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MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on March 28, 2014 Comments (0)

This week we cover the final day of the 2014 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. As ever, the event was memorable and we hope we have conveyed the experience that awaits those of you who have never been. Consider driving your favorite vehicle to Amelia next year.

Brett Lemoine, MGB enthusiast, member of The Boston Cup management team and budding photographer won our Amelia Photo Contest and several of his images are featured this week. Brett wins a copy of Michael Furman’s most recent book Automotive Jewelry. Congratulation Brett! Well done!

Denise

Denise McCluggage thanks you all for your good wishes and advises that she is getting stronger by the day. Her comments last week on the “green drive” in F1 struck a responsive chord.

Peter Brock writes:

Denise… what a fantastic, beautiful column on F1. Bravo! The incredible stupidity of trying to cram opposing philosophies into a subject like racing started creeping into our sport a few years ago when the ALMS tried going green… It’s never been satisfying and the additional effort to make it all “fair” by “performance balancing” has made it even worse. Since when is it right to penalize success for superior skill, strategy and innovation? Your coda on hearing really made a point as well… I’ve lost about 40% of my hearing, so your comment on hearing aids really resonated… what I miss most is music. Best, Peter Brock

Brian Redman writes:

Great article Denise! Costco have great hearing aids—under $2,000 for the pair! All the best, Brian

Evi & Dan Gurney write:

Hello Denise, we read your perceptive and beautiful piece on the present Formula 1 scene, could not agree with you more but cannot express it as nicely as you did. Lots of love, Evi and Dan

On that note we ask: Is it unreasonable to believe that the F1 establishment is terrified to hang its existence on the fact that F1 could be ENTERTAINING! Must racing have a redeeming social value to survive? 

Racing on TV

2014 Moto GP First Race – Yes! The Doctor IS in the House! At a night time race in Qatar (WHY?), Marquez and Honda won but the veteran Valentino Rossi was a close second on a Yamaha GP bike that was definitely not as quick as he made it. These guys really race.

NASCAR at Fontana. The Auto Club Speedway is a joke. IndyCar are courting a disaster if they go back.

F1 resumes at Malaysia this weekend and IndyCar is at St. Petersburg, Florida for their season opener. Check your local listings for times.

Last Week’s Leak

Several of you commented on the part of the Road to Amelia Article that mentioned the WASRED Ferrari’s leaky Targa top. A friend wrote:

Cars that leak in interesting ways can be entertaining. I think it was my black TC that dripped dripped dripped on my right foot. Then it would suddenly pee in a steady stream. Then nothing for a while. Could never figure out its pathway though.

BMW at Amelia

BMW was the dominant factor at this year’s Amelia event. The Gooding’s Auction offered a brace of them from a private collector, the Calder BME car that began the whole Cars as Art series was there. On Friday they offered a relatively small dinner to honor David Hobbs, one of their most successful drivers. See Dinner with Heroes. On Saturday, several of their successful ‘80s race cars dominated the Cars & Coffee event and on Sunday the same cars drew just as much attention. Bravo BMW! And thank you for doing it.

Your assistance is requested to grow our readership. You are our greatest source of new readers. Please share this with a friend and consider subscribing so you never miss a newsletter.

Have a great motorsports weekend.

Peter Bourassa



My Word: F1 – The Green Flag Falls

Posted on March 20, 2014 Comments (0)

By Denise McCluggage

It is St. Patrick’s Day as I write. I see green things around me never meant to be green—beer and bagels. Then I am struck with an “aha” moment. On the weekend I saw something like beer and bagels that was also never meant to be green: A Formula 1 Race.

If a race were meant to be green there’s a simple way to assure that it is—don’t have it. If you’re planning an intimate party, don’t rent Yankee Stadium. What is it, I wonder, about “antithetical” that the FIA doesn’t understand? A selection of wheeled objects on which lots of money, engineering brilliance and time were expended and a season of races planned as far distant as they can be one from the other to decide which of these costly objects can go faster than the others. Beautiful in its simplicity, if not egregious in its expense.

All this is created so as many people as possible can pack into their own wheeled objects and get to these venues to watch the purpose-designed wheeled thingies perform. All the time hoping that as much noise of a pleasing din level can be made for their near-pain pleasure. Has anyone asked if this is socially desirable or in the best interest of humankind?

Hardly relevant, really. If a foot has been set on the path it is too late isn’t it? And cannot something be soul-satisfying without having redeeming social virtues? Like racing has been for most of us forever. Wasteful, pointless, marvelous and fun. Rationales have been created—improvement of the breed etc.—but racing doesn’t really need them. After all it’s hard to overcome the simple fact that the start line and the finish line are the same. That’s important, isn’t it? But if you wish you can point out the rear-view mirror was invented at Indy in 1911. Breed improvement rampant I’d say.

In all this did someone this year actually say, hey wait. F1 must be meaningful. F1 must act in the interests of frugality and fuel-saving technology. F1 must express relevancy to our time.

Why? Really. Why?

We are talking about F1 which is an embodiment of one Bernie Ecclestone, the very essence of excess. What’s relevant to Bernie is money. That’s why and how F1 exists. Who sold him on this social relevance irrelevance? Green is meaningful to Bernie only in stacks of bills. Was it Jean Todt? Crikey, I knew that guy would get up to nonsense if given half a chance.

Anyway on that March weekend of Australia I watched some boy racers do some fine things in the uncertainty of a new scene in new tools. And I saw some veterans get shat upon by those same tools. I suspected it would be entertaining to see who would literally and figuratively be up to speed in the new Formula. Though I would have just as soon given them all a pre-season opportunity to do their learning and make their adjustments so we could then get to racing right away in its simplest form of comparing speed to speed.

The FIA has its ways. Sigh. Complicating matters is a favorite.

And such high tech ways of doing it. Take regeneration. As Henny Youngman would say: “Please!?” What F1 needs is new ways to heat things up, produce smoke in odd places and at odd times. Collecting expended energy seems to do that. C’mon. Stop it. RACE!

And if you want to limit the fuel cars use (to interfere with their actual racing) just give them some barrels of it and say that’s it. No, the team engineers are too clever. They’ll find fiddle factors and ways to create an advantage. So make them eye-dropper the fuel out over time. Make them use FIA meters which don’t work properly and keep the metering out of the control of drivers. Why should racing drivers have control of their race cars? They’ve been giving that up for years.

Which brings us to Daniel Ricciardo and his second place finish. And don’t cry for him, Australia. He did finish second. You all saw it. The charming glee on the podium from the young newcomers (Magnussen was a trip, too) was refreshing and very good for F1 racing. That moment cannot be erased. It was real. Oh, the points can be erased and were. That’s what the FIA does hours after the fact. That’s why it is called organized racing.

But that performance cannot be erased. Racing occurred, a result resulted and we cheered it. An adjustment was made (open to readjustment) and we readjust to that, but that is scorekeeping. Not racing. Scorekeeping makes championships possible but that is an adjunct to racing. Racing is what happened and so congratulations to Danny Boy. Celebrate. So you are less likely to be champion this year but you may have beaten the guy who will be. While racing.

And the silly eye-droppering of fuel which mattered more to the green foolishness of the FIA than the racing stole the day. Perhaps I should be cheering the FIA’s earth-saving efforts to be bolstering to the planet. I have my own preference (for diesel power and algae-based fuels—but not necessarily for racing). Saving the planet isn’t a bad idea. I simply see the FIA efforts as insincere, misplaced and antithetical to what F1 is truly about—racing.

Green is the “go” flag. Other than that, forget it.

As for the sound of F1, I’ve lost any facility to judge that. I certainly liked the scream of the old cars though I knew it to be dangerous. I never wore ear protection when I was racing, so now I have over-priced under-performing hearing aids and say “huh?” a lot. Once your hearing is compromised that’s it. Be warned. Certainly protect the kids. Then go sit on an amp at a rock concert if you wish. But trust me, you won’t like the outcome.

Hearing aids are not spectacles for the ears. They cannot “improve” what you’ve lost. Hearing aids will fill your head with raucous noise at the expense of genuine sounds. Music is different, voices are different, engines are different. Lament the change in the new F1 engines but that’s going to change for you anyway with time. Simply hearing it will change it.

The decision is yours. Be thoughtful.


Australian GP: What we’ve got here is a failure… of technology

Posted on March 20, 2014 Comments (0)

The first F1 race of the new era and the year has concluded. Or has it? As they say at the horse track, the previously formidable Red Bull team did not win, was kicked out of place and probably wished they hadn’t showed… up.

Mercedes, who were impressive in pre-season testing, took the pole and the win in different cars. The pole car failed. Red Bull took second for a little while. Then we learned that while their technology worked, it didn’t conform. Driver Daniel Ricciardo was stripped of the position. That meant that second and third fell to McLaren, whose Lazarus-like resurrection from F1’s graveyard was really the only feel good story of the day. Ferrari, from which much is always expected, fell short again. While both cars finished in the top ten, it was not a glorious beginning to their season.

Despite all this, it was a rather entertaining race. And for many fans, that may be in part because the very heroes who failed have made F1 races a bit of a parade for the past four years. Vallterie Bottas, the young Williams driver, was fun to watch as he climbed up and down the positions ladder finished a surprising fifth despite losing a wheel and Nico Hulkenberg hounded Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso all afternoon to finish sixth.

The only real winner today was Mercedes. Although they could claim credit for supplying engines to the top three cars, the pole winning Mercedes engine failed. Nothing is perfect in paradise.


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on February 7, 2014 Comments (0)

This week’s images are from the recent Cavallino Classic Sports Sunday at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach and were shot by our Florida Correspondent Leslie Allen.

MarAlago Overshot

Buano

Aston

Denise McCluggage Sets the Tone for Thinking While Driving.

Thanks to FCA – New England, Aston Martin Owners Club and the Alfa Owners of New England clubs for getting the word out to members about The Centered Driver Workshop. The event was sold out. Read our wrap-up.

Racing…

F1 - Caught with their Parts Down, Red Bull… First to Blush: The teams all had their first run out of the box at Jerez. Mercedes looks good, Ferrari looks indifferent, and Renault appears to have all kinds of problems. Stay tuned, early days yet.

Sebring Logo

Sebring 12 Hours: Tudor Sports Car Series the next Big Bore Race. Very much like Daytona, this is a terrible race to watch on TV. BTW, Kudos to the announce team at Daytona and hopefully at Sebring. They make it hugely better. Bravo!

A Street is not a Road… and Neither is an Oval

Miglia Logo

The first European racing courses were laid out on roads, not always paved or even graveled, generally between towns. As roads got better, the dangers of racing multiplied for both the thrill seeking drivers and the thrill seeking spectators who crowded the roads to get closer to the action. At some point, the roads became loops and the races became laps. Then some form of barriers kept the spectators from crowding the cars, even if little prevented the cars from crowding the spectators. It could be assumed that Europeans wanted to get closer to the action because they got to see so little of it. Events like the Mille Miglia allowed whole towns to see the cars go by once and if you were car mad that could be frustrating. Crowding a car at the apex of a turn became the equivalent of teasing a bull to charge your cape just to see how close you could bring your hip to pointy horn. The disaster at Le Mans in ‘55 heightened awareness among promoters that spectators needed better protection or they might stay away. Little was done about driver safety until the ‘70s because they were more easily replaced.

Damn Few Died In Bed by Andy Dunlop

Early on, American racing history took a different turn. Small ovals, some banked and others banked and made of wood, allowed spectators to see all the cars all the time and although single-seater racing was equally deadly, spectators were generally safe and because it paid well, drivers were more easily replaced. (See our review of Damn Few Died in Bed in the Racemaker Press Book Reviews.)

After WWII, as speeds around the racing world increased and the sport of motor racing became more popular, more purpose-built facilities materialized and some weekend racers became full time racers. Racing on abandoned wartime airfields was a perfect English solution as these locations were paved, had existing infrastructure, and could make for quite safe racing. With a few notable exceptions such as Monza, the French, Germans, and Italians continued to race on closed off roads at Le Mans, The Targa Florio and the Nurburgring. Compare what these guys are doing at the Nurburgring in The Speed Merchants with any three minutes of the 24 hours of Daytona. Buy this video and relive.

The continued popularity of the streets of Monaco, which is not a particularly good race track, has always appealed to promoters happy to disrupt metropoli across America with promises of huge crowds of consumers in exchange for a free track and local TV coverage. In reality Street circuits, (as compared with road courses) such as Baltimore, Toronto, Long Beach and Three Rivers only look Like Monaco from 30,000 feet or higher up. Down on the ground, the bumpy cement barrier bound lanes and twenty foot high catch fences make every corner exit look like a prison break.

Then there are the neither fish nor fowl “road course” tracks like Daytona, Indy, Fontana, and numerous other ovals. These have all paved unimaginative flat turns deep in their bowls and produce, at best, tedium. Bring back road courses like Lime Rock, Watkins Glen, and Laguna Seca.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Peter Bourassa


Jag


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on January 10, 2014 Comments (0)

Our images this week are by Sandy Cotterman. And so is the main story!

Cadillac! Oh Cadillac! – Where Art Thou?

Thank you all for your candid remarks about the new Cadillac. One is lead to believe that, by and large, most people WANT Caddy to be competitive with the Euro cars but feel that although they have made excellent progress, they are not yet there.

Going Once!... Going Twice!... Yawn…

Things are about to start happening. The Daytona 24 Hours is on for the end of the month. Check the MMR Motorsports Calendar for details of other events. Friends in Scottsdale are looking forward to a new show next week and, of course, the auctions. The Arizona Concours d’Elegance has limited its field of entrants to 77 for its inaugural event. Good beginning and good luck. The absence of agreeable weather and car events for over two months is what draws people to Arizona now. The world of auctions has split into two camps: Bonhams, Gooding, and RM on the snooty Sports and Classic side; and, Barratt-Jackson, Russo & Steele, Mecom and the remainder on the old American iron team.

Auctions, once held in barns and parking lots are now TV entertainment. To his profit and credit, if that is what you take for this, Craig Jackson has made buying or selling a car in front of thousands of strangers entertaining… to a degree. I freely confess that in the beginning I was as glued to it as everyone else. Initially it was all about looking at real cars and the anticipation of the next car on the ramp that I hadn’t seen in 40 years or more. But when, not many years later, the hammer fell signaling the sale of the 20th “rotisseried” Camaro SS of the weekend, or a similar amount of ‘64 Ford Galaxy 500 convertibles with 390 Automatics and chromed undercarriages, I plain lost interest. To me it is about the cars and when all the cars are all the same and all better than perfect, there is little appeal. The only intriguing cars remaining in that show are the hot rods and even they are beginning to look “assembly line”. The Bonhams, Gooding and RM side will sell vehicles that were interesting from birth. Theirs, not ours, and sadly, they won’t be televised. What’s wrong with this picture?

Sandy on Assignment!

This week we feature a story and pictures we saved for just this issue. Sandy (as in: on Assignment) Cotterman, our intrepid globetrotting reporter attended the 2013 Goodwood Revival last fall and shares her story and pictures with us. Read the story and tell us if you would like to go next September. If there is enough interest, perhaps we can put something together with one of the touring companies listed in the MMR Goods and Services Directory under Specialty Services.

Sandy Cotterman

Screaming Down the Years

Check out this week’s video. We haven’t featured it in a little while. Thank you Shell.

From the If we waited any longer they would be reports not predictions! Department

Some folks take longer to think than others. So, at long last, some thoughts on F1, IndyCar, and the Tudor Sports Car Racing series. Take your time, share your thoughts and have a great weekend.

Peter Bourassa