Archive for January, 2014

Marcio Bukowski's CG F1 Transformations

The video piece created by Marcio Bukowski to accompany TV Globo!’s coverage of the Brazilian Grand Prix got some attention right after the race but I hadn’t seen this “behind the scenes” feature on the transformations themselves until the animated gifs started making the rounds. Here’s a copy in HD glory. That moment when the Lotus windscreen rotates over the driver’s head and his helmet is suddenly Jim Clark blue—perfect. Really all the driver changes do so much to add to the soul of the piece.

For some context, you can also see them incorporated into the finished piece below. Fantastic stuff.

DISCUSS (5 Comments)

1957 Race of Two Worlds on Film

Let’s keep this train rolling and just go all-in on the Monzanapolis races with the “Monza Challenge” film from the ’57 race.

DISCUSS (3 Comments)

Reader Photos: Gary Mason's 1957 Race of Two Worlds

grid

Thankfully, yesterday’s Monzanapolis track map forced my hand in sharing some of these amazing images from Gary Mason. In the mid-1950s, Gary was a teenager traveling through Italy with a pair of cameras on his hip—hitting every race he could (and rooting for Maserati whenever possible). What a tremendous opportunity to take in one of the great spectacles of mid-50s racing in Europe—the Race of Two Worlds.

Can you believe how empty these stands are? What a tragedy.

Can you believe how empty these stands are? What a tragedy.

What a rare chance to see Offenhauser-powered Kurtis and Kuzma sprint cars square off against Jags and Ferraris. Can you imagine seeing Indy cars and ALMS prototypes going head to head on a modern speedway? It’s almost comedic. But incredible. And beautiful.

Race of Two Worlds. Monza. 1957.

More of Gary Mason’s photos in the archives. Thanks again, Gary! There’s more to come.

DISCUSS (6 Comments)

Track Maps of the Past: Monzanapolis

Monzanapolis Track Map 1958

There’s some fascinating things happening in this track map created for the 1958 “Race of Two Worlds” event at Monza. Unofficially dubbed “Monzanapolis” for the event, the race was a battle between American USAC speedway machines typically seen at Indianapolis versus European road racing machines. Because the race used only the banked oval portion of Monza’s fabulous double loop “combined” configuration (and it ran in the opposite direction), the event required it’s own map. They really outdid themselves with this one.

Not only does it show the track from above, there is also fantastic details like the cross sections of the banking, (this was where I learned that the North and South banking were so different) and an attempt to demonstrate the elevation change in the track (highly unconventional on a speedway).

I usually lean towards the freehand illustrated maps so commonly seen in CalClub and SCCA event programs, but this professionally drafted map is so rich in detail that I absolutely adore it.

DISCUSS (11 Comments)

A Thought Experiment on Racing Safety

Henri Louveau's Talbot-Lago T26 after crashing in the 1951 Swiss GP

I know that increasing safety at racing events was a long, hard road and a heroic fight by Jackie Stewart and others who were just plain sick of seeing all of their friends die. I also know that the transition from haybales and snow fencing to endless runoff areas and HANS was not as knee-jerk as it seems in hindsight.

I sometimes wonder, though, if we could go back and introduce later safety technologies earlier, if we might have avoided sanitizing the sport so much. If we could have given Graham Hill a HANS device, might we have avoided cutting all the hedges out of the run up to Nürburgring’s Antoniusbrücke? If we could give Ascari a modern puncture-resistant fuel cell, could we have avoided endless run-off areas that place spectators so far from the track?

Don’t get me wrong, this photo of Henri Louveau’s Talbot-Lago after overrunning a corner on the 30th lap of the 1951 Swiss Grand Prix doesn’t look pretty. It must have been terrifying… But it also shows that when fire wasn’t a factor, grand prix cars of the era weren’t so very fragile. If Henri also had a HANS, and a decent roll cage, and some crumple areas, maybe the sport would still be a more visceral experience today.

I know that there a lot of very differing opinions on the topic of racing safety. I know that even with the sport being as safe as it is that drivers and spectators still get killed in the modern era. I’m curious what your thoughts are on this. Have we taken too much excitement out of the sport in the name of safety? Have we not yet made the sport safe enough? Is there anything that can even be done about it?

DISCUSS (14 Comments)

Topps World on Wheels: Scarab

Scarab trading card

Pull the shoebox out from under your bed and let’s get back to trading some of our Topps World on Wheels cards. This time it’s Lance Reventlow’s baby, the Scarab.

From the card’s reverse: Only three of the powerful American Scarab racers were built in Southern California, but they won many races. Their Chevrolet Corvette engines were modified for racing conditions. Scarab bodies were made of aluminum, shaped by hand. The special frames and brakes were also completely hand-made.

HP: 390 | Top Speed: 165 MPH | Price: $17,000

$17,000! I’ll gladly give you twice that for one!

More Topps World on Wheels here.

DISCUSS (7 Comments)

James Dean Racing at Santa Barbara, 1955.

I’ve never seen this film before. Maybe this is widely known footage that I’ve just been missing out on, but even the thought of new footage surfacing decades later is compelling.

DISCUSS (6 Comments)

Enter the Sprite

Austin Healey Sprite Ad - 1958

Enter the Austin Healey Sprite

Roy Salvadori takes the Sprite into a bend …a touch on the brakes …drop down to third …into controlled drift …foot hard down in third

On the reverse of this ad was printed the chassis and drivetrain. Holding the ad to a window showed an “x-ray view” of the car. Creating an interactive print ad in 1958 is pretty impressive.

What’s more, here’s video of Roy Salvadori’s referenced road test of the Sprite at Silverstone:

DISCUSS (10 Comments)

Model Cars Magazine

With all the quality makers of die-cast scale racers around today, it’s easy to forget that scratch-building was once popular enough to have a monthly magazine dedicated to the topic. Then again, I’m enough out of this loop that there may well be active publications today—certainly there are vibrant web communities.

DISCUSS (1 Comment)

Production Value

Cooper exhibition stand

It’s auto show season. While the latest supercars and minivans are being debuted in Detroit and LA, let’s remember that some of the best racing cars ever made didn’t have so much as a sheet to pull back when they debuted. Today’s vehicle launches are multimedia extravaganzas of celebrity-hosted augmented reality audio visual choreography that seemingly had more effort in their planning than the econobox they’re revealing.

Not so with the Cooper 500 shown here. Just pull up a cafe chair to set the engine on, hand paint a placard with the maker’s name, and park ’em over by the rollup warehouse door. Done and done.

DISCUSS (7 Comments)

The Chicane is licensed under a Creative Commons (Attribution: 3.0) License. | The Chicane is a *January Studios Production. | info@thechicaneblog.com