination Harley Davidson Buell XBRR. Steve was heard hollering, "Explanation Point!" as he checked in with the starter post run. Image credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Runway Racing Top Speed Challenge Delivers Two World Record Runs & More

Runway Racing Top Speed Challenge, an invitation only straight line racing event, was held during this last weekend in September at Mojave Air and Spaceport, also known as the Civilian Aerospace Test Centre, located in Mojave, California, at an elevation of 2,791 ft. The predicted late afternoon temperature of 99 degrees was met with little wind (flowing from West to East) to aid in pushing the vehicles to even higher marks.

Several recognizable speed organizations showed up to see what could be achieved on the Spaceport runway used by Virgin Galactic/The Spaceship Company, National Test Pilot School, Scaled Composites (which conducted the first privately funded human sub-orbital flight with SpaceShipOne on June 21, 2004), and other aeronautics enterprises located on-premises for testing.

Big Red has it's hood opened for one last visual check before posting fastest run of the Runway Racing Top Speed Challenge event.  Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

The fastest vehicle to post a very high speed was put up by the famed specialty competition 1969 Camaro SS known as Big Red. Big Red is a featured star of a cable TV program aired on NBCSN titled "Big Red - The Original Outlaw Racer" - Mondays and Wednesdays.

Big Red Camaro crew complete with videographer and audio engineer for the NBCSN cable TV program - Big Red - The Original Outlaw Racer - to capture team's reaction to the run. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

A photo posted by Edmund Jenks (@the_edje) on

After taking to the runway track for a few shake-down runs, the parachute outfitted Chevy was able to check-in with a mile and a half speed of 243.5mph. To place this into perspective, the world speed record in an open wheel race car happened during qualifications (Auto Club Speedway) is 241.428mph (388.541 km/h) set by Gil de Ferran, October 28, 2000. This mark stands as the fastest lap speed ever recorded by a racing vehicle at an official sanctioned racing series event meeting (this includes Formula 1).

Steve Huff, piloting the only motorcycle in attendance, made two world record setting top speed runs at the Runway Racing LLC Event held at Mojave Air and Spaceport.

Those gathered at the event witnessed the two run, with Exclamation Point, world record 200 mph barrier breaking runs by Steve Huff Motorsports with his 80ci/1,339cc Destination Harley Davidson Buell XBRR.

The first run, a shakedown run, Steve hit the NOS boost at 3rd gear giving the motorcycle a record run at 200.5mph before 10:00am PT - the second run, after adjustments and applying the NOS boost at 2nd gear gave the Buell-powered, aerodynamically-wrapped bike a pass at 202.8mph, besting the previous run and giving an "EXCLAMATION POINT!" (Steve's term) to all who attended the invitation only Runway Racing Top Speed Challenge event.

In a post first run interview, Steve was most happy with the fact that besting this 200mph hallmark was a milestone for any motorcycle powered by a sub 1500cc size push-rod technology engine (as stated in the interview audio - YouTube included below). “Being the first 80-inch push-rod motorcycle to go over 200mph is something I am really proud of,” said Steve Huff. Those who are familiar with Steve Huff and his multi-year quest of hitting the 200mph mark, know it has been a long hard road of development and fighting through injuries suffered in his unrelenting pursuit.

Steve Huff Motorsports 202.8mph World Record Run & Interview

This excerpted and edited from Steve Huff Motorsports Press Release - 

Huff breaks 200 mph barrier at the Runway Racing LLC event in Mojave, CA last weekend.

Surrounded by blown GT 40's, Porches, Ferraris, GTRs, and the like; Steve Huff Motorsports on the Destination Harley Davidson Buell XBRR executed a top speed at 202.8mph on the 1.5 mile course.Runway Racing LLC put on a great invitational event at Mojave Air and Spaceport.

A Ferrari, 5 liter Mustang, and a Ford GT40 await the go-ahead by the starter to make the long mile and a half plus drive to the Top Speed Challenge runway starting line. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Huff says, “The bike did everything it was supposed to do and we still have room for more.  We came off the trailer with a 200.5mph pass and did our service turn around and backed it up with the 202.8mph pass.”

Steve Huff Motorsports will be attending the rescheduled Mike Cook’s Shootout the second week of October at the Bonneville Salt Flats, giving Huff the opportunities to break the records for AMA 1350APS-PF, AMA 1350APS-PG and FIM World Record.

“We were running into a slight headwind and we used all the gear that we had.  Our sponsor, PBI Sprockets, is sending us another rear sprocket with one less tooth along with new bearings from Worldwide Bearings; should get us to 205mph on the salt and 200 at El Mirage.”  

Huff and the team will be at El Mirage Dry Lake Bed October 17 – 18th for the SCTA event.
(Reference Here)

While the organizers had expected that the limit of 30 invited vehicles to be taking runs at the event, about only 18 vehicles took runs leaving those in attendance with a lot of extra time to look at and investigate the different cars and how they might have been set up.

The pace seemed slow but the action on the runway was anything but ...

Two world record motorcycle runs and a top speed of 243.5 by Big Red to be seen on a NBCSN Cable TV program made for a very fulfilling event.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Runway Racing Top Speed Challenge, Mojave Air and Spaceport, Runway Racing LLC, Top Speed Challenge, Steve Huff, Steve Huff Motorsports, Destination Harley Davidson, NBCSN, Big Red, Big Red - The Original Outlaw Racer, The EDJE, Performance and Racing Tech Talk, Motorsports Journal

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Dixon/Ganassi Triple-Down & Double-Up To Wrest Control At The GoPro GP of Sonoma

Target Chip Ganassi Racing owner, Chip Ganassi, and Verizon IndyCar Series 2015 season champion, Scott Dixon share some GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma race and 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season championship winner's circle euphoria before official GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma race trophy presentations begin. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Dixon/Ganassi Triple-Down & Double-Up To Wrest Control At The GoPro GP of Sonoma

In the media room, around the paddocks, and campgrounds around Sonoma Raceway at Sears Point, there were speculations as to who would win the Verizon IndyCar Series 2015 season finale race and, due to a double-points award, potentially win the season championship.

At no point in the lead up to this final race was there a story line that included Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon, who sat at P3, 47 points behind Penske's Juan Pablo Montoya (JPM), not just winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma ... but further, the 2015 American open-wheel racing championship.

Almost all of the pre-race chatter centered on "just who" had what it would take to get the most points through qualifications, bonus points, and win the race (obviously, Will Power) ... or who had the charge to grab the championship and maybe the race from Penske Racing and JPM (obviously, Graham Rahal).

Scott Dixon, and the PR Department of Target Chip Ganassi Racing were the consummate ghosts. Little was being speculated about in pre-race press releases and interviews from this organization about their chances at the Sonoma Raceway finale and the IndyCar season.

However, at race's end and at post-race press conferences - the floodgates of strategic possibility thinking opened up ... and a few folks were surprised at the final tie-breaking results.

Target Chip Ganassi's race strategist, Mike Hull in the Winner's Circle with race winner and 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Astor Cup winner, Scott Dixon. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Post Race Press Conference:

THE MODERATOR: The mindset going in, [describe] what you needed to accomplish today.

MIKE HULL: I'm sorry, I can only do two things at once. We knew we had to win the race. We knew that before we arrived here. We did get the opportunity to come, IndyCar extended the opportunity with the rule book for us to come here and test two weeks ago. We spent half a day with Scott on the racetrack, and Friday we used all day and we virtually wore the tires out trying to understand what we would need today, and that's what we did today, and we worked on what we call the mechanical balance of the race car to achieve what we achieved today.

It just really is important when you have a driver like Scott as an owner like Chip and people that work for us and a sponsor like Target that you do get the most out of every day, and I think that's what we did today, but it started well before today in terms of having a race-able product.
Q. Mike, a couple of drivers told me it's very difficult to overtake here. Was your strategy before the race built on pit stops to bring Scott to the front?

MIKE HULL: [Mike pulls out a sheet of graph paper - and waves it - with three pitstops noted on it] ... Pit on lap 61, that's what ‑‑ well, we came in on 62, so even we make a mistake.

We wanted it to be a three‑stop race, so what we did was we worked really hard from the very beginning of the weekend to create a three‑stop event for us this weekend, and we knew we had to get to 61. If we could get to 61 as everybody thinned out on the racetrack with the track position gained throughout the stops, we thought we had a chance to win the race. We didn't think it would turn out quite the way it did in terms of we thought there would be two or three other guys there trying to make it hard on us, and at the end it was a little easier than what we thought to be honest about it, but it was still very difficult. I think what you do as a race team when you deal with strategy is you look at what you have. If you know you have a driver and car capable of winning the race, then what you simply do is work for the pit windows that you need to have to achieve something at the front.

But the bottom ‑‑ the denominator is we had to win. We had to win the race.
(ht: VICS)

During the race broadcast on NBCSN, Mike Hull was interviewed at the TCGR pit box immediately after the second round of pitstops where Scott Dixon was able to leap-frog pass from P3 (behind P1 - Will Power and P2 - Josef Newgarden) to the lead of the race on a 6 second timed pit stop - (paraphrased) "All I asked from our pit crew before the race was 18 seconds of work. We train for hours and hours for just this circumstance and I needed for them to give me three pitstops at 6 seconds apiece - two down, one to go!"

Now that's a Triple-Down.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Graham Rahal as he follows TCGR's Tony Kanaan up the drag strip straight after exiting the Carousel turn during the early part of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)  

This excerpted and edited from Tribute Racing -

Dixon takes victory and championship after wacky race in Sonoma
By: Josh Farmer - AUGUST 30, 2015

After a two hour Wild West showdown, Scott Dixon eventually emerged as the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series champion after taking the win in the GoPro Grand Prix at Sonoma Raceway.

Pole sitter Will Power picked up from where he left off in qualifying yesterday as he jumped into an early lead over Josef Newgarden. The drama started early as the leaders made their first pitstops on lap 15. Newgarden came in right behind Power but was blocked by Power’s Team Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud as stopped right in front of Newgarden. Newgarden sped out through Pagenaud’s pit stall and only lost a small amount of time to Power.

Meanwhile, a few teams including Sebastian Saavedra and Marco Andretti, elected to roll the dice on strategy and stretch their fuel longer than the lead contenders before the lead cycled back around to Power on lap 25.

Penske Racing's Juan Pablo Montoya is running P4 on Lap 9 with Target Chip Ganassi's Scott Dixon closing in from P5 to track him down in the Bus Stop complex of turns. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

A yellow flag for Luca Filippi’s throttle failure on lap 33 brought the field down down pit road. At this point, Scott Dixon’s Target Chip Ganassi Racing pit crew saw that it was time to go to put their driver in position to take the championship and performed a trademark Ganassi pitstop to get the Kiwi to the front of the queue.

A number of drivers on an alternate strategy stayed out which put the drivers had been leading the race down the leaderboard. The race would get dramatic as Juan Montoya rear ended Power, damaging his front wing and bringing out a yellow while Tony Kanaan would take the lead.

Kanaan held the lead on the restart but the same strategy that put him in the lead took him out of it when he pitted on lap 51, which handed the lead over to Dixon.

With Montoya burried in the field, Dixon assumed the points lead and would need a clean final pitstop and no mistakes on the track. On lap 63, the crew did exactly that and was perfect while his closest rival Newgarden stalled on pit road, taking him out of contention.

With Dixon up front, Montoya’s efforts were beginning to shrink but drama involving his season long championship rival, Graham Rahal.

Rahal had been struggling to find the handle on his car for much of the day but found himself in seventh place, his hopes still alive.

His hopes came to an end when Sebastien Bourdais rear ended him at the end of the dragstrip and spun him out. With Rahal out if the picture and Bourdais assesed a penalty for avoidable contact, Montoya soon found himself in a tiebreaker scenario with Dixon.

He would still need to pass one more car to get the points lead: Ryan Briscoe.

Montoya’s black tires would seem to prove better than Briscoe’s red tires and he chopped a few tenths a lap off his lead while Dixon was smooth sailing up front.

Dixon crossed the line 6.1115 ahead of Ryan Hunter Reay and it was enough to take the championship as Montoya couldn’t get to Briscoe.
Hunter-Reay claimed his second straight podium while Charlie Kimball capped of the season with his third podium of the year.

Tony Kanaan claimed fourth and Ryan Briscoe completed his fill in duties for James Hinchcliffe with a fifth place finish.

Montoya would have to settle for second in the championship, followed by teammate Power and Rahal, who entered the race second in points. Helio Castroneves made it three Penske cars in the top five. A strong end to the season lifted Ryan Hunter-Reay to sixth in the standings while Josef Newgarden’s pit miscue dropped him to seventh in points.
(Reference Here)

The transporter for Penske Racing's Juan Pablo Montoya was located right across from the garage station of Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon. Here, Montoya is sitting on the stoop, watching the garage across the way (see reflection in mirrored door behind JPM). Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Sour grapes flooded the wine country racetrack's paddock area with the talk about the influence of having this race be awarded with twice the number of points given out for the results of the season finale race.

This excerpted and edited from STUFF -

IndyCar runner-up Juan Pablo Montoya questions Scott Dixon's series triumph
By: - Last updated 11:20, September 1 2015

IndyCar series runner-up Juan Pablo Montoya has questioned whether Scott Dixon was a deserved winner, saying the Kiwi had a "s**t" season.

Montoya was furious the crucial final race at Sonoma on Monday carried double points.

Dixon won, and his Colombian rival finished sixth at Sonoma, so lost the championship on countback [tie-breaker] after leading all season.

Montoya did not take it in good humour, lashing out at the post-race press conference.

"Dixon had a s**t season all year and had one good race, and we paid the penalty."

Montoya wants the double-points system reconsidered, though he holds little hope that it will be changed.

"We'll see if they [IndyCar] change it, but they like the excitement for the last race," he said.

"Is it fair? No, but we go into the last race of the year knowing it's a double‑points race.

"Is it fair for a normal championship? No, it's not fair, but it's the rules they want to play with, and if you don't like the rules, don't race."
"It sucks, but when you make the last race double-points on a road course and you change the tyre and you do everything you did for this weekend and you put so many variables, it doesn't even matter what you do all year."

Dixon, who was one of six drivers still in with a title chance, won the 2003, 2008 and 2013 series.

He has finished runner-up in the series twice and has been third four times in a 13-year IndyCar career.


Actual championship standings

1 Dixon 556
2 Montoya 556
3 Power 493

Standings without double score for Sonoma

1 Montoya 528
2 Dixon 506
3 Rahal 478

Standings with no double scores at all *

1 Montoya 478
2 Dixon 474
3 Rahal 448

* Montoya got double points for winning the Indianapolis 500
(Reference Here)

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Graham Rahal had a season for the ages. Driving the troubled Honda-powered and aerodynamically outfitted Steak 'N Shake Dallara, he entered the race just 34 points behind Juan Pablo Montoya in P2 and finished P4 in the season championship after his car was pushed off of the track by four-time champion Sebastien Bourdais. Here, Rahal finishes the Bus Stop complex of turns on his way to finishing P4 in the VICS championship. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

For Graham Rahal's part, he agrees with JPM on the assessment about double points being awarded for any race (from post-race transcript):

Q. Graham, Juan came in here and not a fan of the double points. He was not, at least. But aside from that, how do you think the championship from that standpoint is going?  Should they drop them from Indy or keep them just at Indy and drop them from the end?

GRAHAM RAHAL: I don't think any race should have double points.

Q. What about the double‑header part?

GRAHAM RAHAL: Those are two races. Just like Indy, why there's points for qualifying is stupid. I know what they're trying to do, trying to make it more interesting, trying to get everybody ‑‑ but everybody is already hanging out on the line, and all you're doing is benefiting the big teams. Like for instance, us, it killed us this year. Definitely is not to our advantage.

Obviously there's two sides to me here on this weekend because obviously if it had been single points or normal points, I'd have been in trouble. I think it made it interesting, you know, at the end. If I look, I finished fourth. If I'd finished one more position up, I think I would have tied Power for third and fourth, and obviously the No. 1 and 2 tied, and I think we would have beat Power on a head‑to‑head on a tiebreaker, I think. But it was interesting.

However, I don't think any race should be valued above another. I know people will say the Indy 500 should, but I think every race is equally important if you're looking at a championship. Anyway, just my take.

Just like we tried the double‑file restarts and all that stuff. We don't need gimmicks in this sport to make it exciting I don't think.
(ht: VICS)

The No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda Dallara driven by soon to be 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Rookie-Of-The-Year Gabby Chaves as it negotiates the Bus Stop complex of corners (with wheel up) at Sonoma Raceway during the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma season finale race. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Besides that it was a great day for Scott Dixon and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship, it was also a great day for Bryan Herta Autosport and their rookie Mazda Ladder Series driver, Gabby Chaves.

Post Race Press Conference:

GABBY CHAVES (No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins / Curb Honda): "It was a very eventful race for us. We barely made it to the start.

Actually we didn't even make the starting grid, so we started about half a lap back. We had a battery problem so that was unfortunate. We think we had the right strategy and had the right pace, but once we started being it was just like we didn't really know where to go and it was hard to get rhythm behind other cars that we were much faster than.

Twice we got caught out by a yellow flag, right as we were pitting and had to bail out from pitting. We obviously lost position trying to do that and screwed up our strategy.

It was just a rough day all around, but I think our pace is good and we have to work on a few things.

I am happy with the way our Bryan Herta Autosport team worked out this year and we couldn't do it without our sponsors, Bowers & Wilkins, Castrol Edge, Deltro Electric,, and of course having Honda in our car. It was a fun season and I look forward to what 2016 has to bring." (ht: VICS)

Scott Dixon signs a hat during the post race - post championship press conference. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Post Race Press Conference:

Q. You made both championship, first Champ Car and then IndyCar later on when it was founded. Is there anything in those championships from the technology point of view, you're very impressed, aero package, engine, whatever?

CHIP GANASSI: Well, I mean, all of it is. It's a matter of ‑‑ I think from our point of view, we're just the race team. I mean, we look at the rule book, this guy to my right and I, you look at the rule book each year and you figure out what the rules are, and you go out and try to win races with what the sanctioning body gives you, what the drivers give you, what the engine manufacturers give you, what the tires give you. You've got all these sort of inputs and you've got to take all those sort of inputs and you have to make something of it, and whoever makes the best of that package, whatever it is, is going to be the champion at the end of the year. And that's how it's been for every championship.

Each one ‑‑ none are the same. None of the championships are the same because the rules are different, a little different each year. The points systems are different. You know, the technology is different. We've done it with different engine packages, we've done it with different tires, we've done it with different cars and we've done it with different drivers.

My hat's off to Mike here on my right for putting the team together so many times over the years that just takes all these inputs that you have from different constituencies in the sport. In actual fact we have very little control ‑‑ teams have no control over the sanctioning body, we have no control over the rules, we have no control over the engines, we have no control over the tires.

We give our opinion, but I think rarely ‑‑ if we give our opinion, they do the opposite, you know. But it's just a matter of taking all those things that they give you and putting them in a ‑‑ I refer to it as baking the pie.

You put all those ingredients together and you put it in the oven and at the beginning of the season. You hope at the end of the season the pie comes out good, and fortunately it did here today.
(ht: VICS)

What a fitting end to an arguable Top 5 best ever competitive season, in the history of American open-wheel racing championship seasons.

With a "Triple-Down" strategy on 6 second pitstops combined with a "Double-Up" on awarded race points for bonuses and finishing place, we are able to crown and add a rare 4-Time open-wheel series champion through a tie-breaker, based on winning three races, during this 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship season.

BRAVO ... that was one great pie!

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, Scott Dixon, Sonoma Raceway, Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Mike Hull, Chip Ganassi, Juan Pablo Montoya, Will Power, Graham Rahal, Penske Racing, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, The EDJE, Josh Farmer, STUFF,  

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

GODSPEED JUSTIN WILSON - Video - August 24, 2015


With deep sadness, the parents of Justin Wilson, Keith and Lynne, his wife Julia, and his brother Stefan share the news that Justin passed away Monday, August 24, 2015 after succumbing to injuries suffered during the Verizon IndyCar event at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, August 23.

Justin was a loving father and devoted husband, as well as a highly competitive racing driver who was respected by his peers.

Race car driver Justin Wilson, who enjoyed success in multiple motorsports series (F1, ChampCar, Indycar, IMSA) during a two-decade professional career, died from a head injury sustained in the Verizon IndyCar Series ABC Supply 500 race Aug. 23 at Pocono Raceway. He was 37.

Statement on the passing of Justin Wilson - Art St. Cyr, president, Honda Performance Development

“To say that we are heartbroken over the loss of Justin Wilson would create the false impression that our pain is localized.

At a time earlier in the season, when we were in a continuing struggle to remain competitive in the Verizon IndyCar Series, Justin was the guy who WANTED to be with Honda, and he demonstrated that time and again. That allows you to take the measure of the man, and we will be forever grateful for his loyalty, and the gracious and gentlemanly way he represented our company, on and off the race track.

He was our friend, and our comrade.

All of our thoughts and prayers are for his wife, Julia, daughters Jane and Jessica; his parents Keith and Lynne; his brother Stefan; and his many friends around the world.”

Statement from race team Andretti Autosport - He was a tremendous racer, a valuable member of the team and respected representative to our sport. While Justin was only part of the Andretti lineup for a short time, it only took a second for him to forever become part of the Andretti family. His life and racing career is a story of class and passion surpassed by none. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the Wilson family and fans worldwide.

Motorsports Journal - So brutally sad to hear about the passing of race car driver, engineer, and great friend to most all he met ... Justin Wilson. May peace surround the fans, friends, & family Justin leaves behind.

In lieu of flowers and other remembrance, please consider a donation to:

Wilson Children’s Fund
4551 W. 16th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46222

Video from still photography from two races run in 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series. The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and the MAVTv500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

The main qualifying sequence was captured as Justin Wilson was set to make his qualifications run under the direction of IndyCar Race Control Director, Beaux Barfield. Asset Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)

... notes From The EDJE

TAGS: @justin_wilson #GodSpeed #JustinWilson, #indycar, #RIPJustinWilson, #imsa, #ChampCar, #FormulaE, #RestInPeace, #F1, #BadAssWilson, The EDJE