WTCC Race of Macau 2011

September 22, 2011 by  
Filed under events

Tacking place in Downtown Macau, the Race of Macau is the last leg of the FIA World Touring Car Championship. The race distance is 2 x 9 laps, with each lap being 6,117 m. The lap record for the event was set by Tiago Monteiro in November 2009 at 2:32.076/144.87 kph.

Dates: 20 November 2011
Venue: Downtown Macau
Region: Macau
Country: People’s Republic of China

F1: Team Orders in the Spotlight

September 10, 2010 by  
Filed under News

It seems that Fernando Alonso’s victory at Hockenheim in Germany has sparked much debate, even after the FIA made their decision to drop the charges laid against the Ferrari team. Formula 1 has always been viewed as a team sport, and yet when team decisions were made, Ferrari found themselves in trouble with the World Motor Sport Council. And while the teams might be in a battle against each other when they are on the track, rival teams stood behind Ferrari and gave them their full support while the decisions were being made about the fate of Ferrari.

The International Automobile Federation will still uphold the $100 000 fine given to Ferrari, while not taking any further steps against the team for a lack of evidence. According the federation, team orders are banned and it was felt that Felipe Massa was getting faster lap times than Fernando Alonso prior to Alonso overtaking Massa for the victory. The federation believes that after Ferrari had ordered their drivers to reduce engine speed, the order to increase engine speed again was only given to Alonso and the battle between the team drivers was ended through team orders. The FIA went on to say that it was their understanding that if team orders were not handed out, Massa would more than likely have been the winner of the race.

Ferrari denied these allegations in their defense, pointing out that based on their information Alonso was indeed gaining on Massa, and that no order was given to Massa to allow Alonso to pass him. They went on to state that giving team orders was very different to working out a strategy and tactics that would benefit the team as a whole, and that clarity on this topic needs to be made. There is no denying that other teams also make decisions on what is best for them, and devise strategies to work towards a victory. However, it is clear that the argument over team orders and team strategy is far from over, as everyone looks towards the FIA to confirm and clarify the distinction between the two.

Virgin Racing

March 23, 2010 by  
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Virgin Racing made its F1 debut as one of the four new teams granted entry to the 2010 Formula One Championships. Originally granted entry as Manor Grand Prix on 12 June 2009, the team changed its name to reflect its title sponsor – Richard Branson’s Virgin Group – with the FIA releasing a revised entry list with the team’s new name on 30 November 2009.

Virgin Racing is based in Dinnington, South Yorkshire, England, with John Booth as the team principal and Nick Wirth as the technical director. The team’s drivers are Timo Glock of Germany, and Lucas di Grassi of Brazil, with test drivers being Luiz Razia (Brazil) and Andy Soucek (Spain). The team boasts cars designed entirely using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Its chassis is the VR-01 with Cosworth CA2010 engine and sporting Bridgestone tires. While the team is based in Dinnington, the development and production of the cars is handled by Wirth Research, based in Bicester. Virgin owns eighty percent of the team, with other sponsors being Lloyds Banking Group, Bridgestone, UST Global, Carbon Green, and CSC.

Both drivers were forced to retire from their debut race at the 2010 Bahrain F1 Grand Prix. Nonetheless, the entire team has displayed a positive attitude noting that while they have some teething problems to overcome, the season is still young and there is plenty of opportunity to show that Virgin Racing has what it takes to compete in this demanding, and exciting, sport.

Silverstone Speedway

February 9, 2009 by  
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Britain’s Silverstone Speedway, with its rich history in the world of auto racing, is incredibly fast with a long complex of high-speed corners that thrill spectators and challenges drivers. In fact, most of its twist and turns leave other circuits in the dust. The change of direction is so quick that driver’s testify to feeling the “speed” of the car. You need good aerodynamics at Silverstone, so this is where all the hard work in the wind tunnel before the race pays off!

Silverstone Speedway was opened as a World War II airfield in 1943, near the leafy village of the same name. Once the war had ended in 1945, Britain was left with a number of sprawling airfields, but without a major racetrack: Donington Park was still a military vehicle storage depot, Brooklands had been sold off, Crystal Palace was in a state of disrepair, and Brands Hatch was still under-developed.

The Royal Automobile Club was interested in Silverstone as a potential site and approached the Air Ministry in 1948 and a lease was arranged. At this time, the centre of Silverstone Circuit was a farm that produced cereal crops and raised pigs! Out of such humble surroundings legends are born: the RAC employed farmer James Wilson Brown to create the first Grand Prix circuit at the site and gave him just two months to build it.

On October 2nd, 1948, amid straw bales and ropes, the first event at Silverstone Speedway took place, the RAC Grand Prix. The crowds came in their thousands, thrilled to see the return of Grand Prix racing after so many years of war austerity. The 3.67 mile course sent the 23 competing cars racing round part of the perimeter track, up the two former runways and back to the perimeter. This layout meant cars were racing towards each other head-on until they turned sharp left and returned to the perimeter. For this reason, canvas screens were erected across the centre of the circuit to stop the drivers being distracted whilst the spectators were not permitted to enter the centre of the circuit because of the potential damage to growing crops.

The winner of the inaugural race at the Silverstone circuit was Luigi Villoresi in a Maserati, who recorded an average speed of 72 mph to claim the first prize of £500. A year later, after the hazardous runways were eliminated and a chicane was inserted on the full perimeter road, Silverstone Speedway hosted a second major event in May 1949 – the Formula One Daily Express International Trophy – virtually a second Grand Prix, won by Alberto Ascari.

Another of Silverstone Speedway’s most famous classics also began in August 1949, the Daily Express International Trophy for Formula One cars and for this meeting the Club chicane was dispensed with and the circuit took up a shape that was to last for a quarter of a century.

Back in 1950, Silverstone Speedway was the birthplace of today’s FIA Formula One World Championship. Today the Speedway remains one of the world’s most historic tracks, but the challenges faced on every corner are no less daunting than any other circuit raced by the greatest names in F1 today.

Atlanta Motor Speedway

February 9, 2009 by  
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Formerly known as the Atlanta International Raceway, the Atlanta Motor Speedway is located in Hampton, just to the south of the city of Atlanta. Atlanta Motor Speedway, is a 2.48 kilometer superspeedway, that has a quad-oval circuit and a spectator seating capacity of approximately 125 000. The track first opened in 1960, but condominiums were erected over the northeastern part of the Atlanta Speedway track in 1994. This construction led to the track being redesigned and practically rebuilt in 1997. The front and backstretches were swapped, and the oval form of the track gave way to quad-oval. Today, the Atlanta Motor Speedway is the fastest NASCAR track on the entire NASCAR circuit. The track also includes a 4 kilometer road course, approved by the FIA, and a Legends racing track, between the main track and the pit road.

This NASCAR circuit was seeing qualifying lap speeds of approximately 311 kilometers an hour, with the fastest recorded lap speed of 317 kilometers an hour, between the 1990s and the 2000s. The Texas Motor Speedway, that was designed very similar to the Atlanta Speedway, did have faster times during 2004 to 2005, but after its surface was worn, the higher speeds returned to Atlanta. Tracks such as Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway did once have faster lap times, averaging about 322 kilometers an hour, but NASCAR mandated restrictor plates for these tracks, making the average speed approximately 306 kilometers an hour. The Atlanta Motor Speedway’s slogan is “Real Racing. Real Fast.” This is not an exaggeration, as NASCAR has not mandated restrictor plates at this track.

Hurricane Cindy hit the Atlanta Motor Speedway on 6 July 2005, with the damage being estimated at approximately 40-50 million US Dollars. Debris was littered across the track, facades were torn off, roofs were damaged, scoreboard towers were knocked down or left leaning and new grandstands had to be built to replace those that were built in 1960. But against all odds, Atlanta Motor Speedway was ready to race by the next big event and has gone on to welcome spectators to witness some of the fastest racing in the United States.

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