Driver line-ups confirmed for LMP3 debut

After a slew of promising announcements, LMP3 could be heading for something of a false start when it joins the European Le Mans Series grid next weekend at Silverstone.

The expected entry list is down to at most five cars, with no Greaves, at all this season in fact, no Rollcentre and no Loeb Racing entered. The latter means it will be a Ginetta-Nissan-only grid. This a car that only hit a racetrack a few weeks ago.

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Sir Bradley

I haven’t always been Bradley Johnson’s biggest fan. I’ve been labeled various things for airing these views here and other places. I may have said something about him not being able to pass a few yards, which is where he built his so-called engine by having to constant chase after his errant passes.

But I seem to have been wrong. Dead wrong. Continue reading

Colour me interesting

An interesting point was made recently on that there Twitter, brought about mainly by these excellent renders of the bonkers Nismo LMP1. Why do we yearn for a return of classic liveries, and seem so reluctant to accept modern ones?

The answer comes from someone being uncharacteristically succinct. Ron Dennis, who says title sponsors are a thing of the past. Bringing us back around to the point: they have taken the liveries with them.
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LMP3 – The whos and the what

It has gone under the radar a bit, but LMP3 has enjoyed a promising start. It seems to have landed exactly where it needed to and landed exactly the sort of drivers and teams. The prize hasn’t just been found down the back of the sofa, either, it’s an LMP2 entry for 2016.

1407338709Ginetta-Juno LMP3 Render 1The division should fill the void between LMP2 and the relatively inexpensive CN prototype championships such as VdeV and the now-absorbed-by-Supercar Challenge SPEED EuroSeries, and single-make championships like the Radical Euro Masters. They look like P2s with the closed cockpit and offer a heck of a lot of car for the money. Spare a thought for Radical, who were left out in the cold by the carbon tub requirement, rendering the spaceframe-chassised RXC coupe and SR8s ineligible for the new series in one fell swoop. Continue reading

Spotify – A Swift retort

Well this has been a while.

Anyway.

Be it tapes, CDs, MiniDiscs, guitars, amps, gigs, festivals, and for the past eight years or so, vinyl; I’ve spent more money on music than I care to remember, or could probably afford to. I also spend £9.99 each month on my Spotify subscription. Barring a handful of ill-judged albums sitting in my CD towers, I’m not ashamed of any of it, no matter what Taylor Swift says.

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Malaysian Mysteries

Malaysia is rightly regarded as the best of new ones by most. It has the lot: unpredictable weather, difficult conditions, fast flowing corners, slow wait-for-its and a slipstream-able straight or two. Sure, Austin could well be a pretender for its crown but unseating Malaysia after one success is no fairer than dismissing another for one two hour-long procession.

This weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix looks set to be no different with the weather predictably apocalyptic with a chance of sunshine. McLaren will – and are – limbering up for a raindance to hide their deficiencies, such was their relative anonymity in Australia. “Two lines of updates” are in tow, but the weather will be their biggest saviour, Fernando’s victory last year is testament to that.

The weather in Melbourne has left Malaysia as something of a second start (a first start for Hulk) as there was little chance of learning from Melbourne due to the lack of consistent running. But some things appeared to rise up.

Sutil looks to be without rust. He looked after his tyres with good pace, though he was saved by the PR team from being overtaken by Di Resta. A good showing nonetheless, and vindicating the team’s decision to haul him back. Red Bull have a few questions to answer, and possibly to ask of McLaren. Their pace wasn’t good enough, Lotus and Ferrari had them pegged and could even have leapfrogged Vettel with Massa too. They appear to have swapped tyre management abilities with Mercedes and the heat of Malaysia may make for a difficult weekend for Horner’s lot. But, Sutil spitting dirty air onto Vettel lap after lap may have made the situation appear worse than it really was.

Mercedes ultimately were disappointing. They had good pace, and could have capitalised on Red Bull’s tyre problems. Hamilton had tyre issues during the middle phase of the race and dropped off, but Malaysia’s long straights may send them to the top step again.

Williams were a surprise. And as soon as Maldonado fell out in the first round of qualifying he was unlikely to finish the race. The heated interview brandishing the car “undriveable” made that DNF odds on. He’s since calmed and climbed down attributing Melbourne to set-up, but we’ll wait and see which Maldonado was in fact right.

F1 2013 in five

It’s finally back. So here’s what will (probably. Might not.) happen over the next eight months or so.

Alonso will be everyone’s tip for the title.

He’s mine. He’s probably yours too. After doing what he did in that Ferrari, it’s hard to look past the man. He seems to have been given a car that is on the pace at the very least, if not more, so he is hard to look past. Vettel to win four? Just doesn’t sound possible. Continue reading

Renault looking to keep Le Mans in France?

Renault COO Carlos Tavares has reportedly complained that they haven’t received the credit they deserve for “beating the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes”, but it might all be nothing more than a preamble to tomorrow’s supposed announcement.

He does have a point, regardless of any skepticism. The only time Renault was mentioned last year was amid the alternator reliability problems that cost Sebastien Vettel comfort in claiming his hat-trick, and if ‘Nando had nicked it they would have had many fingers pointed their way. In fact they already were in the crosshairs of presumptuous, and ultimately wrong, fingers. Continue reading

Everyone’s a winner

Norwich-based racer Josh Rayman has found a positive in the economic strife engulfing motorsport currently which is also helping him get in shape for the season ahead.

With sponsors hard to come by – even in the top echelons of motorsport – Josh has turned to filling some of the space on the shell of his Ramotak Racing MSA Superkart entry with the stickers of the British Tinnitus Association. And to kick off the season Josh is running a half marathon based around Silverstone circuit to raise money for the charity on March 3rd.

“I’ve suffered from mild tinnitus for about five years, so I felt it was an appropriate cause to raise awareness about. When I decided to run the half marathon at Silverstone, it made sense to raise money for the BTA.” explained Josh.

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Lowe! Mclaren to Mercedes

Presumably tired of all this reading-too-much-into-testing lark, Mercedes are back in the news. Paddy Lowe has signed for Mercedes from McLaren. Not expected to, not rumoured to, has signed for 2014.

As a result, he won’t be with McLaren in Australia come March, or any other race in 2013. Although the car sat on the grid next month will be an entirely different beast to that of 2014, Lowe being around the factory unpacking his desk while work on two cars is in full flow isn’t a great idea. Gardening leave it is. And struck off the Christmas card list. The internal politics at Mercedes will not be eased by Lowe’s arrival, and confusion as to who is in fact doing what will continue to reign. Continue reading