It’s really not that difficult to organize a competitive race series. But turning down money? Now that’s tough,blogs Stephen Cox.
The easy way to run a series is to have an official provider for everything from tires to body kits to engines. Mandatory components (spec parts) are frequently offered as a fix-all solution though in reality, costs are rarely contained. Remember, everyone at every step along the way has to make money. That means the series, parts manufacturers, distributors and on and on. Everyone gets a piece of the action and team owners are stuck with the ever-spiraling bills. The usual result is just what we see in the Indy Lights Series and Indycar – higher costs and lower car count.
All of this is a result of wrong thinking. The job of a race series is not to put a limit on how much money teams can spend. The job of a race series is to make sure that spending money doesn’t help. NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series is in trouble because competitive engine packages are too expensive. Teams are losing money and closing up shop. NASCAR’s response is to consider a spec engine. Wrong thinking.
Take away their tires and everything else becomes elementary. NASCAR tires are enormously wide and offer a broad, sticky contact patch with the asphalt. The trucks reach tremendous speeds before they begin to lose adhesion and when they do, the drift is slight and nearly imperceptible to the average race fan. The racing isn’t that good. The tires are just too wide. If NASCAR trucks adopted a narrow, hard compound tire, the importance of horsepower would diminish considerably. Speeds would drop. The trucks would visibly slide on the racetrack and average race fans could see and appreciate the skill of the drivers.
Teams who spend fantastic sums on engine power would find themselves gaining little, if any, real advantage because without big, wide tires, it would be impossible to utilize all that engine power. The limiting factor in a truck’s speed would no longer be the engine; it would be the tires. The series should concern itself with reducing mechanical grip and to a lesser extent, aerodynamic grip. When the trucks begin to slide, the real racing begins and the unbridled supremacy of overpriced engines quickly fades.
The job of the series isn’t to limit horsepower or spending. NASCAR’s job is to limit the amount of horsepower that can be used in a race by eliminating traction. When that is achieved, the enormous horsepower and massive engine budgets will collapse of their own weight and teams will begin considering the Camping World Truck Series as a viable alternative again. That’s how to save truck racing.
Stephen Cox is Sopwith Motorsports Television Productions Driver, Super Cup Series & EGT Championship, and Co-Host, Mecum Auctions on NBCSN. Sponsored by http://www.mcgunegillengines.com/and http://www.boschett-timepieces.com/index.php
‘It’s a usable point-and-shoot coupe, quite willing to play hard, and then settle down for a drive to dinner,’ blogs Dan Scanlan.
I say AMG, and you say Mercedes-Benz’s hot rod, usually with a big V-8 hand-made by someone in Affalterbach, then signed on an alloy plaque on top. But just as the tuner started by Hans-Werner Aufrecht and Erghard Melcher has been fully folded into Mercedes-Benz, so have some changes come to what’s now called Mercedes-AMG.
So while this all-wheel-drive C43 AMG has received the golden touch from the folks who tune special Benzes, it is a different breed of Mercedes musclecar. This C-Class’ 3-liter/362 horsepower V-6, its twin turbochargers visible under air intakes in the tightly packed engine bay, wasn’t built in AMG’s operation in Affalterbach. It was just designed there. So, no engine builder’s plate, but it does get a new AMG-enhanced nine-speed automatic transmission with “Manual” mode so you can paddle-shift. With peak torque of 384 pound-feet in the “Sport+” drivetrain setting, it leaps to 60-mph in 4.5 seconds and 100 mph in 11.5 with super-quick up-shifts and no wheel spin. The G-meter on the expansive gauge display claimed .7 Gs acceleration at full launch. Tap the exhaust valve button and there’s an exotic snarling scream, each up-shift punctuated by a rifle shot-like bark from quad pipes. Backing off adds crackling, popping overrun. Set drivetrain in “Eco,” activating engine shut-off at stoplights, and the C43 AMG delivers 20 mpg on premium. It decouples the transmission from engine when you slow down. Or enjoy “Comfort,” which dials back the throttle response and steering feel for daily commuting, but still delivers precise, buffered shifts and strong mid-range torque for passing – 0 to 60-mph in 5 seconds, and 100 mph in 12.2.
Under its steel unibody with aluminum hood, trunk lid and front fenders, there’s an independent multi-link suspension with coil springs, tubular torsion bars and double-tube shock absorbers with adaptive variable damping. “Comfort” setting left us with a nice ride that absorbed everything, a touch of float over repetitive bumps. It was all too buffered, from steering to throttle response, for me.
“Sport” gave a slightly firmer edge that smoothed out repetitive bumps, further buffering on full compression. The firmer suspension and all-wheel-drive with a rear biased torque distribution of 31 percent front/69 percent rear meant the C43 just hugged curves and went around them in a neutral fashion, turn after turn. Sport+ offered much quicker and tighter bump control, not too nice on rougher road or streets with raised crosswalks, but great for nicely paved sweepers. Its quicker and more aggressive shift pattern meant razor-sharp downshifts for powering out of curves, and tighter steering to help. There’s an “Individual” mode, so you can set steering and drivetrain – I picked powertrain in “Sport+” and suspension in “Sport,” tapping open the sport exhaust valve. The C43 AMG stitched turn to turn, the shifts putting the rpm where needed to pull out of a curve. Tap the paddle and downshifts were executed concisely with a throttle blip. Bumps didn’t bother as we swept through turns, very flat.
There was no drama on our skidpad, only a touch of understeer. We regularly pulled .93 Gs in turns. With cross-drilled and vented 14.2-inch front discs, and 12.6-inch rear solid discs, we had great pedal feel and initial bite on our 3,000-mile-old test coupe. Plus solid stopping power with no nosedive and no fade after some very high-speed stops, pulling 1.1 Gs at full pedal push.
The C43 has a more prominent and upright grille with big Benz star and upswept LED headlights. Concentric chrome-plated pins flank the grill’s center star; side brake ducts flanking a low center air intake. The 10-spoke light-alloy wheels in gloss black with brushed alloy finish show off big disc brakes with silver AMG-badged front calipers. Lower profile P225/40R 19-inch Continental tires up front are matched with staggered wider P255/35Rs in back, giving the coupe a well-planted look. Our test car’s “Night Package” adds a gloss black lower diffuser with twin ebony-finished tailpipes, as well as gloss black front splitter.
Inside are highly sculpted bucket seats with leather-like MB-Tex and suede-like microfiber inserts, accented in red stitching. With 10-way power adjustment, they were very grippy in turns, with great support. Black leather and suede accent the flat-bottomed AMG multifunction sport steering wheel, also with red stitching. The fat-rimmed steering wheel has long, easy to reach alloy shift paddles behind it. There’s a 180-mph speedometer and 8,000-rpm tach with 6,500-rpm redline. They flank a 4.5-inch display for stereo, navigation, and an AMG menu item – digital speedometer, gear, G-force, lap-timer, turbo boost and engine gauges. A head-up display shows tach, speed and gear position.
A base C300 Coupe starts at $42,650, while our C43 AMG coupe started at $55,500 with lots of standards including the high-performance summer tires. But options like the COMAND navigation system, red paint, ash wood interior trim, AMG exhaust and split-spoke alloy wheels brought it to $66,945. You can still get an AMG coupe with more muscle – the C63 AMG with twin-turbo V-8 and 469 horsepower and easily-smoked tires. Or go for AMG-lite C43 and get a very comfortable and usable point-and-shoot coupe, quite willing to play hard, and then settle down for a drive to dinner.
Whether you ride a sports bike or a cruiser, the new Weise Renegade and Highway motorcycle gloves have you covered. And the good news is that both choices are pretty cost-effective summer riding kit.
Weise Renegade Gloves:
The Weise Renegade motorcycle gloves are for the knee-down one-piece leather brigade. Which means they go heavy on the armour and protection. So the Renegades get full-grain leather selected from the strongest part of the hide. And feature a twin overlay on the palm, integrated TPU reinforcement armour on the knuckles and finders, plus padded panels on each cuff.
Inside there is a lightweight polyester lining, which helps to keep your paws cooler, along with a perforated wrist section. Stretch panels on the fingers and above the knuckles help to keep you nice and flexible, and there are silicon prints on the palm to aid your grip. Lastly the wrist and cuff are eslasticated and fastaned with Velcro.
The Weise Renegade motorcycle gloves are available in sizes XS-3XL in Black or Black/White and cost £89.99.
Weise Highway Gloves:
Also new for 2017 are the Weise Highway motorcycle gloves. These are designed for cruiser and classic owners who want the retro look with 100% goatskin. On the plams are Chamude overalys to give extra grip on top of the soft, flexible goatskin. And the short cuff is designed to fit neatly under your classic riding jacket, which means you’ll look cool as well as helping to keep air flowing around your wrist and up your sleeves.
There’s an adjsutable popper strap on the cuffs to keep the Highway gloves nice and secure on your hands. And putting them on and off is helped by the rubber grip tab with the subtle Weise logo.
The Weise Highway motorcycle gloves are available in sizes XS-4XL and you can choose them in either Brown or Tan. They cost £45.99.
The implications of having your vehicle impounded by the police can be severe. The financial penalties alone can have a major impact, with fixed penalty notices and storage fees accruing on a daily basis at the storage compound. The costs don’t end there, though, as you could also have your driver’s license endorsed which could make it really difficult to find insurance in the future without the help of an impounded car insurance specialist.
Seized vehicles seem to be a hot topic in the news of late. Articles about the number of uninsured drivers being caught and reports of new police campaigns and crackdowns are becoming common amongst the pages of most newspapers. The number of cars, vans and motorcycles being seized is growing year on year and while most people now know that your car can be seized for driving without insurance, there are other reasons that your car could be impounded.
The law allows certain specially trained police officers to confiscate vehicles for a number of reasons. These laws have been implemented to help the police that are patrolling our roads to remove vehicles that are being used illegally or in ways that can cause danger to other motorists or pedestrians.
If the driver isn’t properly insured or their license does not permit them to drive the vehicle
If the police have reason to suspect that the driver of a vehicle is not properly insured, Section 165a of the Road Traffic Act 1988 grants them the power to seize the vehicle and have it transported to a secure police compound until the driver can produce sufficient evidence that they are covered. The same section of the Road Traffic Act allows police officers to confiscate vehicles when the driver either does not have a valid license or their license does not permit them to drive that category of vehicle.
With automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) systems fitted in almost every police patrol vehicle, it’s easier than ever for the police to identify drivers that aren’t properly insured. ANPR systems automatically scan the registration plate of the vehicles that come into their vision and compare the details to insurance databases that will notify the officers if there is a potential violation.
Cars can be seized by the police
If the police stop you because your vehicle is flagged by their ANPR system, or even as part of a routine traffic stop, and it becomes clear that you’re not properly insured; your vehicle can be taken from you and be transported to the police compound.
Don’t worry if you don’t have your insurance documents with you when the police stop you, as long as you’re able to provide adequate proof that you are insured the police will be able to confirm the information that you provide to their colleagues. Giving the officer the name of your insurance company and the date on which you arranged the cover is generally enough for them to check that you do have a policy in place.
The same process is carried out by the police if they suspect that you don’t have a driver’s license or if they think that your license has been revoked or does not cover you to drive that particular vehicle class. If your license does not cover you then your vehicle can be seized and impounded on the spot.
The police can seize your car if you are deemed to be driving dangerously are in a careless mannerIf the police stop you because they think that you have been driving in a dangerous or alarming way, they have the power in extreme cases to seize your vehicle and have it towed to be impounded. You will be dealt with normally for your offense, being handed fixed penalty notices or a court summons.
Additionally, you will receive the paperwork concerning the seizure of your vehicle; primarily a vehicle seizure notice and information on what steps you need to take in order to recover your vehicle such as taking out an impounded car insurance policy and providing proof of this to the compound staff.
These powers have been granted to the police under section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002, in attempts to offer a harsher deterrent to dangerous drivers and help to keep the roads safer for other users.
The police can impound vehicles that are parked illegally, dangerously or are suspected to have been abandoned.
Under section 99 of the Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984, some police officers have been granted the power to remove vehicles that are parked illegally or dangerously or that have been abandoned.
It’s important, if your car breaks down, that you do not leave it in a place that can be deemed as causing an obstruction because the police can remove it and have it taken to their compound. This means that you will not only have to fork out for potential repair costs but you will also have to pay compound storage and release fees in order to retrieve it. If your vehicle does breaks down and you have to leave it, it’s vital that you do what you can to make sure it is left in a safe way.
CTEK’s latest high-tech MXS 5.0 Smart Charger ushers in a new generation of fully automatic, microprocessor controlled, multi-functional chargers ideal for high-performance and exotic vehicles.
Today’s luxury and high-performance vehicles, including Supercars and Hypercars – place incredible loads on conventional 12-volt batteries and charging systems.
Less-than-fully-charged batteries can negatively affect complex electronics, including computer systems that control powertrain, suspension, and entertainment and body function management. Start-Stop technology is another drain on charging systems. To alleviate some of these problems, some manufacturers have provided dual battery systems, one dedicated for starting; the other for maintenance while the car is parked.
“The battery in today’s automobile is under enormous stress and the alternator is not capable of fully recharging the battery. As a result, many batteries never achieve their full service life,” said Bobbie DuMelle, executive vice-president, CTEK North America. “The use of a CTEK charger/maintainer, like our new MXS 5.0 with its proprietary eight-step battery care program, can help double or even triple average battery life.”
For a variety of reasons, including packaging, weight distribution and shielding from engine heat, batteries are being located in difficult to service locations. The battery in my Ford GT is buried under a panel in the front ‘trunk” and the one in my Jaguar XKR is mounted behind the back seat, accessible only via a removable panel at the rear of the trunk. Servicing or replacing a battery is an awkward, time-consuming task, and costly if done at a Jaguar dealership!
While the primary problem with a car’s battery is loss of adequate power to start the engine, there are other issues. Running modern HP cars with batteries not fully charged can often translate into the loss of some personal settings for everything from seat position and entertainment to critical engine and suspension tuning. In the case of the 2005-2006 Ford GT, some owners have attributed instrument failures to low-output batteries. It’s not unusual to see threads on Ford GT and Jaguar owner forums related to battery performance, impact on vehicle electronics, and the necessity of using a maintenance charger on cars that are not driven daily.
Since both my Ford GT and Jaguar XKR are not daily drivers and spend a lot of downtime when I’m traveling, I chose the latest CTEK MXS 5.0 charger/maintainer with a proprietary eight-step charging program. It is the first of a new generation of smart chargers, able to sense battery condition throughout the charging cycle and avoid overcharging that can damage cells and shorten battery life. It automatically adjusts the charging rate depending on ambient temperature to ensure ideal charging in extreme cold or hot weather conditions. Since I live in Florida and extreme heat negatively affects a battery as much as extreme cold, the choice was simple!
Award-winning hot rod and Corvette Resto-Mod builder Mike Griffin, top, right, Sarasota, FL, installed the 5.0’s Comfort Connect Eyelet wiring to the remote Positive terminal and a Ground, located behind an easily accessible and vented panel in my Jaguar XKR’s trunk, below. Mike utilizes charger/maintainers on his vintage Corvettes with modern LS powertrains as well as his Porsche 911 GTS.
The Ford GT has a cigarette lighter receptacle, above, that’s “hot” when parked;no special wiring was necessary.
CTEK chargers are packaged with Comfort Connect Eyelet wiring as well as Alligator clamps to cover most vehicle hookups. A Comfort Connect Cig Plug, above, is available for use on cars with cigarette lighter receptacles that are “hot” when the engine is turned off. Additionally, CTEK supports its sophisticated chargers with a system of accessories, all geared to keeping batteries up to optimum performance. There’s a Comfort Indicator Panel that displays battery strength via Red, Yellow and Green lights, allowing you to constantly monitor battery condition and then charge when necessary.
The most unique support accessory is the new CTX BATTERY SENSE, allowing remote tracking of a vehicle’s battery on an Android OS or iPhone iOS smartphone. You can monitor up to three months of stored battery data on your smartphone and you will be notified when the battery’s state of charge falls to a critical level. CTEK BATTERY SENSE syncs battery stats via Bluetooth; free downloads for iPhones are available from the AppStore, https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ctek-battery-sense/id977976405?mt=8
CTEK manufactures the most sophisticated and comprehensive line of battery chargers for on and off-road wheeled and tracked vehicles, including motorcycles and boats. Models range from 0.8-amp, 6-volt to 25-amp 12/16-volt applications. Designed, engineered, developed and manufactured in Sweden since 1997, sleek CTEK chargers boast unique four-to-eight patented microprocessor-controlled charging programs that consistently monitor battery condition and respond. They automatically regulate charge voltage to protect complex vehicle electronics.
Most dealers of luxury and high-performance vehicles, including Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes, Porsche, Rolls-Royce and others, offer customers private label, “brand-logo” chargers that are manufactured by CTEK.
For more information about CTEK’s complete line of on and off-road battery chargers and accessories, please visit http://smartercharger.com/