Racing Blip: 2015 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

By | April 18, 2015

Olivier BerattaThe annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach offers a plethora of racing series all in one place in one weekend.  The two we are most interested in is IMSA/Tudor as covered by Mike Gillilan yesterday, and the the Pirelli World Challenge.  This race weekend marks the 5th round for the series and like IMSA will only feature half of the series; the GT/GTA/GT Cup classes.

With such a tight course, we should see plenty of action similar to the last round held at St Pete.  Those 50 minutes of racing provided plenty of thrills and spills for the spectators.

Qualifying was held this morning and the result was almost predicable with the points leaders in each of the three classes ending up on pole.  Olivier Beretta in his Ferrari held of Robert Thorne for pole with a fastest lap of 1:19.313.  Rookie and GTA points leader Michael Lewis took pole with a lap time of 1:20.162 in a Porsche.  And in GT Cup Colin Thompson ran a 1:23.831.

Things to watch this weekend is the close points race in the GT class with Beretta and Ryan Dalziel only 3 points apart.  Tim Pappas of Black Swan Racing switches out his Mercedes-Benz SLS GT3 for an all new Viper GT3R after a crash that put him out of the race in St Pete during the last round.  Also look for Peter Cunningham to look for his first win in the Acura TLX-GT.  Cunningham had the fastest lap in practice yesterday.

Round 5 takes place tomorrow at 6:30pm EST and can be streamed live here.  The race will be rebroadcast on CBS Sports Network next Sunday at 3:30pm.  After which it will be available at the same link above after the CBS Sports Network broadcast.

A spotters guide for the race weekend can be found here.

Photo: PWC

Racing Blip: 2015 Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase At Long Beach

By | April 17, 2015


No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing @ Long Beach

No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing @ Long Beach

IMSA/TUDOR United SportsCar Championship makes it’s annual trip out West for a two race swing. This stop also happens to be the third stop of the 2015 season. Where? The mighty fine streets of Long Beach, California in support of the 2015 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. And I have to mention that I love watching this type of street racing. No long kitty litter..just hard cement and asphalt!

Compared to the season opener at Dayton, a full 24 hours. And the second race of the season, the grueling 12 Hours of Sebring. This race could be considered a “walk in the park” at only 100 mins long.

With qualifying out of the way, what should you be looking for?

In P (prototype) class. Take Mazda’s continued development of their P2 classed SkyActive cars. Add in some growing pains for the new P2 classed Ligiers. Well, you get Daytona Prototype domination. This evening had some pretty good “back-n-forth” with Scott Pruett and Ricky Taylor in lap times. Eventually Ricky Taylor came out with a new track record of 1:14.790 to steal the pole away from Scott. Imagine tomorrow’s race will be a good showing for the DPs, if they can keep things clean and off the walls. And for those keeping score, this will make for the DeltaWing’s first appearance at Long Beach.

In GTLM, the BMWs of Bill Auberlen and John Edwards take spots 1 and 2, respectively. Followed by Risi Competizione to round out the top 3, despite a “kissing the wall” incident in the previous practice session. A little tidbit of information for you, Bill Auberlen makes this the 14th different consecutive driver sitting on pole. This is going back to the very start of the this series. That’s just how competitive GTLM is.

The other classes? Well, they weren’t invited for this race.

Race starts tomorrow (4/18) at 7:05 p.m. ET

How to watch..well head on over to IMSA’s site and let them explain it to you. Thankfully, their streaming service is getting better over last year.

Or you can wait for the race to show up on their YouTube channel. Typically early next week.

And the ever handy, spotters guide.

[photo | IMSA]

Project: Pony Up – Part Four

By | April 13, 2015

Project Pony Up

We have made a HUGE step forward in Project: Pony Up since our last update one month ago.  As you can see in the photo the engine is in!  A couple of things had to happen before it did which we will discuss in this update, things like plugging the old oil dipstick hole, installing the hydraulic clutch and pedal, fighting with motor mounts, and modifying the transmission tunnel for the T5 transmission.

With the engine still on the stand we plugged the old dipstick hole found on the driver’s side of the block.  There are several ways you can do this.  We opted for a simple and clean way.  We found an appropriately sized bolt with pipe thread and tapped the hole and screwed it in.  This give you the option of reusing the hole if you ever desire to as well as seals it up well enough that it shouldn’t ever leak.  Be sure you don’t follow what we did and do this before you install the oil pan.  We had to remove ours and buy a new gasket.

Project Pony Up

When swapping a T5 into a classic Mustang you have three options on what to do for the clutch.  If you wish you can run your original Z-bar type clutch linkage.  You can also do a cable or hydraulically operated setup.  The cable clutch setup is the easiest as well as the cheapest.  It will also require careful routing of the cable.  If it is too close to the exhaust it can cause the cable to stretch over time or even melt.  We chose to use Modern Driveline‘s hydraulic clutch kit which comes with everything you need to set up minus the clutch and transmission which they happen to sell too.  A hydraulic system is certainly not the cheapest option but it offers the best clutch feel.  Their website is extremely helpful and is virtually a pain free ordering system allowing you to piece together your own kit a la carte and only get what you need.  Installation instructions are included and should be strictly followed.  A slave cylinder is installed on the bellhousing by simply drilling two holes (marked for proper alignment with the clutch fork) and bolting on.  It is easiest to do with the bellhousing removed from the transmission.  When installing the clutch fork make sure to use a new throwout bearing and lightly grease the inside of it as well as the input shaft on the transmission.  Replacing the bearing will save you time in the long run.

Project Pony Up

Since our project car was originally an automatic a hole had to be put in the firewall for the master cylinder and linkage to the clutch pedal.  Some cars have a punch out already on the firewall that can be hit out with a punch and hammer.  Others will require drilling.  The clutch master cylinder gets installed on the firewire in between the brake master cylinder and the fender.  You may need to reroute your brake lines for clearance.  The clutch MC bolts to the new clutch linkage under the dash and is recommended to have the help of a second person.  It can be done on your own but you will be cussing the whole time trying to get the holes to line up properly.

Project Pony Up

If your car is already an manual then this next step will be irrelevant to you.  Installing the clutch pedal is one of the more difficult things to do on this project so far.  To do so you will need to remove the cotter pin holding the brake pedal in place (see above photo).  Then unhook the wiring for the brake lights and it will slide out.  The large pin that held the pedal in place will be replaced with one built in to the new clutch pedal.  Now that you have the brake pedal removed you will need to cut some of the pad down.  Use a manual clutch pedal pad as a template for how much you should cut off.  You may want to inspect the bushings and replace as needed.  Now comes the fun part.  We found it easier to do with the foot well air vent removed as well as removing the paring brake bracket that hold it to the dash allowing it to be moved around as needed.  The clutch pedal is difficult to line up properly and find the right angle to get it in place but keep working at it and it will slide in with some effort.  In our case we had to remove the pedal again due to a manufacturing defect.  It wasn’t bent properly and the gap between the clutch and brake pedals was only about an inch wide.  We had it bent properly and checked for alignment before installing it again.  Once it was lined up how we wanted it the cotter pin was then put back in.  The clutch linkage and reservoir are yet to be installed.

Project Pony Up

Now you are about ready to install the engine!  Since the engine has been on a stand for 6 months the rear seal was not replaced when we replaced the rest of the gaskets.  Once you have the engine back on the hoist would be the best time to replace it.  Then you’ll want to replace the pilot bearing.  This can be tricky without the right tools but can be done using the bolt and lots of grease trick.  If you wish to reuse the flywheel you’ll want to take it to a machine shop to be resurfaced.  If you wish to use a new one make sure it is a 157 tooth 50 oz flywheel.  There is only one way to install the flywheel and clutch.  Install new motor mounts to the block and you can then install the motor.  Once installed you can then the transmission if you choose.  We chose to install the engine and transmission at the same time.  The only issue we had doing this was garage door clearance.  We also found it easier to install with the shifter removed from the transmission (we also learned that reinstalling the shifter would require cutting the shift hole in the floor).  In our case we had motor mount issues.  We are still not certain what happened but the heavy duty 64-73 mounts we ordered certainly look right but we had a difficult time getting them to line up properly with the chassis mounts.  We ended up using a pry bar to get them aligned and once bolted there is already stress on the mounts.  This will likely make them wear faster.  If you can manage the extra cost get the adjustable mounts.

Project Pony Up

Before tightening everything be sure to check for any clearance issues with the transmission, including the shifter location.  With a 67/68 a T5 shouldn’t have clearance issues but can vary car by car.  Remember, these are nearly 50 years old and the chassis has likely settled slightly over the years.  On our car there were no issues with the transmission tunnel clearance but we did have to cut the shift hole larger.  This is not totally necessary but to reinstall the shifter it is.  With the engine and transmission lined up properly, we used the shifter as a template for cutting the floor.  We cut about two inches toward the firewall and about a half inch toward the passenger side for the shifter.

Project Pony Up

With the engine and transmission installed the accessories can be installed.  In our case we omitted the smog pump and power steering pump.  The AC compressor was installed but will not be hooked up to anything.  It is simply being used for the belt pulley.  We recommend getting as much of the engine back together before tackling the wiring so that you can make sure to get the distances and locations of pigtails right.  That will be discussed in a future update.

Photos: The Author

Spectator Killed at Nurburgring

By | March 28, 2015


There was a horrifying turn of events at this weekend’s VLN Endurance Championship at Nürburgring, Germany, when a Nissan GT-R went airborne and plunged through a barrier into an area crowded with spectators. Driver Jann Mardenborough was not seriously hurt and can be seen in video taken immediately after the incident walking away from his car. Sadly, one spectator was killed and another four injured. They’ve reportedly been taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

The race was immediately stopped and will not be restarted, nor will there be any post-race ceremonies.

Jalopnik has a brief video of the crash and its aftermath, if you have the stomach for that sort of thing.

Everyone here at the Daily Derbi wishes to express our condolences to the families of the deceased and injured, as well as to Mr. Mardenborough. A sad day…

Photo credit: Alex Garcia

Jason Bennion has long thought a Mustang with an electric drivetrain would be a huge smash. He also blogs at – See more at:
Jason Bennion has long thought a Mustang with an electric drivetrain would be a huge smash. He also blogs at – See more at:
Jason Bennion has long thought a Mustang with an electric drivetrain would be a huge smash. He also blogs at – See more at:

Geneva Motor Show 2015

By | March 24, 2015

Geneva Motor Show

The Geneva Motor Show is one we look forward to most each year.  Why?  It is the auto show that seems to be no-holds-barred for most automakers who save their best, most exciting cars fro this show each year.  2015 was no exception and was arguably the most exciting in a long time with new cars from Ford all the way to Koenigsegg.  All featuring the cutting edge in technology and styling and all getting the fizz going as James May would put it.

Audi Prologue Avant Concept

Audi showed off its latest version of the Prologue, this time in the form of a wagon instead of a coupe.  This Prologue Avant Concept is a stunner!  It features many of the styling cues from the Prologue Coupe Concept from the LA Auto Show only it now uses a 3.0L turbo diesel and plug-in hybrid technology for power combining to make 455 hp and have a range of 33 miles of pure electric driving.  The Prologue cars are still just concepts but offer a look into what future Audi products may look like.

Audi R8 V10 Plus

Audi also pulled the cover off the redesigned R8 in a few variations.  Shown above is the top dog, the V10 plus.  Other versions include an e-tron and a base version of the V10.  The R8 went on a severe diet and lost just over 440 lbs bringing its weight down to 3,205 lbs.  Pair that with 456 hp in the e-tron, 540 with the base 5.2 L V10 and 610 hp in the plus version.  The e-tron packs a 92 kWh battery pack and promises 280 miles of range and a charge time of under 2 hours.  The V10 plus is similar to what the R8 GT was with a spoiler, more power and slightly less heft.  Gone is the 4.2 V8 and gone are the love ‘em or hate ‘em side blades.  The styling is still very much an R8 but a complete redesign.

Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Porsche came to play showing off the ultimate version of the ultimate version of the ultimate 991 in the new 911 GT3 RS.  This 500 hp naturally aspirated monster is everything you dream of when thinking about the 911.  Porsche managed to shave off 22 lbs (whoopty-doo) of heft from the “standard” GT3 by use of carbon fiber and magnesium parts.  This added power and less weight allows the car to be five seconds faster around the Nurburgring than the GT3.  The driver is held in place by seats nicked from the 918 Spyder.  As with the GT3, the RS version is PDK only.

Ford Focus RS

Arguably the most anticipated car of the year is this, the Ford Focus RS.  Not only is it one of the most desirable hot hatches, but, it will also be available in the US for the first time.  That enough to make your mouth water?  Try this on for size, it will use a modified version of the 2.3 Ecoboost found in the Mustang only it will make somewhere between 320-350 hp and be put to the ground via an all-new all-wheel drive system.  It will also only be available with a manual transmission.  Prices have yet to be announced but soon you’ll be able to recreate your favorite Ken Block video all on your own.  Thank you Ford!

Honda Civic Type R

Initially shown in concept form at last year’s show it seems only fitting that Honda would show off the production version of the next Civic Type R.  The new car offers 306 hp thanks to a 2.0 turbo four.  The Type R will scoot to 62 mph in just 5.7 seconds with massive Brembo brakes available to bring the car to a halt.  Sadly, this aggressive little hot hatch is based on the European Civic and will not be available in North America.

Bugatti Veyron La Finale

The Bugatti Veyron is nothing new.  In fact, the Veyron is bowing out.  What you see here is the final Veyron to be built.  Dubbed La Finale, this Veyron is finished in a beautiful black cherry carbon fiber and is based on the Veyron Vitesse, the Grand Sport version of the Super Sport.  Veyron number 450 will be heading to its new owner in the Middle East.

Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept

Could this be the best looking car to ever come from Crewe?  Bentley pulled the drapes off the EXP 10 Speed 6 which is quite a looker in British Racing Green.  The EXP 10 Speed 6 can only be described as what the next Continental GT could look like.  As with any Bentley its the cabin that gets garnished with luxury.  For now the EXP 10 is simply a design exercise so details on it are sparse.

McLaren 675LT

This little stunner is the new limited run McLaren 675LT.  The 675LT (Long Tail) is a hot version of the 650S.  Utilizing the same 3.8 TT V8 only packing a demonic 666 hp and weighing just 2700 lbs allows this little number to rocket to 62 mph in 2.9 seconds.  The reworked aero really shows off what the 675LT is all about.  McLaren will begin taking orders in July but you’d better be prepared for a waitlist as only 500 will be offered and each will cost you upwards of $400,000.

Porsche Cayman GT4

The Porsche 911 GT3 RS is plenty cool but its the new Cayman GT4 we are most interested in.  Porsche FINALLY built what the Cayman should have been.  This GT4 steals the 911 Carrera S 3.8 flat-6 with 385 hp but that’s not the best part.  The GT4 will be offered only in a 6 speed manual!  No PDK here.  The GT4 also swiped the brakes and seats off the 911 GT3.  Porsche says the car will hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, that’s .5 seconds faster than the Cayman GTS.  The GT4 will be available in July and will start at $84,600.  That’s $15,000 less than what the 911 Carrera S starts at.  But which is best?  We’ll just have to wait and see…

Ferrari 488 GTB

If you thought this was a Ferrari 458 Italia you’d be wrong.  What you see here is the new Ferrari 488 GTB.  A keen eye will notice the mostly subtle differences between the two, the most obvious is the last intakes behind the doors.  The 488 GTB is more than just a styling refresh, there is an all-new drivetrain as well.  The 488 breaks Ferrari tradition and instead of a 4.9L V8 under the hood its 3.9.  It also adds turbos to give the car 661 hp, more than any production Ferrari V8 ever made.  Beyond that Ferrari didn’t share much as far as availability or performance goes.

Lamborghini Aventador LP75-4 SV

When Lamborghini replaced the Murcielago with the Aventador we knew it was only a matter of time before an SV was created.  The day is finally here!  The Aventador SV packs 740 hp and drops 110 lbs making this the ultimate Raging Bull.  New features include new aero and styling around the car, bigger scoops behind the windows and a spoiler that increases downforce up to 170% at speed.  The interior is full of carbon fiber and Alcantara of course and borrows the TFT gauge screen from the Veneno.  The price for all this goodness?  Well if you have to ask…

Koenigsegg Regera

Koenigsegg is one of those obscure supercar companies you may or may not be familiar with.  If you read our articles then chances are you do.  This is the latest from the Swedish company dubbed Regera.  The Regera is the company’s first hybrid supercar pairing an 1,100 hp 5.0L twin turbo V8 with 400+ hp of electric motors for a combined 1,500+ hp.  The transmission?  There isn’t one.  The Regera uses a Direct Drive system which connects the motor straight to the axles.  The electric motors act as a single speed transmission and keeps the ICE in its power band under acceleration similar but not the same as how a CVT works.  Koenigsegg plans to build 80 of these and have given very little details about its performance other than that it will accelerate from 0-250mph in under 20 seconds.  Sounds impressive.

McLaren P1 GTR

The McLaren F1 is probably one of the most iconic cars of the 90s.  The F1 GTR was later built and was the inspiration for McLaren’s party piece, the P1 GTR.  McLaren stripped out the already lightweight hypercar and turned it into a full-blown race car.  83 hp was also discovered in the engine bringing the total up to 983 hp.  The P1 GTR is not technically a race car though.  It is not homologated for any existing racing series but is merely a track toy for wealthy playboys, much like the Pagani Zonda R.  It’s not street legal, nor is it legal to race so what’s the point?  To be the ultimate track day toy that’s what.  It would look right at home at Spa in a Gulf livery.

Photos: Autoblog

Racing Blip: 2015 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring

By | March 21, 2015

No. 57 Ligier JS P2 Judd

No. 57 Ligier JS P2 Judd

It is time, time for the 63rd annual running of the Twelve Hours of Sebring! A track as infamous as any in the world. A track where many teams will test in advance for other racing series and even before the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I’ve heard some have said that 12 hours of Sebring is just as grueling and tough, if not tougher, then the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Friday was qualifying and many were curious how the Prototype class would pan out with the latest in Balance of Performance (BoP) decrees handed down from IMSA officials. After watching qualifying of this class, all I can say is, either Sebring REALLY likes P2 cars, or the BoP has shifted in favor of the P2 cars. The No. 57 Ligier JS P2 Judd, piloted by Olivier Pla, took the top honors with a blistering 1:51.152. Besting last year’s fastest qualifying by almost a second! Finishing out the top 3 are the No. 1 Tequila Patron ESM HPD ARX-03b, with Ryan Dalziel behind the wheel, and then nearly a second later, the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP.

Due to some live stream issues, I wasn’t able to see much of the other classes.

What I can tell you is that Porsche North America took 1st and 2nd in GTLM. The No. 3 Corvette C7.R, took the 3rd spot with 0.22 seconds behind the 2nd place No. 911 Porsche! And I should also mention that a visiting from the WEC, is the No.98 Aston Martin Vantage V8 running in GTLM. What is turning into typical behavior for GTLM, less then a second separates the top 7 cars.

A few things to look out for. Obviously the race in GTLM will be some of the best racing out there. GTLM will probably threat this as a 12 hour sprint race. Meaning, all the teams will be pushing “all out”, for 12 hours! As a bonus, look for the special livery BMW using on it’s cars. A throwback to Sebring racercars 40 years ago! In Prototype, those new Ligier P2 are proving themselves, but don’t discount the DP cars. This will be a tough one to call. But I’m leaning towards a P2 victory. The more nimble P2 cars seem to handle Sebring’s rough and tumble track better then their heavier cohorts in DP.

So how best to watch this 12 hour race?

Easiest thing to do is send you over to IMSA’s website for the explantation. IMSA is getting better at streaming, but not the quite the ease of use we had back in the ALMS days with ESPN3.

OR you can check out TUDOR/IMSA’s YouTube channel. They are good at posting the full race a few days after the event.

And a “Racing Blip” wouldn’t be a “Racing Blip” without the ever handy Spotters Guide.

Race starts today (Saturday 3/21) at 10:40am ET

[photo | IMSA]