Archive for December, 2010

Track Map of the Past: Hansen Dam

Naturally, it’s a golf course today. Damnit.

In 1955, however, the Hansen Dam park hosted the 1st Los Angeles Sports Car Races. Ernie McAfee won the day in the #76 Ferrari 750 Monza; completing 67 laps at an average speed of 93mph.

I wonder what you had to do to gain access to the Guild Area VIP parking.

More of the racing program at FScheff’s.

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Vanity Fair Visits Ralph Lauren's Garage

Ever the designer, it looks like Ralph Lauren organizes his collection by color. Awesome.

More at Vanity Fair.

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Pacific Raceways '63

What a tremendous shame that on-board sound recording wasn’t part of the package with 8mm film cameras. Oh to have the audio of the Cobras, GTOs, and Corvettes; not to mention the Lotuses (Lotii?) and Coopers in the sports racers group. I guess I shouldn’t complain, at least we have the images from this track, which has beaten the odds and is thankfully still with us.

I particularly love the shots starting at about 1:39 of that marvelous series of esses through the forested hills. It makes Seattle look like Nürburg.

Thanks to Matthew from Hell For Motors for pointing us to this video.

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The Real Championship

Stirling Moss, Dan Gurney, Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart take up their controllers. How great is this?

My favorite thing about this (and there are many) is the second picture. Stirling, Graham, and Jackie all look to be having a terrific time. Gurney is deadly serious. The competitive spirit just never lets up.

I wonder where that trophy is today.

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If One Belly Tank is Good…

I actually think this whole approach is quite clever. Why not balance the weight of the driver with the engine and fuel tanks? Although I imagine the handling characteristics must change radically as fuel is burned.

Oh for the days when radical experimentation was encouraged.

Via DesignBoom and The Nostaligia Forum

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You'll Never See a Photo This Good of Sebastian Vettel

I blame the tracks. Sure, you could zoom in nice and tight with a telephoto lens that you need 2 assistants to help you hold steady, but this shot of Von Tripps at the ’58 German GP must have been taken with the photographer’s toes on the track. You just can’t replicate the immediacy and drama that close proximity provides.

Being able to see his face sure helps too.

via Hell For Motors

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1:8 908

When I look through the images of Simon Dagless’ incredible scratch-build Porsche 908 model, I can’t help but wonder, “how much more effort would a 1:1 scale version be?”. It’s a truly astounding project; so amazing, in fact, that I’m linking over to his project discussion on Automotive Forums before it’s complete. Once it’s finished, it’ll be nice to see the photos of the finished product, but I think seeing it slowly take form over time is the greater joy. We’re over a year into the project, which just demonstrates that Simon’s patience is far greater than mine. I’m usually skipping through to the water-slide decals in the kit before I’ve even finished assembly.

Here’s a few more photos. It’s almost easier to believe that a giant is holding real Porsche 908 parts. Click on over for the in-progress build discussion.

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Track Map of the Past: LeMans '55

Approximate translation: The facilities at the circuit Le Mans (13 km long) are improving year by year. The organizers have planned this time new facilities in the village, creating a tunnel 10 meters wide giving access on the road from Tours, speakers, fueling and a new garage for 2,000 cars. The Mulsanne Straight (which allows higher speeds) was also the subject of complete refurbishment.

(Feel free to correct my translation—this was mostly Google Translate)

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60s and 70s Racing Home Movie Nirvana

Gary from Deans Garage wrote in to share this treasure chest of his collected 8mm films he shot of CanAm, Trans Am, Formula 5000, NASCAR, and USRRC racing. Looks like Gary did some traveling at the time because there’s footage here from Riverside, Mid-Ohio, Ontario Motor Speedway, Vegas’ Stardust track, and Fontana. There’s nearly an hour of footage here accompanied by a variety of fantastic audio as well.

There’s just an amazing wealth of stuff here. Thanks Gary!

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Anyone Want to Build a Nürburgring?

When Gustav Eichler sat down at his drafting table at the Eichler Architekturbüro to consider the best method for replicating the spirit of the Targa Florio track in the Eifel mountains he might have hoped, but couldn’t have known, that we’d continue to celebrate his work all these decades later.

When these men took to their shovels in 1925, they couldn’t have known the impact their work would have 85 years later. Today we bemoan the lack of spirit and beauty and challenge in contemporary racetrack design. Eichler didn’t have to consider television angles, or jumbotron placement, or semi trailers, or spectator views, or access roads. He didn’t have to consider run-off areas or medical access either. Perhaps we’re just using the wrong inspirations. When you set out to please sanctioning bodies and television producers and spectators, rather than replicating the country roads that have always truly made the best racing courses, the compromise already creates a ceiling on what can be achieved.

Seeing these photographs of men with hand shovels and pick-axes carving the world’s most celebrated racing course out of the mountains and forests surrounding the village of Nürburg almost makes the fantasy of gathering some friends, renting a bulldozer, and replicating their efforts seem possible. Just look at these people. The only heavy construction machinery I see is the steam roller—one that would probably be considered small today.

Was this the first race on the 'ring?

What do you say? Anyone have a large parcel of land—preferably forested, preferably in the low mountains—that they want to donate to the cause? Who’s got a pick-axe and some time on their hands?

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