Damien Smith Editor

Author

admin

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

Current page

171

Current page

172

next year, what happens in 2014 is the hot topic in motor sport circles right now. Major new regulations are due the season after next that will

change the shape of Grand Prix and sports car racing. But in both worlds there remain question marks over exactly what this new landscape will look like. In Formula 1, the FIA is pressing ahead with

its plan to introduce 1.61itre V6 turbos, though Berme Ecclestone appears determined to torpedo the new regs in favour of sticking with the current 2.4-litre V8s. The tensions between Ecclestone and FIA president Jean Todt haven’t yet boiled over publicly, but make no mistake: fuel efficiency, the development of energy recovery systems and engine regulations better suited to the specific technical and marketing needs of the world’s car manufacturers are a clear priority for one party, and emphatically not for the other. In this issue, Adrian Newey reflects on 20 years

of Fl evolution and appears resigned to evertightening rules that strangle expressive and original design. As he admits, the layout of the modern Fl car is more or less dictated by the constrictive regulations, and that won’t change in 2014 whatever the engines. Perhaps he should switch to designing sports cars instead.

That’s because in this area the FIA, in partnership with Le Mans governing body the AGO, is adopting a philosophy that harks back to the Group C days. Instead of tightening restrictions on engine sizes and capacities, sports car design will be dictated solely by how much fuel is consumed. This offers car makers the freedom of choice: petrol or diesel, hybrid or any future technologies such as electric, fuel cells or hydrogen, all are permissible — at whatever engine size they choose. For each concept, a fuel allocation will be set and it’ll be up to the engineers and designers to make the most of how much they have to work with.

At the FIA World Endurance Championship round at Fuji Speedway, AGO sports director Vincent Beaumesnil put it this way: “Whether they choose a V16 with a 10-litre capacity or a moped engine, it’ll be down to how the manufacturers use the fuel they are given.” Hell, prototypes could even run with 1.6-litre V6 turbos…

The new direction was set out back in June at Le Mans, and at Fuji the FIA and the AGO offered more detail as the rules are honed.

The biggest potential stumbling block is how the fuel usage is measured. Two mandatory fuel flow systems are being investigated, and the whole philosophy behind these rules hangs on finding which solution can be the most accurate and reliable. In sports cars, Newey would still find restricted chassis dimensions — the prototypes will be narrower and open LMP1 cars will be banned in the name of safety — but the design packaging choices offered by the various power concepts and subsequent engine sizes should allow genuine

freedom of creativity.

Sports car racing remains the only true open formula in international motor sport.

At Fuji, there was also good news for GT manufacturers. The FIA and AGO will invite them to form a ‘working group’ to create a single, global GT formula. They want the performance levels of the current GTE cars matched to the affordability of the burgeoning GT3 category that is attracting huge grids featuring all the major car manufacturers. As you will read in this issue, Bentley is the latest to join them. So why don’t they just adopt GT3? Well, there isn’t a rulebook to work from, and the FIA and AGO demand one for Le Mans and its World Championship. Cars of all shapes and sizes are eligible for GT3, and their performance is then balanced to ensure all can be competitive — exactly what has attracted Bentley. It works to an extent, but it’s a contrived and ultimately unsatisfactory way to go motor racing. ED

No timescale has been set for this new GT rulebook. A consensus within this large working group will surely be hard to find, while car manufacturers may need some convincing to fund, build and market all-new cars. The process will take years. But like the new prototype philosophy, it’s an ambitious, idealistic step in the right direction. I n an email exchange before I headed out to Fuji, Vic Elford told me my trip would not be complete without exploring the old Turn 1 banking if it was still there. “At the end of the long pit straight, there is now a right-hand hairpin followed by the rest of the circuit,” he wrote. “When I raced there for Toyota in 1969, that

right-hand bend was not there.., we went flat out straight over the top of a blind crest and then dropped into a steeply banked curve.”

Inspired by his vivid memories of the circuit that sits in the foothills of the magnificent Mount Fuji, I went exploring. And there, beyond the modern hairpin and the perimeter road that bends round it, lay a couple of hundred yards of the most fearsome-looking banking I’d ever seen. Thankfully, it was preserved during the Tilke rebuild and stands as a monument to the original Fuji Speedway. When the track was constructed in the early 1960s, it was intended to be a full-blown oval, but financial constraints forced a change of plan. The resulting road course, featuring a mile-long straight, that terrifying banked

corner and a flowing section of infield bends, was spectacular but lethal.

In 1969 Elford spent a couple of months at the track developing the potent Toyota 5-litre Can-Am car, then raced it in the sports car Grand Prix. One can only imagine how it must have felt to come tonking down that long straight, then diving blind down a drop of what must be at least 30 feet on to steep 30-degree banking with barely a lift. Elford was famous for his bravery. Here, he needed to be. The banking claimed its fair share of victims and was finally closed in 1974. The ‘new’ Fuji was, of course, the scene of the infamous Hunt vs Lauda climax in ’76 and the tragic ’77 Grand Prix in which a marshal and a photographer were killed when Gilles Villeneuve’s Ferrari vaulted the catch fencing. The modern Tilke circuit, which hosted the Japanese

GP in ’07 and ’08, has lost some of its charm thanks to the inevitably vast runoffs and a fiddly final third of the lap, which isn’t a patch on the old and very long swooping final curve. But it still offers a challenge to drivers, and set against such a picturesque backdrop, the , track offers magnificent views for spectators. I loved it. ‘1 Fuji is a wonderful addition to the modern FIA World Endurance Championship. But that little stretch of

forlorn banking, so easily missed if you don’t know it’s there, offers a startling perspective on how sanitised the modern sport has become. he news that Lola Cars International has ceased trading has cast a significant shadow this month. It was hardly a surprise,

in the wake of the company falling into the hands of administrators back in May. But as the skeleton workforce packed up and left, we ponder whether this is finally the end for the last of the grand old British racing car constructors. Martin Birrane has given his all, but in the absence of a buyer to take it as a going concern, the assets will now be sold. What a huge loss for the whole motor racing world.

Related articles

Related products