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#1 Dupin

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Posted 21 February 2016 - 04:45 PM

I don't often watch NASCAR, but when you watch a finish like that it's easier to understand the appeal.



#2 RShack

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Posted 21 February 2016 - 05:18 PM

I don't often watch NASCAR, but when you watch a finish like that it's easier to understand the appeal.

 

For me personally, the most amazing thing is when it's a race on a road course (lotsa turns in both directions) where passing is just plain harder to do ... and a guy has like 10 laps left to pass 5 or 6 cars who are deservedly in front of him... and he does it.    

 

To me, that kind of thing is the most compelling display of a guy being "in the zone" that I've ever seen in any sport... there's no pause, no break, no time to catch his breath and regroup... it's a very extended period of living on the edge (and sometimes over the edge) and somehow making it work...


 "You say you've lost your faith, but that's not where its at.

  You have no faith to lose, and ya know it" - Bob Dylan


#3 RShack

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Posted 21 February 2016 - 05:19 PM

Doesn't auto car racing deserve it's own section?

 

It's my impression that Stoner doesn't grok it...


 "You say you've lost your faith, but that's not where its at.

  You have no faith to lose, and ya know it" - Bob Dylan


#4 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 22 February 2016 - 09:41 AM

Sports on Earth: Hamlin by a Hair! Daytona Goes to 11



#5 RShack

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 01:15 AM

Formula 1 technology at work....  

 

(this isn't NASCAR, but it is real racing...)

 
Sunday, during the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne...  2-time World Champ, Fernando Alonzo, is about to pass a guy from the brand new American team (Haas F1)... 

 

fcca8950-ee7e-11e5-8866-939028278234_Cap

 

 

But the guy in the Haas car braked a bit sooner than Alonzo expected... causing Alonzo to misjudge his own path... so his front-right tire clipped the Haas car's left-rear tire... you can see bits of car becoming airborne, shortly before Alonzo's entire car did...

 

2,w=559,c=0.bild.jpg

 

 

Alonzo's McLaren never got very high, it stayed low to the ground... but it went really far, really fast, spiraling like a well-thrown football...

 

a-ALONSO-MELBOURNE-640x468.jpg

 

 

... until it landed some distance away... where it continued to flip a few more times...

 

formule-1-la-video-de-l-impressionnant-c


 "You say you've lost your faith, but that's not where its at.

  You have no faith to lose, and ya know it" - Bob Dylan


#6 RShack

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 01:16 AM

Alonzo's McLaren finally came to rest against a wall...

 

CeAcjbqWwAED-f_.jpg

 

alonso-australia16-crash-h640tall.jpg

 

 

Alonzo didn't want his Mom to worry, so he decided to slither out of it, just to show that he was OK...

 

Alonso-accidente.-GP-de-Australia-2016.p

 

648x415_fernando-alonso-victime-gros-cra

 

accidente-alonso-GPAustrali.jpg

 

 

Then he walked back to the pits... waving to the fans as he went...

 

3262136F00000578-0-image-a-4_14584662148

 

 

If this had happened 20 years ago, he'd be dead... but, race car design being what it is, he didn't even have a scratch... just a little dirt on his pants from the ground when he scooted out out of the car...

 

 

ps:  The Haas team is the first American team in F1 for 30+ years.   New F1 teams are *always* terrible at first... because F1 is so hard. They're lucky if they can even finish the race for the first few races.   The last few brand-new F1 teams have raced for several years and have not even scored a single point.  (You get 1 point for finishing a race in 10th place.)   For a new team to become decent in F1 normally takes several years... and zillions of dollars.

 

So, imagine everyone's surprise when the brand new American team... in it's first-ever F1 race... finished 6th (of 22 cars) and earned 8 points by doing so... (each team has 2 cars... obviously, the car that finished is the one Alonzo didn't run into...)

 

AFAIK, no new team has ever done that..  now, if you're not familiar with F1, it might seem like no big deal... trust me on this one... it is a *very* big deal...

 

haas-f1-876.jpg


 "You say you've lost your faith, but that's not where its at.

  You have no faith to lose, and ya know it" - Bob Dylan


#7 RShack

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 10:30 AM

Formula 1 technology at work (part 2)...

Many people think car racing is a big waste of gas (NASCAR Cup cars get about 4.5 mpg) and an even bigger creator of noise. For the most part, they're right.

However...

Perhaps the best way to gauge the efficiency of car engines is "thermal efficiency", which is just a measure of how much of the energy potential of the fuel is turned into actual work (vs. energy lost to friction, pumping losses, the generation of heat that's lost into the atmosphere, etc). Measuring efficiency this way gets to the very heart of the matter without getting distracted by the many variables that go into other measures such as mpg.

When we first started using internal combustion engines 130 years ago, they had a thermal efficiency of about 17%... which means that 83% of the energy contained in the fuel was wasted. In the many decades since, the efficiency of typical car engine has improved... all the way up to 30%... which means that 70% of the energy you buy gasoline for is lost to things other than making the car go.

Over the 20 years of making the Prius, Toyota got its thermal efficiency up to about 38%. While that means that most of the energy available in gasoline is still lost, that 8% improvement in thermal efficiency over a 20 year span is still a big deal when you consider that the previous 130 years of developing car engines produced an improvement of only 13%.

Two seasons ago, F1 instituted a new formula. ("Formula" = design requirements and constraints for both car and engine.) The new formula mandates hybrid engines. F1 cars have both a 1.6 liter gasoline turbo engine (~ 600 HP) and an electric motor (~ 160 HP). Furthermore, they are limited to 100 kg of unleaded racing gas per race. If they use up that fuel during the race, well, they just run out of gas and stop on the track, no refueling allowed.

This formula creates a situation in which the manufacturers must maximize efficiency... not because they have concerns about the environment, but because their job is to win races. The car that gets the most useful work out of that limited amount of fuel will win the championship... assuming they don't break. (The new formula also limited each car to 5 engines for ~20 race season, a similar number of transmissions, etc... which means that successful F1 cars simply don't break very much anymore.)

Because of the need to maximize efficiency, F1 cars capture energy that would otherwise be wasted, and stores it in its battery for use by the electric motor. To meet the formula, they must do so under braking and whenever the turbo spins down. With each season so far, the formula has been tweaked slightly. For example, in the first year the electric motor produced only ~80 HP. Now, they must produce twice that... which increases the demand for energy recovery systems to do their job well. As each manufacturer gets better at doing this, that means they have more HP available for more time... which is how they win races.

So far, this has resulted in F1 engines achieving a thermal efficiency of 50%... in just 2 seasons. (This is a big deal.)

That number will keep rising for exactly 1 reason: the manufacturers are spending hundreds of millions per year to win races. This means that each year the bar gets higher and higher. Before long, an engine that has a thermal efficiency of only 50% will be grossly uncompetitive... and we'll be talking about engines that have thermal efficiency of 55%... and then 60%... and so on.

This kind of technical progress is winding its way down into normal cars. Mercedes is doing it, Ferrari is doing it, Renault is doing it... and now Honda is back in F1 *because* of the new formula. The formula is defined the way it is because the manufacturers demanded it. They were unwilling to bear the extremely high cost of F1 unless those costs could be justified based on solving the problems they face as car companies.

The best way to address the real world problems they face as car companies is to improve the thermal efficiency of engines. So, that's what F1 is doing... and F1 is doing it much faster than any other technical effort has ever done or is now doing.  It's the automotive equivalent of a moon shot.


 "You say you've lost your faith, but that's not where its at.

  You have no faith to lose, and ya know it" - Bob Dylan


#8 DuffMan

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 10:56 AM

Announce crew was focused on Guitierrez and his car for several moments before even realizing the crumpled mess behind his car was that of another car.  Amazing that Alonso walked away from that one unscathed.



#9 DuffMan

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 08:18 AM

At 18 years and 227 days Max Verstappen became the youngest driver ever to win an F-1 race when he won Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix!


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#10 RShack

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 08:46 AM

At 18 years and 227 days Max Verstappen became the youngest driver ever to win an F-1 race when he won Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix!

 

The kid is a true prodigy....  

 

Of course, having a former F1 driver as your Dad... and a former champion karting driver as your Mom doesn't hurt... they had him driving karts when he was 3...

 

That race was his very first race with that team... prior to that weekend, he was in a Toro Rosso... he got elevated to the Red Bull team during the week, but due to insanely restrictive rules about testing, he was not able to drive the car at all until practice on Friday... then he qualified 4th on Saturday... and won the dang race on Sunday... amazing...


 "You say you've lost your faith, but that's not where its at.

  You have no faith to lose, and ya know it" - Bob Dylan


#11 RShack

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Posted 24 May 2016 - 04:24 AM

Monaco Grand Prix

 

This weekend is the Monaco Grand Prix... it's Formula 1, which means each race is in a different country, and for the purposes of F1 they consider Monaco to be an actual country...

 

This is one of three races that are famous everywhere on the planet (together with the Indy 500 and the 24 Hours of LeMans)... it attracts the Beautiful People from all over, including both the glitterati and legit stars who have actual talent. George Harrison was a regular attendee, and Eric Clapton still is. 

 

It is the one F1 race that every racing driver wants to win more than others.  This is due in equal parts to the glamour of the setting and the nature of the track.  Among F1 races, it is one of a just a few that drivers report truly taxes their abilities (Spa in Belgium, Monza in Italy, and Suzuka in Japan are the others.)

 

It is the oldest street circuit in the world (which is different than a road course, which implies open spaces)... the track itself has not changed hardly at all since it first began in 1929...

 

One thing that has changed, however, is how fast the cars go... this makes Monaco a one-of-kind course, as there literally is no room to make a mistake... for lap after lap, the drivers come within inches of the Armco barriers...  because of this, there are few opportunities for passing, as the space is tight and drivers are mainly trying to not hit a wall or fence... one of those opportunities is when they come flying out of the tunnel at 180 mph, unable to see what awaits them due to the curved nature of the tunnel itself... also, as they leave the tunnel, there's a very subtle little bump in the street which, while completely unnoticeable to normal city traffic, is just enough to send an F1 car traveling at speed into a nearby wall.   Every year, that strange little micro-bump bites somebody...

 

Perhaps the best description of what it's like for the drivers was offered by I-forget-who, who said "racing F1 cars at Monaco is like trying to have a motorcycle race in your living room."

 

Qualifying is at 8am on Saturday on NBC... replayed on NBCSN at 11:30 pm

 

Coverage of the race itself begins Sunday at 8am on NBC... replayed on NBCSN at 9:30am and again at 11pm

 

The broadcast crew includes 3 good people (former driver David Hobbs, former F1 mechanic Steve Matchett, and hipster WIll Buxton in the paddock) plus a guy who's a royal dick (Leigh Diffey, a low-class hypester who makes everything sound tawdry, who can't shut up, and who will talk about anything except the dang race).  

 

For a pleasant little summary of how the race, and the glamour of Monaco itself, began, see: https://joesaward.wo...ess-for-monaco/


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 "You say you've lost your faith, but that's not where its at.

  You have no faith to lose, and ya know it" - Bob Dylan


#12 Pedro Cerrano

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Posted 24 May 2016 - 09:56 AM

I'd like to visit Monaco some day.


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#13 RShack

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Posted 25 May 2016 - 11:49 PM

A lap of Monaco... 

 

http://www.formula1...._de_Monaco.html


 "You say you've lost your faith, but that's not where its at.

  You have no faith to lose, and ya know it" - Bob Dylan


#14 RShack

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Posted 26 May 2016 - 12:25 AM

It's hard to judge how fast F1 cars are unless you have some frame of reference...

 

This video consists of 2 video clips superimposed on top of each other... in both clips, the cars are going up and through the famous Eau Rouge at Spa in Belgium...

 

The cars that appear to be slow are not at all slow... they are racing cars recorded during a GT class race... this kind of car races at LeMans, in the 24 hours of Daytona, and at a bunch of other places around the world...

 

The GT cars just seem slow when compared to the F1 cars that are superimposed on top of them...  the F1 cars were recorded during the Belgian Grand Prix..

 

This will give you an idea of how fast F1 cars are when compared to other kinds of serious race cars...

 


 "You say you've lost your faith, but that's not where its at.

  You have no faith to lose, and ya know it" - Bob Dylan


#15 glenn__davis

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Posted 26 May 2016 - 06:38 AM

I remember you showing that clip before Shack.  Pretty amazing, and while I think auto racing is generally pretty safe today, those F1 guys are nuts.

 

Great weekend for the "non-standard" sports.  Monaco, Indy 500, NASCAR 600 lap race at Charlotte, French Open, NCAA lacrosse championship final four.  

 

But I'm sure ESPN will cover OTAs and whether or not Robert Griffin III should start in Cleveland.



#16 RShack

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Posted 26 May 2016 - 05:01 PM

I remember you showing that clip before Shack.  Pretty amazing, and while I think auto racing is generally pretty safe today, those F1 guys are nuts.

 

Believe it or not, F1 is incredibly safe... in the '60's and early 70's it was very lethal... a driver would get killed about once a month... but that was because there was literally zero attention to safety...  they'd race on tracks with no fencing, so if they went off road, they'd run into a tree or stone building or God-knows-what and die... the cars were basically aluminum tubes with an engine bolted to the back... and the aluminum tube held 2 things: the driver and lots of very flammable gasoline that was not contained in a fuel cell... so, if a driver hit something, he'd be sitting in an aluminum tub of gasoline soaking him and his clothes...

 

Things started to change when 3-time World Champ Jackie Stewart started a 1-man safety campaign... this was not popular, even among the drivers who still had a macho attitude about it... "Well, Jackie, if you're afraid of crashing and dying, maybe you should go slower"... that kind of thing... the track owners hated him because he insisted on them putting Aarmco barriers everywhere around the track to keep the cars from flying into the woods or the crowd or whatever, and that cost a lot of money... but because of his stature, he got the drivers to refuse to race at tracks that didn't meet his standard...   then, in the mid-70's, Bernie Ecclestone bought the TV rights to the whole sport (basically buying the sport itself) and he realized that you can't have drivers dying on TV and have people like it... so, in the one and only instance of him giving up power to somebody else, he got Dr. Sid Watkins to become F1 Medical Director on Dr. Watkins' own terms... and that led to vastly improved first-responder capability...

 

But the big change happened after true legend Ayrton Senna was killed at Imola in 1994... that's when F1 decided to treat driver death as an engineering problem... rather than worrying about why drivers crashed, they began to ask why crashes cause driver injury and death... which in turn led to tremendous advances in car design... such that drivers today routinely walk away with zero injuries from crashes that 20 years ago would have been fatal...

 

Since the Senna crash, there have been no F1 driver deaths... until just last year in a very, very freak accident that should never have happened... Jules Bianchi had a crash when the race was under a yellow flag, which means "go slow due to some on-track danger"... another car had gone off track  in the rain, the driver was fine, and the yellow flag was in effect while they got that car off the track by lifting it over the Aarmco and putting it back down where no other car could hit it... so, it was wet conditions with a yellow flag... which means everybody's supposed to go slow, nobody can pass, etc... the problem was that the "go slow" part was not enforced... drivers just had to show that they didn't go *quite* as fast... there was no std about how unfast they were supposed to go... and, racing drivers being what they are, if you don't force them to go slow, they'll seek an advantage by going as fast as they can get away with...  they all do it...

 

Bianchi went off the track at the *exact* same spot as the car that had caused the yellow flag... because he was going 132 mph on a curvy part in the friggin' rain... and he would have been fine, except that he ran directly  into the big honkin' tractor-crane that was just then finishing lifting the other car out of the way... Bianchi's car ran into the tractor-crane at exactly the wrong angle, such that he decelerated from 132 mph to 0 mph instantly... it was something like a 250-G impact...and, while the car protected him anyway, the car could not protect his brain from colliding with the inside of his skull... which left him in a coma for 9 months until he died...  the only reason that happened is because the "go slow" requirement for yellow flags was not being adequately enforced...  changes were made, and it is being strongly enforced now... which means that the first-and-only death among F1 drivers in the 23 seasons since Senna's accident was caused by a failure to enforce a rule that had been on the books forever...

 

Leaving it up to racing drivers to decide how slow they should go is just an unbelievably dumb thing to do... but they did it anyway, and that is why that only death in 23 years occurred.... they don't to that anymore... instead, they invented an electronic means of enforcing the go-slow part of the yellow flag rule... so, that won't happen again...

 

Even with that 1 needless death, just 1 fatality in 23 seasons is an excellent record... horse racing jockey's die more often than that... however, it should be zero deaths in 23 years if not for Bianchi's very, very freak accident...


 "You say you've lost your faith, but that's not where its at.

  You have no faith to lose, and ya know it" - Bob Dylan


#17 DuffMan

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Posted 26 May 2016 - 05:32 PM

Massa is very fortunate to be alive after that accident a few years ago when debris (suspension cord I believe) struck him in the head, that could've been alot worse than it already was.  



#18 RShack

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Posted 26 May 2016 - 06:46 PM

Massa is very fortunate to be alive after that accident a few years ago when debris (suspension cord I believe) struck him in the head, that could've been alot worse than it already was.  

 

It was a spring... came off of Barrichello's car that was some distance in front of him... nobody knows how or why... they tried to recreate it later, but they couldn't... anyway, the spring went bouncing down the road, and Massa ran into it at 175 mph... 1.5 lb spring, hit his visor... at 175 mph... cracked his skull right above his left eye...  the helmets have become amazing... but how much can a dang see-thru visor protect you?

 

The helicopter got him to the designated hospital lickety-split... 

 

They race in the rain... but they don't race when the medivac chopper isn't right there, warmed up and ready to go... and they don't race when it can't fly... and they don't race when conditions at the hospital would prevent it from being able to land...

 

When guys drive cars at 200 mph, they're putting themselves at risk, no doubt about it... because shit happens...  and when shit happens at the speed they're going, that can't be good... which means their safety record is pretty amazing when you think about it...


 "You say you've lost your faith, but that's not where its at.

  You have no faith to lose, and ya know it" - Bob Dylan


#19 RShack

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Posted 28 May 2016 - 02:53 AM

One lap of Monaco...

 

For every F1 race except Monaco, the schedule is two 90-minute practice sessions on Friday, another on Saturday morning, followed by Qualifying on Saturday afternoon (to determine who starts where), and the race on Sunday afternoon...

 

They can't do that in Monaco... because the race course makes it impossible to get anywhere... people who live there would run out of groceries, etc.   So, at Monaco they move the Friday practice sessions to Thursday, and let people drive around more-or-less normally on Friday...

 

This means on Friday you can drive the race course in normal traffic with most of the race-related temporary modifications in place...  as is shown below...

 

In normal traffic, the lap took these folks more than 6 and half minutes....

 

 

 

In 1990 Ayrton Senna (who won more Monaco Grand Prix than anybody) did it in his McLaren-Honda in about 1 and a half minutes...

 

 

That lap is slow by today's standards... and as you can see, there's not even a few seconds where the driver can relax even a little... they have to remember to breathe...

 

For the race they do that 78 times...

 

Their only break is pitting once or twice for fresh tires... but these days pits tops only take 2.5-to-3 seconds to change all 4 tires., during which they're eagerly awaiting the "Go" signal...which means that's not really a break either...


 "You say you've lost your faith, but that's not where its at.

  You have no faith to lose, and ya know it" - Bob Dylan


#20 RShack

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Posted 28 May 2016 - 05:40 PM

Qualifying for Monaco was great...

 

Sometimes it's better than the race, but only at Monaco... because the track is such a crazy course to be racing on...  racing on city streets that take them up and down the side of a cliff, it's fitting that the 1:1 contest between car-and-driver vs. the track is a spectacle unto itself...

 

Today didn't disappoint... it began with an engine blowing up in spectacular fashion, just as the car was leaving the tunnel... not long after that, wunderkind Max rather dramatically stuck the nose of his car directly into a wall... and at a couple corners there were *lots* of moments when drivers got so close to a wall that you couldn't put anything in between... plus, some surprising outcomes, with Mercedes being challenged by Red Bull, Ferrari, Toro Rosso and Force India...


 "You say you've lost your faith, but that's not where its at.

  You have no faith to lose, and ya know it" - Bob Dylan





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