Sunday, October 25, 2009

Audi set record in DTM

Timo Scheider and Audi did it: Last year’s winner successfully defended his DTM title in the 2009 season in the A4 DTM. This makes Audi the first brand to have won the title for the third consecutive time in the history of the DTM that has been held since 1984.

The old DTM champion is the new one as well: After 2008, Timo Scheider was again determined as the winner of the DTM. By finishing in second place, the Audi "factory" driver won the title in the finale at Hockenheim on October 25 for the second time in a row.

"I’m incredibly happy that we did it again - and once more in front of a spectacular turnout on my home ground," beamed Timo Scheider after the finale at the circuit in Germany’s "Baden" region. "I’m one-hundred-percent happy with my team and my Audi A4. That was the key to success throughout the season." Yet his lead at the end blurs the fact that the DTM field this year was even more competitive than it had been before. Whereas Scheider had been continually leading the standings from the second to the final, eleventh, round last year, the 2009 season was clearly filled with more suspense: Tom Kristensen, his team-mate in Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, was running in front after the season opener. In the second race Timo Scheider moved up to the top of the standings, but lost the lead again in the fourth round to Mercedes driver Gary Paffett. After the fifth race, the Briton shared the lead with Audi "factory" driver Mattias Ekström with an equal points score. Only in the sixth race at the Nürburgring Timo Scheider got the upper hand again by a narrow margin - with a one-point advantage over his team colleague Mattias Ekström.

Particularly during a phase when the championship was highly balanced, one of Timo Scheider’s special strengths proved to be very helpful: For two years now, he has not only been very happy with the handling of the youngest generation of the Audi A4 DTM but, in addition to the necessary racing luck, also possesses the required strategic judgment. Trying to force the issue? No way. Instead, he acts prudently and strategically, makes smart decisions and attracts attention by the way he intelligently stands his ground - sporting exactly the style of a great champion. On the evening before the race at Barcelona, for instance, he had his car fitted with a new clutch - and launched himself from grid position five to first place with an unrivalled start. It was the second win of the season after Oschersleben and increased Scheider’s lead of the standings by seven to twelve points.

Yet despite this advantage Scheider never underestimated his rivals. "I’ve never written anyone off because my lead can shrink very quickly," the candidate said in response to questions by journalists when he had the chance to win the title early. In fact, he only achieved position 16 on the grid at Dijon-Prenois. This did not disconcert him, though, and he advanced to sixth place, thus traveling to the finale with a seven-point lead over Gary Paffett. However, fierce competition not only emerged from the Mercedes-Benz camp but also his own squad. Mattias Ekström had chances of winning the title up until Dijon-Prenois as well. "Mattias is a racer through and through. Everyone wants to be the ‘number one’ at Audi. He’ll surely give everything he’s got to beat me," said Scheider, not deluding himself in the least bit before the round in France.

The career of the 30-year-old racer, who grew up in Braubach, about 70 kilometers away from the Nürburgring, was not always as brilliant as it is now: After taking his first steps in kart racing at the age of ten and clinching remarkable exploits in formula racing, he started racing in the DTM in the 2000 season, then aged 21. As early as in 2005 his up to then hapless DTM career seemed to be over. But in 2006 he returned to the high-caliber touring car series with Audi. It took 79 races until he was able to celebrate his first victory, last year at Oschersleben. He had broken his duck. Five victories and a total of 15 podium places within just two years underscore his true class.

Professionalism not only in the cockpit but also in dealing with media, his nearly endless patience for fans and a basically positive attitude are the traits that distinguish Timo Scheider as a person. And he is a prime example of the fact that sporting success does not have to lead to an extravagant lifestyle. In Lochau on the Austrian side of Lake Constance Timo Scheider, together with his fiancée Jasmin and son Loris, leads a life that is a far cry from the jet-set lifestyle in Monaco that many racers favor. The family man prefers recharging his batteries surrounded by family and friends around Lake Constance and also likes relaxing in the nearby mountains.

At the same time, the whole family has a penchant for anything to do with engines: Whether joint supermoto riding with Jasmin or first kart excursions of the merely six-year-old Loris - Timo Scheider lives at top speed with his whole family. His fiancée as well as his parents often accompany him to the race track.

"The first title involved the highest amount of pressure," says Scheider, comparing his current exploit with last year’s. "The second one is more enjoyable." And up to now only Bernd Schneider managed a successful title defense in the DTM. It’s nice that the driver named Schneider without the ‘n’ can now continue this feat …"

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ferrari Enzo

"After I celebrated Maranello [with the 550 Maranello] and I celebrated Modena [with the 360 Modena], I was really looking for a way to celebrate Enzo Ferrari," explains Ferrari chief Luca di Montezemolo. Clearly, the founder's presence is still strongly felt fourteen years after his death at age ninety. We see the Enzo for the first time in a courtyard, behind which is a brilliant white stucco farmhouse with Ferrari-red shutters. Inside, Enzo Ferrari's first-floor corner office is preserved almost exactly as it was at the time of his death. There's the simple laminate desk, with a closed-circuit television to one side, which showed the Fiorano pit area. There are the low-slung brown leather sofas flanking the fireplace, in front of which was always a TV where Enzo watched races. The walls are adorned with large black-and-white photos marking great moments in Ferrari's competition history: Daytona 1967, when Ferrari took first-second-third; the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona with Lauda and Regazzoni; the Nrburgring with Fangio in 1956, the year he won the world championship for Ferrari; a 125S in Ferrari's first race in 1947.

Enzo Ferrari's passion for Formula 1 explains why this car should bear his (full) name. It is, in Montezemolo's words, "very close to Formula 1 in idea, in concept, and a little bit even in design."

Ferrari group photo Enzo, F50 & F40.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ferrari F50

F50 was designed to commemorate Ferrari's 50th anniversary in 1996. Only 349 F50s were made in Ferrari's factory near Modeno in northern Italy. Ferrari says half already have been reserved before the car was introduced.

Typically low-slung with huge forward air intakes, sleek lines sweeping gracefully up to the rear airfoil and aerodynamic slopes behind both seats. The 12-cylinder, 4.75-liter, rear-mounted engine slams out 520 horsepower, flashing the car from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds and taking the carbon-fiber body to a top speed of 203 mph.

The F50 is the first and last car Ferrari will build based on a Formula One engine because of tougher emission standards going into effect in the next few years in the United States and European countries.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ferrari F40

Over a period of several years prior to the F40's conception, Ferrari's dominance in racing had waned significantly, and even in Formula One, an arena they had once dominated, victories had become sparse. Enzo Ferrari had recently turned 90 years old, and was keenly aware that time was not on his side. He wanted his new sports car to serve as his final statement-maker, a vehicle encompassing the best in track-developed technology and capable of being a showcase for what the Ferrari engineers were capable of creating. The company's upcoming 40th anniversary provided just the right occasion for the car to debut. As he had predicted it would be, the F40 was the last car to be commissioned by Enzo before his death.

That's why Ferrari F40 is a car that mean a lot to Ferrari fan. It's the company founder, Mr. Enzo last project. F40 was such a masterpiece of Ferrari creation.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ferrari FXX Evoluzione

As the name suggests, FXX Evoluzione is a further evolution of the FXX program that places "client test drivers" behind the wheel of developmental test beds to try out new equipments for Ferrari.

The FXX Evoluzione picks up where the "ordinary" FXX program left off, extending the program by an additional two years, based on an even more radical version of the track-only machine. With 35,000 kilometers worth of telemetry from the 20 cars, engineers compiled a series of tweaks to sharpen the car's capabilities. Output is boosted to a staggering 860 HP, redline is up to a shrieking 9,500 rpm, and shift times are down to a lightning-fast 60 milliseconds. The traction control system has been modified to be less invasive, more adaptable and can be adjusted in-cockpit on the fly between nine distinct settings from corner to corner. Suspension geometry has been modified, as has the aerodynamic package, which, along with fresh livery, accounts for a slightly different appearance compared to the previous version.

The result of all these and a few other small modifications (which you can read about in detail in the press release after the jump) means that the FXX Evoluzione can now lap the company's private Fiorano test track two seconds faster than its predecessor at 1 min 16 sec. The kit can be retrofitted to any of the 20 FXXs that took place in the program until now, and includes participation in a renewed program that will take these most extreme machines to two events each in North America, Europe and Asia (for a total of eight track events) each year over the next two years. Money may not be able to buy you happiness, but it can buy you a seat as a Ferrari test driver, which sounds like happiness to us... (Looking for van insurance? Choose the best around... go to >>>).