Ford Again Seeks Le Mans Domination

By | June 17, 2016

1966 Le Mans' fastest car: GT40P/1015

1966 Le Mans’ fastest car: GT40P/1015

Will Lightning Strike Again?

 

So driving your heart out, making your shifts over the last 24 hours, busting your bearings against the world’s most iconic brands and drivers, proving you, Ken Miles and Dennis Hulme behind the wheel of a Ford 7 liter powered GT40 Mark II supercar deserve a rousing trophy hoist in the winner’s circle of 1966’s Le Mans 24 hour endurance race. You’re about to make your statement putting the rest of the racing world on notice: Ford Motor Company builds cars capable of enduring more and outperforming all others. You can taste it!

Ken’s at the wheel. Victory’s in sight. Miles & teammate Dennis Hulme’s previous 24 hours blur speed, adrenalin and pride as the finish line lies ahead with Ferrari’s P3 entrants nothing more than carcasses along the roadside. Ford’s hierarchy, though, radioed out instruction: All three finishing Ford GT40 Mark II’s were to cross the finish line together. Take that Enzo! Ford’s 3 car team finish posted single digit salutes ending a race going down in history with, if not the most dominant win in Le Mans’ record books to date, at least the most controversial finish. Slowing his GT40, Miles, leading most of Ford’s race, allowed Bruce McClaren and Chris Amon’s Mark II across the finish line first.

Road and Track’s September,1966 Le Mans summary article provided me by The Glen’s International Motor Racing Research Center carefully details teammates Miles and Hulme endurance of 359 Circuit de la Sarthe 8.357 mile laps. 359 Dunlop curves. 359 Mulsanne Straights. 3009.2 race record miles. This car, this very body, engine, transmission, steering wheel; all of it, running 24 hours carrying designers’, engineers’, mechanics’, drivers’, planners’ best efforts, and, for that matter the entire Ford Motor Company itself along with Shelby American, into automobile racing lore. Yet within victory’s view, driver Ken Miles decelerated.

While numerous events celebrating Ford’s supercar winners run this weekend and other times surrounding this anniversary, the real Le Mans 1966 winner wasn’t car #1, GT40P/1015. It was just the fastest. Many thanks to the Larry H. Miller Group for allowing me access to this thoroughbred vehicle.

4 Ford’s GT cars qualified under class GTE Pro. Will Ford recapture Le Mans glory with their newest GT incarnation? Tune in to Fordperformance.tv and watch! Race begins Saturday, June 18, 3 PM local time in Le Mans, 9AM Eastern, 6 AM Pacific, US. Go Ford!

New era dawns on Ford's  storied GT

New era dawns on Ford’s storied GT

See you at the track.

Racing News: New Porsche 911 RSR enters testing phase

By | May 13, 2016

New Porsche 911 RSR

New Porsche 911 RSR testing at Weissach

What do you do with life after winning the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship for GT car makers? Sit around and wait for the competition to catch up to you? Are you kidding me!!? No, just like Porsche, you start the next day, building the next race car. And you ask some of your friends to really fine tune the car during its development. As Marco Ujhasi, Overall Project Manager GT Works Motorsport puts it, “It is definitely unusual to put several drivers behind the wheel at a rollout. But since all of our works drivers are involved in the development of the new car, the ones who could fit it into their schedules came to Weissach and turned a couple of laps.”

Testing and development will continue, not only at Weissach, but other tracks around the world.

Rumors have it that this new RSR will feature improved weight balance due to revised gearbox and engine placements and, of course, other tweaks throughout the platform.

Racing and Porsche fans will see the debut of this iteration of the RSR at next year’s 24-hour race at Daytona. “The race debut of a completely new vehicle at a 24-hour race is a big challenge. But we are right on schedule,” explains the Head of Porsche Motorsport, Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser.

It is said that Porsche will run a two car team for the 2017 WEC season, as well as a two car squad in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2017 as well.

I certainly can’t wait to see what Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser and Porsche have up their sleeve for BMW, Ford, Chevrolet, and Ferrari!

[photo | Porsche]

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]