GTs banned from racing the Ring after fatality

Authorities have revoked the licence allowing GT3 and GT4 cars to run on the Nurburgring Nordschleife following a tragic accident in the opening round of the VLN Endurance Championship last weekend.

Jann Mardenborough’s Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 flipped over a crest and hurled into the crowd, killing a spectator on the hill. The horrific crash was captured by several spectators and uploaded to Youtube - out of respect, we will not post it here.

The governing motorsport body Deutsche Motor Sport Bund (DMSB) has suspended the license for categories SP7, SP8, SP8T, SP9, SP10, SP and SP-Pro-X until further notice, with DMSB General Secretary Christian Schacht stating: “We can not and will not be business as usual after an accident of this kind. We are all still deeply shocked and our thoughts are with the family of the victim.

“The security of the participants and especially the spectators must be a top priority. Therefore, we need to analyze the details of what happened, discuss and then implement the necessary consequences. Only after that vehicles can get back on the Nordschleife…”

Clarkson fired from BBC, Top Gear all but over

It may come as no surprise that the BBC has followed through with its tough stance on Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson, with the channel dropping the star as a result of the ‘fracas’ with a producer at the beginning of the month.

Sources say the star brings the BBC 40 million pounds in revenue every year, plus the badge of having one of the highest rating shows on television.

The findings of an inquiry have stated that on March 4 at a location shoot in North Yorkshire, a physical attack took place between Clarkson and producer Oisin Tymon. It was broken up by ‘a witness’ after 30 seconds, but the tirade continued with Clarkson using “the strongest expletives and threats to sack him.”

The inquiry goes further, saying: “The abuse was at such volume as to be heard in the dining room, and the shouting was audible in a hotel bedroom; derogatory and abusive language, relating to Oisin Tymon and other members of the Top Gear team, continued to be used by Jeremy Clarkson inside the hotel, in the presence of others, for a sustained period of time.”

Tymon was apparently shocked and distressed by the incident, believing he had lost his job, and also drove to a nearby emergency department to see to a split upper lip.

The only slightly redeeming action from Clarkson was a number of attempts to apologise to Tymon by way of text, email and in person; and it was he who reported the incident to BBC management.

Apparently, co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond have both iterated that they would not continue on the show without Clarkson, so despite the BBC saying they will look to 2016 for the series, this looks like the official, and rather sad, end of Top Gear.

Tony Hall, the BBC Director-General, released the following statement regarding the incident and the result of the inquiry:

It is with great regret that I have told Jeremy Clarkson today that the BBC will not be renewing his contract. It is not a decision I have taken lightly. I have done so only after a very careful consideration of the facts and after personally meeting both Jeremy and Oisin Tymon.

Clarkson’s fans send in the troops

Petitions to bring back presenter Jeremy Clarkson, and ultimately Top Gear, have gained momentum since the popular but controversial host was stood down by the BBC over a ‘fracas’ with a junior producer on the show last week.

Online signatures and tweets have now been reinforced with something more concrete (or rather, steel) with fans delivering one of the petitions by tank, complete with Stig, yesterday.

Reminiscent of traditional Top Gear fare, the tank was driven to BBC headquarters in London, apparently organised by blog Guido Fawkes, to hand-deliver a million signatures calling for the return of Clarkson. Check out the video HERE.

Unfortunately, there aren’t so many supporters of the poor junior who was allegedly punched by Clarkson for the horrendous crime of having no proper food prepared on set.

All remaining Top Gear Season 22 episodes are also on hold, including three in the can, until the BBC make a decision: see below for the latest from the BBC…

OFFICIAL RELEASE: Update on Jeremy Clarkson/Top Gear

The BBC today released the following statement.

Following last week’s suspension of Jeremy Clarkson, Ken MacQuarrie is now considering the evidence and will report to the Director-General on his findings next week.

Once this has been considered, we will set out any further steps.

The BBC will not be offering further commentary until then.

F1 season opener lacklustre; Red Bull threatens to quit

After waiting with anticipation for the start of the 2015 Formula 1 season opener in Melbourne, Australia, many fans may have been left with a feeling of uneasy disappointment.

It was a weekend of controversy off track, and predictable monotony on track.

Sauber apparently signed one too many drivers for its 2015 campaign, with Guido Van Der Guarde taking the team to court both overseas then in Melbourne to force them to uphold his right to drive, only to settle in the backrooms quietly before turning a wheel. Ironically stating on Facebook that his decision was in the best interest of the sport.

Then, after a last minute lifeline, Manor Marussia did not even make the start, line, relegated to the garage all weekend trying to make their software talk to their hardware.

Then after qualifying, Williams driver Valtteri Bottas was taken to hospital suffering from back pain, and was forced to sit out the race.

It left the grid sadly short of numbers, which dwindled further through the race as cars either crashed (Maldonado, of course), or simply stopped (Kmi and Kvyat), victims of what Red Bull is calling the ‘wrong powertrain for F1′.

These power units are the wrong solution for F1, and we would say this even if Renault were in the lead,” said Helmut Marko after the race.

“We will evaluate the situation again as every year, and look into costs and revenues… If we are totally dissatisfied we could contemplate an F1 exit.

And after Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, who dominated last year’s Championship, finished a full 30 seconds ahead of the rest of the field, F1 head honcho is in agreement.

“Red Bull are absolutely 100 percent right,” said Ecclestone.

“There is a rule that I think [former president] Max [Mosley] put in place that in the event… a particular team or engine supplier did something magic - which Mercedes have done - the FIA can level up things.

“Mercedes have done a first class job which everybody acknowledges. We need to change things a little bit now and try and level things up a little bit.”

“What we should have done was frozen the Mercedes engine and leave everybody else to do what they want so they could have caught up.

“We should support the FIA to make changes.”

Clarkson, Top Gear, suspended after fracas with producer


He’s landed himself in hot water more times than we can remember, and now it would seem Jeremy Clarkson’s famous foot-in-mouth jibes have gone one step too far with the BBC - particularly as rumour has it that said foot-in-mouth was actually a fist-to-face.

The BBC has been forced to issue a statement explaining the suspension of all remaining Top Gear Season 22 episodes on the network and its global feeders, plus the official suspension of Clarkson himself, following a ‘fracas’ with a producer.

Rumor has it that Clarkson actually threw a punch at a male Top Gear producer, and it happened last week but has only now come to light and required action by the broadcasting giant.

But surely both Clarkson and the Top Gear show are too valuable a commodity to suspend for long. The BBC did reportedly threaten to sack Clarkson if he had one more strike to his name - but will they follow through with it? And if they do, is it the end of Top Gear?

OFFICIAL RELEASE: BBC statement on Jeremy Clarkson/Top Gear:
The BBC has today released the following statement regarding Jeremy Clarkson/Top Gear.
Following a fracas with a BBC producer, Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended pending an investigation. No one else has been suspended. Top Gear will not be broadcast this Sunday. The BBC will be making no further comment at this time.

Marussia given last-minute lifeline

After many had written it off as lost to the 2015 F1 season (including us), the Marussia Formula One team will indeed line up on the grid in Australia next week after finding a backer.

Now called Manor Marussia, the team was thrown the lifeline by OVO Energy founder Stephen Fitzpatrick. With Jules Bianchi sadly still in hospital after his crash in the Japanese GP, and Max Chilton going to Euro endurance racing, the two licences are to be filled by Will Stevens, who made his maiden race debut late in 2014, and a yet to be named racer - likely another junior with financial backing already aboard.

“The last few months have been a bit of a rollercoaster, to say the least, (but) we are ready to go racing,” said continuing team sporting director Graeme Lowdon.

“We haven’t just taken a 2014 car and shoved a different nose on. It’s a new car with a high degree of carry over and safety upgrades.”

Marussia has passed the mandatory FIA crash tests, and are currently on the boat to Oz for the season opener in Melbourne on the 13th - 15th.

Geek goodie in Tesla Model S menu

We aren’t sure if some geek discovered it on a whim, or Tesla head honcho Elon Musk let it slip at a soiree, but an ‘easter egg’ has been discovered hidden in the suspension settings menu of the Tesla Model S that pays tribute to the submersible Lotus in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’.

It was Musk who bought the amphibious Esprit from the movie two years ago, as he is a bit of a fan, and has further gained great geek cred with a cute hidden feature in the Model S menu.

If you go into the suspension settings via the dash-mounted LCD panel, and enter the secret setting code, you get an image, dive depth and other options of the movie car. Cute eh?

The code, of course, is 007.

Check the video here.

Aston Martin Vulcan track weapon claims 800hp, 7.0L V12

Aston Martin has surprised many with news of its Geneva Auto Show halo car, the Vulcan; a track-only limited edition model featuring a rumored 800 horses from the old V12.

The monocoque and all panels are carbon fiber, of course, with a design pointing towards a slicker and sleeker design language set to flow on to future AM models.

The engine is “front mid” according to AM, so it is flush up against the firewall for improved weight distribution, with power sent to the rear wheels via a Xtrac six-speed sequential shift gearbox.

Track tech includes their latest limited-slip diff, adjustable dampers and anti-roll bars front and rear, adjustable anti-lock braking and variable traction control, and Brembo racing calipers with carbon ceramic discs under 345/30/19 (rear) wheels and Michelin race tyres.

Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy Palmer said: “Aston Martin Vulcan is, by its very nature, a rare and thrilling supercar.
“Designed and engineered to deliver a genuinely bespoke driving experience that draws on our rich heritage, this car tailors its power and handling to both the capabilities of the driver and the characteristics of the track.

“A sports car for true sports car lovers, I believe the Aston Martin Vulcan – and the unique ownership programme that sits behind it – sets a whole new standard in the ultra-high luxury supercar class.”

The lucky 24 people who will be able to lay claim to this FIA-approved beast will also be treated to a full owners experience program, with tech support and instruction, including simulator time before taking to tracks around Europe.

Scuderia Ferrari fire up F1 design discussion

Ferrari Concept F1

After the past year of the ugly, phallic-nosed F1 cars, you may suppress a small shudder when you hear of a marque sketching a future F1 car.

However, free from aero restrictions and strict supp-regs, Scuderia Ferrari has managed to give us an impression of the future that is, quite frankly, Formula porn.

This Concept F1 sketch was the brainchild of in-house studio Centro Stile Ferrari, and apparently, the design could be built as-is without pushing or voiding the current F1 regulations.

While F1 is all about performance, Ferrari admits this design study is all about looks: “Our challenge was to create something that was – to put it short – better looking.” And it is at that.

Block Momkhana

We’ve seen our fair share of Ken Block’s Gymkhana knock offs, and while this latest copycat video isn’t up to the hilarious standards of Ken Box (Kartkhana), it is a novel and different idea for sure.

Based on a mum and kids trip to the shoe store - the video was done by Famous Footwear - it starts innocently enough with mum and kids getting into a Toyota Sienna minivan and setting off along the streets of northern Los Angeles.

But soon we are given a taste of what is in store - the kids and mum don helmets and harnesses, and the Sienna, kitted with a 550hp LS3 V8 engine, hydraulic handbrake and obvious suspension fiddles, starts drifting and donut-ing around the suburban streets.

While this writer wishes it was dad and not mum filling the suburban stereotype, the gal at the wheel, Shauna Duggins, can execute a decent slide and donut, and drives the car with aggression belying both the setting and the vehicle itself.

Check out the full vid HERE.