Once again we’ve reached the start of another week, which means another Lazy Sundays is here! We’ll start today’s collection with action from the Dutch GP. Now I freely admit that I don’t follow Moto GP as much as 4-wheeled racing disciplines, but motorbikes epitomize the Life in Tenths theme as well as any car, so we’ll give them some love. This leg of the Championships was held at the TT Circuit Assen, known to fans as ‘The Cathedral’, and proved to be a race for the ages. What started out as a intense dogfight in the top half of the field (which claimed then championship leader Maverick Vinales with a crash) became even more challenging as the heavens opened. The wet track set the stage for some daring passing action as well as a few spills. In the end though, the winner – by 6 hundredths of a second – was Valentino Rossi, in front of Danilo Petrucci and Marc Marquez, who won a 3-way battle for third. By taking first, Rossi claimed the accolade of having the longest winning career in the history of Moto GP. This win came a staggering 20 years after his first, and was his 115th overall. Truly an achievement befitting a living legend.
The next video comes from the Italy leg of the King of Europe drifting championships, from which we featured a Frankenstein monster of a S13 in last week’s Lazy Sunday. In this video you can see highlights of all the action that took place. The European drift scene may seem slightly “grassroots” compared to the prestige of Formula Drift in the USA, but that’s not really a bad thing. For one, there is more variety in the field. Older platforms like the AE86 or E30 3 series would not be found in the Formula Drift of today as the cost and effort to make them reliably handle up to and over 1000hp (which is practically a requirement to be competitive in Formula D) would not be worth it, especially when more modern and proven platforms exist. Then there’s cars like the R33 Skyline in this video, that are so rare in the USA it would be a shame to gut them and turn them into racecars. To a neutral like me, seeing teams develop unconventional platforms into competitive machines is just as interesting as seeing brand new, high profile builds released every few seasons. With the FIA Intercontinental Drifting Cup around the corner, maybe we will get a chance to see how these cars stack up against the builds from the US.
Our third video comes from the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb. Taking place once a year, the Pikes Peak Hillclimb is the pinnacle of hillclimb racing in the world. Every year, teams flock from around the world to tackle the 12.42 mile course, which starts at mile 7 of the Pikes Peak Highway and them climbs 1440 meters to the snowy and often cloudy top, earning it the nickname ‘The Race to the Clouds’. This video features Rhys Millen piloting his Hyundai Genesis Coupe racecar to a Time Attack 1 class victory. If the name sounds familiar, it’s likely because he competed in the Barbados legs of the Global Rallycross Championships in 2014 and 2015. However, Millen is also a household name at Pikes Peak. His father, Rod Millen is a 5 time overall winner of the event, who set a course record in his famous Toyota Celica race car in 1994 that stood for 13 years. Some argue that the record still stands as it was the last one set when the course surface was all dirt. Following the trend, Rhys set the electric car record in 2015 in the eO PP03. Only time will tell if another Millen will hold a record on this mountain road in the future.
The next video is of a car that never quite got it right. Formula 1 in the ’60s and ’70s could be described as the era of ingenuity, with teams experimenting with just about anything to make their cars more competitive (remember the 6-wheeled Tyrell P34?). The car featured in this video is the McLaren M9A, an experimental four-wheel drive car that was driven in 1969 by motorsports great Derek Bell. With the introduction of the Cosworth DFV engine, race teams were finding that the more powerful engine was too much for the grip levels of their cars, especially in the wet, hence Bruce McLaren’s idea to try four-wheel drive. However, they never got the system to work and the car was even more unstable in corners than the rear wheel drive competition. The car only finished 6 laps before a suspension failure ended it’s short life. With aerodynamic development proving effective in harnessing the Cosworth engine’s power, the 4WD experiment became just another wild idea from a period of experimentation in F1. Despite the failure, McLaren Automotive have gone to great lengths to restore the M9A and once again Derek Bell was invited to give it a try. See how well it fared in the video below.
Finally we have what has to be one of the greatest car events to have been created. Gridlife is a motorsports and car culture party that visits a number of states in the US over the course of the year. Think of it as America’s version of Gatebil. Fans travel for miles and hold camp outs for the weekend event, which brings out professional and amateur drifters alike to let loose and put on a show, as well as the some of the fastest Time Attack machines to try to claim the track record. Off the track there’s a car show for the hard-parkers and even a music festival at night. This brilliantly shot video covers the atmosphere at Gridlife perfectly. Is this your idea of the perfect weekend for a gearhead? If not what would you add?
That’s it for today. I hope you’ve enjoyed the videos chosen for this week’s post. Be sure to mark your calendars for another Lazy Sundays in a week’s time.