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Posted on February 26, 2015 Comments (0)

Baillon Collection, Sandy Cotterman

F1 Update

Mercedes F1 testing

One final test session to go and things appear to not have changed very much from where 2014 ended. Mercedes remains the quickest with Williams not far behind. Ferrari looks to have made strides and Red Bull, saddled with the once formidable Renault engine, hasn’t. McLaren remains an enigma. Last year, with the best engine available, their chassis was too weak to allow them to be competitive. The new Honda engine, despite rumors of its great potential, hasn’t been on track long enough to assess. When they have sorted it out, and if they have resolved their chassis issues, they may be great. There are big “ifs” in McLaren’s future.

Morgan Engines

Buick 215 V8

With just scant mention of the V8 powered Morgan came a brace of reader emails. All pointed out that the engine began life as an aluminum Buick and Oldsmobile 215 CID engine offered in ‘61 thru ‘63 Skylarks, F-85s (some turbo-charged) and in a small quantity of Pontiac Tempests. Over 700,000 were produced from 1960 thru 1963. GM stopped production because warranty issues were making them too expensive. In 1965 GM sold the tooling for the engine to Rover. Retiring Buick engineer, Joe Turley, moved to the UK to help solve its issues and thus began a long and fascinating life for this castaway that saw it win two Formula 1 world championships, race at Indy, and power a host of other interesting vehicles on and off-road. Read more.

Michael Furman – Photographer

Michael’s image this week is the 1965 Ferrari 250 LM 6107, which was shot for RM Auctions.

1965 Ferrari 250 LM 6107, photographed by Michael Furman

Sandy On Assignment: Sleeping Beauties

Baillon Collection, Sandy Cotterman

Sandy Cotterman attended the sale of the Baillon Collection at Retromobile and brings an interesting, even emotional, perspective to the sales of this long neglected collection. Looking for a broader view of Retromobileclick here for Sandy’s 2014 Retromobile story and images.

Featured Classifieds

Standard Catalog of Ferrari 1947-2003, by Michael Covello

Mike Covello’s excellent book, Standard Catalog of Ferrari 1947-2003, put this car in context. The Lamborghini Miura was already out and Ferrari would soon introduce a mid-engined boxer, this front engine V-12 was the last of the “true Ferraris”. Long hood and short rear deck, the 365 GTB/4 made a statement. Road & Track called it “the best sports car in the world, or the best GT. Take your pick.” Detractors say that at low speeds it requires muscling. Admirers say that at sixty and above it is a dream. Either way, it is a beautiful and powerful car and this week we introduce you to four of them in three different colors presently stabled at Autosport Designs on Long Island. This would seem to be an appropriate time to pick a color and cut a deal.

MMR March Motorsports Calendar

The season kicks off with two F1 races, Sebring 12 hours, Amelia Concours d’Elegance and World Superbike. A fine beginning.

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to pass this on to a friend or two.

Peter Bourassa
Publisher


Racing

Posted on August 13, 2014 Comments (2)

There is an argument to be made that racing is all about the first and last three laps of any race and that the remainder is just driving. Sometimes, even hardcore enthusiasts will agree, it is not even that.

Watkins Glen International

NASCAR’s annual pilgrimage to upstate New York’s Watkins Glen is the exception. Perhaps because it is so different from the ovals on which they normally run, each team deals with unfamiliar factors differently. Set-up, brakes, transmissions, tire pressures, tire wear, fuel consumption, and sometimes drivers, are all different. And if the quality of the racing is measured by its entertainment factor, take away the hype of Indy and Daytona, the glamour of Monaco and the technology of Le Mans, and this is the best pure race on the planet.

And lest any feel that the driving is only the best of NASCAR, consider that while experienced road course racers are always brought in, Jeff Gordon has won four times, as has Tony Stewart, Mark Martin three, and Kyle Busch has won it twice. My point is that these guys are very good and the cars they are racing allow them to lean on or rub against each other and that makes for an excellent show.

dtm racing alfa

Just to give this a broader perspective, we tend to think of European racing as Formula 1 and the Le Mans fast plastic prototype cars. But, Europeans have a huge appetite for “touring” car racing, as they call it, and several series exist in which factory prepared cars rub against each other rather strenuously on road courses across Europe. It is not rare to find former F1 drivers out there banging around with the best of them. The Australian V8 Supercar series is a cross between NASCAR and Europe and from time to time we hear of them testing the waters with their series on American road courses. If they could be like the Watkins Glen event they would be successful.

Joey Hand race car

Speaking of Tony Stewart; the incident at Canandaigua on Friday night will not go away quickly and may have much greater consequences than ever imagined. At this point, commenting on the incident itself is not in order. It is fair to say that if the other driver involved had not been a famous NASCAR driver, this would not have garnered so much attention. But either way, a young man is dead and that in itself is extremely sad.

Sprint Cars Dirt Track Racing

By way of background, it should be noted that Stewart is but one of many NASCAR drivers who dirt track. They do it because that is often where they began racing and because it is fun. Dirt tracks are simple and devoid of the regulations and hoopla that surrounds other forms of racing and these guys love that. I was at a small track on a weeknight in Connecticut several years ago and Carl Edwards, a NASCAR star even then, flew himself in to drive someone else’s Super Modified car. Al Unser Sr. was there talking to the racers and fans and wandering among the cars. This is grassroots racing in America and nobody, promoters, track owners, or drivers make a ton of money at it.

An unanticipated consequence of the incident has already begun to surface and here Stewart, the driver who loves dirt tracking, may be instrumental in bringing about safety measures and track design changes that will greatly alter the sport he loves. Ironically, Stewart is also the owner of Eldora Speedway, one of the more fabled dirt tracks in America; close scrutiny of the sport brought on by this issue may well affect how his and other such tracks deal with safety and emergencies.

Either way, these incidents give an uninformed public a less than positive view of our sport as a whole.