Archive for September, 2008

The Other Vehicles of the Goodwood Revival

This is interesting. I don’t really know the context here, but apparently there was a parade lap of the Goodwood Circuit last weekend of various period cars and trucks—mostly service vehicles. This is exactly the kind of footage you don’t expect to see, and one of the reasons I find the Goodwood event so compelling. Giving respect to the period, not just the racing cars of the period, is the kind of theatre that makes me keep saying to myself, ‘I’ll have to make it to Goodwood next year’.

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Video Option: Motorsport Hero

Motorsports Hero mounting imageA post on the Make magazine blog this morning regarding using the factory tow-hook mount on modern cars as a camera mounting point led me to this product from GoPro. The Motorsports Hero camera mount package offers options for mounting video cameras in a variety of ways on your car or helmet. I often see cars at the track with cameras mounted to the rollbar, but I know that many monoposto drivers have had trouble coming up with mounting options for their cars. The GoPro site shows cameras mounted on helmets, windscreens, suspension components or bodywork… certainly you’ll be able to find a spot on your racing car.

Video over your shoulder can be a one-step method for improving your track times, especially if your racing group compares videos. You can study the corners you hesitate in, your racing line, and road surface to help your times from day to day, or from race weekend to race weekend.

I think the real possibility for benefit within the historic racing community here is to compile these videos in a central location to help study-up on new tracks, or improve your own times by observing the laps of your fellow drivers in one place you’ve never been able to—the drivers’ seat. So let’s start seeing these videos you’ve been shooting on the web somewhere. Start loading them up, drivers—we want to see them too.

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Seen at Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival: Porsche 910-25

Walking the paddock at any vintage race is half the fun of attending. There are scores of wonderful racing cars and dozens of friendly drivers happy to chat about them. At this year’s Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival, we did even more chatting with drivers than usual, as Paul is on the hunt for a vintage Formula Vee. One car this year, however, stopped me dead in my tracks—along with everyone else that passed—the Porsche 910.

910-25 at rest.

Parked among some of the most arresting cars of the weekend, a Maserati 250 and a Cooper Formula car, it was the only car I can think of that could draw all attention away from these 2 other iconic cars. Immaculately restored in 2001, this car has competed recently in such estimable races at the 24 Hours Lemans Classic and the Monterrey Historics.

But of course the truly remarkable story of this prototype racer begins much earlier than that. The 910 series was originally conceived of as a hillclimb car, but quickly found success as an endurance racer. Think about that for a moment. Hillclimbs are short sprints up a mountainside. One way, one trip. The fact that this hillclimber was readily adaptable to endurance racing speaks volumes about Porsche’s late-60’s engineering. That a car designed for short bursts of speed could also run competitively for 24 hours is simply staggering.

910-25
This example ran the Targa Florio in ’67 (a race won by fellow works drivers Paul Hawkins and Rölf Stommelen in 910-08), and won the 1000km at the Circuit of Mugello with Gerhard Mitter and Udo Schuetz at the wheel. Sadly, 910-25 didn’t complete the Sunday race at Road America, dropping out of competition in the 1st lap. The car was hauled out of the track on a flatbed, but I didn’t see any signs of damage. Does anyone know what happened?

Here’s a photo of 910-25 as she appeared at the ’67 Targa Florio.
910-25 at the Targa Florio

Update:
This article in Washington CEO Magazine shows that the current owner of Porsche 910-25 is AEI Music Founder and Real Estate developer Michael J. Malone. Congratulations, Mr. Malone, on one fine automobile.

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Thanks, Eric.

VSCDA and Monoposto Group driver and very, very dear friend Eric Dean was kind enough to let me take his ’72 Merlyn 20 Formula Ford for a spin at Road America this weekend during the Sunday touring session. Eric has been trying for ages to get me to buy a formula car to run alongside him in the FF or Formula Vee race groups. After this weekend’s run, I’m more tempted than ever to take his advice. Also, as this photo he took shows, It looks like it suits me—don’t you think?

I’ll have more photos and tales from last weekend’s Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival in the next few days. There were some outstanding cars, some excellent drives, and many, many Spotted Cows enjoyed at the Siebkens bar.

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Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival

Don’t feel too bad for me not being able to attend Goodwood this year. I’ll still be eating up some vintage action at Road America for the VSCDA’s Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival. It’s a double treat for me this year since the Austin Healey Sprite is the featured marque. In honor of the Sprite’s 50th anniversary, the race weekend will feature an all Sprite grid. The little Sprites on the monster 4 mile Road America track is sure to be a blast — and hopefully offer some excellent photo opportunities. I’ll be back with a full report and some photos next week. Enjoy the weekend.

Here’s something to tide you over until then; Roy Salvadori debuting and test driving the Sprite around Silverstone in 1958. Narration by John Bolster.

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Goodwood Appetizer: On Board with Moss

As if you needed anything more to get you excited about this weekend’s Goodwood Revival meeting. Here’s some fantastic footage onboard with Sir Stirling Moss as he laps the old Goodwood Circuit..

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Goodwood Revival is Nearly Upon Us

Sadly, I won’t be attending this year’s Goodwood Revival this weekend. But I’m resolved that I absolutely must drag myself across the pond eventually. Part of me is trepidatious about actually going to the event, because I’ve built it up in my head so much. On paper, I love everything about this event; every bit of footage I’ve seen of it shows spectators getting very close to the action, at an intimate venue, in period attire, amidst an almost Disney-esque recreation of postwar buildings. Could anything be more marvelous?
See how much fun these things can be when we all decide to put some effort into it. Not just the cars—which are immaculately prepared. Not just the drivers—which are often pulled from the rosters of the greatest drivers in history. Not just the venue—Lord March is a consummate host. Not even just the spectators—who take cosplay to the best possible conclusion. But the entire package seems absolutely magical. I hope this attention to detail spreads to the States.

Quickly.

To whet your appetite, here’s a lovely video from last year’s event.

Speaking of video, there’s a lovely introduction video on the official Goodwood site. If you make it out to the event, drop tips@thechicaneblog.com a line with any photos or links to video you might shoot.

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Lovely Race Team-inspired bags.

These leather satchels from Caracalla Bagaglio stir the soul. Big enough to carry your helmet and race suit and boots.. or as carry-on luggage for a weekend away, the Commemorative Motorsport collection are handsome and look purposeful. I’ve been seeing these advertised in Octane and elsewhere for quite some time now, but I haven’t been able to put my finger on why I like them so much until recently. Taken as a single piece, they are quite attractive. But in comparison to other racing attire and accessories, they really shine. The vast bulk of racewear is a gaudy mess of logos, bright colors, and other nonsense, with a checkered flag thrown in for good measure. The restraint practiced by Caracalla in designing these bags makes them all the more sophisticated and classic. And desirable. Well done.

It was a difficult task to pick a favorite to show today. The porschefile in me wants to showcase the 550 Spyder inspired #37 commemorating Porsche’s first class win at the 24 Hour of LeMans, but the sheer beauty of this Birdcage Maserati inspired #5 bag won me over. Reliability plagued the team that year at LeMans and the Argentina 1000, but Stirling Moss and Dan Gurney piloted the #5 Birdcage to a win at the Nürburgring 1000km in 1960, despite a broken oil line early in the race. The Maserati repeated the feat the following year. A truly marvelous car, truly marvelous drivers, and a lovely bag.

Take a look at the complete collection. Even better, Caracalla will custom build a bag for you in your race colors with your racing number. Now that’ll look sharp in the pits.

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Breaks your heart, doesn’t it?

$4,200.

Don’t call and yell at poor Sid. It’s not his fault.

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The Automotive Art of Paul Chenard

Paul Chenard dropped me a message the other day pointing me to his wonderful sites. Paul’s illustrations and paintings are marvelous; and I love the variety in his work. Some are remarkably photographic and realistic, but what really struck me are the charming pencil sketches and lively suggestive drawings. The limited edition quartet of Phil Hill in race winning Ferrari’s are absolutely fantastic (one of which is pictured here). All four, and much more, are available at his online shop.

Paul also maintains a blog at automobiliart.blogspot.com where he posts about racing news and showcases his latest work. Check it out.

At the very least, download and build his papercraft Maserati 250F.

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