TopGear.com: How does a race weekend start for you? Charlie Whiting: I get to the track around 7.30am. We have personnel curfews now where the teams have to be out of the paddock for eight hours. I would have loved that back when I was a mechanic… Brabham won the world championship in 1983 with 35 staff in the entire organisation. Now the FIA brings 20 tonnes of equipment to every race, and there are 45 people in attendance, reporting to me. Amazing how it’s grown. An advance party sets up the networks to connect the teams on the pitwall, to send messages to the cars – we can change the read-outs on the dash now – race control monitors, video recording systems, incident review… We do track inspections on Thursday, on foot, and it’s often the little things that can catch you out. Sharp bits on kerbs, for example, or holes in debris fencing that have been cut for cameras or by photographers. Sometimes a track might have a different configuration … [Read more...] about How do you run a Formula One race weekend?
How much photographers make a year
Welcome to the 65th running of Motor Trend‘s Car of the Year award. Our blue sapphire anniversary marks a significant moment in the timeline of automotive history because cars, it seems, are back. This is not our biggest field of competitors, but it’s most certainly our strongest. As you’ll see from our finalists, there were at least seven other cars we took long, hard glances at before awarding the coveted Golden Calipers to the 2014 Cadillac CTS.Why is this year significant? Please turn your mind back to the dark and stormy early days of the Great Recession, mid-2008 or so, right when this year’s crop of contenders was being planned and sketched out. The notion that so very many excellent motor vehicles could exist in 10 years’ time would have seemed like pure fantasy. In just five? An impossibility.Yet here they are. From impressively built economy cars such as the Kia Forte and Mazda3 to swashbuckling sportsters such as the BMW 4 Series and Lexus IS, … [Read more...] about 2014 Motor Trend Car of the Year: Contenders and Finalists
We’ve barely scratched the surface of the Eric Rickman photo files. For this issue, the editor looked at several hundred images Rick shot during calendar year 1958 and selected more than 100 to give you some small idea what this tireless, inventive, always-eager Petersen Publishing Co. (PPC) employee was doing during those 365 days. We don’t think he ever took an actual day off; a vacation for Rick was going on assignment to Florida, or Mexico, or New England to cover a racing event or car show. Flipping through the covers and pages of 1958-1959 issues, we see what we would call the full spectrum of hot rodding: roadsters and coupes, mild-to-wild custom cars, dragsters, modified engines (from Hemis to Offies), the annual Indy-car preview and, yes, a few of Detroit’s latest offerings in stock form. Whereas other years profiled thus far have veered into heavy coverage of multiple offshoots such as drag boats, go-karts, and fiberglass kit cars (with many others to come … [Read more...] about A Year In The Life of Eric Rickman
This week we see a return of the Photomode Tournament – a very popular format from our GT4 days, the Tournament starts this week with a qualification round – any interested entrants send their entry in through a Private Message to Nicknamealguem instead of in a thread, and all the entries are compiled into a poll next week. All forum members are then able to cast their votes on however many shots they think deserve to make it to the knockout portion of the tournament – the top 32 progress to said rounds, battling in head-to-head matches each week. There will be both a PMC division (no editing), and 2.0 (light Photoshop editing), and the winners of both will receive a year’s subscription to our forum’s Premium membership service. Not to mention, there will be in-game prizes for them too, as well as the 2nd and 3rd place users. As an added bonus, the highest-voted images in the qualifier will receive a bonus car from me as well! Coverage of the Tournament … [Read more...] about PMC19: Win a year’s Premium membership!
So I just got back from driving McLaren’s astonishing new 650S in southern Spain, and once I’d filed the first drive for the magazine, then rewritten it for our website, then scripted and storyboarded the video, and then finally put my head on a pillow, I woke up the next day and started wondering – however much does a launch event like that cost? And, more to the point, is it actually worth it as far as the manufacturer is concerned – in this case McLaren, obviously – in terms of the extra publicity it will generate? We’ll come to the second question in a moment, but as for the costs involved they probably go something like this. The launch itself is a full house international jobbie that will be going on for the next month, and the base is the not-especially-cheap Finca Cortesin hotel near Estepona on the Costa Del Sol. A room at the Finca costs anything between £600 and £1500 a night, and each night McLaren will be hosting between 10-20 … [Read more...] about Just how much does it cost to host the launch of a new supercar?
Before you get stuck in, how about catching up on part one? Two weeks ago, with the help of Coventry-based car creation company Envisage Group, we set out to design a car to suit the demands and desires of car users in 2025 to 2030 – both to investigate the future of cars and to understand the sheer complexity of modern-day car creation. Our car would be Volkswagen Golf-sized, battery powered and capable of carrying five occupants in great comfort and potentially up to seven. It would utilise all of the technological developments we and Envisage’s experts could realistically forecast for the next 15 years while also remaining fundamentally practical and affordable. Autocar’s journalists would play the role of client, laying down the concept’s fundamentals. The designers were to be four ex-Coventry University transport design students (now graduates), who have worked at Envisage through the summer under the direction of two well-known Envisage professionals, … [Read more...] about How to make a people’s car from scratch – part two
Nearly everyone has at least one friend who scouts cars online via eBay or Bring a Trailer, or know a guy whose idea of weekend fun is putting Hoosiers on a Buick Roadmaster wagon. They’re the type of car buyers who’d never step into a typical used-car lot, and for them, perhaps a door-to-door website such as Carvana is the ideal solution.Backed by the used-car dealership network DriveTime, Carvana has been quietly selling cars online since January and delivering them to buyers in metropolitan Atlanta. Now, it’s inviting anyone in the country to pick up their purchased cars at a minimally staffed three-bay garage, sort of how you’d pick up a UPS package after not being able to sign for a delivery. People who come from more than 250 miles away even get a $200 travel voucher toward one-way transportation to Atlanta and can be dropped off at the Carvana garage. After a signature, the car is paid for, titled, and registered. If you don’t like your new vehicle, … [Read more...] about Carvana’s ‘Used-Car Vending Machine’ Is a Novel Idea (That Makes Us Nervous)
There is the obscure, and then there is the arcane. When the revival of TVR was announced, with a grand touring car based on Gordon Murray’s iStream manufacturing technology, it is likely that more contemporary car enthusiasts were familiar with Murray than with TVR. Even most car enthusiasts have never heard of the marque. TVR is a specialist British sports-car maker that’s been around since the early 1950s. Over the years they’ve managed to produce a few thousand fiberglass-bodied cars with quirky styling, confusing names, and a passionate following despite repeated bankruptcies and numerous changes of management and ownership. Founder Trevor Wilkinson left the company in the mid 1960s, though the company retained its name, based on the letters of his first name.After a series of specials, TVR’s first production car, the Grantura, was introduced in 1958. It had a tube space frame that surrounded a central backbone. Early Grantura’s used front … [Read more...] about As the Marque is Revived, A Look Back at TVR’s History and Cars
Due to advancements such as air bags, driving is much safer than it was when I first got my driver’s license in the early 1970s. Even then, because of seat belts and crush zones, cars were much safer than they had been in the early automotive age. The first decades of the automobile resulted in chaotic and unsafe driving conditions. Not only were the vehicles themselves dangerous to passengers and pedestrians (three quarters of early motoring related fatalities were pedestrians, often children), in the early days it was a free for all, with the first proposed traffic laws being instituted only after about a decade after the first automobiles. Author Bill Loomis is working on a book on Detroit history and in an extensive article in the Detroit News he discusses just how unsafe driving was a century ago, as well as the role that the Motor City had in making driving safer and less chaotic. Some of those innovations continue to make drivers safe, while others continue … [Read more...] about How Detroit Invented Traffic Cops, Traffic Lights, No Parking Zones & Towing Your Car
Ford Motor Company recently announced that it will be investing more than $4.5 billion over the next five years into its electric vehicle program and that it will have 13 electric vehicles on sale by 2020. The announcement follows the Ford company’s original investment in EV technology and the first Ford electric cars by 102 years.Hopefully, the current spending will yield more fruitful results than did Henry Ford’s original look into EVs more than a century ago.Henry Ford and Thomas Edison became good friends later in life, but before Ford became famous as an automaker, he was an employee of Edison’s. When Ford made his first automobile, the Quadricycle, in 1896, he was then employed as chief operating engineer of Detroit’s Edison Illuminating Company. That same year Ford attended a company banquet in New York City honoring Edison, where it was documented that the two men discussed Ford’s experiments with gasoline powered transportation, … [Read more...] about Ford Motor Co. Invests $4.5B in EVs, a Century After Henry Ford Gave Up On Electric Cars