• Marquez Wins The Fastest Qualifier BMW For The 6th Time

    There’s a feeling of the inevitable as Marc Marquez wins the Fastest Qualifier BMW for the 6th time. As the ‘Official Car of MotoGP’ for 20 years, the BMW M Award has been given to the fastest qualifying performance across each season since 2003. And for the past six years, that’s meant a new BMW added to the Marquez garage.

    Marquez Wins The Fastest Qualifier BMW For The 6th Time
    Marquez Wins The Fastest Qualifier BMW For The 6th Time

    Motorcycle racers are legendary for their ability to use and abuse hire cars. But Marquez now has enough to start loaning out his own collection. For six consecutive years he has been awarded the latest in the BMW M range as a reward for his qualification achievements.

    Marc Marquez Wins The MotoGP Fastest Qualifier BMW For 6th Consecutive Year

    Given his success at the highest level of motorcycle racing, it’s no surprising Marquez has broken several qualifying records along the way. Since 2003, the BMW Awards have seen him become the first rookie to achieve it in 2013, the first rider to win three in-a-row in 2015, and first rider to achieve four awards in 2016. Considering he’s a five-time MotoGP champion at the age of 25, it might be wise to invest in a bigger garage for the future.

    MotoGP champion Marc Marquez, BMW President Markus Flasch and Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta
    MotoGP champion Marc Marquez, BMW President Markus Flasch and Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta

    This year Marquez drives away in a new 2018 BMW M3 CS. Not necessarily a match for his Repsol Honda RC213V. But still the most powerful BMW M3 so far, with a 460hp M TwinPower turbo inline-six-cylinder engine achieving 0-100 kmh in 3.9 seconds. It’s got a 7-speed dual clutch transmission, adaptive suspension, full leather interior and 19 inch alloys.

    “I can hardly believe that I have won the BMW M Award for the sixth time running,” said Márquez at the award ceremony at Valencia. “One year ago, I announced here that my objective for 2018 was to claim this sixth victory – and I have actually managed it. That makes me very proud. Now I can hardly wait to get behind the wheel of this fantastic BMW M3 CS. I want to thank BMW M GmbH for providing the BMW M Award as an accolade for the fastest qualifier. This shows special appreciation for us as MotoGP riders. The prospect of winning this prize provides even more motivation for us when qualifying starts on Saturdays.”

    Marc Marquez Receives His 2018 BMW M3 CS From BMW President Markus Flasch

    The BMW M Award is based on a points system allocated for the MotoGP qualifying each weekend. And the rider with the most points over the season gets a brand new BMW M series. Marc Marquez holds the record with six awards, followed by Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner who each received 3. Jorge Lorenzo is next on 2, and 1 award has gone to both Sete Gibernau and Nicky Hayden.

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  • Get Trials Style With The New Watsonian International Sidecar

    We all know how popular adventure sport and off-road style motorcycles have become. But what if you want to take more passengers or luggage than a motorbike can manage? Whether it’s for a round-the-world expedition or picking up the weekly shop? Well, now you can go trials style, with the new Watsonian International Sidecar.

    The New Watsonian International Sidecar

    The prototype version pictured will be close to the final release. It’s shown fitted to the Royal Enfield Himalayan, and Watsonian have also been hard at work creating a universal fitting kit for their current sidecars for the Enfield.

    Although it’s got off-road trials style, the new Watsonian International sidecar has been created primarily to use on the roads. As a result, it’s got a glass fibre body to be durable and easy to maintain. But it does have aluminium panels to echo the style of the original International, which was around in the 1940s and 1950s. And there’s an aluminium mudguard holding the indicator and brake light.

    There’s the off-road bench seat, under which you get your spacious luggage locker. And the the black metal rim for passengers to grab to keep them stable. Underneath the new Watsonian International sidecar is the tubular steel platform chassis Watsonian have been using for a long time, with elded joints and epoxy power coating.

    To keep things comfortable there’s  hydraulic suspension with a rising rate spring. And the sidecar is mounted on a 16″ stainless spoked wheel with a black powder coated steel rim and a Bridgestone Trail Wing dual sport tyre.

    The new Watsonian International Sidecar will be available in Spring 2019 and will cost £3,995 including VAT. The Royal Enfield Himalayan Watsonian fitting kit costs £450.

    The Original Watsonian International Sidecar:

    Inspiration for the trials and off-road style of the new Watsonian International sidecar actually comes from the firm’s original creation launched in 1938.

    The first International featured a lightweight all-aluminium body. But production was interrupted due to the outbreak of the Second World War. So it didn’t actually become available to buy until 1950.

    The original 1950s Watsonian International Sidecar

    But when the original aluminium Watsonian International did reappear in 1950, it competed in the International Six Days Trail at Llandrindod Wells. And was regularly used by the company management team of Ron Watson and Cliff Bennett in a variety of trials events during the early 1950s.

    You can certainly see echoes of the original outfit in the new Watsonian International sidecar. And while it might not be suitable for off-road competition, it should be rugged enough to cope with whatever adventure you might fancy on the roads.

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  • SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!

    SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!

    Recommended reading from Keith Cornett, CorvetteBlogger and founder of VetteFinders. Not only a ‘pretty face’, CORVETTE SPECIAL EDITIONS is an invaluable resource for information about iconic and collectible performance models.

    SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!At first glance, Keith Cornett’s new book is a little misleading. The title does not reveal the wealth of photography and information that goes well beyond Special Editions. To many, Special Editions often refers to Indy Pace Car replicas, commemorative models celebrating racing victories, anniversaries, performance achievements, regional editions, or a particular individual who has devoted a great deal of his life to elevating the status of the Corvette. It is all that, but so much more.

    CORVETTE SPECIAL EDITIONS is way beyond the 43 official Chevrolet limited production, special edition Corvettes starting with the 1978 Silver Anniversary and Indy 500 Pace Car replica and ending with the 2018 Carbon 65 I found the most interesting sections of this book are devoted to the history of the Corvette and iconic road and track performance models that are coveted by serious collectors.

    SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!Even the first Corvette in 1953 must be considered a “special edition” since only 300 were built! Coverage of low-volume, track-oriented Corvettes started when Zora Arkus-Duntov convinced the powers at Chevrolet of the value of being involved in sports car racing. Nothing showcases Duntov’s position more than the first fuel-injected, four-speed, 283/283 ’57 Corvette with RPO 579D “Airbox” option. Just 43 were built and they led the charge to the Corvette earning America’s Sports Car cred! Great coverage on a black Airbox car, above, with coke-bottle hubcaps tells the unique option’s story.

    SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!After Keith runs out of actual factory production Special Editions, like the Grand Sport, Z06 Sting Ray, 1967-1969 aluminum-head big-block L88s, above, the yellow all-aluminum big-block ZL1, above, and Zora’s hardcore ZR1small-block and ZR2 big-block Stingrays, he focuses on low-volume, very-special-edition “tuner” Corvettes that go one step beyond what the factory could do. Corvette-based, tuner cars and their builders make up one of the most interesting chapters, Chapter 6, DEALERS, TUNERS, AND THIRD-PARTY SPECIAL EDITIONS.

    SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!Many, like the Baldwin-Motion Phase III, Maco Shark, Manta Ray, Can-Am Spyder and the ultimate Phase III GT Corvette, above & right, were created by Joel Rosen between 1968 and 1974, were built to order. Horsepower started around 500 and, like Alice’s Restaurant, “you could get anything you want!”

    In addition to Joel Rosen’s Baldwin-Motion, there’s coverage on John and Burt Greenwood’s extensive lineup, Reeves Callaway who is still producing tuner Corvettes, Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, American Custom Industries’ Duntov Turbo, Dick Guldstrand GS80/GS90, Avelate Corvette, Larry Shinoda/Rick Mears Special Edition, Pratt & Miller C6RS and others. This chapter is a treasure trove of seriously high-performance, some over-the-top, fantasy rides.

    SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!2018 Carbon 65

    Well-written and beautifully illustrated, CORVETTE SPECIAL EDITIONS presents the cars as a group instead of chronologically. It’s organized into six categories: Anniversary Editions, Indy 500 Pace Cars, Commemoratives and Tributes, Special Editions, Historic Corvettes, and Third-Party Special Editions. This 192-page coffee table book is available at https://www.amazon.com/Corvette-Special-Editions-Pace-Callaways/dp/1613253931/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1537450923&sr=8-1&keywords=Corvette+special+editions&linkCode=sl1&tag=corvettespeci-20&linkId=a53cda67c42cfbbc1a9c4e2349fde608

    If you are interested in a signed copy, please visit https://www.corvettespecialeditions.com/

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  • ’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!

    ’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!

    Chevrolet celebrates the golden anniversary – 50 years strong – of the legendary COPO Camaro at the SEMA Show.

    ’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!An anniversary-themed ‘19 COPO Camaro racecar introduced today at the SEMA Show celebrates the 50-year milestone of the special order, ultimate performance models and launches the 2019 COPO Camaro program.

    “Chevrolet is proud to celebrate 50 years of the COPO Camaro legacy,” said Jim Campbell, GM U.S. vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “It’s one of the most enduring legacies in drag racing, with a powerful past and fast future.”

    Featuring a special Anniversary Blue Metallic exterior color that pays homage to the original Laguna Blue offered in 1969, the SEMA show car previews the special color and graphics of the COPO Camaro 50th Anniversary Special Edition package offered for 2019. A 50th Anniversary Engine Appearance Package that emulates the look of vintage Chevy performance engines, with an orange engine block, chrome valve covers and a black high-rise intake manifold, is also available for the naturally aspirated LSX-based 427 racing engine.

    ’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!The ‘19 COPO Camaro’s available engine lineup includes a revised version of the supercharged, LSX-based 350 engine, now featuring a 2.65L Magnuson supercharger as well as a 302-cubic-inch engine. The COPO Camaro also features a distinctive and exclusive front-end design not shared with other production Camaro models. Only 69 ‘19 COPO Camaro racecars will be built — the same number of ‘69 COPO Camaro models that were built with the all-aluminum 427 ZL1 engine.

     COPO CAMARO HISTORY

    The COPO Camaro program got its start in 1969 and was inspired by Illinois-based Chevrolet dealer Fred Gibb, who used the company’s special order system to build what wasn’t already offered in the Camaro. The goal was to make the car more competitive in Stock Eliminator drag racing, which was rooted in production-based vehicles.

    Racers scraped for every extra horsepower the factory could give them, and it occurred to Gibb that Chevrolet’s in-house special order system, known as Central Office Production Order (COPO), could provide an advantage. Typically, the COPO system was used for fleet vehicle services such as special paint or truck equipment, but Gibb used it to equip the Camaro with the all-aluminum ZL1 427 racing engine, below. With its lightweight block and heads, the ZL1 427 engine weighed about 100 pounds less than the iron-based 396 big- block engine offered in the Camaro and produced more power. It was the perfect solution for the drag strip.

    ’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!Chevrolet didn’t simply rubber-stamp Gibb’s request. It took plenty of convincing and some cajoling from Vince Piggins, who was responsible for the Camaro Z28 at the time, to get the project approved. There was also another catch: To make the engine eligible for NHRA competition, at least 50 examples of the car had to be offered for sale to the public.

    ’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!Gibb ordered them, but knew he’d have a hard time selling the pricey muscle cars, which were essentially twice the cost of a standard Camaro. He sold 13 and the remaining 37 were redistributed to other dealers. In the meantime, more dealers found out about the ultimate performance COPO Camaro models and ordered their own. A total of 69 COPO Camaro models with the ZL1 engine were built.

    The 1969 COPO Camaro program included a number of models equipped with an iron-block version of the 427 engine. In the years after, drag strip success evolved into collector car distinction, with the comparative handful of ZL1-engined models among the most coveted muscle cars with collectors today.

    ’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!Chevrolet opened the next chapter in the COPO Camaro anthology in 2011 with the introduction of a COPO Camaro racecar concept at the SEMA Show. The overwhelming response helped Chevrolet make the decision to build the new COPO Camaro racecars in 2012. The contemporary COPO cars quickly picked up what their predecessors laid down on the drag strip half a century earlier, setting national records with eight-second ets.

    ’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!The ‘19 COPO Camaro joins the eCOPO Camaro Concept — an electrified racecar based on the ‘19 COPO Camaro — and approximately two dozen additional Chevrolet concepts and show vehicles at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas through November 2nd.

    Customers can register for a chance to purchase a ‘19 COPO Camaro at https://www.chevrolet.com/performance/copo-camaro

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  • SHORT TRACK RACING: HOMAGE TO A FORGOTTEN SERIES!

    SHORT TRACK RACING: HOMAGE TO A FORGOTTEN SERIES!

    Hard to believe it’s been nearly 20 years since the Championship Auto Racing Series (CARS) ran exciting, wheel to wheel stock car races on short tracks around Indiana. This series was distinct from and should not be confused with today’s southeastern CARS series that descended from the old Hooters ProCup series, blogs Stephen Cox.

    SHORT TRACK RACING: HOMAGE TO A FORGOTTEN SERIES!The original CARS series was Indiana-based, founded by former ARCA driver Morris Coffman. The concept was built around a spec stock car chassis powered by 305 cubic inch Chevrolet small block engines with two-barrel carburetors that produced about 335 horsepower. The hard compound tires were grooved to limit grip. A completed ready to race car was available for about $20,000, while kits could be purchased for half that price and assembled by the race teams.

    The result was a fun, affordable mid-level touring series that frequented premier Midwestern short tracks including Indianapolis Raceway Park (now Lucas Oil Raceway), Winchester Speedway and Ileana Speedway. The crowds were good. The racecars were fun to drive. They had enough power to slide through the turns but not so much grip that engine prices soared into the stratosphere. For a while – a very short while – CARS provided an excellent platform to learn the craft of stock car racing.

    SHORT TRACK RACING: HOMAGE TO A FORGOTTEN SERIES!I competed in the series from early 1999 until August 2000. My record was marginal, winning two of the series’ smaller events, sitting on the pole at Winchester and finishing sixth in the season points championship. But the competition sharpened my driving skills and introduced me to some great people who remain friends nearly two decades later.

    On September 19, 1999, a bright and cool Sunday afternoon, we put on a pretty good show for Winchester Speedway’s race fans. The top five cars broke away from the field and ran nose-to-tail and sometimes side-by-side on Winchester’s extreme, 32-degree banking for most of the 20-lap feature. My father and spotter, Nelson, coached me up to fourth place late in the event. The whirlwind speeds of Winchester’s high groove took your breath away, especially when running in a two or three-wide pack of five cars, all-vying for a win before a huge crowd at a historic track. I finished fourth in one of the best short track races of the year.

    Series front-runners included many outstanding drivers who had already proven themselves winners at other levels of racing. Mark Fesmire could do no wrong in the 1999 season and left us all in the dust on his way to the first CARS championship title. Indiana short track legend Eddie Van Meter won in front of 25,000 fans at Indianapolis in May 2000. Jeff Cannon was so fast he couldn’t keep tires under his car. Bob Dumke, Tim Green, Wes Bullock, Tim Wallen and other fine drivers competed in my era with many more joining after I departed for the Hooters Pro Cup Series in late 2000.

    SHORT TRACK RACING: HOMAGE TO A FORGOTTEN SERIES!Jerome Branscum, who won the 2003 CARS championship title and later purchased the series, said, “It was a series that we could get into for ten grand and get a nice looking car and we could go racing. I was 44 years old and had never driven a racecar before. It was a real thrill for me. It was the excitement of getting to go racing every week, and on a budget.”

    Going through multiple ownership changes, the series was active as late as 2012 although it struggled to draw entries. It eventually faded away, forgotten by all but a handful of former competitors. The Championship Auto Racing Series existed in the era immediately preceding the Internet, so not a trace of its history can be found online. It existed in the earliest era of digital photography, so traditional 35mm photos are scarce and the few available digital pictures are of poor quality. As far as I can tell all records of its races and indeed, the very existence of the series, have been lost.

    “I would like it to be remembered like it was in the early years,” Branscum recalled, “when you could go racing and it wouldn’t cost you a fortune. You could meet friendly people, race hard and have fun.”

    Stephen Cox: Driver, FIA EGT Championship & Super Cup Stock Car Series, CEO, Sopwith Motorsports Television Productions Co-host, Mecum Auctions on NBCSN.

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