Archives for December 2012
Back in November, Britain’s discussing sponsorship and what it takes to make ends meet in professional motorsport these days, and took this opportunity to catch up.
DESERT WARRIOR 3
The Desert Warrior 3 was built by RaBe Race Cars for the FIA T3 world championship. It might look like a kitted-out Land Rover Evoque, but this 4100lb (1900kg) beast would walk all over said garden (party) variety soft-roader. Beneath the satin black bonnet lives a twin-turbocharged, 3.0L diesel pumping out an FIA-restricted 275hp through a 6-speed sequential gearbox. There’s a pair of Reiger coilovers at each corner, keeping the BF Goodrich Race G tires and 16″ Compomotive Atacamas in check. DW3 can go the distance, too, with a 260L (68gal+) fuel tank, good for 1200km (745mi) at race speeds. Holding it all together is a custom chassis hand-crafted from T45 carbon manganese tubing.
What really sets this truck apart are some of the special features from Reiger.
- CCV (Corner Control Valve) This patented system detects cornering loads, stiffening compression damping on the outer wheel(s) to reduce roll, keeping the Desert Warrior flat-out, even when running soft (or no) anti-roll/sway bars.
- LCV (Lateral Control Valve) Another Reiger-patented system, LCV allows for more comfortable, basic damper settings by registering whether or not the suspension load is due to the wheel coming up – or the chassis going down.
- RCV (Rebound Control Valve) When airborne, the RCV softens rebound damping, allowing the wheel to drop more quickly in order to regain traction.
- HPDP (Hydraulic Progressive Double Piston) Talk about smart damper tech! At high speeds, the double piston damping is stiffer and more responsive than at low speeds.
UNDER THE COSH
David says, “We’re very happy with the new car – fantastic all around. Looks and drives great!” He recently got a chance to shake it down in Holland (see picture above). But getting the first all-British team to Dakar isn’t all off-tarmac shenanigans in The Netherlands. “It’s been really hectic here and we’re still a bit under the cosh – bringing in the sponsorship money is still definitely the biggest challenge – and probably always will be. We have a great acquisition agent working on our behalf who has had some very positive meetings with big name companies, but we’re still waiting for the deal to be signed that’s going to secure our racing for the next couple of years.”
When asked what obstacles they’ve had to overcome, Jones laughs, “Obstacles we’ve overcome? We’ve had so many set-backs, I wouldn’t know where to start. One recent challenge was that our website was hacked just after our most recent press release, but we managed to get it back up within less than 24 hours. (Someone managed to get it re-directed to a page that they had set up. Not sure what their point was or what they hoped to achieve).”
They’ve also had to press on regardless, despite having virtually no budget at all. Says, David, “I’d say one of our most significant achievements has been to keep burbling along with virtually no budget at all. Sheer bloody-mindedness is what’s keeping us going!” Definitely appropriate to the type of racing they’re involved in!
Excite will continue to stick with it. They will never give up. They will never surrender. We rallyistas have a saying, press on regardless. David’s wife (who is Japanese) says, Ganbarimasu, which means never give or keep on fighting. I think Churchill would be proud of the first professional, all-British rally raid team.
“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” – Churchill, October 2941
Excite Rallye Raid is currently waiting on responses from a few potential sponsors – will they or won’t they? They’ve secured a certain amount of financial backing at this time, but they’re still hoping to bring on a title sponsor. “Keeping everything crossed!” as David tells me. Their training program is seeing the whole team operating at peak performance whilst their business arm is engaged in partnership – read it again, partnership – talks with several global brand about that title sponsorship goal.
I hope they land a mega British sponsor. Good things come to those who wait, and these lads (and ladies) have been working damned hard while they wait.
In 2010, I interviewed the owner of a different Mitsubishi Evolution every month. I’m going to try doing something similar in 2013, only even moreso. According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2013 is the year of the snake. First thing I’m going to do is start tracking down a different snake every month for a feature. These digital pages stand to slither with all manner of Cobras, Super Snakes, and Vipers. This is going to be such a challenge for this currently one-man operation after work (between bottles and dirty diapers), don’t be surprised to see a Mercury Monterey in here because Stallone drove one in the movie Cobra. I don’t know these circles as well as I do my Mitsubishi family, so it’s not going to be as easy as it sounds. (I’m counting on you for tips and ledes!)
TRAITS OF THE SNAKE
This doesn’t mean we’re just going to be talking to people with Fords and Dodges next year. Far from it! A quick Google landed me on ChineseZodiac.com, where they mention the personality traits of the snake, specifically the 2013 water snake. I’m always after some new questions to ask the people I interview, so these look good. Here’s a couple examples to give you a better idea what I’m talking about.
- INTELLIGENCE – We’ll talk about areas of expertise and what we’ve learned over the years.
- GRACEFULLNESS – Power is nothing without control. How do we remain cool under pressure?
- MATERIALISM – The things we own end up owning us. So why do we own some of the things we own?
- CALMNESS – Again with the keeping cool under pressure.
- MANAGING WORKLOADS – We’ve all got day jobs and family concerns. How do we find balance?
- BOREDOM – Who hasn’t gotten bored with a project at some point? Did you find the spark or bail?
- CREATIVITY – Not every problem can be immediately solved with what we’ve got. How do we make do?
- DILIGENCE – Pressing on regardless and seeing difficult things through to the end.
I’m going to be asking people a lot of the same questions I always have – the idea, here, is to show you what you have in common with others in the hopes you start to see our combined strength when we work together as gearheads united – but I’m also going to try keeping a theme over the course of the year. The traits of the snake listed above scratch the surface of issues we all face as gearheads; applying past experience to current projects, managing our tempers and workloads, preventing project burnout, and creatively advancing our platforms.
These are things I want to talk about in 2013. I hope you want to talk about them too.
It’s not a typo. Hundreds, if not thousands, of auto writers across the web are quasi-objectively ranking makes and models they’ve never owned or never will, people and places they’ve never met or will never visit. It’s that time of year. Partly because it’s tradition. Partly because it’s an easy way for people with day jobs or holiday potlucks and parties to phone in easy content. Partly because it’s a fact that, because our brains are hardwired to compare and evaluate external stimuli, we are unconsciously drawn to Top 10-type lists. We are psychological fish in a barrel.
Car of the year, regardless whose professional opinion it might be, is meaningless to just about everyone not in the automotive media. Maybe there’s an oblivious consumer out there incapable of thinking for himself who depends on those lists because he otherwise lives under a rock, but for the rest of us, these awards are pretty much meaningless.
That’s why I’m doing Care of the Year. Towards the end of 2012, I got to thinking – we should highlight the stories which mean the most to us. Below, you’ll find links to stories that stood out to me as I was looking back at 2012. Most of them aren’t stories we ran here on Gearbox, either. Since I didn’t get this idea until late in the year, it’s a bit on the thin side, I’ll admit, but you gotta start somewhere, right?
ANTONY INGRAM, CARTHROTTLE – WHY 400BHP DOESN’T CUT IN THE UK
It’s not just a UK thing. Gearheads the world over get so caught up in
keeping up with beating the Joneses, we easily build our machines into monsters we can’t responsibly maximize on a daily basis. You’ve heard the phrase, “BECAUSE RACECAR?” Think a little bit about BECAUSE TRAFFIC. How much power can you thoroughly enjoy on your way to work?
ALEX KERSTEN, CARTHROTTLE – HOW TO PLAN THE ULTIMATE ROAD TRIP
It’s not just an American thing, either. The road beckons Wheeled freedom in pursuit of adventure and unforgettable experiences is alive and well worldwide. Sure, our British brothers and sisters might not be able to hit Route 66, Sunset Strip, or the PCH in a classic muscle car, but they can load up a ropey, £150, 1999 1.9D Renault Trafic, and hit France, Holland, Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria. Isn’t that the spirit?
JEFF GLUCKER, HOONIVERSE – THE DATSUN DRIVE
Speaking of road trips, here’s a neat one. Jeff Glucker of Hooniverse, lives in Huntington Beach, California. He delivered an absolutely gorgeous 1972 Datsun Z to a friend in Boston, Massachusetts. That’s 3,000 miles (4800km) in a 40 year old sports car bought off Craigslist. intro | car | route | prep | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
Part Ford Mustang review, part commentary on the elusiveness of Hot Wheels; Car Guy Dad Club myself, I understand. It’s a glittering, ethereal state of mind in which nothing is as it was, and yet, become even moreso.
YOUR TOP 5 GEARBOX MAGAZINE STORIES OF 2012
- THE CARS OF OUR FATHERS – I asked my dad to tell me about every car he ever owned.
- WHY BILL CASWELL RULES – A guy who followed his dreams and got lucky. Love him or hate him, he’s got the right attitude.
- COMPOUND TURBO: PAUL VOLK MADE IT HAPPEN – From early 2011, this one is evergreen.
- WRC FACTORY TOUR – Our 4th day in the UK was EPIC. 100+ pictures from inside what used to be RalliArt.
- BRENT’S 1982 CORVETTE – Still popular, more than 2 years later! Super sharp LS1-swapped Corvette.
THANKS FOR MAKING 2012 GREAT.
Since it’s Christmas/New Year’s time, my daily driven Pajero needs an engine overhaul, and I want to get a jump on the first issue of our new magazine format, I’m going to sit the rest of the year out. 2013 is the Year of the Snake, and there’s another article scheduled for later this week to tell you all about it, but this is my last story of the year.
Until next year, keep going fast with class and press on regardless.