Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Indy Cars Ultimate Cage Fight

As where’s ‘Ol tina Turner to sing us the intro to Thunderdome ‘N Beyond?


In the far reaches of the Australian Outback, in a tiny enclave known as Truwombia, a young lad wearing just a loincloth would spend hours playing with His boomerang while His father was on the road. The boy simply known as Johnny soon became proficient with His Boomerang, finding Himself needing to trek ‘n trek farther distances to retrieve it, along with the various wildlife He’d killed with it…


Johnny’s Old Man Alan of average Aussie’ build with a shock of red hair, had spent His lifetime driving ESSOLUX Oil tankers back ‘n forth from Truwombia to the high desert plains of Kookaburra and beyond with the ever shrinking legions of Australia’s notorious Road trains.


As the precious oil was crushed out of the porous rocks found in the Outback nearby Truwombia, providing work for it’s dwindling population, needing to be exported, meaning somebody needed to drive the Oil tankers to market…


Alan was a keen fan of the company’s sponsorship of Rally Cars and was super proud of the ESSOLUX Motorcycle team that had won the prestigious Truwombia-Canberra Marathon Rally Raid some 14 times.


One day at age eight, Alan came home with a special present for Johnny, a well used Zand hard ridden Spencer Flying Squirrel SX250 motorcycle for Johnny to cut His teeth upon the rugged Outback. With Johnny dreaming of one day becoming a professional racer like Peter Brock, Dick Johnson, Marcos Ambrose or Mark Winterbottom Even if His Pops’ wanted to get Him a job driving Oil rigs…


Although Johnny enjoyed the thrill of racing His Flying Squirrel motorcycle at Daredevil speed thru the Outback, He’d also taken many a tumble upon it. While a chance meeting with one of His Heros Marcos Ambrose led Him to a trryout for the local Doohingle Australian Formula Ford team. With Johnny being selected as one of Thar drivers for the forthcoming season.


Although lacking experience in racing cars, along with many reliability issues. Johnny soon earned the nickname of Oil Can Johnny in part to His fathre’s occupation along with causing quite a few engines to go Kuhblamoe!


From there with help from His father’s ESSOLUX connections, Oil Can Johnny gravitated to the wide open spaces of Europe and it’s ultra competitive European Formula 3500 series. Since He’d been unable to find anybody willing to take Him on to contest the New South Wales Supercars Championship, which Ambrose had suggested to Him previously…


After scoring a single win in the Euro F3500 series on the man-made Island of Socitui in the South Pacific Seas. Fellow Japanese racer Noda Makasuki urged Oil Can Johnny to join Him in His Home series Autopolis Formula Supreme.


Competing in the single make Formula Supreme series, Oil Can Johnny took His Toyota powered Dragonlady MZ93 to an amazing third place in the championship with multiple wins.


In the United States, the wily Kenny Simpson, who had a knack for spotting obscure talent, signed the promising Oil Can Johnny to drive one of His Champ Cars for the following season for His Minnowesqe Simpson Racing Team.


Franco “Chester” Betuzi was a stocky man of medium height with jet black hair and charcoal brown eyes that bore Holes into you. As Franco had gotten the nickname Chester whilst growing up in the Windy City and having a penchant for noisily chewing pistachios.


Chester who usually sported a five O’clock shadow and preferred wearing a Brooks Brothers denim sports jacket over one of His racing team’s Polo’s. As the Betuzi Motorsports team logo was adorned in a shield remeniscant of the great Italian Bambino’s lore. With the initials BM in black letters against a red shield with gold accents.


Betuzi Motorsports was a perennial championship winning Champ Car team, most notably with the likes of another driver from Down Under, albeit from New Zealand by the name of Taffy Tonkaberg. Who usually made the others pay by standing on the winners step after making fun of His first name!


Preston Henly Winchester III had been an aspiring racing car driver who instead focused upon making His Advertising Agency No. 1 in it’s field, before the floundering Canamax Formula Libre team sought His considerable skills to right it’s sinking ship. As Canamax had a long, storied success in the Formula Libre Championship dating back to the 1950’s…


Preston who played the part of an Aristocrat was always adorned in the latest, most expensive Armani four piece business suit. As the lean, six-foot plus American with tasseled blonde hair and piercing blue eyes was always on the lookout for the latest, up ‘n coming talent to plug into His new racing team’s vast array of many different series.


Chester, who also fancied Himself as a shrewd talent spotter, spotted something in the young Oil Can Johnny’ and hired the lad to a bare bones, no frills bargain basement contract to drive for BM the following season, having become displeased with previous Simpson Racing prodigy Edwardo Jolliet.


Preston, who longtime Champ Car paddock members took to calling “Winnie” behind Preston’s back! Soon settled upon a scheme to poach as many staff of the rival Betuzi Motorsports concern, since after all BM was one of the top two teams on the Championship  Car Trail!


Thus Preston fast talked the Star Struck Oil Can Johnny into signing a very lucrative contract to come race for rival Canamax, even though Johnny had a year left on His BM contract. Regardless of the fact that Chester had just exercised His option to retain Johnny, who’d just won that year’s Champ Car Championship for Betuzi Motorsports, it’s 27th title!


Next Chester’s and Preston’s lawyers worked out a solution that would see Oil Can Johnny serve out the remaining year of His BM contract; as Be Good Johnny! And then you’ll be free to renegotiate. With Winnie’ throwing in enticement for Johnny to ultimately join Canamax a year later by making Him a test and reserve driver of their famous Formula Libre team, which Chester acquiesced to.


The next year, Johnny had a magical season driving for Betuzi, blitzing the Champ Car field with nine victories and romping His way to His second championship title in three years…


Meanwhile, Preston, who never quit making Deals. Signed the German Wunderkind Mathias Lowenbach to become it’s newest Formula Libre HotShcue’, leaving Oil Can Johnny without a path to a coveted seat upon the Formula Libre Grid with Canamax anytime in the near future…


Thus Johnny, with the help of His manager Makasuki-san, who He’d quietly reunited with the former racing driver. Called Chester and set up a clandestine meeting to discuss staying at Betuzi Motorsports after all, even if He had already signed a new contract to drive for Canamax’s rival Champ Car team the following season. Provided Betuzi would give Him a much more lucrative contract…


As Chester relished the chance to give that young upstart Whippersnapper Winnie’ a taste of His own medicine! And after letting His experienced Swede’ go to another rival team. Along with the help of money from Caribbean Businessman Jolly Mahley, including stepping up to run His son Kiffree by expanding Betuzi Motorsports to an unheard of six car entry. Giving Chester twice as many entries on the grid vs. Preston’s Champ Car outfit, even with All 43 of it’s drivers signed to various contracts.


Plus with increased financial support from Oil Can Johnny’s current American Champ Car backers Chucky Cheese. Chester quickly retained the impressive young driver’s talents for the foreseeable future at poor ‘Ol Winnie’s expense! Even if Preston threatened more legal action, He still didn’t have a multi-times Champ Car driver in His current Canamax stable… 

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

The Passenger book review

An ultra rare, 1973 Maserati Bora. Previously part of the Maserati Heritage Collection. (Image source: www.handh.co.uk)


As we’re All just passengers for a limited time upon Terra Firma…


Ah, the good ‘Ol Sea of Synchronicity constantly soaking thoust mystical Isle ‘O Nofendersville, albeit a few months ago!


As five days prior to His Death, I was introduced to the author Cormac McCarthy’s writings, having checked out No country for Old Men (2005) and The Passenger. (2022) With the latter peaking my interest since it supposedly revolved around a former Formula 2 Driver turned Salvage Wreck Diver.


And although not necessary, I “read”, Err listened to them on ‘Ol School CD Audiobook in chronological order,. Which the 2007 movie No country for Old Men won Four Oscars; Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director and Best Screenplay.


As No Country for Old Men is far more Brutal than The Passenger…


overall I enjoyed my second Cormac McCarthy novel The Passenger, albeit I found it to be a most Quirky book. And it was somewhat hard to follow the massive character topic swings! For which I could only surmise who the mystery Girl (Alicia) with imaginary visitors was?


Or why the main character Robert Western, who His friends All call Him Bobby, is having dinner with a Transgender friend? Or His flirting with women in general when He’s supposedly eternally in love with His Dead Sister. Who I was guessing was the character above? As Alicia is indeed Bobby’s sister. Whilst Bobby’s supposedly is “Off the Market”.


Suppose I paid particular Attenzione to the various female characters in both of these novels, since His New York Times Obituary article Criticized McCarthy’s lack of women characters in His work, for which I’m failing to “See” in eitherNo Country for Old Men or The Passenger.


But I have to say originally I wasn’t impressed with what I considered to be two major Gaffs relating to motorsports, which presumably only Hard Core racing Aficionados like Mwah would know…


As there had only been two references to bobby’s (Western) past as a Formula 2 driver. Beginning with the briefest mention of His being a former F2 driver giving Him the plate in His Head and rod in His leg.


Yet upon having finished Disc 3 of 11, one of His Salvage Wreck Diving partners Red asks Him how fast do those Formula 2 cars go? Replying that Formula 1 cars can go 200mph but there’s hardly anywhere for them to go that fast, like the Mulsanne Straight. And the F2 cars don’t have speedometers and one of the problems was Stagger.


For which I had these instant reactions too! First of all, the Mulsanne Straight, which is Not “Straight” anymore, due to the necessity of two chicanes being installed to slow the prototype Sports Cars from exceeding 240mph and going Airbourne! Was “Chopped” up a long time ago, early 2000’s Me Thinks? With former F1 driver Mark Webber having survived Summersaulting in a Mercedes prototype Upon it during the 1999 race!


As the Mulsanne Straight is part of the legendous’ Circuit de la Sarthe, i.e.; 24 Heurs du Mans.


And the 24 Hours of Le Mans is arguably the most famous Sports Car race, with Formula 1 never having competed there!


Not to mention that current F1 chassis have routinely been exceeding 200mph for years, which would be easy to deduce? Since the legendary Italian circuit simply known as Monza. Whose moniker is the Temple of Speed! Once held, or still does? The outright All-time top speed of 231mph for a Formula 1 car! Although I think Valtteri Bottas exceeded that at the Mexican Grand Prix? So that’s Strike One!


Strike Two is that as far as I know, Nobody in Europe uses the word Stagger to describe tyre circumference. Since Stagger typically relates to tyres that are used for Oval racing, i.e.; Indianapolis 500. Since the tyres are made of different size from inside edge to outter edge to help the racecar turn left with less steering input!


Yet in the paragraph prior to the Formula 2 reference, bobby correctly discusses Red’s old Ford Galaxie and correct Ford engine sizes, i.e.; 390 vs. 428cid, (Cubic Inch Displacement) along with CJ Heads, etc. Whilst giving a “shout Out” to a very unknown 1970’s Italian Sports Car, the Maserati Bora. Which I agree with McCarthy is an stunningly beautiful car!


Making me recall the one and only time I stupidly tried keeping up with one on the Freeway in Everett (WA) when going to lunch in Mukilteo. As the V-8 Bora simply “Walked Away” from my “Luxury-liner” six cylinder Nissan 280ZX, for which I was simply being stupid about! Simply Disappearing from Mwah before I wisely let off the accelerator!


As I realize today in hindsight some 35yrs later, I could have never won that race! Since the Bora  had two more engine cylinders and only one person driving it. Versus my having my good friend Randal, thy No Fenders Moniker King! Ridin’ “shotgun”, (passenger) ergo extra weight along with less horsepower!


Not having a clue about the Bora Wayback’ then. Yet Boyz’ do silly things when they’re “Young and Stupid!” But I digress…


And although I’m well aware that one cannot know everything! Since I knew that the Bora was rare, since that was my one and only encounter with one. But I’m quite surprised just learning today that only a miniscule 564 units were built for the Bora between 1971-78!


Thus leaving me feeling that if McCarthy can do research on a seemingly obscure Italian two seater Sports Car from the 1970’s. then surely He could have done equal research for His Formula 1 and F2 tidbits, Righto?


Yes, I realize I’m being overly Nitpicky here. And I enjoyed the book in general, knowing I could never write a novel like this! But I just have to chuckle over how I immediately did what most Hard Core Petrol Headz’ do when having non-mainstream motor racing in a popular novel or movie. And should be pleased that Formula 2 is being mentioned at All…


Thus finishing the book, which like I previously noted. I enjoyed very much overall, simply “listening” to the final eight Discs without critiquing it further.


Initially, I thought that the portion above were the last few, miniscule tidbits devoted to the main character’s (Bobby Western) past as a Formula 2 driver.


Before recalling one more brief mention of His racing a Lotus F2 racecar during the summer and doing so in Paris and France. While Bopping around Europe pulling said racecar in a van and trailer. Going into detail over how colin Chapman was renown for His lightweight designs…


After my initial critique above, I subsequently learned that McCarthy had begun working on The Passenger initially during the 1970’s when indeed, the Mulsanne Straight was still “straight”. So perhaps He was trying to portray that it was one of the few public roads where 1970’s Formula 1 cars, which were probably hard pressed of exceeding 200mph could do so on a public road.


But if so, then why didn’t the author write His prose in this perspective? Especially since McCarthy obviously did some research upon the esteemed Formula 1 designer and racing guru Chapman!


Whilst I still believe that the Europeans’ don’t use the term stagger. Or at least I’ve never heard so in nearly 40yrs of following F1! But I digress…


Yet I really enjoyed the struggles of Bobby overall, whose life gets completely turned upside down by “They”, the U.S. government who seize His bank account and 1973 Maserati Bora, which He enjoys taking on spirited romps of 160mph! Having also learned what year it was when surfing the web afterwards.


As I found the book to be a great introspection about life. While the book goes everywhere besides solving the initial mystery of the sunken Jet plane He and “Oiler”, another Salvage Diver are paid to investigate.


And I mean it goes everywhere! With bobby’s dead sister Alicia’s frequent visits with a “Vaudeville” Dummy who routinely rakes Her over the Coals. As Alicia is Schizophrenic and it took me a little while to deduce who Her character was.


Involving both Bobby and Alicia’s issues with their father who helped develop the Atom Bomb! To Einstein, Oppenheimer, Quantum Physics, JFK and rifle muzzle velocities! Plus what Jackie (Jacklyn Kennedy) was really doing on the “Boot” of the Presidential limousine when Her Husband was shot! Along with a Private Detective who formerly was a Fortune Teller in His Family’s circus…


While I totally love how much of the story’s written in Southern Charm, set in New Orleans, Knoxville and Warthog, Tennessee, With one of bobby’s best friends calling Him Squire. Along with one portion of the book taking on a Grapes of Wrath melancholy to Mwah…


While the Bumfiddle’ Florence librarian Marshall asked me what I thought about it? Before saying He’d heard that the second companion book Stella Maris, that I tried checking out. But had mysteriously disappeared from our library! Since their computer system claimed it was on their shelves, but Marshall and Kevin both couldn’t find it! Claims is even more confusing than The Passenger is!


Although I’ve subsequently “read” Stella Maris. Which indeed was even more Quirkier, yet enjoyable…


And that’s my 14 pesos worth upon The Passenger novel, which overall I found to be a very enjoyable book! 

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Formula 1 Fandom: When will the Bubble Burst?

Probably no time soon. Although MaxiMillions’ making a mockery out of the Sport surely won’t Help…


Initially, I’d planned on attempting to scribble something “riveting” here upon No Fenders about a long forgotten American F1 constructor Justin-time’ for this year’s U.S. Grand Prix at Austin’s Circuit Of The Americas. (COTA)


But running out of time, being way behind on my F1 coverage and with another Grands Prix in Sin City still on the calendar. I’ll save that story for November, hopefully…


Over the Japanese Grand Prix weekend, I found my mind Ah-wonderin’ as always after first having sat thru Friday night’s second practice session ending at midnight Pacific. And then sitting down again to “watch”, Err listen to Saturday “night’s” third practice here upon the West coast.


Although I enjoyed ANT’, nee Anthony Davidson filling in for Martin billybob’ Brundle, along with my Numero Uno Sky Sports F1 Pitlane reporter Theodore, Not Lenny! Krabitz being on hand. I totally drifted off into Never Neverland when Ted started waxing on disjointedly about a scene in Monty Python’s Holy Grail, Huh? Before Ted said He needed to swap out His Headset’s batteries so He could hear Himself…


And having tuned out of Formula 1 so far this season, which is strange for Mwah. It wasn’t until Saturday when I realized when talking to Tacoma Bureau Chief Mary Ellen that it was twenty years ago when I attended the first of my two Japanese Grands Prix, circa 2003-04.


Knowing I’ve waxed on here upon No fenders many Moons ago about how attending the 2003 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka was so Karmic for Mwah, being a Ginormous Der Terminator’, nee Michael Schumacher Fan!


As it just so very well happened that I was present the day that Herr Schumacher finished eighth to claim His then record setting sixth Formula 1 World Championship! Having surpassed the mark of El Maestro’s, nee Juan Manuel Fangio’s tally of five F1 World Championships that had stood for some 46 years.


Yet I don’t know where that exact story is buried upon No Fenders, where instead I lamented about having previously attended the 2004 Japanese Grand Prix instead. When Formula 1 made History by holding Qualifying on Sunday morning for the first time ever.




Whilst it was funny re-reading the story (above) and learning how then Mark Handlebarz’ Webber was then leading the 2010 F1 championship with eventual first time Weldmeister ‘lyl syd viddle (Sebastian Vettel) languishing 21-points behind in fourth after Suzuka. Now that it’s a decade ago since Vettel’s final World Championship.


But I’d have to say that Suzuka now holds a permanent cloud over it for Mwah, with the ultimately fatal accident of Jules Bianchi upon slamming into the recovery crane vehicle in the late goings of the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix…




Yet for reasons unknown, as it’s strange how the mind works. I’d had the unusual Hankerin’ a few days prior to Suzuka for some tunes from an ‘Ol Rock Band of Wayback’ that I listened to growing up. With said band being Supertramp, as I suppose I’m taking the long way home here, Eh?


But it was a different song that kept playing repeatedly over my internal Jukebox instead…


“Who are these Men of lust, greed and glory

Rip off the Mask and let’s see”


As this phrase first struck me regarding the recent antics of Max Verstappen – who so audaciously told us if we didn’t like His utter dominance of the sport, then we weren’t Fans of Formula 1!


And then Maximus Hothead’ followed that up by emphatically telling us All to go Suck on a Egg! For which immediately made me retort with Kevn Magnussen’s infamous statement of Suck My Balls Max!


“Who are these Men of lust, greed and glory

Rip off the Mask and let’s see


But that’s  not right, oh, no, what’s the story?

But there’s you and  there’s me”


Yet instead, I simply cannot get over thinking that these men of lust, greed and glory are the ten F1 Team Bosses who are so adamantly opposed to allowing any new interlopers into their private Thiefdom!


Not to mention Liberty Media!


Now I’m not saying that Mikey A’ isn’t pursuing taking an eleventh team entry on Formula One’s grid just for the mere sport of it! Since naturally Michael Andretti wants to cash-in upon Formula One’s rising popularity.


But still, what are the current ten F1 Teams so afraid of? Other than their precious Share values dipping? For which I’d say is only a matter of time inevitably…


But I’m sure the Spin doctors will just be merrily focusing upon Herr Gunther instead, and America’s current F1 Team, Haas, even if it’s been nothing but a Back marker ever since enteringFormula 1 in 2016.


And before Y’all jump All over the thought of having two “Sub-par” American teams in F1. I’d argue how does the likes of Alfa Romeo, Scuderia AlphaTauri and Williams currently fit into that landscape?


With Alfa Romeo and AlphaTauri having amassed a total of three Grands Prix victories over some Gory 1,245 Grands Prix Starts! By my very rudimentary Ryth-Muh-tickin’ of All of their various guises, i.e.; Minardi, Toro Rosso, AlphaTauri, Sauber, BMW Sauber and Alfa Romeo between 1985 thru the just concluded Japanese Grand Prix. Whilst Williams has been a Shell of it’s former glory for how many years now?


Song lyrics from Supertramp’s 1974 Crime of the Century. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

F1: FIA Approves Andretti Formula 1 Entry submission

But will Formula One Management be so Brazen to Deny them?


News broke over a Fortnight ago over the FIA approving Michael Andretti’s submission for “Expressions of Interest” to the FIA to join the Formula 1 Grid.


As Andretti Cadillac was the only one of four “level two” applications to meet the FIA’s Due diligence “vetting” process. Enabling Andretti to now seek commercial approval to become Formula One’s eleventh team from Formula One Management, (FOM) the Commercial rights Holder of F1.


As we know, F1 President Stefano Dominicali and eight of the current ten Formula 1 Teams have been exceedingly luke-warm to Michael Andretti’s effort to become an F1 Constructor.


Principally fearing loss of their income stream of Guaranteed Moohlah’, along with potentially a smaller prize amount due to Gasp! Finishing behind Andretti in the vaunted F1 Constructors Championship!


The FIA has now done it’s part in completing it’s Expressions of Interest reequirements, meaning the Ball’s now squarely in FOM’s Hands. For which I say once again, what are the current ten Formula 1 Teams so afraid of?


As surely Mikey A’s presence will be spotted at Austin’s Circuit Of The Americas (COTA) racetrack during this weekend’s USGP… 

Monday, October 16, 2023

RETRO: McLaren, Sixty Years in the Making

Although I think they’ve already run All of their special tribute liveries celebrating this milestone. And should just be in customary papaya at Austin and Las Vegas?


I first thought about this milestone in May when Arrow McLaren ran it’s four Indianapolis 500 entries with distinctly different, but enjoyable “throwback” liveries Honouring it’s 60th Anniversary. With each of it’s three fulltime IndyCar drivers running an unique livery mimicking it’s winning Le Mans, Monaco and Indy 500 victories.


And since I haven’t really been paying much Attenzione to Formula 1, I’d forgotten that this year’s F1 chassis designation is MCL60, also in deference to you know what…


Although I did muse to myself that it had been worth getting up early to “watch”, Err listen to the British Grand Prix just to hear the roar of the partisan, Sellout crowd’s delight of McLaren’s Lando Norris taking the lead over Max Verstappen! Even if everybody knew it would be short lived.


Yet I find it bemusing that nowhere can I find the actual date in 1963 when Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd was founded. As it’s just sometime in Bloody 1963. Which ironically was a busy year with the “Birth” of Lamborghini, plus the debut of the Porsche 911 Panzerwagon.


Whilst Bruce McLaren would have just celebrated His 86th Birthday this August 30th. Being just over a half year  younger than El Capitano’, nee Roger Penske. As Roger would sell His Zerex Special Sports Car to McLaren at the end of 1963.


Yet instead of recreating another crooked wheel. I’ll simply point Y’all towards an old Bruce McLaren No Fenders tome instead…




Bruce McLaren made His team’s debut at the 1966 Monaco Grand Prix, making me wonder what they’ll do to celebrate that? Going onto score McLaren’s first of an eventual 183 Grands Prix victories to date at the 1968 Belgian Grand Prix.


Yet McLaren’s early dominance came in Sports Cars instead, in what forever will be remembered as “The Bruce & Denny Show!” When Bruce and teammate Dennis Hulme, the 1967 Formula 1 World Champion decimated the Can Am Championship between 1967-1971. When those Uber Nasty ground poundin’ McLaren seven litre, or perhaps eight litres? Chevrolet Big Block Can Am monsters were nearly unbeatable! Before Roger Penske’s Porsche 917’s dethrowned them…


Sadly Bruce died in a testing accident at Goodwood behind the wheel of a McLaren M8D Can Am car, with Teddy Mayer taking over the team. As Mayer would lead Mclaren to it’s first Formula 1 Drivers and Constructors titles in 1974 with Emmo’, nee Emmerson Fittipaldi. While James Hunt went onto win the ’76 F1 Drivers title.


McLaren also dabbled in Indy Cars during the 1970’s, winning the Indianapolis 500 three times. First with Penske Racing and Mark Donohue in a McLaren chassis in 1972. Before Lone Star JR’, aka Johnny Rutherford won outright for Mclaren in 1974 & 1976.


Yet the team fell on hard times and, first quit IndyCar at the end of 1979. Next in ‘81, at title sponsor Marlboro’s insistence, McLaren merged with Ron Dennis’s Project 4 Racing outfit, which competed in Formula 2, Formula 3 and the BMW Procar Championships. With Dennis becoming Team Principal before ultimately buying out it’s other partners.


Dennis coaxed Niki “the Rat” Lauda out of retirement in ’82, guiding McLaren into becoming a Formula 1 Juggernaut.


As McLaren with F1 Designer John Barnard brought the first All Carbon composite chassis to the sport in 1984. The same year that began a remarkable stretch of seven F1 Drivers and six F1 Constructors Championships between 1984-1991.


As Niki Lauda, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna were the winning drivers. First using the successful TAG-Porsche 1.5 litre V-6 and Honda V-6 Turbos thru 1988. And then Honda’s normally aspirated V-10 and V-12 lumps’, before Honda withdrew from Formula 1 at the end of 1992, sound familiar?



Another dry spell passed in 1998-99 when Mika-the-Finn’ (Hakkinen) won the F1 World Championship back-to-back aboard Adrian Newey “penned” racecars.


Newey left McLaren for Red Bull in 2006 and still leads the Design Office today, with Red Bull becoming a major force in formula 1 ever since.


Whilst let’s not forget 2007’s Spy Gate episode, when Mclaren was fined a record $100 million by the FIA for having had illegally obtained Ferrari technical documents. Along with being stripped of that year’s Constructors standing!


Or how Fernando Alonsos and Lewis Hamilton’s infighting lost McLaren the World Championship to former McLaren driver Kimi Raikkonen, now wearing Scarlet (Ferrari) Overalls…


And then in what’s been McLaren’s last Hurrah to date. Thee Ronster’s (Dennis) final driver prodigy Lewis Hamilton won the first of His eventual seven F1 World Championships in 2008, being McLaren’s latest Championship!


Dennis and then one of it’s other major McLaren Shareholder Mansour Ojjeh, who Dennis had initially sold 50% of McLaren to in 1983, had a falling out reportedly in 2013. Which effectively led to Ron Dennis being pushed out of the company He’d resurrected in 2014.


Having  previously ceded day-to-day control of McLaren to Martin Whitmarsh in 2009. And having lost a bitter lawsuit to resume control of McLaren in 2016, Dennis sold the remainder of His Shares in 2017, ending the Dennis era. After having failed to win the Board’s backing for His resuming control of McLaren…


Zak Brown was made Executive Director of the McLaren Technology Group in November, 2016, and CEO of McLaren Racing in 2018.


As I feel there’s no reason to rehash McLaren’s failed bid with Werks’ Honda Power Units between 2015-18. When Fernando Alonso who’d returned to McLaren a second time infamously called them worse than a F2 engine over His In-car radio! Although ultimately Honda Power Units have now won the last two F1 World Championships and soon to capture their third consecutively with Red Bull…


Yet McLaren has only one one Formula 1 race at Monza with DannyRic’, aka Daniel Ricciardo at Monza in 2022, nine years after Jenson Button’s final victory while driving for McLaren.


Yet McLaren’s current F1 lineup of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri are currently making waves, and are one of the few teams to at least give Max Verstappen and Red Bull something to think about…


Across thoust Bloody Puddle Stateside, Zakery Brown’s IndyCar exploits are well known in the never ending Alex Palou dispute, one of the 43 drivers Brown’s inked contracts with!


Having returned McLaren to IndyCar initially in 2017 with a “One-off” for Alonso at the Indianapolis 500 driving for Andretti Autosport.


Then first parterning with Sam Schmidt and Rick Peterson’s IndyCar team thru taking effective control in 2022 when purchasing 75% of then Arrow McLaren SP. With grand ambitions of becoming one of IndyCar’s “Big four”.


McLaren is also involved in Extreme E and Formula E, not to mention it’s fantastic road cars, which I’d Arse-sume was Dennis’s vision of turning McLaren into another Ferrari. As the company’s certainly come a long way from the “Garragist” era of Bruce McLaren’s humble beginnings some sixty years ago… 

Thursday, October 12, 2023

IMSA: Petit Le Mans Notes

    As once again, I missed thee memo…


Having put my Petit Le Mans preview to “Bed” prior to the entry list being made public. I’d say your humble No Fenders scribe Tomaso did a pretty good job guessing on which IndyCar drivers would be racing this weekend at Road Atlanta.


As I did get Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden, Scott McLauglin and Helio Castroneves rides sorted correctly. Only guessing’ wrong upon which racecarKyle Kirkwood would be in.


As “Kirk” Kirkwood will be driving the Vasser Sullivan Racing’s No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 entry alongside season regulars and GTD Pro Class Champions elect Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat. As the trio are the defending Petit Le Mans GTD Pro Class winners.


ScottyMac’, aka Scott McLaughlin will indeed be back with the No. 8 Tower Motorsports in the LMP2 prototype category. As the Kiwi’ will team with the totally unknown Arie Balogh and Chip Ganassi Racing 2024 IndyCar rookie Kyffin Simpson.


Also of interest is the Iron Dames Lamborghini Huracan GT Daytona (GTD) entry. As the No. 85 sports an All Femme Fatale lineup with Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting and Doraine Pim at the Lambo’s keyboard.


Whilst I find it Uber embarrassing that only the final three hours of the season finale will be available upon USA Network, provided the RASSCAR lite’ Xfinity race doesn’t go into overtime…


Meaning the majority of one of IMSA’s premiere endurance races is stuck behind that nebulous Peacock Paywall for the majority of it’s ten hours duration. Meaning I can skip directly past GO, straight to IMSA Radio instead!


Hmm, can Y’all say TV ratings Bonanza? Whilst believe I’ve heard the Green Flag flies at 8:40AM Pacific. But as Always, check your local listings… 

IMSA: 2023 Petit Le Mans Season Finale another Nail Biter

As which IndyCar team owner will become this year’s Prototypes Champion?


This year’s 26th running of the Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta Saturday, October 14th will feature another winner take All outcome! As there are four IMSA GTP teams competing to win the Prototypes Championship. With the Top-three title competitors being an amazing five points apart of each other!


As the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Action Express Racing (AXR) Cadillac V-Series.R of Pipo Derani and Alexander Sims lead the points battle with 2460 points. Then just a scant three markers back (2457) is the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport’s Acura ARX-06 with Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque at it’s controls. Nipping at Thar’ Heels a further two markers adrift (2455) is the No. 6 Porsche Penske Motorsports duo of Mathieu Jaminet and Nick Tandy. Having taken their Porsche 963 to victory at the latest race at Rodger’s “Playground” at Mother Speedway.


Needing All three of these teams to run into trouble, along with needing to finish multiple places ahead of them. The #25 Team BMW Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing entry of Nick Yelloly and Conor De Filipe have an outside chance of clinching the title aboard their BMW M8 Hybrid, albeit the duo currently ranks fourth with 2422 points; 38-points adrift.


Interestingly, the WTR Andretti entry is the only one of these four title Contendahs’ to have not won a race. Instead just having amassed three podium finishes; a pair of second’s and one third place.


While the Whelen Engineering Cadillac and Team BMW RLL have both one win apiece. With the Porsche Penske having scored two W’s in what’s been deemed a Feast or Famine season.


Although I suppose it’s worth mentioning that the Seester’ No. 7 Penske Porsche is still mathematically alive at 2387 points; 73-adrift…


Being the final endurance race of the season, with currently five IndyCar teams competing, i.e.; Andretti Auto, Err Andretti Global, Chip Ganassi Racing, Meyer Shank Racing, (MSR) Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Team Penske. Although MSR will lose it’s Acura ARX-06 next year when Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Global becomes a two car Acura program. Alas, Thars’ plenty for IndyCar fans to keep track of.


Everybody in the race’s five classes, i.e.; GTP, LMP2, LMP3, GTD Pro and GT Daytona (GTD) will be employing a third Enduro’ specialist for the ten hours race, with current IndyCar driver Scott Dixon joining the #01 Ganassi (CGR) Cadd-Oh-lacc’ as usual alongside Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande. As  Dixon was the only current IndyCar driver I knew for certain being on the Grid when beginning to scribble thisNo Fenders tome…


Yet of note, initially Josef Newgarden and Jenson Button were listed as TBA on the series potential season’s competitors entries in the GTP ranks. Wit Newgarden in the No. 7 Penske Porsche 963 and Button in the No. 5 “Mach 5 Mustang Sally”, Err Sampling? JDC-Miller Motorsports customer Porsche 963.


Having learned that indeed both Newgarden and Button will be making their IMSA GTP debuts at Road Atlanta, with both drivers racing in Porsche 963’s for the first time. Whilst it’s also Button’s debut racing in IMSA competition.


Two other IndyCar drivers I was unaware of potentially competing are ScottyMac’, aka Scott McLaughlin and Helio Casstroneves participation. As McLaughlin will possibly reunite with the No. 8Tower Motorsports in LMP2.


Whilst don’t be surprised if Castroneves whose been an “Afterthought” for Mwah this entire IndyCar season, once again Moonlights aboard the #60 MSR Acura GTP entry.


Believe the LMP2 title fight is between George Kurtz and Company in the #04 CrowdStrike Racing by APR vs. Ben Keating and Company in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports entry. With both running the dominant Oreca 07 LMP2 chassis.


Oopsadaisy! Actually Nikkel Jensen and Steven Thomas in the NO. 55 TDF Racing lead the LMP2 title fight with 1680 points. Keating and Paul-Loup Chatin are a scant twenty markers adrift at 1660 points, with Kurtz and Ben Hanley third on 1580 points.


Not sure if the points structure is the same for every IMSA category? If so, then I believe there’s still a maximum of 385 points on offer at Road Atlanta? Meaning it appears to still be a three way title fight in LMP2. Arse-sumedly winner take all But I don’t know how the Michelin Endurance Cup points factor into the outcome? Since pretty sure this is the final round of that separate championship.


And although I Don’t Know Nothing! About the first and third place LMP2 runners. It’s potentially shaping up to be a banner year for Keating. As the talented Texan “Gentleman” driver has already won the final FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) LMGTE AM Championship. Along with winning this year’s 24 Heurs du Mans category aboard the Larbre Competition Corvette C8.R, after being two laps down! And is now on the cusp of His second title this season.


Not to mention becoming part of United Autosports two car IMSA LMP2 Full season entry next year. Driving for somebody named Mr. Zakery Brown and co-owner Richard Dean.


While there are simply way too many former IndyCar drivers on the Grid to bother typing. Other than I’d Arse-sume current IndyCar driver Kyle Kirkwood will once again be Moonlighting aboard the #12 Lexus RF C GT3 in the GT Daytona category…


And speaking ‘O Lexus. Former IndyCar team owners Top Jimmy’ (Vasser) and James Sully’ Sullivan, who run Lexus’s two car IMSA program. Will claim their first IMSA GTD Pro Championship by simply taking the green flag on Saturday. With former IndyCar driver Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat becoming Class Champions aboard the No. 14 Lexus entry.


The #1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 wit Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow has already won the GTD (Daytona) Championship on the strength of a record five wins. Whilst I’m fairly certain that Gar Robinson and His No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier have a lock upon the LMP3 category, which is making it’s series swan song at Road Atlanta.


Arse-sumedly television coverage will once again begin on Big NBC with an Hour’s or more “teaser” before shifting over to USA Network for a few hours. And then Arse-suming to Peacock in order to make way for USA Network running a brace of Law and Order or Chicago PD reruns…


And then who knows where the finish of the race winds up on television? Since by then, I’ll have long switched over to IMSA Radio’s coverage with John Hindhaugh, Jeremy Shaw and Shea Adam. So as Always, I’ll leave it to Y’all to check your local listings. 

Monday, October 9, 2023

LE MANS: Triple Crown Winners, Part 5

Betcha Y’all are saying Hallelujah! We’ve finally crossed the Finish line on this lumbering endurance story multiple 24 Hours round Ye clock later!


Yeah, if you’re still reading this five part No Fenders story? Which I definitely appreciate Y’all doing so! Especially since if Yuhs cannot tell, I’m runnin’ outta Steam.


Thus it seems overly Apropos that we’ve begun with a German and we end with another two Germans. As Germany and the United States ties with three drivers apiece. Followed by two Bloody Brit’s and Uno Italian’s…


Marco Werner

Birthplace: Dortmund, Germany

DOB: April 27, 1966, Age: 57

Wins: Daytona1995; Sebring, (3) 2003, 2005, 2007 and Le Mans, (3) 2005-07


Marco Werner is another Sports Car driver I tend to remember nothing about, albeit His name sounded vaguely familiar and I should have remembered Him for racing in the American Le Mans Series for the All conquering Audi’s.


Reportedly Werner finished runner-up in the Opel Euroseries and German Formula 3 Championships behind somebody named tom Kristensen…


Unable to graduate to thee Pinnacle ‘O Motorsports, ergo Formula 1, Werner focused upon Sports Car racing instead.


After toiling in Porsche Supercup, Marco scored His first major endurance race event upon winning the 1995 Rolex 24 driving a Kremer Porsche 962.


Werner then won the first of His eventual three 12 Hours of Sebring victories in ’03. Dovetailing His latter two Sebring W’s while completing a rare Hat trick at Circuit de la Sarthe. Winning the prestigious 24 Heurs du Mans between 2005-07 for Audi. With Sebring being part of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) which ran a similar rules package to the ACO, governing body of Le Mans.


As Werner’s first victory at Le Mans alongside JJ Letho, claiming His second and final Le Mans win. Presumably were overshadowed by co-driver Tom Kristensen claiming His sixth consecutive 24 Hours of Le Mans victory and seventh overall, surpassing Jacky Ickx’s previous record…


With Audi primarily racing in ALMS and Le Mans, albeit Audi’s dominant R8 LMP1 chassis did contest the Le Mans Endurance Series. Werner’s winning Daytona was rare for drivers of this era, since the 24 Hours of Daytona was under the auspices of first the United States Road Racing Championship. (USRRC) And then the rival Grand American Road Racing Championship, later becoming the Rolex Sports Car Series sanctioning bodies. Better know  simply as Grand Am between 1998-2013.


Timo Bernhart

Birthplace: Homburg, West Germany

DOB: February 24, 1981, Age: 42

Wins: Daytona 2003; Sebring 2008 and Le Mans, (2) 2010, 2017


What stands out to me about Timo Bernhard, our youngest and most current Triple Crown winner is His Porsche RS Spyder links.


As I fondly recall Him being part of El Capitano’, nee Roger Penske’s Werks’ AMLS LMP2 Porsche RS Spyder team between 2006-08. As this was one of the tteams I rooted for, since I quickly tired of Audi winning everything!


Having seen the winning Porsche RS Spyder multiple times at the Penske Racing Museum in Scottsdale, AZ. Although I don’t recall it being on display during my most recent visit to The Valley of the Sun.




As Bernard won the ’08 12 Hours of Sebring as alongside fellow  Factory Porsche drivers Romain Dumas and Emmanuel Collard, but I’m getting ahead of myself.


Like most current day racing drivers, Timo cut His teeth in Go Karts, before making His single seater debut in 1998 in Formula Ford. The following year He finished third overall in the German Formula ford Championship before moving onto Sports Cars.


Bernhard raced in Porsche Supercup and made His ALMS debut at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2001, finishing second in the GT Clas for alex Job Racing.


In 2002 He claimed His first GT Class victory at Le Mans driving for Kevin Buckler’s The Racer’s Group in a Porsche 911 GT3-RS.


The following year, Buckler and Company surprised the racing world by winning the 24 Hours of Daytona outright in the aforementioned Porsche 911 GT3-RS racecar. As this was the debut season for the Grand Am’s Daytona Prototypes (DP) class, leaving the door open for the ultra reliable Porsche 911 to claim victory.


Paired with Jorg Bergmeister, timo and Jorg won their class at the season ending Petit Le Mans. And then the duo romped to six wins in nine races to win the 2004 ALMS GT Class, which included victories at Sebring and Petit Le mans.


After His three year stint at Penske ended, when the team’s contract expired and Penske wound down it’s ALMS programme. Bernard and Dumas joined the Joest racing team, better known as Audi Sport Team Joest. With Bernhard, Dumas and Mike Rocky’ Rockenfeller winning the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans aboard an Audi R15 TDI Plus.


Arse-sumedly Timo became part of Porsche’s return to top flight LMP1 prototype racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship between 2015-2017. Driving one of the Porsche 919 Hybrid’s to it’s third and final victory at Le Mans, in what became a survival of the fittest in the 919 Hybrid’s final outing at Circuit de la Sarthe.


Coming from behind, at the 20 Hours mark, Bernard’s No. 2 Porsche was fifth overall, before first Bernard unlapped the entry back onto the lead lap and then took the lead with one hour remaining! As Bernard and co-drivers Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley won the 2017 24 Heurs du Mans, giving Porsche it’s 19th and most current overall victory at Le Mans.