Tesla S’s new power mode is ludicrous

Anyone who is anyone has seen, and probably liked, the Star Wars movies. But even those disenfranchised with the franchise would still have giggled and gaffawed at Spaceballs; Mel Brooks’ spoof of the futuristic comedy, complete with Rick Moranis as a vertically-challenged ‘Dark Helmet’. And one of the most famous skits from the movie is the Darth Vader midget decrying the slowness of light speed, and pushing their spacecraft to ‘ludicrous speed’.

Elon Musk must’ve loved Spaceballs.

The Tesla Model S P85D now has a new go-fast mode, taking it past the light-speed quickness provided by its ‘insane mode’ of a full 691hp and wringing another 10 percent out of it. In ‘ludicrous mode’.

This takes it up to 762 horsepower. The 0-60 sprint is now just 2.8 seconds, which is super supercar quick; the quarter mile in 10.9 seconds, and a 20 percent reduction in the time taken to reach 155mph.

“We came up with the idea for an advanced smart fuse for the battery,” explained Musk. “Instead of a standard fuse that just melts past a certain amperage, we developed a fuse with its own electronics and a tiny lithium-ion battery. It constantly monitors current at the millisecond level.

That was combined with upgrading the main pack contractor. The net result is that we can safely increase max amp throughout from 1300 to 1500 Amps. If you don’t know much about Amps, trust me this is a silly big number of Amps to be going through something the size of your little fingernail.”

We’ll take your word for it Elon - and We’ll take and S while we’re at it thanks.

Vale Jules Bianchi

Formula One driver, Jules Bianchi, has sadly succumbed to injuries sustained at last year’s Japanese Grand Prix.

In October last year, the 25-year-old Marussia driver collided with a heavy recovery vehicle on lap 43 at Suzuka. The torrential rain, in part to blame for the accident, also prevented Bianchi from an airlift to hospital, and he was transported (albeit 10 miles) to the nearest hospital for immediate brain surgery.

Unfortunately, the resulting accident was deemed a diffuse axonal injury, similar to that of Michael Schumacher in his skiing accident the year prior.

According to Bianchi’s father, his son had told him once that he never wanted to end up like Schumacher; in fact, he would not want to go on if he could not drive anymore.

Nine months after the accident, Bianchi was still in a coma until Saturday July 18, when he passed on in the hospital near his home in Nice.

In December 2014, the FIA found that Bianchi “did not slow sufficiently” under double yellow flags to avoid losing control and prevent his head-on collision, hitting the rescue vehicle at a speed of nearly 80mph

It also concluded that an enclosed cockpit or additional surfaces on the recovery tractor “would not have mitigated his severe head injuries”.

The FIA did, however, instil the new system of virtual safety cars in 2015, which has been a success this year, because of the accident. As the first fatality as a result of injuries during a GP since Senna, let’s hope Bianchi’s accident is the last…

Nice, France
Saturday 18 July 2015

It is with deep sadness that the parents of Jules Bianchi, Philippe and Christine, his brother Tom and sister Mélanie, wish to make it known that Jules passed away last night at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) in Nice, (France) where he was admitted following the accident of 5th October 2014 at Suzuka Circuit during the Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix.

“Jules fought right to the very end, as he always did, but today his battle came to an end,” said the Bianchi family. “The pain we feel is immense and indescribable. We wish to thank the medical staff at Nice’s CHU who looked after him with love and dedication. We also thank the staff of the General Medical Center in the Mie Prefecture (Japan) who looked after Jules immediately after the accident, as well as all the other doctors who have been involved with his care over the past months.

“Furthermore, we thank Jules’ colleagues, friends, fans and everyone who has demonstrated their affection for him over these past months, which gave us great strength and helped us deal with such difficult times. Listening to and reading the many messages made us realise just how much Jules had touched the hearts and minds of so many people all over the world.’

Bonneville Salt Flats sans salt

Speed Week may be canned for the second year in a row as the Bonneville Salt Flats are only peppered with their namesake (boom-tish).

Th Southern California Timing Association has been scanning the flats for the best place to hold the meet, but like last year, it would seem they are coming up short on salt.

Last year, an immense amount of rain reduced the salt flats to a murky white mush; its cancellation understandable. This year, while rain has been scattered and may play some blame in the lack of surface coverage, it would seem the salt simply hasnt ‘returned’. And there are none among us who can explain that.

Organizers have until August to find a suitable surface, with the event scheduled to start on August 8.

WRC frees up mods for 2017

At a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council today, it was announced that our beloved WRC cars will pack even more punch in 2017 with the loosening of restrictions to power and aero.

The basic tech and homologation principles have been agreed on for the 2017 - 2019 competition, with the WMSC deciding on new regs that will “produce a car with a far more dynamic and distinct appearance that exhibits character and diversity.”

The main points released to the public are an engine power maximum of 380bhp, up from 300bhp, and a bigger 36mm restrictor in the turbo (from 30mm) with 2.5 Bar (36psi) of pressure.

The bodywork is also pumped up, with “free zone defined around the body shell of the production car to create a maximum WRC car width of 1875mm and greater overhang front and rear”, so a wider, fatter bodykit, and winglets will be allowed on the front bumper and air dams in the fenders. The car must measure more than 3.9m in length, which will even out the fatness, while weight restrictions have been lifted by 25kg.

They will also allow a bigger and more visible fixed rear wing, which means bigger jumps.

All this, just in time for Toyota to re-enter the sport. Let’s hope they take advantage of it, and we see a very slick new entry to go with the current VW, Citroen, Hyundai and Ford machines in another year and a bit.

Goodwood’s hill tamed by Subaru and Noble

The 1.16 mile Goodwood Hillclimb saw the spoils go to Time Attack and Pikes Peak machines again this year, with a winged Subaru taking the ultimate prize.

On Sunday, Britain’s Olly Clark, son of four-time British Rally Champion Roger Clark, won the Top 10 Shootout in his 769bhp Subaru Impreza. Dubbed “Gobstopper II”, the time attack car did it in 44.91 seconds.

Second and third respectively went to Jean-Phillippe Dayraut in his Mini Pikes Peak, and Rod Millen in a Toyota Celica Pikes Peak.

In the Supercar Run on Saturday, Anthony Reid took the win in 51.33 seconds in a Noble M600; 0.78 seconds faster than Chris Ward’s Lexus LFA. Third went to the Aston Martin GT12 driven by the carmaker’s Chief Engineer of Vehicle Attributes, Matt Becker.

All comers still have a long way to go to beat the course record, set in ‘99 by Nick Heidfeld in a McLaren Formula One car (when McLaren was fast), with a 41.6.

Goodwood 2015 Day 1 Highlights

The first day of the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed has seen more action than an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie night, with debuts, crashes, world records, and some amazing metal on display at the annual carlover’s pilgrimage.

Highlights from the famous Goodwood hillclimb included the 2010 F1 V10 with Kimi Raikkonen taking on the clock; the 854hp Mustang of Ken Block from his latest Gymkhana flick burned some fat rubber, the latter also driving the new Ford Focus RS in its debut; and a fleet of Mercedes-Benz 300SLR’s led by Sir Stirling Moss.

Nissan’s world record was also set on the hillclimb by stunt driver Terry Grant in a Juke NISMO RS, breaking his own 2011 record for driving up the hill on two wheels by 35 seconds in a 2:10 lap.

In not so good news, the 001 chassis 767B Le Mans Mazda of Seniji Hoshino hit the hay bales at speed, wrecking the beautiful GTP-winning vehicle and breaking hearts of the Mazda fans. The Japanese car marque heading the famous Goodwood sculpture display this year, with the car’s successor, the Le Mans winning 787B, featuring on the statue. Hopefully the 767B can be repaired and restored.

Goodwood hits the go button

Goodwood 2015 is go, with the Earl of March opened the event behind the wheel of the new 2015 Mazda MX-5 roadster up the 1.16-mile Hillclimb course.

Why the MX-5 and not the Focus RS, or Brits Bentley, Aston-Martin, or Jaguar?  This year, Mazda has the famous Central Feature outside Goodwood House, with two of its iconic racing cars adorning the 37-meter high feature - the Mazda 787B and LM55 Vision Gran Turismo Concept. The Mazda 787B was the only Japanese car to ever score an overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

This weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed will see 21 brand-new models making their first UK public appearances, three of those from Mazda alone.

Aston’s CEO to debut GT12 at Goodwood

Aston Martin will use the Goodwood Festival of Speed to mark the home-town debut of its fabulous Vantage GT12.

Dubbed GT3 on its worldwide reveal at Geneva this year, the GT12 was forcibly renamed after Porsche claimed dibs on the nameplate. The GT12 caries the 600-odd horsepower 6.0-litre V12 engine, and weighs 120kg less than the V12 Vantage S.

Aston Martin’s CEO Andy Palmer will drive a GT12 up the hillclimb. Considering all 100 examples are already sold, we wonder who said yes to such a venture?

Aston Martin will also have the Lagonda Taraf carbon fiber four-seater, the Vantage S Roadster, Rapide S, and the Vantage GTE Art Car from the recent Le Mans 24hr on display.

Lap times banned at The Ring?

The Koenigsegg One:1 is admittedly an insane car. One would need to be quite the driver to tame both it and the Nurburgring Nordschleife in the one run, and also aim to beat the Porsche 918 Spyder’s sub-7 minute lap time. But is the very thought enough to scare Ring management into banning the attempt, and future manufacturer attempts at the Ring production car record?

According to a production company setting up a doco on the Koenigsegg attempt, they are. The documentary crew were set to fly out when Ring management called to veto the attempt

Speed limits have been put into operation at parts of the track as a reaction to a spectator losing their life after the Nissan GT-R of Jann Mardenborough became airborne in a recent VLN race.

While it may just be the speed restrictions that stay in place rather than an outright banning of all record attempts, it still could be the end of an era - and the end of bragging rights for manufacturers - at the famous Nordschleife.

Mid-race refuels rejected by F1 principals

Despite yet another monotonous Formula 1 race in Canada this past weekend, it would appear the attempt to reinvigorate the sport by bringing back mid-race refuelling has hit its first hurdle.

Proposed by the Formula One Strategy Group, mid-race refuels would undoubtedly bring back some excitement, switching up the order mid-race, allowing the cars to race at full pelt without conservation (another big part of the processional boredom that was Canada, and previous GPs this year), and of course, the cars would be lighter and faster.

Overnight, it was revealed that all of the F1 team principals have rejected the idea. However, the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council gets to make the final decision. Stay tuned.