Sebring 2012: The Sights And Sounds

March 20, 2012

Audi scored a 1-2 victory this past weekend at Sebring International Raceway for the annual ’12 Hours of Sebring’ race. It was not only the 60th anniversary of the event itself, but the final (and fitting) swan song for the Audi R18 TDI.  Tom Kristensen, Dindo Capelloand and Allan McNish completed 301 laps in their Audi R18 to win by four laps in the opening round of the American Le Mans Series.

Presented here are the sights and sounds from this year’s Sebring 12 Hours, starting off with a video that contains no dramatic voice-overs or commentary – just the pure, raw sounds and sights as seen from various trackside points…

The Field - part 1

The Field - part 2

Turn one

-Blake J.


Photo Album: Essential Porsche 917K Wallpapers + Bonus!

January 16, 2012

There are few factory-derived racecars as tauntingly beautiful and purposely outlandish as the legendary Porsche 917K series. There’s just something about its purity of voilent speed and devilishly analogue nature that *pings* directly at the petrolheaded soul and has you searching for a YouTube fix at 2am…

The Porsche 917 was originally designed as a ‘long-tale’ (917LH) but seeing as how this initial version produced rather sketchy handling at high speeds, a shorter-tailed version (the 917K) was developed to cure the high-speed instabilities at the cost of a slightly lower top speed. Based on the Porsche 908, the 917 was conceived in an alarmingly short time of just 10 months (at great expense to Porsche) and made its debut win at the 1970 Le Mans – the first-ever overall win for Porsche. It followed this win up with a 2nd overall Le Mans win in ’71.

Power came from the monstrous Type 912 air-cooled flat-12 engine that ranged in size from 4.5, 4.9 and 5.0 litres producing upwards of 620 bhp. The dash to 60 would arrive in 2.3 seconds and 125 mph would be achived in a barely-believable 5.3 seconds… (!)

In the sorely-missed original Can-Am series (’66-’74) an insane turbocharged version dubbed the Porsche 917/30 produced well over 1,100 bhp and as much as 1,580 bhp when in qualifying tune… again, (!)

As an added little bonus, here we have a chart documenting every single 917 chassis ever made…

-Blake J.

Photo Album: A Pair of Iconic Porsche 917s

December 28, 2011

It’s the usual end-of-year crawl within the motoring industry – not a lot ‘breaking news’ out there per se. Plus, I think it’s safe to say that we’re all running on the exhaust-fumes from the busy Holidays… So then, what better time than now to simply feast your eyes upon these excellent high-res photos capturing two of the most-iconic Porsche race cars of all time – The Gulf and Martini-liveried 917s.


I'd be smiling as well...

This wouldn’t feel complete unless I included a favorite movie-still from Steve McQueen’s ‘Le Mans’ film…

-Blake J.

Onboard Videos: Porsche’s Legendary 917, 936 and 956

November 1, 2011

Riding on the shoulders of yesterday’s Ultimate 911 article, here we present you with a trio of scintilating onboard videos riding along with Porsche Motorsport’s various leviathans from the past.

Porsche 917

First up is the legendary 917/30 that managed to capture Porsche’s first-ever outright wins at Le Mans in 1970 and ’71 (amongst many many other wins). It featured an air-cooled (air-cooled!) Flat-12 engine ranging from 4.5 to 5.0 litres in size that delivered around 620 bhp. Later turbo’d 917 variants saw insane outputs of up to 1100 bhp and tuned to upwards of 1500 bhp in hair-on-fire qualifying-spec. Here we have the affable Derek Bell inviting you onboard for a rather detailed, personal view.

Porsche 936

Another Motorsport legend from the Porsche garages here. With a chassis based on the incredible 917, The 936 featured a (once again air-cooled) 2.2L single turbo-charged Flat-6 that churned out 540 bhp. In the 6 years that Porsche entered the 936 into competitive realms from ’76 – ’81, it came away with 3 outright Le Mans wins (’76, ’77 and ’81). Take an onboard blast around Le Mans in 1977 here with Jurgen Barth behind the wheel of his Martini Racing-sponsored Porsche 936.

Porsche 956

The 956 continued on with the successes trail-blazed by the former 936 and featured the same engine (though enlarged) to a 2.6L turbocharged Flat-6 that mustered up 635 bhp. It too entered Le Mans in 1982 and won the race outright (actually, Porsche placed 1-2-3 that year). Mostly remembered for having set the Nurburgring fastest lap record via Stefan Bellof in qualifying for the 1983 1000 KM of Nurburgring race, his time remains an outright lap-record (6 min 11.13 sec) that stands to this very day.

The speeds (and blurred sights) achieved down the Mulsanne Straight in this video are truly bonkers… There is also an ‘In Car 956’ video/DVD that Duke Video made available a few years back that I would heavily recommend…! I own a copy – it’s amazing..!

-Blake J.

The Many Colours and Liveries of Motorsport – A.I. takes a look

September 16, 2011

From the earliest days of International Motorsport competition, the usage of colours (and numbers) hastily splashed upon fledgling racecars helped develop a mainstay within the various categories of motor-racing that continuously evolved alongside the sport itself. At first, you had the basic red, white, green’s and blue’s… mostly to the benefit of spectators et al who found it diffifcult to keep visual tabs on the dusty, filthy field.

Simple and bold, with the engineering taking main stage

Numbers were great, colours even better. Colours were initially utilized to (albeit, loosely) represent the Country of each manufacturer during major events, but as time wore on these primary colours began to speak, shift, bleed and contort.

James Hunt in his minimally-liveried Hesketh F1

It was in the 60’s where this morphing of colour and style began to interact with the engineering side of things… You starting seeing a design language and purposeful intention within paint, decal and stripe schemes that focused on a more commanding aim within its visual panache – they became intimidating and bold. And sometimes even cool.

Style’s presence in motorsport was co-mingling and developing a relationship with the social side of human nature and people started solidifying an affinity towards a certain manufacturer based on these aspects – I don’t smoke cigarettes, never have… but I’d kill to own an early-70’s period-era Black ‘n Gold JPS jacket or a Green ‘n Gold Lotus sweater from the 60’s… It’s just that simple, basic attraction.

The Porsche 917K 'Pink PIg'... how can you not love it.

As Motorsport grew, so did the costs involved with running (and winning) a successful racing venture. Once sponsorship entered into the realm of Motorsport, the lid basically blew off to the potentials that lay forth… You name it – If a company could see the advertising benefits of a racecar emblazoned with their logos and company-colours, then there wasn’t much to stop them from offering up their wealth of funds to assist a racing tem to (possible) victory.

The mighty Lancia Stratos Rally maniac

Some of these relationships became legendary. Some were a bit silly. Some were classy and subtle (James Hunt/Hesketh). Some were downright baffling and just plain odd (BMW/TicTac). But despite the inevitable pros and cons of this long-standing, bonded marriage within various motorsport realms, one can be sure that outside corporate involvment is here to stay for now.

One for the Man Cave pretty please

Here then, is a selection of the more-notables along with some interesting one-off and downright head-scratchy moments of Motorsport meeting Corporate.


-The Martini & Rossi colours seemed to work on almost any car they were applied to. Their first introduction coming in the shape of of the Porsche 917K that won LeMans in ’71. The colour-schemes evetually made their way into F1, but for me (and many others) their colours came to the fore with the mad Lancia Delta S4 Group B rally car, the Lancia Delta Integrale rally car and the monumentally-winged Porsche 935.


-A relationship that happened almost by mere chance in 1966 after a test-session for the Ford GT40. Gulf Oil execs happened to be in attendance at said test-session and it was from that humble meeting between John Wyer (team boss, Wyer/Ford) and the Vice President of Gulf Oil in Pittsburgh that set about these iconic Orange and light-Blue racers that dominated both on and off the track.

John Player Special

-Imperial Tobacco ushered-in corporate F1 sponsorship as we know it today with Gold Leaf’s Red ‘n Gold colours donning the Lotus 49 of 1968. It was a relationship with Lotus that lasted for several years, bringing about some of the most incredible looking F1 cars (amongst others) the world has ever seen.

BMW 320i spitting flames

Brock Racing Enterprises

-Peter Brock was a multi-talented and stylistically visionary man. He was responsible for the design of the stunning Corvette Stingray split-window during his days at GM, was a noted photographer and journalist and even designed the brutally beautiful Daytona Cobra for Mr. Caroll Shelby. An avid racecar driver as well, he turned his sights in ’66 towards the up-and-coming Japanese entries within the sport. With the formation of BRE though, his cars not only went like heck, but also looked utterly fanatastic. As a youth, it turned my attention towards the gorgeous 240z… Props should also be noted for BRE managing to make a Datsun 510 look sexy.

BRE Datsun 240z.... droool

Alan Mann Racing

-In its brief 6-year stint, the firm managed to annihilate the European and British Touring Car Championships with its Ford-based derivatives. Mann was a Ford Dealer that carried a particular focus on details and presentation and it showed with his arsenal of racecars His Gold on Red colour-scheme forever leaving a mark on the racing scene that still captures the senses to this very day.

Ford Escort

Ford Falcon

Ford/Lotus Cortina

…and some other notable liveries throughout the years that have struck a chord or caused mild confusion.

It was a Jean company... honest

1990 Silk Cut Jaguar - LeMans winner

Yes... Tic Tac

How could they not sponsor a race team...

The classic M-motorsport livery... waaaant

Honda F1 - heal the world

Mazda 787B - The only japanese LeMans winner and quite possibly the most-amazing sounding racecar, ever

Rothmans - another classic livery. So many beautiful racecars were adorned this stylistic theme

Yup. Even Steve Jobs got into the game

Another one of the mighty Stratos, just cuz...

Ohh... and why not another one of Senna in his JPS-liveried monster as well



-Blake J.

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