Friday, December 21, 2018

Globalist Agenda For 100% Self-Driving Autonomy Not A Fit With Consumer Confidence In Technology

A Waymo outfitted self-driving car. The compoany is heading the pack in fully-autonomous vehicles, for now. Image Credit: Stephen Lam/Reuters via The National

Globalist Agenda For 100% Self-Driving Autonomy Not A Fit With Consumer Confidence In Technology

CES, the Consumer Electronics Show starting the year in Las Vegas January 8th, 2019, will be the debut of many technologies designed to serve the consuming public in making life simplier, easier, and safer. The show serves a a major communications effort to convience consumers of the viability of these solutions so that a larger conceptual agenda can be served. Enter the march toward full-autonomy and Artificial Intelligence (AI) takeover in mobility and transportation.

SAE International has designated six distinct levels of autonomous operation.

1.) No automation
2.) Driver assistance
3.) Partial automation
4.) Conditional automation
5.) High automation
6.) Full automation.

As one can asertain, only at level 6 is the vehicle operation completely full AI autonomous.

Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google’s parent Alphabet, announced changing from developing its own self-driving cars to being a supplier and developing self-driving technology for cars mass produced by others. That resulted in the demise of the company’s Firefly self-driving car (no steering wheel, no peddles) - probably the first retirement from the autonomous vehicle race. Image Credit: Waymo via Logistics Management

This excerpted and edited from MediaPost Communications -

Deloitte: Consumers Distrust Autonomous Vehicles

Consumer trust in autonomous vehicles appears to be stalling, along with trust in U.S. auto manufacturers' ability to bring these technologies to market.

Deloitte’s 2019 Global Automotive Consumer Study, which surveyed over 25,000 consumers across 20 countries, found that consumers’ appetite for self-driving vehicles is lagging behind the industry’s pace of investment in advanced vehicle technology. 

A full report of the findings will be released in early January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Several automakers have announced plans for the show, including Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, which is collaborating with Disney for an in-car project.

This is the 2019 iteration of the study, but the responses were collected in September and October of 2018. Similarly, the 2018 iteration of the study reflected responses collected in late 2017. The overall goal of the study is to answer important questions that can help companies prioritize and better position their business strategies and investments.

A majority of U.S. consumers (56%) indicate they want significant oversight from the government for autonomous vehicles. Furthermore, the number of respondents who trust traditional automakers to bring AV technology to market continues to fall, slipping from 47% in 2018 to 39% in 2019.

Last year, more consumers were warming up to the concept of self-driving vehicles and their safety, but that has flattened out in the latest survey, says Craig Giffi, U.S. leader for automotive and industrial products, Deloitte. 

The number of respondents in the U.S. who did not believe AVs will be safe decreased significantly from 2017 (74%)  to (2018) (47%). But from 2018 to 2019, that percentage actually increased slightly, from 47% to 50%, showing a plateau.

“The percentage of people viewing autonomous vehicles as safe has stalled in virtually every market Deloitte studied,” Giffi tells Marketing Daily. “Public perception is likely being shaped by the widespread awareness of accidents involving AVs, with nearly two-thirds of consumers in South Korea, the United States, India, and China agreeing that media reports of accidents involving AVs have made them more cautious of the technology.”

While manufacturers are quickly moving to deliver advanced vehicle connectivity, consumers may not be ready to pay for those features, Giffi says. 

“In Germany, 43% of consumers said they would not pay any more for a connected vehicle,” he says. “A similar story plays out in the United States, where one-third of consumers would not pay more, and another 42% would only pay up to $500 more.”

The study also looked at the use of ride services like Uber and Lyft. Only 12% of U.S. consumers use ride-hailing at least once a week, while the percentage of those who use it “occasionally” reached 46%. This is compared to 23% who used it at least once a week in 2017 and 22% who used it occasionally.

When it comes to even non-autonomous, but connected, vehicles, privacy continued to be an issue. Roughly two-thirds (63%) of U.S. consumers are concerned about biometric data being captured and shared with external parties.
[Reference Here]

... notes from The EDJE



TAGS: Waymo, Google, Deloitte, Distrust, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Disney, in-car project, 2019 Global Automotive Consumer Study, The EDJE

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Emotive Driving Is A "Thing" At Korean Auto Maker KIA

Much of the focus on self-driving cars, naturally, has centered on the driving technology, however, the future user experience that a fully automated car can potentially deliver also needs to be looked at, feels KIA. Image Credit: KIA via MotorAuthority (2018)

Emotive Driving Is A "Thing" At Korean Auto Maker KIA

Next month at the 2019 International CES show in Las Vegas, running from January 8th to January 11th, KIA plans on revealing a window, or better, a sensory space by which Human and Vehicle become one.

"READ" that ... Artifical Intelligence in real-time.

At CES 2019, Kia will look into the future, to a time when self-driving cars are the norm. Image Credit: KIA via MediaPost (2018)

This edited and excerpted from MediaPost Communications -

Kia To Unveil In-Car Tech For 'Emotive Driving' Future 

In a move aimed at a post-autonomous driving era, Kia Motors plans to show new technologies including an analysis of a driver’s emotional state.

Kia’s ‘Space of Emotive Driving’ exhibit at the coming 2019 CES, will highlight the concept of a new Real-time Emotion Adaptive Driving (or, READ) system, technology created in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab.

The READ system can optimize and personalize a cabin space in a vehicle by analyzing a driver’s emotional state in real time through artificial intelligence, bio-signal recognition technology, according to Kia.

“We have developed READ system to create an interactive future mobility in-cabin space by converging cutting-edge vehicle control technology and AI-based emotional intelligence,” stated Albert Biermann, president and head of research and development division of Kia Motors. “READ system will enable continuous communication between drivers and vehicles through the unspoken language of emotional feeling, thereby providing an optimized human senses-oriented space for drivers in real-time.”
[Reference Here]

MIT Media Lab has helped by integrating an adaptation of their ground breaking technology that was profiled in FORBES, which stated that MIT has created a special headset that allows one to communicate with a computer system by simply thinking what one wanted to say to it, kind of like being able to issue a command to Amazon's Alexa or Apple's Siri telepathically.

It's called AlterEgo and it's a wearable device that attaches to one's jaw and face (don't worry, it's totally non-invasive and doesn't break the skin, although the prototype looks a little goofy) where electrodes pick up neuromuscular signals triggered when one says words in one's head. These signals aren't detectable when one look's at someone who is verbalizing internally.
[ht: FORBES - Reference Here]

... notes from The EDJE




TAGS: KIA, MIT, MIT Media Lab, Real-time Emotion Adaptive Driving, READ, AlterEgo, CES, The EDJE

Monday, December 3, 2018

Speed Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks Are Back In Line Up At Grand Prix Of Long Beach

Stadium SUPER Trucks in action through Turn 10 from the 2018 Toyota Grand Prix. Image Credit: Bleu Cotton/Grand Prix Association of Long Beach (2018)

Speed Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks Are Back In Line Up At Grand Prix Of Long Beach

The Grand Prix Association of Long Beach announced today that Robby Gordon’s SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks series has signed a multi-year agreement to return and race at the Grand Prix of Long Beach starting in 2019.

Very popular with Grand Prix fans, the Stadium SUPER Trucks series features highhorsepower trucks that not only race around the world-famous 1.97-mile, 11-turn Grand Prix racetrack but also jump high in the air utilizing a series of temporary ramps placed throughout the circuit. 

The SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks will run practice and qualifying on Friday with races on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Last year, Gavin Harlien (Sat.) and Matt Brabham (Sun.) earned Long Beach wins.

Robbie Gordon stands with son as Robbie gets honored with an induction into the 40th Los Angeles Sportswalk Of Fame. In June of 2012, Gordon announced that he was founding a stadium truck racing series, which he would own. The Stadium Super Trucks Series launched in 2013 and Gordon, an owner-driver, won the inaugural season championship. The series has since expanded worldwide and included races in Great Britain and Australia. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018) 

“To be able to come back and continue our great relationship with the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach for the seventh consecutive year is something awesome,” said Gordon. “The venue location, the atmosphere, the excitement, and fun make the Grand Prix of Long Beach one of the premier events in the world, and Stadium SUPER Trucks is excited to have it on the schedule for 2019 with a new multi-year deal.”

“I know our fans will be delighted to have the SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks back at Long Beach this year,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. “For many years, they have proved to be a thrilling attraction and a highlight of the race weekend.”

Robbie Gordon pushes his Robby Gordon Motorsports "Gordini" Dakar/Rally Raid Racecar, which Robbie based upon a design of Hummer, valued at $1,250,000.00 into it's display place. Gordon was able to give a special demonstration of his custom "one of" super truck at the Sportswalk ceremony event. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

Featuring a wide variety of on- and off-track activities for the entire family, the Grand Prix will be headlined by the IndyCar Series, as well as the BUBBA Burger Sports Car Grand Prix, featuring the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. In addition to the Stadium SUPER Trucks, the weekend will include the Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge under the lights on Friday and Saturday nights, the powerful sports cars of the Pirelli World Challenge and the Historic IMSA GTO Challenge.

Ticket prices for the three-day event, which have not increased from 2018, range from $33 for a Friday General Admission ticket to $147 for a three-day ticket that includes Saturday and Sunday reserved seating in grandstand upper levels.  Pre-paid parking packages are also available, along with handicapped seating, IndyCar Series Paddock access passes, Super Photo tickets and an array of VIP Club packages.

Fans can select and pay for their Grand Prix of Long Beach seats, parking and paddock passes online at gplb.com. Ticket orders can also be placed by calling the toll-free ticket hotline, (888) 827-7333.  A printed ticket brochure that includes a circuit map, ticket prices, order form and other information is also available.

Fans can also follow the Grand Prix of Long Beach on Facebook at GrandPrixLB, Twitter @GPLongBeach and Instagram at GPLongBeach
[ht: GPALB]

... notes from The EDJE



TAGS: SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks, SPEED Energy, Stadium SUPER Trucks, Long Beach, Grand Prix Of Long Beach, Truck Tech Talk, The EDJE

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Circuit Of The Americas IndyCar Test Reveals DW12 Platform Performance Insights

Andretti Autosport's 2018 season runner-up and 2016 Indianapolis 500 winning driver Alexander Rossi takes turns during a pre-season Firestone tire test with the iconic observation Tower designed by MirĂ³ Rivera Architects and built by Patriot Erectors as a landmark for the venue. Rossi was probably the best choices for the IndyCar series to gauge performance of the DW12 since Rossi is the only driver race familiar with both the track through his F1 history, and the race car platform. Image Credit: Chris Owens via IndyCar (2018)

Circuit Of The Americas IndyCar Test Reveals DW12 Platform Performance Insights

On October 29th, 2018, the sole tire manufacturer for the IndyCar Series held a day long test of its primary compound tire used for road courses in advance of the Circuit Of The Americas (CoTA) being added to the schedule, Sunday, March 24, making this the second race venue of the 2019 season.

There have been previous tests by an IndyCar team with this universal aerodynamics body work but none with the intensity and discovery for the benefit of the IndyCar series as a whole.

The two teams that suited up were Andretti Autosport for Honda and AJ Foyt Enterprises for Chevrolet with Alexander Rossi and Tony Kanaan respectively. The test was comprehensive and allowed for 90 laps to be completed on the 20-turn 3.426-mile purpose-built F1 racing facility in Austin, TX.

Between the two drivers, Tony Kanaan has the greatest experience in IndyCar but these were the first laps taken at serious speeds in the DW12, whereas Alexander Rossi was the first American driver to take to the track as a test driver for F1 (2013 driving for Caterham) and later raced as an end of 2015 season replacement for Marussia Ferrari where he posted his highest finish in a Formula 1 race at P12.


REMARKS - Tony Kanaan - Excerpted and edited from Autoweek & Racer ...

[TK] admits he was “caught out” by a few things on the 20-turn, 3.427-mile road course.

“The blind corners, and going up the hill caught me out,” Kanaan said. “I was here and from the outside it looks steep, but in the car, it looks even steeper. To try to find my way there in the first couple of laps, where is the apex? After you get used to it, it’s a lot of fun.”

The track also features some tremendous elevation changes that make a lap around the facility feel like a roller-coaster ride.

“It is a cool thing because the first few laps, you are backing off the brakes but then you realize, you are going up the hill, so the inertia is helping you stop so you go deeper and deeper,” Kanaan explained. “Then, it gets to the point where there is a limit there and I found it. I went straight a couple of times. It’s a fun corner because it’s that type of braking zone where sometimes you go through there you think you could go a little quicker, but then you try a little harder and it’s too much. It’s fun.”
[Reference Here >>>]

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“The track was awesome. It’s a proper race track, and the facility is beautiful,” Kanaan told RACER. “It’s a mix of Road America, Laguna Seca, and a little bit of Sonoma. We did more than 100 laps and it was badass.”

The 2013 Indy 500 winner believes the field of Chevy-powered and Honda-powered Dallara DW12s will put on a quality show featuring close racing.

“It’s a road course, so I don’t want to give the wrong impression that we will always be passing there, but there are two places that will be easier to pass and some others to try,” he said. “And I think our racing will be exciting because there’s less discrepancy on lap times with our grid, and 20 cars have a chance to win the race.”

Renowned for his extreme fitness and muscle mass, Kanaan admitted there’s more work to do before his next visit to COTA.

“The neck, for sure,” he said with a laugh. “Turns 16, 17, and 18, the carousel before the pits, it’s like Elkhart Lake – really long. We did a lot of new-tire runs. By the end of the day, it was like, ‘OK, we’ve got some work to do on the neck…’”
[Reference Here >>>]


REMARKS - Alexander Rossi - Excerpted and edited from Motorsport, Autoweek & Racer ...

Rossi was testing a variety of tire compounds and also turbo boost levels, and both he and the teams have agreed with IndyCar to not disclose lap times.

“With the various programs Tony and I were doing, it was hard to tell where we were at comparatively,” Rossi told Motorsport.com. “But I can tell you that our car around that track is awesome! I had a smile on my face for the entire 90 laps and the package is great.

“It’s challenging, it’s technical, but there’s also a lot of high-speed corners. It’s a perfect circuit for us.

“From Turn 1 to Turn 9 is just mega. The first bit of it is pretty close to flat and each one subsequently gets tighter so you kind of decelerate as you go through them and if you’re a little bit off on the first one, you pay a big penalty six corners later! So it’s definitely a drivers’ track.”
----
Rossi said today’s test was primarily focused on providing information to Firestone, so he did not, for example, try drafting the other two cars nor push-to-pass boost.

“I literally didn’t see the other two all day when I was out on track,” he said. “Firestone wanted data and feedback on the tires on a variety of length of runs, so they didn’t want external influences, in order to get a true comparison between compounds.

“We weren’t really told [by HPD engineers] what the deal was with the extra boost, but there wasn’t a time when we changed a setting and suddenly found a huge bunch of laptime. It was active the whole time, didn’t use push to pass.

“Anyway, it was just good to get out on track – and that track in particular. Austin, COTA is a strong addition to the IndyCar schedule, and I think we’ll put on a good show for the fans, I really do.”
[Reference Here >>>]

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Rossi is actually the first driver to ever run laps around the race course when he participated in the first practice session of the 2012 USGP when he was with Caterham F1. On Monday, he got to run laps at COTA in an Indy car.

“To be an American driver to be associated with it was here on day 1 and it was really cool,” Rossi said. “I know a lot of the people that work here at the track. It’s something cool to have part of my history. I’m very proud that IndyCar is here. It’s a representation of how the premier open-wheel series in the United States needs to be at one of the premier venues.”

Rossi said he cannot draw comparisons between his F1 experience with Monday’s run in an Indy car but the first practice session in 2012 was in the rain. But, the winner of the 100th Indianapolis 500 in 2016 believes there are some challenging areas of the race course for the Indy car.

“Probably, turns 3-7 because it’s very high speed,” Rossi said. “You have to be right in Turn 3 because if you are a quarter of a foot wide in turn 3, you are two feet wide in Turn 7. You have to be able to control yourself because of the entry speed you are carrying in the initial part of that sequence because if you overdrive it, it’s a pretty big penalty. If you underdrive it, it’s actually the way to go quicker.”

For the race fans that have attended the Formula 1 race at COTA, what can they expect to see that is different from IndyCar?

“You can expect a lot more fun and a lot more access,” Rossi said. “Formula One, you are watching some of the fastest race cars on the planet, which is great, but there is also a pretty big discrepancy between first and 20th as we saw last weekend. Here, the top 15 can be within seven-eighths tenths of a second of each other. That guarantees a great show, no matter what.

“And the fans can get up close and personal with the cars and drivers and be able to interact on a different level than told to go to turn 1, section 3, seat 4. You can go all around and get different perspectives and build a connection with the drivers and teams. That is unique and something IndyCar prides itself on.”
[Reference Here >>>]

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On the engineering side, Andretti’s Jeremy Milless enjoyed learning with Rossi on Monday.

“We unloaded with a setup that we are familiar with,” Milless said. “Before we came here I asked Alex what he thought about the track, and he felt it was a lower grip surface, so we went toward one of our road course setups that was bland. And all we ended up doing was adjust rear ride height and we were smokin’ fast, so it was pretty awesome.”

Milless found COTA to be a unique challenge compared to other natural terrain road courses on the IndyCar calendar.

“I just went through and did a bunch of metrics looked at what COTA was like versus the other tracks we go to, and man it has like six Turn 11s from Sonoma,” he continued. “It’s actually a super-slow track. There’s one second-gear corner, five first-gear corners, and then the high-speed corners are really fast. There’s no medium-speed corners for us here. And the long straights are all fed by slow corners, so we just worked on slow-speed stuff and it was worth it.”

With the stickier Firestone alternate tires affixed for qualifying and more than one day to learn the setup needs at COTA, Milless believes the leading IndyCar drivers will be faster once the race weekend arrives.

“The primary focus today was on the primary tire, so there’s a second or more coming from the tires, and everyone was on practice power, so I would say we’ll be at least two seconds quicker when we come back,” Milless added. “But I’m not worried about it. We put on a pretty good race, and there’s such a huge difference to those [F1] cars that you can’t expect us to be the same.”
[Reference Here >>>]

Alexander Rossi registered an unofficial IndyCar CoTA lap time of 1:47.800 and this was said to be fastest of the test day working with Firestone to develop a primary tire for the March 2019 race [NOTE: Rossi's qualification lap time for the 2015 USGP race was 2:04.176 in the wet - fastest lap for the 2015 USGP race was set by Nico Rosberg at 1:40.666 - for perspective].

... notes from The EDJE



TAGS: AJ Foyt Enterprises, Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport, CoTA, Firestone, Tony Kanaan, IndyCar, Motorsport, David Malsher, Autoweek, Bruce Martin, Racer, Marshall Pruett, Motorsports Journal, Honda, Chevrolet, The EDJE




Monday, October 22, 2018

Down Under & Down Home With Will Power At The End Of 2018 IndyCar Season

Australian IndyCar driver, Will Power, on his 12 years in the Verizon IndyCar Series - "When you look at the field, every single driver on that board can win a race in the right situation. The competition is tougher because everyone gets more accustomed to the cars and tracks and the whole system, and it's great to be involved with it. It really is. It's great to be a part of that competition and create a situation where these drivers become household names, as they should." Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

Down Under & Down Home With Will Power At The End Of 2018 IndyCar Season

Could anything in racing top Will Power’s emotional 2018 Indianapolis 500 victory last May?

Probably not, says Team Penske’s ace, the Australian-born driver who battled his inner demons to overcome self-doubts that he could ever win “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” at the unforgiving Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

But despite the triumph, don’t for a moment think Power is finished with business at IMS – he badly wants to add another 500 win to his resume before giving any thought to retirement.


“Oh, man, the 500 is the coolest thing I have won, something I’ve been working so hard on for so long,” said the 37-year-old Power, who will begin his 11th year at Penske in the 2019 IndyCar Series season. “To finally get it, it was so, so good. But I want to win it again – the 500 and the series championship – before I retire.”

Power visited Penske Corp. headquarters on Tuesday with the Borg-Warner Trophy to meet with Penske staff and sign autographs. Power spent several hours on his feet in the Penske boardroom before taking a seat to chat with IndyCar.com.

On his victory at Indy, Power, the 2014 IndyCar Series champion, admitted it still stirs his soul.

“At the end of the day, I had built it up so big in my mind,” said Power of his struggles to win the 500. “You start to wonder, ‘Will I ever do it?’ It had been so elusive, so hard to crack. But, it just turned out to be a perfect day of execution. I had a fast car. I knew I was going to get there. We simply were the quickest out there that day and no one was going to get me once we had clear air.”

While Power, who has recorded 35 series victories, said Tuesday “I don’t think you’ll ever top your first 500 win,” he won’t rest on his laurels.

“You pinch yourself after winning your first 500,” said Power. “It is such an epic event. There is nothing like it. It is the greatest trophy to win in sports. But, man, I want another one.”

An accomplished triathlete, Power is one of the sport’s fittest drivers. Last weekend, he took first in his age group in a triathlon held on Lake Norman, near Charlotte, N.C.

“Not a big deal, really,” said Power, who raced against 250 competitors. “Not doing anything too crazy (about his offseason plans). Just relaxing for a couple months before the preseason begins; then straight back into it.”

Power knows driving for a second series championship and a second Indianapolis 500 victory in 2019 will be extraordinarily tough. As well as having to beat out Penske teammates Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud, Power, who finished third in points this year, must contend with 2018 series champion Scott Dixon, series runner-up Alexander Rossi and a growing list of fast youngsters.

“The talent of the young guys coming in is exceptional,” said Power, who pilots the No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet. “It’s just a tough field, top to bottom. But I love it; it’s the way it should be.”

It won’t get any tougher than on Belle Isle May 31-June 2 next year, when the Motor City hosts the 2019 Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Presented by Lear, the sole doubleheader IndyCar Series race weekend on the calendar.

The 2.3-mile Belle Isle street course is wickedly tough on drivers and equipment and two races in two days can be bone-jarring and energy-sapping.

“It is very grueling,” said Power, a two-time Belle Isle winner. “But I really enjoy it – being in Roger Penske’s and Chevrolet’s backyard.”

This past season, Power won three races and claimed four poles.

“We were super-fast everywhere we went,” said Power. “Yes, we were frustrated at times – two mechanical failures, radio issues and me making several mistakes – but the 500-win trumped everything, so it doesn’t matter. It was just the way it was.”

Power said he continues to be happy with the new-for-2018 IndyCar and its universal aero package.

“The car looks great, races better, way better on road courses, and is nimble and fun to drive,” said Power. “Obviously, there will be some little tweaks here and there, but the series has kind of ticked the boxes they needed to. They put the car in the drivers’ hands.”

Renewing rivalry with five-time IndyCar champion Dixon will spur Power on in 2019, he said.

“It’s pretty cool to compete against a driver like Scott who is getting up there in records with A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti,” he said. “It makes this sort of a golden era of racing to race one of the greats like Scott. It’s good for the future of INDYCAR.”
(ht: Mike Brudenell via IndyCar.com)

... notes from The EDJE



TAGS: Will Power, Team Penske, Indy 500, Toowoomba, Australia, Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach, The EDJE

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Motorsports Standouts Honored At 40th Los Angeles Sportswalk Of Fame

Newly re-designated / renamed Los Angles Sportswalk Of Fame, in its 40th year, honors 11 athletes from several disciplines and special levels of accomplishment from Hall Of Fame caliber to Olympic Gold Medal quality - from High School "Prep" to the highest levels in professional ranks of competition.  All hail to the inductees. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

Motorsports Standouts Honored At 40th Los Angeles Sportswalk Of Fame

Of the eleven inductees to the 40th edition of the Los Angeles Sportswalk Of Fame, three athletes of incredible accomplishment and dedication were from the annals of motorsports competition.

Pre-event orientation where Johnny Campbell (left- red shirt), Christopher Forsberg (center right), and Robbie Gordon (center right, back to camera) are given introduction performance demonstration rules and instruction by a member of the Port Of Los Angeles Police Department (left, sunglasses) at the Los Angeles Sportswalk Of Fame. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

The 2018 motorsports inductees include multiple sport series, event competitor, and series promoter Robbie Gordon, Motorcycle off road and Baja 1000 11-time champion Johnny Campbell, and original American Formula Drift driver and champion Christopher Forsberg.

The San Pedro Sportswalk Of Fame has been renamed the Los Angeles Sportswalk Of Fame this year compatible with a larger overall plan to bring attention to the redevelopment of the Los Angeles harbor community which includes the USS Iowa Museum and a newly re-envisioned Ports O' Call Village restaurant and retail center.

Robbie Gordon (with son Max, left) helps to push back his custom 2015 custom Dakar Rally off-road competition vehicle, the Gordini, a shorter version of the Hummer H3, is backed into position at the Los Angeles Sportwalk Of Fame induction event. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

This is the first year this many inductees from Motorsports have graced the annual ceremony. Previous inductees over the previous 39 years show only five names, so to be able to add three more to the Los Angeles Sportswalk Of Fame is a great honor.

Football Inductee, Lynn Swann (right) shares a moment with sportscaster, Ed Arnold (center right) while standing in front of the Formula Drft Nissan 370Z of Christopher Forsberg. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

The balance of the class of 2018 inductees included Lynn Swann (Football - Hall Of Fame), Mike Scioscia (Baseball), Frank Manumaleuna (Football), Don Horn (Football), Tony Dobra (Prep Softball), Ralph DeQuebec (Paralympic Hockey Gold Medalist), Ray Deeter (Posthumous Prep Multi-Athlete), & Joe Bird (Water Polo, Prep Swimming, LA County Lifeguard).

MOTORSPORTS LOS ANGELES SPORTSWALK OF FAME INDUCTEES 2018

Robbie Gordon, with son Max, show the commemorative plaque of the Los Angeles Sportwalk Of Fame. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

ROBBIE GORDON
Robby Gordon has made legendary contributions to the field of motorsports, and he has truly earned his place on the Los Angeles Sportswalk of Fame. One of the most talented and diverse drivers in racing today, Gordon has delighted race fans for years, at the Long Beach Grand Prix, in NASCAR, IndyCar and Off-Road.

Gordon, the son of off-road racer, “Baja Bob” Gordon, got his start in off-road racing and won five consecutive SCORE championships from 1986 to 1990, a sixth championship in 1996, and a seventh in 2009.  The Southern California native has raced and won in Indy Cars, NASCAR, sports cars and off-road racecars. He has victories in the Trans-Am Series and the Formula Off-Road Series, the Inaugural Stadium Super Truck Championship, the Baja 1000 three times and the Baja 500 four times.

In June of 2012, Gordon announced that he was founding a stadium truck racing series, which he would own. The Stadium Super Trucks Series launched in 2013 and Gordon, an owner-driver, won the inaugural season championship. The series has since expanded worldwide and included races in Great Britain and Australia.

Christopher Forsberg is one of the most successful drivers in the relatively new motor sport of drifting, a technique where the driver intentionally oversteers to lose traction in the rear wheels while still maintaining control.  “It’s been a crazy ride,” said Forsberg during the induction ceremony. “I was just someone who had a dream and chased it.” Here he relaxes before the ceremony with a display Evel Knievel motorcycle, an animated Robbie Gordon, and the USS Iowa behind him. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

CHRISTOPHER FORSBERG
Christopher Forsberg is an American self-taught, drifting driver from Doylestown, Pennsylvania. He is the most successful driver in the sport’s history, having won 3 championships and 57 podium finishes.

He was 21 when Formula Drift announced they were coming to America, so he packed up his RX-7 and towed it 3,000 miles to California. Competing with drivers from around the world, Forsberg became the Formula DRIFT Champion in 2009, as well as a Triple Crown Winner. He reigned supreme in 2014 as he again won the coveted FORMULA DRIFT Championship but this time with a record breaking 5 podiums. Forsberg holds the ALL-TIME podium record in Formula Drift.

In 2016, while competing in Okayama, Japan, Forsberg piloted his V8-powered Nissan 370Z to again be crowned the Formula Drift Champion, which made him the most successful driver in the history of the sport. Now, sponsored by: NOS Energy Drink, NISSAN Motors & Hankook Tires and managed by Agajanian Motorsports Management, Forsberg operates and manages his own team, which proved successful after winning Round Two of the 2018 season in Orlando.

Offroad motorcycle competitor Johnny Campbell stands for official presentation photograph with District 4 representative on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Janice Hahn & Los Angeles Councilman Joe Buscaino. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

JOHNNY CAMPBELL
There is no motorcycle rider with more success than San Clemente native Johnny Campbell. This 11-Time “Baja 1000” Champion is truly one of the Kings of the Desert. Campbell’s success at the Baja 1000, where riders navigate their way across 1,000 miles of rugged Mexican terrain, is unparalleled. Just racing in the Baja 1000 is crazy enough, but to win eleven times at insane speeds on a motorcycle is beyond explainable and is a feat many in the sport consider to be untouchable.

There are two sides to him. There is the “11-time Baja 1000 Titleholder,” Johnny Campbell, who is depicted in the films “Dust to Glory” and his biography “True Champion.” And there is the deeply spiritual and private Campbell -- a story rarely told to the media. At age 16, Johnny suddenly lost his father and best friend, John Sr., while he was racing in Riverside, CA. Campbell decided to be a champion for his late father and stopped at nothing short of letting any obstacle stand in the way of his goal.

It is a goal he achieved. Campbell is truly a living Baja Legend.

2018 Los Angeles Sportswalk Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony took place Monday at the USS Iowa in the Port Of Los Angles in San Pedro, California October 8th, 2018. Inductees included Robby Gordon, Mike Scioscia,Frank Manumaleuna, Lynn Swann, Tony Dobra, Johnny Campbell, Joe Bird, Chris Forsberg, Don Horn and Ralph DeQuebec. Los Angeles Councilman Joe Buscaino and Los Angeles Supervisor Janice Hahn took part in the ceremony. Image Credit: Chuck Bennett, Daily Breeze (2018)

The initial San Pedro Sportswalk opened October 5, 1978 in a ceremony that also marked the revitalization of San Pedro’s Downtown Commercial District. The Sportswalk was initially sponsored by the Trani Family of San Pedro, whose Restaurant was on 6th Street near the Waterfront and was a gathering place for famous athletes from around the world.

The Sportswalk to the Waterfront Foundation represents community recognition of local and regionally produced individuals who have achieved exceptional and outstanding collegiate, Olympic and professional athletic success.


Past inductees from the discipline of motorsports over the previous 39 years:

J.C. AGAJANIAN
One of America’s most respected motor racing personalities, J.C. Agajanian was universally acknowledged as the “dean” of Indianapolis Motor Car owners. 

He set an all-time record with 36 consecutive entries in the Indy 500 race and twice he stood in the victory lane. In 1971, Agajanian was honored at the White House as America’s premier race car owner and motor sports promoter. Ascot Park, where “Aggie” served as president was referred to as the busiest race track in America. Agajanian passed away in 1984.

CARY, J.C. & CHRIS AGAJANIAN
Sons of one of auto racing’s greatest car owners and promoters, J.C. Agajanian, and as successive owners and operators of Ascot Park, the storied raceway in Gardena, CA, which launched the career of Evel Knievel, the Agajanian brothers produced over 160 events a year and boasted crowds of over a half a million loyal fans annually. 

In 2016, the boys succeeded in stacking up a win at the Indianapolis 500 with a dramatic finish, as their rookie American driver, Alexander Rossi, brought the famed #98 IndyCar across the finish line first. This thrilling win gave the Agajanian family four of the most coveted victories in motorsports, the 1952, 1963, 2011 and 2016 Indy 500s. 

To this day, three winning #98 racecars are displayed in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, while the fourth car, the Dallara DW12 chassis Rossi drove to victory at the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, sold for $1,127,500 at the 2018 Mecum Auctions event held in Monterey during the week of the Concours de Elegance of Pebble Beach.

GARY GABELICH
Gary Gabelich held the world land speed record of 622.407 mph over the measured mile in the rocket-powered Blue Flame from 1970 to 1983. He was the 34th man to hold the record since 1898. He completed more runs over 600 mph (six) and more runs over 500 mph (16) than anyone else. 

A native of the harbor area, Gabelich attended school at Mary Star of the Sea in San Pedro. He became involved with racing at age 17 and won numerous racing events. Gabelich was killed in an accident in 1984. Gabelich is additionally honored with a brass medallion in the sidewalk in front of the Long Beach Convention Center at the Long Beach Motorsports Walk Of Fame.

PARNELLI JONES
Born in Texarkana, Arkansas, and raised in Torrance, California, Parnelli Jones is one of the most famous names in auto racing, having won nearly every major auto event in the United States. 

In 1962 and 1963, Jones won the pole position at the Indianapolis 500, and in the latter year was the first driver ever to exceed 150 mph, setting a mark of 151.153 mph for his lap qualifying run. He went on to win the race. Away from the track, Jones is a highly successful Firestone Tire dealer. Also honored locally at the Long Beach Motorsports Walk Of Fame.

BILL MUNCEY
The most famous name in unlimited hydroplane racing, Bill Muncey was killed October 18, 1981 in an accident during the final heat of the World Championships in Acapulco. 

A resident of La Mesa, California, he won more unlimited hydroplane races than any other driver. Muncey amassed 61 victories, including a record eight Gold Cups and seven national titles. He was a member of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness.

The San Pedro Sportswalk mission and purpose was organized to:
** Promote and vitalize sports through education in the Los Angeles Community.
** Provide a scholarship program for youth of the South Bay Area Community.
** Continuation and expansion of the Sportswalk concept thrughout the Waterfront Area.

With this 2018 start of the Los Angeles Sportswalk of Fame, the recognition event has expanded to include Local, Regional, National Athletes along with Coaches (Trani Award), and Veteran Services Members (Tillman Award), and Special Individuals Sports (Sports Humanitarian Award).

After 40 years, this recognition event is sure to grow in stature with the geographical expansion of candidates of inductees and become the additional tourist draw to the revitalized, rich, and diverse waterfront community of San Pedro ...

... or as it has always been locally, and affectionately, known as ...

... "PEA - DROW" - Go Pirates!

... notes from The EDJE



TAGS: San Pedro, Los Angeles Sportswalk Of Fame, USS IOWA, Robby Gordon, Christopher Forsberg, Johnny Campbell, Mike Scioscia, Lynn Swan, Don Horn, Frank Manumaleuna, Joe Bird, Ralph DeQuebec, Tony Dobra, Petros Papadakis, The EDJE 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Racing Safety United, Formed From Diverse Group In Competitive Motorsports, Advocates for Racing Safety

Ryan Briscoe during gridwalk at the Verizon IndyCar Series season finale at Auto Club Speedway. This MAVTv500 run in 2015 and had Graham Rahal win on a pass in the final lap, became the race with the most passes for the lead at over 80 and featured a crash on the final lap that involved Briscoe who's car launched into the air and came to a stop on the Start/Finish line - 9 images to follow. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Racing Safety United, Formed From Diverse Group In Competitive Motorsports, Advocates for Racing Safety
MANY MOTORSPORTS PARTICIPANTS. ONLY ONE MISSION

When it comes to racing safety, drivers, sanctioning bodies, safety organizations, clubs, series, track owners, circuit designers, safety personnel, equipment manufacturers, coaches/HPDE groups, insurance companies, journalists and every other motorsport constituent play an important role.


Ryan Briscoe's car launched into the air and came to a stop on the Start/Finish line - Image 1 of 9. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Stakeholders may perform different jobs, but they all converge on a race course.  That’s why a diverse group of safety advocates has united to form a cohesive, collective and more impactful voice for the greater good of everyone in motorsports.


Image 2 of 9. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Racing’s history is studded with shining moments, but is also fraught with terrible tragedies.  There have always been heroes on the track, yet there have also been many others behind the scenes.  Over the years, a handful of brave souls have championed for safety improvements and saved many lives, but progress has been painfully slow.


Image 3 of 9. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Because the industry is so diverse and siloed, safety changes don’t easily proliferate. Thus, the necessity for an all-inclusive platform comprised of influencers from an array of motorsport segments.


Image 4 of 9. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

The idea to form an industry-wide advocacy group was originally spearheaded by RJ Valentine, a racer with over 400 pro starts, multiple podiums, top 10 finishes, and a 24 Hours at Daytona championship, who personally witnessed much devastation on tracks.  The final straw was losing Jim Fitzgerald to basilar skull fracture and, since then, Valentine has been on a quest to evoke track safety improvements. He envisions a future where serious racing casualties are rare if not a thing of the past.


Image 5 of 9. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

The working title for this unofficial alliance is Racing Safety United (RSU). Motorsports has many participants, but RSU has only one mission—To make racing as safe as possible, protecting lives and vehicles by reducing damage, injuries, concussions and casualties for drivers at all levels, and paving the way for the next generation.


Image 6 of 9. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

RSU is currently made up of 27 members, but the list is growing by the day.  Independently, each advocate is outstanding in their respective field, and many are safety leaders in their own right.  Together, they form a dynamic force campaigning toward a unified safety goal.

Jerry Nadeau – Monster Energy Cup Series Winner, 5-Time Barber Dodge Pro Series Winner, $100,000 Big Scholarship Winner, Former Teammate to Jeff Gordon & Jimmie Johnson

Don Schumacher – NHRA Team Owner, Former Champion Funny Car Driver, Motorsports Hall of Fame of America Inductee, Concussion Legacy Foundation Brain Research Donor

John Mills – SCCA GT3 Pro Racer, Race Car Fabricator, TBI Advocate & Survivor, Public Speaker promoting Brain Injury Awareness, Motivation and Inspiration

Larry Dixon - 3-Time NHRA Top Fuel World Champion, Team Owner, Spokesperson

Randy Pobst – Motor Trend Track Test Driver, SCCA Columnist & Champion Pro Racer

Ian James – Champion Pro Racer & Ambassador for The Heart of Racing

Darren Law – Flying Lizard Motorsports Championship Sportscar Racing Team Owner & Former Pro Racer

Randy Lajoie – Safer Racer Founder, Former NASCAR Champion Driver & The Joie of Seating President

Andrew Pilgrim - Traffic Safety Advocate/Public Speaker (www.tsef.org), Pro Race Driver, Contributing Writer to Automobile Magazine

Dr. Preston C. Calvert – Pirelli World Challenge Medical Advisor, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Assistant Professor, Neuro-ophthalmology Consultant, Champion Pro Racer, Published Author and former U.S. Army Medical Corps Major

Chuck Lessick – IndyCar Ministry Chaplain, Former Belardi Auto Racing Team Manager & Indy Lights Crew Chief, Owner & Driver in USF2000 Series

Kevin Butterfield, D.C. – BrainForest Center Founder/CEO, Wellness Racing Corporation Founder/CEO & Creator of AvOID System and ReTINA system, Cortical Impact Solutions Founder/CEO, Motorsports Safety Blogger

Dr. Julia Daly, PT, DPT, ATC – Athletic Trainer, Physical Therapist, Motorsports Performance Specialty, Public Speaker & Creator of Return to Competitive Race Car Driving after Concussion

Thomas Woods – Veteran, Warriors on Track Founder, The Brain Treatment Center Military Care Coordinator for MeRT (Magnetic e-Resonance Therapy) & Racer

Mike Semel –U.S. Grand Prix Retired Fire Chief, Watkins Glen International Safety Director & CART IndyCar Safety Team Member

James Penrose – Former FIA Driver Safety Environment Consultant, Initiated FIA 8860 Helmet & Hans introduction to F1 & FIA Series, Drivers/Teams Consultancy through Penrose Safety for Audi WEC, Level 5 & many others

Charlie Frank – The Activation Group (TAG) Partner, Motorsports Event Marketing for BMW, NASCAR, Indy Car and Many Others, Former racecar driver

John Gorsline – The Gorsline Company CEO, Driver Protection Insurance, Family Assistance, Scholarships & Logistics Support

Bobby Seymour –Seymour Performance Products CEO, Former USAC Champion Driver & Racer’s Expo Co-Founder

Kip Zeiter – International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) Outreach Coordinator

Mike Brockman – Previous Motor Trend Road Test Editor for 13 Years, Former Pro Racer & GT Class Winner at 24 Hours of Daytona, & Connecticut’s Own Volvo Dealer Owner

Tom Baker – Race Chaser Media Founder / CEO, Race Chaser Radio Host

Joe Chisholm – Race Time Radio Owner/Host & Eastbound International Speedway Race Director

Michael Cummings – Port Imperial Racing Associates CFO - Grand Prix of America Formula One Race Promoter, Motorsports Capital LLC Founder - Motorsports Financial Advisory & Capital Placement, SCCA National Competition License Holder

Jay Heid – Summit Midwest Drag Founder & Promoter, ProQ Motorsports Management Software Founder for Events such as Sturgis Camaro Rally, etc., MotorsportsDirectory.com Founder (A Motorsports Safety Foundation Partner)

Eric Bagdikian – Array Sports Motorsports Operations, Former CODE 3 Animal Disaster Response President, Retired Boulder County Sheriffs Reserve Lieutenant

RJ Valentine – Champion Pro Racer, Race Track Owner & Founder of Impact Safety Systems

RSU initially plans to focus on track safety, particularly the need for improvements at race courses and speedways nationwide. 


Image 7 of 9. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

The first order of business is to raise awareness about antiquated walls as the root cause of many injuries or fatalities.  As expenses can be a sticking point, RSU has already begun working on financial aid options for underfunded tracks in need of safety upgrades. 


Image 8 of 9. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

Another immediate priority is to identify ways of minimizing racing-related Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs). 

Additional RSU initiatives include research surveys, educational outreach, seminars, track safety analyses, creating guides and resources like comparisons or buffering strategies, consulting on safety product development, and other programs. RSU’s scope of services is expected to evolve as the group continues to expand.


Image 9 of 9. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

The depth of member involvement will vary based on availability and expertise, but could include disseminating information, social media messaging, spreading the word via broadcast interviews or articles, presenting safety solutions to drivers or tracks, collaborating on proposed safety projects, public speaking engagements, medical advisement roles, etc.

In turn for supporting the group’s racing safety cause, RSU will assist its advocates in furthering parallel safety initiatives, resulting in a cooperative ecosystem universally geared toward increasing driver protection.

Valentine recently created an RSU micro site, which also highlights its Medical Advisors, as well as advocates who are making inroads into preventing, diagnosing and treating motorsports concussions and TBIs. 

For now, this will be home to RSU details and developments.  http://www.impactsafetybarriers.com/racing-safety-united-alliance.php

Though altruistic, the RSU alliance isn’t unrealistic about the industry’s adversity to change.  Racing will continue to be inherently dangerous despite safety advancements.  But every participant has an obligation to do what they can to eliminate unnecessary risk and preventable harm. 

RSU represents an outlet for safety activists, and all are welcome to join. The greater the number of voices, the better the industry will hear, and the more drivers will survive.
(ht: RSU)

... notes from The EDJE



TAGS: RSU, Racing Safety United, Karting Safety, Motorsports Safety, Athlete Safety, The EDJE

Friday, August 24, 2018

George Barris - The Passing Of Motor Culture Icon And The Signs Of The Times

Photograph of Barris Kustom City museum and garage on Riverside Drive just East of Lankershim Boulevard the day after the passing - November 5, 2015, just fifteen days away from his 90th birthday, of movie motor culture standout, George Barris. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2015)

George Barris - The Passing Of Motor Culture Icon And The Signs Of The Times

Two movie displays on the same advertising billboard that presents itself in the airspace over the garage and museum of George Barris impart different, but cohesive coincidental messages on two eventful occasions that involved this unique location.

FIRST - The passing of George Barris:

Billboard over Barris Garage the day after it was announced that he had passed away [displayed above]. The billboard was advertising The Peanuts Movie, other than the date, imparts the message "Dream Big" - that was exactly how George Barris lived his motor culture based artful life.

This excerpted and edited from Barris Kustom Ind. -

George Barris is known throughout the world as the 'original' King of Kustomizers. His creations are legendary in the world of television and motion pictures including the likes of the original television series Batmobile, Munster Koach, Beverly Hillbillies, KITT from Nightrider and more! His personal Star Collection includes the General Lee, Starsky & Hutch, Torino Green Hornet and Monkee Mobile.
----
The movie studios had taken note of Barris Kustoms on the streets and at races and came to George for cars for their films. One of the first films Barris made cars for was called "High School Confidential". The success of the initial movie car venture motivated George to seek business in Hollywood. This included customizing the personal cars of the stars as well. As the past forty plus years have shown, this association with the studios and stars has been long and fascinating.
[Reference Here]

Billboard over Barris Garage the first day of the Barris Garage auction - August 17, 18, 19, 2018. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

Second - The Barris Garage three day Estate sale managed by Again L.A.

This is most interesting because it was well known that George Barris was a person who was of short physical stature - maybe 5' 6" at best, so this billboard seemed rather poignant given the fact folks were lining up to purchase George Barris memorabilia and creations. The billboard reads "Get Shorty" - just can not make this up.

Here is a cool shot of George Barris, flanked by a couple of exceedingly creepy looking fellas, unveiling his line of custom bikes [as seen] in a 1970 trade rag. Image Credit: Johnny Tillotson via OldMiniBikes.com (2017)

This excerpted and edited from Auto Classics - 

George Barris: possibly the most remarkable garage sale ever!
By Evan Klein - Aug 22 2018

A sale of memorabilia from the late legendary Hollywood customizer George Barris was never going to be ordinary – but who knew it would be this crazy...

Barris Kustoms just had the greatest garage sale on earth. Not an auction but a tag sale, first come, first served. First day, full price, second day 20% off, third day 50% off.

It took George's daughter Joji Barris and her son Jared a year and a half to prepare for this sale at the Barris Kustoms HQ in Los Angeles. George never threw anything away, right up until his passing in 2015. Everything here relates to George’s career and his cars, so many famous from TV and movies.

Car magazines from the 1950s on up. Gossip magazines, Playboys, every Bo Derek magazine imaginable; he would study all his clients so he could design something just for them. If a magazine mentioned George he had it.

The far wall is filled with actual 8x10 publicity photos, the Munster Machine, the Sex Machine, The Pink Panther, Batman and Robin sitting on the Batcycle. Everywhere you look is filled with popular culture that we grew up with. You don’t realize how much of an influence George was until you see it all in one room.


Crafted from a 1955 Lincoln Futura prototype purchased from Ford for $1.00, the Batmobile became the most iconic of movie cars and set the template for a genre of custom car creativity. As of December 2017, exact replicas of the Lincoln Futura are being produced by Fiberglass Freaks, a company in Logansport, Indiana. Image Credit: Ken Freund (2018)

Dan Jordan from Again LA Estate Sales shows me some of George’s personal sketches, a dune buggy, a 1970s Muscle Machine and a Baby Doll. Who’d have thought George was designing dolls? George loved toys. All the toys reference something related to what George was working on. Signed items? We got 'em. There’s the Austin Powers Jaguar, signed by George, $50.
----
George was a master, and his warmth and kindness showed through in all his designs. His Barris Kustoms shop was his home, always open to anyone that stopped by. Today was no different. Thanks for sharing George.
[Reference Here]

... notes from The EDJE



TAGS: Barris Kustom Ind., George Barris, Batmobile, Munster Koach, Beverly Hillbillies, KITT, Nightrider, General Lee, Starsky & Hutch, Torino Green Hornet, Monkee Mobile,  Lincoln Futura, The EDJE

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Lexus ES 300h, What The Socially Responsible Moderately Rich Will Be Driving Next

ES 300h In Sunlit Green - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

Lexus ES 300h, What The Socially Responsible Moderately Rich Will Be Driving Next
by: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications

Winding and scenic roads just outside of Nashville, TN provided an ideal setting for the media introduction of the seventh-generation Lexus ES. For 2019 the lineup features the V6 ES 350, ES 300h hybrid and for the first time the ES F-SPORT. At time of writing there is an embargo on the driving impressions of the three models tested. This is a preview of the features of the ES line-up with a close up focus on the ES 300h. A shorter version first appeared in print at Ron Cogan’s Green Car Journal. 

ES 300h "Provocative Elegance” - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

Project Chief Designer, Yasuo Kajino sums up the newly designed ES in two distinct and fitting words as “provocative elegance”. ES has the all new Global Architecture-K platform resulting in 2.6 in increase in length, 1.8 in width and a wider front and rear tracks. Perhaps for customers the most useful increase is the two-inch longer wheelbase to 113 inches. The ES  most striking angle is its profile that shows low hood and roof lines, made possible by the new GA-K chassis slated A and C pillars.

ES 300h In Profile - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

Lexus with its Hybrid Drive is the luxury hybrid leader.  The ES 300h has earned a new title for the mid-level executive sedan segment, as the newly crowned “Class Leader in Fuel Economy with 44 mpg” this is Lexus ES 300h”. The manufactures estimated figure is 44 mpg combined.estimate to a range of nearly 600 miles.

The ES 300h is what Prius and Prius Prime owners will be naturally be moving up to as move up in life while staying socially responsible.

ES 300h Ample Rear Compartment - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

The rear compartment of the ES has increased size and headroom usually only found optional in long-wheelbase high end cars. This means its easier for anything from adding a baby seat, to easy entry and exit for elders to being more suitable for a double date on the town.

The ES 300h ’Spindle' Grill and L-Shaped Projectors - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

From the front it’s the 'Spindle' grill dominates and is enhanced by the slim L-shaped  LED projector headlights.

ES 300h View Form the Drivers Seat - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

Tranquil, free of exterior noise is how I found the interior to be, 93% of the floor has sound deadening insulation. There are three color schemes, four trims, and three material options for the seats.  The trim can had in three kinds of wood plus Striated Black and metallic. The trim can had in three kinds of wood plus Striated Black and metallic. To please audiophiles there’s the optional Mark Levinson audio with 1,800 watts through 17 speakers. The standard audio has ten speakers and will satisfy most needs. The new suction-type ventilated cooling seats had me as comfortable and entertained as any at the new movie theaters.

ES 300h Hybrid Powerplant - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

The 2019 ES 300h layout is front engine with front wheel drive. Power is derived from a 2.5 liter in-line 4-cylinder running on the Atkinson cycle with an aluminum block and heads producing 176 hp @5700 rpm. The compression ratio is high at 14.0:1yet only 87 octane unleaded is required.  Fuel is delivered by direct and port injection. Torque is (SAE) rated at 163 lb.-ft.@3,600 rpm. The emission certificate is SULEV 30.

ES Nickel-Metal Hydride Battery - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

The nickel-metal Hydride battery has 204 cells and produces 29.1kW/39hp. The electric motor is smaller and more dense and is mated to an all new hybrid transaxle. Combined total horsepower is 215. Important for the improved handling was the moving of the battery from the trunk to under the rear seat. This improves front to rear weight distribution while adding trunk space equal to the gas ES at 16.7 cu ft.  Auto Glide Control (AGC) has been added for drivers who misjudge drag imposed by regenerative braking by moving back and forth between pedals approaching a stop sign. The AGC slows the ES 300h at a more predicative rate by entering a “coast “ mode adding to overall energy efficiencies.  Sport mode enhances acceleration by boosting torque at low speeds.

ES 350 F-Sport - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

The 0-60 mph is 8.1 sec for the ES 300h, as compared to 6.6 sec for the 302 hp ES 350.  Top speed is electronically limited to 112 mph with the ES 300h and 131 mph with the ES 350. The coefficient of drag of these sleek ES sedans is a highly efficient 0.29 and drops down to an exceptional 0.26 for the F SPORT.  The low CD contributes to the outstanding fuel economy of the entire ES line-up.

ES 350 In Moonbeam Beige Metallic - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

The six-speed automatic transmission with paddle-shifters is electronically controlled and continuously variable. Final drive is 3.389 compared to the 2.561 of the 8-speed V6  ES 350. The steering is electric rack and pinion with 2.7 turns lock to lock and positions the assist directly on the rack for more precise feedback. . The curb to curb turning radius is outstanding at under twenty feet. Weight distribution and curb weight were not available for the 300h. However, the ES 350 weight is a  light 3,649 lbs, distribution front to rear is 61/39.  Expect the ES 300h to be approximately a few hundred pounds heavier.

A 12.3 Inch Wide Multimedia Screen is Optional - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)
The Multimedia System is positioned high enough not to distract. Standard is a 8 inch wide and 12.3 inches with the optional Navigation package. The ES is the first Lexus offering Apple Car Play allowing for controlling a iPhone via the dash display or Siri Eyes Free voice control.  ES is also Amazon Alexa enabled for Android phones and iPhones in October.

ES 300h Standard Spoke Wheel Pattern - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

The standard wheel is 17 x 7.5 J split 10-spoke aluminum w/machine finish. There two types of optional 18 x 8J aluminum wheels offered one with a machined finish and the one with Hyper Chrome coating. The standard all-season tire is 215/55R17 with a 235/45R18 all-season as an option.  Trie suppliers will be Michelin and Bridgestone.

The Sleek Lines of the ES 300h - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

One of the ways Lexus demonstrates it strong commitment to safety is with its standard braking and control systems, ones that are usually only found on considerable more expensive vehicles. Along with the expected four wheel disc brakes all around with ABS are Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Traction Control (TRAC) and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC). Front discs are 12 in ventilated discs. and the rears are 11.1 in solid discs. One-third of the sales are projected to be conquests from other manufactures with the ES 300h representing 15% of US ES sales.

ES 300h Looks At Home in This Prestigious Driveway - Image Credit: James Groth / Miles Ahead Communications (2018)

Outstanding fuel consumption, a striking design, first class amenities with rear compartment space found in limos.  Starting at $42,000 the ES 300h will have buyers considering switching brands.




TAGS: Lexus, ES 300h, ES F-SPORT, Hybrid Powerplant, Green Car Journal, Michelin, Bridgestone, James Groth, Miles Ahead Communications, @TheEDJE