Mercedes-Benz 540K Streamliner Headed to Pebble Beach

Stanley Yee on

Mercedes-Benz, one of the greatest marques in automotive history, will bring a fully restored 1938 540K Streamliner to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Alongside the 540K will be a trio of 1914 Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix cars, showcasing the exacting quality of Mercedes-Benz Classic.

The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance headlines the annual car week in Monterey, California. The week sees a pilgrimage to the coastal region, with world class events devoted to selling, racing, and displaying some of the world’s finest historic cars. Mercedes-Benz will bring four special vehicles to the Pebble Beach Concours, each highlighting a monumental achievement for the company. more

Preview: 2014 Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix

Stanley Yee on

This weekend Formula One heads to Hungary, and once again Mercedes will be the team to beat. Just past the halfway point of the season, the Silver Arrows have been absolutely dominant, and they show no signs of slowing down.

With ten races in the books, this season has been all about Mercedes. The team has had an obvious pace advantage since preseason testing, and with nine races to go, they have kept their pace high. Teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have battled for nine of the ten race wins, with a single non-Mercedes win going to Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo. Could Hungary be the place where teams take the fight to Mercedes? more

On-Board Breathalyzers, 2013 Ford Fusion Sunglasses, and More in Car News

Jerry Smith on

The French are known for many things, including large pointy structures, long movies in which the characters smoke a lot but don’t do anything else, and fine wines. Occasional overindulgence in the latter has prompted the French government to require all drivers to carry two disposable breathalyzers in their cars, apparently based on the assumption that if you’re too drunk to drive you won’t be too drunk to remember you have a breathalyzer in your car, you’ll remember to use it, and you’ll pay any attention to the reading. And as if to prove French lawmakers themselves were a bit over the limit when they wrote the law, anyone crossing into France is also required to have breathalyzers on board.

If you’re ever in the middle of some long and tedious car restoration project that seems like it will never end and you need some inspiration to keep going, this video of a Triumph Spitfire engine going from rusty lump to shiny rebuilt powerplant in less than three minutes should lift your spirits.

Just as race teams look for ways to trim a few tenths of a second from pit stops to gain a competitive advantage on the track, automotive engineers look at every aspect of car design to make their cars more appealing to consumers. At Ford that includes making sure the overhead stowage bin on the 2013 Fusion accommodates as many different types of sunglasses as possible. Ford engineers evaluated—and modeled—more than 100 pairs of sunglasses from designer frames to drugstore knockoffs to determine the dimensions of a wide range of shades. Sejal Shreffler, core accommodation and usage engineer, said, “Older sunglasses holders were designed for thin, wire-framed pairs, but fashions have evolved toward thicker, plastic shades. So we changed the bins to keep up with the trends.”

How do you get to the Monaco Grand Prix? Start early.

What scares racers the most? Most would probably say rain, because there’s nothing scarier than hammering down a fast straightaway with zero visibility. Here’s Formula 2 driver Dino Zamparelli at the Spa-Franchorchamps Circuit in Belgium, which is notorious for bad weather. Zamparelli broke the right rear wheel in the melee but avoided anything worse. Any hey, have you checked your windshield wipers lately?

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Arrival of Formula One Isn't Enough to Distract From Worsening Crackdowns in Bahrain

Ryan ZumMallen on

 

A dark shadow will hang over the Formula One Grand Prix of Bahrain when the green flag is dropped on Sunday, as the world’s greatest drivers battle it out on the track while human rights activists and thousands of protesters denounce the event just outside.

This is the fourth race of the 2012 Formula One season, a tightly-contested one that thus far has produced thrilling driving and pits six World Champions against each other.

But the host nation has been mired in conflict since last year, when the Arab Spring inspired many to flock into the streets and demand democracy. Formula One canceled the 2011 Grand Prix of Bahrain just weeks before its March date and did not reschedule.

It’s been more than a year since then, but reports from Bahrain indicate that not much has changed. The civil unrest has only grown – public frustrations mounting as civil rights leader Abdulhadi al-Khawaja has undergone a 70-day hunger strike and authorities have cracked down on demonstrators as the race grows near. Rumors and reports of violence and even torture have grown prevalent. This time, Formula One boss Bernie Eccelstone has elected to hold the race as planned and made clear that teams are required to participate.

So far, team bosses have said all the right things. “There have undoubtedly been difficult times here,” said Mclaren rep Martin Whitmarsh, “But from a pure team perspective, we’ve been comfortable with the situation.”

At the same time, however, some media members in attendance have released telling information on Twitter that show there is more than racing on the brain. Privately, team bosses have said as much.

The Force India team even elected to skip Friday practice in order to return to their hotel before nightfall. Outside the track walls, graffiti condemning F1 and the Grand Prix is everywhere, with the oft-used slogan “Don’t Race On Our Blood.” A government-approved protest turned violent on Friday, about twelve miles from where teams practiced on the track. Bahrain has denied entry to journalists that are not covering the Grand Prix.

As race day has finally come, it’s worthwhile to ask whether a sporting event is just a sporting event. Of course, Formula One is not just any sport – it’s perhaps the world’s most popular sport and figures to draw about 100 million viewers on Sunday. Those are viewers that will be asked to ignore the clashes going on outside and focus on the glamour, the sportsmanship and spectacle of what goes on under the green flag.

As race fans we delight in the thrill and intensity of the sport, but in a race overshadowed by real risk and real loss, where even the competitors themselves are not comfortable with the message they are sending and an allegedly brutal government could receive upwards of $800 million in revenue according to some reports, many are forced to ask themselves whether they are supporting a team or a dictatorship by watching.

After all, when the race is over, the teams will leave. But the Shia majority and the Sunni government will remain.

The former pleading for fair treatment, the latter using Formula One exposure to show the world that everything is just fine.

So who are the real competitors this Sunday?

The Grand Prix of Bahrain will air on the SPEED Channel at 7:30am ET Sunday. more