Archive for the ‘Cars’ Category

Pictures from the Goodwood Festival of Speed

July 7th, 2010 No comments

I had been wanting to go to the Goodwood Festival of Speed for years and on the weekend I finally made it.

For those who don’t know, the Festival of Speed is a huge celebration of racing cars from the early decades of the 20th Century to the latest Formula One and Le Mans prototypes, held over three days at Goodwood House, the country estate of Lord March.

The main event is the hill climb but there is so much else to see that you could easily spend three days there and not run out of things to do. There were literally times when I didn’t know where to look, like when the Red Arrows were streaking overhead at the same time an old Maserati was roaring up the hill.

The festival is really well organised and it’s amazing how close you can get to the cars and drivers. One moment you are wandering around the F1 paddock, peering into Ayrton Senna’s old McLaren, and the next there are shouts to move aside while Mark Webber’s Red Bull rolls past.

This year the festival was celebrating 100 years of Alfa Romeo and 60 years of the Formula One World Championship so there were no shortages of beautiful old Alfas and F1 cars, including an example of the Alfa 159 ‘Alfetta’ that Farina piloted to the very first F1 World Championship.

Bruno Senna drove his uncle’s McLaren and John Surtees drove his championship winning Ferrari 158. With Jenson Button now at McLaren, Nico Rosberg took control of Button’s BGP 001 from last year (unfortunately repainted in the new silver Mercedes livery).

There were a whole host of classic Lotus’s; Emerson Fittipaldi drove his gorgeous JPS 72E from 1973 and Sir Jackie Stewart drove the beautiful Lotus 38 that his friend Jim Clark used to win the Indianapolis 500 in 1965.

It wasn’t just F1 cars either. There were sports cars, touring cars and motorbikes and a long walk to the forest at the top of the hill revealed some classic rally cars blasting around the forest rally stage.

Below are some of my favourites of the hundreds of pictures I took.

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Virgin’s all-digital racing car

February 3rd, 2010 No comments

Virgin Racing launched their 2010 Formula One car – the VR-01 – today. They had originally intended to go with the current trend of launching online but technical difficulties prevented a live online launch.

The VR-01 is the first Formula One car to be designed entirely in the digital domain using computational fluid dynamics (CFD).

Other teams make use of CFD technology but Virigin is the first team to design and build a car without using any scale models or wind tunnel tests.

Technical Director Nick Wirth admits they won’t know whether the computer got it right until the car takes to the track:

We fully expect to encounter issues along the way; CFD is an approximation – as is scale-model testing. In both cases, it is only when you hit the track that you can really appreciate the effect of factors that are tricky to model with any technology such as the effect that the real stiffness of all bodywork components and joints has on the airflow for example.

It will be fascinating to see how the car performs in real life when it takes part in the test at Jerez next week.

Images: Virgin

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More cars unveiled as first test kicks off

February 1st, 2010 No comments

The first pre-season test of 2010 kicks off at Valencia today which means it is the first chance to see how the different cars perform on track.

On the weekend, BMW Sauber and Renault launched their 2010 machines. The BMW Sauber C29, despite the name of the team, is powered by a Ferrari engine and as Drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi pulled back the covers at the Valencia circuit a car with a very high nose and a long shark fin was revealed.

Shark fins seem to be popular this year as Renault’s new car is also sporting one. The R30, to be piloted by Robert Kubica and Russian rookie Vitaly Petrov, was also unveiled on Sunday. With the departure of sponsor ING, Renault has returned to their historic yellow and black livery which gave the Renault RS01 the nickname ‘Yellow Teapot’.

On Monday morning, Toro Rosso revealed their first car as a fully independent constructor. Team boss Franz Tost said:

After four years of working in collaboration with Red Bull Technology, the STR5 is the first car that is one hundred percent down to our own endeavours.

Although the car looks quite similar to last year’s STR4, it has been designed to take full advantage of running a double-diffuser.

Mercedes GP also revealed their W01 in the pit lane ahead of today’s test (the car presented at the team’s launch last week was a repainted Brawn BGP01). It is a nice looking car with a graceful, swooping nose and a small shark fin engine cover.

Williams are foregoing an official ‘launch’ and will reveal their Cosworth-powered FW32 when it rolls out of the garage for it’s installation lap.

Pictures of the Renault R30 below:

After four years of working in collaboration with Red Bull Technology, the TR5 is the first car that is one hundred percent down to our own endeavours.
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McLaren launch MP4-25

January 29th, 2010 3 comments

McLaren launched their new F1 car, the MP4-25, at Vodafone’s headquarters in Newbury today.

2010 marks the first time since the 1989 pairing of Senna and Prost that McLaren will have an all world champion driver lineup and as the 2008 champion and the 2009 champion pulled back the cover, Lewis Hamilton remarked how different the MP4-25 looks from its predecessor.

The significantly larger fuel tank has forced an aerodynamic overhaul, the most noticeable feature of which is the long shark-fin that stretches all the way back to the rear wing – similar to last year’s Red Bull RB5. McLaren’s chief engineer, Tim Goss:

The dorsal fin is partly to accommodate the additional cooling duct and partly a logical development of the high-downforce wing we ran last year at races like Monaco, which feeds air more efficiently to the rear wing upper element.

The car looks stunning; even more like a rocket-ship than last year’s MP4-24. McLaren have retained the striking silver finish, despite Mercedes GP also adopting the same colour. While I like the carbon fiber touches on the Mercedes, I think the McLaren has the better finish of the two.

But the thing I like most about all the cars this year is the uncovered wheels. Can’t wait to see those glowing discs again!

Images: McLaren

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Ferrari unveil the F10

January 28th, 2010 No comments

Ferrari became the first team to unveil their 2010 car at a press conference that was streamed live on the internet.

2009 was a bad year for the Scuderia with Felipe Massa crashing heavily at Hungary and the poorly performing F60 claiming only a single victory in the whole season. Ferrari stopped development of last year’s car early to work on the F10, a tactic that had seemed to work well for Brawn GP (Honda) the year before.

In 2009, Brawn’s secret weapon was the double-diffuser. The teams have agreed to outlaw the controversial design next year but it is clearly a vital part of this year’s car. Ferrari’s chief designer, Nicholas Tombazis said:

The diffuser was fundamental: to optimise performance we had to review the car’s whole rear axle, changed the steering to make more room for the diffuser. The diffuser is much bigger and better performing compared to last year’s.

Ferrari obviously don’t want to give any secrets away as the whole diffuser was hidden at the launch. We will have to wait until Valencia to see what they have come up with.

Of course, the F10 is a beautiful car, but so was the F60 and the McLaren MP4-24 for that matter. The old motor sport saying that if it looks good it goes good didn’t seem to apply to those cars, at least at the start of the season.

As always, we will just have to wait until we see them on track.

Images: Ferrari

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