Suzuka Speedway

February 9, 2009 by  
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Located close to Shiroka, Japan and east of Osaka, the Suzuka Speedway offers an entertaining and challenging course. Originally called Motor Sportsland (but re-named shortly after it opened), the Suzuka Speedway is built near Suzuka City in Japan, on land previously used by rice farmers. Suzuka offers a balance of curves and speed where the driver must be able to keep their speed under control so as not to overshoot into the two critical curves on the track, most notably the “Spoon Curve”. Traffic can be tight at the beginning, bringing drivers into quite a few possible collision scenarios.

With six total curves, and a length of almost 6 kilometers, the Suzuka Speedway is well-regarded as one of the best racetracks in the world, with several unique features. It is a figure-eight design with a multitude of fast and slow corners, including the aptly named Spoon Curve, the now much slower 130R corner, and Degner corner.

The Suzuka Speedway is the host of the Formula One Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix and one of the oldest and most-famous motorsport race tracks in Japan.

Designed as a test track in 1962 by John Hugenholtz, Suzuka Speedway is a unique circuit. Naturally, the track doesn’t actually intersect with itself on its figure-8 layout; instead, the back straight passes over the front section by means of an overpass. Due to its unique layout, Suzuka is a massive test of driver skill and is easily one of the most difficult racing circuits in the world. Nevertheless, the track is loved by drivers and spectators alike for its challenging design and many opportunities for overtaking.

Safety has been a concern at the circuit’s 130R, a 130-meter radius turn starting past the Crossover, following two tragic accidents in 2002 and 2003. Track officials revised the 130R, which has been compared to Spa’s Eau Rouge, redesigning it as a double-apex section, one with an 85 meter radius, and then a second featuring a 340-meter radius, leading to a much closer Casio Triangle (chicane).

During the Suzuka Speedway’s first major event since the revisions during the 2003 MotoGP Grand Prix of Japan, MotoGP rider Daijiro Kato was killed when he crashed in the new section headed to the braking zone for the Casio Triangle. (MotoGP has not returned to Suzuka since the incident).

Other than the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix, the Suzuka Speedway also hosts the Suzuka 1000km endurance race. NASCAR organized a pair of exhibition 100-lap races on the East Circuit, a 1.4 mile layout which utilizes the pit straight and esses, before rejoining the main circuit near the Casio Triangle. The cars were Winston Cup and Winston West Series cars and the field was by invitation for the two races, run after the 1996 and 1997 seasons.

Today, the Suzuka Speedway stands as one of the most unique racetracks in the world. There is an adjoining amusement park, shopping mall, museum, several hotels, a motocross track and even a bowling alley within the circuit or next to it. Moriwaki and a slew of other Japanese hot-rod firms are located across the street from the main parking lot.

Keep an Eye on Colin Braun’s Career

June 9, 2008 by  
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Colin Braun is widely considered to be one of the bright rising stars in the world of American motor sports, and auto racing enthusiasts will no doubt be watching the progress of this talented young driver with intense interest in the years to come. Colin had already won two professional racing championships at the age of seventeen – a clear indication that he has what it takes to carve a memorable career in the competitive world of motor sport.

Colin was born in Ovalo, Texas, on 22 September 1988. He was six-years old when he started his racing career by racing quarter midgets. At the age of eight, Colin’s career as a go-cart driver went international, and he competed in Spain, Monaco, France and Japan. At the age of fourteen, Colin moved to cars, going on to win championships in Formula TR2000 Pro Series and Formula Renault TR1600.

At sixteen-years of age, Colin became part of the Team 16 squad as teammate to Brad Coleman, making his road racing debut driving a Porsche 996 GT3 in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. At seventeen, driving an Essex Racing Ford Crawford, he made history as the youngest Daytona Prototype driver. In 2006 Colin Braun joined Krohn Racing’s #75 team as Jorg Bergmeister’s teammate. These two talented drivers had great success despite the fact that they had no sponsor. Colin’s win at the Brumos Porsche 250 in Daytona made him the youngest winner of a major race in North America. He once again went down in history when he drove his Ferrari F430 to a second place finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, making him the youngest driver to be placed on the podium for this prestigious race. Colin remained with Krohn Racing for the 2007 auto racing season, with Max Papis as his teammate.

In 2007 Colin Braun made the move to stock cars by signing a driver development contract with Roush Fenway Racing. He made his stock car racing debut at Gateway International Raceway, competing in an ARCA RE/MAX Series race and finishing thirteenth. He went on to notch up a fourth place finish at Chicago, followed by a near win at Talladega. He made his NASCAR debut driving the #50 RSC Equipment Rental Ford for Roush Fenway in the Craftsman Truck Series. He was holding his position within the top 20 when a flat tire sent his car into the wall, causing him to finish in 34th place. Colin went on to compete at the Sam’s Town 250, driving the #16 3M Ford. He was in eleventh place when another car went into a spin in front of him, forcing him to drop back, resulting in a 30th place finish. On 16 November 2007 it was announced that Colin Braun would be the full-time driver of the #6 Ford. Colin qualified for the 2007 Corona Mexico 200 by scoring his first Nationwide series pole at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodrigues in Mexico City.

Colin Braun’s future plans include making a run for Rookie of the Year, under the sponsorship of Con-Way. Should he succeed, he will be the first road racer to win such an award. Judging by his achievements thus far, it would seem that this determined young driver can achieve anything he sets his mind to.

World Championship Rally d’Italia Sardegna 2008

May 14, 2008 by  
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The annual Rally d’Italia Sardegna often attracts a lot of attention as it winds its way along the narrow, twisted mountain roads that surround the town of Porto Cervo. These sandy, bumpy roads provide the perfect track for rally races as they mercilessly challenge the driver’s skill and talent. In fact the Rally d’Italia Sardegna is so tough that is has earned a place in the World Rally Championship schedule.

The Rally d’Italia Sardegna replaced the asphalt roads of the Rallye Sanremo in the World Rally Championship schedule from 2004 and has proved to be a successful leg of the race ever since. The World Rally Championship takes place in 25 different countries each year, and the Rally d’Italia Sardegna forms a very important part of this massive global race which also features countries such as France, Spain, Finland, Great Britain, Belgium, Sweden, Ireland, Germany, Luxemburg, Romania, Turkey and Japan. There are 59 crews listed on the entry list for this year’s race and Italy is the sixth race in the championship schedule. The 2008 Rally d’Italia Sardegna will be taking place from the 15th to the 18th of May on the Liscia Ruja and will be broadcast live for racing fans around the world to view. The various drivers will be represented by a total of seven manufacturers, and racing fans can expect to see Citroen, Ford, Subaru, Suzuki, Renault, Mitsubishi and Rover.

Test racing for this great leg of the World Rally Championship is already underway and the results show that the main event should be a good one. Mikko Hirvonen is currently the World Rally Championship leader, and he and team-mate Jani Matti Latvala have already finished testing their Ford Focus vehicles for the race. Hirvonen is confident that they are well-prepared for the race and is looking forward to the Rally d’ Italia Sardegna. He noted that the Italian circuit is one of his favorite rallies and he’d like to finish first after claiming second place last year. Hirvonen is one of the most likely winners of this year’s Rally d’ Italia Sardegna. To find out who takes the trophy, however, you will just have to make sure that you either attend the race or stay glued to your television for a live-broadcast of the race.

Don’t Miss the Indycar Japan 300

April 17, 2008 by  
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Indy League racing fans are no doubt looking forward to the upcoming Indycar Japan 300. Sponsored by Bridgestone, this American open-wheel race is held each year in Motegi, Japan. This year’s race will take place on Saturday, 19 April at Twin Ring Motegi.

American car races have not always been a popular activity in Japan. While the country has long enjoyed involvement in Formula One racing, it has taken quite a bit of effort to get open-wheel racing to become a regular feature on this country’s calendar. The first American open-wheel race to be held in Japan took place in 1966 at the Fuji Speedway. It was an exhibition race and a one-off event. The USAC did not return the following year and it was a long time before the possibility of returning racing activity to the shores of this country arose.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Japan was looked at as a potential CART series racing destination. However, there were various complications and new rules stated that any CART race outside of the country needed to be held on an oval. So it was only after Honda joined the CART series in 1994 that things started to pick up. When they became massively successful in 1996 there was once again interest in the idea of holding a race in Japan. Upon the completion of the Twin Ring Motegi oval in 1998, the first CART series race was held in Japan. This set a trend and the race was first changed to a Champ Car event and then to an Indy Racing League event.

Since 2007, the next race on American soil at the Kansas Speedway has taken place directly after the Bridgestone Indy Japan 300 so that fans do not have to suffer a break in their Indy racing season. The change was met with massive support, and now the 300 mile race at the Twin Ring Motegi oval is a well-founded and popular event on the annual Indy Racing League calendar. This year’s race looks set to be better than ever, so make sure you get in on all the action at this year’s Indycar Japan 300!

The Jeep Story

December 25, 2006 by  
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The Jeep is an auto with a special place in the national life of the United States. This unique type of automobile was born during the early years of World War II. The U.S. Army needed a vehicle for light reconnaissance over difficult terrain. The Jeep from Willys met the specifications very well. The basic objective of Jeep design has remained unchanged in the decades of peace which followed the war. The Jeep is your best choice of auto when you need to negotiate surfaces of uncertain quality.

The Jeep has an amazing record of keeping abreast of cutting-edge auto technology. Owners can have the best of a rugged image with great amenities. Though “GP” is military jargon for new equipment under test, the latest Jeep models have evolved in to autos which can hold their own at top social events, as much in any tough outdoor environment. The Jeep can stand up to any grade of international competition. It is something of a bulwark against the domination of the U.S. auto scene by Japanese and German players, though Jeep does benefit from its own Mitsubishi links.

Jeep sponsors top sports events. It has a big hand in bringing the best outdoor entertainment and recreation options to customers-whether real or in terms of potential. The Jeep brand strongly associates with a sportive personality, and is a brand to drive with pride. Passenger comforts and safety are designed to please guests and the family as much as does the owner and driver.

The 2007 Compass can hold its own against top Japanese SUV competition. Electronic controls on 4-wheel drive can have you handle any off-road challenge like a pro. The modern looks are really eye-catching. The 2007 Patriot goes a step further with separate 4-wheel control systems for paved roads and for off-road conditions. Traditionalists will love the 2007 Wrangler, which delights with thoughtful touches to embellish the most rugged features. The round headlamps and fold-down wind shield are special touches of tradition in our age. The Unlimited Wrangler has amazing luggage space, and can take 5 adults in luxury. All-in-all, Jeep has something special for every auto lover, with best-value performance features.

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