February 9, 2009 by  
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The Hockenheimring, or Hockenheimring Baden-Wurttemberg, is located near the town of Hockenheim, situated in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. This circuit is the host to the Formula One German Grand Prix, and many other racing events.

The Hockenheimring was constructed in the Rhine Valley in 1932, and was built due to the closing of the Wildpark-Circuit that was located in Karlsruhe, by German Officials. In its early years, the Hockenheimring Circuit was used for motorcycle races, but in 1936 it became a test track for Auto Union and for Mercedes-Benz. The circuit was renamed to Kurpfalzring in 1938, but the name only lasted until the year 1947 before reverting to its original name. Grand Prix motorcycle racing was held here after the war, alternating between Hockenheim and other racing circuits.

Originally, Hockenheimring consisted of an eight kilometer track, that had two long straights, with a U-turn and an outstretched eastern corner running through the forest and joining the two straights together. The Autobahn A6 separated the main part of the track from the village in 1965, and it brought about the construction of the “Motodrom” stadium and a new Hockenheimring Circuit version. Crash barriers and two chicanes were added after Jim Clark had a fatal accident in a Formula 2 race in the year 1968. An additional chicane was added in 1980, to the Ostkurve, after another driver, Patrick Depailler, lost his life.

Formula One Officials requested that the Hockenheimring circuit be shortened in 2000, as the track was 6.8 kilometers, and gave the state government of Baden-Wurttemberg an ultimatum that either the circuit must be shortened, or they would move the event to another circuit. The state government received financing and commissioned Hermann Tilke to redesign the circuit before the 2002 German Grand Prix. The redesign had most of the stadium section remain the same, except for a much tighter corner in Turn 1 and new surfacing. The circuit was shortened to the extreme, which cut off the entire forest section and replaced it with more tight corners. The tight hairpin corner that was added to follow a long straight, has presented drivers with another opportunity for overtaking. A large stand that is sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, gives the Hockenheimring Circuit a spectator capacity of 120,000. It also has a quarter-mile track that hosts drag racing, with the Nitro Olympics being the biggest event in Europe.

The German Grand Prix was hosted by the Hockenheimring Circuit for the first time in 1970, and from 1971 to 1976 the German Grand Prix was hosted by Nurburgring. During the years 1977 to 2006, the German Grand Prix moved back to the Hockenheimring Circuit, with the exception of 1985. It was decided that from 2007, starting with Nurburgring, the German Grand Prix will alternate between Nurburgring and the Hockenheimring Circuit.

Production Vehicles

February 9, 2009 by  
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Production vehicles come in all shapes and sizes, from family cars to off-road vehicles and much, much more. Each production vehicle manufacturer will create a number of models for mass production, thus providing people with a wide choice of vehicles to suit their needs and budgets. The auto production industry is a perfect example of market forces in action – successful vehicles sell in great quantities and for a long time, while models rejected by the market are soon withdrawn. The history of the automibile reflects the changing tastes of the buying public, whose demands are quickly met by the production vehicles designed and produced by automakers worldwide – and competition for consumer dollars is fierce.

In the United States, the main manufacturers of production vehicles are General Motors, Ford and Chrysler (now officially DaimlerChrysler) – traditionally known as ‘The Big Three’. There used to be many more independent automakers, but almost all have gone out of business or have been absorbed by their larger rivals. Some of these bygone makers of American production vehicles were Studebaker, Packard, Hudson, Nash, Willys and Kaiser. A few of these small independent manufacturers joined forces to form American Motors (AMC), but even this wasn’t enough to ensure survival and AMC was bought out by Chrysler in the mid 1970s.

Foreign production vehicles began arriving on American shores after the Second World War. Names like MG, Triumph and Jaguar (England), Volkswagen and Mercedes (Germany), Fiat and Alfa Romeo (Italy) and Renault (France) achieved varying amounts of success here. However, it was the Japanese who have made the biggest impact, and are now the largest foreign-owned manufacturers of production vehicles in the USA. Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda and Subaru are the biggest names and most successful.

Many types of production vehicles are manufactured to directly meet certain automotive needs. Jeep specializes in off-road vehicles that are able to cope with rough terrain and are perfect for adventurous people who want to explore. Porsche and Lamborghini are well known for their powerful and luxurious sports cars. If there’s a recognizable need in the market, you can be sure the automakers will address it with a new production vehicle!

Vintage Car Racing

February 9, 2009 by  
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Vintage car racing continues to grow in popularity, and as time goes by, more cars are eligible to compete in this sport which is as much about ‘Show’ as it is about ‘Go’. Vintage car racing has broad appeal to all age groups. Older fans can reminisce about the races they attended in their youth or watched on television, while younger fans are enticed by the retro styling and back to basics design that ruled racing before technology entered onto the scene.

One of the most famous car races of the post-war era was the Carrera Panamericana that was run between 1950 and 1955 across a rough and uneven Mexican course. This race was truly legendary, with Mercedes and Porsche battling American makes such as Lincoln (yes, Lincoln) for the glory of road racing victory. Porsche later celebrated their successes in the race by using the ‘Carrera’ name on some of their more sporty models. The race was revived in the 1980s and is now run by vintage vehicles. I guess one could say, ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’.

In the US, vintage auto racing’s home is the historic racetrack at Watkins Glen NY. The track celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1998 by hosting the Zippo U.S. Vintage Grand Prix. The event was so well attended and received that the ‘Zip’ has become an annual event. Not only original racecars, but also their original drivers, are featured in the Grand Prix Festival Race Reenactment that runs on the original 6.6 mile long circuit winding its way through the village of Watkins Glen.

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.

Stirling Moss

February 9, 2009 by  
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Sir Stirling Moss OBE was born on 17 September 1929 in London. Moss is a former British racing driver who succeeded in many categories of racing, making him one of the world’s elite. He has often been called the “greatest driver never to win the World Championship”.

Stirling Moss raced from 1948 to 1962 and won approximately 194 out of the 497 races that he entered and took part in. This incorporated a total of 16 Formula One Grand Prix events. Once when he was interviewed he told the interviewer that over the years he had participated in 525 races in total and that he raced as many as 62 races in one year in just as many different cars. Drivers who came out of that era competed in many categories, often at the same time.

Stirling was a pioneer in British Formula One racing and was second four times in the Drivers’ Championships from 1955 to 1958. His first win was at the British Grand Prix at Aintree, with the incredible Mercedes-Benz W196 Monoposto. One of his favourite drives was the 1955 Mille Miglia, a race 1597 km long endurance race on open road through Italy. Here he managed to beat teammate Fangio in second place when he finished with a record time of 10 hours and 8 minutes. His navigator was there to support Moss with notes on the long trip and anything that might affect Stirling’s decision making. This helped immensely as Stirling competed against many local drivers and this gave him as much information as what they would have had.

In 1957 Moss completed one of the longest Grand Prix circuits, winning the daunting 25 km Pescara Circuit. He again beat friend and archrival Fangio showing his skills at high speeds and over a long distance. Stirling Moss was equally gifted in the sports car as he was in the Grand Prix car, winning for three years consecutively the hard and tiring 1000 km race at Germany’s Nurburgring.

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