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Posted on October 31, 2014 Comments (0)

Actor David Niven’s excellent biography was entitled Bring on the Empty Horses. It was a quote from a European film director to the English speaking crew of a Western he was shooting. At this point in the season, I feel that is where we are in the remaining F1 races.

F1

Hamilton and Rossberg

The US GP is this weekend. It is hard to imagine that except for a handful of F1 drivers, most have no commitment to putting it all on the line for their team. Mercedes have won the championship but only the battle for the Drivers Championship is ongoing. Many have been critical of the “trick” double points final race in Abu Dhabi, but that is all that is keeping things interesting in the race for the Drivers Championship. Rosberg could finish second in the next two races and still win if Hamilton’s car failed in the final race. Stranger and far less pleasant things have happened in the final races for former Formula Drivers Championships.

On the Constructor Championship side Mercedes and Red bull are one-two and that will not change. The battle for third between Williams and Ferrari is still alive and with a little luck Williams could reap a massive payday.

Marussia Formula 1

Speaking of F1 and money, both Caterham and Marussia appear to be in financial difficulty and neither will make the grid for the US GP. Force India and Sauber appear to also have financial difficulties. Save Ferrari-Fiat, Mercedes, and Red Bull, who are not in it for the money, Williams are the inspiration of remaining small teams. They may actually do well financially this year. Keeping them all alive is Bernie Ecclestone’s job and credit where credit is due, he has been doing it for years.

NASCAR

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Racing at Martinsville’s half-mile oval for NASCAR’s Sprint Cars was once likened to flying fighter jets in a gymnasium and the track never fails to produce a rash of hard feelings. Finishing unscathed is a miracle and winning is pure luck. Dale Earnhardt Jr. earned his first Martinsville Clock, the winner’s prize. Unfortunately he is no longer in the “Chase” for series Championship. He finished just ahead of teammate Jeff Gordon, who is one of the “Final Eight” in the Chase and would have been guaranteed to advance to the “Final Four” with a win. Other than the driver of the car that survives to win, few ever leave Martinsville happy.


Michael Furman photograph of a 1914 American Model 642 rear wheel

Our Michael Furman image this week is from his recent book Bespoke. Editor Dom Miliano reviews the book Michael wrote with Randy Leffingwell entitled Porsche Unexpected.


Denise McCluggage joins us again this week with an entertaining tale about the remarkable BMW i8.

Denise McCluggage My Word, BMW i8


COTA is a great track for F1 so enjoy the weekend.

Don’t forget to share us with a friend and encourage them to subscribe to the MMR Community Newsletter on our website.

Peter Bourassa


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on August 15, 2014 Comments (0)

Porsche 917

This is our final issue before Monterey and it turns out to be heavily weighted to Porsche. In Monterey, we will attend the introduction of two new Michael Furman books, Bespoke Mascots and Porsche Unexpected. We will report on both these books shortly. 

Michael Furman image from the Simeone Foundation’s The Spirit of Competition and is their 1975 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33

Meanwhile our Michael Furman image this week is from the Simeone Foundation’s The Spirit of Competition and is their 1975 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33. Stare intently at those exhausts and you can just hear that 2L V8 engine screaming around the Targa.

This week’s The Weekly Leek is a dramatic and amazing revelation from Germany’s Porsche marketing.

Speaking of Porsche, This week’s MMR Goods and Services Directory offering is UNBELIEVABLE! Don’t wait on this one because there are not many left and we think it is the most important Porsche Racing piece we have ever offered.

Tony Stewart

Our Racing essay this week is about the Tony Stewart incident at Canandaigua and the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen.

If you are at Monterey say Hi (508-932-7362). If not, have a great weekend and remember that IndyCar are at Milwaukee this weekend.

Peter Bourassa


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


5 Cars by John Vogt

Posted on February 14, 2014 Comments (0)

John Vogt, principal at High Marques Motor Cars in Morristown, NJ is this week’s contributor to our “Five Cars” feature. His selections, while purely personal, are based on his many years of buying and selling exotic cars as well as his experience serving as a coach to clients who are growing their car collections. 

Number One – The top of my all time list is the Porsche 997 GT3 and the GT3 RS. I drove a GT3 RS and a new McLaren back-to-back at Monticello Motorsports Club and the Porsche spanked the McLaren! It's the finest tool in the toolbox. On the racetrack, it does everything it’s supposed to do at half the price (of the McLaren.) It takes a beating and says, “Give me more…”

Porsche GT3

Number Two – The Ford GT is my number two pick. It’s really a Saleen that pays homage to the GT40s of old. It's an amazing piece of machinery with quality and drivability that’s off the charts. Plus it has lots of upside potential so you can, basically, drive it for free.

Ford GT

Number Three – I call the BMW Z8 a Cobra in a tuxedo. It’s proving to be an appreciating asset as well as being a great car to drive. It’s not a racecar. Rather it’s a great back roads car with a rip snorting V8 that lets you fly under the radar.

BMW Z8

Number Four –In my personal garage, I have a Porsche 993. But any one of the cars from that model, whether it’s the C4S, C2S or 993 Turbo, will be a great drive and an appreciating asset. These are the last of the hand built Porsches with the great air-cooled engine sound. By the way, the Turbo has astounding power without all of the electronic nannies in today’s cars. When you drive it, you feel like your going faster than you actually are—a wonderful experience.

Porsche 993

Number Five –You have to have something Italian in your dream garage. It’s like a beautiful Italian woman slapping you, and you say, “Do it again!”

For me, the Ferrari 458 is the best Italian car out there today. It almost has Honda-like maintenance (almost), an F1 transmission that, finally, works well. It’s rattle free, beautiful and nearly (nearly) bulletproof. Ferrari really got it right.

Ferrari 458


5 Cars

Posted on February 6, 2014 Comments (0)

By Adrianne Ross

Adrianne Ross is the Editor of the PCA North East Region’s monthly magazine the Nor’Easter, and a frequent contributor to the MMR Newsletter. Here Adrianne shatters the myth that Porsche owners have little interest in other cars. Her position offers her the opportunity to drive many new cars and she has offered to share with us her thoughts on her favorites. We think you may be surprised and a tad envious.

While some of the best cars on my list are Pcars, sadly the top of the list… isn’t.

And so, here in black and white, is my top 5 list of the best drives I’ve known.

Five – is the Ferrari 599 GTO. Yup 5. It’s half a million dollars worth of completely stunning, and completely unreasonable. This one is in the top 5 (representing almost all Ferraris on my list). I’m not really a Ferrari girl (but I’m learning). I’ve driven a few, and when I’ve said to Fcar enthusiasts, “I don’t like the shift.” They tell me it’s supposed to feel that way. This car is all animal… feral animal. It’s fast, it makes an amazing noise, and if you’re not grown up enough to deal with it, don’t get in one.

Ferrari GTO

Ferrari GTO 2

Four – the Lamborghini Gallard. This car makes it on aesthetics almost alone. It’s a crazy pretty car. The Lambos on a racetrack make for an unparalleled picture. It’s raw, the seats feel like one layer of leather over carbon fiber, and it’s planted and fast. I wouldn’t throw one out of my garage.

Lambo Gallard

Three Porsche Panamera. Go to your dealer and drive one. I guarantee you’ve never felt anything like it. It’s not a 911, and it’s not a GT3, and it’s not meant to be, but every model goes over 150MPH—in a sedate sedan. It’s comfortable, elegant, sophisticated, and I could sit in California traffic all day in this thing. You can drive it with 2 broken arms and legs; it’s that smooth. I never wanted to leave.

Porsche Panamera

Two the Porsche Cayenne. I took my Cayman into the dealer to have recall work done and I got this as the loaner. When I got back to Porsche, I started talking about buying one. The 2013 model of this car brings over the cockpit of the Panamera, with a big screen for directions, and enough buttons to make you feel like you’re in an airplane. I like buttons. I like them to heat my seat, cool my seat, navigate through traffic, and the big red one that says “sport.” This thing moves. Plus it tows 7500 pounds. That’s more than enough for one race car and an open trailer.

Porsche Cayenne

One – The McLaren MP4-12C. The happiest car in the world. They smile, have you ever noticed? Now, what I like about how this car drives was a recent argument with a friend, so I’ll lay it out, then you can know which side you’ll take.

McLaren

Him: “The car is too computerized; it’s not raw enough.” (He’s a Ferrari guy… you can tell.)

Me: The McLaren’s response to the driver feels like an extension of the driver. It’s not me and the car, it’s us, like a Borg, “We are one.” A flick of my pinky raised a response from the front tires, and it took me a solid 10 minutes (much to my passengers chagrin) for me to figure out how to brake without giving us both whiplash. In the end I hovered my foot above the pedal, and just imagined braking, and the McLaren responded; with a grace and style I’ve never experienced. The interior is comfortable. It’s not cushy, but it’s not stiff. It’s well equipped with nav, and a radio with more than one option, and it’s big enough to suit my 6’3” passenger. The scissor doors garnished a good deal of attention at the gas station, and the way they open is sublime. Nope—I’m not telling. It’ll sound weird, and it’s something you just have to experience.

On the highway, I burned through gears with lightning speed. It felt like lightning too, you didn’t know exactly what happened, but you were completely electrified. “I don’t have enough bail money on me for this!” my passenger warned. My mind flashed to the stack of credit cards in my wallet, but I relented.

I drove it in automatic through some small Massachusetts towns, because I wanted to focus on the car, and not shifting for slow traffic. Which leads me to one of the best experiences in the car. At a sustained 25 miles an hour through town, it had shifted, (I think), into 4th. As I braked for the lights 50 feet away, the car downshifted. That’s what it’s supposed to do, right? But on each down shift, 3…2…1… it blipped — RAWR! Shift. Rawr! Shift. rawr. Shift. Three engineered, completely unnecessary, wonderfully acoustically aesthetic, nerve tingling blips, at 15 miles an hour. Each one perfectly smooth, with just enough bump to let you know it happened.

You should have seen the grin on my face.

A very long time ago I went to my first autocross. “How fast did you go?” people asked. And I said I didn’t know but it felt FAST. I just wasn’t paying attention to that aspect.

When I told this story about the McLaren, someone asked if I got a lot of looks, or stares at the car. You know what? I have no idea. I was so engrossed in the experience of this car that I didn’t notice, and that’s never happened to me on the street before.

Supercars are built for speed, and experience. Some people want a raw, unadulterated, undomesticated experience. I’ve discovered I like the engineered, refined, cultivated experience. Someone at McLaren got it exactly right… just for me.