Best of the Web: Tesla Truck update


All the eyes of the world will be watching what Tesla does and reveals at this event. With the moment of truth now just days away, let’s take a step back to see what’s leaked out over time regarding pricing for the all-electric pickup.

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What’s News: Mustang Mach-E Reveal

While Sean O’Kane of the Verge says of the reveal…

Ford’s newly revealed electric Mustang SUV, the Mach-E, is quickly becoming one of the more buzzed-about car reveals of the last few years. But while the new EV looked competent at its LA Auto Show debut, the company pretty much whiffed on one really important part of the Mustang Mach-E: the software.

Frugal Moogal told Clean Technicathe reveal felt scripted in comparison to the Tesla way of revealing a car.

O’Kane felt the Sync 4 software, “was so buggy that the handlers hovering around the car kept stopping people from tapping the screen.

Moogal writes…”As they are describing the car, I’m struck again by the fact that I expect that this is the first real challenger to anything that Tesla is doing.

Will the buggy software be fixed by the next reveal in L.A.? Will it give Tesla a run for it’s money?The car is due on showroom floors by late 2020 so we will soon know answers.

F vs F: Endurance Racing

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When we think of motor racing we think of a few laps around a circuit and the odd pit stop and the slight possibility of a crash. It’s a given that there is a singular driver. Race goers have become so obsessed with Formula One type of driving that they are ignoring other forms of racing. Endurance racing for example. If you are a motorsport aficionado, you might like to seek out this more unusual type of racing.

In an endurance race it is all about how long a team of racers can keep going and how long the equipment (the engine, the wheels, etc.) can hold out. Most endurance racers can last six hours but it is not that unusual for races to last twelve hours or even twenty four. The teams are between two and four participants, who need to take adequate sleeping breaks in order to achieve the best results.

A Brief History of Endurance Racing

The very first endurance race occurred in Coppo Florio in Italy in 1900 with a prize of 500,000 lira (about the equivalent of $25,000 in today’s money) in addition to a cup. Originally it began and ended in Brescia, but 1908 it had changed its route totally, circulating through several places in Bologna such as Castelfranco and San Giovanni.brno-2870695_1920

Although it might be thought as one race it may be more accurate to say it is seven races, with the winner of all seven being awarded the prize. The competition was originally for sports cars, but open wheel cars were finally allowed to take part

(Note: Open wheel cars are cars where the wheels are outside the main body, such as are used in Formula One).

The “Triple Crown” represents one of the greatest accolades an endurance team can go after. If may sound more like a horse racing achievement but it goes to the team that wins the 24 hours of Daytona, 12 hours of Sebring and 24 hours of Le Mans. It’s worth noting that no one has won these races in the same year, it’s more like a lifetime achievement award. The first person to win this trio was the American Phill Hill.

The Circuit

The WeatherTech Sportscar Championship season begins with the 24 hours of Daytona event, continues with the other two Triple Crown events and then goes on to 6 hours of Watkins Glens and Petit Le Mans. To confuse matters, there is also a European and Asian Le Mans series.

The names associated with this kind of racing are not the same as Formula One. For Le Mans each team has a specific sponsor, USA is Dragonspeed and the UK is RLR Msport. There is only a certain number of teams which can enter an event for a country, it might be a bit confusing for the novice to understand.

inline-4039073_1920.jpgOf course endurance racing as a sport goes beyond cars, but even just considering things with wheels you have motorcycles, karts, motorboats, bicycle and even roller skating (the latter is takes place on public roads rather than a race course). If you’ve got the strength of mind to take part in an endurance race there is probably something out there for you.

F vs F: “Ford v Ferrari” The Movie

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Matt Damon and Christian Bale are costar in the new movie this month “Ford v Ferrari.” which is sure to be a fan favorite for car enthusiasts.

Ford_v._Ferrari_282019_film_poster29 Matt Damon plays automotive legend Carol Shelby who is tasked by Henry Ford II and Lee Iaccoca of Ford to settle a score with Enzo Ferrari for not selling his company to Ford in 1963. Enzo might have entertained selling off his brand and the line of custom street machines, but had no interest in selling their racing division. The reason is pretty obvious when you consider that Ferrari won every La Mons from 1960 to 1965.

Together with British Driver, Ken Miles (Bale), Shelby sets out to prove that Ford didn’t need to buy a winning race team to win races. The team of American engineers and designers produce the GT 40 which manages to take the win in La Mons 1966, and bragging rights the likes of which go unrivaled in auto racing.

420px-GT40_at_GoodwoodDirector James Mangold has put together a solid movie that’s fun to watch, not only for great acting but for great performance and racing scenes.

With a budget of $97 million the film makers could have designed the MK II for themselves. (Pictured Left)

 

F v F: Ford Builds it’s Last Car for the Blue Oval

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Last August we mentioned the 50th anniversary of a legendary event in car racing history. But now that they’ve made a movie about the incident it’s worth revisiting the memory, which is a very sweet one for most Americans.

“The Ford GT race car competed in its final 24 Hours of Le Mans as a factory backed team in June, only three years after it rolled back into France with a four-car squad built to kick Ferrari’s teeth in on the 50th anniversary of its legendary 1966 win. It won its class in that race, making the second-coming of the GT a legend for Blue Oval fans.”

Click above to watch the race coverage.

Races all have rules, some to keep drivers safe and others simply to keep it one type of race and keep everyone playing by the same rules. What you see below is a car designed to compete on a track where the rule book was thrown to the wind. This is as close to an airplane without a prop that a car can get.

Wings, you ask? You don’t see the wings? Well, they’re their in a sense. Well, listen to its designers from Multimatic, Larry Holt, describe how they produce downforce…”a new dual-element rear wing, a larger front splitter, louvered fenders, new dive planes, and a more prominent rear diffuser…”

Yep, wings, just upside down wings. This MKII is not only a “track only model” its not going to be entering any big races soon. The tires and breaks are especially upgraded to withstand the 2G’s of force it often pulls in corners.

The MK II is a swan song to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford’s Le Mans win, but Ford will be pulling out of future races on this level. If you’ve been following the news lately you know Ford will focus on trucks.

If you’d like to own one of these limited edition (only 45 made) MK II’s it’ll cost you roughly $1.2 million.  If you do buy one, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE drop us a like and let us test drive it!

F vs F Week: Ferrari – From Race Track to the Freeway

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Editors Notes: Welcome to Ford vs Ferrari week. Since it’s the 50 year anniversary of the legendary event (when Ford Motor Company took on racing giant Ferrari in their figurative home court and won), and since a movie celebrating the event will release this month, The Kicker will be using this event for our weeks theme.  Please enjoy this installment.

 

Ferrari is an Italian sports car manufacturer based in Maranello, Northern Italy where the Ferrari Formula One racing team is also based. The company was originally called Auto Avio Construzioni or AAC which was created when Enzo Ferrari left the racing company Scuderia Ferrari (which is now known as the racing division of the company. At that point, naturally, it was the whole company).

Ferrari-01-GQ-2Nov17_bAlthough AAC began by creating aircraft parts for the Italian government – please note this was 1938 it soon had commissions to build its own racing cars for the 1940 Brescia Grand Prix.

The first car was the AAC Tipo 815 which had an engine loosely based on a Fiat model with four-speed transmission. Two cars entered the Brescia, the 020 and the 021 – these were the only two cars of this make ever produced. The 021 had problems with its valves and broke down. The 020 wasn’t that much of an improvement, breaking down after another half an hour.

Ferrari only really became a manufacturer of automobiles in 1947 when the first car to feature the badge of a horse rampant (on its hind legs), also known as the prancing horse. Another noticeable part of the badge is the Italian flag at the top of the design.

Ferrari popularised the idea of Berlinetta or two door sports saloons and later 1980s Supercars such as the GTO also use the same standard. Many other brands also now make Berlinettas or “little saloon cars” such as Opel, Alfa Romeo and Maserati.

“Road cars” created at this time by Ferrari included Dino which had a mid-engine, the lower power making it more suitable for road use than its racing cousins. The idea was to create more affordable sports cars to take on brands such as Porsche.

enzo1The huge selling point of Ferrari cars, at least in the 1950s and the 1960s was customization so that any individual customer can specify what they require from the car. This philosophy was updated in 2011 as the Tailor Made Programme where customers can work with the Maranello designers to look at such items as trim, color and interior material and make it as unique as possible. It is ideas like this that helped Ferrari become a world player.

In the 1980s the handling and acceleration were improved, thanks mainly to the racing car section of the company. This could only be achieved through lighter bodywork, including a carbon fiber roof.

Although Evoluzione were originally built in 1986 as a racing car with it just couldn’t be matched with any racing project, the body styling just didn’t seem to fit. So in the end six cars of this type were ever made. It did however influence the later F40 make.

Since then, Ferrari have created grand tourers, concept cars such as the Modulo and the Mythos and even one-off cars. It seems to be a brand that insists on going its own way and creating special versions just for the customers.

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Best of the Web: F vs F week, actor speaks about the GT40 he drove

We drove a Superformance GT40 racing replica… and it was even better than the real thing

By Adam Hay-Nicholls

Ahead of the release of Le Mans ’66, the tale of Ford versus Ferrari, GQ takes Christian Bale’s place aboard a ‘continuation’ GT40

It was a David and Goliath story, although who’s David and who’s Goliath depends on your point of view. Ferrari was a small company, but it dominated the European racing scene and built the world’s most exotic artisanal sports cars. Ford was the biggest car company on the planet, but it made cheap, practical mass-produced family cars and hadn’t gone anywhere near motorsport. They decided to buy Ferrari. Enzo Ferrari was willing to sell the road car division, but when, at the contract signing, he spotted how the American corporation planned to take control over the racing business too, he closed his purple-inked pen, waved the legal papers away, made a short, spittle-flecked outburst directed at Henry Ford II (in unprintable Italian) and left for lunch with his consigliere, never to return.

From that moment, on 21 May 1963, the battle lines were drawn. “Hank The Deuce” went straight back to Dearborn and told his people to build a car that would “kick Ferrari’s ass”. It took a few goes, but in 1966, with more than £55 million spent on development (£1.1 billion in today’s money!), Ford’s GT40 scored 1-2-3 at the Le Mans 24 Hours and took the spoils again in ’67, ’68 and ’69. Ferrari, who was victorious in every race between 1960 and 1965, never won Le Mans outright again.

One hundred and five race and road-going examples of the GT40 were built in Slough, UK, and Wixom, Michigan, between 1964 and 1969 and today values run the gamut between £3m and £10m. But you can buy a “continuation” GT40 for less than the price of a Lamborghini Huracán.

Built in South Africa by specialist Hi-Tech Automotive, the California-born Superformance GT40 has a lot more going for it than a mere “replica”. Carroll Shelby, the man who led Ford to those mighty endurance victories, gave Superformance his thumbs-up to construct officially designated GT40/P numbered chassis. So, it’s not a genuine Ford, but it is a genuine GT40. It’s licensed by Shelby and Safir GT40 Spares as the only true GT40 continuation car and is eligible for Shelby American Automobile Club and GT40 registries.

Because it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between an original and this 2019 car, Hollywood film Le Mans ’66 uses Superformance GT40s for race scenes.

Eighty-five per cent of this car’s all-new parts are interchangeable with the original’s, including the pressed-steel monocoque. The GT40 is a notoriously tight fit, but Le Mans Coupes Ltd, Superformance’s Gatwick-based UK distributor, will customise it with a “Gurney bubble” (allowing a couple of extra inches’ headroom) if required, and set the seat and pedal box accordingly. The “40” in its nomenclature is a nod to the GT’s height – just 40 inches from the ground to the top of the windscreen. Be careful not to decapitate yourself when you shut the door, the line of which extends to almost the centre of the roof for aero efficiency.

The car GQ is taking out is based on the GT40 Mk1, with a 1966 number plate and, perhaps more importantly, a savage 5.7 litre Roush V8, which produces 450bhp and 465 lb ft of torque. At 1,150kg, which is pretty much identical to the original, it’ll hit 60mph in sub-four seconds.

One major difference is fuel injection, which is essential for passing modern homologation emissions standards, though to look at the block you’d never really know, unless you start counting wires. Despite the lack of carburettors, the sound is still maniacally epic. Behind the period seats, in which one lies almost horizontal, 347 cubic litres of Detroit guts and muscle pants, coughs and barks, impatient to be uncaged.

The iconic dash is an uncomplicated, rugged strip of round Smiths instruments and labelled toggle switches. Dead ahead is the rev counter. The speedometer is placed way to the passenger side of the cockpit where you’d expect the glovebox to be, angled sideways. The tight gearshift, linked to a Quaife RFQ transaxle, is mounted on the door sill as was the original. Likewise, first gear is dog leg. The throttle pedal is stiff and you have to press it more than an inch before the power feeds in, while the clutch is easy to balance.

There’s so much feel in the seat of your pants thanks to the H&R springs, which can be upgraded to adjustable Öhlins. It’s a very physical car to drive due to the lack of power steering. Potholes are liable to snap your wrists, but the Avon CR6ZZ tyres are so high-profile you’re in no danger of kerbing a wheel. This car’s rubber footprint is enormous: 215/60 R15s at the front and 295/50 R15s at the rear – race carcasses with civilian tread. Really, the GT40 is designed for smooth, French asphalt, but works well on both road and track and is easy to control in slippery conditions.

The car is sleepy under 2,000RPM, and then it cocks an eyebrow. At 3,000 it gets on its feet and starts to snarl. Between 4,000 and 6,000 it bares its teeth, digs its claws in and tears for the horizon. Injection actually enables a broader power range than carbs. The noise is like Dolby-processed adrenaline; an operatic, frantic, ear drum-warping yell. It’s difficult to know how fast you’re going because looking at the speed could be catastrophic. It might not be even 60mph, but the noise is so thrilling it feels like 200. This, on the Mulsanne Straight, must have felt like Apollo 11 on lift-off. Le Mans Coupes can sort a 560bhp 7-litre V8 if you want to go even faster. Check with your otolaryngologist first.

There are, of course, no driver aids. The only safety net is improved cross-drilled ventilated Wortec brakes, which stop better than the Sixties solid discs but still look period. The gears are designed to deal with higher power. Those are pretty much the only differences; it has a central handbrake and an immobiliser and the seats sit on the chassis rather than “helicopter straps”. The two fuel tanks are set to “auto-bleed”, rather than the driver having to manually switch from one to the other. There’s air conditioning where the spare tyre would have been, although later Ford GT40s had AC as an option. That’s it. Otherwise, this is the same as the Mk1.

V Max can be altered according to gearing. For road use, or a track like Goodwood (Superformance will build you a 100 per cent accurate “tool-room” car eligible for the Members’ Meeting and FIA historic racing), you’ll want a shorter fifth gear than you will at Le Mans, but feasibly this car can go over the double ton. This one tops out at 180mph.

Our car is priced at £162,000 fully built, while road-going MkII versions cost from £165,000. An FIA-eligible race car, with its Historic Technical Passport, is around £265,000. Superformance has sold 450 of these continuation cars worldwide, and 50 in the UK, since 2007.

It’s more powerful than the original, more reliable and more economical. Yet only a certified GT40 anorak could ever spot the difference. It was good enough for Carroll Shelby, not to mention Matt Damon and Christian Bale who play Shelby and British driver Ken Miles in the movie. And it’ll save you millions compared with an original GT40. Pull up next to a modern Ferrari in this and you will win – at a standstill, at least. Just listen to the noise! The car should win the Academy Award for Best Original Song all on its own.

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Racing Merchandise

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When you think of merchandise associated with racing cars, whether track-side or online,you probably think of helmets and race suits (full of sleeved panels and pre-curved sleeves apparently, though why you’d want to pre-curve a sleeve is anyone’s guess). However, the big seller might just be the posters.

There’s certainly a long history. You can get copies of posters for Monaco races from 1932 online and maybe the originals if you are prepared to spend money. Some posters are even signed by the drivers involved (which certainly increases their value.) For this type of merchandise, it is best to buy track-side rather than rely on an anonymous EBay seller, though many people are used to shopping the web and don’t realize that it’s not a good idea in this situation.

helmet-1038400_1920.jpgWhen seeking out original items be wary of too much damage but given that they are only made of paper and likely to be folded up in any case some depreciation is probably inevitable. Many posters had limited runs so that may be where the value is.

One strategy in collecting is to look for the more obscure race teams and the more obscure drivers, though the big names are unlikely to lose value overnight. Most people prefer to buy from the owner’s website (for example, Ferrari) rather than on auction sites as there are a number of fakes around. It all depends on how well you trust people and how much you are willing to spend.

For the more souvenir like items, beanies, mugs, coasters and all that haven’t caught on in racing to the degree seen with Elvis, Star Wars or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. People do like to buy things associated with a race team or a big name (for instance Schumacher) but it’s no Grateful Dead.

These items are certainly suitable for a boy or girl who visits the track for the first time and wishes to obtain a souvenir. They are probably unlikely to hold their value though, unless it is a very rare team or racing car driver. You can’t think about profit every time you buy something though, it’s for entertainment purposes mainly.

It’s possible to get decent merchandise that’s not the “official” stuff but still collectable. Items related to specific racing drivers for example, created by independent craftsmen, such as T-shirts or portrait painters. This is a good way to follow a driver’s career (or remember them, if they are no longer driving) but not break the bank in the process. Whether they are worth anything in the long run might not even be important if you are a True Fan.

colorful-4486382_1920.jpgWhen it comes to toy racing cars the biggest name at the moment seems to be Hot Wheels, though Scalextric remains popular for an older age group, especially those would-be racers who want to race round their own mini-track. There were other slot-car racing sets in their day – so-called because the cars race along a special groove or slot in the track) but Scalextric seems to be the only one that remains to this day.

 

Virtual Roads – Part Two

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I was referring to Sat Navs in the previous blog, but virtual roads come to their own in video games and simulations. Firstly we need to mention racing games.

video-games-1557358_1920Gran Trak 10 in 1974 was confusingly the first arcade game to simulate car racing (there seems to be no Gran Trak 9, 8 and so on). It boasted very low-resolution, black and white graphics. In a mere two years violence became linked to race cars with the game, Death Race in 1976. Evidently the people at Exidy who made the game felt they were giving the public what they wanted and there was a notable jump in sales for the arcade machines.

These games didn’t create an actual world for a player to explore like games do now, they just scrolled in one direction. The first game that could be said to do this was Atari’s Super Bug released in 1976. The game name, “The Driver” might remind today’s players of Guitar Hero, in that the game required you to match the steering wheel and brake actions with the movements on screen. So it’s part, Simon Says and part driving simulator or driving aid?toyota-967011_1280

The first to include a real circuit of track was 1982’s Pole Position created by Atari in the US and Namco elsewhere. The track it used was Fuji Speedway in Japan.

vr-3460451_1920Racing games seemed to be slow lane for about a decade until Super Mario Kart in 1992. Games had now acquired 3D imagery but had probably lost a sense of reality. The big thing about Super Mario Kart that it created a genre of fun character-based race games or “Kart games.”

Vehicle combat games would begin in 1983 with the Spy Hunter series and would spawn some releases as Knight Rider and Starsky and Hutch. In them it was not enough to race, you had to cause significant damage to your opponent.

The Surprising Story of Realistic Traffic

We take for granted that we a driving game will include realistic simulation of how the traffic will act at a certain point or under certain conditions, but there is an interesting origin story of how that came to be.

girl-3959203_1920.jpgIt goes back even before video games to 1946 where the Monte Carlo method which relies on random sampling to create likelihood from which an algorithm can be built up. The Goal is to aid logistics and road planning to avoid bottlenecks. Municipalities wanted to know how fast emergency services could get to certain points, and so on. It was natural for video game developers to digitalize these algorithms so that the cars on a road or track, to have cars around the POV vehicle behave in a realistic manner in response to obstacles and road conditions.

These algorithms are still used by cities and states in 2019. Those planning a road will create computer simulations to predict traffic on roadways, bridges, tunnels, etc. and it then check them in dry, wet or even icy conditions. Perhaps these models will eventually create a map that can tell you the best time of day to make a trip. Who knows?