MIKA27

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Everything posted by MIKA27

  1. The upgrade that could turn Williams' season around With their first significant upgrade of the season, Williams made their first noticeable performance gains last time out at Silverstone. Although the cars remained at the back, the team’s percentage deficit to the rest of the field was reduced considerably. It suggests that Williams may finally have found a productive development direction – and it may be the foundation of further gains in the coming races as the team exploit it more fully. The chart above illustrates that at the last race, Williams were closer in percentage terms to both pole position and to the next-slowest car than at any previous race, suggesting that the upgrade worked. This upgrade came around the barge board, which was extensively reworked in two major areas: 01 Around the lower barge boards 02 The big bridge vane ahead of the side pod inlet The circled area on the left shows the 'steps' on the chute leading down to the outer guide vanes. The illustration of the upgrade on the right reveals that this design idea has now been removed completely In the lower barge boards, there was previously a grouping of two major assemblies. The forward-most one remains (albeit modified slightly in shape), but the second assembly aft of that (shaped like a chute, with steps in it leading down to the outer guide vanes) has disappeared entirely. In its place are a series of conventional vertical guide vanes which – visually at least – link up the first assembly with the sidepod area much better. It would appear to give the airflow a better, more progressive transition as it feeds through the gap between the nose and front wheel then curves outward around the sidepod’s radiator inlet. Just ahead of that inlet, the big bridge vane (onto which the mirror is mounted) has been split with the vertical and horizontal parts no longer meeting up at the corner. The profiling of the upper of the two horizontal vanes is much more extensive and the mirror casing itself has been changed, both of which will give a better flow to the top of the sidepod, helping counter the aerodynamic lift which those surfaces invariably induce. The upgrade helped Williams close the gap to pole position in Silverstone The extravagant curvature of the top vane at its outer tip, together with its close proximity to the corner of the vertical vane (to which it was previously joined), will create a vortex of spinning air that will travel down the side of the car, helping accelerate the airflow there as it makes its way down the sides of the pods towards the sides of the diffuser. The faster this air can be induced to move, the harder it can pull on the airflow exiting the diffuser from the underbody, and therefore the greater the downforce creation. Hopefully this is the beginning of a more productive development path for Williams in the second half of the season.
  2. Mercedes takes fewest softs for Hungarian GP Formula 1 championship leader Mercedes has gone for a more conservative tyre selection than its rivals for the Hungarian Grand Prix. The teams' tyre choices for the Hungaroring race, which will come the weekend after the upcoming German Grand Prix and will be the final F1 race before a four-week August break, have been unveiled by supplier Pirelli on Tuesday. Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton will both have just eight sets of the C4 soft compound, with the former taking on a field-high four sets of the medium. No other team has selected fewer than nine sets of the soft for either of its drivers. Red Bull and Ferrari drivers will all have nine C4 sets available, although while Red Bull has opted for a uniform selection for Pierre Gasly and Max Verstappen, Ferrari have handed one extra set of hards to Sebastian Vettel at the expense of a set of mediums. Three teams - Renault, Alfa Romeo and Toro Rosso - have gone for as many as 10 sets of the soft. Their respective selections mean that Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen and rookie Alexander Albon will head into the weekend with just the race-designated set of the C3 medium available.
  3. Well Kimi may have only won 1 WDC but the guy is still adding to his accolades. Can't say the same for Nico. Sure hope he doesn't turn into a super negative douche such as Jaques Villeneuve
  4. I've made it very clear that Herman Tilke needs to be ousted as the ONLY consultant and designer of F1 tracks. Hate them! You're not the only one not interested mate.
  5. OCON: IT’S A GOOD THING IF THE RUMOURS ARE ABOUT ME Esteban Ocon has not denied rumours that he is a top candidate for a seat at Haas or Williams for 2020, as both teams could have an open seat come to the end of the year, if not sooner. The Frenchman, who is still strongly backed by Mercedes, lost his seat at Mercedes-powered Force India (now Racing Point) at the end of last year. He is currently Mercedes’ reserve driver, but says the German team would be happy for him to return to the grid next year — even without Mercedes power. Speculation is that he could replace Romain Grosjean at Ferrari-powered Haas and when asked specifically by RMC Sport if he is interested in a seat at the American team, Ocon answered: “What interests me the most is being able to race again in Formula 1. “It is difficult for me not to race this year. The news last year that I will not be among the 20 drivers on the grid was hard to swallow, especially given my performances.” Ocon was also asked about suggestions he might replace the underperforming Robert Kubica at Williams to which the 22-year-old said: “All the options remain alive because Mercedes is open-minded even if it’s with another engine manufacturer. “I can be loaned, that’s not a problem. My main goal is to drive in the official Mercedes team, but anything is possible.” As for the rumours and speculation, in general, he added: “As long as they are about you, it’s a good thing. It shows that F1 as a whole has not forgotten about you. My management is working very hard to find solutions for me. Let’s just hope we find one very quickly.” Auto Bild claims that if Grosjean is ousted at Haas, that French driver could move to Formula E with the championship-winning DS Techeetah team.
  6. BINOTTO: I SEE IN VETTEL A GREAT DESIRE TO KEEP RACING Ferrari’s team boss Mattia Binotto says his star driver Sebastian Vettel is not leaving the Maranello team despite that after the German’s latest mistake, many in the partisan Italian media indicated they had lost faith in the German’s waywardness. Two weekends ago, he rear-ended Max Verstappen’s Red Bull in the heat of battle at Silverstone which launched a myriad of headlines and prompted suggestions Vettel will call it a day, or at least take a sabbatical, at the end of the season. But Binotto is convinced that Vettel is still committed to Maranello and told Corriere dello Sport, “I think Vettel is happy to be with us. Of course, he would be happier if he returned to winning races and if he had a stronger car. “I see in him a great desire to keep racing and to win again. His dream is to do that with Ferrari and I have no doubt about his intentions and his commitment,” Binotto added, repeating his stance on the matter. The comments by the Scuderia chief come amid rampant speculation that the 32-year-old potentially quitting Formula 1 or returning to Red Bull. Indeed, Vettel has been seen with his old bosses Christian Horner and Dr Helmut Marko at recent races, but these encounters have been played down. “If we meet for a chat, that’s far from an indication that we will work together again soon,” Red Bull boss Horner insisted, according to Speed Week. “To my knowledge, Sebastian is under contract for 2020. There are no negotiations.” Horner added that Red Bull is more than happy with Max Verstappen, while Pierre Gasly is steadily improving, “No, I don’t think anything will change in the top teams in 2020.” F1 legend Alain Prost, an advisor at Renault, was asked by the Canal Plus to comment on Vettel’s high profile struggles, on and off the track, at Ferrari in 2019. He observed, “Perhaps it was due to insufficient concentration or motivation, or underestimating the situation. He is clearly under pressure because now everyone is discussing whether he will end his career and all sorts of rumours.” “Honestly, it has to be said that he is going through a very difficult period,” added Prost, a four-time F1 World Champion.
  7. MCLAREN: WE KNOW THERE IS NO ROOM FOR COMPLACENCY Hockenheim was built in 1932 and it first hosted the German Grand Prix in 1970. Back then, Hockenheim’s layout was a 12km/7.5-mile triangle, which was shortened and slowed by chicanes during the following decades to slow the cars. A full re-design of the circuit took place in 2002, and it is that layout which remains to this day. The re-profiled track retained its famous Motodrom section, and with it much of its original character. Carlos Sainz: “It’s been an interesting first half of the season and I’m determined to keep pushing as hard as ever before the summer break. There is still a long way to go in the Championship, but all our focus is on the next stop – Germany! Hockenheim is a classic track on the F1 calendar and we head there aiming to keep our momentum up. “I spent some time with the team back in the factory after the British Grand Prix. Everyone back in Woking is working flat out and their efforts have been key to staying competitive within the midfield. Let’s keep up the good work!” Lando Norris: “I really enjoyed the whole experience around my home grand prix, even if the result wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. I’m now looking forward to getting back on track in Germany. “I’ve raced at Hockenheim a few times before in junior formulae, but I’m excited to race there in an F1 car for the first time. It’s a cool track and I’ve had some good experiences there in the past. We’re working on improving the car at every weekend and every session is crucial to that development, so I’ll be looking to hit the ground running from FP1 onwards.” Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: “We’ve had some positive results in the last few races, but we know there is no room for complacency if we want to keep moving forward and there are always improvements to be made. The race at Silverstone proved how close the midfield teams are. “Despite the good result at the British Grand Prix, there are still clear areas to work on and we aim to make progress at every single race. Heading into the final back-to-back before the summer break, it’s important that we keep our focus during this busy period and push right up until the factory shut-down in August. “It will be a special moment for me as we head to my home country. Germany has many motorsports fans who deserve to see a good race and I hope the future of the event can be secured soon. “From a team perspective, we remain motivated towards giving Carlos and Lando the best possible tools for them to do their job. It’s a collective effort that starts back at the factory and ends at the track when we send our cars out on race day, and we’re always looking at how we can improve.”
  8. WILLIAMS: WE WILL CONTINUE TO TEST FURTHER ITEMS The summer break is fast approaching as we head to the Rhine Valley and the famous Hockenheim circuit for round 11 of the 2019 Formula One World Championship. This weekend’s German Grand Prix marks the opening instalment of the back-to-back double header which brings the curtain down on the first half of the season. Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer: “Hockenheim offers a challenging mix of corner types, some of which are especially quick. As a result, teams typically run quite high downforce set-ups despite the straights. Braking can be reasonably tough with little opportunity to cool the brakes from T11 to the end of the lap, and often a tailwind into T2 & T6. “The track surface is normally quite smooth, and this can make warm-up of the tyres tricky in qualifying. Pirelli bring their C2, C3 & C4 compounds, which are the middle of their range, and one step softer than we used in Silverstone.” “We brought some test items to the car in Silverstone and were happy with their performance, which helped Robert and George achieve our best result of the season so far. We will continue to test further items over the coming races, including this weekend in Germany.” Robert Kubica: “It’s been a long time since I have driven at Hockenheim. It is a challenging track with a mixture of low and high-speed corners. I am looking forward to driving there and to test new items on the car. We hope to gain some pace and if the car handles well like it did at Silverstone, then we will have some fun.” George Russell: “I am looking forward to going back to Germany, it’s a circuit I enjoy driving at and I haven’t raced there for three years. I have special memories there as it was the first time I had a meeting with the team about my 2019 seat. We have some test items that are coming to the track which should hopefully give us a good indication of the direction we need to head in for the remainder of the year.” RUSSELL: TWO STEPS BACK BEFORE TAKING THREE STEPS FORWARD Williams is gearing up to take “three steps forward” after an abysmal first half of the 2019 season according to their rookie driver George Russell, who says the fact he is driving clearly the slowest car during his rookie season is not spoiling the fun for him. “How can you not be happy when you get to drive a Formula 1 car every two weeks?” the reigning Formula 2 champion told Auto Hebdo. “I am paid to do the job I dreamed of as a child. I know we are going through a difficult time but there is light at the end of the tunnel. My time will come.” Indeed, the 21-year-old is strongly backed by Mercedes, but for now he insists he is firmly behind Williams’ push to rediscover better days, “I am aware of the history of the team and it is a privilege to defend its colours. “Everyone knows what our performance is at the moment, but it’s a long term project. We could have done several things in the short term to obtain immediate gains but the team has an overall vision that goes much further.” Russell says Williams is now moving into the period where performance should finally be improved, “We are proceeding in stages for the moment. “The team had a very difficult season last year and wanted to make a lot of changes to the organisation. It’s as though they had to take two steps backwards before taking three steps forward. “The foundations are now in place to bring performance to the car and I am convinced that we can do it. At Silverstone, we had the first pieces of a major aerodynamic evolution that should ideally be introduced from now until Hungary. “The numbers we have for what is coming suggests a significant advance in that we hope to be able to fight with other cars on the track. Whether it will be three tenths, six tenths, a full second, we are not 100 per cent sure,” revealed Russell ahead of the German Grand Prix weekend.
  9. RENAULT: HOCKENHEIM SHOULD SUIT OUR PACKAGE BETTER Renault F1 Team previews the eleventh race weekend of the 2019 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, the German Grand Prix. Drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo share their thoughts on the challenges of Hockenheim, while Cyril Abiteboul and Chassis Technical Director Nick Chester give the latest on the team and on the 2019 package. Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal: “We can be reasonably satisfied to have put both cars into the points in Silverstone after yet another difficult Austrian Grand Prix, an event that has not suited us year on year. We showed some good form throughout the weekend in Britain, with Daniel and Nico in Q3 and ultimately an unpredictable race in which we could have and should have scored even more points. “On the whole, we showed our potential at a track which has, under recent regulations, become a real temple for engine power. However, we recognise there are still areas where we need to improve and we are concentrating on these weaker points. “Hockenheim and the Hungaroring should suit our package better although the extreme temperatures we expect to encounter may present challenges for the engine or tyres – a little like in Austria – however we will do our best to achieve the best results possible.” Nick Chester, Chassis Technical Director: “It’s often really hot at this time of year in central Europe as we experienced in France and Austria. If you have balance problems, heat makes it worse as you lose grip, see an increase in sliding and then it’s a vicious cycle. The tyre range is the same as Paul Ricard and Austria. We’ll be aiming to get the car well balanced and, given how we went in Silverstone, we’ll be targeting a similar outing.” Nico Hülkenberg: “It’s very special racing in your home country. It’s always motivating to do well in front of your home fans as you know they are cheering for you and wanting you to have a strong result. We had a really good race in Germany last year, so we’ll be targeting the same again this season, not only for the fans, but also for the team as well.” Daniel Ricciardo: “Hockenheim is a fun circuit and I’ve always loved racing there throughout my career. Turn 1 is super-fast and there are some cool corner combinations to dig into especially in sector three in the stadium. There are some good overtaking spots too especially at the hairpin after the burst of full throttle. It’s a cool track and one I’ve always seemed to go well at.”
  10. RED BULL: WILL IT BE HIMMEL OR HÖLLE IN GERMANY? Like the apocryphal curate’s eggs, the German Grand Prix is one of those races that in the past, has been good in parts. Back in 2009 Mark Webber scored his maiden grand prix with us in Germany. In 2013 Sebastian Vettel won his home grand prix for the first time with us. The only trouble is, both of those top-step moments came at the Nürburgring, which in the modern era of F1 has hosted the race just three times, and on the other occasion, 2011, Mark was on pole and finished on the podium in third. The more natural modern home of the German Grand Prix is the Hockenheimring, and in the past it’s been a tough nut for the Team to crack, with no wins in eight visits to the Baden-Württemberg track. Not that it’s been all bad. In 2013 we finished on the podium with Sebastian taking third and two years ago we bagged a double podium finish with Daniel Ricciardo second and Max third. The question, then, is what Hockenheimring are we going to get this year? Will it be himmel or hölle in Germany? Well, if the views of Max and Pierre are anything to go by it could well be the former, as both admit to a sneaking regard for the tricky stadium section and the lap time opportunities it offers… Max Verstappen This is almost like another home race for you, as Hockenheim is a little over three hours’ drive from the Dutch border? MV: Yeah, I like the German Grand Prix and there are always lots of Dutch fans to support us at Hockenheim as it’s not far to travel. Two top-five finishes in your German GP outings so far, including a podium in 2016. You seem to like it there? MV: The stadium section is very cool, as you enter into a fast corner and then a banked corner with only a small area of run-off. There is quite a bit of time to be gained through the last few corners if you get the right flow onto the straight. I think it’s going to be a warm weekend again which is always more challenging and more fun. We’re on a good run with the car and improving every weekend, so I can’t wait to get started again. Pierre Gasly Fourth place in Silverstone matched the best result of your career to date, so you must be raring to go again? PG: I’m excited for the next round in Germany, especially after a strong weekend at Silverstone, and I’m looking forward to carrying this good momentum forward. I was back in the car on Tuesday after the race for the Pirelli tyre test so now I will take a couple of days off, rest a little and then it’s time to train hard and get back in the beast! You’ve only had one F1 outing at the Hockenheimring, with Toro Rosso last year, but you managed to make up six places in the race. Is it a circuit you enjoy? PG: I like it and I would have loved to race on the old Hockenheimring, which was even more special than the current one. Nevertheless, it’s still a pretty exciting circuit in terms of racing and last year’s race was quite epic with a lot of things happening. I like the stadium part in the last sector the most, as it’s so technical and challenging. Hockenheim is also the only place in my career where the fire extinguisher has exploded in my face whilst racing, so hopefully this year it will treat us better!
  11. TORO ROSSO: IT’S GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION Toro Rosso preview the German Grand Prix weekend, Round 11 of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship, at Hockenheim. Alex Albon: “In Silverstone, we were definitely more competitive than at the previous two races and we were able to find a much better balance with the car. We managed to get into Q3 again and the car generally felt good. “However, that doesn’t mean I expect an easy weekend in Germany, which will be another tough event for us. We have made progress and we know which parameters we need to work on and it’s going in the right direction. As for my memories of Hockenheim, I remember qualifying on pole there in GP3 and then I crashed out of the first race while I was leading. Then I also crashed in Race 2! It’s an okay track, it’s what I would call a “standard” track, with all the usual elements and some nice corners like the one leading into the Stadium, which has a cool atmosphere with all the fans. “Overtaking is pretty good, especially as you have a long back straight going into a hairpin, which always provides a passing opportunity. It can be hard on the tyres and even in Qualifying, you have to make sure you look after them on a single lap, or the tyres can be shot by the last couple of corners. “The tarmac is old, so the surface is much rougher than at some of the newer re-surfaced circuits. It’s something we will be keeping an eye on.” Daniil Kvyat: “In the last round at Silverstone, I made a good recovery in the race to score points at the end of what had been a difficult weekend up until then. The most important thing is that in the race we were on top of the situation and the pace was really strong. “Hopefully, we will be able to carry this momentum into Germany and then Hungary the following week. I think Hockenheim could be quite good for us, even though the competition in the midfield is very tight. We will need to be on top of everything. “It’s a bit too early to tell if our performance in Silverstone was the start of an upward trend, as every race seems to be a bit different to the previous one and conditions at Silverstone were quite different to those in France and Austria. “Germany will be an interesting challenge for us. I’m not expecting it to be easy, but we will try our best as always to be in a position to score points. “As Hockenheim was off the calendar for a while, I haven’t been there for a few years. Of course, I can remember the configuration and I’ve done some sim work for it. It’s a track I like quite a lot, with some enjoyable long, high-speed corners. “There’s an old-school vibe about it, so it’s a cool place to be. And with a long history of German drivers in F1, the race usually has a big crowd to create a great atmosphere. In terms of what you need for the car, I wouldn’t single out one particular aspect, you just want a well-balanced car.”
  12. MERCEDES: WE WILL RUN A COMMEMORATIVE LIVERY IN GERMANY Mercedes will run a special livery to mark the 125th anniversary of the company’s involvement in motorsport at virtually all levels and of course Formula 1. Toto Wolff revealed that the (almost) all-conquering W10 will be in special colours for their home German Grand Prix this weekend in Hockenheim. The team chief said in his preview for the race weekend ahead, “After racing just down the road from Brackley and Brixworth, our next stop is yet another home race for the team. Hockenheim is close to our global headquarters in Stuttgart. “In 1894, the world’s first car race was held from Paris to Rouen and the winning machine had at its heart an engine manufactured to the design of Gottlieb Daimler. It was the start of a great motorsport tradition that continues to this day and we are incredibly proud to write the next chapter in this legacy. We will run a commemorative livery to pay tribute to our heritage. “We look forward to seeing a lot of Mercedes family members in the paddock and the grandstands. This year’s race is a very special event: we’re the title sponsor of the Mercedes-Benz Großer Preis von Deutschland and the race will mark the 200th start for Mercedes in Formula One. We will also celebrate a remarkable anniversary in Hockenheim: 125 years of motorsport. “While there is much happening off track, our primary focus remains our on-track performance. The weather forecast predicts high temperatures, which were extremely challenging for us in Austria, so we must stay vigilant. Like Spielberg, Hockenheim is also a relatively short circuit, which will close the gaps between different teams. We will stay humble and work hard to achieve the best possible result.” Mercedes lead the constructors’ championship by 64 points, while Lewis hamilton tops the drivers’ standings with 223 points, ahead of his Silver Arrows teammate Valtteri Bottas, 39 points adrift.
  13. BRAWN: WE’RE GOING TO PUT OURSELVES IN A BETTER PLACE Formula 1 motorsport chief Ross Brawn is adamant that despite the separate agendas, all os the sport’s stakeholders are united in plotting a realistic and sustainable future while shedding more light on the Vietnam Grand Prix project. The sport and its stakeholders are plotting a roadmap for the future as this is being written, but some believe the delays in delivering a solid rule book, with all boxes ticked, is a concern as time runs out. But is a recent briefing Brawn is optimistic and explained, “I think we’ll come out of this in a much better place, but I would stress this is not a one-stop-shop. This is not a set of solutions being put in place and then we’ll walk away and see how it goes. “We’re going to put ourselves in a better place and then we’re going to carry on tuning and developing to continue to give what we believe Formula 1 needs. “It needs the whole team side of things to be much more viable. We need closer grids — which we believe will entertain fans a lot more. We need cars that can race and we need circuits,” concluded Brawn. Brawn also provided an update on the street track in Hanoi, “We’re doing a lot of work on circuits. Vietnam will be the first that has been designed from the ground up to be a great racing circuit. “We’ll see how we get on. Nothing’s ever 100 percent — we’ll probably make one or two mistakes — but I think it will go a long way toward the sort of circuit we want. We will learn from Vietnam and do the next one. “We don’t want all tracks to be the same. It would be incredibly boring if we had great racing circuits but all to exactly the same template. “We want countries to have their identity; we want circuits to be unique. Vietnam will be half city and half race circuit, which I think is really exciting,” added Brawn: MIKA: I'm bored already....
  14. GREEN: EVERYTHING EXCEPT THE RACING POINT CHASSIS IS NEW Auto Motor und Sport reports that the much-needed upgrade for the former Force India team’s 2019 car will come in two parts before the summer break. Racing Point has struggled on track in 2019 in the wake of the team’s near 2018 collapse, takeover by Lawrence Stroll, and renaming. “Everything except the chassis is new,” said technical boss Andy Green when asked about the B car. “Previously, an upgrade like this would not have been possible,” he added, referring to the team’s new era since being taken over by billionaire Stroll. The first step of the upgrade will be the rear of the car, to debut at Hockenheim. The front of the car will then follow in Hungary. Auto Motor und Sport says it will represent the most significant upgrade seen so far in 2019, with more to come according to Green, “Even after the summer break, we’ll have another upgrade.” The team has yet to deliver anywhere like they were in the Vijay Mallya days despite the lack of funding that plagued them to near destruction. The first half of the 2019 season has been explained away as a hangover, but now with huge resources at their disposal the fruits are now set to be laid out and only time will tell if their technical team have hit a home run or if they also strayed up the garden path have a few of their rivals in recent years. Another bad car will have interesting consequences worth following at the Silverstone based team. Meanwhile ahead of the race weekend at Hockenheim, team boss Otmar Szafnauer confirmed, “This weekend sees the arrival of some aero development items as we continue our push to bring performance to the track. We will use Friday for testing to hopefully unlock more speed from the car.” With Stroll, the driver, added, “We’ve had a tough few races recently and our share of bad luck, but the mood in the team is still upbeat. There’s new stuff coming to the car this weekend so there’s going to be a lot of learning during the practice sessions.”
  15. HANYU ICHIRO'S MALT FULL CARDS SERIES WHISKY The rarest collection of Japanese Whisky on earth will be available at auction later this summer. Ichiro's Malt Full Cards Series is comprised of 54 bottles that represent each playing card in a full pack, and no more than four sets exist in the world. Each of the premium whiskies was bottled from a single cask with production dates that range from 1985 to 2014, and every drop of the precious liquid was distilled at the famous Hanyu distillery, which closed its doors in 2004. This incredibly rare opportunity to own an exceptional collection begins August 16th from Bonhams in Hong Kong. $580K
  16. Rodin’s FZero Is An Ultralight 1,000HP Street-Legal Hypercar The age of outlandish hypercars is upon us, and with it comes the exciting premise of near-undrivable four-wheeled platforms. While Aston Martin’s recently announced Valkyrie AMR Pro has enamored the motoring community since its announcement, a small outfit from New Zealand, dubbed Rodin Cars, has been working on its own monstrous concept — the featherweight FZero hypercar. The FZero packs an enticing amount of power into its F1-inspired bodywork, boasting a naturally-aspirated V10 powerplant that’s capable of around 700-horsepower in its standard form. Tack on two of the company’s turbochargers, and you’re looking at a very respectable 1,000HP+, with the promise of an even higher threshold of 1,600 horsepower set to release in the near future. As ironic as it might sound, the FZero isn’t inherently special due to its performance numbers. Rather, it’s the vehicle’s incredulous curb-weight that has the automotive community in a frenzy. At just 1,333-pounds, the FZero clocks in at about half the weight of Aston Martin’s Valkyrie AMR Pro; meaning that, with a driver in tow, it can produce over 8,818-pounds of downforce. Aside from the car’s mind-numbing aerodynamics, an eight-speed mechanical sequential transmission developed by Ricardo, and an engine built by Neil Brown Engineering are slated to make their debut alongside the platform. And the best part: The vehicle is rumored to be completely road-legal. Keep your eyes on Rodin’s website for more information on performance figures, as well as an eventual release date.
  17. A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE VINCENT BLACK SHADOW – THE WORLD’S FIRST SUPERBIKE American author Hunter S. Thompson once said of Vincent’s world’s first “superbike”: “If you rode the Vincent Black Shadow at top speed for any length of time, you would almost certainly die. That is why there are not many life members of the Vincent Black Shadow Society.” The Vincent Black Shadow qualifies in almost every respect as the world’s first “superbike” both in terms of the sheer power and speed it was capable of, and in terms of the riding experience it delivered: a bike so powerful that you might indeed expect to end your life on earth and go to join the choir invisible if you persistently pushed it to its limits. The story of this British motorcycle that actually managed to sow fear into the heart of Hunter S. Thompson begins all the way back in 1928, when young motorcycle enthusiast Philip Conrad Vincent began to fulfill his dream as he purchased an established motorcycle manufacturing company HRD, which itself had been set up by an ex First World War pilot named Howard Raymond Davies. Phil Vincent had been advised to purchase an existing company name rather than starting out simply using his own name: so he re-branded HRD to become Vincent HRD and established his workshop in the town of Stevenage, which was about 28 miles north of the British capital, London. HRD had a good reputation, in part built up because of motorsport success, making it a good base from which Phil Vincent could launch his business. Phil Vincent had tried his hand at building a motorcycle in 1927 and had designed what he believed would be a perfect rear suspension system which he patented in 1928: it was called the Vincent cantilever suspension and it was incorporated into his first Vincent HRD motorcycle and all that followed it. His cantilever rear suspension consisted of vertical parallel triangulated cantilevers that extended like a either side of the rear wheel. This cantilever unit was pivoted at the bottom on the bike’s rear frame, with the top attached to a sprung telescopic shock absorber, the outer point of the triangles attached to the rear wheel axle.Vincent’s first motorcycle used a single cylinder engine from J.A. Prestwich (JAP), with some later machines using Rudge-Python engines until Vincent bit the bullet and began designing and building their own engines. PHIL IRVING AND A “NEWTON’S APPLE” MOMENT Phil Vincent was joined in his business by Australian engineer Phil Irving in 1934, which was the year that the engine’s bought in from outside suppliers all failed in that year’s Isle of Man TT. Phil Irving came on board to design a Vincent engine that would be just as impervious to the gremlins of Murphy’s Law as human engineering could make it, and so he created a new Vincent 500cc OHV single cylinder which was called the “Meteor” – it produced 26hp @ 5,300rpm: a sports version of it called the “Comet” was also created. The British loved 500cc single cylinder engines, and many still do, they’ve got a personality all their own. However, there came a day when Phil Irving was sitting at his desk, possibly thinking about the American penchant for big V-twin engines, possibly not, but whichever is the case Irving had a moment quite like that experienced by Sir Isaac Newton when, while sitting under an apple tree he saw an apple fall and realized that nothing moves unless acted on by an unbalanced external force. In Sir Isaac Newton’s eureka moment he discovered gravity: in Phil Irving’s case he put two drawings of his single cylinder Meteor engine over each other and arranged them into a V-twin. We don’t know if he exclaimed “eureka” but in an instant he understood that he could create an engine that would make an American V-twin aficionado begin to drool. This engine would be of almost one liter in capacity and in a Vincent motorcycle would cause it to move rather rapidly, and rapidly with twice as much personality as a single. They decided to call it the “Rapide”, and the V-twin Vincent motorcycle was born. THE VINCENT RAPIDE: THE FATHER OF THE BLACK SHADOW (1936-1955) The V-twin engine that Phil Irving created was made with a 47° “V”, because the rearward set of the engine’s idler was 23½°, so putting two together meant 23½° + 23½° = 47°. The V-twin engine could be built using the same cylinders, heads and valve gear as the existing 499cc Comet single and would be fitted with a pair of Amal 1 1/16″ carburetors. There was a frame sitting in the workshop that had been fabricated for a customer named Eric Fernihough but he no longer needed it so it was just begging to be turned into a V-twin fire-breathing motorcycle, which is of course exactly what happened. We don’t know who was first to take the new bike for its maiden run: no doubt there was a queue of eager test riders. The first production model installed with Phil Irving’s V-twin was made on a Vincent Comet brazed lug and steel tube diamond frame lengthened just enough to shoehorn the larger V-twin into it: the larger engine left no room for an oil tank for the dry sump engine, so the fuel tank was fitted with separate oil tank compartment. Like all Vincent motorcycles from Phil Vincent’s first prototype of 1927 onward, it was fitted with his patented cantilever rear suspension and at the front was a Brampton girder fork with friction dampers. Brakes for the Rapide were made using the best of 1930’s technology: dual 7″ single leading shoe drums for both the front wheel and the rear. That first iteration of the Vincent V-twin was fitted with a gear type oil pump which operated at a quarter of the engine speed and internally fed oil to the big end bearings and outer camshaft bushes. To get oil to the rocker bushes and the rear of the engine four rather pretty external pipes were used which gave the engine a deliciously complex look. Curiously the Philistines of the motorcycle press did not appreciate this plethora of external pipework and named the engine “the plumber’s nightmare”. This was an enthusiasts motorcycle, not a “gets me from A to B” piece of boring transportation. The owner’s manual for the Series A Rapide suggested that “After every 1000 miles, disassemble the engine and check everything. Reassemble.” So we understand that this was a bike for someone who would happily spend a day or weekend in their garage contentedly pulling their bike apart and then reassembling it ready for the next 1,000 miles”. We suspect that many young Vincent owners had to make a choice between a girlfriend or their motorcycle, and many would have chosen the motorcycle as the less expensive, and less complicated of the two! This bike, the Series A Vincent Rapide, was to be the parent of the post-war Black Shadow: but before this was to happen a different kind of black shadow, that of the Second World War, was to darken the lives of millions of people all over the world. MUNITIONS, AND A LIFEBOAT ENGINE It would appear that once his engine designs were established at Vincent, Phil Irving decided to look for other engine design related work and so he moved to rival motorcycle maker Velocette in 1937. The world is a rather unpredictable place however and by 1939 a German gentleman with a penchant for Charlie Chaplin mustaches and world domination went to war and invaded Poland, causing Britain to be at war with Germany and her Axis allies. This caused Vincent to stop making beautiful and exciting motorcycles and instead turn their hand to making wartime munitions. It was during those years making things that explode that Phil Vincent turned his mind to making the V-twin Rapide even more explosively rapid. Engineer Phil Irving was lured back to Vincent by the opportunity to design a new lifeboat engine, but it was the prospect of a post-war world in which he would design Vincent motorcycles that would go even faster that was the real attraction. During the war years Phil Vincent and Phil Irving worked on design improvements that could be made to their motorcycles. One of the fruits of this work was the elimination of unnecessary parts. In his memoirs Phil Vincent makes the statement “What isn’t present takes up no space, cannot bend, and weighs nothing — so eliminate the frame tubes!” For the post-war Series B Rapide, and thus for the new Black Shadow that was exactly what was done. THE VINCENT BLACK SHADOW – THE SUPERBIKE THAT ALMOST WASN’T (1947-1948) As soon as possible once the war was over Vincent debuted their much improved Series B Vincent Rapide. These were years when Britain was still in post-war austerity. People were still on ration books for food and gasoline/petrol and supplies of raw materials to industry were strictly rationed. Because of this the compression ratio for the V-twin Rapide engine had to be kept down to 6.8:1 to cope with the variable quality low octane “pool petrol”. Steel was in short supply and high demand while aluminum was comparatively plentiful, and stainless steel was also fairly readily obtainable. This tended to favor Phil Vincent’s desire to use aluminum and stainless steel where it could appropriately be used. In his mind his were to be the motorcycles to replace the highly esteemed Brough Superior which had ceased production in 1940: and to replace them not only in terms of performance and handling, but also in terms of the quality of manufacture. The process that led to the creation of the first Black Shadow was initially the refining of the Vincent Rapide design, because the Black Shadow was to be a high performance version of the Rapide. The original 47° V-twin was altered to 50° to enable the engine to be used as a stressed member. This was done for the post-war Series B Rapide on which the Black Shadow was based, sharing the same OHV V-twin air-cooled dry-sump engine and the same 998cc/60.9 cu. in. capacity with the same bore of 84mm and stroke of 90mm: in fact Black Shadow engine’s and parts were specially selected off the Rapide production line. This pre-war Phil Irving design featured short pushrods operated by gear driven camshafts which were mounted high in the engine’s crankcase to keep the length of the pushrods short, which in turn kept them lighter and ensured better stiffness. The “plumber’s nightmare” of external piping was gone, moved to the internals of the engine away from the eyes of the heartless critics. Phil Irving had designed both his original 500cc single and the later 998cc V-twin’s valves with upper and lower guides to maximize support and minimize the potential for failure under the stresses of racing. The rockers were forked to fit around the valve stem and acted, not on the top of the valve, but on a shoulder on the stem. This design feature distributed the pressures of forcing the valve down on two sides of the valve stem providing balance and support superior to the conventional method of having the rocker press directly on the top of the valve, purpose designed for high performance reliability. The new simplified frame, for which there needed to be no down-tubes because the engine served that support function, used a box section which enabled the oil tank to be incorporated into the upper frame member. Vincent’s cantilever rear suspension had its pivot point mounted directly on the engine/gearbox unit. These improvements served to make the 1946 Vincent Rapide Series B, the perfect foundation on which Vincent would build the world’s first “superbike”. Despite the fact that many consider the Honda CB750 to be the world’s first superbike, it wasn’t really of course but importantly it was the bike for which the now ubiquitous term “superbike” was coined. We catch a glimpse of the difference between these two iconic motorcycles in Hunter S. Thompson’s book “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72”, in which he tells us that Chris Bunche, the editor of Choppers magazine, said the Vincent Black Shadow was “… so fast and terrible that it made the extremely fast Honda 750 seem like a harmless toy.” And indeed, comparing the civilized Honda CB750 with a Vincent Black Shadow is rather like comparing a Mitsubishi Evo with a Shelby Cobra, both are quick, but the Mitsubishi just can’t compete with the look, the visceral sound and the muscle delivery of the Cobra. What led to the creation of this motorcycle that made a Honda CB750 seem tame? The answer would seem to be that two men had a passion not just for speed, but for the speed to be experienced in the most unforgettable way possible: enter the Black Shadow, a bike that Evel Knievel would have loved. But this world’s first superbike almost didn’t happen. Phil Vincent and his team were on the receiving end of inquiries from enthusiasts who wanted more performance than the Rapide delivered. Vincent built a test bed bike that was nicknamed “Gunga Din” after the character in Rudyard Kipling’s poem about whom was said “You’re a better man than I am Gunga Din”. Gunga Din was a Vincent Rapide that was made in 1947 and tuned up as a race bike. It was raced as one of two factory Vincent racing bikes, and it was used as a development bed for a new high performance version of the Rapide. Armed with a viable test prototype in the form of Gunga Din, and with a number of inquiries regarding a higher performance Vincent motorcycle, Phil Vincent went to his finance man, managing director Frank Walker who was the only member of the management team who was not an active motorcycle rider, and proposed the new model. Walker was not interested and refused to authorize the money for development of the new model. That refusal did not stop Phil Vincent, Phil Irving and the workshop manager George Brown however, who went ahead and built two bikes to the proposed new specification. The prototype with frame number R2549 fitted with engine number F10AB/1B/558 was completed on February 16th, 1948, and loaned to a motorcycle writer named Charles Markham who was writing for Motor Cycling magazine. His article appeared in the May 1948 edition and he stated that the bike had managed 122mph (196km/hr) on test. Regardless of whether managing director Frank Walker approved or not the new bike had made a name for itself and made her debut at the London, Earls Court Motorcycle Show that year. A BLACK ENGINE WITH A BLACK GEARBOX, BLACK FRAME AND A BLACK FUEL TANK: THE VINCENT BLACK SHADOW (1948-1955) For their new bike with which to ensure that the Vincent name would become a household word throughout Britain and the United States, Phil Vincent decided that it needed a characteristic paint scheme to go with its awe inspiring speed. The engine was given a “pyluminising” coat of chromate anti-corrosion primer with Pinchin & Johnson black enamel over the top of it, which was then oven baked for two hours at 200°F/93.3°C: this was going to be a “hot” bike and would be best with a hot baked finish. The engine and Vincent four speed gearbox, which had its final drive changed from the Rapide’s 9:1 up to 7.2:1, were made as a unit so the gearbox casing was given the same treatment while the frame, forks and fuel tank were painted black. The blackness was relieved by the “Vincent” logo on the fuel tank,valve rocker covers and gearbox, complimented by the copper exhaust flanges, and the chrome of the exhausts, wheels and other feature parts while the handlebars were black enameled Vincent “straights”. The effect was of an understated but striking tastefulness, mixed with a hint of danger. At the heart of the Black Shadow was a Vincent Rapide engine with some strategic tweaking done to it. While being mostly identical to the Rapide engine the Black Shadow’s power unit had different pistons, which raised the bike’s compression ratio from 6.8:1 to 7.3:1, and early examples featured a third inner valve spring, something that the Rapide did not have, but something that was not continued in later production bikes. The Black Shadow’s engine also benefited from internal polishing of ports to optimize gas flow and was fitted with different carburetors, the Series B and C being fitted with 1⅛” Amal 289, and “Series D” 1⅛”Amal 389/10. Being a British made motorcycle electrics were by Britain’s “Prince of Darkness”, Lucas. The frame of the Black Shadow was that of the post-war Series B Rapide which incorporated the engine/transmission unit as a stressed member, thus eliminating the need for down-tubes to wrap around the engine/transmission unit to support them. This of course eliminated the weight of that tubing reducing the weight of the bike to a comparatively light 458lb/207.7kg dry weight (500lb/226.8kg wet). On the early Series B and C bikes the upper frame member was fabricated as a box to do double duty as an oil reservoir while the later “Series D” bikes were equipped with a tubular frame and separate oil reservoir. Suspension featured Phil Vincent’s pioneering patented cantilever system mounted directly at the rear of the engine/transmission unit, while the first Series B Black Shadows (called Series B because they were based on the Series B Rapide) were fitted with a Brampton girder fork at the front, but fitted with a 180lb spring instead of the 160lb spring used in the Rapide. The Black Shadow was made not only to go, but to stop efficiently also. It was fitted with four drum brakes just like the Rapide, one on each side of the wheel hubs with a balance bar, but on the Black Shadow those drums were ribbed to enable them to get rid of excess heat just as fast as 1940’s technology could manage. It was not long into the life of the Black Shadow, in fact it was in 1948, the year the bike made its public debut, that Phil Vincent decided to upgrade the front suspension of the Rapide, and so also the newly minted Black Shadow. Vincent had understood that the Brampton girder forks were not up to the task on the Vincent Rapide or Black Shadow and that a replacement was necessary. Phil Vincent did not favor the new telescopic forks because both he and Phil Irving believed they lacked the torsional rigidity needed when ridden hard, and especially when ridden hard with a sidecar attached to the bike. Both the Rapide and the Black Shadow were fitted for sidecar use and had attachments for both right and left side fitting. THE VINCENT GIRDRAULIC FRONT FORK SYSTEM To answer the problem of the front suspension Vincent designed his own “Girdraulic” front fork system. This was designed to provide even more torsional stability than the old style girder forks but with the supple suspension of the telescopic ones. The original design of the girder forks used a triangulated parallelogram steel tube structure attached to the front wheel hub with a central spring (or two) in the attachment to the steering head. Vincent wanted to get away from the use of steel, in part for the practical reason of reducing weight while ensuring strength and stiffness, but also in part because steel was heavily rationed and aluminum was not. Having Brampton forks on the front of Vincent motorcycles meant that the steel used in their manufacture was coming out of Brampton’s ration of steel, not Vincent’s. Vincent’s new “Girdraulic” fork system was simply a development of the girder fork but instead of using steel tubing they used forged RR56 aluminum alloy for the girders and links. To these girder forks were fitted long supple springs from near the axle to to the eccentric on which the lower link had its pivot point. Damping was provided by a hydraulic shock absorber as opposed to the friction dampers used on more typical girder forks, and providing the inspiration for the name “Girdraulic”. Hydraulic damping provided a far more progressive damping than possible with friction dampers and was a great advantage: self lubricating bronze bushes were used for the top and bottom links to keep maintenance minimal. These forks were made to be easily adjustable to make them better suited to either solo riding or sidecar use. The Girdraulic fork was designed to progressively increase the effect of the springs’ stiffness under braking to provide an anti-dive mechanism. In recent years Vincent owner’s have discovered that Phil Vincent’s original geometry can be improved on by using a less angled lower fork link, a strategy that eliminates the fork topping that Rapide and Black Shadow riders have experienced on their original vintage bikes. The Girdraulic forks were found to be extremely tough: a Vincent test rider discovered this the hard way when he hit an Austin A30 sedan side-on with sufficient force to “bend the car in the middle” while on the bike it flattened the wheel rim to the hub, almost pulled the steering column through the head lug, and collapsed the lower link. The actual Girdraulic blades reportedly survived this rather violent encounter without damage and remained “dead true”, we wonder how the rider fared and we hope he continued to be one of the “Life members of the Black Shadow Society” as Hunter S. Thompson called it. THE BLACK SHADOW SERIES B, C, AND THE UNOFFICIAL “SERIES D” The pre-war Series A Vincent Rapide was the motorcycle that was the father of the Black Shadow and its speed on steroids sibling, the Black Lightning. Vincent did not have an extensive dealer network either in Britain or in overseas markets and Vincent owners were more likely to be interested in “do it yourself” maintenance and repairs. To this end Vincent kept their model offerings restricted and used as limited a range of parts as possible. Thus the post-war high performance models were simply improved versions of the Series A Vincent Rapide. The Series A was improved on by the move to unitary construction with a Vincent designed and manufactured four speed gearbox. The Series A duo-brakes used front and rear were retained and in these hubs all four drums, the eight brake shoes, the minor parts and the tapered roller bearings were all identical. Not only were these parts standardized but they were made to be easily removed and changed. The drums themselves could be removed without the need to alter the wheel spokes, and the owner could choose their configuration, whether to have all four drums fitted, or three, or whatever combination was desired. The rear wheel was easily removable and reversible, and fitting a different ratio sprocket was made easy to make the bike adaptable to different situations such as open highway speed or winding mountain roads. (Note: the front to rear brake drum interchangeability was not carried over into the Black Shadow models). The first of the Series B Black Shadows debuted in 1948 and were fitted with Brampton girder front forks and an adjustable Feridax Dunlopillo Dualseat complete with a tyre pump under it and a tool tray under the front with each tool in a rattle-proof felt compartment. The change to Vincent Girdraulic front forks marking the changeover to the Series C Rapide and Black Shadow also happening a little later in 1948. The Series C Black Shadow was in production from 1948 until 1954. The final development of the Series C is unofficially referred to as the “Series D” with production of this variant beginning in 1954 and continuing until Vincent ceased manufacturing one week before Christmas in 1955, prior to going into receivership in 1959. VINCENT BLACK SHADOW SPECIFICATIONS Engine: 998cc/60.9 cu. in. 50° V-twin cylinder OHV, dry-sump, air cooled with bore of 3.3″/84mm, stroke of 3.5″/90mm, and compression ratio of 7.3:1. This engine produced 55hp giving the motorcycle a top speed of approximately 125mph depending on conditions. Transmission: Vincent four speed gearbox in unit construction with the engine. Frame: Series B and C; Box-section upper frame member with the engine/transmission unit acting as a stressed member of the frame. Box section upper frame member used as oil tank for the dry sump engine. Late models known unofficially as “Series D” have a tubular steel upper frame member and a separate oil tank reservoir. Suspension: Front; Series B; Brampton girder forks with 180lb spring and friction damper. Series C; Vincent Girdraulic forks made of RR56 aluminum alloy with coil springs, forks mounted to the upper frame member, telescopic hydraulic damper/shock absorber, the system featuring an anti-dive geometry. Rear, Vincent cantilever suspension with twin telescopic dampers/shock absorbers, lower pivot mounted directly on the engine/transmission unit. Wheels and Tires: Front; Alloy WM-1 x 20/21 with 3.00 – 20/21. Rear; Alloy WM-2 x 19/20 with 3.5 – 19/20. Brakes: Four 7″/180mm single leading shoe drum brakes mounted two per wheel. Drums of ribbed cast iron. Front drums fitted with small flanges secured by five bolts, rear drums fitted with larger flanges and secured by ten bolts. Brake linings were Ferodo MR41. Fuel Capacity: 4.2 US gallons (15.8 liters, 3.5 Imperial gallons). Weight: 458lb/207.7kg dry weight, 500lb/226.8kg wet weight. ROLLIE FREE AND THE SPEEDO SPEED RECORD American Roland “Rollie” Free must be credited with being the guy who made the name Vincent a household word overnight. He had spent the pre-war years working his way into motorcycle racing and when the United States entered the Second World War was employed as an aircraft maintenance officer at Hill Field in Utah: and during that time visited the fabled Bonneville Salt Flats where so many speed records had been set. After the war Rollie left the Air Force and got back into racing, primarily on Indian machines. In this post war period Indian Motocycle and Vincent did some collaborative work to see if they could work together to create motorcycles that would appeal to American riders. One of these was an Indian Chief fitted with a Vincent V-twin engine, and another was a Vincent Rapide made specifically to suit the American market and to be manufactured partly by Vincent and Indian. Rollie knew California businessman John Edgar who had purchased a Vincent “Black Shadow” built to special custom specifications which had turned it into a limited production motorcycle that would become known as the “Black Lightning”, perhaps because it was painted black, perhaps because it had been subjected to lightening by use of aluminum alloy wherever possible, and perhaps because the little two-wheeled bullet moved with the speed of lightning. Rollie somehow persuaded John Edgar to loan him the little two wheeled streak of black lightning in 1948 in order for him to have a stab at the American motorcycle speed record out on the Bonneville salt flats, and so the bike and Rollie Free made their way out there to give it their best shot. The Vincent was reportedly 100lb lighter than a standard bike and the engine was producing 25hp more with help from horizontal racing carburetors and the new Mark II racing camshaft. For his first efforts Rollie wore the custom leathers he’d had made for the speed record attempt and adopted the flat prone position laying across the machine’s fuel tank and rear mudguard with his legs stretched out behind like an Olympic swimmer diving into the water. He reached 147mph doing things the way he’d planned but the leathers tore, and he was 3mph short of 150mph. So he decided to strip off everything that Utah decency laws would allow and try for the speed record wearing only a bathing cap, pair of borrowed jogging shoes, and appropriately named “Speedo” bathers. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought of what it might feel like if you were riding a motorcycle at 150mph across a salt flat and you fell off? It would be guaranteed to be “rubbing salt into the wound” in the most extreme way, something so nasty that the torturers of the Spanish Inquisition would have loved to have thought of it, except thankfully they didn’t have motorcycles and so didn’t. Rollie Free decided to take the risk as he headed up to 150mph skimming above that potentially painful unforgiving salt. Rollie Free’s “Speedo” run took place on 13th September 1948 and he got up to 150.313 mph (241.905 km/h) setting a new American speed record and producing what must be the most iconic “need for speed” photograph of the twentieth century. No doubt the publicity was superb and the name Vincent became rather well known in American motorcycle circles. This was not to be Vincent’s only speed record success however and across the pond in Britain Phil Vincent took four Black Shadows and two Black Lightnings, and got together a group that included Ted Davis (chief tester), John Surtees (at that time an 18 year old apprentice) and Danny Thomas (tester) plus Cyril Julian, Phil Heath, Denis Lashmar, Gustave LeFevre, Bill Petch, Robin Sherry, Johnny Hodgkin and journalist Vic Willoughby of “Motor Cycle” magazine, and took them to L’autodrome de Linas-Montlhéry in May 1952. The team took eight long distance world records and could have done more had some of the bike tires not started de-laminating. Other Vincent owners put in the effort to set records themselves. Down in Australia on January 19th, 1953 a man named Jack Ehret managed to persuade the police near the town of Gunnedah to close off a suitable section of road so he could give his Vincent Black Shadow the gun and see if he could set an Australian speed record. He managed a run of 149.6mph but the timing equipment broke and so did his gear shifter. Not to be defeated a makeshift repair was made to the gear shift by hammering a ring spanner onto it and fixing it there with fencing wire: a standard sort of fix in that part of the world. The makeshift gear shifter was not as good as the original but Jack was able to achieve a two way average of 141.509 mph and with that set a new Australian motorcycle speed record. CONCLUSION The Vincent Black Shadow ended production with all other Vincent motorcycles a week before Christmas Day 1955 and the company finally went into receivership in 1959. There have been some efforts to resurrect the Vincent and the “Black Shadow” name: one was attempted by a gentleman named Bernard Li who intended to build new motorcycles using modern components and powered by the Honda RC51 V-twin engine. Bernard Li was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident before he was able to see his dream fulfilled. The other effort has emerged in Australia with the creation of the Irving Vincent. This bike has been created by HRD Engineering, which in this new company stands for Horner Race Development. The Irving Vincent is a re-engineered model based on the original Vincent drawings but improved using modern technology and methods. The Vincent Black Shadow stands with the Brough Superior as the most iconic motorcycles to emerge from Britain. It has a dedicated following, and the surviving Black Shadow’s of the approximately 1,700 that were made sell for quite eye watering sums of money. Tellingly these very costly investment quality motorcycles are usually ridden by their owners because a Vincent Black Shadow is not best appreciated sitting it static in a collection and admiring it as a “work of art”. A Vincent Black Shadow needs to be ridden to be fully appreciated. It is a bike that is best enjoyed both in riding it, and in pulling it apart and doing the maintenance that it requires. It is a hands on classic British motorcycle.
  18. The Trailer For Shudder's New Creepshow Anthology Series Is Here Back in 1982, the twin powers of George A. Romero and Stephen King teamed up for Creepshow, a gruesomely funny anthology film packed with five (six, if you count the frame story) tales of terror. Now, horror streamer Shudder has a 12-story, six-episode TV series on the way from The Walking Dead’s Greg Nicotero — and the first trailer has arrived, with a confirmed release date to boot. In keeping with the anthology format, the trailer is a montage of freaky images, gruesome scares, and screams, juxtaposed for maximum alarm and a bit of humour. A creepy dollhouse segues into a tortured wraith; people with haunted eyes explain that things are just the way they’re supposed to be. “You know it’s ok to be scared, right?” a voice intones over the early footage. And everything has a nice comic book theme, which is a pleasure to see. Creepshow stars a bevy of names new and old, with Adrienne Barbeau returning from the movie alongside talent like David Arquette, Tobin Bell, Jeffrey Combs, Giancarlo Esposito, Kid Cudi, and Big Boi. The Season One slate will include stories like “Grey Matter”, an adaptation of a King story starring Barbeau, Esposito, and Bell, directed by Nicotero, “House of the Head” written by Josh Malerman of Bird Box fame, and other menacing sounding stories like “All Hallows Eve,” “Bad Wolf Down,” and “By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain.” Creepshow arrives on Shudder Thursday, September 26 in the U.S. and with the channel rumoured to launch in Australia soon, it'll likely be heading our way at some point. Stay tuned for more information!
  19. Magnussen gets Haas upgrades for Germany, Grosjean keeps Australia spec Romain Grosjean will retain his Melbourne-spec Haas while Kevin Magnussen receives new aero parts for this weekend’s German Grand Prix, as the team continue to search for answers as to why their upgrades aren’t working. Grosjean reverted to the Melbourne set-up at the last round at Silverstone while Magnussen continued with Haas’s latest package, enabling the team to compare the two specs. But Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner was left furious after the team mates collided early in the British race, the double DNF not only costing the team potential points but essential data on the VF-19’s shortcomings. Hence they will now try again at Hockenheim. “Good information was gleaned from Friday and Saturday’s on-track running [at Silverstone], but the data collection was cut short,” said the team. “As a result, Grosjean will continue with the Melbourne aero spec in Germany. Magnussen, however, will debut the latest upgrade to the Haas VF-19, which was designed to improve downforce and the car’s overall driveability.” That will allow the team to compare and contrast what they know works with what they believe will work better. And they feel that the Hockenheimring – a track that highlights both straight-line speed and good traction – will provide the “ultimate laboratory” for that comparison. “We’re just making the car, in general, better, more drivable with more downforce, which always helps you go fast,” added Steiner. “We’re trying to make the tyres work better for us. That’s the biggest improvement we can make at the moment – getting into the window of the tyre – and that’s got a lot to do with downforce. “We’re putting a lot of effort into improving the situation we’re in. We need to get the understanding of where we are and where we didn’t work in the right direction. That’s the thing we have to do.” Grosjean had been struggling with Haas’s latest package ever since the upgrade brought in for the Spanish Grand Prix, hence his decision to revert his VF-19 car back to its Australian Grand Prix specification. “For me, the feeling was not so good from the rear end, especially through medium- and high-speed corners,” he commented. “The feeling hasn’t been good in those corners since then. Going back to the Melbourne package, the car felt a lot better in those regions. “It shows that something was not working as expected. Now the aero guys are looking into it, but we know it’s been our weakness. Obviously, that launch package has some limitations also. It has less downforce, but it has better stability.” Grosjean and the team will be hoping for some answers asap: Haas were sixth in the constructors’ standings after May’s Monaco Grand Prix, the last race at which either driver scored. Now they’re down to ninth.
  20. Aston "would love" to have Verstappen at Le Mans Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer says the prospect of Formula 1 star Max Verstappen racing for the manufacturer at the Le Mans 24 Hours is "a conversation to be had". Verstappen's Red Bull F1 team has a title partnership with Aston and the energy drinks company's Advanced Technologies firm helped Aston develop the road-going Valkyrie hypercar. A racing version of the Valkyrie will be built to the World Endurance Championship's new top-class regulations in 2020, giving Aston the chance to fight for overall honours at the Le Mans 24 Hours again. Verstappen has talked about his desire to race at Le Mans, particularly with his father Jos. Aston boss Palmer told Motorsport.com that he is "privileged to have a reasonably good relationship with Max" through the Red Bull link. "Philosophically or theoretically I'd love to have him involved [at Le Mans]," said Palmer. "He's not formally involved but it's not ruled out either. "That's a conversation to be had in the future. But wouldn't it be great?" Aston's title partnership with Red Bull has been vindicated by various commercial, technological and sporting offshoots. As well as the name of the F1 team and prominent branding on Red Bull's cars, there have been various events with Red Bull and Aston Martin working together – most recently at the British Grand Prix. Aston gave the road-going Valkyrie its first public run at Silverstone, on the same weekend it used its involvement in the James Bond film franchise to deck out Red Bull's cars in a special 007 livery and invite actor Daniel Craig to the race. Palmer admitted that the mix of those off-track initiatives, coupled with competitive growth such as the WEC Hypercar project and Red Bull alliance, seemed impossible when he joined Aston five years ago. "It looks like giant leaps but actually it's lots of little steps," he said. "Underneath the water every day is a struggle. But that's the point: we're struggling towards a goal that's been clearly laid out, a roadmap for development of the company turning into a great British institution. "That's laid out until at least 2024. While each of the days require big targets to be achieved, at least you know where you're running to. "We've got momentum now, we know where we're heading. And if you get little successes they turn into big successes and into huge successes. "Then somehow things just start to happen. Think about the weekend – you've got Red Bull, Max Verstappen, we shouldn't ignore Pierre [Gasly] as he did a great job, you've got Daniel Craig and 007, Aston Martin, all in one space. "Imagine trying to orchestrate all that a few years ago. That would have been something impossible. And the cherry on the cake is running the Valkyrie. These are things you look back on in your career and think 'that was a day, wasn't it!'."
  21. London GP would work best as a 'one-off' event – Christian Horner Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner believes a London Grand Prix would work as a "one-off event", rather than a full-time addition to the Formula 1 calendar. F1 has been pushing for a race to happen in London for many years now, but it has never materialised due to the vast expense and trouble it would cause, likely gridlocking an already busy capital city for many days as it would require months of planning. However Liberty Media are looking at the idea of a London GP on the outskirts of the city, where a semi-permanent venue could be constructed. This would be a more feasible approach and it's something the sport's bosses are looking at with interest. It is however unlikely to happen until 2023 at the earliest as Silverstone recently struck a new deal to host the British GP and it's believed that deal includes a veto on any London race for a period of three years. Horner says it would be "fantastic" to race on the streets of the capital, but believes it would serve the sport best as a one-off arrangement. "I think London would need to be one-off event. It’s not the type of venue that would be there every year," he said of the proposal. "But if ever it was possible, I still think it would be fantastic to see an F1 car race around the streets of London. But it would mean it would be an additional race to Silverstone, which is the natural home of F1." However if assurances were made that Silverstone would remain on the calendar, Horner says he would be open to having two British races. "If it’s another fantastic venue and a circuit that adds to a 21-race calendar, and we are fortunate that two of those are in this country, then I’d certainly take it." Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel disagrees and doesn't think more city based races is what F1 needs at the moment, given the recent expansion into street circuits with the addition of Singapore, Azerbaijan and Vietnam next year. "I’m happy with Silverstone, let’s put it that way. I think it’s a great place. There’s no problem with putting a great show on here. There’s no problem getting a great crowd. "I don’t think there’s a strong need to go into the cities. I don’t think there would be more people in the city than here. This is great. Every year I can remember more than 100,000 fans each weekend."
  22. Mercedes vigilant as hot weather forecast for home event Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says his team must remain “vigilant” at this weekend’s German Grand Prix, with hot weather set to affect the event. Mercedes is set for a weekend of commemorations at its home grand prix – for which it will act as title sponsor – as it is marking 125 years of involvement in motorsport. It is also marking its 200th race start as a manufacturer team in Formula 1. Mercedes holds a substantial advantage in both Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship, with its only defeat this year coming at the Austrian Grand Prix. Mercedes accepted that it was stifled by the hot weather at the Red Bull Ring, having to open the W10’s bodywork, later revealing small radiators accentuated its predicament. Much of Western Europe is poised for another band of exceptionally hot weather through the middle of this week, with temperatures likely to hit 40˚c at Hockenheim on Thursday. While conditions are forecast to cool to around 30˚c for Saturday and Sunday, Wolff commented: “The weather forecast predicts high temperatures. “They were extremely challenging for us in Austria, so we must stay vigilant. “Like Spielberg, Hockenheim is also a relatively short circuit, which will close the gaps between different teams. We will stay humble and work hard to achieve the best possible result. “The British Grand Prix was a spectacular race and a great showcase for our sport. It was great to see our drivers battle on track in the opening stint; they fought hard but always fair. “And it was good to bounce back from the poor performance in Austria with a strong one-two finish.” Mercedes has claimed all three victories at Hockenheim in the hybrid era.
  23. Mercedes' German GP livery to celebrate 125 years of motorsport Mercedes is planning to run a commemorative livery at this weekend's German Grand Prix to celebrate 125 years of motorsport. The 1894 Paris–Rouen is considered to be the very first 'motor race', which saw 21 entrants race the 126 km distance between the two French cities on July 22. The race was officially won by Albert Lemaître, driving a Peugeot Type 7, running a 1,282 cc V-twin Daimler engine, which produced 3.7 horsepower – a far cry from the 1,000hp machines of today! This weekend therefore marks Mercedes' first motorsport victory as an engine supplier and will also serve as their 200th Grand Prix start in Formula 1, which will be celebrated at their home race, the 2019 German GP, of which Mercedes-Benz is title sponsor. The team is set to run a commemorative livery to celebrate the occasion, though it's not been confirmed yet as to what this will entail. "This year’s race is a very special event: we’re the title sponsor of the Mercedes-Benz Großer Preis von Deutschland and the race will mark the 200th start for Mercedes in Formula 1," said team boss Toto Wolff. "We will also celebrate a remarkable anniversary in Hockenheim: 125 years of motorsport. In 1894, the world’s first car race was held from Paris to Rouen and the winning machine had at its heart an engine manufactured to the design of Gottlieb Daimler. "It was the start of a great motorsport tradition that continues to this day and we are incredibly proud to write the next chapter in this legacy. "We will run a commemorative livery to pay tribute to our heritage." The team has also updated its social media profile photo to feature the logo Mercedes-Benz's used in 1894.
  24. Daniel Ricciardo facing £10m court claim over Renault move Daniel Ricciardo is facing a court claim of £10 million ($12.5m) over his switch from Red Bull to Renault for the 2019 Formula 1 season. According to a claim filed with London's High Court, Ricciardo's former manager Glenn Beavis has filed the suit against the Australian for unpaid commissions related to his new contract with the French manufacturer. Beavis is seeking £10m for what he claims is "due in accordance with the commission agreed between the parties" prior to their split. Beavis, who appeared alongside Ricciardo in Netflix's 'Drive to Survive' documentary series, claims to have had an agreement with Ricciardo which would earn him a 20 per cent commission on the value of any new deals. Although Ricciardo and Beavis split prior to the first race of the season, the suit claims Beavis had initiated contract discussions with Renault in 2017 before reaching an agreement in August 2018, though a long form contract had yet to be signed. This was completed on March 7, a week before the Australian Grand Prix, and it's claimed the pair had continued to work together until March 31, although Ricciardo informed Beavis that he wished to terminate their relationship on December 15 2018. It adds that an agreement was reached to continue working together until outstanding matters were concluded. Whilst many of the details of Ricciardo's deal with Renault have been redacted from public view, the available details would suggest the 30-year-old is on more than £20m a season. A lawyer representing Ricciardo and his company Whitedunes International Holdings Limited, a British Virgin Islands company, refutes the claims laid out in the suit and says they hold "no merit". "I can confirm that Ebury Partnership and I act for Daniel Ricciardo in relation to this claim and Daniel's position is very clear - there is no merit whatsoever in relation to this claim and we are going to defend it absolutely fully," lawyer Jeremy Courtenay-Stamp told the BBC. "You'll have only seen his claim so far. You won't have seen our defence because it hasn't been filed. But it will be filed and it will entirely refute the claim that Beavis is making."
  25. ROSBERG: KIMI COULD HAVE ACHIEVED MORE IF HE HAD WORKED HARDER Nico Rosberg has defended the racing ethos of Formula 1’s oldest, most experienced and insanely popular current driver, namely Kimi Raikkonen, who astonished with his talent when he entered the sport with almost no experience in 2001. But the best part of two decades and 302 grand prix starts later many think the now 39-year-old Raikkonen should have won more than a single title and 21 wins, in other words, underachieved in the top flight. “You would have to say that Kimi could have achieved more if he had worked harder,” Rosberg, who won the title in 2016 at the age of 31 before suddenly quitting, told Ilta Sanomat. But Rosberg said he is not criticising Raikkonen for his work ethic, “On the other hand, he is being himself. There is no right or wrong way. No one can say that anyone has to work like crazy. He does what he wants and what is good for him. You have to appreciate that.” “It’s not the way that I approached this sport, It was important to me to work as hard as I could,” explained Rosberg who had to summon tremendous strength to beat nemesis Lewis Hamilton and admitted that he simply did not have it in him for another war with the Englishman in the #44 car. Ahead of his 303rd grand prix this weekend in Germany, stats show that Raikkonen celebrated 103 times on F1 podiums 21 times as a winner, with the 2007 world title etching him up there with the greats of the sport. MIKA: I was a Nico Rosberg fan while he was in the car, but as a pundit, he is quite annoying IMO. More concerned about the way he looks than anything. Kimi was at his peak in the early to mid 2000's. 2005 should have been Kimi's to win had the McLaren not been so mechanically unreliable in San Marino and Germany which is what cost him missing out on his 2nd WDC. 1 WDC, 21 wins, 103 Podiums, 18 Pole Positions and 46 fastest laps is still an impressive record!

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