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MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on June 27, 2014 Comments (0)

We received many positive comments about Sandy’s Mille Miglia story. It certainly seemed a feast for all the senses and we thank Jonathan Kirshtein for his post. We have included the image which Sandy took of him and local Alfa enthusiast Andy Kress at the starting ramp. Jonathan lives in New England and this brings it all close to home. Le Mans is all over this issue. Denise McCluggage’s story this week is a personal reminiscence of her salad days with Ricardo and Pedro Rodriguez. As ever Denise finds a clever way to tie that into something meaningful today and how tempus has fugit.

Le Mans Redux

If you had any doubts about just how important this 24 Hour race is to manufacturers, check out the two videos produced after the race by Audi, the winners and Porsche, the losers. And please note the quality of the work.

F1 in Austria

Williams podium

A most entertaining battle of engineering subtleties, their effect on tires and braking and the drivers best equipped by their teams and best prepared mentally to win. Much is being made of the battle between Hamilton and Rosberg, and two more contrasting figures it would be difficult to script, but the weekend really belonged to the Williams Team. With help from a desperate Hamilton, they locked up the front row of the grid and their driver Valterri Bottas, the unassuming and very gracious Finn who finished third, made an indelible impression. He definitely has talent.

The new Red Bull circuit looks interesting and certainly is challenging for both the drivers and the cars. Deiter Mascitsch spent a fortune redoing it and bringing F1 back to Austria, and good on him. But one has to wonder why Turn 8, with its yards of painted surface is still pretty Mickey Le Mouse. I think F1 expects better. And while we are complaining, the ads on NBC S/N are also a pain in the driver’s seat area.

New Red Bull circuit

911 x 911

Adrianne Ross, Editor of The Nor’ Easter, the Porsche New England Chapter magazine, has reviewed 911 x 911, a new Bull Publishing book done in conjunction with Porsche. As she explains succinctly, this is a different take on the 911.

Affordable Classics

Any Enzo-era Ferrari with a racing history and less than 1000 brethren are destined to make auction numbers that are unaffordable for most of us. That is commendable, but it also takes them out of the let’s get out there on the winding cart path or the packed snow and kick the snot out of this thing class. Fortunately, there are still some great cars available for under $75K that can be driven the way they were meant to be driven without worry about whether the kids’ college tuition is on the line if you screw up. Alfas, BMWs, Morgans, older Porsches that don’t have special engines, a lot of these are still affordable to own and fix. Volante Classics (link) in Wilmington MA, specializing in these older affordable classics, is having an Open House at their new Facility in Wilmington on Saturday and Sunday. Stop by and take a look at their inventory and restoration facility. Hope to see you there.

Our images this week are from the Mille Miglia by Sandy Cotterman (below). 

Our Michael Furman image is that of a well-used Vauxhall hood. This is patina of the very best kind.

Michael Furman image of a well-used Vauxhall hood

IndyCars are at Houston this weekend for a double header.

Have a great weekend,

Peter Bourassa

The Mille Miglia by Sandy Cotterman

The Mille Miglia by Sandy Cotterman

The Mille Miglia by Sandy Cotterman

The Mille Miglia by Sandy Cotterman

The Mille Miglia by Sandy Cotterman

The Mille Miglia by Sandy Cotterman

My Word: Being 16 at Le Mans

Posted on June 26, 2014 Comments (1)

… and elsewhere.

by Denise McCluggage

A useful capability for those who write for “publication” on the internet is the ease of correcting errors, typos or the God’s-truth you just now discovered was really not true. Try to do that with a newspaper or magazine. Even then the internet’s first incorrect version floats its way through cyberspace in parallel inaccuracy to the corrected piece. Bother.

Alas, too often no one bothers to make the changes anyway. And because many Google-it, researchers on a hasty harvest of facts choose the first source they come to, they seed their new columns and articles with old errors. Thus do the weeds of inaccuracies proliferate and are blown farther afield.

(I’ll be getting to Le Mans soon.)

I think of my mountain-side house in Vermont where I lived with my heavy typewriter and a lighter cat and mailed (mailed!) stuff I wrote to editors in New York and elsewhere. I had to drive at least 30 miles to a library of any serious use where I fingered through card catalogs; lugged bound magazines to those things called “carrels”, or fiddled with microfiche in search of Facts.

Now in Santa Fe I stay at home office-chaired before a computer, which is quicker and grabbier than a host of human searchers, and dumps before me indiscriminate information with facts, factoids, suppositions, misapprehensions, simple blunders and purposeful lies. Some of these are recognizable to me for what they are. Some require more tracking and sourcing. Throughout I wonder if truth and accuracy are really better served than when I wheeled a Land Rover, yellow like a school bus, over snowed-on New England roads to Dartmouth or the University of Vermont campuses to a library where I could check things. Were facts a truer blue then for my efforts?

In any era, GIGO.

I was brought to this rumination by an article on the internet by a colleague of mine at AutoWeek—Anthony Peacock—whose name and writing I like. It was about a 16-year-old yclept Matt McMurray who this year, 2014, became the youngest driver ever to compete in the 24-hours race at Le Mans (aha!). I read it for several reasons: For one, to me 16 is an age larded with meaning. The difference between going to bed a child and waking up with the door swinging open to adulthood. Or, more limited to my gender but of significance as you shall see—the difference between wearing high heels or flat shoes.

Anyway it was I who at 16 one late summer day boarded a Union Pacific train in Topeka KS and click-clacked across half a nation to Oakland CA. There I disembarked more or less ready to begin my first of four years at Mills College, a highly regarded women’s college for which I had landed a scholarship. I had never been to California. I was all by myself. Alone. There was a war on, as we were constantly reminded, and common knowledge had it that the Japanese were certain to bomb the West Coast any time. People thought my parents were totally bonkers to turn me over to the Union Pacific.

The train rollicked about in its mostly forward intentions, but I walked the passageways secure in 16-year-old balance and my flat shoes. However before leaving the train at the Oakland station I changed into my high heels. Nothing extreme—just workaday high heels, for those who worked days and wore high heels. I think I could count on one hand the times I had worn such shoes, but I was being met at the train by someone from College. Childhood was over.

The image I have of my disembarkation was of my portable Zenith radio, at the time the smallest version of such devices was the approximate size and weight of a Buick battery, flying halfway across the platform. I had flung it thus when I caught one of the unfamiliar heels in the top step, ripping it off the shoe, scattering everything in hand and upsetting any hope of a near-adult’s smooth arrival. Luckily for me I was dumped into the arms of a handy and helpful Pullman porter on the platform.

He then helped me find the heel, collect my belongings and dig the sensible-for-a 16-year-old flat-soled shoes from my bag. Down a peg but no bones broken I proceeded to meet those from college—now without a capital letter—who were to meet me.

Thus 16 has been an age I pay attention to.

Almost fifteen years after that I was at Le Mans, camera in hand but also hoping to be allowed to race there the car I had been offered by Luigi Chinetti. There, too, was a pair of teen-aged brothers from Mexico who had the motor racing world agog with their good looks, keen spirit and uncommon talent. Ricardo at 16 was two years younger than his brother, adorable and spoke little English. Pedro, only a tad less dashing, had been to school in the United States and his English was fluent.

Ricardo Rodriguez Pedro Rodriguez

Ricardo (left) | Pedro and his little brother

I knew them both, raced at Nassau with them … was even photographed for Sports Illustrated with Ricardo. The title of the piece was “Look Who’s Racing” which meant a girl and a child. (Oy. What are we coming to?) Ricardo was also hoping to be allowed to race at Le Mans that year. Officials had dithered over his age despite his extraordinary experience.

When I spotted the brothers on the pit wall the day before practice was to start I had just come from the inspection site where I had watched Luigi plead my case to M. Acat, head of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, forever the race organizers. Luigi had some clout at Le Mans having won the race at that time more than any other driver (three). I watched him across the way, shoulders shrugging, his mouth shaping French words for this imperious little man before him who had a profound power over my life for the next few days. Camera or car. Then Luigi came to where I, unbreathing, awaited. He shrugged another shrug. “Monsieur Acat says, ‘This is an invitational race and we do not cho-o-se to invite women.” With Luigi’s accent it came out “sh-o-oes”.

Simple. No. You cannot race at Le Mans. Stock up on film.

I asked Pedro if he had a ride. Yes, he did. And you? No. Ah-h. He was sympathetic. And Ricardo? Head shake. Too young. So, said I: no women or children allowed. He laughed and translated for Ricardo, who smiled his so-sweet smile. After that all the weekend whenever he saw me he would smile it again and pipe in English: “No ladies or babies!”

The next year—1959—Ricardo was a year older and was readily accepted at Le Mans. I was still a woman and remained uninvited. The Rodriguez boys shared a 750 OSCA. A car like the one I was to drive in 1958. Through the years of my racing my being “uninvited” at Le Mans kept me out of a Briggs Cunningham Corvette and a Porsche factory drive there. Wouldn’t that have been cool?

Oh, dear. This piece seems to have become about me. Probably because I am writing it. But it was meant to be about a 16-year-old driving at Le Mans and Anthony Peacock writing about that. In Peacock’s article he said that Matt McMurray had supplanted, as the youngest ever to drive Le Mans, one Pedro Rodriguez who had previously been the youngest at 17 in 1959.

That was very un-Peacock. I’d always found his accuracy admirable. If he had just checked the Le Mans line-up for that year—available with a few clicks on Google—he would have seen that Pedro was driving with Ricardo. And quick click to the 1958 entries and Pedro was there with someone else’s brother: Jean Behra’s sibling Jose. No Ricardo as a starter in any car. Even if he had not known it was clear who was the elder.

I tried to email the author so he could use the internet’s post-publication ability to allow corrections, but when I searched for the story again I found another Peacock article about the youngest driver neatly correct to the right Rodriguez hermano—Ricardo—and his age now to the day (17 years and 126 days) compared to Matt’s (16 years and 202 days.) My colleague hadn’t disappointed me after all. (Check out his Mark Webber story and others on AutoWeek.)

I noticed two things. For one, the earlier Peacock story about the 16-year-old was still floating about with its error intact despite the new correct piece. And for another thing, according to my calculations, if the “no ladies or babies” rule had been overridden in 1958 by M. Acat—or the babies part at least—and Ricardo had been okayed to drive he would still hold the youngest-driver-at-Le Mans title. By 76 days.

But what if I’m wrong? (I don’t get along well with numbers.) Then I can chase all this down later with the “real fact” and have antithetical stories dancing together in the clouds. Facts may be facts but you can believe what you choose. Most everyone else does these days.

MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on June 20, 2014 Comments (0)

Michael Furman’s side view of a Bugatti T-46 Coupe, from his Art of Bugatti book, is our feature image this week.

Michale Furman’s side view of a Bugatti T-46 Coupe, from his Art of Bugatti book

A surfeit of events on TV kept us glued to the tube. Golf’s US Open, the NBA Spurs downing the Miami Heat, Soccer’s World Cup, and of course, Le Mans. What don’t they all have in common? That’s easy; only racing involves real personal risk. (Not, that falling down on grass and grimacing as often as soccer players do isn’t dangerous.) What do they have in common? That’s tougher; they are all entertaining. And until relatively recently that may not have been true. See our Le Mans story below.

This is a read and travel issue. I report on Roy Spencer’s MotorBinder book and the peripatetic Sandy Cotterman shares her Mille Miglia travel adventure and makes it bucket list attainable and desirable watching.

Electronic Book: The Last Open Road

Burt Levy

MMR friend and author Burt Levy has a very special offer for the first (and the best) in the Buddy Palumbo series of racing novels. You can’t beat this deal and his stories about the early days of US road racing are an addiction of which I am proud.

Le Mans

Tommy Kendall and Justin Bell

In conversation with Tommy Kendall, one of MMR’s adopted sons, at Amelia in the spring, something he said stuck with me. We were discussing what Fox might do with motorsports events other than NASCAR, and the role he and Justin Bell might play. He said he felt Fox understood that their broadcast had to be not just reporting but also entertaining.

We won’t even try to tell you what happened over the 24 Hours of Le Mans. By now you know that Audi again won overall but it was a battle for all 24 hours and both Porsche and Toyota also lead at some point. They’ll be back and rumor has it that Nissan will join the fray next year. The GT Pro class was won by Ferrari but it also was a battle. Aston Martin and Corvette both led and Aston won the GTE Amateur class.

Fox put together a fine team to cover the event. Dorsey Schroeder and Tommy Kendall added the depth of their experience and knowledge to the coverage and Justin Bell adds a refreshing dimension to what is a very long event.

The French will be French: One of the more enjoyable distractions from the actual 24 hours of racing is Justin Bell’s mingle with the crowds who come from all over the world to take in the event. Like many other racing events, Le Mans spectators often travel to it in groups. Bell revels in finding these groups, generally men, who have had a pop or two and who, upon seeing the camera, are prepared to behave badly for the folks back home. It should be noted that for all his angelic qualities, Justin Bell is the kid you knew in your teenage years who was consistently the center of trouble but was never caught. While around him, of course, you and others paid the price. He was the one your mother said to stay away from. Forward twenty years to Le Mans where this same character is protesting to the camera about being in a tough spot and needing to get away, all the while backing up with microphone and camera to find the most wasted of the group to interview. 

Grand Marnier

At one point, he finds a clutch of men wearing similar shirts at the Grand Marnier stand where the company is serving plain crepes and inviting patrons to help themselves to a little of their product from 40 oz. bottles on the counter. Encouraged by the site of Justin and the TV camera, one man abuses the privilege. He douses his crepe and then raises the bottle over his head and aims the spigot at his mouth. While a wide-eyed and smiling Bell watches, the man takes on board an illegal amount of Grand Marnier before the sturdy lady in a blue smock reaches over the counter, snatches the bottle from his hands and restores order.

Justin, ever the angel on the side of Justice (Justin is Latin for Justice) and Grand Marnier, attempts to bury the poor bastard and ingratiate himself with authority. He points to the man’s foggy noggin and in an accusatory tone tells the woman in French that the man is sick in the head. All fine except that the words he chooses actually informed her that the dumb bugger had a headache. TK was right. That’s entertainment!

F1 is in Austria this weekend. Next weekend is quite busy. Check out our MMR Motorsports Calendar and join us at Volante Classics Open House next Saturday.

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to share this with a friend. That’s how MMR grows.

Peter Bourassa

Sandy on Assignment: At the start... of the Mille Miglia

Posted on June 19, 2014 Comments (4)

By Sandy Cotterman, Motorsports Enthusiast

The 2014 Mille Miglia winners at the start to reclaim their 2011 title, Giordano Mozzi and Stefania Biacca driving an original Mille Miglia car, the 1928 Lancia Lambda tipo 221 spider Ca.Sa.Ro.

The 2014 Mille Miglia winners at the start to reclaim their 2011 title, Giordano Mozzi and Stefania Biacca driving an original Mille Miglia car, the 1928 Lancia Lambda tipo 221 spider Ca.Sa.Ro.

Who wouldn’t want to go to Italy… to watch the start of the Mille Miglia? When the opportunity presented itself to rendezvous with my daughter, I was thrilled with the timing. I was about to repeat last year’s adventure concept… motorsports bookends... the Mille Miglia on one end and Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on the other.

Today’s Mille Miglia is on many a bucket list. As a spectator verses entrant, there are huge differences in approaching this event, as one would expect. All the same, it was still exciting and a thrill to watch the field of this year’s 435 official entries go through the scrutineering and start day fanfare, before they actually took off on their four day adventure, the third weekend in May.

Brescia’s Piazza della Vittoria maintains its historical significance to the Mille Miglia.

Brescia’s Piazza della Vittoria maintains its historical significance to the Mille Miglia.

It all starts in Brescia, about an hours drive east of Milan, Malpensa being the airport of choice. Everyone discouraged me from renting a car in Italy, including my native Italian friends. Forget it! I had a blast driving the narrow hilltop roads and autostrade, during our two-week stay.

Brescia has a rich motorsports history starting at the beginning of the 19th century, as a hub for auto manufacturing and its Brescia Motoring Week and Florio Cup. Originally, hometown to the first Grand Prix of Italy in 1921, it was that event‘s organizer who pulled the rug out from under Brescia, quickly moving the event the very next year to a newly built circuit in Monza, establishing the Italian Grand Prix, as we know it today. The betrayal is what ignited the imagination of a small group of young sportsmen referred to in the history books as the Four Musketeers, Giovanni Canestrini, Aymo Maggi, Franco Mazzotti and Renzo Castagneto, to put together the Mille Miglia, in less than three months time.

Overlooking scrutineering at the Fiera di Brescia.

Overlooking scrutineering at the Fiera di Brescia.

First, for those of you who want to check this off your bucket list, here are a few travel tips. Arrive Wednesday morning, before Thursday’s start, and head directly to scrutineering at the Brixia Expo-Fiera di Brescia, a large exhibition venue, on the outskirts of Brescia. Bring, and I emphasize, bring your GPS from home, downloading Italy’s roads beforehand. A GPS is invaluable and costly, if you rent it at the airport, as we did. We walked right into the Expo and there before us were many of the classic and historic cars, plus a section of newer cars, all going through the paces of registration and technical inspection. I found it fascinating, a sort of history lesson, as all the cars were examples of those raced during the span of the event from 1927-1957.

A walk back in time, during registration and tech checks.

A walk back in time, during registration and tech checks.

Moving through scrutineering.

Moving through scrutineering.

This year’s official registration list noted 71 cars that had participated in the original races. Sixty four different marques would be arriving from 34 countries around the world, with the most, 113, from Italy. From the total 435 teams, 62 were composed of members of the same family, father and sons mostly. Thirteen female teams were listed, in addition to quite a few husband and wife teams counted in the family total.

Jay Leno and Ian Cullum at the start in a 1951 XK120 Sports Ecurie Ecosse

Jay Leno and Ian Callum at the start in a 1951 XK120 Sports “Ecurie Ecosse”.

We got to meet and talk with a few owners; otherwise most of the cars were unattended. This was the best opportunity to take time and look over the cars without competing crowds. Outside the hall, Jaguar Heritage Racing with their ten celebrated 1950s models and celebrity drivers were milling around. Jay Leno, who commented that he favors the XK120 era and his co-driver, Ian Callum, Jaguar’s design director, would drive one of the Ecurie Ecosse race cars. Andy Wallace, ex-Jaguar Le Mans winner, whom I cheered on at Goodwood last fall, was there to drive a famed 1952 C-type. The celebrity list of Jaguar drivers was impressive.

This first early afternoon, at the Expo, was also an excellent time to make souvenir purchases, without crowds. At this point, I will mention that the Mille Miglia, like my recommendation for the Goodwood Revival, is an excellent trip for spouses. There are so many opportunities for shopping, eating, sightseeing, and wine tasting… after the car enthusiast gets his or her fix of the cars.

The Bentley Driver’s Club in Sirmione, a favorite stop for car club rallies during the Mille Miglia.

The Bentley Driver’s Club in Sirmione, a favorite stop for car club rallies during the Mille Miglia.

Accommodations for the Mille Miglia were tricky, yet they need not be. I asked friends who had participated in prior years and got an excellent recommendation to stay at the Best Western Master in Brescia. Jaguar thought so too, as the Jaguar Heritage team was also staying there! Unfortunately, the prices are so inflated that it’s hard to recommend actually staying in Brescia. Like the original races, promotion and tourism are still key objectives of the event.

Following the start and a spin through the streets of Brescia, the cars work their way up to Lake Garda and the quaint touristy town of Sirmione, no more than 45 minutes north. They drive through the entire town and historic section. It would be my recommendation to find a hotel in Sirmione. We followed our two-night stay in Brescia with another two in Sirmione with rates about two thirds less, and directly on the lake.

Thursday morning, we noticed cars beginning to park near the race start, so heading back into Brescia from Sirmione for the entire day may be just as realistic as staying in town. You may not even feel the need to be at the start, which for spectators means lining the streets and watching the cars zoom by. Heading back to Sirmione around 3pm, in time to line its streets, might be just as exciting.

We were told that Thursday before the start, the museum, Museo Mille Miglia, hosts a pre-race diner for competitors. Knowing this, we adjusted our Thursday itinerary to arrive at the museum shortly after it opened at 10am and took our time. If you are driving to the museum you will have to be creative in parking. We saw a line of newish Ferraris parked along a chain link fence across the street from the museum and tucked right in. In hindsight, they were probably part of the Ferraris doing drives as a Tribute to the Mille Miglia!

The museum is situated inside the Monastery of Saint Eufemia, a beautiful building with historical significance itself, built in 1008. Opened to the public in 2004, you step back in time, not only into the history of the original Mille Miglia but the entire Italian social and political culture of those years, with multi-media displays and historic cars creating a sense of being there. Written in Italian with English translations, the museum book is an excellent walk through each individual year with a concise summary of the road infrastructure challenges and petrol and tyre rationing, facing the 1947 start up after the war and seven year pause of the event, as well as the final demise due to a tragic accident and unsuccessful attempts to sustain itself afterwards.

Italians Francesca Grimaldi and Lucia Fanti in their XK120 OTS Jaguar maneuvering the narrow streets off the Piazza, before they take off to victory in the female team division.

Italians Francesca Grimaldi and Lucia Fanti in their XK120 OTS Jaguar maneuvering the narrow streets off the Piazza, before they take off to victory in the female team division.

German’s Peter and Dr. Claus-Peter Amberger in their 1928 4.5 Bentley fight the crowds out of the Piazza towards the start.

German’s Peter and Dr. Claus-Peter Amberger in their 1928 4.5 Bentley fight the crowds out of the Piazza towards the start.

I find the tidbits of history fascinating for this event. Initially it was meant to be a one-time race. More of a shot in the arm for the Italian people, especially Brescians. A sporting event on local roads which would not only capture the spirit of sports car enthusiasts, but would hopefully inspire technological innovation from the auto industry and road improvements. The route was determined to be half of Italy, Brescia to Rome and back… 1600km, or 1000 miles, thus the title, Mille Miglia.

This event spawned the pleasures of grand sports motor touring that many of us enjoy today.

At high noon on Thursday, the itinerary calls for the cars to congregate in the Piazza della Vittoria, the location where pre-checks were moved to in 1932. One must keep in mind, the original Mille Miglia was continuous. Stopping only for fuel and repairs. The 1927 first place winner, in a hometown manufactured O.M. (Officine Meccaniche), clocked in at a total time of 21 hrs, 04 mins, 48 secs. Today’s event is actually a four day regularity run.

At the Piazza, you get the same sense of these cars as you do when the Pebble Beach cars end their road tour in Carmel… pandemonium. When you think about it, like Pebble Beach, these are million dollar cars, just parked for mobs of onlookers to see… and admire. That is another very nice thing about this event. It’s approachable for the public at no cost other than getting there.

Another recommendation is to make lunch reservations at one of the local restaurants just off the Piazza when you arrive race day. It takes the edge off things, when everything gets crazy at lunchtime. We actually didn’t do that, but there was a silver lining. While walking out of the city towards Viale Venezia, the start, we remembered friends mentioning they sat at a cafe on the street and watched the cars go by. We caught a late lunch and got to watch them, presumably en route the Museum tour and dinner.

American co-driver Mark Gessler, president of the Heritage Vehicle Association, in an original Mille Miglia Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 GS Zagato accompanies Manuel Elicabe to a stellar 11th place finish!

American co-driver Mark Gessler, president of the Heritage Vehicle Association, in an original Mille Miglia Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 GS Zagato accompanies Manuel Elicabe to a stellar 11th place finish!

About an hour and a half before the 6pm start, we were front and center, a coveted location we were thankful to secure as media guests. We made friends with our media mates on either side of us. Everyone was staking out territory for the perfect shots. To be honest with you, the most interesting shots are more likely back at that little café along the roadside. Every inch of road is a good spectator spot to watch the Mille Miglia, so don’t worry... you’re so close you can do a high five with the drivers if you want!

We admired every driving team for undertaking the journey. It was fun to have spotted the winning teams when they were driving in the Piazza before the start and to have caught a glimpse of most of the cars as they rolled up onto the start stage.

On the lawn at Pebble Beach in 2013 to the start of the 2014 Mille Miglia, Tony Shooshani is all smiles in his 1921 Alfa Romeo G1 with driver Craig Calder.

On the lawn at Pebble Beach in 2013 to the start of the 2014 Mille Miglia, Tony Shooshani is all smiles in his 1921 Alfa Romeo G1 with driver Craig Calder.

And off they all go…

And off they all go…

Mille Miglia logo

When I see the red arrow, a logo they say has been around from the beginning, it will forever draw me in because there has to be a fantastic story behind who’s wearing it or sporting it on their vehicle, even if they were like me… a spectator. It was magical just being there.

MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on June 13, 2014 Comments (0)

In keeping with MMR’s tradition of supporting readers who indulge themselves at every given opportunity, we remind all that this Sunday is Father’s Day. A word to the wise man; if your plans include treating yourself to a good book, good food, and affordable wine in copious amounts in the name of Fatherhood, we urge you to consider that in itself, fathering is not so much an accomplishment. The achievement lies in surviving its byproduct, the children from whom you are expecting a thoughtful gift. Don’t expect them to buy you a good motorsports book. It isn’t going to happen. So take care of yourself. This week’s highlighted resources from our Goods and Services Directory feature some interesting reads. And here is where you can really shine. After you have purchased the book and just before you plunk down a C note for that box of backyard cigars, see that some flowers are delivered to the Memsahib. She probably made Father’s Day possible for you.

We review the Canadian GP in Montreal and preview Le Mans which is this weekend. Several short weeks ago we changed over our winter tires to summer and we were trying to figure out just how to read the code on the tires that indicate when they were hatched. Denise McCluggage’s story about tires is a timely review about an important and expensive part of our drive that some of us take for granted and most drivers completely neglect. 

Silver Arrows

Our featured photographer this week is MMR’s old friend Royce Rumsey’s Study in Silver. 

Our Michael Furman image for this issue is the cockpit of a 1936 Delahaye 135 GP race car. It is probably not your resident mental image of a Delahaye, but you won’t be disappointed in this basic racer version. See more of his work in his Gallery or at

Michael Furman photograph of the cockpit of a 1936 Delahaye 135 GP race car.

F1: Canadian GP – Montreal

By all accounts, neither the City of Montreal nor the F1 race disappointed. We didn’t attend and regret missing the parties but we did watch it on TV and everyone seemed to agree it was an interesting race. Despite their massive support in Montreal, Ferrari didn’t really have an impact and neither did McLaren. But, Red Bull and Mercedes did. It is too easy to say that the race was competitive because of the failure of technology at Mercedes. As enthusiasts we learned a few new interesting aspects of these cars and drivers. For one, we learned that the mighty Mercedes team were vulnerable, not only to hardware failure but also from an engineering point of view. Everyone knew that this track, with its long straight and relatively slow corners was tough on brakes. The new hybrid power system calls on the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) to slow the car through the drivetrain. Like downshifting. Mercedes felt that would be sufficient and ran smaller than permitted rear brake discs to save weight. When the KERS system failed, they ran out of brakes in the rear. Larger discs would not have solved the problem but they would have helped. 

Brake problems

Full credit to Rosberg who out qualified his teammate, and then, from the moment he had car problems ran hard and smart to salvage a second place. Vettel, who finished third to Ricciardo and Rosberg also showed grace and maturity in his post race interview. Next, we knew that drivers sometimes were obliged to reboot the computers, or more likely reprogram the drive settings, while they were racing. And we learned that some of them are better at it than others. Force India’s driver Sergio Perez, for instance, is not particularly good at it and it took him longer than others to change the necessary settings, costing him time and positions on the track and possibly contributing to his ill advised block on Massa that cost them both points-paying positions in the race. And it could be a clue as to why McLaren dumped him. Who says F1 is boring?

Le Mans: le 24 Heures du Mans

Stake out the couch, pile up the heart arresting, life shortening goodies, and a sleeping bag and tell everyone to close the doors to their room. Coverage begins Saturday at 6:30PM ET and Sunday at 1:00 AM. WOW! Will you be popular!

Le Mans: 24 Heures du Mans is the European equivalent of the Indy 500. Both get weeks of hype and special days to introduce the cars and the teams to the public. In the end, what was once an endurance race, as in will this bloody thing last is now a 24 hour sprint, as in foot to the floor for 24 race. Audi have dominated it in recent years with only a few Peugeot interruptions, to the disappointment of the French. Porsche had a stranglehold on it for years before they did.

The evolution of new engine and aerodynamic technology has presented an opportunity for car manufacturers to showcase their engineering talents and this year both Porsche and Toyota have joined the fray. Audi are there but hardly mentioned. Toyota have won the first two races of this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship and they are looking strong for Le Mans where they qualified 1-2. Now begins the race of tactics.

Around the Newsstands

Classic and Sports Car did an interesting three-way comparison between a ′66 327 Corvette, a ′63 Jaguar XKE and a Toyota 2000 from the ′66 to ′70 period. Thought provoking read.

The June issue of Sports Car Market surveys some of the better known participants in the auction/collection game expounding on current market pricing and whether it is a justified trend or merely a bubble and when/if Chicken Little Syndrome will kick in. As you know, we don’t cover auctions here because so many people, like SCM, do it so much better. But because our MMR Goods & Services Directory deals daily with sales and repair outlets, (we have 2800 suppliers in the Directory) we can tell you that these quickly rising prices are affecting several sectors. For dealers, buying cars is getting tougher and tougher as nobody who can afford to wants to sell a car today that could be worth appreciably more in several months from now. Correspondingly, major used parts for older cars are also rising in price and being withheld from the repair shops for the same reason. As with everything else, where you stand on this issue depends on where you sit. For the average enthusiast, this is a game being played way beyond their ability to compete. While there is some comfort in seeing appreciation for the car you have been maintaining and enjoying for several years, if you are not planning to sell it, you are simply a spectator.

Have a great weekend.

Peter Bourassa