Archive for January, 2011

In 2010 I had the chance to attend something quite rare: race day at Laguna Seca without spectators or an abundance of press. What press people were there though included myself, and for us few, it was a great opportunity to squeeze off shots of the cars coming through the corners without the interruption of other railgun-sized lenses getting in the way or knees bumping you in the back.

I started out at the closest spot for photography: the Andretti Hairpin. This is a good place to catch the cars early on as they thunder on out of their grids and warm their tires up in the first corner.

Later on as more and more drivers began to step up their game, I meandered on to the Rahal Straight that leads into that ever infamous corner known as The Corkscrew. The straight is an uphill climb providing nearly zero perspective of the brass-balls-breaker of a curve downward that is on the other side of the pavement horizon. Even the daring GT3s were standing hard on their brakes at the top of the straight, preparing for the dive that awaited them.

This being my first trip out to Laguna Seca, I was excited to see The Corkscrew in person. It’s far more vertical and dynamic than watching it on TV or virtual renderings would lead you to believe. In person, you can feel the G forces the cars are carrying into the turn even without riding along.

I had to be on my toes shooting the cars as they barreled down this steep series of corners, as a few had slid just off the track and into the gravel. Luckily none plummeted off at the bottom of the turn, where I was snapping away. Several cars did however become slightly airborne.

After coming out of The Corkscrew, the drivers accelerate hard throught the Rainey Curve, before the near 90-degree Turn 10.

Later on as the weather began to move in, I wandered across to Turn 11, the final corner before the main stretch and finish line. By now, it was a single make battle, with all Porches and a lone Volvo sticking it out into the wind and rain. Witnessing a torrent of GT3s powering through that final corner is  a terrific sight, and an even better sound.

I’ll be back later to take you through the pits of the Global Tuner Grand Prix.

article & photography: colbydc5

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What in Italy’s red earth does FF stand for you say? Fast e Furioso? Family Ferrari? Furry Friends? Fizzing Feelings (ala James May)? The first F is the make, and the second is a denominator for “four” – which is the number of wheels driving this Ferrari, a production first in their already spectacular history. The Ferrari Four. It’s a surprise that they didn’t name it something with more Mediterranean gusto… but nonetheless, it is catchy and fitting. Yes, fitting for four people as well! It might as well be referred to as the Family Ferrari then.

When I first saw the pictures Ferrari released of the FF I was very much on the fence. I really couldn’t tell if I wanted a Ferrari that looked like a BMW Z3M coupe patched up with leftover parts from the 458 Italia conceptual drawings. And that big grilley face… it really is a tad on the side of cheese.

However the FF is growing on me, and quicker than I’d expect (people have been telling me for years that Chris Bangle’s 5 series would grow on me as well… and it still hasn’t gotten any better looking). But similarly to how we had mixed reactions when we were first introduced to the frog-eyed Subaru Impreza WRX, none of those worries mattered once we saw it in action.

This video was enough to convince me that a) I want it very badly, and b) it looks terrific. Any Italian supercar that is ripping it up through the snow looks terrific… and you can put your dog in the back. Now pardon me while I go and buy some lottery tickets and a bottle of vino

article: colbydc5

Video Credits: omniauto

Following the Second World War, America boomed. The economy was growing, families were expanding, and cars were elongating like sheet metal taffy. It was a time when Detroit stood tall, towering alongside industrial cities of the world as a formidable contender in the production ring. It was a time when GMC was huge. Yes, in a figurative sense of the word, huge will do. I mean quite literally though, HUGE.

Today aging GMC Trucks are a rarity. If they are seen, it is often with vines and grass puncturing up through the rotted floorboards. Today more 50’s era GMCs serve as garden trellises than as trucks. Many would argue that Detroit too, serves more as a warzone today than as the metal city metropolis it was intended to be.

This mid-century behemoth however refused to lie down in the dirt and die. Like Detroit, it seems aged at first glance. It is a truck that wears its scars and blemishes. Like an old farmer on the sun-scorched earth, it’s seen shinier and brighter days. Also like a farmer it’s quite green – I mean look at it, plants are growing on it. Here’s one to prove hippies wrong about big American vehicles: they grow plants. There is the picture; the proof is in the pudding. Still the faded paint and corrugated, aged metal only add character if anything (there is some chrome remaining up on the headlight bezels). This truck really is a beauty to behold.

In all seriousness, an old truck such as this one (I admittedly am not sure what model it is exactly, I believe it to be a 350 or 400 series) serves as a reminder of what the General Motors Company stood for. Hopefully it serves to remind us of what GM can still be.

This old Dumper Truck has been through the thick, I was told it used to belong to a rancher, and that many adults in the community recall childhood memories of taking Christmas time “sleigh rides” in the back of its bed.

It’s now being used as a contracting vehicle, and boy does it wear character on its sleeve while continuing to function. Function and character – those are traits that many have not associated with American car companies in modern history, but I believe that is going to change. Detroit is on its way back, and if the surge of quality American cars built with character of late is any indication – maybe like this GMC Truck – Detroit will keep marching on with character too.

Article & Photography: colbydc5

Though I cannot be in attendance of the Detroit Auto Show, thanks to the wonders of the world wide web I bring you  the Detroit reveal of the Porsche 918 RSR (via the Porsche Channel).

While we were treated to the incredible looking 918 Hybrid concept in Paris, this RSR is the one that will put to the test on the racetrack. Now that we’ve seen it in Detroit, when can we expect to see it on the ‘ring, Porsche? Combining the kinetic energy regenerative braking technology of the GT3 Hybrid race car with a mid-engine V8 and a paint scheme that subtly resembles Gulf livery 917s, this is one Hybrid that I can safely say I am ravenously Hungry4. Below is one more video of the RSR from Porsche, albeit a rendered version. Porsche has proven thus that you no longer have to be a hippie in order to crave a hybrid.

article: colbydc5

video credit: Porsche Channel