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Brabham BT62 Breaks Bathurst Lap Record

It wasn't long ago that Brabham announced that it was returning to competition with the BT62 to compete at the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and Le Mans. They also announced that they will be building a road-legal version of their mighty BT62, likely to qualify for the GTE class requirements so it can compete at Le Mans. Capitalizing on that, Brabham was planning on taking a BT62 for demonstration laps in the build-up to the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour race that's running this weekend, but they gave the people a lot more than a few hot laps.

With minimal testing on Thursday and with just four laps on Saturday, conditions were good so the BT62 test driver Luke Youlden went for a flying lap. That flying lap set a new track record of 1:58.67. The lap time is a verified clocked time, but it is labeled "unofficial" because it wasn't set during a competitive session. The previous lap record was 1:59.29, set by an unrestricted Audi R8 GT3 race car last year in tes…

Why Ford had to 3D Print Ken Block's 914 hp Hoonitruck Intake Manifold

To make 914 hp, the Gymkhana 1977 Ford F150 Hoonitruck needs A LOT of air for the turbos feeding the 3.5 L EcoBoost V6. Ford's custom designed manifold ended up being too intricate to cast, so Ford Germany put to use one of the most advanced 3D Printers and even that one was pushing the envelope to get the job done. The result? A high flow, lightweight, 3D printed custom manifold that's the largest 3D printed metal part on a functional car, according to Ford. Watch to see how it was designed and how long it takes to print just one, plus why Ken Block picked a 1977 F150.


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A post shared by Mike R (@ramseyethetrackguy) on Oct 18, 2018 at 5:03pm PDT

No TV? Watch the 2019 Rolex 24 Daytona Online

If you don't have TV or TV subscription to the right channels, you can tune in online on IMSA TV for live coverage of the 2019 Rolex 24 Daytona (Daytona 24 Hours) right here at 2:25 pm US ET (Eastern Time).

Of course, not all of us can watch 24 hours of racing live. Fortunately, IMSA also posts full races and highlights on YouTube two or three days after the race. Make sure to check there next week to see what you've missed. Coverage of qualifying is already up.


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A post shared by Mike R (@ramseyethetrackguy) on Oct 18, 2018 at 5:03pm PDT

Is The Ford GT a Worthy Successor to The GT40?

The original Ford GT40 needs no introduction. It achieved instant race car celebrity status in 1966 when it did what was thought to be impossible; give a humble American car manufacturer like Ford the opportunity to beat the elite Ferrari at Le Mans. Most people know the highlight of the back story too. To spare you all the details, Ford was moving forward towards a deal to buy out Ferrari. Ferrari was interested, but Enzo Ferrari wanted to run their open wheel division themselves with full liberty. Ford didn't agree and Enzo pulled out of the deal.

Angered by that, Henry Ford (junior) wanted to show Ferrari that Ford could beat them at their own game so they went out to build a race car to win at Le Mans. What isn't very well known, however, is the fact that Ford struggled at first. Ford (naturally) went to established European manufacturers that had experience racing, likely expecting that the American racing builders would know nothing about winning at Le Mans. Unfortunate…

Can Telemetry Explain Schumacher's Talent?

With Michael Schumacher's recent fantastic news that he is no longer bedridden, I figured it would be a great opportunity to share one of my absolute favourite videos about him. I stumbled across this video last year and immediately bookmarked it. It includes bits from interviews with various F1 drivers, including Schumacher himself and team mate Johnny Herbert. But my favourite part of the video is when they compare telemetry between Schumacher and Herbert.

The telemetry clearly explains where Schumacher is saving (lap) time and how exactly his talent and skills translate to better (and ultimately faster) driving. His talent is even more impressive when you consider the lack of active throttle mapping in modern F1 cars and the myriad of improvements made to driveability. Watch below to see for yourself.


What I love about this video is that I found Jonathan's Palmer analysis of Schumacher's telemetry to be absolutely true when applied to my driving on track.

SPOILER ALERT…

Racing again.. and #61 almost catches fire!

Last year, I joined the ranks of amateur wheel-to-wheel racers and went to race with the fantastic Vantage Motorsports racing team (to read more, go to The Ram's Eye Goes Racing). It was just as much fun and rewarding as I imagined it would be so I was really looking forward to this (2017) season. Unfortunately, life has a habit of getting in the way of things you want to do so that's exactly what happened this year. I missed all but the last round of the race season, which was on Sunday September 17. It seems, though, that I had a full season's worth of racing experience in one day..

For starters, I missed the early morning call, which meant I had to start from the back of the pack in every race. No problem, I liked that I'd have more racing to do. I went out in the practice session and I found out I was very rusty.. My first hot lap was a 1:27.x, about 5 seconds off the pace of the car on the Toyo R888's that were on it. Second dropped to 1:26.x, then I settled i…

Four Seconds in a BMW M3 Race Car

This isn't what you think. It isn't about spending four seconds in a race car. That would be rather useless. Instead, it's about finding four seconds to take out of a lap time in a race car. More specifically, Rocket Racing's 1997 BMW M3 GT3 race car (link to the previous post here for more about the car!). I wasn't driving, of course. That would imply I lose four seconds in lap time around the track (ok, sorry John, that was a cheap shot). This is about John's acquaintance with his newly acquired 97 M3 GT3 race car. Don't worry though, although John (like I was just last year) is new to wheel to wheel racing, he is a true racer at heart. If you don't believe me, just read some of the world-class excuses he got:

"I had 7 months [off season]of rust to shake off."

"I hate driving with new shoes."

"it was cold and a bit damp"

"my tires still had the stickers on them"

Ladies and gents, that right there is proof John …

Rocket Racing's 97 BMW M3 GT3 - The Prologue

If you've followed this blog, you'd know I started racing last year. I was fortunate enough to be involved with one of the best race team in the region - Vantage Motorsports (link: The Ram's Eye Goes Racing!). This year, my good friend John Drysdale, also fulfilled his dream of wheel to wheel to racing. That said, his start was much more dramatic than mine in the (excellent) IT-B '95 GTI race car. In his words:

"How does one become a race car driver? Maybe more importantly, what makes someone a good race car driver? Maybe I have the odds stacked against me in this game called racing. I started on track with true tarmac and rubber when I was 32.

To my benefit, I was imprinted, like a duckling, with cars from a very young age. My dads stacks of Road and Track, and Car and Driver, made an early impression. When I was seven years old I was drawing air cooled Porsche 911's (and in 2014, I got one). In the early 90's I was playing "Need for Speed" in …

Sabine Schmitz in a Porsche 911 GT3 R at the Nurburgring

If you're one of those people who complain about not enough action and passing in racing (I don't blame you), the video below may just restore your faith. Sabine Schmitz, famous Nurburgring taxi driver, race car driver, and now one of the new presenters of Top Gear UK (we forgive her for that), is piloting a GT3 R in the video below at the Nurburgring, in the wet. And it's awesome.





Ford GT Returns at Rolex 24 with Chip Ganassi Racing

A photo posted by Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (@chipganassiracing) on Jan 28, 2016 at 6:17am PST

I, unfortunately, haven't been writing in a while.. Okay, a very long while. I had been waiting until I can catch up with all the reviews and tests that I missed. The new ATS-V and CTS-V. The new Camaro SS. The new C63 AMG. The long awaited Shelby GT350.. and many more. I started watching Rolex 24 hours at Daytona today, though, and I thought what better weekend to go back to writing than the weekend Ford brought back the GT to go racing.


A photo posted by Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (@chipganassiracing) on Jan 31, 2016 at 3:37am PST

I haven't seen all of it yet, I've only watched the two hours so far but it was a great showing. *SPOILER ALERT* So far, the GT seems to be running great and very, very competitive. And man, does the new GT ever look fantastic, especially in racing livery. They've only had one issue where one of the cars was stuck in 5th gear. *SPOILER ALERT*

It typ…

Formula race car driver reflexes in the rain

Super fast reflexes, great situational awareness and excellent car control. Watching that save was so impressive that I had to watch it a couple of times. My favourite part is staying focused, in control and continuing the race after avoiding the situation.





Dodge pulls factory-backed Viper from Road Racing

Very depressing news came from Dodge today when it announced that it will pull its factory-backed SRT Motorsports Viper from the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship after the 2014 season. This is just within days of multiple wins. SRT Motorsports won the 2014 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GTLM-class driver and team championships in the season-ending Petit Le Mans 10-hour endurance race at Road Atlanta just two days ago, Saturday, October 4. It also finished second in the GTLM manufacturer championship, all in just its second full year of the program.

This and a strong heritage for Viper in road racing means that success can't be the problem. Why is Dodge pulling the plug? It is unclear but, according to Ralph Gilles, Senior Vice President of Product Design at Chrysler, it is a business decision. He said: “Our company has made a business decision to discontinue the SRT Motorsports Dodge Viper GTS-R racing program. We are very proud of the amazing achievements our fantas…

2014 Spec Formula 1 Cars

By now, I imagine all F1 fans have probably watched the first Grand Prix of the season. I finally had a chance to watch it last weekend and I must say, I was quite disappointed with the noise. The major changes to cars have been decreasing engine size, rpm limit and cylinder count, a return to turbocharging, limiting fuel use, body changes to promote safety and increase passing opportunities and increase available power boost from the electric motor, both in duration and magnitude. If you want to learn more about the changes, click here to go to the summary on the Formula 1 official website or watch the video below prepared by the Red Bull.




The changes to the engine itself are the ones that most affect the noise. Firstly, a drop from a V8 to a V6 means fewer cylinder fires per engine revolution and, therefore, per unit of time (second, minute, etc.). This is coupled with a drop in maximum rpm from the typical 18,000 - 19,000 to 15,000. This means fewer fires per revolution and fewer …






Does An Aftermarket Grille Really Increase Airflow?
I put a Saleen S281 grille to the test to answer that question.

Stock Suspension S197 Mustang With Square 305/30/19's
What you need to fit a proper size square tire setup.

How Limited Slip Diffs Make You Faster on Track
What you need to know about how they put power down and pros and cons.

Can Telemetry Explain Schumacher's Talent?
A comparison between Schumacher's and then team mate Herbert's data.






Cayman GT4 Track Review
The first Cayman with proper (911-challenging) power.

Is an EcoBoost Mustang any good on Track?
Two days at the track in a Mustang short 4 cylinders.

2016 BMW M4 DCT Track Review
It's quick (properly quick). But is it fun?

Can a stock Golf Diesel handle a Track Day?
Not your every day track beater.




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Michelin Pilot Super Sports vs Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 - Street Review

I've been a huge fan of Michelin PSS tires and exclusively bought them for the Mustang over the last four years. So how did I end up here? This year, I was hugely interested in trying an "R-comp" tire. I had my eyes set on Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R's for two simple reasons: price and reputation. Although not a true "R-comp" tire on paper, it performs like one by the account of every single test and review I've read (down to wear rates...). They seem like they're easily the most affordable (from a big brand) R-comp tire and combine that with a reputation for having tons of grip, it was an easy top contender. I had my concerns, though. For one, I'm told and have read that they are an autox tire, not really designed for high speed, pressure, and temps associated with open track. For another, the Mustang is a heavy car (as far as track cars are concerned) being roughly 3,800 lb. (including driver), which will amplify the unwanted open track loads.…

Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R Track Review

For better or for worse, I have heard and read so much about RE-71R's. Everyone swears by the grip but complains about the wear. Generally speaking, the pros are:

1. They grip as well or better than most R comps.
2. They don't wear as quickly as R comps if driven occasionally on the street.
3. They work better in the rain than R comps.

The cons were limited to overheating quickly when used on track (being an autocross tire) and wearing too fast on heavy cars like mine.

In the popular 200 TW category, they are faster than the popular Hankook RS-4's and BFGoodrich Rival S's according to published Tire Rack Tests. According to plenty of reviews, they are also faster than well established R comps like R888R's (which don't seem to work too well on heavy cars anyway) and the venerable NT01's. But I was still hesitant for a while until I talked to a tire tech support gentleman at Tire Rack who has gone faster on RE-71R's than NT01s. In a Mustang (his own, not…

GTR vs Evo X vs STI: which has the best AWD system?

A few weeks ago, I made a post explaining mainstream AWD system types and how they compare, pros and cons, etc. including some simple diagrams to show where the power goes and how much. As promised, this post will focus on specific cars and what AWD systems they use, especially ones that that have more or less been defined by their AWD systems, and the best place to start may be with a bombshell; the Nissan GT-R.


Nissan GT-R (R35)

The GT-R has built a reputation around having monster traction and very approachable performance, thanks to its AWD system - Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All-Terrain (ATTESA) - and what it can do for you. But the GT-R doesn't actually use the most mechanically sophisticated type of AWD systems discussed in the previous article, namely a "true" AWD with a centre differential. Instead, it uses a clutch pack to transfer power.


The R32, R33, and R34 Skyline GT-R's used a system that looked basically identical to the traditiona…

Michelin PSS vs Firestone Indy 500 - Track Review

A couple of weeks ago, I posted my first impressions of Michelin's PSS vs Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 tires. I've run PSS's for several years on the Boss, but I'm trying the Indy 500's for the first time. In short, I was worried about the narrower tires (I was running 285/35/18 PSS but could only find the Indy 500 in 275/35/18) and tread squirm, but I was happy with them up to that point just driving on the street. I had the chance to drive on them for three track days now. So what were they like? After my first session, they made an impression that basically persisted for the rest of track sessions on them. Phenomenal, unmatched value. Now, if value is something that stands out above all else, it typically means the compromise between qualities you want and those you don't is less than ideal, but the value is attractive. This is no different. I'll start with the bad, which really boil down to two: ultimate grip and grip longevity.

Grip is noticeably lowe…