Racing Blip: 2016 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring

By | March 19, 2016

Olivier Pla

2016 12 Hours of Sebring overall pole winner – Olivier Pla

Hello fine readers!

It’s time, to tell you about a wonderful little event that has been happening in sunny state of Florida for over 60 years.

A little event called, the 12 Hours of Sebring.

That’s right. Twelve hours of racing at one of America’s oldest, and still functioning, race tracks.

This race as seen some of the finest – and not so finest – car companies race there. Ferrari, Ford, Chevrolet, MG, Porsche, Alfa, Chappell, Austin-Healy, Audi, BMW, Dodge, Nissan, Mazda, just to name a few. Even some of the famous names of racing have competed on this famed track. Dan Gurney, Billy Lloyd, Sterling Moss, Phil Hill, Jim Hall, Ken Miles, Bruce McLaren, Jacky Ickx, Mario Andretti, Hurley Haywood, Bobby Rahal, Tom Kristensen, the list goes on and on.

This has turned into a motorsports tradition. One of the “must-go” events, not only for spectators, but for teams. In fact, many of the teams heading for the 24 Hours of Le Mans will use Sebring as a test for the famed French race.

And this weekend’s running should prove to be just as exciting as races of old.

Cars from Lamborghini, Audi, Porsche, BMW, Dodge, Mazda, Chevrolet, Ford, Ferrari, and more will be competing to be the last car standing at the end of the grueling 12 hours.

To watch this event unfold, head on over to IMSA for broadcast details.

Remember, racing starts 3/19 at 10:40am ET!

You can also watch it via streaming on a slew of devices.

And what isn’t a Racing Blip without a link to the handy spotters guide to help keep track of the cars on the track?

And a little video with some of the sights and sounds from testing at Sebring from a few weeks back.

[photo: IMSA]

 

Racing Blip: 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona

By | January 30, 2016

Ford GT @ Rolex 24 at Daytona

Ford GT @ Rolex 24 at Daytona

Ladies, Gentleman, kids of all ages. It is time!

“Time for what?”, you ask.

Well fine reader, it’s time for the start of the sports car / endurance racing season here in North America!

“huh, interesting..”

BUT WAIT! There’s more!

What if I told YOU that the first race of the season is a race that lasts 24 hours! That’s TWICE around the clock!

“ok..that’s a long time to be in a race car..what if the drivers needs to..”

BEFORE you finish that thought, let me tell you want else is in store for this inaugural race of this WeatherTech SportsCar Championship!

Not only to do have ONE race happening for 24 hours, but FOUR, count ‘em, you have FOUR races happening all at the same time! ON THE SAME TRACK!

“Wait, what? Four races at the same time?? What are these like junker cars or something??”

NO, in fact you have NEW cars from Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Audi, BMW, Corvette, Viper*, Porsche, Ferrari. Let us not forget the purpose built race cars with engines from Honda! Nissan! Mazda! Ford! Chevy!

All built and tuned and itchin’ to go Go GO!

“Wow! So, what you’re..”

WAIT! I have something very special for you, BUT ONLY because I like you!

“YES, Yes! what is it!!??”

The racing debut of the NEW Ford GT, a car so NEW, you can’t even purchase yet!

“But are the drivers any good??”

Are the drivers from F1 good? How about drivers from WEC? Yes? Some of the drivers come from those series and other drivers from ALL over the world come to race in this VERY race! Of course the drivers are GREAT!

Rest assured, you’re in for some GREAT racing from some of the greatest talents on earth and some of the best cars the WORLD has to offer!!

“WOW! How exactly does one watch this and when does it start??!

Funny you should ask! I’d head on over to website of the series, IMSA. HURRY, it starts today (1/30/16) at 2:40pm EST!

And because we like you so much, here’s a handy spotters guide to help keep track of all the action!
Enjoy!

*ok..Viper isn’t “new”, but work with me here…

Weekend Wallpaper – Choo Choo El Camino

By | January 10, 2016

At the Yacht Club

At the Yacht Club

According to history.com’s listing Chevrolet launched El Camino twice, once in 1958 as a stand alone model for a 2 year run and again in 1964 for more successful market presence until Chevrolet dropped the model and name in 1987.

Wikipedia states El Camino (The Path) captured more market attention after 1968’s move to Chevrolet’s Chevelle platform and attaching their SS designation. America’s accelerating passion for for more cubic inches and horse power lifted El Camino into the spotlight.

elcaminocentral.com states Choo Choo Customs of Chattanooga, TN, produced 2200 specially dressed El Camino versions from 1983 through 1987. Choo Choo Customs’ produced El Camino offered potential customer their only access to official SS markings delivering said customers from bare bones pickup truck-esque egg crate grill linked by equally plain twin headlight pairs. With stock El Camino bows resembling a stack of rough hewn 2X4’s, Chevrolet greatly benefitted from Choo Choo’s handiwork sloping the grill, adding body stripes, attaching dressed up wheels & tires along with hots of appearance salvaging adds on.

Choo Choo didn’t, though, add any go fast hardware or accessories leaving El Camino, not exactly sluggish but far behind anything from earlier day Chev built and equipped SS road burners. Customers could not order Choo Choo as a dealer installed dress package. Choo Choo also turned away any customers driving their non SS El Camino to Chattanooga looking for an SS overhaul.

I couldn’t help wondering why, with El Camino SS’ strong road performance and muscular appearance history, Chevrolet elected this farmed out makeover. At least Chevrolet Moved El Camino past its pick up truck look to a slim and trim cruiser.

This fine example belongs to my good friend and race chauffeur Lou Bottega, Thanks for the ride, Lou. See you at the track.

Download the full resolution version of El Camino Choo Choo here*

Weekend Wallpaper is a weekly series featuring the automotive photography of the Daily Derbi crew.  This week’s photo is by Neil Eschenfelder

*Weekend Wallpapers are provided for personal / non-commercial use only. No commercial usage is allowed. By downloading the Weekend Wallpaper, you agree to these terms.

 

Utah Motorsport Campus signs one year agreement

By | January 8, 2016

Miller Motorsports Park

Miller Motorsports Park

Some of you may of heard that Miller Motorsports Park closed it’s doors last October 31st after nearly 10 years of operation and handed the keys to Tooele County in Utah. Indeed a sad day. The silver lining on the horizon was the sell of the facility to Mitime Utah Investment, LLC and it was to be renamed to Utah Motorsports Campus (UMC). Mitime had publicly disclosed some ambitious, and welcomed, plans for UMC, with Mitime taking ownership of the park on January 1st, 2016.

Unfortunately, December saw the conclusion of a lawsuit which basically nullified the sale of the park to Mitime Utah Investment.

With the Tooele County having to restart the bidding process again, the question became, what would happen to the track in the mean time?

Today comes the answer. The quick version: Mitime has signed a one year management agreement to run the park for the 2016 season. The county and Mitime can terminate the deal with 60 days’ notice. Once the sale of the facility is complete, agreement will terminate.

This also means that racing will return to the MMP/UMC for the 2016 racing season!

Copies of the press release from UMC and Tooele County.

[photo | mike gillilan]

Quick Lube horror story

By | December 16, 2015

Don’t let this happen to you!

If you’ve been around the car scene long enough, you’ll eventually hear some horrific story about somebody taking their car to a Quick Stop Lube type place. Sometimes the oil filter wasn’t put on. Or the forgot the fill the engine back up with oil. Or a plethora of other problems that seems to stem from the “let’s see how many oil changes we can do in an hour” approach to these businesses.

And let’s face it, sometimes those offers are VERY tempting. We all have busy lives. We get behind on our own car maintenance, or the trusted mechanic is backed up for 7 weeks. And obviously, not every lube shop is going to ruin your car if you take it to them. But, as the driver of this Audi S4 found out the hard way, sometimes the convenience of these places isn’t worth the hassle!

But what is important, and what I think is the take away from this person’s experience, is pay attention, stay cool, and document. If something doesn’t “feel” right, it probably isn’t. You, as the consumer, have the right to inspect the work done.

Here’s the thread over at Audizine.com

Do you have your own horror story to share? Let us know!

[ht: Audizione.com | photo: the author of the thread]

The Times are a Changin’

By | October 31, 2015

 

Final shot of Miller Motorsports Park after last event.

The End of an Era – Miller Motorsports Park

As has been reported many places, Miller Motorsports Park will cease operations today, October 31st, 2015.

Miller Motorsports Park opened in 2006 by Larry H. Miller, a Utah businessman and sports car enthusiast. That was also the year I was documenting a race team that was running in what is now known as Pirelli World Challenge. Back then, World Challenge was mostly playing the supporting role to the American Le Mans Series. Where ALMS went, World Challenge tagged along.

Leading up to the first race at MMP, some of the questions and mumblings being talked about from crews of both series were a combination of skepticism and optimism.  A new track, with no data, in America? Has anybody tested there yet? Can I buy alcoholic beverages? Wait, where is Utah? Is this place all hype?

Then the week came for the first ALMS/World Challenge race at Miller Motorsports Park. As we drove up to the new facility in the team van, excitement grew. This LOOKED like a GREAT facility on the outside. Walking through the gate, there was a certain electricity in the air. This was a true state of the art facility! Lush green lawns in the spectating areas. Large, multiple, and permanent concession stands. LOTS of garage space with large TVs and bathrooms AND showers. Wait, TVs in the garages?? Everything well illuminated. Nothing felt cramp or an exercise for some senior’s community college engineering project. There was SPACE. And the place was just HUGE. 

Entering the media center was no different, everything was nice, everything was new, and there was space to accommodate everyone for a change. No more writers fighting photographers fighting videographers for a seat to do their work. 

By the end of that first race weekend, my take of the overall consensus from the various teams was that Miller Motorsports Park REALLY did live up to the hype. It was a world class facility that could handle the all of the world’s sports car racing needs. And all were excited to return in the following years. 

Here at Daily Derbi, we owe a debt of gratitude to Miller Motorsports Park. The staff has been gracious enough to allow us cover some of the early events. From the site’s founder, Chad, driving Greg Miller’s Ford GT and covering the early days of “Lap Battles“, to last weekend’s sports car racing event with NASA Utah. This site wouldn’t have grown and expanded without the help of Miller Motorsports Park.

So it was bittersweet leaving the very last race to ever be held under the banner of Miller Motorsports Park last weekend. So many memories. So many experiences. As the hashtag rightfully says:

 

#ThanksLarry

 

Have a favorite memory or memorable experience from MMP? Feel free to share it with us and our loyal readers in the comments below or over on Facebook.