Peugeot 908 Unveiled

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Staying ahead of the competition is what it is all about when it comes to racing. Developing new technologies and designing cars that will hopefully secure victory is what every racing team strives to do. After winning the 2010 Le Mans Cup, the Peugeot team is even more determined that their new Peugeot 908 will be the car to beat in the upcoming season. The French team also managed to secure the 2009 season and even more determined to maintain their winning streak, so last Thursday the public were given the first glimpse of the Peugeot 908.

The design and construction of the Peugeot 908 was done under the project name of 90X. All changes and development of the new car comply with the regulations of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO). Great excitement is building around seeing the new vehicle perform on the track. One of the changes made to the new vehicle was seeing the V12 being replaced by a 3.7 V8 power plant, as the new regulations are enforcing smaller displacement engines. It has been fitted at a ninety degree angle and now produces 542 bhp.

In regard to the aerodynamics of the car, engineers have managed to redesign the car in such a way that the down force has been slightly reduced, to enable the car to maintain the same speed as its predecessor. The shark fin has also been adjusted and designers have strived to make the car more aerodynamic. The Peugeot 908 will also feature the same size tires front and rear.

The Sport’s Technical Director of Peugeot, Bruno Famin, commented that testing the car has aided them in solving a few issues they had with the car, saying: “We did indeed have problems but we succeeded in resolving them one by one as we got more and more kilometers on the clock. One of the very positive points we found was that the car’s handling lived up to our expectations out of the box. With regard to its other strengths and weaknesses, we will need to wait until the first races to see how we compare with our rivals.”

The drivers for the coming Le Mans have been announced to be Simon Pagenaud, Sebastien Bourdais and Pedro Lamy for car number nine; Marc Gene, Anthony Davidson and Alex Wurz for car number seven; and Frank Montagny, Stephane Sarrazin and Nicolas Minassian in car number eight. With the new car and drivers announced for the 2011 season, Peugeot seems ready to take on the Le Mans.

The F1 Spyker F8-VII vs the F16 Fighter Plane

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The Volkel Air Force Base in Holland was the scene of excitement and anticipation, while thousands of spectators waited anxiously to see Christijan Albers face off against an F16 Fighter jet airplane. Speculation and thrill soared through the excited crowd because experts and lay spectators alike were unsure who would be victorious. In the air, there is no match to the F16’s top speed of 2,020 kilometers per hour but how it was going to perform on the ground was anyone’s guess.

The Spyker Racing Team put their F8-VII on the line for the “Full Throttle” event and looked forward to the opportunity, especially as they have been associated with the Royal Netherlands Air Force for many years. The Formula 1 racecar, driven by Christijan Albers, can reached speeds of approximately 350 kilometers an hour, which is the average speed the F16 needs to lift-off. So, from a ground performance point of view, the F16 and the F1 Spyker F8-VII should be evenly matched.

The F16 was piloted by Captain Ralph Aarts, who has a long and distinguished flight record that includes 1,100 hours of flying and many operational missions. The accomplished pilot was as excited as Albers at the chance to race two powerful machines against each other.

At the start of the 1 kilometer race it seemed as if the Formula 1 Racing Car was going to get the upper hand. Albers had the starting advantage for the first 300 meters, but the F16 dug deep and managed to pass Albers and remain in the lead for the remaining 700 meters. The F16 aircraft completed the 1 kilometer stretch in 15.5 seconds, with its top speed at the finish line being 450 kilometers per hour. Captain Aarts then gently lifted his machine off the ground to perform a few maneuvers and tricks that left the spectators speechless and Albers with a new respect for the warriors of the sky.

Both pilot and driver enjoyed each second of the race, as Albers was overjoyed to have come so close to an F16 Fighter, and Aarts to a Formula 1 Racing Car. Even though the event was over in a few seconds and the F16 had won by a mere two car lengths, it was a day that was enjoyed by all.

It is not everyday that two of the world’s fastest moving machines get the opportunity to challenge each other. The race also served a very important function and that was to raise awareness for the Air Force’s Recruitment Program, to entice young future pilots to consider a career with the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

The National Auto Racing Memorabilia Show

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The National Auto Racing Memorabilia Show, known to regular visitors as NARM, has grown from humble beginnings to become a hugely popular annual event. Held in Indianapolis in conjunction with the Indy 500 Weekend, NARM celebrated their 28th anniversary this past May 25 through 28 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Although the show certainly draws visitors from those who come to town to watch the Indianapolis 500, there is also a solid core of auto racing memorabilia collectors for whom NARM holds pride of place on their calendars.

You might be forgiven for wondering just what does a fan of auto racing memorabilia collect, and how do they get what they need? You also might be surprised by just how much racing memorabilia is out there, and by the fact that sellers of racing collectibles make quite a nice living providing race fans with the memorabilia they crave.

Race memorabilia isn’t restricted to actual “raced” memorabilia, such as a windshield wiper off a winning rally car. It could consist of anything remotely connected to auto racing. Programs are a popular choice for new collectors, as they are usually printed in quantity and taken home by attendees after the race is over. Photos also have their following, autographed by drivers or not. Now, you might pay a couple of dollars for a famous racing driver’s photo, but the same photo, signed and with a valid certificate of authenticity might sell for hundreds of dollars or more. In fact, the sky’s the limit when it comes to racing memorabilia. Actual winning racecars have been auctioned off for more than the price of an average house! Most collectors of racing memorabilia who come to NARM, however, have their sights set much more modestly. Dealers at the show provide a wide range of racing collectibles including racing posters and art, tickets and ticket stubs, racing flags and car parts. NARM has been called “the best-kept secret of the Indy 500 weekend festivities”, but let it be said here: the secret is getting out!

Auto Racing – The Return of Retro

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Car styling through the years has gravitated between racing influences and tributes to the great automobiles of the past. Sometimes it’s both, a case in point being the 1990s Chrysler Concorde with its wide oval grill reminiscent of early 1960s Ferraris. The Prancing Horse has been evoked by other makes as well, such as the 1955 Chevrolet and its Ferrari-inspired grill. The current styling theme seems to be retro – with a vengeance. Some examples of the trend include the Chrysler PT Cruiser that recalls the 1930s, the Chevrolet HHR with its 1940s look and the new Ford Mustang that pays homage to the Mustangs of the late 1960s.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that the big American automakers have embraced the retro theme. Note that very few, if any, overseas carmakers have done the same (BMW, with its line of roadsters may be an exception). Could it be that domestic manufacturers long for the days when they ruled the automotive roost? It’s debatable whether car buyers share this nostalgia for the past, but then again nostalgia is a prime motivator when middle-aged buyers make costly purchases. Ford cleverly played the “mid-life crisis” card with their latest version of the Thunderbird. The car was styled with one eye on the classic two-seat T-Birds of the 1950s. It didn’t handle especially well, nor did its engine provide much power or excitement, but the Thunderbird wasn’t designed to be a seat-of-the-pants performer – it was aimed straight for the heart.

The Ford Mustang, on the other hand, was purposely planned to hit the emotional and physical targets. It could be optioned with Cobra style stripes and other “go fast” accessories, plus the under hood pieces to enable it to keep its promises. The Mustang has been an unqualified success, and everyone has noticed. Chrysler is planning to release an updated Dodge Challenger in 2007 that bears more than a passing resemblance to its early 1970s namesake, down to the “Plum Crazy” paint job.

Even GM, troubled giant though it may be, has announced plans to reissue the Chevrolet Camarro. The Camarro also promises to feature retro styling, this time based on the memorable 1969 edition. It goes to show you: in the world of automobiles, everything old is new again!

Now You Can Learn to be an Auto Race Car Driver

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Who wouldn’t envy the opportunity to slip behind the wheel of a Formula 1 or NASCAR race car? Who hasn’t dreamed of what it actually feels like to break out of a curve and hit the straightaway at speeds in excess of 250 miles an hour? The Finish Line Racing School aims to do just that. More than just an extreme sport opportunity, the Finish Line Racing School offers a solid introduction and foundation for anyone who has dreamed of a career as a race car driver.

Race car driving is an expensive habit and when it comes to teaching, the Finish Line Racing School is no exception. Two of their most popular courses, the “Competition Driving Course” (2 days, 86 laps) and “Race to Win/Advanced Course” (3 days, 138 laps) cost just over $3000 and $4000 dollars respectively.

You’re not going to become a professional driver in just a few days, but with this introduction to the sport you’ll soon realize whether your race car fantasy is something that’s actually attainable or whether it’s better to relegate your racing from a comfortable position on the living room couch.

Contact the Finish Line Racing School online for more information.

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