It’s easy to become complacent but our very own Mount Panorama circuit, just two hour’s drive from Sydney, is firmly up there in the small handful of the world’s truly great circuits. The only problem is that if you’re not a dedicated V8 Supercar fan, there isn’t really a lot of other top-class racing that happens there to attract your attention. Outside of the main game it’s mostly a calendar of club racing and corporate drive days.
That was, however, until the arrival of the Liqui-Molly Bathurst 12hr and its rapidly growing momentum. Finally The Mountain is now graced with a sports car event exploiting the most of its undulating, twisting, climbing and dropping 6.2km of smooth, freshly laid tarmac. An event/circuit combo that attracted 13 top level international teams, building a bumper field of 44 cars.
There have been endurance races for production cars at Bathurst before (notably the 12hr events of the early 90′s and a pair of excellent 24hr races in the early 00′s), but those races never really managed to gain the traction the current 12hr has. That’s probably because of a few factors, the primary of which being that we now have a solid international GT3 class which enables these cars to be raced all over the world under the same rules. That’s a big deal for manufacturers, because the likes of Nismo Japan can build an R35 GTR for Le Mans and also get race mileage (ie promotional value & return on investment) from it in other smaller events. Continue reading →
You don’t need to say it because I can already hear the calls. ‘Hunting exotic cars in Monaco, that’s a little bit like shooting fish in a barrel, isn’t it?’
Well, yes it is. But that’s no reason not to do it. I mean, what else are you going to do in Monaco? Unless you’re the kind of person who is happily granted entry to the Hotel de Paris or you’re a diehard Formula One anorak, there’s no real reason to come here other than to witness obscene wealth of others. It does have a certain charm, but Monaco doesn’t really offer anything that can’t be found elsewhere on the French Riviera.
However like most readers of Any Given Reason I’m into cars and boats and rally and Formula One, so Monaco was a must-see destination while recently traveling around the Riviera. And the cool thing about not giving a damn about obscene wealth is that I had no issue with attempting to fit in or looking like a tourist, which meant I had no issue with taking photos of the cars.
Because lets be honest – taking photos of nice cars parked on the street is probably the most un-cool thing you can possibly do. But I like interesting cars, so whatever.
The heart of Monaco and the centre of its ‘supercar barrel’ is Casino Square, the tourist filled block of land that acts as the valet area for the most opulent and exclusive hotels and casinos in the Principality. Continue reading →
Well over 600 enthusiast cars gathered recently on a hot Saturday night in early February for the Ben Simpson Memorial Cruise; an interclub, everything welcome, drive through Adelaide and the hills to raise awareness and funds for a variety of mental health issues.
Initially organised by the late Ben’s parents as a small memorial event for their son who tragically took his own life, the BSMC has quickly become one of the biggest events on the Adelaide calendar. Whilst it’s the cars we come for, the cruise has a sub-plot and serves to not only raise funds but to spread knowledge of mental health issues within the automotive community; a group of people that would sooner give away their cars than discuss their mental health.
But it is the cars that we come for, and most certainly the cars are what takes centre stage. The cruise met at the Tea Tree Plaza carpark, and managed to completely fill a fair proportion of it. Think how busy the carpark is at the height of the pre Christmas rush, and that’s a fair indication of how full the BSMC was.
However rather than traffic jams of family trucksters and people negotiating tiny gaps with overflowing trolleys, there were lines of immaculately modified cars and people with cameras far outnumbered people with shopping bags. Continue reading →
The upcoming Adelaide Motorsport Festival was launched to the media last week with a display of several important racing cars on the Victoria Park circuit, including two Formula One cars that raced in the Adelaide Grand Prix in the eighties.
The inaugural event, to be held on the weekend of 12-13 April, has been described as a virtual ‘museum-in-motion’ and celebrates South Australia’s rich motorsport heritage. The event commences on Saturday with the (still to be confirmed) Windy Point Hillclimb, although Sunday’s Victoria Park Sprint will be the headline component and the one that draws the crowds. A section of Wakefield Road will be used to link up a complete circuit with the permanent section of the Clipsal 500/Grand Prix circuit in Victoria Park, creating the perfect setting for the competition vehicles to stretch their legs in the heart of the CBD fringe.
Ten Formula One vehicles have so far been confirmed for the event, including the first ever Lotus F1 car from 1957, a 1974 March, the Beatrice Lola Hart driven by Alan Jones in 1985, his 1980 World Championship winning Williams and the car’s shown here. It will be a rare opportunity to not just see these cars, but to hear and experience them being properly worked as their designers intended. Continue reading →
There’s an interesting observation to be made when comparing human versus internal combustion as forms of propulsion. There are obviously exceptions (I’m one of them), but on the whole, ‘car guys’ aren’t typically also into cycling. However, road cyclists usually take at least a passing interest in cool cars. Road bikes are also finely tuned machines, and whilst this is a concept I plan to explore in more detail in a future story, a passion for the bicycle usually overflows into a passion for other mechanical devices.
Out an about on my bike during the recent Tour Down Under pro cycling race in Adelaide, I spotted two vehicles that support my theory. The first was this left-hand drive Citroen H van, from Rapha Racing. Rapha produce a range of mighty fine cycling kit, and are suppliers to the Sky Pro Team.
The H was produced in France and Belgium from 1947 to 1981 and is known for its distinctive corrugated iron bodywork which adds strength without adding weight, whilst also reducing manufacturing costs. Rapha have fitted their beautifully restored van out with an espresso machine (another cycling institution), and were out all over the hills during race week providing a much needed caffeine shot to the thousands of fans out on their bikes. I spotted it here dispensing much needed relief at the top of Eagle on the Hill, after making a rather sweaty ascent.
By far the coolest vehicle I’ve spotted in a long time was this Volvo 240GL Wagon (bet you never thought you’d read those words on Any Given Reason!). The car itself is nothing special, but the fact that it was stickered up as a period European support car for 70′s Belgium cycling champion Eddy Merckx was beyond cool. Continue reading →
You know those slow summer Thursday afternoons, the ones that just drag on. It’s too hot, your mind is somewhere else and you’re looking for something, anything, to spice the day up. And then, like a gift from the God’s, it comes. A phone call from friend David. “I’ve just bought an Evo 6.5 Tommi Makinen Edition in Melbourne”, he says. “Wanna fly over and drive it back with me?” ‘Sure! When, next week?” “No, how about tomorrow?”.
After calling in a few favors at work to enable an early escape, we’re suddenly making a very bumpy and turbulent early afternoon descent into Melbourne. Right in the middle of the biggest and baddest heatwave we’ve had for a long time, the rising heat is making mincemeat of our plane, and has me seriously hoping that the air conditioning works in this Evo. David’s bought the car sight unseen, and has no idea.
We have very limited time for our trip; we’re hoping to be over and back within 12 hours, so we scramble through the airport and into the first taxi we find. Sensing our rush, the driver proceeds to speed at rapid pace down the highway, displaying some fine performance driving techniques in the process. I grab the camera out to get a few shots of his hand placement on the wheel, and he deduces that because I’m taking photos of the highway we must be tourists. He then proceeds to give us a guided tour of our route, pointing out highlights such as various residential blocks, a closed hospital and a soccer field. Continue reading →
Somewhere in AMG’s headquarters deep in Affalterbach, there’s a team of engineers responsible for the recently updated AMG G63. A team of engineers who looked at the old model, the supercharged V8 G55, and thought ‘that needs more power’.
Let’s just put this into context for a moment. The G-Wagon is Mercedes-Benz’s entry to the military off-roader market and was released way back in 1979. It’s still used by armies all over the world, by the likes of NATO and the UN, and it even saw duty for many years as the official Popemobile. It was transformed into a civilian off-roader at the request of a group of cashed up Arab sheiks and since the early eighties has gained a reputation as the most unbreakable, hard core off-roader there is.
The world cracked a wry grin when AMG announced their intention to cram a 370kw supercharged V8 into it, at which point the new G55 simultaneously became the most awesome and pointless vehicle on the planet. Any Given Reason came to this conclusion when tarmac rallying the G55 a few years back, which is why the notion of an even faster G-Wagon seems even more hilarious right now. Continue reading →