Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gentilozzi and Jaguar RSR Racing tour England

Paul Gentilozzi on a "flyer" as he crests the top of the hill at the end of Rahal Straight before entering the Corkscrew at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during the ALMS final race of the 2009 season. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2009)

Gentilozzi and Jaguar RSR Racing tour England

GT racing legend and former co-cheif executive of the ChampCar World Series, Paul Gentilozzi is taking a break from a gruelling development program to feature the XKR in the largest dedicated trade motorsport exhibition in Europe. The race car will be on display at the Jaguar booth alongside a production model XKR, XFR, and the fastest Jaguar ever – the Bonneville XFR prototype, which Paul drove to 225.675 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2008.

Jaguar asked the Michigan-based RSR team to help create a race car to compete in GT2 racing in 2010. The Jaguar engineering and design teams, based in Coventry, have jointly developed the car from a standard road-going XKR with the RSR team.

Paul Gentilozzi piloting the new Jaguar RSR XKR GT through the "Corkscrew" turn at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Image Credit: Scott Coursey/RallyBuzz

The new Jaguar RSR racing car makes its European debut this week at the 2010 Autosport International at the NEC in Birmingham, UK. It is the first and only chance for the public to see the stunning new XKR GT in the metal before it heads back to the US to compete in the entire 2010 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in North America.

The competition car uses the standard Jaguar XKR lightweight aluminum monocoque together with additional steel reinforcements and safety structure developed by RSR. The 5.0-litre V-8 engine boasts 550 horsepower at 7000 rpm and a maximum speed of 180mph.

The Jaguar RSR XKR GT made its racing debut during the Petit Le Mans event at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia, in September 2009. The car took its first green flag in the American Le Mans Series season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in October and is set for a full-season championship effort in 2010.

Mike O'Driscoll, managing director of Jaguar Cars said: "Our designers and engineers have taken the best of our standard road-going XKR and with Paul Gentilozzi's motorsport expertise created a first-class competition car. Paul and his RSR team are confident that they can compete against some serious competition in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS).

Speed shot of the new Jaguar RSR XKR GT getting ready for the 2010 ALMS racing season. Image Credit: Scott Coursey/RallyBuzz

RSR principle partner Paul Gentilozzi will be in attendance at Autosport International. Gentilozzi said of his attendance: "Jaguar is so intertwined with British motoring history making this a fantastic opportunity to debut the Jaguar RSR XKR GT racecar internationally. Having our new GT racecar and the Bonneville prototype XFR on display at the biggest motorsport exhibition in Europe with the production cars that made these possible is such a great way to showcase our dedication to the Jaguar brand and to motorsports.”

After taking centre stage at the car show, the Jaguar RSR XKR GT will visit “home” by making stops at Jaguar headquarter sites in Whitley and Castle Bromwich in the UK. “It will be incredibly exciting to take the Jaguar RSR XKR GT back to the team at Jaguar who worked so hard to make this dream a reality,” added Gentilozzi. “A picture may be worth a thousand words, but seeing this car in person is priceless.”

Aside from his role as team owner, Paul is one of the drivers for the #33 JaguarRSR XKR. Next up? The ALMS Winter Test February 22 – 23 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida and Season Opener – the 12 Hours of Sebring, March 20.

... notes from The EDJE

(ht: Jaguar GT racing car makes European debut - WheelsUnplugged Automobile Industry News)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Toyota leaves Formula 1 with departing email

Panasonic Toyota Racing’s last Formula 1 car, the TF109. The end of Panasonic Toyota Racing's Formula 1 program is not the end of activity on www.toyota-f1.com - far from it. Image Credit: Toyota Motor Corporation

Toyota leaves Formula 1 with departing email

This morning, those who had been following the exploits of the Toyota Formula racing effort throughout the last couple of seasons, woke up to an email communique outlining the last efforts Toyota Motorsport GmbH will be doing to close the final chapter of their effort.

Jarno Trulli and former Champ Car World Series driver, Timo Glock have moved on, both have signed to drive with newly formed teams for the 2010 F1 season. Jarno was confirmed as one of the newly-formed Lotus F1 Racing's team drivers, joining former McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen. Timo chose an option where he will be guaranteed a drive, although the car might be less competitive, at the newly formed Virgin Racing. Virgin's car for 2010 will be the first F1 car designed entirely using CFD computer simulation technology and will be powered with Cosworth engines. Timo will be teamed with long-time Brazilian GP2 regular Lucas di Grassi.

Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli take the front row at the Bahrain Grand Prix 2009. Image Credit: Bahrain International Circuit

A visit to the farewell website is a wonderful mix of photography, technology, and past F1 memories.

This excerpted and edited from Toyota's departing email -

A virtual goodbye to Formula 1
Monday 25 January 2010

Toyota Motorsport GmbH bids farewell to Formula 1 with an offering to all those who supported it during eight emotional seasons at the pinnacle of motorsport.

Fans, media and sponsors alike can relive memories from the team in the form of exclusive photos and videos, including an eight-minute video retrospective featuring exclusive footage of moments which variously made us laugh, smile or shed a tear.

Simply visit http://ms.toyota.co.jp/en/ and click on the banner ‘A Virtual Goodbye to Formula 1' to look back on our time Formula 1.

Since our first season competing in Formula 1, in 2002, we have experienced a whole spectrum of emotions but through the highs and the lows, we have been fortunate to enjoy the valued support of partners, media and fans.

There have been so many sponsorship campaigns, media collaborations and distributor initiatives it is impossible mention individual cases but we would like to sincerely thank all those partners, media and fans who have been part of our Formula 1 adventure.

This special website represents the final act for the marketing and communications department, which has ceased normal operations.

Until further notice, all media enquiries regarding Toyota's motorsport programmes should be directed to Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan on bl-pr@mail.toyota.co.jp while only specific requests relating to Toyota Motorsport GmbH in Cologne should be directed to pr@toyota-motorsport.com.

Our media website www.toyota-f1-world.com will continue to function until the end of the year to provide an archive of photography and information from the team's time in Formula 1.
Reference Here>>

Funny, it would be nice to have the same type of departure website attention given to other automobile-culture departures that have happened over this last full year ... and not necessarily departures in motorsport.

Let's see websites devoted to the history and legacy of Pontiac, Saturn, Dodge Aspen, Hummer ... heck, lets just add General Motors and Chrysler, in general, since they were once proud companies involved in the pursuit of free-enterprise and have departed from the annuals of needs-satisfaction, profit-oriented American automobile manufacturers.

... notes from The EDJE

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Russo and Steele's auto auction gets major air

“There are downed electrical lines in there, wires, cables, propane heaters and canisters, broken glass, etc.,” Drew Alcazar, founder and co-owner of Russo & Steele, said in an interview Friday afternoon. “We hope to be allowed back in the site by Saturday morning. If we can, we’d like to reopen the auction Sunday, and maybe extend to Monday if there are enough interested owners and buyers.” /// About 600 classic automobiles, including the car that has perhaps piqued the most curiosity at this year’s Arizona collector car auctions — a 1948 Tucker 48 convertible — were in the tents at the time, Mr. Alcazar said. Image Credit: azfamily.com

Russo and Steele's auto auction gets major air

After a successful and enjoyable breakfast gathering for inside auto-enthusiasts and members of the press, the day began well for the folks over at the Russo and Steele.

Russo and Steele in Scottsdale is a standout against the well publicized "No-Reserve" policy of the other major auction held this week at Barrett-Jackson, in that they hold an auction where all cars are held with a Reserve. This auction operation believes that quality consignments are the result of only two scenarios; either the owner had paid a premium or has endured a costly and laborious restoration. Neither of these two will entice this caliber of automobiles to simply be “sold to the highest bidder – regardless of price” ... hence, "No-Reserve".

These consignors want “top dollar” for their car. The challenge all auction companies face is how to attract quality consignments and consign them with appropriate reserves that will be well received by our knowledgeable bidders. A car does not get sold unless it meets the negotiated minimum price - The Reserve.

Russo and Steele’s Scottsdale sale occupies the middle ground of the collector car market — roughly $100,000 to $500,000 — offering mainly American muscle cars and European sports cars.

But the Russo and Steele auction, which began on Thursday, was interrupted that evening by one of the most severe storms the area has experienced in years. Winds tore at two of the tents the company was using to house cars going to auction, collapsing one of them and sending parts of the other blowing onto the nearby 101 Freeway.

This excerpted and edited from Examiner -

Russo & Steele's Scottsdale tents collapse during auction
January 21, 10:57 PM - Classic Autos Examiner, Jim Cherry

Severe weather punishing the American West struck Scottsdale, Arizona with full fury this afternoon during
Russo & Steele's auction of ultra rare, blue chip classic cars. See details of Russo & Steele's offerings this year by clicking here.

The tents that collapsed were side structures. Thankfully, no one was injured as most attendees were busy watching the action in the main tent. Between 5,000 and 10,000 people were in attendance at Russo & Steele when disaster struck at 6 P.M., according to AZFamily.com.

Russo & Steele Auction was immediately evacuated. Even car owners had to leave without knowing the fates of their valuable classic rides. It is believed that several cars were damaged.

Arizona state governor Jan Brewer declared a state of emergency due to the extensive impact the severe storm has had all over the state.
Reference Here>>

In Scottsdale strong winds have blown over two tents at the Russo-Steele Auto Auction. The auction had to be evacuated and there is major damage to the tents. There were no injuries reported. Most people at the auction at the time were inside the main tent, which is still intact but two other tents were destroyed along with a lot of expensive cars. What was left of the massive tents at the annual auction in north Scottsdale continued to flap violently in the wind leaving the auction cars exposed to the harsh elements. A lot of the collectors' cars have spent years in garages and have barely seen any kind of weather, let alone a fierce storm. Image Credit: azfamily.com

And this excerpted and edited from the New York Times -

Storm-Damaged Auction Site Remains Closed
By JERRY GARRETT - January 22, 2010, 7:59 pm

McKeel Hagerty, president of Hagerty Insurance, which specializes in coverage for vintage cars, said he had surveyed the auction site from a distance. He said he estimated that perhaps as many as half of the 600 cars had suffered at least some damage. “You can see that some of them have been extensively damaged,” he added.

Was this the worst disaster the classic car industry has suffered?

“Hurricane Katrina was worse,” Mr. Hagerty said. “We lost 500 to 600 classic cars in that one. But, other than that, this is the worst I can remember.
Reference Here>>

For more background on Russo & Steele see: Russo and Steele Scottsdale 2010

... notes from The EDJE

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tony George now has several less jobs in Motorsports - Resigns from IMS Board

Tony George - Team Owner, Vision Racing - Perhaps best known as the CEO and President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and founder of the Indy Racing League, Anton “Tony” Hulman George also got into the team owning business when colleague and friend Tom Kelley put his IndyCar operation up for sale in 2004. Caption & Image Credit: Vision Racing

Tony George now has several less jobs in Motorsports - Resigns from IMS Board

Tony George resigned today from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Board of Directors. Last year, Robin Miller writing for SPEED TV cited a source close to the IMS that confirmed that the 49-year-old grandson of Tony Hulman would no longer be CEO of the Speedway after a vote of the IMS board of directors which includes mother Mari, sisters Josie, Nancy and Kathy, attorney Jack Snyder and George.

So now the ouster has been made complete ... Tony George is neither the CEO, or a mamber of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Board of Directors or any remaining role in Hulman & Company, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indy Racing League, IMS Productions and other affiliated companies.

This from a press release issued from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway -


The Board of Directors of Hulman & Company and affiliated companies, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, has received the resignation of Anton H. “Tony” George from the board of directors effective immediately, according to Mari Hulman George, chairman.

“As members of his family, we are sorry to see Tony leave,” said Mrs. George. “We are grateful for his service to our company as a board member and of course for formerly serving as CEO and president of our companies. I speak for our whole family in wishing him well.

“All of us had hoped that Tony would continue to serve on the board, and we made that clear to him. We are disappointed with his decision to step down despite our wishes.”

His resignation removes George from any remaining role in Hulman & Company, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indy Racing League, IMS Productions and other affiliated companies. His term as CEO of the family companies ended June 30, 2009. He continues to be involved in racing through his ownership of Vision Racing, a competitor in the IZOD IndyCar Series of the Indy Racing League.

The board vacancy will be addressed at a later date. In addition to Mari Hulman George, board members include Nancy George, Josie George, Kathi George-Conforti and Jack Snyder.

Mari Hulman George said she is very pleased with the direction of the company and the progress that has been made during the last six months.

“Our company is healthy and is weathering the economic recession well,” she said. “Jeff Belskus, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Curt Brighton, president and CEO of Hulman & Company, are both doing excellent jobs in guiding our companies through this difficult time. Many hard decisions have been made, and now our companies are well positioned for the future.”

Personally, we at The EDJE wish Tony great success as a car owner in the IZOD Indy Racing League. Great success in your sophomore year at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in April 16-18, 2010.

... notes from The EDJE

Friday, January 15, 2010

Barrett-Jackson Auction Company kicks off 2010

Barrett-Jackson Lot: 5499 - Auction: SCOTTSDALE 2010 - Rare 1950's Chevrolet single-sided porcelain neon dealership sign. Impressive with simulated neon tire movement [crtl-click image to enlarge]. Image Credit: Barrett-Jackson (2010)

Barrett-Jackson Auction Company kicks off 2010

Craig Jackson, CEO of Barrett-Jackson Auction Company, gave a visit to members of the Motor Press Guild (MPG) at their monthly meeting luncheon, Tuesday, Jan. 12, and passed on insights about the process of large scale Automobile and motor culture memorabilia auction sales. Barrett-Jackson's kicks off their year of auction event activity with the annual session that got the ball rolling in 1967, a car show they called, with the appropriate flair, "Fiesta del los Auto Elegance." held in Scottsdale, Arizona. The event was a fundraiser for local charities, including the Scottsdale Library and the community art center.

Barrett-Jackson Lot: 1292 - Auction: SCOTTSDALE 2010 - 1952 WATSON ROADSTER CUSTOM BY BLASTOLENE [ctrl-click to see larger image]. Image Credit: Barrett-Jackson (2010)

Today, Barrett-Jackson Auction Company holds annual auction events in Scottsdale, Arizona - January 18-24, 2010, Palm Beach, Florida - April 1-3, 2010, new this year ... Orange County, California - June 25-27, 2010, and ending the year in Las Vegas, Nevada - September 23-25, 2010.

Craig presented a positive view of the collector car industry as he opened with a short video, spoke for a short time on the state of his industry, and opened the floor to questions.

One of the most interesting questions posed went like this ... You have probably seen it all so is there an auction item that sticks out in your mind that you would like to share?

Craig responded that just recently, at the last Las Vegas auction, he and the staff were left looking at each other, dumbfounded, when the hammer came down on a car for $112,000 dollars. The car was a black & white 1963 Ford Galaxie squad car replication of the television version of the squad car used in the long running TV series, The Andy Griffith Show.

Barrett-Jackson Lot: 63 - 1963 FORD GALAXIE 4 DOOR SEDAN - Lot Number: 63 - Auction: LAS VEGAS 2009 - Sale Price: *$121,000.00 (*includes commission) - Year: 1963 Make: FORD Model: GALAXIE - Style: 4 DOOR SEDAN - Exterior Color: BLACK/WHITE - Summary: Barney Fife Squad car re-creation with a 289cid V8 and Cruise-O-Matic transmission. Built for the famous Barney Fife impersonator, Mick Kieffer. Details: This vehicle was redesigned to accompany Mick Kieffer, one of the nation's leading Barney Fife impersonators. This vehicle has been autographed by the late Don Knotts, documentation and photos are included. Featured on 2 magazine covers: "Rod and Custom" and "Good Guys Gazette". In addition it has been the feature subject of many magazine and newspaper articles across the country. The car's film credits include an episode of the TV series "Cops" filmed in Des Moines, IA, the film "Trash" filmed in CA and a rock video for the Harvey Danger Band. This is a functional "Squad" car powered by a 289cid V8 with a Cruise-O-Matic transmission. The trunk contains the original jack and spare tire. Caption Information & Image(s) Credit: Barrett-Jackson (2009)

Yes, the Mayberry RFD Squad Car ... but this one was a replica built for a Barney Fife (Andy's nervous cousin as played by Don Knotts) impersonator. The car had sold for just about half that price at a previous Barrett-Jackson Auction event (Scottsdale).

Then Craig Jackson made the statement of the afternoon's presentation - "That is why there are auctions ... it only takes two who have an interest in an item, then anything can happen."

Barrett-Jackson Lot: 1307 - Auction: SCOTTSDALE 2010 - 1929 HAMILTON METALPLANE H47 SERIAL #65 AIRPLANE [ctrl-click to see larger image]. Image Credit: Barrett-Jackson (2010)

All auction events held by Barrett-Jackson are classified as "No Reserve", in other words, all bids have the potential of purchasing the car from the seller, and the seller is not allowed to place bids hoping to drive the bidding process up (Barrett-Jackson have people checking the background of bidders as strongly as they know the background of the items up for bid). Further, Barrett-Jackson has contracted with Deloitte and Touche to fashion a code of ethics and procedure to govern the auction process so that people who are involved through either being the seller, or being the bidder, know they are operating on a legitimate and level playing field.

For Barrett-Jackson's part, they will pull an item if for any reason a question about its provenance (background history and authenticity) comes up at anytime before the actual auction. Due diligence is of extreme importance to this process, in that, in Scottsdale, for example, the majority of items being auctioned are going to be sold from between $50,000 to over $100,000 and confidence in the process is what Barrett-Jackson is really selling at each and every event.

See you all at the next Barrett-Jackson - The World's Greatest Collection Auctions - event in Scottsdale, Arizona - Westworld of Scottsdale - 16601 N Pima Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85260 - January 18-24, 2010, and televised LIVE on SPEED Channel since 1997 (consult your local cable listing for broadcast dates).

... notes from The EDJE

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Lamborghini Tale Of Woe In Laurel Canyon

Lamborghini nameplate script displayed on the back of a Gray 680hp Murcielago. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2009)

A Lamborghini Tale Of Woe In Laurel Canyon

Today, January 10, 2010, was a day one Lamborghini Gallardo owner/driver (assumed) went a little off on one of the very tight and winding streets just off of Laurel Canyon in the Hollywood Hills North and West of Los Angeles ... a couple of miles North of the Sunset Strip. The exact street location was not stated in the report posted at Jalopnic, but judging from the photos, the street was similar to Willow Glen (or Mount Olympus) ... way too tight and winding. Not a street to be cruzin' at about 560hp strength and speed.

Upended SAAB with the classic Lamborghini wedge doing the deed. View of the mishap looking toward the Southwest. Image Credit: Aaron/Jolopnic

The driver managed to upend a SAAB 9.5 (judging roofline and back door separator bodywork), throwing it into a Toyota Corolla which then was pushed into a Toyota extended cab pick-up truck with shell.

Upended SAAB with the classic Lamborghini wedge doing the deed. Toyota Corolla was pushed around with the front end off to the side of someone's driveway. View of the mishap looking toward the Southeast. Credit: Aaron/Jolopnic

Most people only dream of being able to ride in ... let alone drive a Lamborghini. At the recent Motor Press Guild's Press Day (actually held over a two day period) two Lamborghini cars were delivered for the gathered members of the Press to drive (the Gallardo) and ride (a Murcielago driven by IRL race car driver, Richard Antinucci). The driving was restricted to about seven to ten miles of street type of driving around Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, whereas the ride in the Gray 680hp Murcielago was three laps at IRL speed on the 1.5 mile infield road track - WOW!

MPG Track Day 2009 Lamborghini contingent nose to tail. The one on the left is the Blue Gallardo and on the right, the Gray Murcielago. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2009)

Video and still photo of the 560hp Gallardo "street drive" machine. In the street drive, all road rules applied. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2009)

Interior door jam of the Gallardo Lamborghini. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2009)

The Lamborghini contingent was only available for the first of the two days, so if one was not early on the list to drive or ride ... one was out of luck.

The last three laps of the day with Richard Antinucci, according to Richard ... were the most exhilarating laps he took all day. He was able to reach about 160mph at the end of the short front straight-away each time through, before breaking for the tight right then left-hand turns to begin each lap on the tight infield course.

The Lamborghini tale of woe will end up costing a bit of money and time, but maybe next time the Gallardo pictured in the accident photos will be able to be driven by its owner at full speed on a closed course like Willow Springs International Motorsports Park or up north at the 3.0 mile, 15 turn workout of a road course at Thunderhill Raceway Park.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Crash, Gallardo, Hollywood Hills, Lamborghini, Laurel Canyon, MPG, Murcielago, Richard Antinucci, Thunderhill, Willow Springs, The EDJE

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year's jump in Long Beach nets Pastrana 269 feet

Daredevil, Travis Pastrana, previously noted for being the first to do a double backflip on a motorcycle, and winning four straight Rally America championships, lands his rally car successfully on a barge moored in the Long Beach, California harbor. Image Credit: Matt Kartozian, US Presswire

2010 New Year's jump in Long Beach nets Pastrana 269 feet

X Game standout and action sports regular Travis Pastrana set a new world record to open up the new year, 2010, on ESPN.

The daredevil shattered the world record for the longest jump in a rally car last Thursday night, making a nearly perfect flight of 269 feet from the Pine Street Pier onto a barge anchored in the harbor.

After teasing the crowd, estimated to near 20,000 thousand, with a warmup run down the 1,000-foot run-in and up the takeoff ramp, Pastrana took off in serious fashion, flying across approximately 200 feet of water to the landing ramp on the barge just a few minutes after midnight EST to bring in the new year.

His Subaru skidded sideways after landing and slammed into a wall at the end of the barge, but Pastrana emerged unscathed, ran to the end of the barge and after getting his response from the crowd, did a backflip into the Long Beach harbor water.

The old record was 171 feet set by Pastrana's Subaru teammate, Ken Block, in a rally car in November 2006. Pastrana wanted to break that mark by more than 100 feet.

"The flight was awesome," the 26-year-old daredevil said. "I couldn't have asked for anything better."

Asked to comment on his celebration jump from the Red Bull landing ramp into the harbor waters ... "It's soft," jester-ed Pastrana. "It was a lot colder than I anticipated."

He broke the old record by 98 feet.

"This is one of the cooler feelings, just to be part of something so huge," Pastrana continued. "It was kind of pass or fail. It was just a really good time and trying to push the envelope of what's possible in a car."

The stunt was the latest in Red Bull's New Year, No Limits series.

Happy 2010 to Travis Pastrana, Red Bull, Subaru, the City of Long Beach, and all who just love the setting of world record marks in this Motor Culture world.

... notes from The EDJE