Tag Archives: WTCC

Formula One: Goodwood – The Glastonbury of Motorsport

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Those who know me know of my obsession with motorsport and my love for Glastonbury. In 2016 for one reason and another it has not been possible for my family and I to head to Worthy Farm, so for the first time in a long time I found myself free over the last weekend in June. That was until I saw an email come through with the subject line: Invitation to the Goodwood Festival of Speed!

I was invited to Goodwood by my friends at Shell & BMW. Shell are the fuels and lubricants partner of the festival, BMW this year take centre stage (quite literally! As you will see in the above image of the huge sculpture presented by BMW featuring iconic cars through the ages of the brand) at the festival, celebrating their 100th year of operation.

To do the event justice I would say you say need to give yourself at least two days, there really is something for everyone. I would break down the Festival of Speed in the same way I think of Glastonbury. The Hillclimb which runs through the centre of the grounds is like the Pyramid stage, the key feature, a must see element of the day will run up the hill and you could easily spend a day solely focus on the hill climb and go home satisfied. Adjacent to the hill climb are the manufacturers stands, similar to those you might expect to see at an indoor motor show but turned up to 11. Each stand is trying to out do the other, and the only real winners are the fans. Honda turned up this year with a life size recreation of the iconic Fisher Price garage that many of us born in the 70s, 80s or 90s may have played with us as children. Heading away from here you begin to unearth some of the other manufacturers at the event, supercars you thought you had discovered that it turns out everyone is excited to see, then stumbling on a gem like the FIA stand where you could see, touch and experience the 2017 F1 designed halo system. Everyone involved with the automotive industry it seems, has a presence of some sort at the festival.

Heading over to the other opposite side of the festival you have the excellent collection of classic BMW’s through the ages, and Goodwood house itself. Spending time here felt as exclusive as the moment you stumble upon the Eavis family farm whilst touring the Glastonbury site. Getting to the nitty gritty of the festival you see the temporary garages of every car taking part in the Hillclimb, every car you can imagine is represented, it’s almost too much to take in.  Short of time I made my way to the Toyota LMP1 area, to give homage to the rightful winner of the 2016 running of the Le Mans 24hr, and check out some of the iconic touring cars of my childhood. With more than 140,000 in attendance over 3 days one thing the festival is not, is quiet. The crowds can be substantial but never overbearing, you find yourself with groups of like minded people respectful of the environment they are in and the machinery they are bearing witness to. There must be 100’s of millions of pounds’ worth of cars on display over the weekend, and yet rarely do you find an owner unwilling to let you get up close and personal with the car of your dreams. There is a sense of openness and sharing to the event; a true appreciation of motorsports.

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Returning to my hosts, to celebrate the Shell BMW partnership and 100 years of BMW we were tasked to complete a set number of challenges within 100 minutes. Progress against these challenges was to be reported on Twitter. The challenges included speaking to Shell technicians around the virtues of using Shell V-Power Nitro+, something which despite my initial reservations a number of months I fully subscribed too, not only in terms of performance improvement, but in vehicle maintenance. Checking out the Shell Eco-marathon cars, challenging yourself to drive in the most efficient way possible, which at Festival of Speed did feel a little counter intuitive, engage my followers on Twitter in competitions to win Shell V-Power vouchers, through questions on BMW’s successes in Motorsport, I should say at this point; congratulations to those submitting correct answers to the challenges, I’ll be in touch soon to arrange your prizes! Finally heading over to the BMW stands (of which there were at least five!) to reward a random member of public with a £30 Shell V-Power fuel voucher and a very cool BMW cap.

Following the challenges, our attentions were turned to a somewhat exclusive experience. Under the mindful eye of driver instructors from Palmer Motorsport, we were given the opportunity to try out the very latest BMW M models and be taken for a lap around the Goodwood circuit with Eric van de Poele. I took the opportunity to try out the BMW i8 and M4. The i8 is a car I have adored since concept, but until today never even sat in. The experience did not disappoint; the car is nothing short of spectacular. The acceleration is incredible and vehicle dynamics similar to those I have experienced in other performance cars. Stepping into the M4 was something else entirely, having turned a few laps in the i8 my confidence possibly exceeding skill I set off on my first lap. A BMW driver myself, the car felt instantly familiar. I felt I could push much harder than in the i8. Attempting the Ford Water corner flat out on my first lap was in retrospect a little too ambitious though, with the instructor calmly informing me on the cool down lap the only thing saving us from a rather expensive moment was the active traction control. The car is nothing short of a beast.

As if all this hadn’t been enough, we were then taken back to the festival to interview an idol of mine, Alex Zanardi, if you’ve read my review of No Limits you’ll know what a big deal this was for me! The interview taught me a few things, the first of which being I desperately need to go on a media training course! Zanardi plans to return to the Paralympics in Rio this year, taking part in 3 separate events, determined to secure Gold in each. His motorsport ambition too, remains undiminished. He plans to head back to the Spa 24hr in 2017 regarding the race very much as unfinished business.

So what makes Goodwood the Glastonbury of Motorsport? Is it the; mud? 😉 the sheer magnitude of things to see, do, touch, and feel? The atmosphere? Or the people? The answer is simple. Its all of it! I’m not sure what I expected from the Festival but I know I will be back!

You can see highlights from the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed here.

Follow Shell UK here and BMW UK here.

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Formula One: Doping in Motorsport

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The IAAF, International Association of Athletics Federation, has come under intense scrutiny in recent months for the way in which it chooses to respond to a growing number of reports of failed doping tests for competitive athletes.

Motorsport until now has seen very few incidents in which competitors have been found to have fallen foul of the rulebook. It was with interest then to discover in the FIA AUTO publication that of doping tests carried out amongst competitors in 2014, 3.6% delivered a positive result. The article does not detail the total number of tests carried out, or the series in which the tests took place, but 3.6% is an alarmingly high number.

The FIA is a signatory to the World Anti-Doping Code, and so is bound by the List of Prohibited Substances and Methods (found here) this is the same code to which the IAAF is a signatory.

The FIA are tackling the issue head with the introduction of the ‘Race True – Anti Doping Educations Programme’ led by Sandra Silveira-Camargo, FIA head of Medical Affairs. The first session of this sort took place at the Belgian round of the World Endurance Championship. Should the training prove successful it will be repeated through F1, WRC, WRX, WTCC, F3, and Formula E.

Whilst no details of what constituents a positive result in a doping test have been revealed, nor the names of any participants involved. The 2014 results show that the issue of doping in motorsport does exist and it can not be ignored.

The FIA Auto Magazine from which this information was sourced can be found here

 

Formula One: Too much of a good thing?

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The 2016 Motorsport Season kicks in to high gear this weekend with over 20  premier races taking place from locations all around the world.  As qualifying for second round of the Formula One Championship is taking place in Bahrain, the Long Beach round of Formula E will be getting under-way. This coupled with the opening rounds of the World Touring Car championship coming from Paul Ricard, the British Touring car championship from Brands Hatch. The second round of the Indycar championship, not mentioning the V8SC racing from Australia, Moto GP,2, &3 races and the World Super Bikes How can a be expected to keep up?!

With so many races taking place over a single weekend it will be almost impossible to keep track of the scheduling and results let alone any form of clear narrative from each event. On the scheduling front MsportXtra does an amazing job of keeping the motorsport super fan up to speed on what we should we watching next.  Although looking at that daunting  Sunday schedule I’m not sure there is much allowance for sleep!

 

 

For fans to commit to a series they need to feel a pull, a storyline, a driver or team to attach themselves too. Sure each series has its own unique pull, In the World Touring Cars people are curious to see if the returning Volvo can threaten the overly dominant Citroen as they enter their final year as a works team. In the British Touring Cars, will Team BMR and their new Subaru partnership we able to win from the work go? Coming from Phoenix, is it really safe for Indycar to return to the short oval? Will the winglets in MotoGP continue to create overtaking issues for riders? And in Formula E, can anyone challenge the dominance of Renault? So with all this going on how to you decide what to watch?

Do you commit to certain racing series now and stick with them for the season? If so which? Perhaps more fundamentally, has this wealth of racing categories forced organisers to look at racing as you would entertainment, focusing on the show rather than the sport?

Over the close season fans are desperate for track action, now we are left questioning how on earth can we find time to fit it all in? With Social Media, the water cooler of motorsport, it has become nigh on impossible to avoid results. So, similar to every other motorsport obsessive, I find myself hoping for a rainy day at home on Sunday, so I can sit back in my armchair, watch everything I can, then spend the next five days trying to make sense of it all!

WTCC: Volvo announces multi-year FIA WTCC programme with Polestar Cyan Racing

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Polestar Cyan Racing will enter the FIA World Touring Car Championship in 2016 with two Volvo S60 Polestar race cars as start of a multi-year programme.

”We have chosen the FIA WTCC as our global motorsport platform as it combines the cutting edge technology of our Volvo cars with exciting racing all over the world. The championship enables us to further develop our technology and utilise development from the racing circuits directly to our products for performance oriented Volvo customers,” said Niels Möller, COO of Polestar, the Volvo Cars Performance Brand.

The announcement comes on the day 30 years after Volvo Cars claimed the 1985 European Touring Car Championship title with the iconic Volvo 240 Turbo. Fast-forward to 2016 and Polestar Cyan Racing will carry the legacy to a new challenge, by taking on the world title with the brand new Volvo S60 Polestar TC1 race car.

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”This is a great day for all of us at Polestar Cyan Racing to announce our assault on the FIA World Touring Car Championship, a programme that boils down to one thing; to bring the world title to Sweden,” said Alexander Murdzevski Schedvin, Head of Motorsport at Polestar.

Cyan Racing is the official motorsport partner to Polestar, the Volvo Cars Performance Brand, a cooperation started in 1996 with six STCC driver titles and seven team titles under its belt, most recently securing a double 2015 STCC title for the third year in succession.

Following an evaluation season in the 2011 WTCC and two seasons in the Australian V8 Supercars, 2016 marks the start of the Polestar Cyan Racing’s first multi-year programme in a world championship.

”We have got respect for the task ahead of us that we take on with absolute commitment. This is a long-term effort and we have got an extensive testing programme during the winter that will continue alongside our first WTCC season in 2016 that is all about learning,” said Christian Dahl, CEO of Cyan Racing.

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The 240 Turbo dominated the racing circuits in Australia, Finland, Germany, Portugal, New Zealand and Sweden during the mid-eighties. Volvo had proved the strength of their concept with a downsized four-cylinder turbo charged engine against the might of the likes of BMW, Rover and Jaguar, all using six, eight and 12-cylinder engines.

The all-new Volvo S60 Polestar TC1 race car carries the legacy of the 240 Turbo, featuring a newly developed 4-cylinder turbo engine of 400 horsepower, based on the cutting edge technology of the new Drive-E Volvo engine family.

”To use the Volvo engine as base and not go for the available generic WTCC race engine for our car was a no-brainer. Volvo engines are suitable for racing purposes in terms of power, technology and durability, as we have proven previously in the STCC, V8 Supercars and WTCC. The Drive-E engine is a perfect example with its low friction technology and exotic materials. We have been able to utilise a lot of development work from earlier racing programmes as well as road car development and we are keen to get going against the best in the 2016 WTCC,” said Mattias Evensson, head of engine development at Cyan Racing.

Reigning STCC champion Thed Björk, three-time STCC champion Fredrik Ekblom and multiple STCC race winner Robert Dahlgren are part of the development work of the WTCC programme.

Further information on the 2016 WTCC Polestar Cyan Racing programme, including driver line-up, will be revealed in due course.

Opinion : Volvo entering the WTCC is a great sign not only for the series but for motorsport in general, after a lull in interest due to global economic uncertainty manufacturers are coming back to motorsport. Volvo choosing the WTCC to showcase their increased commitment to motorsport is an interesting one, the series has been historically dominated by one manufacturer, the current being Citroen. To succeed Volvo will have to make significant investment into the program. From a personal perspective Volvo’s historical involvement in motorsport, specifically the BTCC with the 850 had a huge influence the cars I have chosen to drive having owned a V40, V50, & V60 I can say with confidence their presence in touring cars has been successful marketing tool for me! I wish the team all the best in the 2016 campagin and beyond