Carbon fiber is the good gear

Plastic Gears Reinforced With Carbon Fibre Could Replace Metal in Cars

We’ve coated cars in carbon fiber, even made the entire chassis out of the stuff, but moving parts and mechanical bits are a bit out of bounds, particularly in sports cars and high-end vehicles.

Bit of a shame, really, as metal is heavy and carbon fiber is often equal or even better in tensile strength, particularly once you try to shave weight by using alloys and lighter, thinner metals.

But researchers at Japan’s Gifu University have developed a plastic gear reinforced with carbon fibre that could prove strong enough to replace moving metal parts such as gearsets.

They have added a thin layer of carbon fibre running through each tooth of a planetary gearset to reinforceand strengthens the part. While the cost could feasibly blow out, it can’t be worse than when your metal gears grind out and destroy the entire ‘box. Plus, of course, its a lot lighter than metal.

We could see it as a commercially available product as early as 2017.

Dog nearly dies at Moto GP, nails awesome new home and moniker

Dog Who Interrupted MotoGP Practice Session Has Found A Loving Home

From the random feelgood files: stray animals are often the lucky escapees (or sad victims) of race events, but it is more unusual for said animal to be bigger than a bird.

At the recent soggy MotoGP of the Americas race in Austin, Texas, a stray dog managed to not only get into the circuit, but race across the track at jus the right time for the cameras.

Cue the plucking of the American audience’s heartstrings. The dog was caught and taken to the local shelter, where he was dried off and given the apt moniker of Moto.

The one-year-old puppy was almost immediately adopted with the help of social media and global TV fame. On the Animal Center’s Facebook page, the new owner said he has renamed the dog Rossi.

Does the world really need an eleven speed gearbox?

My first Ford had four speeds. It was a good ole ‘box: a bit clunky and hard on the gas, but it did the job and never gave me any problems, no matter what heavy loads I towed with it.

My second Ford had the ZF six-speed in it, and it was admittedly like stepping from a dark room into soft light, transforming the humble Aussie Ford Falcon into something far more sophisticated.

But is eleven speeds stepping from the sublime to the ridiculous?

Ford has just submitted a patent for an 11-speed gearbox - twelve, if you count reverse. The actual modus operandi is a bit mind-blowing, with Ford’s patent desribing three different ways of making all of the gearing possible: one with four planetary gear sets, four clutches, and two brakes; one with four planetary gear sets, four brakes, and two clutches, and one brainbender with two axis transfer gear pairs, three simple planetary gear sets, four clutches, and two brakes.

Today’s climate of emissions awareness, and the ever-increasing number of autos versus manuals may demand continued refinement and abilities in gearbox technology, sure. But how many gears will be enough?

You can check out the diagrams on patent site freepatentsonline.com, but have a stiff drink in hand before viewing - it may make understanding them easier.

The Beast of Turin to monster Goodwood’s hill

Late last year, a video of the resurrection of a certain famous land-speed record vehicle circulated and quickly went mega-viral.

The Beast of Turin, or the Fiat S76, was a four-cylider 28.5L engined monster built in 1910 by the Italian carmaker to whip the land speed record, which it did. With 16 valves, overhead cam ad that massive displacement offering near 300 horses (remember, this is over a hundred years ago, when near 100 horses was a beast), the S76 lived up to its name.

Only two were ever built, and this example is the result of both coming together and being rebuilt by its resurrector, Duncan Pittaway.

It’s been rumored that Pittaway will run The Beast of Turin up the Goodwood Hill at this year’s Festival Of Speed, and if this video of a quick jaunt around the estate with Lord Goodwood is anything to go by, it would appear the rumors are true…

Check it out HERE.

Five F1 teams to feature at FoS

This year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed will feature no less than five of the leading teams from this year’s Formula 1 World Championship series, and will be corralled in a new and expanded F1 paddock on the Goodwood grounds.

The teams this year are Mercedes AMG Petronas with current champ Lewis Hamilton and teammate Nico Rosberg; Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat; Williams Martini Racing, Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, and one would assume the lead drivers from McLaren Honda (Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button) and Williams Martini (Filipe Massa and Valteri Bottas).

The FoS is scheduled for June 25-28.

OFFICIAL RELEASE: GOODWOOD FESTIVAL OF SPEED TO WELCOME FIVE LEADING FORMULA 1 TEAMS FOR 2015 EVENT

World Champion constructor MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS F1 TEAM will be joined at Goodwood by Infiniti Red Bull Racing, Williams Martini Racing, Scuderia Ferrari and McLaren Honda, with a group of superstar drivers set to drive their respective cars during the June 25-28 event.

Read the rest of this entry »

A tractor, a WRC champ and a record

Scandinavia is home to various forms of ice driving - and using anything with a motor to drive on it. This is typical of regions like Sweden and Finland, which are covered in the stuff for many months of the year.

So it may seem as no surprise that a bunch of power-mad Finns employed fellow countryman and four-time WRC championship winner Juha Kankkunen to make a Guinness Book of World Records attempt at the tractor land speed record in February this year.

The Valtra T234, a new model released in November 2014, achieved the record with a 80.88mph run on a closed highway in northern Finland.

“I have done top speed tests earlier in several cars; this was the first time with a tractor and we immediately achieved a world record!” said Kankkunen.

The video is quite amusing - check it out HERE.

Did Lincoln blatantly copy the Flying Spur?

Imitation may be the highest form of flattery, but Bentley is hardly impressed with the latest release from Lincoln.

Also called the Continental - though Bentley can hardly claim that one for their own, the new design has been hailed as a sleek and successful design language for Lincoln. But designers at Bentley are fuming, saying it bears an uncanny likeness to its Flying Spur.

In an article by Car Design News, Bentley’s design chief Luc Donckerwolke has blasted the carmaker for its unoriginal design copy.

“This behavior is not respectable,” says Donckerwolke.

“Building a copy like this is giving a bad name to the car design world.”

Another member of Donckerwolke’s team, exterior designer Sangyup Lee, also lends his opinion to the argument, saying: “It is very disappointing, especially for an exclusive brand like Lincoln.”

Donckerwolke also took to social media with his concerns. Lincoln is yet to strike back with any rebuff.

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.