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MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on June 4, 2015 Comments (0)

British Beauties at the 2015 Greenwich Concours, by Dom Miliano

Welcome to June! The month named after the Roman goddess Juno, wife of Jupiter, who gives the Northern Hemisphere its last gasp of spring and first taste of uninterrupted warmth. This is the month of 24 Hours of Le Mans. Depending on which you favor, our multi-disciplined sport has several “Greatest Race of the Year” designations: Indy, Monaco, Daytona 500, and 24 Hours of ..., all qualify to someone. We believe that from a historical viewpoint alone, Le Mans is the best. Check our MMR calendar below and reserve a spot on your couch. This year promises an interesting battle between Porsche, Audi, and Toyota.

2015 Le Mans Test

Our lead image this week comes from a class winning Lancia Aurelia at the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance last weekend in Greenwich, CT. It was shot by editor Dom Miliano as were the bulk of the images in this issue. You can view more images by clicking here.

A reminder that Father’s Day is not far away and we will be making not-so-subtle suggestions to be passed on to the appropriate members in your family.

F1 in Montreal

Canada GP

An exciting and excited city will have another wonderful party to support a race at a boring track. Another, “track of convenience”, the service roads of Île Notre-Dame are again pressed into service for Bernie’s Boys. Unlike the truly challenging sections on other public roadways turned temporary racetrack such as Eau Rouge and the Mulsanne Kink, Montreal features the Wall of Champions. Yes, a concrete barrier parked perilously close to an exit on the last corner before the start finish line, and where a number of drivers have crashed, is its main feature. Brilliant! 

The truly exciting “feature” of the Canadian GP is Montreal itself. The women are beautiful, the old city is historic and charming, the restaurants are wonderful, and the city goes nuts for F1.

Tips: Access to the track is via an excellent Metro system. Though organizers graciously sell “open” tickets, there are no “open” viewing areas and assigned seating at the track is a must. “Open” tickets are only good for access to the vendor area and for “hearing” race cars go by. Consider buying tickets for Friday’s practice and Saturday’s qualifying. On Friday you can move from grandstand to grandstand as they are hardly full. Qualifying is different, as it is well attended.

What do Detroit and Boston Have in Common?

IndyCar logo

At the moment, not much. But in 2016 they will both offer an IndyCar race in parts of their city which are little cared for at any other time. Belle Isle is a lovely green island park straddling the cities of Detroit, MI and Windsor, ON in the middle of the Detroit River. The track is a combination of concrete slabs and asphalt on what are essentially the service roads of a public park. Last year’s race, in the dry, showed the track to be a bumpy mess and the race became the poster child, along with Baltimore, of where not to run a race.

This year, the two races in two days, was far better. Despite the rain, which shortened the Saturday race and precipitated crashes in the Sunday event, the racing was very good and neither the Penske nor Ganassi teams exerted their usual dominance. In point of fact, Roger Penske, who is the guiding light of this event had a horrible Sunday when two of his cars, with help, collided, and Indy winner JP Montoya ran out of gas on the last lap. Andretti Motorsports had a good weekend, finishing 1-2 on Saturday and 5th on Sunday. This was also a good weekend for Graham Rahal, who crashed on Saturday and finished third on Sunday. And also for Honda who finished 1-2 in the first race and 2 thru 9 on Sunday. Carlos Munoz won the rain shortened Saturday event and Sebastien Bordais won the Sunday race.

Pardon Our Lack of Enthusiasm

Boston, despite its global image of an old ship, Harvard Yard, and uptight Yankees, possesses a varied and active motorsports community. The advent of very successful Boston Cup and the continued efforts of the very active lawn show season at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum have proven that it can support a major motorsport event, and it would appear that its time has come. 

In many ways, New England motorsports fans are blessed. We have the aforementioned Boston Cup on Boston Common, NH has the NHMS oval and road course in Louden and now has a NHRA sanctioned track, CT has Lime Rock Park and all its rich history of major races, and the CT/MA borders share Thompson Speedway with its 75-year-old oval and its newly reconstituted road course. Tamworth NH is home to what will shortly be a beautiful mountain track called Club Motorsport, and Palmer MA has recently opened a track that has been very highly rated.

So let’s talk about the Seaport District of South Boston. Across the Boston main Channel from Logan Airport, it is an inhospitable piece of flat land that the city and private developers have been trying to promote as a modern living space (on the water and close to downtown) for a number of years. In an effort to bring activity to the area, it is now the home to the Boston Convention Center, the Institute for Contemporary Art and a number of high rise hotels and restaurants. Now it has an IndyCar race.

Our feelings about street races are known and, were there no options, we might even be mildly supportive of this effort. But so far the hype has all been about how much money this will garner and how many hotel rooms will be sold. Strictly from a racing point of view, which is what enthusiasts tend to want, not much is being offered. If the history of street racing in North America is a guide, our expectations are very low.

Michael Furman – Photographer

1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Torpedo, by Michael Furman

Our Michael Furman Image this week is a detail from a 1928 Mercedes Benz 680S Torpedo from his book, Automotive Jewelry.

Our Classic Classifieds Feature Lamborghinis

Lamborghini Muira SV

The Markets continue to rise and while current owners of every older car are presently looking satisfied with themselves for owning an investment of seemingly unstinted growth; some are growing faster than others. For Lamborghini, this is boom time. The new Huracan is a huge success and has a long waiting list. Older, previously less appreciated models are also growing but not as quickly as Ferraris. Is this an opportunity. Perhaps.  Check out this week’s offerings. With Audi backing and engineering behind it, Lamborghini looks to have a bright future that will reflect well on its past models. These are worthy of consideration while they are relatively affordable.

This Week’s Video is a Message from the Henry Ford Museum

Lotus-Ford

One car and one race changed Indy car racing in America forever. The car was a rear engine Lotus 38, the motor was by Ford and the race was the 1965 Indy 500 won by Jim Clark. But the death knell for front engine roadsters was sounded four years earlier when Jack Brabham introduced his rear engine F1 Cooper with a modified F1 engine to the Indy 500. By the time Clark won, there were only six roadsters that qualified for the race. But Clark’s win was huge for European chassis manufacturers and for Ford who had backed the project. Watch this video and learn which other driver, an American, was instrumental in making it happen:

Vintage Racing at Thompson: June 18 thru 21

Three days of VRG and VSCCA racing at Thompson Speedway, 45 minutes from Boston.  Drop us a line if you have an interest in going. If enough of you want to go on Saturday, we will speak to the track about parking together. Check them out online at thompsonspeedway.com

Next week is our Father’s Day Gift Guide Edition. Have a great weekend.

Peter Bourassa
Publisher


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on May 28, 2015 Comments (0)

Monaco – Indy – Villa d’Este Results

Ferrari 212 Europa

The Memorial Day weekend races dominated the TV screens of America but for New England enthusiasts a pair of happy events meant more. Internationally, at Italy's Villa d'Este Concours d'Elegance, Essex Ma. based Paul Russell & Co presented a 212 Vignale Coupe and won the Trofeo BMW Group Classic award. The award is the jury’s choice for the most sensitive restoration. The 1952 212 Europa, Vignale Berlinetta is owned by Bradley Calkins of the USA. The car is stunning. Congratulations to all involved. The remainder of our eye candy also came from Villa d’Este. Thank you BMW for sponsoring this superb event. On the racing front, New Englanders were absorbing the news, announced on Thursday past, that Boston will host the final race of the 2016 IndyCar season. We have mixed feelings. Read on McDuff and tell us what you think.

F1 Monaco: Rosberg wins – Mad Max Steals Hearts!

Lewis trails at F1 Monaco

Lewis Trails in Third

When enthusiasts tire of the beautiful setting, the beautiful boats, and the beautiful people, there will no longer be a race in Monaco. Long recognized as the most exclusive tax haven in the world (rumor has it that citizenship applications require proven assets in excess of seven uninterrupted digits), its days of hosting a truly competitive F1 race are in its distant past. Its crowning achievement is its downfall. This is the only F1 track in the world where excellence is demanded because there is literally no room for error. Yet the entertainment of racing consists of high speeds and errors, forced and unforced, which allow pressing and passing and in a word, entertainment. Hamilton proved the rule; he qualified best and would have won but for an error by his pit which caused him to lose. Sad for him but good for racing. On purpose-built race courses such as Laguna Seca or Silverstone, or the long course at Nurburgring, or road courses such as Spa or Le Mans, where houses and harbors do not inhibit passing, Hamilton may have had to defend, take chances, make errors and oblige his fellow competitors to do the same. Not so at Monaco. He had the fastest car, and all he needed do was be in front and not make errors.

But even a parade needn’t always be a bore. A comparison could be made to the historic 1981 Spanish GP at the narrow and twisty Jarama circuit. Ferrari driver Gilles Villeneuve (See Villeneuve’s 5 greatest races) qualified seventh in the Ferrari 126CXK, a powerful car with atrocious handling. He dubbed it a “big red Cadillac”. He was third by the first corner. Villeneuve passed the second place car on the opening lap and later, when race leader John Watson made a mistake, he passed him to take the lead. For the remainder of the race, without blocking or weaving, he held off competitors by placing the car in situations that discouraged his competitors from passing. It was brilliant driving. The first five cars crossed the line within 1.24 seconds.

Lewis is still scratching his head - what happened?

Lewis Still Scratching His Head - What Happened?

Sunday’s race, which for television purposes focused primarily on the leaders, was simply another high speed parade. Two exceptions that kept it from being a complete bore were, one, the pass for the lead that took place while Hamilton was in the pits. As a result he came out of the pits with eight laps to go, superior tires, and a superior car to Vettel’s Ferrari but couldn’t pass him. Makes you wonder what Villeneuve might have done. And, two, Max Verstappen. His pass on Maldonado on lap 6 was brilliant, and gutsy. It reminded us of Villeneuve. Later on he crashed while trying to pass the other Lotus driver, Romain Grosjean. Verstappen said Grosjean eased off 10-15 meters early. The telemetry didn’t support that. Grosjean actually braked later. Max VerstappenBut young Max was caught short of room when he decided to pass on the right while sitting too far to the left of the Lotus. Prior to that, after in the process of allowing Vettel to lap him, Max tucked in behind the Ferrari and taking advantage of the blue flags that waved other drivers aside for the faster Vettel, he thus slipped past Sainz and Bottas. But it was a short lived tactic once word got back to the pits. Clever though. My guess is that the Montreal fans will love this “special” kid (Mad Max?) when he arrives at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the Canadian GP in two weeks. As for Hamilton, it had to be a huge disappointment. And there were probably several ways to handle it. He was perfunctorily correct. His teammate rival was also in an awkward, though happier, situation and acknowledged same. But grace under pressure continues to elude Hamilton.

IndyCar Indianapolis 500: Penske – Ganassi Driver Wins!

Montoya on podiumThe major difference between Monaco and Indy is striking. At Monaco, the leader into the first turn generally wins the race. At Indy, the car leading the last lap generally loses. On this Sunday, both proved untrue.

Fifteen years ago, 24-year-old Juan Pablo Montoya won the Indianapolis 500 for Chip Ganassi’s Target Team. On Sunday, 15 years later, he won it again. This time for Ganassi’s arch rival, Roger Penske’s Verizon Team. In the meantime he has spent time with McLaren in F1 and struggled for seven years in NASCAR. When Ganassi cut him loose from the NASCAR team last year, it would have been easy to believe that at 38 years of age, he was done. And JPM, whose reputation could be considered mercurial at best, found little sympathy. But Roger Penske, against whom he has competed in both the old Champ Car days and currently in NASCAR, called him and offered an opportunity, not in NASCAR, but in IndyCar. He jumped at the opportunity to come back. It was a mellowed and thankful JPM, surrounded by family, who accepted tributes in the winner’s circle. A pleasant change from the combative and often surly demeanor he has presented over the years. The new Juan Pablo has been a strong addition to the Penske Team and this win for Montoya was validation of his worth. Possibly even in his own eyes.

An aside: The race was between these two major Chevy teams, and for the third IndyCar race in a row, the first single car team was the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda powered team with driver Graham Rahal who finished fifth, is fifth in the points standings, and the leading American driver.

The final five laps were frantic as Will Power, Montoya, and Scott Dixon swapped the lead 15 times in five laps. It was ballsy racing and damned dangerous too. But they trusted each other and each knew when to give up a little space and so it all worked out. This is what racing is all about.

Michael Furman – Photographer

Michael Furman, photo of 1995 Porsche Carrera RS

Our Michael Furman image is of a 1995 Porsche Carrera RS from his book, Porsche Unexpected.

Featured Video

This week's featured video is our interview with Hugh Ruthven from The Finish Line — importers of the Chapal line and other “best in class” vintage style driving gear. Enjoy!

Our featured Classified Cars

Spring time and the open road beckons. What better way is there to enjoy this most-special of seasons than in a new-to-you classic car. Maybe even a convertible. Check out our picks in the  MMR Classifieds.

The MMR featured product, from our  Goods & Services Directory, is the Classic Bell-Chapal helmet from The Finish Line.

Peter Bourassa
Publisher


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on December 4, 2014 Comments (3)

Racing is over in the countries where winter has sway but in the land down under, the V8 Supercars are getting ready to roll. We are looking into it and will post their events on the MMR Motorsports Calendar when we have the information.

Once the holidays are behind us January will launch the MMR Community into the concours and auctions season. January in Scottsdale will be busy with both and our MMR Calendar below will give you an overview. As we get closer we will give you some idea of our plans to attend events in the new year.

F1. The Season that Never Ends

While American F1 commentators waxed rhapsodically about how exciting the past season has been, close to a million of the 5.3 million Germans who watched it in 2013 tuned out. Their country produced the team that won the Manufacturers Championship and the only serious contender for Driver’s Championship other than the British winner! In the US meanwhile, F1 popularity is reportedly “exploding”. Most of us would prefer our excitement to come from closer racing on the track than the game of “Angry Teammates”.

Meanwhile, back in the back room, the big boys are trying to figure out how to (1) divvy the loot so that more than four teams can compete all the time and making certain that their crown jewel, Ferrari, doesn’t implode or (2) figure out how to get Bernie and CVC to kick back some more of what they take out.It ain’t gonna be easy folks! But it may be more entertaining than watching another season of Mercedes domination and Ferrari in the doldrums.

Luca de Montezemolo, former Ferrari Chairman, now heads Alitalia Airlines. His replacement at Ferrari, Sergio Marchionne, has replaced recent Team Principal Marco Mattiacci with Maurizio Arrivabene (pictured). He has F1 political experience which is something neither his boss has, nor his predecessor had. Which probably explains exactly why he is there. This is no longer a game of technology and small fast men and increasingly boys.

F1 Engines

The F1 engine issue has yet to be resolved and only concessions to the agreed upon existing formula by Mercedes can change the deal. It is their edge and, understandably, they have little interest in change. New entry Honda is not constrained by this agreement and comes in with a clean slate. Question is, can their engine be more competitive than those produced by others? Based on results of the original outing at Abu Dhabi, they have a ways to go. And one must keep in mind that Honda’s historical commitment to F1 could only charitably be viewed as consistent. They once fielded a team, then they supplied an engine, then they fielded a team again, which is now the Mercedes team, and now they want to field an engine, again. And BTW, Honda car sales, in an up market, are down.

2015 IndyCar Schedule Released

Progress is being made at IndyCar. Though having next season end in August remains incomprehensible, not having it end at the dreaded Fontana track is a bonus. Sadly it remains on the schedule. Someone of influence obviously has power over good sense and is also not a driver. Verizon remain the series sponsor and the Penske team will run four cars in 2015. Simon Pagenaud will drive for them. That will be interesting to watch as he and now teammate, and former close friend, IndyCar Champion Will Power, will share the same equipment. Power is also rumored to have less than warm relations with often affable and often surly but always competitive and quick-tempered teammate, Yuan Pablo Montoya.  Montoya is a modern AJ Foyt. That leaves the aging but still quick Helio Castroneves, who gets along with everyone, as Power’s likely lunch companion this year. This will be a tough team to beat and neither Ganassi nor Andretti Racing looks to be their match. On the positive side, unlike F1, there are a number of small teams that can give the big boys (read money) a run on any given day. More on Indy in future weeks.

This week’s Michael Furman Image is a Porsche America Roadster from the book Porsche Unexpected.

Our Eye Candy is from editor/photographer Dom Miliano’s collection.

Our feature story is the first in a series of stories about sports cars of the sixties and this week’s chosen favorite is the Sunbeam Tiger.

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to encourage friends to subscribe to our Newsletter.

Peter Bourassa


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on August 8, 2014 Comments (0)

Monterey Draws Nigh

Monterey

This week’s eye candy is from Monterey’s Concorso Italiano in 2010. As I look back at them I am not certain I actually took these pictures. One clue is that I appear in one of them. If these images look familiar to you, dear reader, please drop me a note and we will happily give you full credit anon. 

An 11-minute Alfa video feast from Pebble Beach Concourse (turn the sound way up), was shot by Bill Leatherman for MMR in 2010. They are Grand! And the final minute is worth the wait.

Michael Furman Photography - Porsche 356 dashboard

Michael Furman’s image this week is of a Porsche 356 dashboard.

The Weekly Leek: European Correspondent Oofy Prosser Reveals Stunning News from Ferrari’s Past!

Evans Coolant

Evans Coolant

Last week’s Goods & Services directory link to Evans Coolant drew an interesting response from MMR Newsletter reader John Gallagher and it is reprinted in part here. Your thoughts on this topic, particularly if you have specific knowledge or experience with the subject, are welcomed.

Strategy, the Intellectual Aspect of Racing

It is generally recognized that while most top race drivers, with some notable exceptions, are equally gifted regarding the physical parts of driving, not all are good strategists and few, if any, are when beginning their careers. The concept of saving fuel or tires or, the engine itself, is not natural to people who simply want to go fast. In my sports car racing days when races were 20 laps, at most, my sponsor’s strategy was simple. “Go fast” he would say, but quite intensely, and that seemed uncomplicated and plenty good enough direction for me. It also occurred to me that as a strategy, it was probably universal among my competitors and not likely to provide me much of an edge.

Scott Dixon

Last Sunday’s IndyCar race at Mid-Ohio was a race determined by strategy. Last place starter Scott Dixon was the first finisher. And that happened for three reasons: one, he had a fast car; two, he is a very good driver who knows better than most how to go fast and save fuel; and three, someone in the pits put the first two together and figured out a fueling strategy that allowed him to continue on the track while others were refueling and then stretch what little fuel he had to the end. Actually, the end plus 300 yards, which is as far as he got before running out of fuel. This was a great race on a beautiful road (not street) course, with people sitting on the grass of the hills overlooking the circuit. Perfect. The competition was good and the race entertaining.

But the winning was the result of racecraft, something we referred to last week in relation to F1. There was a time when racecraft in IndyCar appeared to be owned only by the Penske squad. That stemmed from Roger’s early racing years when his interpretation of rules often gave his cars, particularly in Trans-Am, an unfair advantage. Truth is that his real advantage was his ability to interpret the rules, prepare meticulously, demand excellence from all around him, including suppliers, and seemingly always have top drivers who followed orders. Plus the simple fact that he was and is basically smarter and more experienced than most of his competitors.

Chip Ganassi Team Racing

That sounds like a simple strategy but many of Penske’s competitors didn’t or couldn’t employ it and he won. Not that he wouldn’t take advantage of the rules if he could, but in today’s spec engines and chassis racing series, there are fewer opportunities. He doesn’t go through the we learned a lot today stuff. He learned it a long time ago and prepared for it yesterday. 

Michael Andretti

Chip Ganassi and Michael Andretti have learned how to be the same way and the Penske advantage has been somewhat neutered.

The sports cars from the Tudor United series are at Road America this weekend. Locally, the BMW people take over the lawn at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline.

Peter Bourassa

Monterey Field

Monterey

Monterey

Monterey

Monterey


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on April 18, 2014 Comments (0)

Amelia Island 2014

100 years of Maserati was celebrated at Amelia this year and we captured this image of the unique 450S Coupe as it was moving to take its place on the field. 

Our eye candy this week is taken from the MMR Classifieds. Our goal with the MMR Classifieds is to save you the trouble of sifting through thousands of images of vehicles. We will list 400 cars that are of interest to us. The sampling below should give you some idea of what to expect. 

Next week we begin our series on modern day rally-touring. The Michael Furman image was taken from his gallery on our site.

Horch 853 Cabriolet

Horch 853 Cabriolet

Around the Track

Sometime in the 1960s, a Canadian bass-baritone was singing the role of bad-guy Scarpia in Tosca at L’Opera in Paris. It was one of those nights when two other leads, the good guys, were just slightly off. He was fine. At the end of the second act Tosca stabs Scarpia and he falls to the floor. In the moment of silence allowed for the audience to appreciate the drama of the scene, a voice from the audience was clearly heard to say “Quel domage, ils ont tue le meilleur.” What a shame, they killed the best one.

We were prescient; a head did roll. The noble Domenicalli, Director of Ferrari Racing, has accepted full responsibility for Ferrari’s poor performance and resigned. Quel Domage. Stefano, who appeared to be a warm and funny man, was certainly a refreshing change from the sphinx-like Jean Todt. For that matter, Sir Frank and Sir Ron could hardly be described as cheerful. The former Mercedes duo of Ross Brawn and Norbert Haug never threatened Laurel and Hardy either. Must come with the territory.

Aston Martin DB 2 MK III

Aston Martin DB 2 MK III

Penske vs. Ganassi Battle on Track and Off

It was inevitable. Two great teams go head to head in multiple series for years and sooner or later one is going to say something nasty about the other. Surprisingly, the first public utterances come from the polished Penske team. Before the Long Beach IndyCar weekend, which neither team won, Autoweek reports that Tim Cindric, President of Penske Racing, “tried a baseball analogy, making those in Ganassi colors see red. He said Team Penske is the New York Yankees and Ganassi Racing the Miami Marlins.” Ganassi responded that “from time to time Tim probably cashes lots of different checks in different currency that Roger doesn’t like cashing.” The sphinx-like Roger said not a word. Comes with the territory.

Allard K1-544 Sport

Allard K1-544 Sport

Long Beach Weekend

Saturday: The Tudor Sports Car Series race was the main event and even though the classes are still confusing, the racing was great. The final laps were flat-out racing in both the prototype and the GTLM production car classes. Ford Eco-Boost powered Riley with Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas won for Ganassi in Prototype. In the GT Le Mans class Corvette won overall but the battle for second between another Corvette, the BMW, and the Viper was tremendous. It is amazing and a testament to the excellent work that IMSA has done to make cars as disparate as these so competitive with each other.

Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Torpedo de Lux

Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Torpedo de Lux

Sunday: The IndyCar feature race of the weekend was “wild”. Many harsh words exchanged but no fisticuffs and cars did collide; people who know better made dumb moves. And, while everyone talks about Ganassi and Penske teams as the powerhouses, it was the Andretti car driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay that led 51 laps and was followed by a second Andretti car driven by James Hinchcliff. Unfortunately they took each other out. Unkind words were spoken. So none of the big teams won. As for the race, it was excellent! Like most street tracks, Long Beach has issues but the pluses outweigh the shortcomings. The fact that the field is so deep, talented, and competitive makes for great racing. Amazingly, running a single car doesn’t appear to be a disadvantage. Single car teams made up the front row. Ed Carpenter Racing and driver Mike Conway won the race. It was fun to watch. The fuel and tire strategies, the quick young drivers and experienced veterans, a tight course with no run-offs, are the ingredients required for laughter and tears and there was plenty of the latter. If you are looking for an exciting change from F1, give this a try.

And, BTW, pass this on to a friend.

Peter Bourassa

1938 MG TA Tickford

1938 MG TA Tickford

 1932 Delage D8 SS Interior | Michael Furman, Photographer

1932 Delage D8 SS Interior | Michael Furman, Photographer