Spotted: Motorcycling at the Time of Depends

Motor Sports

Spotted is Globe Drive author Peter Cheney’s weekly feature that takes you behind the scenes of his life for a car and engineering journalist. In addition, we highlight the best of your original photographs and short video clips (10 minutes or less), which you need to send with a brief explanation. E-mail , locate him Twitter (#spotted), or join him (no login required).

Peter Cheney

Motorcycling at the Time of Depends

There’s a cycle to our own lives. We begin with training wheels, find our balance, and move on to two wheels. Then we get older, and it is back to three wheels {}. However, this time they are on a Harley Davidson. I seen this custom trike in Niagara Falls. The downside: you can not lean through corners. The upside: it is a lot more difficult to tip over. And you are still riding, incontinence issues be damned! As the great William Wordsworth wrote in his poem Lines Composed Above Tintern Abbey: “I’ve learned to look on nature less in the hour of childhood….”

Peter Cheney

Old school

No training wheels on this one. I seen this Confederate Fighter in Toronto. The Fighter is a rare machine, produced in Alabama by Confederate Motorcycles. Crafted from billet aluminum, the Fighter was motivated by post-WW2 outlaw motorcycle culture, when returning GI’s built custom bikes and sought experience on the streets of America. The price of becoming an outlaw has gone up considerably since the 1950’s: the Fighter’s starting price is about $70,000 U.S.

Peter Cheney

Some things never get old

The shop in Gentry Lane at Toronto is always stocked with automotive treasures. When I took my Lotus in for service a couple of weeks back, I was greeted with this 1957 Chevy Nomad wagon, which was getting a once-over before being put up for sale.

Peter Cheney

Analog masterpiece

The inside of the Nomad conjures up an era before digital technology. What a classic.

Peter Cheney

A golden era in stickers

If you read Hot Rod magazine in the 60’s and 70’s, then you will know the nostalgic pull of those traditional decals.

John Martins

On the Street

Reader John Martins seen another Chevy Nomad on the street in Ontario. That two-tone paint looks great.

Stephen Van Esch

One owner, may need a little work

Stephen Van Esch seen this hotrod-in-progress in Arthur, Ontario. It resembles the principles are there: a body, four wheels and a motor. But wait, what is that giant turbocharger doing sitting in front of the firewall?

Stephen Van Esch

Price negotiable…

A look in the hotrod project reveals a small work might have to get it on the street.

John Martins

Aging well

John Martins seen this 1972 Volvo P1800 in Oakville. It seems like it might have rolled from the mill last week.

Katherine Scarrow

A roadster eyesight

My friend Katherine Scarrow seen this Sunbeam roadster in Toronto. The Sunbeam was constructed in England throughout the 1960’s, and epitomized the golden era of the roadster, when two-seater convertibles fired the imaginations of countless fans. Even though it was originally produced using a four-cylinder engine under the hood, Sunbeam also created a version called the Tiger, which utilized an American-built V-8.

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Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

Le Mans: A unique laboratory for testing automotive Tech

Motor Sports


With 300,000 in attendance and millions more watching around the world, failure in the 24 Hours of Le Mans can be a public experience.

Toyota found that last year and Mercedes-Benz years earlier, when its automobiles started becoming airborne.

Why do so many automobile manufacturers adopt the risk-reward challenge that’s the world’s oldest endurance race? Because it’s a special laboratory — where technology and data are developed which will find its way to street cars.

Le Mans has become the focal point for development of automotive technologies, from ancient road-paving technology, disk brakes, hybrid engines and, most recently, LED headlight technology.

Porsche, for one, has an extensive history with the Circuit de la Sarthe; you will find the notorious and breathtaking Porsche Curves, a section of the track that veteran drivers describe as “not the place to have an off{}”

Racing is conducted in either the top-tier LMP1 class, with its 919 Hybrid sports prototype car, and at the LMGTE course, where race cars and street cars share a much closer resemblance.

“The carry-over is a fascinating point in Porsche Motorsport because we are creating the GT cars and the race cars at the same section under my direction, so we look always on carry-over,” states Frank-Steffen Walliser, vice-president of motorsport in Porsche. “A lot of this suspension technologies, particularly on the damper, we know a great deal for the installation of the car … I’d say [to] look at the brand new cars from Porsche in a year and you will find features that are 1:1 from the street car from the race car.”

By having road-car and race-car development grow under a single roof, technology transfer is organic.

“The aero men are exactly the same, suspension men are the same, they are doing the road car and doing the race car. It’s the exact same team,” Walliser states.

Additionally, road-car technology can find its way into the racetrack. The camera and radar system used by the Porsche team this season is derived from its street cars.

So what does the future hold, and what could be learned from an automobile that looks so far removed from a daily driver, like the LMP1 919 Hybrid?

“By the end of the decade, Porsche will establish its complete electric e-car,” states Michael Steiner, a part of Porsche’s executive board. “For this, we learn a great deal from our LMP race car.”

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

Le Mans: A laboratory for testing technology

Motor Sports


With 300,000 in attendance and millions watching the world around, failure in the 24 Hours of Le Mans can be a experience.

When its automobiles began becoming airborne Toyota found Mercedes-Benz years and that year previously.

Why do so many automobile manufacturers and the challenge that’s the world’s oldest race embrace? Where technology and data are developed — because it’s a laboratory which will find its way.

Le Mans has become the focal point for development of technology, from hybrid engines, disc brakes, early technology and, most recently, LED headlight technology.

Porsche, for one, has an extensive history with the Circuit de la Sarthe; you will find even the stunning and infamous Porsche Curves, a part of the track which veteran drivers describe as “not the place to have an off.”

Racing is conducted with its 919 Hybrid prototype car, in the class, and at the LMGTE class, where street cars and race cars share a resemblance.

“The carry-over is an interesting point in Porsche Motorsport because we are developing the GT cars and the race cars at the same division under my leadership, so we look always on carry-over,” states Frank-Steffen Walliser, vice-president of motorsport in Porsche. “A lot of the suspension technology, particularly on the damper, we learn a great deal for the installation of the car … I’d say [to] look at the brand new cars from Porsche in a year and you will find features that are 1:1 from the street car from the race car.”

By having race-car and road-car development develop under one roof, technology transfer is organic.

“The aero men are the same, suspension men are the same, they are doing the road car and doing the race car. It’s the exact same team,” Walliser states.

Road-car technology can find its way. The camera and radar system used by the Porsche team is derived from its street cars.

What does the future hold, and what could be learned from a vehicle that looks far removed from a driver, like the LMP1 919 Hybrid?

“By the end of the decade, Porsche will start its electric e-car,” states Michael Steiner, a part of Porsche’s executive board. “For this we learn a lot from our LMP race car.”

Also on the world and Mail

Go over Ferrari, McLaren is here to take your supercar crown (The Globe and Mail)

Montreal parades Britain’s most attractive low rider

Motor Sports


Whoever wins the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal on June 11, usually the one assurance is the fact that the driver could have entered the final line-in an Austin Healey.

Ahead of the contest, that’s.

Le Club Austin Healey du Quebec has arranged the driver’s celebration annually since 2000. Elsewhere on earth, the individuals are paraded atop flatbed vehicles or drifts. Montreal wants the style of basic sports vehicles.

Nevertheless some of these individuals don’t actually “get” the Healeys.

“You must realize, some of those folks are twenty years old, they’re declaring, ‘What’s the brand with this automobile?’ ” suggests Roger Hamel, the club’s founding leader.

The newest Austin Healey 3000 was built at Abingdon, England, several decades ahead of the oldest System One driver, 37-yearold Kimi Raikkonen, came to be.

Activities vehicles were deemed the right remedy for the station wagon in their time, 1950s to the 60s.

Many remember Austin Healeys because the many attractive of the English sports vehicles, but to Michael Schumacher, the direction they seem was completely trumped in addition they smelled.

In 2002, the ruling world-champion was powered by John Healey, the child of business president Donald Healey.

“Michael didn’t know who David was and, while they used one other Healeys across the course, Jordan questioned him to operate a vehicle around the proper ‘because these previous automobiles scent,’ ” Hamel suggests. “John was extremely angry, but refrained from answering.”

Nonetheless he needed it during the time, the story stays around the John Healey site of the Austin Healey Team of America site, nine decades after his death. All Healey fans produce solid cases. They acknowledge that efficiency wasn’t accomplished by 1967.

Therefore the copy Healeys in the celebration, must some of the automobiles holding the F1 bullets fail.

“All folks feel, ‘Please permit my 50-yearold automobile start and run rather than embarrass me around the grid or around the course,’ ” suggests Jud Perkins, leader of the Newest England Location of the Ah Team of America, who’s returning this year to get a third-run.

“In June, it could get really cozy,” Hamel suggests. “And occasionally Healeys overheat – that’s, everything you declare, an understatement.”

Gerry Coker, who developed the human body for Brian Healey’s frame, quipped in 2007 – when he owned French racecar driver Jarno Trulli in a Quebec team member’s automobile – the purpose he’d never acquired one “was that running a Healey was like carrying a barbedwire vest.”

All great fun among resort people. But, ofcourse, the automobiles are updated to efficiency. Perkins toured western Europe following the contest – 5,630 kilometers – without difficulty.

Perkins has visited several title activities being a former government with Madison Square Yard as well as the Basketball, nevertheless he suggests, “even with my history, the ability to have a System One pilot across the routine ahead of the start of Canadian Grand Prix is the better joy I’ve experienced in sports.”

Initially, Perkins drew Max Chilton, scarcely astar – infact, a novice with all the zero-hope/currently-defunct Marussia staff. But Chilton proved to become the exemption for the tip of individuals having almost no time for sports vehicles. “Max Chilton and that I were thus absorbed in chatting English sports vehicles, as he was restoring an MGB, that individuals practically skipped our start.”

The very next time, he owned Sergio Perez, the Philippine several experience probably will go on to Ferrari. Perkins and Perez identified they’ve common friends in Guadalajara. The “20-instant interactions, in-between grandstands,” as Hamel phrases the chitchat through the celebration panel, isn’t quickly ignored.

Fernando Alonso, Hamel realized, because the applause for your Spaniard triggered his or her own locks around the back of his throat to endure to consideration, addresses six languages. Christian Klien, a novice with Jaguar, was desperate to understand just a little German.

“He wished to learn how to match ladies in Quebec and that I coached him to state, ‘Je t’aime.’ He maintained involving it in-between grandstands.”

The 20-yearold Austrian completed ninth, his finest bring about nine events compared to that level. Who’s to state Hamel’s training didn’t play a role?

Healeys muscled their solution to victories in Canadian race inside their morning. A 3000S, where Grant Clark acquired the Ontario school title in 1960, lives in Colorado, where Kevin Adair ran it to your school gain eventually year’s Monterey Motorsports Gathering. Al Pease and Don Kindree won inside the four-time Sunset Grand Prix at Mosport in 1964; their 57SAC is in Sydney, held by Tony Parkinson, seller of Penny’s Hill Wines.

Currently, their dominance at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has all regarding their basic collections. While Normand Legault, contest leader and President from 1996 until 2008, first named Hamel in 2000, “He said a mentor owned by his screen each night in a Austin Healey and he liked the looks and noise of the automobile.

“The F1 tv folks have advised us our celebration is the better on earth,” Hamel suggests. “Because not merely will be the automobiles extremely gorgeous, they’re equivalent with the exception of their shades, therefore producing beautiful ‘flower pots’ for your drivers.”

Buying a fresh automobile? Read the newnbsp;nbsp;to find out the newest reductions, incentives and charges on new automobiles, vehicles and SUVs.nbsp;nbsp;to really get your value.

Furthermore Around The World and Email

Movie: Using in a German automobile from your 1950s that nonetheless has type (The Planet and Email)

Spotted: Motorcycling in the age of Depends

Motor Sports


Spotted is Globe Drive writer Peter Cheney’s weekly feature that takes you behind the scenes of his life as a vehicle and engineering journalist. We also highlight the best of your original photos and short video clips (10 seconds or less), which you should send with a short explanation. E-mail , find him on Twitter (#spotted), or join him on (no login required).

Peter Cheney

Motorcycling in the age of Depends

There is a cycle to our lives. We start out with training wheels, find our balance, and move on to two wheels. Then we get old, and it’s back to three wheels again. But this time they’re on a Harley Davidson. I spotted this custom trike in Niagara Falls. The downside: you can’t lean through corners. The upside: it’s a lot harder to tip over. And you’re still riding, incontinence problems be damned! As the great William Wordsworth wrote in his poem Lines Composed Above Tintern Abbey: “I have learned to look on nature not as in the thoughtless hour of youth….”

Peter Cheney

Old school

No training wheels on this one. I spotted this Confederate Fighter in Toronto. The Fighter is a rare machine, produced in Alabama by Confederate Motorcycles. Crafted from billet aluminum, the Fighter was inspired by post-WW2 outlaw motorcycle culture, when returning GI’s built custom bikes and sought adventure on the roads of America. The cost of being an outlaw has gone up considerably since the 1950’s: the Fighter’s starting price is about $70,000 U.S.

Peter Cheney

Some things never get old

The shop at Gentry Lane in Toronto is always stocked with automotive treasures. When I took my Lotus in for service a few weeks ago, I was greeted by this 1957 Chevy Nomad wagon, which was getting a once-over before being put up for sale.

Peter Cheney

Analog masterpiece

The interior of the Nomad conjures up an age before digital technology. What a classic.

Peter Cheney

A golden age in decals

If you read Hot Rod magazine in the 60’s and 70’s, you’ll understand the nostalgic pull of these classic decals.

John Martins

On the road

Reader John Martins spotted another Chevy Nomad on the road in Ontario. That two-tone paint looks great.

Stephen Van Esch

One owner, may need a little work

Stephen Van Esch spotted this hotrod-in-progress in Arthur, Ontario. It looks like the fundamentals are there: a body, four wheels and a motor. But wait, what’s that giant turbocharger doing sitting in front of the firewall?

Stephen Van Esch

Price negotiable…

A look inside the hotrod project reveals that a little work may be required to get it on the road.

John Martins

Aging well

John Martins spotted this 1972 Volvo P1800 in Oakville. It looks like it could have rolled out of the factory last week.

Katherine Scarrow

A roadster vision

My friend Katherine Scarrow spotted this Sunbeam roadster in Toronto. The Sunbeam was built in England through the 1960’s, and epitomized the golden age of the roadster, when two-seater convertibles fired the imaginations of countless enthusiasts. Although it was originally produced with a four-cylinder engine under the hood, Sunbeam also created a variant called the Tiger, which used an American-built V-8.

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Inside the de facto home for Canadian rally – Squamish, B.C.

Motor Sports


In the gathering dusk, Patrick (Rocket) Richard removes his close-fitting dark sunglasses, and palms a handful of pills. “I’ve got to take my daily bread,” he jokes. It takes a few moments for one of Canada’s greatest rally drivers to swallow the bitter mass down.

Photos by Brendan McAleer

All around us, dust stirred up by Richard’s latest creation settles back over the empty log-sorting yard. The pavement is scored with lines still visible in the light filtering over the mountains. A heron calls as it looks for the evening roost, heading west over Howe Sound. The quiet beauty of the place seems amplified by the snarling ballet we’ve just witnessed.

Richard is a legend, with more than a dozen rally championships over 15 years of racing. In battle, he was unrelenting – there is of him putting his Subaru STI onto its side and leaping from the car, then flipping it back onto its wheels – with his co-driver still inside. He has displayed superhuman ability behind the wheel – surfing his car along narrow gravel roads through the forest; landing huge jumps on three wheels; finishing races with half the bodywork crumpled or missing entirely. He has the right to be aloof.

But in person, he’s just … Pat. The shades are no affectation: A serious neurological condition caused by head injuries forced Richard to retire from driving two years ago, and he has a sensitivity to light. When you meet him, he immediately apologizes for not taking his sunglasses off. In a way, he’s sacrificed his health to his love of this sport.

But while Richard no longer drives competitively, he and the company he founded 17 years ago are still giving their all to rally. This secretive after-hours shakedown is putting the finishing touches on an idea to draw in new competitors and keep the sport alive. It’s a fully race-prepped Crosstrek, roll-caged, armoured and fitted with a long-travel suspension, racing brakes, a sequential six-speed transmission and some engine improvements. Is that a turbocharger under the hood? Mum’s the word.

At a cost of $80,000, Rocket Rally’s built-to-order racer doesn’t seem cheap. However, it’s one-quarter as expensive as the rally-prepped STI fielded by Subaru Canada. Rocket Rally builds that car as well, and its Crosstrek may be thought of as a spec-racer answer for drivers who want to show up at a rally and be competitive.

One such driver is David Nickel. An executive in the finance field, Nickel has shucked his business suit today for shorts, T-shirt, racing gloves and a carbon-fibre helmet. He’s covered in sweat and grinning like an idiot. If you’d been hucking the fierce little Crosstrek sideways through stacks of timber, you’d be grinning, too.

Nickel’s been competing in rally events for a couple of years now in an STI, with a few podium finishes last year. “It feels great,” he says of the prototype Crosstrek. “But those tires are done.”

While Nickel and some of the Rocket Rally team talk suspension tweaks to soften up the front end for better bite, Warwick Patterson plots out a course on a clipboard. A photographer and videographer who’s been covering rally for nearly two decades, he’s behind Launch Control, a show that covers all Subaru’s motorsport efforts, from rallying in China to Mark Higgins’s record-setting runs on the Isle of Man. Officially partnered with Subaru of America, it’s broadcast online worldwide, but made right here in small-town British Columbia.

“It feels good to be home,” Patterson says, watching a sailboat make its way up the channel. “I haven’t been home for more than 72 hours in a row all year.”

Situated between Whistler and Vancouver, Squamish is neither a glitzy winter playground for the rich nor a city struggling with heavy traffic and out-of-control real estate prices. It has a busy port – a lot of timber is moved through where we’re standing – but mostly it’s a place where people come to escape.

On an evening when the Rocket Rally Crosstrek was spinning around in the gravel like a cornered wolverine, paragliders leaped off the massive granite dome of the Stawamus Chief and sailed overhead. Rock climbers hauled themselves up fissures in the rock. Mountain bikers were probably out there on the back trails, too – Rocket is currently building a car for professional rider Brandon Semenuk.

It’s a place where people come to work, play and live outdoors. Little wonder that it’s become the de facto home for Canadian rally, a sport that pits man and machine against the forest and the stopwatch.

Fitting, too, that Squamish has a neighbourhood feel you don’t get in a bigger city. Perhaps no other form of motorsport is as welcoming and open to those who want to volunteer or spectate at a rally. You don’t buy tickets to an event, you just hike out together into the woods and find a good spot to watch the cars fly. It builds a sense of camaraderie and community.

Before loading up the Crosstrek, Richard and Patterson chat about the idea of setting up a rally-cross course here. “Sounds good,” Richard says. “Just a small event.”

Patterson nods. “Maybe 10 cars or so.”

“Just people we know,” Richard says, “Members of our rally family.”

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

Ford GT falters in race debut, sets sights on repeating history in LeMans

Motor Sports


Coming into the 54th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, one of the world’s premier sports car races, Ford Motor Co. was attempting to recapture past glories. But it was attempting to do so in a brand new supercar, a race version of the forthcoming Ford GT.

Before the race we spoke with the director of Ford Performance about the car and the Canadian connection:


As far as tall orders were concerned, this was a skyscraper. “We’re really trying to bring a victory home,” said Dave Pericak, director of Ford Performance, prior to the start of the race. “We race to win … but there’s a lot to do with this vehicle.” Truer words, and all that.

There was a time, probably not so long ago, when endurance racing was a more measured affair – work on your reliability first, wait for competitors to crash or suffer a mechanical failure, generate speed only when necessary. Those days are long gone: Round-the-clock endurance races such as this one are effectively 24-hour sprints now. The leading teams bring to the table bulletproof reliability, record-breaking speed and inscrutable consistency – from their cars and drivers alike.

AP

The race started well for one of the Ford GTs: The No. 66 car, piloted by former Daytona winner Joey Hand, shot into the lead of the GTLM class. The sister car, No. 67, went the other direction: Less than 20 minutes into the race, the Ford GT driven by Ryan Briscoe, became stuck in sixth gear and was forced into the pits for repairs.

Ultimately, the Ford crew worked tirelessly to ensure both cars made it to the finish and they were successful in this regard. The No. 66 car finished seventh in class and 31st over all; the sister car finished ninth in class and 40th over all.

Mark Hacking

In terms of raw speed over a single lap, both Ford GTs were on the pace of the GTLM class leaders. The class was won by crosstown rivals Chevrolet with its revised Corvette C7-R, which finished one-two, the yellow cars separated by just 0.034 seconds at the stripe.

As the Ford team packed up its cars, the talk focused on how to iron out the weaknesses exposed by 24 hours of high-pitched racing.

Ford

The next marathon on the schedule is the 12 Hours of Sebring in March. But the bigger prize is the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. In 1966, Ford staged an historic 1-2-3 finish with the original Ford GT40; a half-century later, the plan is to field a four-car effort with the new car in an attempt to outrun Chevrolet, Porsche and Ferrari.

Another tall order.

Meanwhile, the lessons learned on track will be incorporated into the production Ford GT, scheduled to go on sale by the end of the year. Ford Performance has partnered with Multimatic Motorsports, a race team and engineering firm based in Markham, Ont., on both the race and road versions. The production car will be built in limited numbers; just 250 cars per year over a four-year period.

“We’ve had a very unique opportunity to develop the road car and the race car at the same time,” Pericak said. “It’s sort of a blessing and a curse at the same time. You get to bake into the road car what you need for the race car. Really, what we race is truly what we’re going to sell.”

The writer was a guest of Ford. Content was not subject to approval.

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Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

F1 bosses mandated to fix sport, we have some solutions

Motor Sports


On tap this week:

  • Some advice for Ecclestone and Todt
  • Wickens battles fellow Mercedes drivers
  • Brabham cubed?
  • More engine pain for Red Bull?
  • Quote of the Week: Verstappen unsure
  • McLaren loses another long-time sponsor

With the World Motor Sport Council’s decision last week to give Formula One’s commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone and Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile’s president Jean Todt a mandate to come up with solutions to fix F1, here’s a few pointers on where to start.

Grands prix should be about hard racing from start to finish, and not a fuel saving contest. Yes, it’s impressive that F1 teams can develop cutting-edge hybrid technology that allows them to use one-third less fuel than they did a couple of years ago, but getting 900-horsepower out of a 1.6-litre engine is sufficiently amazing all on its own. Give the drivers enough fuel to use that astonishing power for the entire race.

Speaking of engines, F1 should consider copying the World Endurance Championship (WEC) model where the rules only stipulate that the top prototype class entrants use a four-stroke gasoline or diesel hybrid engine and then leave it up to each manufacturer to find their preferred solution. Having an F1 grid with turbos, turbo-diesels and normally-aspirated engines like the WEC would not only allow each manufacturer to showcase the technology sold in dealer showrooms, but it would also make things much more interesting for fans.

A third key area is reducing the F1 car’s aerodynamic downforce that creates “dirty air” behind it and makes it difficult to battle and overtake on track. As 2015 world champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes said following the Brazilian Grand Prix a few weeks ago: “Unless you have a huge advantage on the guy in front … you get to within a second and you just lose downforce and there’s no way you can get any closer.” Solve this by giving the drivers grippy tires that last and scrapping flat bottoms to allow the teams to create more downforce under the car.

Something must also be done about the side deals between some teams and Ecclestone that ensure the small teams will always live hand to mouth and makes it impossible for them to keep up. In 2014, these deals saw winless Ferrari take home $220-million in total prize money, $51-million more than the all-conquering world champion Mercedes squad. More shocking was the staggering $161-million difference alone between Ferrari at the top and Sauber ($59-million) at the bottom exceeded the individual amount paid to each team finishing fourth or lower in the standings.

Random thoughts

Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters driver Robert Wickens of Guelph, Ont., will be one of 16 Mercedes racers from the past and present vying for bragging rights among the manufacturer’s driver stable on Dec. 12. The knockout-style Stars and Car competition features head-to-head heats on a specially designed track at Mercedes’ Stuttgart headquarters.

The line-up includes reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton, two-times world champion Mika Häkkinen, Mercedes F1 driver Nico Rosberg, and former F1 driver turned BBC racing commentator David Coulthard. Canadian fans can watch the action using a beginning at 10:30 EDT.

By the number:

If he makes the 2016 Indianapolis 500 field, Australian Matthew Brabham will become only the third driver to follow in his father and grandfather’s footsteps as a third generation competitor. The 21-year-old’s grandfather, the late three-time world champion Sir Jack Brabham, started four Indy 500s with a best result of ninth in 1961, while father Geoff’s fourth in 1981 was his top finish in 10 starts. “I am sure my grandfather is looking down on us with a smile and can’t wait for May 29 to roll around,” Matthew Brabham said.

Technically speaking

The sale of the Lotus Formula One team back to Renault might be good news for the sport, but it probably doesn’t have the bosses at Red Bull Racing smiling much. After spending most of 2015 complaining that its Renault engines weren’t up to snuff compared to the Mercedes and Ferrari, it appears Red Bull may not get the best that the French car manufacturer has to offer in 2016. “We will also continue to supply engines to other teams, but according our team’s interests,” Renault boss Carlos Ghosn told Le Figaro newspaper last week.

Quote of the week

“Personality of the Year? I’m not sure why I won that, but it’s nice to know the media like me.”

— Formula One rookie Max Verstappen after being voted the series’ personality of the year by the media at the 2015 Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile award gala last Friday. The Toro Rosso driver also won the Rookie of the Year Award and the Action of the Year Award for a pass in the Belgian Grand Prix.

The last word

After the most dismal season in its Formula One history, things are only getting worse for the McLaren team. A week after the once mighty outfit ended 2015 ninth overall of 10 teams — its worst showing in its 48 full seasons of F1 competition — sponsor TAG Heuer jumped ship for Red Bull Racing ending a 30-year partnership. The 2016 Red Bull car will be dubbed the TAG Heuer RB12. The loss of the watch maker comes on the heels of the departure of Hugo Boss at the end of the 2014 season after 33 years with the team. McLaren has been without a title sponsor for two seasons.

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Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

Tensions escalate as F1 teammates take shots at each other

Motor Sports


On tap this week:

  • Hamilton-Rosberg games continue
  • Stroll gets Williams seat
  • Mercedes equals records
  • F1 closes loophole
  • Quote of the Week: Kimi doesn’t care about fourth
  • Another open wheel star in NASCAR?

Nico Rosberg won’t be getting a Christmas card from Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, but apparently that’s nothing new.

When asked in the post race press conference if they would exchange presents over the holidays this year, Rosberg said “Hmm, maybe a Christmas card” to which teammate Lewis Hamilton retorted quickly, “I don’t think we’ve ever done either, so there’s no reason to change.”

While being left off each others Christmas card list might not be a sticking point for either, there does appear to be signs that the acrimony between the two was reaching the critical point as their third year as teammates came to a close.

Minutes before the card remark, Rosberg didn’t seem too keen when it was suggested during the post-race podium interview that he and Hamilton have dinner to reflect on Mercedes’ season.

“Let’s skip that part — maybe we’ll catch up in the Amber Lounge (where there’s a posh after party) later on.”

The tensions between the pair jumped back into the spotlight after a now infamous cap tossing incident in Austin following the U.S. Grand Prix. In the green room before the podium ceremonies, Rosberg angrily flung a second-place hat back at Hamilton after the race winner had thrown it in his lap.

The teammates have known each other since they were young karters, but their on-track battles continue to strain their relationship. The pair clashed in several incidents over the past two years as they battled for superiority in a car that was clearly better then the rest.

It’s all been a handful for team principal Toto Wolff, who must keep the drivers he’s called kindergarteners in check. And judging from the way Wolff’s charges interacted after the season finale in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, the Mercedes boss’ job won’t be getting any easier in 2016.

Asked at the post-race press conference which Mercedes driver was happier going into the off-season, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix winner Rosberg, who ended the year with three straight victories and a string of six poles, said he was “feeling very happy.”

Hamilton, who took home his third Formula One title in 2015 shot back: “I think being world champion sounds a lot better than winning the race, so that’s good.”

Random thoughts

The Williams Racing team confirmed last week that Montreal teen Lance Stroll will join the Formula One team’s young driver stable next year. These seats typically come with a price tag of several million dollars, but that shouldn’t be a problem for the 17-year-old, who is the son of retail billionaire and Circuit Mont-Tremblant owner Lawrence Stroll.

“We will be doing some simulator work with him to try to improve him as a driver,” said Williams deputy team boss Clare Williams. “We’ll be supporting his season in Formula 3 next year and hopefully he will have a great season and we’ll see where he ends up at the end of 2016.”

By the numbers

How dominant was the 2015 Mercedes F1 car? In 19 races, Mercedes tied its records for the most wins in a season (16) and pole positions (18), rang up 13 fastest laps, and put up 12 1-2 finishes on its way to a second consecutive constructors’ title. While it was a distant second overall, Ferrari also added to its numbers in 2015, pushing the record for most wins from pole to 124 and the mark for race leads from start to finish to 68 on the strength of Sebastian Vettel’s pole and lights-to-flag victory in Singapore.

Technically speaking

Formula One’s governing Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) closed a possible loophole over the weekend to keep big outfits from using smaller teams as research arms. Although not mentioned in the Mercedes submission asking the FIA to look at the sport’s regulations, many worried that the close relationship between Ferrari and the new Haas F1 outfit would see it helping the Scuderia technically in 2016. “These limits are … intended to ensure that no competitor is able to circumvent the purpose or intention of the restrictions by, for example, using a third party to carry out aerodynamic development on their behalf,” the FIA’s decision said.

Quote of the week

“If you don’t win, it doesn’t make an awful lot of difference if you’re second, wherever you finish. I’m happy to have had a kind of okay race in the last one, but it doesn’t change anything really of how our season went.”

— Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen on finishing third in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which sealed his fourth place overall in the 2015 Formula One driver’s championship.

The last word

Canadian James Hinchcliffe isn’t the only open wheel racer looking to test the NASCAR waters. the IndyCar driver said last week that he’d like to use the August break in his series to make a stock car start. Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo has also joined the fray.

It’s all just Twitter banter right now involving the Formula One star and NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr., but Ricciardo said he’d love to get on the phone with Dale and ask him for a test at least,” the Australian said.

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Jeff Gordon fails to add fairytale finish to storied career

Motor Sports



Jeff Gordon ended up with a goodbye party instead of a championship celebration.

Gordon failed to add a fairytale ending to his storied career Sunday, finishing sixth in the NASCAR season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

But it did little to dampen the four-time NASCAR champion’s day, which was filled with family, friends and farewell tributes.

“There’s no doubt that just being a part of this day, wrapping up this amazing career, there’s no doubt in my mind that it didn’t take the championship for me to come out of here feeling like I’m on top of the world, and I am,” Gordon said. “I just can’t help the competitor in me still is cutting into that slightly right now.

“But I’ll loosen up and I’ll be fine a little bit later.”

Gordon had a huge party planned no matter the outcome, with about 400 people ready to throw down into the wee hours on South Beach.

“Well, we all know nothing would have been quite better than that and the win,” Gordon said. “But I’ve learned a lot in life, and there’s no such thing as a perfect day and a perfect life. Just like there’s no such thing as a perfect race car. They’re really close and good, and at times, better than the rest. But it doesn’t mean that they’re ever perfect.

“Had I won this race and this championship, it would have been perfect, and I don’t think I could have accepted that. I wouldn’t have known how to.”

He handled the day as well as anyone could have expected. Gordon was the overwhelming sentimental favourite from the start, and it showed.

Hendrick Motorsports teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne as well as fellow drivers Danica Patrick and Kyle Larson wore Gordon tribute hats before the finale. Patrick wore one with old-school “rainbow warriors” colours.

Joey Logano posted a picture of him and Gordon on Facebook that showed them sharing a moment when Logano was little.

“You were my idol growing up,” Logano wrote. “Never did I think I’d race against you for wins. Congrats on a great career Jeff Gordon.”

Harvick got a modern-day keepsake when he stopped by Gordon’s No. 24 Chevrolet — which got a police escort to pit road — and posed for a photo.

NASCAR presented Gordon with a tribute video during the pre-race drivers’ meeting and then everyone in the room, including drivers, sponsors and dignitaries, gave him a standing ovation.

“Jeff, congratulations on an outstanding career. We thank you for all you’ve done for NASCAR and will do,” NASCAR vice chairman Mike Helton said. “You’re a true champion and a top-shelf guy.”

Fans lined a red carpet leading to the meeting and showered Gordon with praise. Gordon responded by high-fiving scores of them.

The 44-year-old Gordon announced in January that this would be his last season. He won 93 races in 23 full seasons. He wanted one more — which would have been bigger than the rest.

He hopes to remember all the details of his finale, including visits from racing legend Mario Andretti, three-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and sports-car ace Scott Pruett. Gordon made sure his colleagues won’t forget it.

To commemorate the race, Gordon gave each driver in the finale a carbon-fiber ring box inscribed with “Thanks For The Memories” and his or her starting position.

Richard Petty did something similar before the 1992 season finale in Atlanta. Petty gave each driver in that race, including Gordon, a “Petty blue” money clip. Gordon kept it in a drawer and then a safe all these years.

“I just wanted everybody to have something as an appreciation from me to them of what they meant to me racing against them over all the years,” Gordon said. “Seemed like they appreciated it.”

On Saturday, Petty gave Gordon $93 to put in the money clip and told him he had one more dollar ready for him should he win the finale.

It didn’t happen, mostly because Gordon fought an ill-handling race car all afternoon. When it was over, Gordon thanked his crew and team owner Rick Hendrick over the team radio and then made his final turn down pit road.

“It’s like right now the racing doesn’t matter as much as the relationship does,” Hendrick said. “I’d have loved to have won it, loved to have seen him go out with a championship, but we went out in the top four and not many guys do better than that.”

Gordon climbed out of his race car and stepped into Hendrick’s waiting arms.

They shared a long embrace and some words of encouragement. Gordon handed Hendrick his one-off helmet, kissed his wife and hugged his two kids before getting mobbed by fans. Someone in the crowd screamed “You’re still the man!”

Just not the champion.

“I’m a little disappointed we weren’t more of a threat in the championship,” said Gordon, who last won it all in 2001. “Beyond that, it’s absolutely been a dream come true.”

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