Sunday, April 29, 2012

San Francisco Motorsports - Bob Burman set the world speed record in the Blitzen Benz on this date in 1911

One hundred and one years ago  -- April 23, 1911 -- Bob Burman set the world speed record of 225.65 kmh (140.21 mph) in Daytona Beach, Fla. behind the wheel of the Blitzen Benz. The 200-hp car was twice as fast as aircraft of its time, and Burman's record would stand for eight years. The above photo comes from the Library of Congress' Flickr photostream. Check out the video below of the guys from the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center starting the car's engine at the 2011 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance:

Saturday, April 28, 2012

San Franciso Motorsports - Ferrari Enzo Successor Spy Shots

Ferrari Enzo Successor Spy Shots
Ferrari's latest HY-KERS system, a mid-engine V-12 hybrid drivetrain, was just revealed in Beijing. Now, we have spy shots of the test mule for the successor to the Ferrari Enzo as it undergoes development--using the new HY-KERS system.

Due to arrive in 2013, the Enzo's replacement will be a dominating supercar, generating up to 920 horsepower but doing so in a light, efficient, hybrid setup. While the HY-KERS system has drawn much of the attention of late, the 120-horsepower (expected) unit pales in comparison to the V-12 gasoline engine.

Displacing 7.3 liters and generating a rumored 800 horsepower, it's set to be a truly ferocious V-12, the only thing more impressive than its acceleration being its sound. And riding in the next-gen Enzo successor, it'll be very quick at accelerating.

The Enzo's replacement is expected to weigh as little as 2,500 pounds-a phenomenally light number with 920 horsepower on tap. The marginally more powerful Bugatti Veyron, for example, weighs about 1,500 pounds more than the 2,500-pound target. Even McLaren's carbon monocoque MP4-12C--rated at "just" 600 horsepower-weighs a portly 500 pounds or so more.

While development is still ongoing, the time is drawing near for us to learn more of the coming Ferrari hypercar-just don't expect to see much more of it until then.

As the images show, Ferrari is very good at disguising its cars, and barring an internal leak, we won't likely have a clear idea of what to expect in terms of design until the official unveiling late this year or early next year.

Source: Motorauthority (Nelson Ireson)

Friday, April 27, 2012

San Francisco Motorsports - 2012 Copperstate 1000 Rally

 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS on 2012 Copperstate 1000 Rally

Report and photos by Larry Edsall
The 22nd annual Copperstate 1000 vintage and sports car rally was held April 15-19, 2012. Each year, the event sends five or six dozen pre-1974 classics, their drivers and co-drivers on a 1000-mile tour of Arizona’s amazing landscape by way of the state’s smooth but often delightfully serpentine and primarily two-lane byways.
Although there were serious doubts when the Copperstate was launched nearly a quarter-century ago, the event has become an important fund-raiser for the Phoenix Art Museum and draws cars and participants from across the country (and sometimes from overseas as well).

Remember, however, that from 1989-91, downtown Phoenix streets were the site of the ill-fated U.S. Grand Prix race, so when Louis Laflin of the Phoenix Men’s Arts Council suggested staging a vintage sports car rally, there was less than enthusiastic response from several fronts. Indeed, Laflin and those who liked his idea had to buy so-called bonds against any potential financial losses the event might experience.

But what the event and those who participated experienced were delightful days of driving and fellowship. In the ensuing two decades, the Copperstate 1000, with support from several businesses and title sponsorship from Phoenix-area auto dealership Bell Lexus, has grown into a major event for the Phoenix Art Museum. Some Copperstate participants even have become museum trustees and several loaned some of their most historic and valuable vehicles for the museum’s acclaimed Curves of Steel exhibition of the automobile as art. Staged in 2007, the exhibition’s showcase of rolling sculpture has been adopted by several other major American art museums.

More recently, the participants’ generosity has led to the creation of a second beneficiary as the Men’s Arts Council has launched the 10-90 Foundation to benefit the families of Arizona Department of Public Safety officers who have been injured or died in the line of duty. (10-90 is the radio code in Arizona for “officer needs assistance.”)

For the last several years, the Copperstate 1000 has launched from yet another of the Men’s Arts Council’s innovations — the Field of Dreams car show which turns Tempe Diablo Stadium, spring training home of the Los Angeles Angels major league baseball team, into a vintage vehicle venue that showcases the Copperstate cars as well as collector cars from several Phoenix area car clubs. With the Copperstate contingent arrayed along the warning track around the baseball diamond, with customs and hot rods parked on on the stadium’s mezzanine, and with other collector cars in the stadium parking lots, the Field of Dreams has become one of Arizona’s leading car shows.

This year, the Copperstate cars drove out of the stadium gates and turned northwest across the Sonoran Desert, where the saguaros finally give way to forest of Joshua trees. The route then turned to the northeast and started its climb toward Flagstaff and snowcapped Humphreys Peak, at 12,643 feet the tallest of Arizona’s San Francisco Peaks.
Day Two took the Copperstate contingent down the Mogollon Rim, along Roosevelt Lake and Dam, and through historic copper mining country and on to Tucson, which would serve as base camp for two nights.

The third day included exploration of southern Arizona with a route that got close to the U.S./Mexico border before turning back through tall-grass ranch land. On the final day, the rally returned to Phoenix, making a pit stop at the Bob Bondurant School of High-Performance Driving for an autocross, go-karting and some laps around one of the school’s race tracks.

Ferraris, Shelbys — Cobras and Mustangs — Corvettes, Jaguars and Porsches comprised the majority of the Copperstate contingent in 2012, just as they seem to do every year. But there were a couple of twists this time: A surprising number of classic American machines and a participants’ list that included more than 30 drivers making their Copperstate debuts.
“What do you think of all the American cars?” one Copperstate veteran asked during the Field of Dreams show. We don’t think he was talking about vehicles such as the 1935 Auburn 851 Phaeton or the 1937 Packard 1507 Dietrich Victoria convertible. More likely it was the 1963 Buick Riviera, the 1959 Chevrolet Impala convertible, or the four — count ‘em — four Pontiacs — a ’64 Bonneville convertible, a pair of GTOs and a ’69 Firebird.
But Rick Rome, a Copperstate veteran from Dallas and driver of the exotic 1957 Jaguar Cozzi Special, said he welcomed such cars.
“This rally is all about people driving cars that people like seeing on the road,” he said.
“And the people at the stadium loved the muscle cars,” added his wife and co-driver, Nancy.
Or, as another participant put it: “These are the cars that people can say, ‘that was like my first car’ or ‘that was like the car my dad had,’ and very few people are going to say that about a Ferrari 212.”
Indeed, Craig Stull of Scottsdale, Arizona, spent nearly three years restoring the ’64 Bonneville convertible in a tribute to his mother, whose similar car was the one on which he learned to drive, “and to parallel park,” he added, back in Dayton, Ohio.

Stull was driving the Copperstate for the first time. Jim McDowell is a regular, but the 2012 event marked the debut for his recently acquired ’37 Packard, a car he bought because his uncle has had one since 1953, one that McDowell has repeatedly offered to buy, only to be put off so often that he finally found another.

Of course, every vintage car has its story. Here were some we found among the most fascinating:
* Richard Mattei’s 1942 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Berlinetta Aerodynamica originally wore a spyder body. In 1945, it was acquired by Donald A. Jones, an American living in northern Italy. Jones, it turns out, was an OSS agent, code-number 809 and code-named “Scotti,” who was a liaison with the Italian resistance movement and played an heroic role at the end of World War II. Jones survived the war but the Alfa’s body did not. It reportedly was transformed into a coupe before former Chrysler designer David Cummins was commissioned to do the Aeodynamica-inspired coachwork, which was completed by the Jim Stokes Workshops in England.

* Rick Rome’s 1957 Jaguar Cozzi Special was created by a teenager, Dan Cozzi, who found a wrecked XK120 and friends who could help him craft a sports/racer around its remains. Cozzi’s parents wouldn’t let him drive the street-legal car in races, but they recruited Nadeau Bourgeault, who in one race finished ahead of the likes of Carroll Shelby, John von Neumann and Richie Ginther.

* With its red-over-white sports/racer bodywork, Chuck Schoendorf’s 1954 Arnolt Bristol was perhaps the most photogenic of all the Copperstate cars. Designed by Franco Scaglione at Bertone for Chicago industrialists “Wacky” Arnolt, the car had a long history in vintage racing before Schoendorf acquired it and set it up for long-distance touring.
* Chris Andrews’ 1955 Kurtis 500 carries “Swallow” bodywork by Allied Bodies of Los Angeles and was built for that year’s La Carrera Panamerica, but it didn’t get to compete because the race was canceled. However, the car did participate in 1980s’ revival runs of the Mexican road race.

* Formerly owned by the late Tom Mittler and driven on this trip by his sons, T.G. and Will, the 1956 Jaguar D-type was selected by the Copperstate contingent as the car it would most like to be driving back home.


Friday, April 20, 2012

San Francisco Motorsports San Rafael - History of the Targa Florio

Porsche 908-3, 1970 Targa Florio, Brian Redman, Jo Siffert
History of the Targa Florio

Source Sports Car Digest
By Art Evans

What do you think was the toughest and most difficult race ever? You might say the New York to Paris. Then there was the 1950-54 La Carrera Panamericana. But these were short-lived point-to-point contests. How about a closed circuit race? In the opinion of many who competed there, it was the Targa Florio. The first was in 1906; the last in 1977.

Sitrling Moss, John Fitch and Brian Redman—have shared their experiences with us. Moss won in 1955 with Fitch fourth; Redman won in 1970. Why was it so tough? According to Brian, “One 44 mile lap had 710 corners, not to mention unforgiving poles, stone walls, dogs, spectators and farm animals. Surfaces ranged from bad to worse. A missed turn might mean a horrific drop down the side of a mountain.”

The first Targa was organized by wealthy Italian aficionado Vincenzo Florio on May 6, 1906. Florio (1883-1959), from a prominent Sicilian family, had previously initiated the Coppa Florio, a race first run in 1900. The first Targa was three laps over the 92.7-mile Grande Circuit. Each lap was an ordeal as the roads weren’t designed for cars. Drivers encountered both domestic and wild animals as well as bandits. Entries had to be production cars of which ten had been made. Other than that, there were no rules. Vincenzo Lancia organized the betting, common at auto races in those days.

Thirty cars entered, but a dock strike in Genoa hampered travel, so only ten made it to the start. Each car was sent off from Campofelice every ten minutes. First away was bookie Lancia in his Fiat followed by Jacques Le Blon in a Hotchkiss with his riding-mechanic wife. To the dismay of those who had money on him, Lancia retired due to mechanical failure. Le Blond suffered a number of tire punctures; Mrs. Le Blon had to help changing them. Alessandro Cagno in an Itala 35/40 HP won in 9 1/2 hours averaging 29 mph. Carlo Graziani was second in another Italia while Paul Bablot in a Berliet was third.

06 TF 1 620x439 History of the Targa Florio   Race Profile
The first Targa Florio took place in 1906. The Isotta Fraschini team (cars #7) are lined up in Termini attended by goats.
06 Tf 2 620x451 History of the Targa Florio   Race Profile
The Zust driven by Maggioni passing through the village of Petralia Sottana.
06 TF Cagno winner 620x323 History of the Targa Florio   Race Profile
Allesandro Cagno won the inaugural Targa Florio in 1906 driving an Itala 35/40 HP for over nine hours averaging 29 mph.
06 TF Florio 620x411 History of the Targa Florio   Race Profile
Wealthy enthusiast Vincenzo Florio created the Targa Florio in 1906.

In 1907, some regulations regarding engine specifications and weight were instituted. With dock workers loading cargo, 50 cars entered. Vincenzo Florio’s former chauffeur, Felice Nazzaro, won in a Fiat with Lancia second, also in a Fiat and Maurice Fabry third in an Italia. Vincenzo Trucco in a Fiat won the 1908 contest, but 1909 experienced a severe earthquake near Messina, killing hundreds. Consequently only 11 cars showed up. Francesco won in a SPA.

07 TF 1 620x416 History of the Targa Florio   Race Profile
Vincenzo Lancia in his Fiat before the start of the 1907 Targa Florio.
07 TF Nazzaro 620x412 History of the Targa Florio   Race Profile
Felice Nazzaro won the 1907 Targa Florio in a Fiat.
08 TF V Lancia Fiat 620x454 History of the Targa Florio   Race Profile
Vincenzo Lancia finished second in the 1908 Targa Florio driving a Fiat.

After WWI, cars were scarce and little had been spent on road repair. So Florio transformed the Targa into a Formula Libra; run what you brung, as they say. He also shortened the total mileage from 651 miles to 268. The new course—called the Media Circuit—was 22.5 miles around. The race was held on November 23, 1919. Twenty-four cars came including Enzo Ferrari in a CMN. There were thousands of spectators from all over Europe. The hotels, bars and restaurants did a land-office business. Andre Boillot won the four-lap race in a Peugeot EXS.

19 TF CMN Ferrari 620x402 History of the Targa Florio   Race Profile
A young Enzo Ferrari at the wheel of a CMN.
21 TF Masetti 620x410 History of the Targa Florio   Race Profile
Count Masetti won the 1921 Targa Florio in a Fiat.
1098705Z2276 620x395 History of the Targa Florio   Race Profile
With his 115 HP Mercedes Grand Prix racing car from 1914, Count Giulio Masetti won the 1922 Targa Florio over a distance of 432 km. (Photo: Daimler Benz Archives)
1131899R516 620x427 History of the Targa Florio   Race Profile
Christian Werner with co-driver (start number 39) in a Mercedes 28/95 PS without supercharger at the 1922 Targa Florio. Werner took second place in the category for production cars with over 4.5-liter displacement. (Photo: Daimler Benz Archives)

San Francisco Motorsports San Rafael - Porsche 917/30 Can-Am Spyder - Profile

“At this time there is nothing in the world any quicker, any better handling, any more advanced technically, or any more fun to drive. It is, to me, the perfect race car.” ~ Mark Donohue, 1973

By 1969, with the 917 program still in its early stages, Porsche had already built a special variant of its 12-cylinder race car for the popular North American Can-Am series. Although the original 917 had been designed to meet the demands of 24-hour endurance events, the platform showed tremendous potential for Can-Am’s 200-mile sprint events and Porsche, eager to return to prominence in US road racing, began to develop an even lighter and more powerful race car.
The first Can-Am 917 was the PA, which debuted late in the 1969 season. Essentially a standard chassis with open bodywork, wider wheels, an extra fuel tank and a slightly revised frame, the largely untested 917PA showed great promise, finishing 4th in the final 1969 Can-Am point standings.

Late in 1970, Porsche decided to move forward with a purpose-built Can-Am 917. As North America, and the US in particular, had long been Porsche’s most important market, there was to be no compromising in the design of the new car – it had to be a winner. Hanz Mezger’s team went to work on a chassis that combined the best aspects of the 917K and the 908/03 with the added bonus of a twin-turbocharged five-liter powerplant. The result was the 917/10.
In 1972, Porsche began an alliance with Roger Penske Racing, a small yet influential team based in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. With L&M Cigarettes as the primary sponsor, Penske Racing’s 917/10 dominated the 1972 Can-Am season, winning six of the nine races.

Although the 917/10s were spectacular cars, Porsche had something even better up its sleeve for the following year: the 917/30.

The 917/30 of 1973 was, for all intents and purposes, an all-new car when compared to its predecessor. At the heart of the car was an enlarged 5.4-liter flat 12-cylinder engine – turbocharged, of course. Along with the larger capacity engine, the 917/30 featured dramatic, low-drag bodywork. To address issues discovered during the 1972 season, Porsche enlisted Charles Deutsch’s SERA of Paris to advise on a suitable body shape and to hone the design in the Eiffel wind tunnel. To cope with the increased performance, Porsche extended the wheelbase, upped the fuel capacity, provided strengthened lower wishbones and designed special extractor turbines to aid in brake cooling.

The result of this extensive development was a sports racing car that weighed just 1,765 lbs. at the curb and produced over 1,000 hp – a monumental figure for a sports racing car. With the boost turned up, over 1,500 bhp was achievable.
The exceptional power-to-weight ratio made for staggering performance figures: 0–60 in 2.1 seconds; 0–100 in 3.9 seconds; 0–200 in 13.4 seconds. Given enough open road, the 917/30 was capable of more than 240 mph.

1973 Porsche 917 Can Am Spyder Engine Porsche 917/30 Can Am Spyder   Car Profile
1973 Porsche 917 Can-Am Spyder Engine
1973 Porsche 917 Can Am Spyder Engine Detail 295x185 Porsche 917/30 Can Am Spyder   Car Profile
1973 Porsche 917 Can-Am Spyder Engine Detail
1973 Porsche 917 Can Am Spyder Engine 1 295x185 Porsche 917/30 Can Am Spyder   Car Profile
1973 Porsche 917 Can-Am Spyder Engine Detail
1973 Porsche 917 Can Am Spyder Detail 2 Porsche 917/30 Can Am Spyder   Car Profile
1973 Porsche 917 Can-Am Spyder Engine Detail

In Penske tradition, the team’s 917/30 was immaculately prepared, with exceptional attention to detail throughout. Steel components were cadmium plated, removable aluminum tubes were anodized blue and frame tubes were painted gray. Finished in its dark blue Sunoco livery with vibrant yellow and red striping, the new 917/30 was truly a sight to behold.
After a shaky start to the 1973 season, Donohue won six races in a row, annihilating the competition and capturing the Can-Am Championship. The Porsche was so effective that the competition, comprised of the era’s most advanced racing cars, was easily outdistanced on the faster circuits. Following the brilliant 1973 season, Donohue announced his retirement from racing and Porsche ended its Can-Am program.

In 1975, Donohue made one final appearance in the 917/30 – an event that further developed the legendary reputation of Porsche’s ultimate road racing car. The previous year, A.J. Foyt set a world closed-course speed record with his USAC Coyote – running 217.854 mph on the 2.66-mile banked oval at Talladega. Believing that the 917/30 could eclipse that result, Donohue obtained sponsorship from CAM2 motor oil and commissioned Porsche to prepare two special engines for the high-speed run. On August 9, 1975, Donohue drove the CAM2 Porsche to a new official record for the fastest closed-course lap at 221.120 mph.

The record stood for almost two decades.

The 917/30 presented here, chassis 004, is one of just six chassis constructed by Porsche.
Following Porsche’s exit from the Can-Am series, the racing department at Weissach was left with a marvelous, technically advanced racing car made obsolete after just a single racing season. With little or no use for the remaining 917/30s, the cars were eventually sold to privateers with close factory connections.

1973 Porsche917 Can Am Spyder Front Porsche 917/30 Can Am Spyder   Car Profile
1973 Porsche 917 Can-Am Spyder
1973 Porsche 917 Can Am Spyder Cockpit Top 295x185 Porsche 917/30 Can Am Spyder   Car Profile
1973 Porsche 917 Can-Am Spyder Cockpit
1973 Porsche 917 Can Am Spyder Cockpit 295x185 Porsche 917/30 Can Am Spyder   Car Profile
1973 Porsche 917 Can-Am Spyder Cockpit
1973 Porsche 917 Can Am Spyder Detail 295x185 Porsche 917/30 Can Am Spyder   Car Profile
1973 Porsche 917 Can-Am Spyder Detail
1973 Porsche 917 Can Am Spyder Cockpit 1 295x185 Porsche 917/30 Can Am Spyder   Car Profile
1973 Porsche 917 Can-Am Spyder Cockpit
1973 Porsche 917 Can Am Spyder Gauges 295x185 Porsche 917/30 Can Am Spyder   Car Profile
1973 Porsche 917 Can-Am Spyder Gauges
1973 Porsche 917 Can Am Spyder Gauges 1 295x185 Porsche 917/30 Can Am Spyder   Car Profile
1973 Porsche 917 Can-Am Spyder Boost Gauge
1973 Porsche 917 Can Am Spyder Detail 1 Porsche 917/30 Can Am Spyder   Car Profile
1973 Porsche 917 Can-Am Spyder Detail

Sold new to Australian Porsche importer Alan Hamilton, 004 was built to the same basic specifications as the legendary Penske team cars but finished with plain white bodywork. Hamilton, who greatly admired the incredible sophistication and performance of the 917/30 chassis, displayed the Can-Am Spyder in his Melbourne showroom alongside several significant racing Porsches from his private collection.

While never seriously campaigned, during its time in Australia, the 917/30 took part in many local events and in its later days, was a major attraction at automotive events such as the historic race preceding the Adelaide Grand Prix.
In the 1980s, Porsche began purchasing independent distributorships including Alan Hamilton’s Porsche Australia. In 1991, as part of the purchase agreement, Porsche acquired a number of Hamilton’s racing cars; not surprisingly, 917/30-004 was among the group of historic racing cars to return to Germany.

source: sports car digest

Thursday, April 19, 2012

San Francisco Motorsports San Rafael - Ettore Bugatti's Personal Coupe

Ettore Bugatti's personal Type 57 C is a spectacular one-off Coupe Aerodynamique body that was styled by his son, Jean Bugatti, and built in-house.

The car was gifted to Le Patron by his workers as a very special birthday present. Owned by some of the most prominent collectors, the car has survived in remarkably original condition. It last changed hands in 2009 for an impressive $1.4 million.

Ettore Bugatti's birthday present was designed as a 'Coupe Aerodynamique' by his son, Jean Bugatti. (Photo: Wouter Melissen)
The Bugatti factory workers prepared the birthday present in 1938 for Ettore Bugatti, the one-off coupe penned by Jean Bugatti. The factory cherished Le Patron's personal Bugatti and carefully protected it during the World War II. Even after Ettore's death in 1947, the car remained in the hands of the works. Chassis 57335 received various upgrades in those years.

The unique Type 57 C eventually left the estate in the late 1950s, but since then has always been owned by great custodians.

We captured the unique Bugatti in full detail during Wednesday's Goodwood Press Preview, resulting in an exclusive, mouth-watering 18-shot gallery. In the coming days, we’ll have a full report from the press day and a preview of the two Goodwood events.

The Coupe was built on Bugatti's Type 57 chassis that became the basis for a full lineup of models. (Photo: Wouter Melissen)
Up until 1934, there was a separate Bugatti model for almost every body type. To cut costs, Ettore Bugatti decided to design one chassis that would be available with various body styles. Most of them were to be designed and constructed in the Bugatti factory.

In charge of the new model's design team was Ettore's son, Jean Bugatti. He was just 23 years old when the 'Type 57' project started in 1932.

Extremely expensive models such as the Type 41 Royale and the Type 50 had not been a success. With that in mind. Jean Bugatti designed a much smaller engine for the Type 57 than found in the Type 50 it replaced. The prototype engine displaced 2.8 liters, which was almost half that of Type 50's.

The new engine was equipped with double overhead camshafts, similar in construction to those found on the Type 50 and Type 59 racer. The production engine displaced just under 3.3 liters and produced 135 horsepower in naturally aspirated form.

The Bugatti's twin-cam straight-8 engine displaces just 3.3 liters. (Photo: Wouter Melissen)
In the first models, the engine was bolted directly to chassis, which added to the rigidity of the ladder frame. In 1936, a second series was introduced which featured a strengthened chassis because the engine was now mounted on rubber bushings.

When Ettore Bugatti saw the prototype's independent front suspension, he immediately ordered the installation of a solid axle, which was used in every other production Bugatti. Friction dampers were fitted on the first batch of cars; later models were fitted with telescopic shock absorbers.

At its launch, four body types were available for the Type 57. Three of these were named after mountain peaks in the Alps; the four-seater, two-door Ventoux, the four-door Galibier and the two-door Stelvio convertible. Unlike the other bodies, the Stelvio body type was designed and built by French coachbuilder Gangloff.

The fourth body was dubbed Atalante and was the two-seater coupe variant. With a price twice as high as that of the least expensive Type 57, the Atalante was the most exclusive body of the lot. Its characteristic features were the kidney-shaped side windows and the split rear window.

For the sportier clients, two improvements were added to the Type 57 lineup in 1936. First off was the addition of a supercharger that boosted the power to 160 horsepower. Secondly, a shorter and lower S variant was launched, equipped with more powerful versions of the naturally aspirated and supercharged engines.

The unique Bugatti Coupe remains remarkably original after careful stewardship since its construction. (Photo: Wouter Melissen)
Production of the S lasted just three years, but the “regular” Type 57 and 57 C lasted up until the outbreak of the Second World War. In total, 546 Type 57s and 96 57Cs were built.

Ettore's personal Bugatti has survived in stunning and highly original condition. It eventually entered the collection of Gary Kohs in the United States, who showed the one-off Type 57 C at such various events as the Pebble Beach and Meadow Brook concours d'elegance.

In 2009, Kohs offered the Coupé Aerodynamique at Gooding's Pebble Beach sale. It found a new owner in John O'Quinn for nearly $1.4 million. Unfortunately, he could only briefly enjoy his latest acquisition due to a fatal crash a few months later.

source: Wouter Melissen |

Friday, April 13, 2012

San Francisco Motorsports San Rafael - Lamborghini Aventador at Goodwood

So call us a bunch of little kids, but the sound of a supercar accelerating hard simply makes us giggle a little. Though they are not necessarily my favorite of supercars, Lamborghini is definitely in the top-5 of mass produced supercars. At the peak of Lamborghini’s lineup sits the 700-horsepower, V-12-powered 2012 Aventador.

Let’s do the math here; the best car in a top-5 supercar lineup, that definitely equals a lot of smiles, even if it is indirectly. Above is a video that is certain to bring a grin and maybe even a little drool to the face of any car nut. A 2012 Aventador tackling the famous Goodwood hillclimb track.

Not only do you get to see this bright orange beast launch from the starting line, as if it were shot from a slingshot, but also get to hear that piece of beautiful V-12 running through its rpm range. It’s nice to see someone actually driving one of these things like it was built to be. So many people get these cars and do one of two things with them. The vast majority of people put it in a garage and visit it every week. Maybe once or twice a month they’ll take it out for a leisurely spin. The other group will take it flying down the interstate at 180 mph and vaporize it into the rear of a semi-truck.

Then you have the small group of people like this that take it to the track and stretch out its legs occasionally. Nothing like pushing this machine to its limits in a safe environment. So go ahead and enjoy the video.

by Justin Cupler

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

San Francisco Motorsports San Rafael - Villeneuve to take part in Ferrari tribute

Jacques Villeneuve will drive a Ferrari at Fiorano next month, to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the death of his father, Gilles.

The 1997 F1 world champion will take to the track behind the wheel of the Ferrari 312 T4, driven by his father in 1979, the season that Gilles and Jody Scheckter brought the Scuderia the Constructors' title, with the South African also taking the Drivers' World Championship.

“His memory is still vivid and alive in the minds of many at Maranello; his talent, his speed, his bravery which bordered on recklessness, all go to make his name still hugely popular with our fans, even among younger ones who have only been able to see him on replays of his races or read about him in stories written by journalists,” Ferrari said in a statement on the teams official website.

“We have decided to commemorate this date in a special way, bringing together the names of Ferrari and Villeneuve in their natural environment, the race track.

“It will be a fitting occasion to evoke the memory of a man who has and always will have a place of honour in the history of Ferrari.”

Gilles, who died on May 8 1982 during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix, is one of the legends of the sport and is regarded by many as one of the greatest F1 drivers who ever lived, at least in the purest form of the word.

You can relive one of the moments that encapsulates what he was all about, his breath-taking, no-holds-barred duel with Rene Arnoux at Dijon in 1979.

source: ESPNf1

Monday, April 9, 2012

San Francisco Motorsports San Rafael - Koenigsegg Agera R Clocks 250 MPH Nürburgring Speed

The Koenigsegg Agera R is the stuff supercar dreams are made of. Sure, it has the now-required carbon fiber monocoque and inboard dampers activated via pushrods, but it also has something few other supercars can claim: an output of 1,140 horsepower.

We’ll admit that’s for the 2013 Agera R only, since earlier models made a more pedestrian 1,115 horsepower. Given the Agera R’s flyweight mass, even that modest output is enough to generate some seriously impressive acceleration.

Last September, Koenigsegg claimed that the Agera R had set six new production car speed records, including 0-200 mph (17.68 seconds), 200-0 mph (7.28 seconds) and 0-200-0 mph (24.96 seconds). While Guinness has yet to verify the claim, we see no reason to doubt the seemingly-valid data.

Granted, the Bugatti Veyron is still quicker from 0-60 mph and has a higher top speed (in unregulated Super Sport guise, anyway), but the Agera R beats the Veyron in the sprint from 0-300 km/h (186 mph) by over two seconds. That’s good enough for us to call it a draw between the two supercar superpowers.

In case you want more proof that the Agera R is mind-alteringly quick, how about the 401.6 km/h (249.5 mph) flyby seen here, filmed from the Nürburgring pit lane access at Döttinger Höhe?

The video was captured at the end of a 2.2-mile long straight, before the cars brake hard for the bridge at Tiergarten. While we’re impressed by the car’s speed, we’re equally impressed at the videographer’s intestinal fortitude. Standing exposed at trackside, as cars pass you at speeds north of 200 mph, takes a special kind of crazy.

source:  Kurt Ernst

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

San Francisco Motorsports San Rafael - Customs intercepts 16 hot cars including Ferraris, Audis about to be sent from Calif. to Asia


There were no sexed-up models or thumping music, but a Southern California customs building looked a lot more like a car show than an evidence warehouse Tuesday.

Instead of the usual bags of meth, caches of guns or knockoff Gucci purses, customs officials showed off Ferraris, Mercedes and Audis after intercepting 16 of the stolen luxury vehicles as they were bound for Asia from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Most of the vehicles were seized after they had already left the docks labeled as used exercise equipment, authorities said.

The vehicles, along with four more seized after they’d reached Vietnam, were worth an estimated total of $1.5 million, said Carlos Martel, director of field operations in Los Angeles for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

They include BMW and Mercedes SUVs, an Audi Quattro and a black, 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia valued at $280,000.

The ring of thieves might have gotten away with it had they not gotten greedy and gone for the Ferrari.

They had used fake identities to either lease or agree to buy the new vehicles in the Los Angeles area, defrauding dealers, lenders and insurance companies in the process, Martel said.

The Ferrari dealer used a GPS installed in the elite car to track it to an area near the ports, and tipped off customs agents in February, Martel said.

The tip led to an investigation of the ring by CBP and the California Highway Patrol, and the seizure of a few vehicles.

Then last week, a suspicious ship was ordered to return to the port shortly after departure.

“They were all the way out to sea, on their way to Hong Kong and Vietnam,” Martel said.

Inside containers that had been declared on the manifest as “used exercise equipment” they found a dozen vehicles.
Other than the Ferrari, the Audi and a Toyota Tundra pickup, most of the seizures were of luxury SUVs including several from the BMW 5 series, along with others made by Lexus, Mercedes and Infiniti.

As pricey as the vehicles are, they would have pulled in far more in Vietnam and Hong Kong.
“They’re worth anywhere from two to three times the value of what they’re worth in the United States,”
Martel said.

U.S. customs is working with officials in Vietnam to return the four vehicles that made it there, Martel said.
The investigation remains in its early stages and no one has been arrested, Martel said. He would not comment on when arrests may occur, or on the size or reach of the operation.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

San Francisco Motorsports San Rafael - New 991 GT3 and Turbo busy at the 'ring

After a largely successful launch of the new 991-shape Carrera and Carrera S, Porsche's engineers are busy buttoning down the set-up of the new Turbo and GT3 models.

Both of these more aggressive 991s are testing this week on the Nurburgring Nordschleife. And both cars are expected to build on the S model's 400bhp significantly.

If you listen closely to the GT3 mule in the first clip (identified by its larger, disguised, rear arches) you will hear the unmistakable sound of PDK in operation as it changes up a gear almost instantly right in front of the camera. Rumours are starting to firm up here in the village of Nurburg that the next GT3's 4.0-litre motor will come attached only to a PDK gearbox.
The Turbo also benefits from PDK, as well as a LOT of power and torque. The much-quoted figure of 550hp as a minimum level (and 600hp by some) doesn't seem that far-fetched if you listen to the overtake below.