Monday
Feb232015

Test Drive: 2015 Nissan GT-R

 

After spending a week driving the 2015 Nissan GT-R, I came to one irrefutable conclusion: If you owned a GT-R, you’d have to get used to talking to strangers about it and having your picture taken. In over twenty years as an automotive writer, I’ve never had a car that generated as much interest as the GT-R. Every time I parked the car anywhere, people were looking at it and taking pictures of it when I returned, and people would follow me on the road to get pictures of it. I could see the car in its parking spot from my apartment and once word got out that it was there, the GT-R was getting several visits a day from kids (mostly teenage boys, but some girls too) who would take pictures of it. It even showed up on a friend of my daughters Instagram page before she even realized I had it. Just a couple weeks before getting the Nissan, I had driven a $200,000 Porsche 911 Turbo that barely got any attention, but driving the GT-R made me kind of feel like I was dating a supermodel.

Most of the GT-R’s popularity may come from its popularity in racing games, but this car has real substance when it comes to performance. At the heart of the GT-R is a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 with dual intercoolers that produces a substantial 545hp and 463 lb-ft of torque. Each engine is assembled by a single person at Nissan, a job that takes around six hours to complete. Only four individuals are given that privilege, with each engine bearing a plaque with the name of the person that built it. The engine in my test car was built by Izumi Shioya, who has been building engines for over two decades.

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Monday
Oct062014

IMSA and TUDOR United Sports Car Racing Begin a New Chapter at Petit Le Mans.

VIEW FULL GALLERY HERE!Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth, Clap along if you know what happiness is to you. Because I’m happy…

In the spirit of consistency, my Rolex 24 review is HERE! Feel free to review it for what I thought then… and what I think 10 months later.

The weather was a cool version of spectacular and, much to the credit of tradition, the fans were out in record numbers. Whether they understood what they were watching… or even cared for that matter, remains an unanswered question. Personally, I look at the grid and even I’m confused. In fact, I’m not sure I could explain it in a way a new comer would understand.

The race, now changed to run a full 10 hours, logged a record 13 cautions. Yeah… I know.

Ricky and Jordan Taylor and Max Angelelli (No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Konica Minolta Corvette DP) won the Petit Le Mans - the 10-hour TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season finale at Road Atlanta - holding off the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP by 11.062 seconds. The trio completed 400 laps – 1,016 miles – as the brothers became the first American-born drivers to win the event overall. “It’s a great way to end the year,” Jordan Taylor said. “We’ve won the last race the last three seasons, and it’s a great trend we hope to continue. My dad won the first Petit Le Mans, so we’ve always heard about this race. He always talks highly about it, putting it up with Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring, We’ve had the car to beat the last two races, so we’re definitely looking forward to next season.”

The Action Express team also clinched the TUDOR Championship team title with the waving of the green flag, and less than two hours later Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa had driven the required distance to secure the drivers’ crown. (Sebastien Bourdais completed the driver line-up at Road Atlanta.) At the eight-hour mark, the team wrapped up the $100,000 Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup team championship by leading the second segment in the competition rewarding competitors for high finishes in the four endurance races in the TUDOR Championship: the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida and Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.  “This team was unbelievable since the end of last season,” Barbosa said. “We worked all winter for the big challenge of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. It was a big task for a small team, but we had a great year. We were the only team to compete every lap in all of the races. We had eight podiums in 11 races, three great victories, and the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and Patrón Endurance Cup – what a great year for Action Express.”

Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas and Scott Dixon (No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Telcel Ford EcoBoost/Riley) finished third overall, one lap down.

Bryan Sellers, Wolf Henzler and Marco Holzer (No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR) won the GTLM class at Petit Le Mans. “Before the restart (near the end of the race), I asked and they said there were a couple of prototypes between us [and second place], so I thought maybe I’d be safe,” said Henzler, who beat Michael Christensen to the stripe by a mere 0.937 seconds. “I had three laps and I was able to keep my pace and keep him behind. He never could really attack me, but he was close.”

Michael Christensen, Patrick Long and Earl Bamber (No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR) finished second in GTLM to win the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup team championship, while Christensen and Long won the Patrón Endurance Cup driver championship. Porsche won the manufacturer championship in the four-race endurance competition, which also included the races at Daytona, Sebring and Watkins Glen.

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Monday
Jul282014

TUDOR: De Lorenzo Has Something To Say.

Detroit. It sounded good initially. Oh never mind, who am I kidding? When NASCAR’s Jim France bought the now defunct American Le Mans Series from Don Panoz lock, stock and barrel, it was a foregone conclusion that it wasn’t going to go smoothly. What were we all expecting to happen, exactly? That by some miracle the new Tudor United SportsCar Series would somehow work out and that American sports car racing would emerge from its media obscurity and break out of its perpetual little bubble of indifference to become an actual thing? Not a chance.

Not that everyone involved hasn’t put forth a supreme effort to bring the two disparate racing series together and form a winning entity, because they have. As a matter of fact it has been simply amazing to see what the powers that be have been able to accomplish, and I take my hat off to one and all for that. But sadly, it isn’t enough.

The obvious problem? The USCS is trying to please two entities, the ACO - which controls the 24 Hours of Le Mans - and the gentlemen racers who populated the old Grand-Am series with their Daytona Prototypes. This just in: It isn’t working and this situation is going nowhere good.

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