The importance of forward visibility at 90mph

While the prevalence of dashcams have revealed some amazing - and amazingly poor - driving over recent years, there is always that one video that goes viral every now and then due to its shocking content.

Most of these do not end well, however some inevitably reveal some miraculous escapes - this is one of them.

Doing the rounds right now is footage from a truck of the Ford Focus of 25-year-old Belgian driver Jasmien Claeys. It is a perfect example of how not to use a highway off-ramp - by accelerating in the fast right lane around then splitting between two trucks to take the far left slip road.

Unfortunately for Jasmein, the off ramp was backed up with traffic. Her lack of visibility - due to ducking in right behind a truck - led her to blindly merge right into a truck, then pinball of the other heavy rigs she had so rudely cut up just moments before.

Ms Claeys broke her two top vertebrae, shattered the bones in her hand and was left in coma for several days, though she is now recovering well. Her car, however, is destined for the scrapheap; and it will likely take all the other drivers involved just as long to recover emotionally from the experience.

Check out the video HERE.

Promising news on Schumacher, while we wait for word on Bianchi

FIA President and ex-Ferrari F1 pal Jean Todt has publicly promising news about Michael Schumacher’s recovery, 10 months after his skiing accident last December.

Todt visited the Schumacher family in the week leading up tot he recent Suzuka GP - one of the few to be allowed to visit so since Michael’s return home from full-time palliative care - and has delivered a positive update via Belgian broadcaster RTL.

“We may assume that Schumacher can live a relatively normal life within a short period of time,” he said.

“He fights. His condition improves, which is very important, as is the fact that he is now home with his family. What we can say is that he will probably never again drive a Formula One car.”

Meanwhile, the F1 paddock awaits news of Marussia driver Jules Bianchi, who suffered a serious accident at last weekend’s Japanese GP.

Bianchi lost control in the rain and careened into the recovery vehicle attending to the stricken car of Adrian Sutil, lifting the eight-odd tonne machine off its wheels momentarily as his car impacted sideways into its back plate.

He was taken to hospital and operated on immediately; the diagnosis at this stage is a ‘diffuse axonal injury’, which means a trauma to a large area of the brain, unlike a focussed injury on a specific area of the brain.

Bianchi’s family released an official statement today: “This is a very difficult time for our family, but the messages of support and affection for Jules from all over the world have been a source of great comfort to us. We would like to express our sincere appreciation.

“Jules remains in the Intensive Care Unit of the Mie General Medical Center in Yokkaichi. He has suffered a diffuse axonal injury and is in a critical but stable condition. The medical professionals at the hospital are providing the very best treatment and care and we are grateful for everything they have done for Jules since his accident.

The hospital will continue to monitor and treat Jules and further medical updates will be provided when appropriate.”

F1 silly seat season starts early

In one of the oddest twists in the 2014 F1 season, Sebastian Vettel has announced his early departure from Red Bull, one year before the end of his contract - and team boss Cristian Horner has alluded he will be heading to Ferrari.

The Prancing Pony has been taken aback by this, and has been hounded throughout qualifying for Suzuka (Japan) practice and qualifying about movements within their team, obviously put out that a rival team has announced their 2015 driver changes for them.

It is thought that Fernando Alonso will move to McLaren, the team switching to Honda drivetrains next year in an attempt to break their current losing streak. Daniil Kvyat will graduate from Toro Rosso to RBR next year to take his place alongside Daniel Ricciardo, who has shown up the former world champ in almost every race this season in his first full year at Red Bull.

Since joining the team in 2009,  Vettel has scored 38 wins, 44 poles and eight World Championships, including four Drivers’ titles and four Constructors’. Championships.

OFFICIAL RBR RELEASE - NEW TEAM DRIVER LINE UP FOR 2015

Sebastian Vettel has advised us that he will be leaving Infiniti Red Bull Racing at the end of the 2014 season.

We want to warmly thank Sebastian for the incredible role he has played at Infiniti Red Bull Racing for the last six years.

As we wish Sebastian well in the next stage of his career, we also look to the future with excitement, as the vacancy makes way for the next generation of Red Bull racers.

The Red Bull Junior Programme has developed some proven talents in recent times, including Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, who has excelled in the RB10 and become a three-time Formula One race winner in his first season with the team.

We’re pleased to announce that Daniel will be joined in the team for 2015 by another rising star from the Junior Programme, Daniil Kvyat.

The fastest Spider Pony

Ferrari has dropped the curtain on its most powerful drop-top ever.

Revealed at the Paris Motor Show, the Ferrari 458 Speciale A has the same 4.5-liter V8  pushing 597 horsepower and 398 pound-foot as the Speciale coupe, with a 0-62 time of 3.0secs.

Successor to the 16M Scuderia Spider, it is still a limited edition model as the name suggests, with only 499 set to be released - and perhaps a 500th given to a pontiff or other celebrity of note, as has been done in the past.

Check out the video HERE.

Toyota take another step towards WRC comeback

The rumour mill surrounding Toyota’s return to rally after a 14 year absence has revved up to the red, with video of ex-F1 and Subaru WRC driver Stephane Sarrazin testing the Japanese carmaker’s WRC-spec Yaris on some back roads in Belgium.

We likely wont see the car out in the WRC field for another year, and even then, it may be competing NC - the current thoughts on the Yaris following this video is that the diminutive mini may be built to 2017 rule spec, allowing for plenty of testing and R&D to debut strongly amid new tech regs.

Check out the short amateur vid HERE.

2015 F1 Calendar revealed

Remember when a full race calendar was edging in to double figures?

You may be hard pressed in the world of Formula 1, where we have seen one and sometimes two races a month for nigh on 50 years.

After a brief dip back into the teens, 2015 will again see 20 races on its calendar, spanning Australia, Malaysia, Bahrain, China, Europe, Singapore, Japan, Russia, Brazil, Abu Dhabi, new addition Mexico, and the United States. A big campaign in one of the world’s most expensive sports, that’s for sure!

FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

15 March Grand Prix of Australia
29 March Grand Prix of Malaysia
05 April Grand Prix of Bahrain
19 April Grand Prix of China
10 May Grand Prix of Spain
24 May Grand Prix of Monaco
07 June Grand Prix of Canada
21 June Grand Prix of Austria
05 July Grand Prix of Great Britain
19 July Grand Prix of Germany
26 July Grand Prix of Hungary
23 August Grand Prix of Belgium
06 September Grand Prix of Italy
20 September Grand Prix of Singapore
27 September Grand Prix of Japan
11 October Grand Prix of Russia (Sochi)
25 October Grand Prix of USA (Austin)
1 November Grand Prix of Mexico
15 November Grand Prix of Brazil
29 November Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi

Haas F1 to be powered by Prancing Pony

The US-based Gene Haas Formula One team is one step closer to achieving it’s spot on the grid in 2016, announcing an engine deal with Ferrari.

The deal appears to be for the entire powerplant including ERS, and possibly the gearbox as well, which would make sense, and should have a positive flow-on effect for Sauber and Marussia who also use the engine tech.

With Mercedes engines all the rage this year, and Renault relinquishing its domination but still running a strong second in the powerplant department, it may be the boost Ferrari needs to keep pushing its R&D to make its current engine more powerful and reliable - and Ferrari - in 2015 and beyond.

OFFICIAL RELEASE: Maranello, 3 September – Scuderia Ferrari announces that it has reached a technical collaboration agreement with Haas F1 Team to supply it with Formula 1 engines. The multi-year agreement is for the supply of the entire power unit starting from 2016.

“We’re delighted to announce this important strategic partnership with Haas F1 Team and to welcome an American player as a new entrant in Formula 1″, said Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Marco Mattiacci. Read the rest of this entry »

Jaguar’s new mid-sizer set for debut

Finally logged for reveal next week is the new smaller entrant for Jaguar, the XE, which is set to take on the more compact five-seaters from Audi (A4), BMW (3 Series) and Mercedes-Benz (C-Class).

The midsize luxury sedan is the smallest passenger car we’ve seen from Jag in some time, and utilises a new monocoque chassis made from over 75 percent aluminum allowing for around 75 miles per gallon and a CO2 footprint of less than 100g/km in the most miserly engine variant.

The launch will be streamed live globally, in the way these things now are with the demise of the Motor Show, on September 8 at 2:15pm EDT here - http://www.jaguar.com.au/jaguar-range/xe.html

Woman gets more than she bargained for in used car bargain

Here’s a very different buyer beware story - Charlie Wise, from Thatcham in Berkshire, UK, thought the previous owner of her £200 ($330) Volkswagen Golf had left a joke in the boot along with some other unwantables when she stumbled across a metre-long toy snake in the right corner.

Only when it moved its tongue did she realise it was a real python.

Screaming and slamming the boot and Boa in a panic, she called a friend - we can only imagine the phone call - who came to the rescue with a towel and a steel nerve.

Wise also contacted the previous owner, who admitted to losing the snake when he was moving it to a friend’s house. He claimed to have searched the car inside and out - not thoroughly enough, it would seem.

Bentley drops GT3-R on Monterey

Bentley has unleashed another lim-ed Continental GT3 at Monterey this week, dubbed the GT3-R.

The vehicle pushes a further 51 horses and 14 pound feet, up to 572hp and 516pft from its twin-turbo V8.

It claims a 0-60 mile per hour sprint in 3.6 seconds, on its way to a top end of 170 mph - not bad for a vehicle weighing in at over two tonnes (though Bentley have shaved 200 pounds from the GT3-R compared to the roadgoing GT).

Only 300 will be made and distributed worldwide, with no word yet on pricing.

OFFICIAL RELEASE: BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT3-R DEFINES A NEW CHAPTER IN PERFORMANCE-FOCUSED LUXURY

- Inspired by the Continental GT3, the ultimate GT: Two seats, 580 PS, 700 Nm and 100 kg lighter than a GT V8 S
- Limited to just 300 examples for guaranteed exclusivity
- Torque vectoring combines with shorter gearing for the most dynamic Bentley road car in history
- Hand built in Crewe and finished by Bentley Motorsport

(Crewe, 17th June 2014) Bentley announces the rarest and most dynamic member of the esteemed Continental family of Grand Tourers with the arrival of the new Continental GT3-R. It is inspired by the new Continental GT3 race car that stormed to victory at the second round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Silverstone, the first UK race for Bentley for 84 years. Blending proven track and road credentials, the Continental GT3-R is a highly exclusive and unique interpretation of performance-focussed luxury, limited to just 300 examples.
Read the rest of this entry »