Mark Donohue

February 9, 2009 by  
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Born in Summit, New Jersey, on 18 March 1937, Mark Neary Donohue Junior was a brilliant American racecar driver. Mark Donohue had a reputation for being able to set up his own car and drive it consistently. The bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering that he received from Brown University in 1959 must have certainly helped him in this regard. He started racing casually at the relatively young age of 22 in a 1957 Corvette – the car which gave him his first win. He started networking with a number of different SCCA drivers and eventually met Walt Hansgen. Hansgen was an experienced race driver who recognised Donohue’s talent and became his mentor. He encouraged Donohue to make good use of both his natural driving talent and his great working knowledge of vehicle mechanics – something which always proved to be an advantage to Donohue.

In 1965, Hansgen invited Mark to co-drive a Ferrari 275 at the Sebring Endurance Race. The team finished eleventh in the race and Donohue was catapulted onto the international sports car racing scene. The following year Donohue was signed up to drive a GT-40 MK II racecar for the Ford Motor Company. His first year with the company was rather unsuccessful and he finished 51st. The following year, he again raced for Ford – this year with much more success. Despite constant disagreements with his co-driver Bruce McLaren, the team managed to finish 4th in the endurance classic. In 1967, Mark Donohue dominated the United States Road Racing Championship in a Lola T70 MkIII Chevy. He was driving for Roger Penske – one of the most influential figures in his racing career. During that year he won six of the eight races he competed in. The following year, Donohue continued to enjoy a superior season – dominating in most of the races despite mechanical problems with his McLaren M6A Chevrolet.

Things continued to go well for Mark Donohue and before long he started his Trans-Am career which was also highly successful. He raced his first Indianapolis in 1969, finishing seventh and taking the rookie of the year award. The following year he finished second and in 1972 he won the race. During all this time he continued to drive for Roger Panske. In 1973, Donohue took to NASCAR racing driving in the Winston Cup Series. During this time Penske had been working with Donohue to help develop the 917/10 Porsche. Donohue offered his extensive enginnering knowledge to help make the Porsche the best car on the track – though not all the choices he made where good ones. Before long the two started working on the 917-30 – the car which came to be known as the ‘Can-Am Killer’. The body was completely reworked to make it more aerodynamic, while the car features a 5.4 litre turbocharged Flat-12 engine which could reach an output of 1500 bhp. The car dominated every competition it entered, except one, and is still today seen as one of the most dominant racing cars to ever be created. Donohue went on to enjoy a short Formula One racing career before his untimely death in 1974 in a racing accident. He was eventually inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1990.

Mario Andretti

February 9, 2009 by  
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Mario Andretti – a name spoken with respect in auto racing circles. A master on the Formula One and NASCAR track, Mario Adretti has certainly left a major mark on the history of auto racing. Andretti, an Italian-American, has had a remarkable driving career with 4 IndyCar title wins and numerous F1 victories.

Mario Gabriele Andretti, along with his twin brother Aldo, was born on 28 February 1940 in Italy. In 1948 due to the occupation of his homeland by Yugoslavia, his family promptly departed, finally coming to reside in Nazareth of Pennsylvania, USA. Andretti’s racing career began in 1959 as he raced around a dirt track in a Hudson. His first year of racing saw Mario Andretti coming in 3rd place at the Indianapolis 500. 1964 was the year Andretti began racing in the USAC series. He also took part in a variety of forms of auto racing such as drag racing.

Mario Andretti also had a keen interest in Formula One. His first race was at Watkins Glen in 1968 and his first win for Ferrari was in 1971. Andretti’s focus really shifted to F1 driving in the mid-1970s. He began driving for the Parnelli team. He took the Lotus to its limit, developing a fantastic racing car that took an amazing full lap lead at Mount Fuji track. 1978 was a remarkable season with 6 wins in his brilliantly designed Lotus 79. Unfortunately after his previous grand successes as a Formula 1 driver, Andretti failed to gain victory from 1979 onwards. However his career in F1 reminded all why he was a champion as he competed with Ferrari in 1982. Andretti continued racing IndyCars during the ’80s.

Through his racing days Mario Andretti received much recognition, along with many awards and titles. Amongst these are the 1978 F1 World Champion, Inductee of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2000 and Inductee of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1996. He was even named “Driver of the Century” in 2000 by Associated Press and RACER magazine. Andretti was honored by the Italian government in 2006, by being awarded the Commendatore dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana.

Today Mario Andretti is a successful business man. He has set up the Andretti Winery in Napa Valley and has business interests in car dealerships, petroleum, the Mario Andretti Racing School as well as the Andretti Indoor Karting and Games center. However, Mario Andretti will always be remembered as one of the greatest race car drivers ever.

Chevrolet Camaro

February 9, 2009 by  
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Like the AMC Javelin, the Chevrolet Camaro is a popular “pony car” produced by the Chevrolet Motor Division of General Motors. It was introduced in the 1967 model year as competition for the Ford Mustang and was classified as an “intermediate touring car, a muscle car or a sports car”. The Chevrolet Camaro has many similar components to the Pontiac Firebird that was also introduced the same year.

Production of the Camaro stopped in 2002 but not before four distinctive generations of the car were completed. This is not the end of the Camaro as a new one will be set for production in 2009. The name of the Chevrolet was not given with any specific meaning but a GM researcher found the word in a French dictionary and is a slang term for “friend” or “companion”.

The debut Camaro came with over 80 factory and 40 dealer options, including three main packages. One of the packages was the Z/28 that came out for the 1967 model year. This option wasn’t found in any sales literature and was relatively unknown to buyers. It came with many extras that were designed specifically to allow the car to race in the Trans Am series. It was only the 602 Z/28 that was sold in 1967 and 1968, which did not come with a raised cowl induction hood like the 1969 Z/28s.

In 1969 the Camaro came out with a sportier look. The grill had been changed to a heavy “V” cant and had deeply inset headlights. The changes made to the car also gave it a more wider, lower and more aggressive look. That year other changes were also available to the Camaro to increase the competitiveness in the Trans Am racing series.

The second-generation Chevrolet Camaro was introduced in 1970 and stayed in production for 12 years with the final model produced in 1981. The styling of this generation of Camaro was inspired by Ferrari and due to its size was no longer given a convertible option. The third generation of this car was introduced in 1982, continuing to use the General Motors’ F-body platform. The forth generation Camaro was in production for ten years and from there General Motors has put a stop to the car but a fifth generation car is on the books.

Michael Schumacher

February 9, 2009 by  
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Michael Schumacher is without a doubt one of the world’s most outstanding Formula One drivers. Statistically speaking Schumacher is F1’s greatest driver ever. World Champion seven times over, Michael Schumacher has received worldwide recognition and has a massive following of fans. Schumacher was also well-known as the first billionaire athlete in the world with his 2004 annual salary coming in at $80 million. A name spoken of widely, Michael Schumacher will always be a Formula One racing legend.

Formula One driver Michael Schumacher was born on 3 January 1969 in Germany. At the tender age of 4 he began using his father’s homemade kart in races. A whiz behind the wheel of the simple pedal-kart with a motorcycle engine, Michael won his first championship when he was 6 years old. His racing talents were soon recognized by his parents and others who sought to sponsor him. As a youngster he went on to claim a number of European and German kart championships. In the year 1988 Michael Schumacher competed in the Formula Ford series and later won the German Formula 3 series in 1990. At the end of that year he became a member of the Mercedes junior racing program. He gained victory in both 1990 and 1991.

Schumacher as a F1 driver for Benetton won two championships. In 1996 he joined Ferrari. In no time at all Schumacher turned the flailing team around, winning a number of championships for them. What made Michael Schumacher such a remarkable Formula One driver? He became renowned for taking his car to its limits, for creating fast laps at vital times and excellent driving skills even in wet conditions. In fact his mastery over wet tracks gained him the title “Regenmeister” or “Rain Master”. Throughout his career Michael Schumacher has taken home a number of awards and titles. In 2002 and 2004 he was the recipient of the prestigious Laureaus World Sportsman of the Year. The FIA Gold Medal for Motor Sports was awarded to Schumacher. Currently Michael Schumacher has gained practically every F1 record including most races won in a season, fastest laps, most drivers’ championships, pole positions and race victories.

Sadly, Michael Schumacher suffered a serious head injury while skiing in December 2013 and remained in a coma for nearly six months. As of December 2014, he is said to be making some cognitive progress in that he is starting to recognize people he knows, but he remains paralyzed and wheelchair bound.

Racing Manufacturers

February 9, 2009 by  
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Many auto manufacturers also design and build cars for the race track. Some of these racing manufacturers are Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Lotus, Porsche, and more. Ferrari, especially, has been at the forefront of auto racing since the early years of the 20th century. The Prancing Horse has been a regular fixture of Winner’s Circle celebrations in many types of auto racing, most prominently Formula One racing and endurance road racing such as the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans. Some racing manufacturers, such as Toyota, Chevrolet and Ford, limit their activities to producing specialized racing engines. The Ford-Cosworth engine used in many kinds of race cars is just one of these ventures.

There are many types of auto racing and therefore manufacturers have to create designs for the most efficient function of these vehicles in different situations. Off-road and rally racing cars require excellent suspension and have to be able to handle unusual terrain, for example. Of course, these ventures are very expensive since the volume of cars or engines is low compared to that of regular production vehicles and their parts. Even so, the prestige and fame that accrues to automakers from having their names associated with winning racers is well worth the significant expense.

Racing manufacturers design sports cars for high performance, fast speeds and reliability. They are specially designed for light weight, a balanced chassis and innovative suspension for exceptional handling in extreme situations. Racing manufacturers need to be concerned with precise, exacting design and make use of only top quality components to ensure the safety and success of race car drivers.

Below is a list of links to pages about specific Formula One Car Manufacturers. You are certain to find the details interesting and informative.

FORMULA 1 MANUFACTURERS

BMW Sauber
Ferrari
Honda
McLaren Mercedes
Renault

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