X-Raid Previews Mini All4 for Dakar

Mini is going to Dakar, or at least the 2011 Dakar Argentina-Chile race. Monster Energy has partnered up with the X-Raid Team to bring a diesel-powered Mini Countryman to the sands of South America in just 90 days. The team started on the project last month, and the reworked Countryman has to be in Argentina before the New Year. Between now and then are hours of wrenching and a few shake-down runs in France on December 13 and 14.
@funkmasterflex

X-Raid has previously campaigned a BMW X3CC, helping the team to nab three FIA World Cup titles for cross country racing, and last year the vehicle helped the team walk away with fourth and fifth place finishes in the 2010 Argentina-Chile race. To that end, the team will be using a turbo-diesel engine borrowed from the bad Bimmer. With 315 horsepower and 523 pound-feet of torque, the engine brings a substantial bump in power to the table while using the same architecture as the lump found in the 2010 X3CC.

Switching to the Countryman has a number of benefits, including better handling from the vehicle’s lower center of gravity and shorter wheelbase, though the team says that ingress and egress is a little more complicated compared to the BMW. Look for the Mini All4 Racing during this year’s Argentina-Chile this January.
AB

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First Look: 2011 Suzuki GSX-R600 and 750


Suzuki’s 2011 update of the GSX-R600 and 750 is very much like a MotoGP team’s midseason adjustment: minor in that it’s not a total redesign but moves steadily in a desirable direction. In the case of the 600, the 67.0 x 42.5mm inline-Four is rotated backward slightly, enough to allow it and the swingarm pivot to be moved forward. This shortens the wheelbase from its former 55.1 inches to 54.5. Shorter is better for quick handling, because when you turn the front, the wheelbase is the “lever” by which the steered motion of the front end steers the rear wheel.

@funkmasterflex

In the outdated language of 40 years ago, the heavy-steering bikes admired back then “cornered as if on rails.” Locomotives actually are on rails; just try steering one. Today’s quick-responding bikes allow us to make midcourse corrections and quickly evade road hazards.

A similar set of changes to the GSX-R750 takes its wheelbase from 55.3 inches down to 54.7. Claimed curb weight of the 600 decreases by 20 pounds—from 432 to 412. The 750’s 2011 diet trims it from 437 lb. to 419.
Both the 600 and 750 receive the Showa Big Piston Fork (BPF) that was so much discussed during the final racing season of Suzuki’s many-time AMA Superbike Champion, Mat Mladin. As tire grip and speed of maneuver increase, chassis and component stiffness must do so as well. On this fork’s radial mounts are new Brembo calipers. As racing-minded readers know, Brembo has come to dominate Superbike and MotoGP

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(Video) Check out Ford Racing at the Track

@funkmasterflex

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Lotus, Williams confirm drivers for 2011


With the 2010 World Championship consigned to the history books, the Formula One grid is gearing up for next season. Sixteen out of twenty-four seats have already been spoken for as Lotus and Williams have each confirmed both their drivers.

@funkmasterflex

After Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes confirmed that their duos will carry on for 2011, Lotus has followed suit in announcing that both Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen will be retained for next season as well.

Taking Nico Hulkenberg’s seat at Williams, meanwhile, will be GP2 champion Pastor Maldonado, driving alongside Rubens Barrichello for an all-South American line-up. Hulkenberg remains optimistic that he’ll be on the grid next season, but only Force India, Toro Rosso and Hispania have yet to confirm either of their drivers and both Renault and Virgin still have a seat each up for grabs, leaving his possibilities rapidly constricting.

With most teams carrying over their drivers, one exception is Sauber, which will keep Kamui Kobayashi on board, but after replacing Pedro de la Rosa with Nick Heidfeld, have replaced both with GP2 runner-up Sergio Perez for next season. Follow the jump to see who’ll be where for next season.

2011 Formula One World Championship

Red Bull-Renault
Sebastian Vettel
Mark Webber
Reserve/Test Driver: TBA

McLaren-Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton
Jenson Button
Reserve/Test Driver: TBA

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso
Felipe Massa
Reserve/Test Driver: Jules Bianchi

Mercedes GP
Michael Schumacher
Nico Rosberg
Reserve/Test Driver: TBA

Renault
Robert Kubica
TBA
Reserve/Test Driver: TBA

Williams-Cosworth
Rubens Barrichello
Pastor Maldonado
Reserve/Test Driver: Valtteri Bottas

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Vitaphone Maserati MC12 claims victory in the 2010 FIA GT1 World Championship


If there was any doubt as to who dominates the international sportscar racing circuit, let those doubts be put to rest. After taking top honors in the now-defunct FIA GT Championship with little exception every year since 2005, Maserati has claimed overall victory in the inaugural FIA GT1 World Championship that has replaced it this year.

@funkmasterflex

Driving duties were handled with mastery once again by Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini for the Vitaphone Racing Team behind the wheel of the Maserati MC12. The Trident duo took the checkered flag at four out of the ten rounds that comprised this year’s championship, more than any other team, claiming 138 points in the drivers’ standings to runner-up Thomas Mutsch with 119 in the Matech Ford GT, and 195 in the teams’ standings to the Hexis Aston Martin squad’s 177. Other contenders included GT1-spec racers based on the Nissan GT-R, Chevrolet Corvette and Lamborghini Murcielago LP670.

Hexis won the final round in San Luis, Argentina, by a considerable margin with their Aston Martin DBR9, but it wasn’t enough to steal the title from the Vitaphone Maserati team, crowning the MC12 as the undisputed king of the hill.
AB

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Mark Webber Reveals He Raced With A Broken Shoulder!!


If I had one bit of advice for Mark Webber, it would be to stay off of mountain bikes and stick to winning grand prix races. The Australian Formula One driver, as you may recall, suffered a broken leg and shoulder when he crashed his bike in Tasmania late in 2008. The injury almost forced him out of the 2009 season, but he recovered in time for the start of the championship at his home race in Australia and went on to finish fourth in the standings – his best result up to that point in his career. You’d figure the close call might keep him from jeopardizing his career again, but you’d be wrong.

@FunkmasterFlex

The Aussie contender just released his book, Mark Webber Up Front in which he revealed a second mountain bike accident earlier this year, the first time he got back on two wheels since the previous crash. According to Webber’s account, he fractured his shoulder again after colliding with a friend while cycling offroad around the time of the Japanese Grand Prix. By the start of the race, the fracture had yet to recover, so he kept it secret from the public and from his team, took an injection and raced the grueling Suzuka track with the injury. If you picture how much an F1 driver gets tossed around the cabin and how much he has to turn that wheel, often against extreme G-forces, you’ll have some idea of how excruciating the pain must have been.

Webber

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(Photos) Aston Martin One-77


“Very Nice Machine” @funkmasterflex

AB

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Ferrari changes the guard in test driver ranks

There are two approaches to hiring a Formula One driver. The first is to go with a seasoned veteran, a driver who’s already seen just about anything that is likely to come up on the track or off, and knows how to deal with it.

@funkmasterflex

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Spy Shots: Audi Q3

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(Video) Jay Leno Drives the Hennessey Venom GT

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