• The 2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth Now Available

    The 2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth is a new and limited edition model in the Sport Heritage range. It teams the Japanese company with a famous name from the car world. Abarth was originally founded in 1949, and has specialised in small sports cars for 60 years, including being featured as the sportier end of the FIAT brand.

    2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth

    The 2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth

    Abarth already sponsors the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team and supplies a number of specialist vehicles as part of that relationship. So it seems only right that Yamaha honour them by producing a total of 695 bikes with some exclusive lightweight parts.

    Typically for a factory special, the 2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth features the standard 950cc three-cylinder engine with traction control and slipper clutch. But what it does gain is a full lightweight Akrapovic exhaust system with titanium double slip-on silencer. So that will help acceleration a bit, as well as making you sound faster.

    2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth

    Just running in the 2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth

    Also helping you feel faster is a sportier riding position, thanks to swallow ‘clip-on’ style handlebars and the single racing seat. It’s finished with a suede cover and red stitching. And the seat cowl is one of the new lighweight carbon parts which feature the Abarth logo, along with the carbon front mudguard.

    Online order registrations opened on January 17th with the first 95 customers getting an invitation to an exclusive Yamaha VIP Abarth Experience, along with their choice of companion. The events will be confirmed when the new owners finish their purchase, and will take place between May 1st and June 16th 2017 at circuits in Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Austria and the UK.

    Each event includes the chance to test drive a range of Abarth vehicles on the circuit, take a drive with a professional racing driver, and also be given the chance to visit Abarth’s Turin headquarters by prior appointment throughout 2017.

    Once the initial 95 models of the 2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth have gone, the remain 600 are available to order from your local Yamaha dealer from April 2017. And to be fair, you’ll have as much fun on the road or track on the XSR900 as you would in any car.

    Then again, if you do appreciate small, four-wheeled vehicles, then you might like the fact Abarth have also procuded a concept car to match the bike. The 695 Tributo XSR has the same grey and red livery, an extensive array of carbon fibre, and also gets an Akrapovic exhaust system.

    2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth and Car

    It’s just a shame they haven’t produced a matching motorcycle trailer and made it all available as a set!

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  • INDYCAR: SO YOU WANT TO DRIVE THE INDY 500?

    We’ve suspected this for many years and now it’s official. The Indianapolis 500 is no longer a reasonable aspiration for most racing drivers, blogs Stephen Cox.

    Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) president Doug Boles was kind enough to talk with me briefly at the annual PRI trade show in Indy. I asked him what his plan was to increase the number of entries at the Indianapolis 500. His answer took me by surprise.

    “We grew up falling in love with the sport when you had that number of entries,” Boles said. “A lot of those entries were guys who sat around in December and said, ‘You know what? We’re going to build a car in our garage and we’re going to enter it at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500.’”

    “But first and foremost in my mind is just really safety. I don’t think it makes sense for us to get back to fifty or sixty cars just from a safety standpoint,” Boles continued. “I’d love to see fifty or sixty or seventy cars entering and guys just being able to decide that they have a driver who’s running at Putnamville and we’re going to give him a shot to run at the Speedway. I just don’t think it’s practical anymore.”

    Let that statement sink in. American short track drivers – who routinely filled the field until the 1980s – are now considered unsafe and incapable of running the Indy 500.

    Don’t ever go back to the speedway and expect to find the next A. J. Foyt or Parnelli Jones. There won’t be one. Nor will you ever see another Stan Fox or Rich Vogler claw their way up through the ranks and make it to Indy. For that matter, we’re also unlikely to ever see another Rick Mears or Robby Gordon. Those guys got to Indy through off-road desert racing, not Indycar’s current ladder system. They would likely be considered unsafe at the speedway today.

    Boles countered by saying, “We have the best on-track product that we’ve ever had in the history of the speedway with the last five years. The number of lead changes we have, the number of cars in the field that have a chance of winning it.”

    True, recent events have had a certain NASCAR-green-white-checkered-overtime excitement to them. However, this was not achieved by eliminating drivers of sprint cars, off-road trucks, midgets, late-models or amateur sports cars from the speedway. It was achieved – if indeed, this can be called an “achievement” at all – through regulation.

    More teams are in contention because everyone is forced to use the same spec car. The additional lead changes were artificially created through “push to pass” legislation and turbo boost mandates. Using this logic, even better races could be manufactured by enacting a rule disqualifying anyone who leads two consecutive laps, thus assuring 249 lead changes in every 500!

    The bottom line is this – SCCA drivers are welcome to compete at IMS in the Run Offs. SVRA drivers are welcome to Indy’s vintage event. Short track drivers are welcome to buy tickets and sit in Turn Three.

    But the speedway has no intention of enlarging the field past forty cars and creating space that could be filled by new drivers from other disciplines. That is bad news for thousands of very good racing drivers worldwide. And it is even worse news for the Indianapolis 500 itself, whose relevancy continues to fade.

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  • CADILLAC RACING: BACK ON TRACK!

    Cadillac’s all-new Cadillac DPi-V.R racecar will compete in the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series, Prototype (P) class.

    The Cadillac DPi-V.R will first be driven competitively at the 2017 IMSA season opener – the Rolex 24 At Daytona on January 28-29, 2017. Wayne Taylor Racing and Action Express Racing teams will field it. IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the fastest and most technologically advanced sports car racing series in North America.

    “Cadillac is proud to return to the pinnacle of prototype racing in North America after a 14-year absence,” said Johan de Nysschen, president of Cadillac. “Cadillac’s V-Performance production models – the ATS-V and CTS-V – are transforming our brand’s product substance, earning a place among the world’s elite high-performance marques. The Cadillac DPi-V.R further strengthens our V-Performance portfolio, placing Cadillac into the highest series of sports car racing in North America.”

    The DPi-V.R has been designed to contribute to the functional performance of the prototype using elements gleaned from the current lineup of Cadillac V-Performance models, especially the CTS-V. The racecar is equipped with the new Rear Camera Mirror, first seen on the Cadillac CT6 Sedan and available on the 2017 Cadillac CTS, XT5 and Escalade.

    “The DPi-V.R racecar was an exciting new canvas for the Cadillac design and sculpting team,” said Andrew Smith, Global Cadillac Design executive director. “The studio embraced the opportunity to interpret the Cadillac form language, line work and graphic signature for this premier prototype racing application.”

    Design details giving the DPi-V.R car its distinctive Cadillac appearance and presence include the vertical lighting signature; the sheer, sculptural quality of the body and bold bodyside feature line. Plus, V-Performance wheels, Brembo brakes, V-Performance emblems, and a canopy graphic inspired by the Cadillac “daylight opening.” Even subtle cues such as the cooling vents and the air intake were designed in the studio, the latter in the trapezoidal shape of the Cadillac crest.

    A, race-prepped, naturally-aspirated 6.2-liter V-8 that shares architecture with Gen III Cadillac CTS-V (640 horsepower) and Gen V Cadillac Escalade (420 horsepower) engines, powers the DPi-V.R. The engine produces approximately 600 horsepower when tuned for racing as defined by IMSA-mandated air restrictors, with a maximum allowable rpm of 7,600. The engine transfers power to the rear wheels through an X-TRAC paddle-shift transmission.

    Cadillac and its designers collaborated with key partners including chassis builder Dallara, teams from Wayne Taylor Racing and Action Express Racing and ECR Engines to prepare the 6.2-liter V-8-powered Cadillac DPi-V.R over the past year.

     

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  • Symonds: F1 needs independent regulator, teams too involved

    Williams F1 technical boss, Pat Symonds, may not be that jazzed about how Haas F1 has entered Formula 1 as a team but he is also a guy who speaks his mind and while you may not have agreed with his concern over Haas’s constructor model, you may find that you agree with his concern over team involvement in F1 decision making:

    “The way I explained this to some sponsors was that if this was football and you said: ‘Right, we need some new regulations – let’s ask the teams’. If you have a team with a really, really crap goalkeeper and you say ‘how wide should we make the goals?’, they will say, ‘Let’s make them [this narrow].’

    “You’ve got another team with an ace goalkeeper, they’re going to say ‘well let’s make them this wide’. Teams aren’t the people to ask. You ask what Formula 1 should do; well ask Formula 1 what they’re going to do.

    “If we had a solid direction, we, as the teams, would just follow it.”

    The point here is that each team is going to guard its own interests and this leads to gridlock and stalls in making the kinds of changes that most know need to be made. Max Mosley said this many times and with Max and Bernie Ecclestone at the helm, they made decisions regardless of the threat of a manufacturer leaving the sport or not.

    The FIA has seemingly changed under the rule of Jean Todt and his approach toward a democratic model in which everyone is involved and unanimous votes are needed to advance regulation changes is not something Symonds feels is working:

    “There is not a real body that is looking at it, an independent body that is looking at what’s required,” he explained.

    “But we shouldn’t just say that everything is wrong. This process of governance that we’ve had, while I’m saying we shouldn’t involve the teams so much, we have been doing it for, well, most of the time I’ve been involved in Formula 1.

    “It’s not necessarily dreadful. But as the sport becomes more professional, you get more and more polarised opinions.

    “There are some teams that have huge amounts of money, they want rules a certain way. There are other teams that barely exist, they want different rules. The stronger ones win.

    “If you had someone who wasn’t batting for one team, you might get something better.”

    The Motorsort article does point out an interesting thought in which Red Bull’s Christian Horner suggested the sport could use Ross Brawn as an independent to help lead F1 in the direction it should go.

    If you consider some F1 pundits believing that Jean Todt should ultimately focus on what he really wants which is road safety and UN membership, the FIA should hire an F1 czar who runs the sport leaving Todt to the glad-handing he cherishes. Maybe Horner is right, Brawn might be a perfect fit for that.

    Hat Tip: Motorsport

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  • NASCAR Sprint Cup VS Formula One

    Here’s a question for your reader – what’s the best. NASCAR Sprint Cup VS Formula One? It may be something that you’ve debated with your mates down the pub; but have you ever really looked closely at the two to compare them properly? In this article we debate this very question.

    The interesting thing about both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Formula One is that despite their popularity; they both take a fair bit of criticism from people who are not interested. For many people, Formula One is dull, involves little to no overtaking and involves too much money and the same guy wins all the time. On the other hand, NASCAR sucks involves overweight drivers turning left round circular and oval racetracks and features bulky cars made from scrap.

    However, none of the above stops millions of people across America tuning in to NASCAR every year and turning up at the racetracks; and it doesn’t stop the millions of fans around the world enjoying Formula One every year. The more you compare them, the more you find compelling reasons for either to be considered interesting.
    The car involved in Formula One are works of genius concocted in high tech labs, but that doesn’t mean that the cars used NASCAR are any less brilliant. It is just a different type of brilliant. No-one would be able to deny that NASCAR and Formula One cars are as fast as each other, comparatively. The drivers for both sports are very skilled but Formula One drivers have a much higher profile and gambling on Formula One is of course much more popular in the UK with sites such as William Hill Formula One betting

    It really depends on what you want from your racing. If you want blood,guts and everything left on the racetrack; NASCAR would be the best race to follow. Whereas, if you like the larger amount of money that is pumped into the F1 business every year, the bigger budget the teams have to play with and the more intricately difficult circuits, then Formula One is the race for you.

    If you’re a bit of a petrol head then it is less expensive to be a fan of NASCAR as the cars used are easier to replicate with road versions. However, one of the biggest drawbacks of NASCAR is that despite it being as popular in the US as F1, it is only raced in three locations, unlike the 19 countries and four continents of F1.
    Whatever area of either racing style you look at, they both have positives and negatives. Although F1 is meticulous and quick, if a driver does not secure a decent position in the qualifying round it and get away fast enough at the start; they may remain at the back for the whole race. And while no race can really be called from the start in NASCAR, it comes back to the more simplistic tracks. It could also be argued that F1 is more elitist, while NASCAR is not. Though the opposite argument could be given that F1 only features the best of the best.

    What can be learned from looking at these two similarly popular but very different types of racing? Which is better? As boring an answer as this sounds; it really depends on what you like. There is no wrong answer, but if you’re not in the US, it’s much trickier to actually visit a NASCAR racetrack.

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