Alex Wurz to Retire

Driver Alex Wurz announced his retirement from top-line professional motor racing this week.  Wurz has been a particular favorite of fans, media and fellow drivers.  He is a two time LeMans winner (1996 with the Team Joest Porsche and 2009 with the factory Peugeot).  He also has extensive experience in the Formula One ranks with Benetton and Williams (and test driver with Brawn GP).

Wurz will complete his WEC commitments to Toyota in the 6 hour race at Bahrain. Dailysportscar put together an impressive story and career overview which is available here.

Judging from the outpouring of congratulations on social media, Wurz is very popular with a lot of people.  Hopefully, he won’t be far from the track in some capacity in the future.  Congratulations to Alex.

20140612-121858451 Canon 5D Mark III, 420mm, ISO100, 1/1250 sec,  f/6.3
June 12, 2014
LeMans 24 practice
Alex Wurz driving the #7 Toyota P1 entry

Buying a race car direct from the Mercedes Museum?

With a hat tip to Jalopnik for the pointer, did you know that you can buy a Mercedes directly from the museum?  Did you know that you can by a 1998 Mercedes CLK-LM race car that was used in pre-qualifying at LeMans?  Chassis 001?  Yikes. Of course, the price is available upon request, but you’d probably show up with a bucket full of Euros or Deutschmarks.   The website is Alltime-stars.com and has other cars for sale and more to come.  The cars are varied in their history and condition.  For the Mercedes Benz fan, this may be a site to keep an eye on.  For the auto racing fan, a look at a CLK-LM is a rare treat.  With that, have a look at some favorite photos from the site – there are 53 total photos, so have a look at the rest if you’re interested. Enjoy!

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Congrats to Porsche for winning the 2015 WEC Championship

In wet conditions, Porsche clinched the 2015 WEC championship.  Amazing story with a lot of layers.  Surely, there will be retrospectives in the off-season that look back over 2015 and speculate about 2016.  Full story of the Shanghai race and championship in a variety of places:
Dailysportscar Shanghai race report
Racer Magazine/Autosport
Sportscar365
Obligatory photos – these from LeMans 2014:
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Canon 5D Mark III, 420mm, ISO100, 1/320 sec, f/4
June 11, 2014
24 Hours of LeMans practice, pit lane entry

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Canon 5D Mark III, 420mm, ISO100, 1/1000 sec, f/5
June 11, 2014
24 Hours of LeMans practice, final chicane complex

1997 Nissan R390 GT1 at Art Center Classic

The Art Center College of Design in the hills above the Rose Bowl in Pasadena hosts a car show of sorts known as the “Classic” each year.  The Art Center staff, lead by Stuart Reed – the head of the Transportation Design department – selects a them and invites cars that reflect the theme.  This is a unique show that has unique cars, a chance to mingle with alumni working as designers in the industry, and see the students and their work who will shape the future of transportation design.

Chassis001 will feature several of the cars and exhibits from the 2015 Classic, held on October 25.

Today’s feature?  The 1997 Nissan R390 GT1 that ran at LeMans courtesy of the Nissan Heritage Collection.  The project brought together iconic names like TWR (Tom Walkinshaw) and Ian Callum (of Aston Martin design fame).  The regulations required a road car base, so unlike others who build the race car and reverse-engineered a road car, Nissan build the road car first.  The car was not a success but is remembered fondly by sportscar racing enthusiasts. Of the three cars, only one was classified as a finisher (12th).    #21 was driven by Martin Brundle, Jorg Muller and Wayne Taylor.  It suffered a clutch problem and then an overheating gearbox oil cooler.  In the early morning hours, Jorg Muller damaged the underside of the car running over curbs which added to the car’s problems and forced a retirement.

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Looking for more photos and history?  Check out the Speedhunters three part series from John Brooks:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3