• Cars Of The FA Cup Stars

    The FA Cup semi-finals 2015 to be played this weekend will by no means be the most thrilling stage of this year’s competition. Current holders Arsenal take on Championship side Reading in the first match (Saturday, 18th April) before Liverpool face a rejuvenated, but still relegation-threatened, Aston Villa in Sunday’s tie.

    The bookies are (naturally) expecting an Arsenal vs Liverpool final, which would fall on May 30th – the birthday of retiring captain Steven Gerrard. However, despite Tim Sherwood’s claims that the FA Cup is “unimportant” compared to top flight survival, he would surely like to crown a first season at Villa Park with silverware.

    The good news is however that the semi-finals will boast a lot of players with excellent taste in cars. For this article, where we examine the supercars of footballing millionaires, we are indebted to Liverpool for knocking out Blackburn Rovers in their 6th round replay; as this article would be somewhat shorter had they progressed instead!

    Arsenal – Ferrari 458

    The Ferrari 458 seems to have become the “team car” of Gunners players, with at least three known to own one including Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere. The 448 Speciale has a top speed of 202 MPH and will achieve 0-60 in 3.0 seconds – enough to even leave the notoriously pacy Walcott gobsmacked!

    What’s more, the 458 is simply a beautiful machine; its bodywork so sculpted and aerodynamically perfect you might worry about being sliced by the car’s wake if it passed too quickly.

    While we can’t understand why seemingly the entire Arsenal 1st team squad would plump for the same supercar, we concede they’ve made a fine choice.

    Gabby Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) – Lamborghini Gallardo

    The 458 may scream style, but the Gallardo puts out an altogether different vibe – raw power. Lamborghini’s best ever selling car will hit 100km/h in 3.6 seconds and look damn fine whilst doing so.

    All footballers everywhere: Range Rover Sport

    Many decry the Range Rover as an obnoxious accessory owned by crass vulgarians. I happen to disagree. For one, what car do you own if you’re excessively rich but incapable of controlling a supercar – step up the Range Rover. Also, you’d feel a lot more comfortable navigating hordes of paparazzi if your vehicle were built like a light battle tank.

    Glen Johnson (Liverpool) – Aston Martin DB9

    The DB9 is understated British excellence wrapped up in a beautifully sleek cocoon. The perfect car then for Liverpool right-back Glen Johnson whose excellent performances for club and country are overlooked more often than not.

    Honourable mention: Mark Wright (Liverpool) – Volkswagen Passat Estate

    The era of “mega money” football may have started with the Sky TV deal in 2002, but don’t let anyone fool you into thinking footballers were poorly off before then. In the early 1990s the Anfield parking ground would fill with Porsches, Mercedes and Land Rovers – with the addition of a particularly ugly estate car.

    Some assumed the beaten up Volkswagen Passat belonged to a cleaner, but it was actually the property of Liverpool defender Mark Wright, who treasured it for years.

    Though envy is a natural reaction to the incredible lives footballers lead, Wright gains a lot of kudos for showing you don’t need to splash the cash to be taken seriously!

    Continue Reading…

  • Adrian Newey and the bar-headed goose

    The April edition of Motorsport Magazine contains a fabulous F1 season preview from Mark Hughes, which includes the news that Adrian Newey has recently been taking a break in the Himalayas.

    Now, whilst it’s likely that the principal purpose of this expedition was to enlighten the Dalai Lama on the importance of using large-eddy simulation to understand the interaction of brake-duct winglets with the spat vortex, it’s also possible that Adrian was drawn by the legendary bi-annual migration of the bar-headed goose.

    These birds are amongst the highest-flying in the world, and travel across the Himalayas in a single day. William Bryant Logan claims in Air: Restless Shaper of the World (2012), that “the bar-headed goose has been recorded at altitudes of over thirty-three thousand feet. This is the altitude where your pilot remarks that the outside temperature is 40 degrees below zero, where the great fast-flowing rivers of the jet streams set weather systems spinning. The air here contains only one-fifth of the oxygen near sea-level, where the goose winters in lowland India wetlands and marshes. Yet in the space of a few hours the bird can fly from the wetlands to the top of the high peaks and then out onto the world’s largest high plateau. There are lower passes through the mountains, but the goose does not take them. It may even preferentially go higher.”
    However, research led by Bangor University tracked the bar-headed geese with GPS as they migrated over the Himalayas, and reached the following conclusion in 2011:

    “Data reveal that they do not normally fly higher than 6,300 m elevation, flying through the Himalayan passes rather than over the peaks of the mountains…It has also been long believed that bar-headed geese use jet stream tail winds to facilitate their flight across the Himalaya. Surprisingly, latest research has shown that despite the prevalence of predictable tail winds that blow up the Himalayas (in the same direction of travel as the geese), bar-headed geese spurn the winds, waiting for them to die down overnight, when they then undertake the greatest rates of climbing flight ever recorded for a bird, and sustain these climbs rates for hours on end.”

    Furthermore, The roller-coaster flight strategy of bar-headed geese conserves energy during Himalayan migration, (Science, 2015), suggests that “geese opt repeatedly to shed hard-won altitude only subsequently to regain height later in the same flight. An example of this tactic can be seen in a 15.2-hour section of a 17-hour flight in which, after an initial climb to 3200 m, the goose followed an undulating profile involving a total ascent of 6340 m with a total descent of 4950 m for a net altitude gain of only 1390 m. Revealingly, calculations show that steadily ascending in a straight line would have increased the journey cost by around 8%. As even horizontal flapping flight is relatively expensive, the increase in energy consumption due to occasional climbs is not as important as the effect of reducing the general costs of flying by seeking higher-density air at lower altitudes.

    “When traversing mountainous areas, a terrain tracking strategy or flying in the cool of the night can reduce the cost of flight in bar-headed geese through exposure to higher air density. Ground-hugging flight may also confer additional advantages including maximizing the potential of any available updrafts of air, reduced exposure to crosswinds and headwinds, greater safety through improved ground visibility, and increased landing opportunities. The atmospheric challenges encountered at the very highest altitudes, coupled with the need for near-maximal physical performance in such conditions, likely explains why bar-headed geese rarely fly close to their altitude ceiling, typically remaining below 6000 m.”


  • Driver core-skin temperature gradients and blackouts

    Whilst it is highly beneficial to reduce the surface-to-bulk temperature gradient of a racing-tyre, the same cannot be said for the cognitive organisms controlling the slip-angles and slip-ratios of those tyres.

    A 2014 paper in the Journal of Thermal Biology, Physiological strain of stock car drivers during competitive racing, revealed that not only does the core body temperature increase during a motor-race, (if we do indeed count a stock-car race as such), but the skin temperature can also rise to such a degree that the core-to-skin temperature delta decreases from ~2 degrees to ~1.3 degrees.

    The authors suggest that a reduced core-to-skin temperature gradient increases the cardiovascular stress “by reducing central blood volume.” Citing a 1972 study of military pilots, they also suggest that when such conditions are combined with G-forces, the grayout (sic) threshold is reduced.
    Intriguingly, in the wake of the Fernando Alonso’s alien abduction incident at Barcelona last week, they also assert that “A consequence of this combination may possibly result in a lower blackout tolerance.”

    Source: mccabism