16th Jan2017

Some World Challenge News

by Michael Chandler

It’s the off season for the Pirelli World Challenge, but that doesn’t mean things aren’t happening.  Far from it!  You know that, but you might not know the details.  So, to that end, I’m gonna bring you a few news items of note.  Things to look for when the series comes through in August.  

Thing The First: DXDT Racing’s New Car

DXDT will be running a new Mercedes AMG GT3 in five Sprint-X and three regular sprint races this season.  Hooray shiny new car!  They’ll start the season at Virginia International Raceway April 28-30, then they run the rest of the schedule.  That’s definitely something to keep an eye on.  They’ve done great in the Super Trofeo series, and last year at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca they went 1-2 in the GT Cup class in Sprint X.  To be honest, I’m more interested in hearing this thing at full tile than I am in seeing it.  Why? Have you heard the AMG V8’s?  There you go.

Thing the Second: Panoz Has a GTS Program

Yeah, Panoz is back in GT racing.  With Tommy Milner at the helm, Panoz will have a two car, full season GTS effort.  The car will be the Avezzano GT4, pictured above.  What the hell is an Avezzano?  It’s… It’s that blue car up there.  Details of the street car include a 450 horsepower, 6.2 liter V8, a six speed manual.  Not sure how those will change when it enter the series, but it will enter with full carbon fiber widebody, splitter, sideskirts, and rear diffuser.  The only announced driver is Ian James, who has A LOT of experience in many different types of cars (including previous stints with Panoz).  In addition to running the PWC effort, Milner is on hand to develop the car into a proper GT4 car; although, Panoz hasn’t made a homologation request to the GT4 geverning body: the SRO.

Thing the Third: Magnus Joins PWC

YES, Magnus is leaving the IMSA WeatherTech series and will be running a TWO car effort in PWC.  Formerly Twitterless and current team owner John Potter will drive one of the Audi Sport customer racing R8’s, and an as of yet unnamed Audi Sport customer racing supplied driver will be in the other.  They’ve won Rolex 24 races (one in a Porsche and one in an Audi), Sebring, and a couple of Tequila Patron North American Endurance championships, along with plenty of class wins.  They’ll be running the regular sprint races, along with the SprintX races.  More importantly, a fan favorite joins an incredibly fan friendly series, which means we all win.

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13th Aug2016

Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Utah Qualifying Results

by Michael Chandler

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We’ve got qualifying results for GT, GTA, GTS and Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy!  On pole in GT is Alvaro Parente in the #9 K-Pax Racing McLaren 650S GT3.  As of press time we are not sure what the name of Alvaro’s car is, but we are looking into it!

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Frankie Montecalvo put the #66 DIME Racing Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 on the pole in GTS.  Here he is, running down Brent Holden in the #14 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.

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In GTS, the Racers Edge Motorsports SIN R1 GT4 driven by Scott Heckert will be starting on the pole.

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On the overall pole in Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA is Dino Crescentini in the Diamond Class.

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TruSpeed Autosport is showing some class leading speed yet again, as the #45 driven by Tom Haacker is on the Platinum class pole.

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Larry Schnur is starting up front in Platinum M.

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Jensen Keith took the Bob Evans line to the pole in Silver class.

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And in Silver M we have Steve Goldman out in front for the start.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
11th Jul2014

Mercedes AMG Petronas, Suspension, and a Man in Lederhosen

by Michael Chandler
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Photo Credit: Daimler AG

As has been reported by many people (many, many, many people) the FIA is looking to ban the front and rear interconnected suspension system.  Why did they do this? Well, first I need to explain exactly what it is first.

Basically it is a system that keeps the cars’ ride heights as stable as possible, using hydraulics and witchcraft.  Technically it is only supposed to work to keep the front and rear ride heights as similar as possible through the corners.  TECHNICALLY.  One team (definitely not Mercedes AMG Petronas) has accused another (probably Mercedes AMG Petronas) of advancing the system to also work left to right.  According to Charlie Whiting, FIA race director, the system’s primary use is now aerodynamic, which makes the whole system illegal for everyone!

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Photo Credit: Force India

Well sort of.  Mr. Whiting views the system as illegal, but it hasn’t actually been banned yet.  The teams have an opportunity to push the ban to the start of the 2015 season, but that’s probably not going to happen.  For the ban to be pushed back there needs to be a unanimous vote, and that’s not going to happen.  Force India doesn’t use a FRIC system, so if it’s banned they don’t lose anything, and if someone violates the ban and is excluded from the results Force India could definitely benefit.  Caterham and Sauber could close the gap between them and Marussia, who are on the bleeding edge of suiting the system to their car.

Who looks to lose the most from the ban?  Well, according to lederhosen model Valtteri Bottas

“Yes! Maybe some teams could be more affected than us, I would say.”

So there you have it.  Mercedes could come back to the pack (in Germany of all places) because their suspension control system will be banned because at least three teams have no reason to not ban it.  And also a Valtteri Bottas quote to boot.

The German Grand Prix will be happening on July 20 at Hockenheim.  You can watch it on CNBC starting at 6:00 AM (Mountain), or on the internet somewhere. The choice is yours.

Words by Michael Chandler, photos as credited.

 *Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
08th Aug2013

Supercar Invitational 2013

by Michael Chandler

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On July 19 super car owners, guests, on lookers gathered at Miller Motorsports Park for the second Supercar Invitational.  An invitation only event where owners of vehicles such as Ferraris, Lamborghinis, McLarens and Porsches could get some instruction from NASA instructors then put the hammer down on their own for some hot laps.  Oh, and see the Caterham up close.

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A McLaren MP4-12C, a twin turbo Lamborghini Gallardo and even a Lexus LFA took to the track, wowing fans with their speed and sound. However there was one notable, flamable Italian make missing.  Nobody brought a Ferrari.  Tragically the howl of its flat plane V8 was not heard, but since there wasn’t one in attendance it couldn’t set itself ablaze.  The lack of the melodic Italian was not missed.  Everyone was treated to the scream of the Lexus’s V10 (Toyota’s F1 program wasn’t a total loss!), cracking of the wastegates on the Lamborghini and the subdued rage of the McLaren.

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Some of your favorite NASA drivers were allowed to take their cars out for some track time, and take the supercar owners to school!  Greg’s STi chased down some high dollar vehicles, and nobody knew what was under the hood of the fast S30.  It’s a VQ35DE from a 350Z if you are curious, it sounds amazing and makes the old Datsun move.  Meanwhile Kyle ,when he wasn’t in his street GTR (which now had the same vinyl wrap as his race GTR) was attempting to pace the Caterham SP.300/R in his race GTR, but to little success because the Caterham didn’t seem too interested in that game…  Oh well, hopefully its presence got a few people excited enough to order some so we can see them turn their wheels in competition!

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‘Murican muscle was out in force!  Everything from a previous generation Mustang up to a Corvette ZR1 were taking laps.  The orange and black Mustang kept gaining confidence through out the day, and by the end was hitting the curbing like it owed him money.  The ZR1 was wearing slicks on all four corners, like it should be if it’s going to be whipping around a road course, and made full use of them.  The panda GT500 Mustang sounded like you would expect one to sound: unadulterated rage with some supercharger whine mixed in.  It was glorious.

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Almost as glorious as ze Germans.  Much like France in 1940, they arrived quickly and stayed for a while.  There were a trio of Silver Arrows (none of which were silver, and one of which was driven by a rather impatient man), a pair of R8s and a couple of 911s and M3s of both flavors (coupe and sedan).  Two of the Mercs were packing the machine gun 6.2 liter V8, and had no issue with using the loud pedal.  The R8s howled everywhere they went, and the drop top was a fan favorite amongst the spectators.  The 911s turned fast laps and looked like all fast 911s do going around corners: good.  The M3 coupe was doing taxi service, giving ride alongs (I didn’t go on one…  Kinda regretting that now) while the sedan eventually won an award: slowest speed for the trap speed run.  In his defense, he didn’t know where the finish line was so he let off at the 1/4 mile mark.  Speaking of the trap speed run…

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They had one!  Complete with blonde starter girl!  The winner was, surprise surprise, the twin turbo Gallardo.  But I can say that we were all winners on the day.  Supercar owners got to stretch their cars’ legs and spectators got to see said leg stretching and even go for ride alongs.  There were free drinks and food, which makes any event that much better.  And there was a helicopter too.  Very cool.  And models.  Also cool.  I look forward to next year’s event, where hopefully we will see a prancing horse in addition to the bull, the beetles and the fax machine.

 

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.

 

25th Feb2011

The 30K Check: Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG

by Trent

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Now it’s my turn to throw my hypothetical check at a car. I’m partial to small cars with big motors, and a 5.4L V8 with 355HP in the smallest Mercedes-Benz available in the U.S. qualifies. (more…)