Saturday, December 24, 2011

An American President's Christmas Message From America To All



An American President's Christmas Message From America To All

It may amaze one to ponder that only 30 years ago (December 23, 1981), a President of the United States felt it was his leadership duty to speak directly about the reason for the season and assure all, whether they believed in Christianity or not, that our country and its citizens were protected here as one, under "Faith and Freedom" ... regardless of belief or circumstance.

May God bless the memory of Ronald Reagan. A message as poignant and timeless in 1981 as it is here in 2011.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"Senna" Bestowed MPG's Best Of The Year Dean Batchelor Award

John Bisignano, former ESPN motorsport journalist during Senna's timeframe, accepts the Dean Batchelor Award on behalf of Asif Kapadia and Manish Pandey for the documentary, "Senna". Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2011)


"Senna" Bestowed MPG's Best Of The Year Dean Batchelor Award

"Senna" ... the critically acclaimed documentary about the racing spirit and history of F1 driver Ayrton Senna just won the overall "Best Of The Year" Dean Batchelor Award - Excellence in Automotive Journalism for 2011!

Established by the Motor Press Guild in 1995, the Dean Batchelor Award recognizes excellence in automotive journalism as exemplified by the man it is named after – Dean Batchelor.

The Award singles out individuals demonstrating outstanding achievement in the profession of automotive journalism. Each year MPG presents the Dean Batchelor Award to the journalist judged to have produced the single piece of work which best represents the professional standards and excellence demanded by Dean Batchelor during his life as an editor, writer, and chronicler of the automotive industry.

The product of years of archival research, "Senna" traces the life and career of Brazilian racer and three-time Formula One champion Ayrton Senna, and his death at Tamburello corner while leading the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix in Italy. The film was released overseas in 2010 and made its U.S. debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2011, where it won the Audience Award. It has also taken awards at the Los Angeles Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, and the Adelaide Film Festival, and won the Motor Press Guild’s Best Audio/Visual Award for the Sept. 2010 to Sept. 2011 qualifying period before being bestowed the 2011 honoree as best out of four Dean Batchelor category award winners.

Catagory winners as follows (honored December 13, 2011):


Best Audio Visual: Senna, by Asif Kapadia and Manish Pandey

Image Credit: Working Title


Best Book: "Elva, The Cars, The People, The History" by Janos Wimpffen

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2011)


Best Article: "Questor Grand Prix" by Tom Stahler

Image Credit: VINTAGE MOTORSPORT


Best Photography: "Everybody's a Photographer" by Reinhard Klein

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2011)


Basically, the highest award gearheads could bestow on a work of art and/or communication dedicated to motor culture in these four categories.

All hail "Best Of The Year" Dean Batchelor Award - Excellence in Automotive Journalism for 2011 to the documentary movie ... "Senna"!

... notes from The EDJE


<Article first published as "Senna" Bestowed MPG's Best Of The Year Dean Batchelor Award on Technorati>

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kimi Raikkonen Joins Lotus Renault GP for 2012 F1 Season

Image Credit: lotuscars.com

Kimi Raikkonen Joins Lotus Renault GP for 2012 F1 Season

Last year, Kimi Raikkonen came across the pond to keep his skills fresh by driving a NASCAR truck in the Camping World Truck Series. Further, Kyle Busch Motorsports built a car that former Formula One champion Kimi Raikkonen used to make his debut in NASCAR's Nationwide Series. That one-time entry proved to be a springboard toward a full-time effort on the circuit that Busch's organization will undertake next year ... but this effort will be without the services of Kimi.

Kimi has decided to campaign the Green and Yellow of Lotus Renault GP for the 2012 season and the ambassador of Group Lotus, Jean Alesi, couldn't be more pleased as expressed in this Lotus interview release.

Jean, are you excited about the news that Kimi Raikkonen is returning to F1 next year with Lotus Renault GP?

It’s fantastic news. Kimi has more natural speed than just about anyone who has ever raced a Grand Prix car, and if he’s coming back it’s because he wants to do it, he misses F1, and he believes he can do well. He has had a short break, which was a little bit forced by Ferrari. I think he was fed up with the system and wanted to take time out, which I can totally understand. But now he’s coming back, with Lotus, so it’s really exciting.

Kimi’s speed was never in question, but there were concerns he failed to develop the car as Michael Schumacher had done before him. Is that a concern for you now?

Michael was brilliant at that, but it isn’t working for him now at Mercedes and I think this is a reflection of how F1 has developed in recent years and re-prioritized. Now you just need to focus on having a quick driver, someone who does the job. The great thing with Kimi is he extracts the maximum from a quick car. When the car was good at McLaren and Ferrari he was always winning. LRGP will expect him to extract the maximum from the Lotus as well.

It’s sure to fire up the workforce at Enstone, isn’t it, having a world champion in the car?
F1 teams need a driver who will consistently set lap times that are 100 percent on the edge. That is what a driver of Kimi’s caliber can do, to dance on the edge and never fall off. From that, the engineers get a baseline. They understand the true speed of their car and can make changes accordingly. It eradicates any doubt. I expect Kimi will be a very valuable tool indeed. But I don’t expect a lot of talking outside the car! I’m sure he hasn’t changed a bit.

Let’s talk about the Sao Paulo race. Bruno Senna was given a drive-thru penalty after he came together with Michael Schumacher. Did you think that was unfair?

Definitely, yes. It was a 50/50 accident, so why penalize one of them? Both cars were compromised – Bruno with a broken front wing and Michael with a rear puncture. To then penalize one of the drivers in this situation kills the spirit of racing. The stewards should have let it go.

Vitaly Petrov started the year on a high with his podium in Australia and finished the season tenth in the Drivers’ World Championship. How well do you think he did?
He’s been very competitive when the car is quick, and it’s been more difficult for him in the second half of the season. He did a fantastic first grand prix but he seems to suffer more when the car is not perfect.

Lotus Renault GP started the year on the podium but struggled towards the end. Did the designers take a few wrong turns?

The R31 was extremely aggressive in terms of design. At the start of the season, Red Bull’s designer Adrian Newey said that the most creative car out there was the Lotus Renault GP. When the best designer in the world says that, it means a lot, and at the start of the year LRGP were brilliant. Then the exhaust-blowing rules changed, and that hurt the team a lot. We were penalized more heavily than any other team. To finish fifth in the championship is superb.

How did you rate the F1 World Championship 2011 generally?

Even though Red Bull Racing was dominant throughout, I thought it was a very interesting season and I enjoyed the races very much. Out of those 19 races, only three or four were a bit boring; I was on the edge of my seat for the rest. We’ve seen lots of overtaking, lots of incidents, and there was tough competition out there, particularly between McLaren and Ferrari. Lotus Renault GP were very competitive at the start of the season as well, so overall I really enjoyed it.

Which race stood out for you?
My shoes are still drying after the Canadian Grand Prix, so that was memorable not least for the incredible race we saw. I could have done without the two-hour red flag delay in the middle, but that race was really exciting and it’s always great to see a change of the lead on the last lap.
Sebastian Vettel was the class of the field, but who would you nominate as your Man Of The Year?

Apart from Vettel, who did an unbelievable job, the award should go to Jenson Button. I was not surprised by his performance, because he’s been a world champion, but the way he managed to be there all the time, even when he was struggling with set-up, and still get good points was impressive. He also pulled some great overtaking moves, so he was aggressive when he needed to be and smooth when he needed to be, adapting to the Pirelli tyres quicker than most. What a mature performance, and all the more impressive when your team-mate is Lewis Hamilton and Jenson is still, essentially, the new boy. I believe 2011 was even more impressive than his championship-winning year, given that he didn’t have the best car and his team-mate was Hamilton.
(ht: Lotus Motorsport and Group Lotus)

... notes from The EDJE


<first seen as Kimi Raikkonen Joins Lotus Renault GP for 2012 F1 Season at Motorsports Unplugged>Link

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lotus Makes Announcement At LA Auto Show For The 2012 IZOD IndyCar Season

Lotus Cars booth art at the LA Auto Show where a new competitive partnership between Lotus and three teams for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar season was announced. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2011)


Lotus Makes Announcement At LA Auto Show For The 2012 IZOD IndyCar Season

Just one short year after Lotus Motorsport announced its agreement with KV Racing Technology to supply engines and livery for the 2012 season, Lotus was back at the LA Auto Show Press days to announce a change in their team selection(s) for the 2012 season.

The deal involves three teams for the engine, not just one, and may power as many as four (currently committed) to six cars during the season, including the Indy 500, depending on how many drivers are picked up by the three teams - Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Bryan Herta Autosport and HVM Racing.

Owners of the teams who have signed on to the Lotus Motorsport engine partnership for the IZOD IndyCar Series 2012 season. From L to R - Robbie Buhl, and Dennis Reinbold of DRR, Keith Wiggins of HVM, and Bryan Herta of BHA. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2011)

In making agreements with these three teams, Lotus Motorsport shows it is making a commitment to the IZOD IndyCar Series competition that other engine manufacturers have not made to the the opportunity to showcase their mark created by the new approach that Randy Bernard has made possible since the unification of open wheel racing based in North America. Lotus will be joining Chevrolet and Honda as the IZOD IndyCar engine manufacturers to compete in 2012.

Group Lotus Director of Motorsport Operations, Miodrag Kotur said: “At the LA show last year, we announced that we will be an engine supplier to IndyCar and exactly 12 months on, we are here with an all new Lotus engine and three teams, ready to go. The numbers that the engine is already achieving in our dyno testing are extremely encouraging so our hard work is well and truly paying off.”

Group Lotus Director of Motorsport Operations, Miodrag Kotur. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2011)

“These partnerships with Bryan Herta Autosport, Dreyer and Reinbold Racing, and HVM Racing mean a great deal to Lotus Motorsport and mark the start of a new chapter for Lotus in the IZOD IndyCar Series. We’re thrilled that these already successful and illustrious teams have chosen Lotus, as we believe that our capabilities as a partner will pay dividends for them in the future. These three teams have immediately become part of the Lotus legend and have joined us in our journey as one of the most innovative and successful sports and racing car brands in the world.”

It is understood through comments made at the LA Auto Show announcement that Dreyer & Reinbold Racing will be responsible for a majority amount of on-track testing and off-track research and development activities. DRR is planning to run two cars full time in 2012 with an additional planned entry for the Indianapolis 500 showcase event.

Dennis Reinblod (center) and Robbie Buhl share a moment with Kieth Wiggins during the Lotus partnership announcement at the LA Auto Show on Thursday, November 17, 2011. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2011)

“To enter into a partnership with Lotus as a factory partner team is a huge step for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing,” said Dennis Reinbold, DRR co-owner with Robbie Buhl. “In working closely with the team at Lotus over the past few months, we have had unique access and awareness of their strong commitment to the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500. Many of our collective efforts are already underway and we could not be more enthusiastic about this offseason’s testing and development program.”

Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) won the 100th anniversary Indy 500 on May 29 with Dan Wheldon, who was fatally injured in a multiple-car crash on lap 11 in the final race of the 2011 season held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 16.

Bryan Herta did not have far to drive to attend this announcement since he lives in Southern California. Here Bryan (right side of photo) talks with the rest of his IZOD IndyCar "Loti", as in plural, mates (L to R) - IndyCar President Randy Bernard, DDR's Robbie Buhl, HVM's Kieth Wiggins, DDR's Dennis Reinblod, and of course Bryan Herta. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2011)

BHA, which served as the official test team for the Dallara DW12 chassis, is expecting to turn their first laps with Lotus power in January. BHA plans to be a full-time entrant in the series in 2012 for the first year. It will announce a driver and sponsorship in the coming weeks.

“Obviously, this is an incredibly exciting step for us,” said Herta. “Our goal all along has been to build our foundation to eventually compete as a full-time entrant in the series. To partner with Lotus, which has such a rich history and tradition in racing including at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, is just tremendous. All of us are looking forward to working closely with Lotus to support their efforts.”

As far as which team would sport the livery of Lotus Motorsport green and yellow as KV Racing Technology did last year with its three cars driven by Tony Kanaan, Takuma Sato, and EJ Viso? ... after asking the owners of the three teams in the Lotus booth at the LA Auto Show, Keith Wiggins of HVM gave a nod and a smile in the affirmative (after all, he only lived just a few miles away from the Lotus facility headquartered in England).

Kieth Wiggins, Owner of HVM Racing on the announcement of entering into an agreement to race with Lotus engines. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2011)

“Despite the choices, once it was apparent that Lotus would produce an engine it was a clear decision for us to run with them,” said HVM Racing owner Keith Wiggins, whose team fielded Simona de Silvestro during the 2011 season in the No. 78 Dallara/Honda. “I have great respect, confidence and enthusiasm in the product they will produce. I have good historical knowledge of the companies involved and their abilities. Being the first team to commit reflects this and being an integral part of the Lotus development process is important to http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifthe re-establishment of HVM as a leading team, this time in the IZOD IndyCar Series.”

The Lotus V-6 has been designed and is undergoing testing at Engine Development Ltd. in the United Kingdom, a company owned by longtime IndyCar engine-builder John Judd. The engine is expected to make its on-track debut, mounted in a DRR Dallara DW12, in early January.

... notes from The EDJE



<Article first published as Lotus Makes Announcement At LA Auto Show For The 2012 IZOD IndyCar Season at Technorati>

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

LA Auto Show Keynote Places Mazda’s Yamanouchi In Spotlight

Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi kicks off the L.A. Auto Show and answers questions from the gathered press with translator at his side. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2011)

LA Auto Show Keynote Places Mazda’s Yamanouchi In Spotlight

Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi kicks off the L.A. Auto Show with an overview of the current state of the automotive industry, including lessons learned after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, as well as the recent Thai floods. Additionally, Yamanouchi will discussed the theme of the show, “Fuel Efficiency Comes Standard.”

He was introduced by Mitch Bainwol, the new President of Auto Alliance, who is attending his first auto show after spending many years associated with the Grammys.

Tahashi, at 67 years old, has spent 44 years in the auto industry and became a corporate officer in his 50′s.

After introducing himself, he reviewed the recovery process from the Tsunami and floods in Thailand. He stated that he learned,”Remarkable things can be accomplished when people work together.”

Full production was able to resume in three months as opposed to the six to nine months predicted by observers. This was achieved by looking at supply chain strength through a global outlook.

This morning Mazda will introduce the new CX 5 and this car exemplifies the theme of the show … “Fuel Efficiency Comes Standard.”

The MX 5 has become the largest selling mark and Zoom-Zoom the most recognizable trade mark phrase in the automobile industry according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Zoom-Zoom is not just a selling phrase but embodies the passion to bring fun driving automobiles to the consuming public. Of the 28 brands on the market, Consumer Reports places Mazda as #4 for quality and design among all marks.

SKYACTIV technology will bring an overall fuel economy by 30% by 2008 and with the new designs planned to be introduced, by 2015 Mazda expects to improve another 30%. Lightweight materials and slippery body design has helped, but the SKYACTIV engine, transmission and body/chassis design technology contributes by providing good acceleration along with fuel efficiency. For example, the 1.2 L engine (Mazda 2) delivers 0-60 in just under 9 seconds.

SKYACTIV manufacturing concepts allow Mazda to produce gas and diesel engines in the same plant.

The new 2.0 L introduced in the Mazda 3 SKYACTIV in 2012 delivers 40 mpg fuel efficiency.

Mazda will continue to build on 3 million vehicles per year to deliver value to the people and customers who invest in Mazda’s future. Most cars sold will still be those that use standard gasoline.

… notes from The EDJE

Thursday, November 10, 2011

IZOD IndyCar Series 2012 Motorsports Musings

Memorial three-abreast five lap salute To Dan Wheldon performed by the IZOD IndyCar Series drivers at Las Vegas Motor Speedway October 16, 2011. Image Credit: LAT Photo

IZOD IndyCar Series 2012 Motorsports Musings

The 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season will be the 101st season of American open wheel racing. It is hard to get one's mind around the beginning of a new season of competition when the previous season ends, in such tragedy, as the 2011 season ending race in Las Vegas played out.

The memorials and auctions in support of all that Dan Wheldon and his family stood for during his career have taken place and are winding down on the internet. The response on eBay in terms of donated items and bidding response was beyond anyone could have imagined. Dan was unique in that he was very independent and corporate at the same time. A trick that held him in high esteem with the top brass in the series and some of the most renegade fans this sport had to offer. He was so unique in this posture, he was probably one of a very few IRL standard drivers fans from the former CART/ChampCar series could relate to and half embrace as their own.

Dan had a large hand in helping to understand and craft the beginning of a new era in American open wheel racing as it enters 2012. So large was his influence, the IZOD IndyCar Series and Dallara have decided to rename the new chassis Dan spent the last months of his life testing with the Bryan Herta Autosport engineering staff based out of Santa Clarita, CA.

The Dallara DW12 IndyCar Safety Cells, ready for their close-up, as they sit next to the "yard of bricks" start/finish line. Image Credit: Ron McQueeney

The new era, as set upon by the ICONIC committee in 2010, will feature the IndyCar Safety Cell monocoque and suspension parts renamed the Dallara DW12 which, instead of being a pure specification car where all of the component parts come from the same manufacturing resouces, keeps the driver encased in a frame covered with a choice of outer composite aerodynamic body work (not at first, but starting in 2013), rolling on tires from Firestone (with discussions of having a potential of at least two manufacturers supplying solutions during future seasons), powered by engines supplied by at least three different manufacturing marks in 2012 (Honda, Chevy/Illmore, and Lotus/Judd). What this brings to a racing series is an element of diversity in the fielding of a competitive entry. This places even greater emphasis on the team's engineering, and support make up as well as driver talent.

With all of this diversity and evolution of technology in the paddock, one has to ask, what is the IZOD IndyCar Series going to do to meet the support challenges that will show themselves on the track during race events?

The management and negotiation quotient between additional suppliers for body parts, and engines is only a part of the equation ... race control has to be considered on the other side. Cars being fielded with a broader diversity of component parts will translate to a greater difference in performance on the track between teams.

Will the current, years old specification template, and staff (with a cobbled together, two series philosophical input flow), stand up to the demands this new ICONIC committee Dallara DW12 approach exact? Given the troubles that exposed themselves this past year (possibly placing the series championship at stake), can the current race control be the standard for 2012 and beyond ... or is it time for a change that can adapt to the engine and aero-package diversity that will present itself in competition?

On behalf of the unique approach the ICONIC committee and CEO Randy Bernard have embraced, which recognizes the precept that some potential for technology evolution is a good thing for motorsports, let's hope that management template evolution can be explored in background series support and race control as well.

... notes from The EDJE


<Article first appeared as IZOD IndyCar Series 2012 Motorsports Musings at Technorati>

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dan Wheldon eBay Charity Auction Held In Memorial & Family Support

Memorial display on entrance to Conseco field for the Dan Wheldon Memorial service held in Indianapolis. Image Credit: Danial Incandela for IndyCar

Dan Wheldon eBay Charity Auction Held In Memorial & Family Support


Yesterday, October 24, 2011, eBay officially started posting items donated for auction of its Charity eBay Auction in memory of Dan Wheldon. 100% of the proceeds will go to benefit the the Dan Wheldon Family Trust Fund. This effort had its spark of a start through the desire of one of IZOD IndyCar Series youngest drivers, Graham Rahal.

This excerpted and edited from eBay -

Dan Wheldon
June 22, 1978 - October 16, 2011
Charity eBay Auction In Memory of IZOD IndyCar Series Champion Dan Wheldon
Auctions begin October 24th and run for 10 days

Graham Rahal didn’t know what he was starting when he offered to auction the race-used helmet, gloves and shoes he used in Las Vegas to raise money for the family of the late Dan Wheldon.

Rahal’s gesture began an outpouring of support from celebrities and athletes around the world who wanted to donate memorabilia to raise money for the Dan Wheldon Family Trust Fund.

“I certainly appreciate everyone’s support for Dan's Memorial Auction,” said Rahal, who recently completed his first season with Chip Ganassi Racing. “I never thought when I tweeted about auctioning my helmet that we would get this kind of reaction.”
[Reference Here]

NASCAR, LOWES liveried, "Lion Heart" visor-decaled racing helmet used in several races donated by El Cajon, California, native and five-time NASCAR Series Season Champion, Jimmie Johnson. Image Credit: eBay

It just becomes an additional grip to the heart to see the community and culture of motorsports come together over the tragic loss of one its most revered and respected figures.

Contributors include drivers and members from many competitive disciplines ... for example, people can bid on a surfboard donated by multiple World Surfing Champion, Kelly Slater ... a NASCAR, LOWES liveried, "Lion Heart" visor-decaled racing helmet used in several races donated by El Cajon, California, native and five-time NASCAR Series Season Champion, Jimmie Johnson (already catching its own auction action at $13,000 at post publish) ... Firestone Tire Table Signed by all 2011 Indianapolis 500 Participants ... Skip Barber Racing School 3 Day Session ... NASCAR driving legend, Mark Martin, donated a Mark Martin #5 Black Windbreaker Size L, Cap, #5 Round Decal & T-Shirt ... Indianapolis Colts Signed Helmet -- Peyton Manning, Donald Brown & More (team member signatures) ... much more!

Dan Wheldon Charity Auction reactions Tweet-By-Tweet:

DWheldonAuction Dan Wheldon Auction by GrahamRahal

First item is up! Taste of the Track-- Monticello Motor Club Racetrack Experience, NY r.ebay.com/fQGcOu

IndyCar IZOD IndyCar Series
The first item of the @DWheldonAuction is up for bid, new itemsevery two minutes! r.ebay.com/fQGcOu

DWheldonAuction Dan Wheldon Auction byBeccyGordon
Next item is @kellyslater surfing legends signed SurfBoard! Kelly Slater Signed Channel Islands 5'11 Whip Surfboard r.ebay.com/JtUIJx

pressdog Bill Zahren
Wheldon Memorial Auction Opens ..BID, ye BASTARDS bit.ly/uAgg66

dariofranchitti Dario Franchitti byscottdixon9
the bids have started on @DWheldonAuction , over $11k already for @JimmieJohnson helmet. I've got my eye on thatone!!

indy44 Matt Archuleta
Just broke $13,000 HOLY (Insert cussword here) RT @pressdog:$11,000 RT @indy44: Nice! RT @AllenWedge: Jimmie's helmet already over$10,000

BHA Bryan Herta
The @DWheldonAuction is live, all proceeds go tosupport the Wheldon Family. bit.ly/rfmZ1V

williamrast William Rast
The @DWheldonAuction is live, all proceeds go tosupport the Wheldon Family. bit.ly/rfmZ1V

BeccyGordon Beccy Gordon
I really want the @kellyslater board for our house! I know @RyanHunterReay asked him to donate it & Iwant it! ;) @DWheldonAuction

indy44 Matt Archuleta
Takes a couple minutes for video toload-> A public celebration of Dan Wheldon’s life bit.ly/smjzgf #Lionheart#IndyCar

Dan Wheldon Auction by AllenWedge - We promise there will be cheaper items coming. Wow never expected this. We have lots of team hats etc coming up in the next few days.

James Black - $35k and counting.

Tony - The Mark Martin 1/64 signed diecast may end up being the most expensive 1/64 diecast ever - already past $300.

Dan Wheldon Auction by SBPopOffValve - Remember everyone this is only the start. Please stay tuned and keep bidding. There will be hundreds of items still to come!
-END-

May all of the competitors, fans, and people who have an interest in the sadness that is the tragic end of Dan Wheldon's life be able to put an exclamation point on the mourning process through the Dan Wheldon eBay Charity Auction held in memorial and Wheldon surviving family support.

... notes from The EDJE



[Article first published as Dan Wheldon eBay Charity Auction Held In Memorial & Family Support at Technorati]

Friday, October 21, 2011

Is Fisker Automotive Another Solyndra Style Waste Of Money?

ABC News focuses on the one Fisker assembly line already running in Finland. Some of those federal energy dollars were used on design plans. ABC interviewed Fisker head, Henrik Fisker who assured reporter Brian Ross the federal money was not being used to pay workers at the plant. Image Credit: Fisker Automotive, Inc.

Is Fisker Automotive Another Solyndra Style Waste Of Money?

We, at The EDJE, have a neighbor whose family was happy to tell me, about six months ago, that they had private investments in Fisker Automotive, Inc.

News broke this week stating that Obama's Department of Energy was acting as a venture capitalist by issuing a 500 million dollar plus loan to a car manufacturing company on the heels of the bankruptcy announcement of Solyndra, a solar cell manufacturer where the Obama Administration thought it was a good risk to place taxpayer money at risk in a company that they knew would go bankrupt.

The Fisker Karma, front view. Image Credit: Fisker Automotive, Inc.

This excerpted and edited from Newsworks -

Tactics of Delaware carmaker Fisker questioned by ABC News

By John Mussoni - October 21, 2011

ABC News partnered with the Center for Public Integrity to do a series of reports that aired on various broadcasts over Thursday and Friday. It pointed to over $500 million in U.S. Energy Department loans for Fisker to build new-age fuel efficient cars.

The failed new energy company, Solyndra, is also casting a shadow over Fisker Automotive and other new technology companies. The ABC News report raised questions about how federal dollars are being spent in getting the Fisker assembly line up to speed in the old Boxwood Road GM plant in Delaware.

The report points to a General Accounting Office report saying there is not enough oversight on how the money is being spent. The GAO report also states there aren’t enough trained engineers who can analyze whether companies like Fisker and its chief competitor, Tesla Motors, are spending money appropriately.

ABC News focuses on the one Fisker assembly line already running in Finland. Some of those federal energy dollars were used on design plans. ABC interviewed Fisker head, Henrik Fisker who assured reporter Brian Ross the federal money was not being used to pay workers at the plant.

There is a tone of skepticism in both reports about whether there could be another company that fails despites federal backing.
----
Delaware has money tied to Fisker as well.

The state of Delaware has a big stake in Fisker’s success. Part of the deal struck in October 2009 was a $9 million grant that would off set utility charges while Fisker started the necessary changes needed to change the assembly process from what was left behind with General Motors to the Fisker assembly line. To date the state has paid $5 million, according to Governor Jack Markell’s office.

The state has also invested another $12.5 million in a loan to Fisker that will be converted to a grant if hiring goals are met. There have been 100 people hired so far in 2011. The goal is over 2,000 workers to be in place by 2013.
----
A Fisker spokesman told Fox Business Channel what the company meant to say was that full distribution would not begin until 2013. The spokesman said the company was still on track to begin production a year from now.

The Delaware facility looks about the same as it did when General Motors shut down the plant in July 2009. The water tower still has the GM logo. There are padlocks on the fences where hundreds of workers used to work.
[Reference Here]

Fisker Karma, rear view. Image Credit: Fisker Automotive, Inc.

When I came home, I could not wait to write the following:

"I just found out today in the news that you (and your dad) have nothing on me, in that, I am an investor in the Fisker Automotive, Inc. too! We have great taste.

This is NOT a Solyndra type of deal that the Obama Government made because there is actually a market for well conceived, well designed, limited production run boutique automobiles ... no matter the sales price. The solar panels that were supposed to be produced at the Solyndra could only be made for $6.00 in a $3.00 solar cell market price world.

I hope to see Henrik Fisker again at the LA Auto Show."

As per Fisker - Not a single dollar of the DoE loans has been, or will be, spent outside of America. All expenditures are reviewed by PwC (PriceWaterhouseCoopers) on behalf of the DoE. Image Credit: Fisker Automotive, Inc.

This excerpted and edited from Fisker website -

Fisker Statement re: Misleading News Reports

ID: 567 | 10.21.2011

There have been stories in the media today commenting on the Department of Energy (DoE) loan guarantees Fisker Automotive received. We wanted to give you some more information.
----
Not a single dollar of the DoE loans has been, or will be, spent outside of America. All expenditures are reviewed by PwC (PriceWaterhouseCoopers) on behalf of the DoE.

After receiving the DoE loan, Fisker made it a priority to create U.S. jobs which led to the purchase its own assembly plant in Delaware where we plan to establish production of our second, higher volume, line of vehicles (Project Nina).

There are currently over 100 workers reconfiguring the Delaware plant so that Fisker will be ready to begin hiring a skilled hourly workforce to producing its Nina platform vehicles in the U.S. for sale around the world. Many of these Delaware costs are covered by the DoE loans.

For the Karma program, the DoE loan money was used solely in the U.S. to fund design, engineering, and integration work.

Only private equity financing, of which we have raised over $600 million so far, has been used for costs not covered by the DoE loans, of which only a small part is production costs in Finland.

The majority of our private funding has been used to create jobs, including 650 people at Fisker’s headquarters in California, over 100 at the Delaware plant and many more at various suppliers throughout the U.S.

At the inception of the company, Fisker explored the possibility of producing the Karma in the U.S. However, there are no contract manufacturers like Valmet in the U.S., and none of the established domestic automakers were willing to partner with Fisker to provide a manufacturing option in the U.S. that would work for the Karma program. Our assembly arrangement for the Karma was in place before the DoE loans were approved, and has been widely reported on since 2009.

There is no link between Fisker Automotive and any political party. We are politically neutral – our focus is on building luxury electric vehicles.

More than 45% of the components of the Fisker Karma sedan are manufactured by approximately 40 suppliers located in the U.S. Some of our biggest suppliers in the U.S. include A123 Systems (Li-ion battery), General Motors Springhill Engine Plant (gasoline engine), Goodyear (tires) and TRW (regenerative braking system).
----
With the help of DoE loans, Fisker has already created hundreds of U.S. jobs, with thousands more in the near future. Ultimately Fisker is a high-tech American car company that we’re confident will be an American success story to be celebrated.
[Reference Here]

So, is Fisker Automotive another Obama/Solyndra style waste of taxpayer money? If the former design director of Aston Martin and the once president and CEO of BMW's DesignworksUSA, Henrik Fisker has his way, we think not.

... notes from The EDJE


[Article first published as Is Fisker Automotive Another Solyndra Style Waste Of Money? at Technorati]

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Post Dan Wheldon Tragedy Reaction Review To Safety On Banked Ovals

A memorial to Dan Wheldon is displayed at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where the British-born driver was killed in an accident on Sunday. Image Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images via guardian.co.uk

Post Dan Wheldon Tragedy Reaction Review To Safety On Banked Ovals


The safety debate centers on the fact that IndyCar Dallara vehicles, which all have the same bodies and engines, can not avoid pack racing at very high speeds on a circuit as small and banked as the Las Vegas track, and this sets up a condition that is dangerous with open-cockpit, Indy-style cars. The wide track bed combined with steep banking and the mushroom shaped vortex wash that comes out from behind the cars, set up a very unstable mix.

Driving the Go Daddy No. 7, Andretti Autosport Dallara, Danica Patrick posted the fastest practice time with a staggering 224.719 mph on Oct. 13. After learning her time, Patrick's reaction proved prophetic.

"It's friggin' fast here," said Patrick. "Almost a 225 lap is like Indy speeds. The track is nice and smooth and we’ll be three-wide out there, which will be exciting. The race is going to be crazy and the crashes will be spectacular."

Danica, who will be driving in NASCAR next year, was not the only driver talking up the danger of the course in the days before the race.

"It's so fast and you're so close to each other, it's exciting," veteran driver, and IMS Radio commentator, Hewlett-Packard sponsored Davey Hamilton told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, also noting that he expected four wide racing. "There's really no room for error."

Driver comments after the Wheldon tragedy where 15 cars were collected in a fiery mess confirmed the fear of this unstable mix.

"We all know this is part of the sport," driver Oriol Servia said of the danger. "We all had a bad feeling about this place in particular just because of the high banking and how easy it was to go flat" out on the throttle.

"Within five laps people started to do crazy stuff," Dario Franchitti said immediately after the accident. "I wanted no part of it. I love hard racing, but that to me is not what it's about. I said before, this is not a suitable track. You can't get away from anybody. One small mistake and you have a massive wreck."

"Now we need to rethink the way we're doing things," said Tony Kanaan, who started on the pole.

The Dallara IR-05 was built specifically to be driven in excess of 230 mph and protect its driver in the event of an accident at those speeds. Its carbon fiber chassis was designed to break apart during a collision and absorb the forces of a series of massive impacts while keeping the cockpit surrounding the driver intact.

Since its introduction in 2005, only one driver, Paul Dana, had died behind the wheel of the Dallara before Sunday. In a freak accident during practice for the 2006 season opener in Homestead, Fla., Dana lost control of his car and hit a damaged vehicle that had come to a stop on the track in front of him head-on, at an estimated speed of 176 mph. In a bit of irony, Dan Wheldon went on to win that race. Since then, the cars had been used in 100 races and covered more than 500,000 miles in competition without any loss of life, and fe
But one thing the vehicles can’t do is prevent an accident like the 15-car pileup that took the 33-year-old Wheldon’s life.



Driver James Jakes, whose car was damaged in the incident, added that “unfortunately, it’s something I think a lot of us thought might happen. We practiced with no more than five or six cars in a group and now we’ve got 34 ... there was going to be some trouble.”

During the 15 car collection in turn #2, Wheldon’s car got airborne and came into contact with the catch fence above the wall. The metal mesh fence is designed to keep vehicles and debris from leaving the confines of the track, but can cause additional damage in the process.

“It is one of those things that when you are racing you are always aware that there are risks,” Dan Weldon teammate, Alex Tagliani said. “But you never think it is going to come to that."

“I am very sad and angry,” expressed Alex. What angered the 38-year-old was that no one listened to the drivers’ fears over the conditions before the race. Tagliani felt that, like NASCAR, when it revolutionized driver safety after the death of Dale Earnhardt in 2001 at Daytona International Speedway, IndyCar must look at doing the same in its series.

“If we are going to come back to these (1 1/2-mile banked ovals) we are going to have to change the aero packages to slow the cars down,” continued Alex. “It is just not right that some one has to die to make those changes.”

One thing that Tagliani proposes is that drivers, team owners, track owners and IndyCar bosses get together in the off season to talk about what can be done to make racing both better and safer.

“There is definitely things that need to be discussed and things to look at,” Tagliani concluded. “We for sure have to talk to the series bosses. Right now my mind is so confused. We have to talk about racing these types of cars on these types of race tracks. I don’t think tracks like the mile and a half at Las Vegas is the right thing for us.”

On Friday, IndyCar President and CEO Randy Bernard announced that the series plans to return to Las Vegas for its finale in 2012, and the organization has not yet said if it is reconsidering that decision.

In an interview with Fox Sports in the wake of the crash, former CART/ChampCar driver and current NASCAR star A.J. Allmendinger said, “obviously, with the new car coming in, it needs to be safer, but there are tracks that they don't need to race at.”

A template situation that IndyCar could have learned from as it relates to high-banked mile and a half ovals happened in 2001. CART/ChampCar, one of the two open-wheel racing series that later combined to form IndyCar, was forced to cancel a race at the Texas Motor Speedway after drivers complained in practice about getting dizzy and blacking out from the g-forces created by the high speeds that their cars were capable of on the steeply-banked 1.5-mile oval. In this case the rules were changed to slow the cars down through downforce and engine set-ups at subsequent events held at the track.
(ht: various news services - FoxNews/Huffington Post/Toronto Sun - for quotes and background on the Dallara IR-05)

The two biggest words that stand out the most, if one were to read between the lines, in all of these post Dan Wheldon tragedy driver reactions to safety on banked ovals - Race Control.

Upon reflection ... Race Control has been the overriding story (race call miscues effecting championship points standings, recommended car set ups, and venue management) for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series World Championship season and the last season of the Dallara IR-05.

... notes from The EDJE


[Article was first published as Post Dan Wheldon Tragedy Reaction Review To Safety On Banked Ovals at Technorati]

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dan Wheldon Killed: The First and Final Laps, Tweet by Tweet

Will Power and Dario Franchitti as they wait for the command to start engines and begin the race to decide who will be 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series champion. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2011)


Dan Wheldon Killed: The First and Final Laps, Tweet by Tweet

The season finale of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series gets played out here in the land where gambling is king and glitz is the salve that makes everything work. This is the last official race with the old Dallara chassis that helped to establish the Indy Racing League (IRL) and was the equipment used to secure the merger between the ChampCar World Series (CCWS) and the IRL through the last three years.

Thirty-four cars will take to this short 1.5 mile oval for 300 miles and every effort has been made to field all the equipment that can roll and race because this will be the last time these Dallaras will be used by this racing series.

One example as to what can happen when one works hard to take old parts and stitch together a car to race happened when James Jakes had to exit the second practice session on Friday early in a fiery smash in turn #2 due to suspension failure. These 200mph Dallara cars are not supposed to do this.

James Jakes driving for Dale Coyne Racing as he coasts to a stop as fuel flairs up along the wall. Image Credit: Yahoo.Sports.Com

This race may be officially named the IZOD IndyCar Series World Championship presented by Honda ... but we will call this exercise The Duct Tape 300 Tweet-By-Tweet:

CGRTeamsChip Ganassi Racingby LVMotorSpeedway - We're about an hour away from the green flag here for the season finale! Catch the action-packed race LIVE on ABC!


Newman Haas Racing - with friends and

Green Green Green - The flag flies at the Duct Tape 300


Everyone gets off without a hitch - the field of 34 cars are up to speed at over 200 mph

Dario Franchitti moves ahead of Will Power to put him more points down.

Cars go three wide in most of the corners around the track ... very close racing

Lap 10 of 200

 
SBPopOffValve Tony - Danica in the middle, three-wide. She's thinking, "I can't wait until I'm doing this at half the speed."

Crash Crash Crash - Lap 12 of 200
Eight cars involved, one car flies in the air, one on its lid

Dale_Nixon Dale Nixon - Holy crap this does not look good..
99forever Steph@MoreFrontWing - Can't breathe. #indycar

Red Flag after 12 laps

kart58 Paige - God... that looked like Indy 1973 carnage. Not good. #indycar

UPDATE – 15 cars collected in the mess on turn #2

DRRIndyCar DRRIndyCar - Bia says she's sure she hit debris at slow speed.
toomuchracing Pat W - Will Power's car is involved and he's out of the race, Dario Franchitti is champion

Verizon Penske Racing's car driven by Will Power. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks via broadcast image (2011)

Sebastian Saavedra touches a car next to him with left wheel as he seeks to get out of the top groove and this sets off the chain reaction

 
DRRIndyCar DRRIndyCar - Assessing the damage to the 24 and 11. Both drivers say their cars are probably going to be able to continue.

pressdog Bill Zahren - RT @rosslancaster: @pressdog RT @f1fanaticlive: Rice, Power, Mann, Lloyd, Wheldon, Viso, Tracy, Kimball, Schec… (cont) 

PantherRacing Panther Racing - Appears JR is out of car and OK.

IndyRacingNut Tony Wittrien - Anyone with word on Wheldon's condition? Please?

SBPopOffValve Tony - Oh shit. The yellow tarp is on Wheldon's car.

shagers Shane Rogers - That tarp is a major, major concern. #indycar

99forever Steph@MoreFrontWing - Bad. RT @JennaFryer WTF is the yellow tarp? #indycar

toomuchracing Pat W - Out of the race per ABC: Power, Cunningham, Hildebrand, Howard, Bell, Scheckter, Meira, Kimball, Mann, Rice, Viso, Lloyd, Mann, Rice

specutainment Midweek Motorsport by radiolemans - 12 cars out in huge shunt at Vegas. Power involved,Dario made it thru. Red Flag. Press room very quiet.

Replay of video taken from Will Power’s car camera … Will takes off and gets launched airborne and turns 180 degrees and lands tail first

toomuchracing Pat W - Hoping the yellow tarp on the car is just a yellow tarp on a car and not a sign of something bad

Dale_Nixon Dale Nixon - That in-car footage on @12WillPower is frightening. That wheel almost came right into his camera

IndyRacingNut Tony Wittrien - Just felt compelled to give my 2yr old son a big hug.....#PrayForWheldon


UPDATE - Dan Weldon taken by heliocopter to University Hospital … all other drivers are under their own power.


pressdog Bill Zahren - Decisions made immediately post-trauma are not usually sound. RT @DriveAvailable: @SBPopOffValve That's racing. Don't over-react please.
 
colinsato Colin Sato by toomuchracing - Paul Tracy says there are a lot of younger drivers who don't know how to react. He was around for G. Moore and J. Krosnoff. #indycar
 
specutainment Midweek Motorsport by radiolemans @ @nellietellie another one of those creepy moments at the track when everything goes quiet - even the press room were shocked.....

Will Power has been resubmitted to the field infirmary for further observation

This posting will become updated when more information is available - cars out (13) are #17 Wade Cunningham, #4 JR Hildebrand, #22 Townsend Bell, #15 Jay Howard, #57 Tomas Scheckter, #83 Charlie Kimball, #8 Paul Tracy, #59 EJ Viso, #77 Dan Wheldon, #19 Alex Lloyd, #30 Pippa Mann, #12 Will Power, #44 Buddy Rice.

Two cars are damaged but may continue are #14 Vitor Meira and #18 James Jakes.
END

video

Randy Bernard, President and CEO of the IZOD IndyCar Series announces in the Media Center that Dan Weldon passes away from unsurvivable injuries. Pippa Mann, Will Power, and JR Hildebrand were transported to the hospital for injuries and observation.

GRAND PRIX ASSOCIATION OF LONG BEACH STATEMENT REGARDING DAN WHELDON

JIM MICHAELIAN, PRESIDENT & CEO, GRAND PRIX ASSOCIATION OF LONG BEACH:

“Our hearts are saddened to hear the news of the passing of Dan Wheldon. He was a great representative of our sport and personified what the IZOD IndyCar Series is all about. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Susie, his children and family. He will be missed.” -TGPLB-


STATEMENT FROM ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT ON PASSING OF DAN WHELDON

“It is with extreme sorrow that we have lost one of our champion drivers today. Dan was an Indy 500 champion and IndyCar Series champion with Andretti Autosport-and one of our closest competitors. Dan brought such enthusiasm and passion to the sport not often seen in motorsports. We will remember Dan’s tremendous racing accomplishments with our team as well his infectious personality. We would like to express our deepest sympathy to Dan’s family, racing team and friends today. Dan is one of IndyCar’s greatest champions.”

... notes from The EDJE