The Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois, will be the venue for Round 6 of the 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup on Sunday August 1 at 09:50. Practice and qualifying sessions for this event will take place on Saturday July 31, where drivers will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the 21-turn, 3.56 mile racetrack. Launched in 2008 with the goal of giving beginner drivers the opportunity to develop their talent, while at the same time introducing clean diesel technology to the United States market, the SCCA Pro Racing Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup has earned its place on the calendar as a popular motorsport event.
During the racing season, drivers between the ages of 16 and 26 who have been recognized as having potential to take on the fast-paced world of auto racing and succeed, compete on road courses at venues around North America. Driving identical factory-prepared clean diesel powered Volkswagen Jetta TDI’s, competitors are awarded a professional racing license from SCCA Pro Racing at the successful conclusion of the season. In addition to the sheer exhilaration of competing in this series, drivers who achieve can look forward to generous prize money, with the Series Champion being the recipient of up to $100,000 worth of career advancement support from the sponsors, Volkswagen.
There are a number of factors that sets the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup series in a league of its own. It is the only clean diesel racing series to be held in the United States, with Volkswagen being the only manufacturer participating on a full-time basis in motorsport with diesel-powered cars. In keeping with the growing demand for reducing our carbon footprints, the TDI diesel engine technology provides improved fuel economy when compared to gasoline engines, as well as boasting a 95 percent sooty emission reduction, even under the most demanding of racing conditions. As the cars are maintained by Volkswagen of America, competitors are assured of a level playing field, where driving skill is paramount. From a marketing viewpoint, the series appeals to spectators as the cars on the racetrack are similar to the cars available at local Volkswagen dealerships. If they make the grade under punishing racing conditions, they can be counted on to make the grade as a day-to-day means of transport.
In December 2008, Honda announced that it would be withdrawing from F1 racing, citing financial pressure as a result of the global financial crisis as being the reason.
The Honda Motor Company Ltd, also known simply as Honda, is a Japanese corporation involved in the manufacture of engines and various modes of transportation. While the company is well known for its cars, motorcycles and F1 team, they also involved in the development and production of aeronautical and marine craft as well as robotics and even garden equipment. They are also rated as the largest engine-maker in the world with a production rate of 14 million internal combustion engineers a year. While the manufacturer is based in Tokyo, Japan, the Honda Formula One team has its headquarters in Brackley, Northamptonshire in the United Kingdom.
Honda has thus far enjoyed a long and prosperous period as a Formula One constructor. The company first entered the sport as a constructor in 1964 with Ronnie Bucknum as their driver. In 1965 the Honda F1 team enjoyed their first win at the Mexican Grand Prix at the hands of new team member Richie Ginther. The following year they won the Italian Grand Prix and dominated the French Formula Two championships only to suffer a year of loss in 1968. The death of a teammate coupled with bad sales in the United States resulted in Honda withdrawing from the sport for a while. In the early 1980s they returned to F2 in which they once again enjoyed much success. In 1983 the decision was made to return to Formula One Racing and in 1984 Honda partnered with the Williams team. The partnership proved to be most fruitful and the Williams cars, which were powered by Honda engines, went on to win six consecutive F1 Constructors Champions. The Williams F1 team went on to win again in 1986 and 1987 before Honda made the decision to switch to the McLaren team in 1988.
With the help of their new partners, McLaren went on to win the title in 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991. At this point, the company made the decision to withdraw from the sport with their related company, Mugen-Honda, continuing to keep the Honda name going strong in the sport until the end of the 1999 season. At the turn of the century, Honda once again entertained ideas of getting involved with F1 racing. They eventually returned to the sport as the official engine suppliers to the British American Racing team. By 2004, Honda had purchased a stake in the team and by the end of 2005, they bought the team and became a constructor. In 2006 Honda clinched a victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix with driver Jenson Button at the wheel.
Bruce McLaren was the founder of the McLaren F1 Team. He was born on 30 August 1937, and started his interest in racing by competing in motorcycle races, before moving over to cars. It was the heritage he left behind after his death in 1970 that formed the platform for a world known racing team, and a name that is carried with pride.
The partnership between McLaren and Mercedes started in 1995. It was a year full of new beginnings that not only included Mercedes as their new engine partner, but new regulations as well. Mercedes was the fourth engine partner since the 1970’s and there was a lot on the line. The new Mercedes engine, which was designed and built according to the new regulations, was smaller than the engine McLaren had used previously. This made the car design teams’ life a lot simpler. Refinement details on the engine and chassis meant that the units were almost completely new, and McLaren Mercedes worked hard on the balancing problems that came to the forefront in 1996. The new engine was modified with regard to its mid-range torque, and McLaren Mercedes managed to make the unit lighter and increase its power by 5%. By 1999, McLaren Mercedes had become a force to be reckoned with on the racing track.
The new century kicked off with close rivalry between McLaren’s Mika Häkkinen and Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher. Following Häkkinen’s retirement from Formula One at the end of the 2001 season, Kimi Räikkönen stepped into his position on McLaren’s F1 Team. The 2003 F1 season started off well enough with teammates Coulthard and Räikkönen each claiming a victory for the first two races, but rival teams soon caught up. The unreliability of McLaren’s newly developed MP4-18 put the team at a disadvantage as they were forced to use the older MP4-17D model car. Nevertheless, Räikkönen proved his impressive driving skills by consistently finishing in the points, closing the season just two points short of victory. Car problems continued to plague McLaren during the 2004 season, but Räikkönen managed to clinch a victory at the 2004 Belgian Grand Prix breaking the winning streak of Michael Schumacher. 2005 saw Colombian driver Juan Pablo Montoya teaming up with Räikkönen for most of the season, but persistent car problems robbed Räikkönen of possible victories. The 2006 F1 season presented a number of challenges, including Montoya crashing into Räikkönen on the start line, putting them both out of the United States 2006 Grand Prix. This resulted in Montoyo parting company with the team. After the Italian Grand Prix that same year, Räikkönen signed with Ferrari to replace Michael Schumacher.
Dissent in the McLaren team during 2007, as well as a scandal regarding the team being found guilty of obtaining technical information of a rival team, were some of the setbacks to be dealt with, and at the end of the season, Fernando Alonso was released from his contract after just one season. Both the 2008 and 2009 season saw the McLaren F1 team recover to some extent, with Lewis Hamilton and Heikkii Kovalainen as drivers. At the end of the 2008 season, Hamilton became the youngest ever driver to win the Formula One Driver’s Championship. It was also the first time in nine years that McLaren had clinched this title.
For 2010, the McLaren F1 Team has a contract with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, both world champions with promising careers ahead of them. This double champion driver line-up, the first for McLaren since the Senna/Prost partnership in 1989, along with the new MP4-25 car, promises great things for the coming year.
When we hear the name Ferrari, we immediately picture legendary drivers such as Niki Lauda, John Surtees, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher. However, there is more to Ferrari, than a successful racing team. When Enzo Ferrari established Scuderia Ferrari in 1929, he did not do so with road vehicles in mind. He wanted to be part of the racing world and by 1938, Enzo Ferrari headed up the Alfa Romeo racing department. During the war, Alfa Romeo became absorbed by the government in their war efforts, and the little division run by Enzo Ferrari passed by unnoticed. He was not permitted to participate in racing for a period of four years, but he nevertheless built the Tipo 815. In 1943 Enzo Ferrari moved his operations to Maranello, where it still remains today. After the factory was bombed in 1944, it was rebuilt, and included a division for the production of road vehicles, even though this was just to generate the money needed to fund Enzo’s passion for racing. The name Scuderia Ferrari, means Ferrari Stable, but is translated, in a figurative form, to mean Team Ferrari.
The 125S, is the very first road vehicle that Ferrari produced in 1947. Enzo disliked the fact that he was producing vehicles that people bought for prestige and not for how the car performed, but his vehicles continues to grow in popularity, becoming famous for their style, excellence and speed. Today, the rich and the famous ensure that they add a Ferrari to their collection as a status symbol.
The world famous Ferrari emblem has been a source of speculation. All badges have a prancing black horse on a yellow background. The letters SF (Scuderia Ferrari) appear on either side of the horse, with the national colors of Italy (Green, white and red) appearing at the top of the logo.
To know the naming of the Ferrari vehicles, will definitely make you an expert. Until the 1990’s, car engines were named on engine displacement. For example, the V6 and V8 car models were total displacements. That would mean that a 206 would be a 2.0 L V6 and a 348 would be a 3.4 L V8. Displacement is measured in deciliters. On the V12’s displacement is measured in cubic centimeters, of one cylinder, making the 365 Daytona, a 4380ccV12. Flat 12’s were in liters. Body style would also play an integral role in naming a car, and over the years the styles and names have changed, but the excellence and performance has remained top quality.
Working at the Ferrari Factory in Maranello, Italy, is the job of dreams. Even though workers are free to wear what they choose, you will not see anything but red. Workstations are decorated in Ferrari logos, racing team memorabilia and everyone works with a smile on their face. There are approximately 30 stations that a car visits before completion, and the production of a Ferrari is not rushed. State of the art machines will ensure a beautiful finish on a paint job, but installations of the custom made seats and dashboards are fitted by hand and installed to perfection. The engine shop produces approximately fifty engines a day, due to its fully automated production line, that employs close to a hundred staff. The automation ensures a decrease in mistakes, and a faster production line. The factory itself is a combination of the old meticulous ways, and the latest technology, incorporated in a relaxing, spacious working environment. The manufacturing of a Ferrari might be faster today, than in Enzo’s day, but the love, pride and the passion that goes into every Ferrari, remains unmatched.
Mention the Pontiac Firebird to virtually any person and they’ll know that it was one of the most memorable cars ever to roll off the manufacturer’s line – even if they know nothing more about it. The car has defined the lives of so many car lovers and it is truly one of the most spectacular muscle cars ever. The Pontiac Firebird emerged quite unpretentiously halfway through 1967 only to get heads turning and people talking. Before long, the motor industry was abuzz with excitement. The car was produced by the Pontiac Motor Division of General Motors and it was designed and marketed as a pony car – an affordable, compact and stylish sporty car. Were it not for the Ford Mustang and the Mercury Cougar released that same year, the Pontiac Firebird would have completely dominated the scene.
The original model was built on GM’s F-body platform and it had a more likeable rendition of the Pontiac nose. A twin-scoop hood and nice curves further added to its sporty appeal. The Firebird also had a solid, rear axle – a feature which continued to be incorporated into future versions of the car. In 1969, the car had a major facelift. The entire front end was redesigned, making use of an Endura bumper to house the headlights and grilles. Even the instrument panel, steering wheel and ignition switch were changed and updated. For a bit of extra money, buyers could have the Trans Am Performance and Appearance Package which was a little bit more buff than the newly remodelled Firebird and which was named after the Trans-Am Series without permission. In the first year just 697 Trans-Ams were built – only eight of which were convertibles. The Trans-Am cars could be standard or beefed up but they only came in polar white with blue stripes. Today these are highly prized collectors’ cars.
The 1970s Firebird was a completely remodelled version of the classic. This second generation car featured a more sweeping body styling as opposed to the classic ‘coke bottle’ shape. The twin-scoops were made smaller and positioned closer to the front of the bonnet while the double-grille was split further apart and positioned between a single, functional headlight on either side of the car. The remodelling was a complete success and the car enjoyed massive sales. Ironically, the Firebird Trans-Am that emerged at this time were actually more boxy in shape with a protruding Pontiac nose and more angular shapes. Between 1982 and 1992, the third generation of Pontiac Firebirds emerged. The new models were lighter than older cars and incorporated GM’s CCC engine control system. They benefited from improved performance and better fuel economy and had a lower emission rate than previous models. The styling also changed somewhat, with two pop-up lights becoming the most prominent feature on the beautifully restyled front end. By 1984 the unique T-top styling also became a feature.
The fourth and most recent generation of Pontiac Firebird emerged in 1993 and ended in 2002. These beautifully sleek, aerodynamic cars have kept in line with the Firebird tradition of producing fast, stylish and affordable little cars. Truly, not enough can be said about the Firebird’s contribution to the world of muscle cars – but they continue to live on as a most memorable motor vehicle.