SCCA Rally Sprint Team O’Neil 05.08.15

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These days it seems like every thing is getting a reboot. Movies from the 80s are hot for remakes and reboots, every other week there is a trailer for some remake of a beloved movie from your childhood. What does this have to do with racing? There is something very special happening in the world of Rally and it came from an unlikely place. An old form of rally competition has been given a much needed reboot and it didn’t come from some new start up sanctioning body or gigantic energy drink company either.

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In the mid-2000s the SCCA abandoned Performance rally, only keeping it’s rally-x and TSD programs in place. After some tragic accidents, performance rally was just too risky for event insurance and not worth anything to the current SCCA management at the time. A series with a 50 year history within the SCCA was shuttered. In the mean time, others have stepped up to fill the void with mixed results. Rally’s popularity is beginning to grow again and there is a huge gap between rally-xing a street car on a Saturday and spending three days at a National rally event in a fully prepped rally car. Kudos to those who have made that jump, but it has not been an easy one over the last 10 years.

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New leadership at the SCCA decided to bring Rally Sprint out of retirement and give it a much needed reboot. It’s simple take rally prepped cars and let them loose on a compact and abbreviated rally style event. No multiple days of hotels and meals or huge tow bills. Make the entry price affordable and on paper you have a winning combination. This level of racing can be for regular stage rally participants looking for car shake down and practice or for those not yet ready for stage rally but wanting to go faster than Rally-x.

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The New England Region of the SCCA has one of, if not the strongest Rally-x programs in the United States. There is just something about the region that lends itself to rally, it also helps that New England is home to several successful American rally drivers and that one of them, Tim O’Neil, runs the premier rally school in the United States. Team O’Neil rally school provided the perfect area for the first SCCA Rally sprint in 12 years and features miles of perfect, custom built stage roads. These gravel roads are built for heavy use and free from the car breaking granite stones that can pepper regular dirt roads in New England. The venue was only half of the equation, NER is home to some of the most experienced rally organizers and volunteers in the country. All of these factors came together and made the event a fantastic success. Further proving that Rally Sprint has a place in American motorsports. .

Track Night in America

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The first Track Night In America event for the New England Region was held at Thompson Speedway in Connecticut last week. Track Night in America is a new program from the SCCA, because hanging out with car friends is fun and driving fast is fun. Why not do in a place that it’s legal? Drag strip track nights were created to curb illegal drag racing, not that there has been a  problem with illegal road course racing. Why not have them for road courses? The real issue is that tossing a sports car that is capable of speeds worthy of insurance surcharges and jail time around back country roads isn’t ideal.

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Track Nights are the affordable, safe alternative*. From the event I witnessed at Thompson Speedway, most folks drove at their comfort level and had a good time. It’s easy, sign up online, show up with a car that’s ready for hot laps and you are good to go. It’s not a race and the organizers reminded everyone at the drivers meeting that the only trophy you can go home with is an undamaged car.

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I was  jealous working the fences and shooting photos, because I had signed up to drive. Then what is almost always the case before a major event with a car, something went wrong. A month before the event I spend a week under the car replacing a steering rack. Other than the leaky rack, it was bone dry under the car. I currently have a mystery leak between the engine and transmission, so I decided not to chance it running on the track. Luckily the nice people at the SCCA were willing to work with me and I’m currently scheduled for the July 9th event.


*(safe is a relative term, your individual driving and good judgment make events safe)

Full photo gallery on Flickr, click here

ClubLoose North 05.03.2015

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Not much to say here, some chill folks showed up, slayed some tires and had more fun than you did over the weekend. If you live in New England and even have a passing interest in drifting, check ClubLoose North out.

 

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CLick here ClubLoose North 05.03.2015 full album on Flickr

Racing Docs

Motorsports fans are buzzing about the new racing documentary on Paul Newman. Winning, The racing life of Paul Newman will have a widespread release on May 22nd, but in the mean time motorsports fans should check out; Sienna and 30 for 30 Tim Richmond: To the limit.

This title is currently available on Netflix. Check other VOD services for availability. This also had not theatrical release so there is no trailer.
Tim Richmond was an amazing driver with a incredibly tragic story. There is a whole generation of racing fans who may not know who he was or what happened to him. A naturally gifted wheel man, Tim Richmond almost faded from history. Like many top level drivers, he lived life with the same gusto as his on track driving. Had Richmond not died from AIDS in 1989, he was well on his way to being a NASCAR champion, a man who was not intimidated by the Intimidator. His story is worth the watch.

Bummer this was on Netflix instant, but its currently been rotated out, hopefully it returns. It is however available on Amazon prime and possibly some other VOD services.
Ayrton Senna is a Formula one legend, in stark contrast to Tim Richmond, time has not forgotten Senna. The documentary is a thing of beauty. Constructed entirely from archival footage Senna puts you in the moment. The most important thing to keep in mind when watching the film is that there are no on camera interviews. It’s a total departure from standard documentary film making. There are voice overs, but without breaking away from archival footage it keeps you fully engrossed in Senna’s life story.

Anime(ted) Racing

This is not meant to be an authoritative list on every cartoon that features detailed cars. This is merely just a list highlighting car themed cartoons worth checking out on YouTube. A few of these only lasted one or two episodes, while others have run for 30 or more episodes. All but Archer are available on YouTube and all are otherwise considered Anime, which by design seems to cater to car enthusiasts.

Nowhere else in animation are inanimate objects treated with such detail than in Anime. Unlike western styles of animation that emphasize character movement; Anime characters are very static, this lets Anime artists focus on detailing objects rather than animating characters. Think back to watching Looney Toons and how generic the backgrounds were. Since there is a lack of character animation, Anime cartoons follow a cinematic style of camera movement. Using panning, zoom, depth of field control and lighting to create the intended atmosphere. Great care and time is spent on 3D visuals and detailed backgrounds to create an immersive world for the characters to live in. This type of visual detailing can be really entertaining to car enthusiasts.
As far as anime goes and car enthusiasts, Initial D is probably the most popular and well known with western audiences. There will be some noticeable differences, cartoons from the 80s and 90s use no computer animation to achieve a high level of detail and Initial D, Wagan Midnight and Archer all rely on computer animation. It’s also important to remember that many of these started as Mangas, a style of comic book, popular in Japan. Assembled below are some of most interesting car themed animes I could find, some more obscure than others.

Goddamn!
Goddamn is a rally themed OVA (original video release) anime. It deals with a young Japanese rally car driver trying to get a WRC ride. Specifically it features the legendary Safari rally. There were only two episodes made and some notable car appearances are the hero’s car, a Ford Serra Rally car, a Peugeot T16, Lancia 037 street car, Lancia Delta Integrale Rally car, Subaru Legacy Rally car and Toyota Supra Rally car. The story is odd to say the least, some sort of Japanese corporate European union / rally racing advertising scheme. It’s not really important; just enjoy it for some fanciful, but very detailed and cool rally themed action.

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/buried-treasure/2014-03-18/pile-of-shame-goddamn

Riding Bean
Riding Bean was a single episode OVA that will remind you of the original Transporter movie, except it was made before that movie existed. It’s set in Chicago and pays homage to the Blues Brothers and French Connection, while the main character Bean Bandit lives in that gray area of good and evil we’ve come to expect in modern television. Bean Bandit however seems inspired by Han Solo more than anything else. Then we have Bean Bandit’s partner in crime, who is a liberated 80’s woman named Rally. Rally is some sort of expert marksmen, it’s not really explained. Side note, Rally later reappeared in Gunsmith Cats by the same creator of Riding Bean. This Anime is not safe for work and includes some graphic violence and questionable sexual undertones.

Notable cars to watch for are Bean Bandit’s Knight Rider-esque “Road Buster”. This machine packs a bunch of outlandish features including the ability to drive sideways. As far as realistic rides, there is the Chicago Police Inspector’s ’67 GT500 that he claims is only car that can catch the “Road Buster”, a Scania truck, V12 7 Series BMW, an original Mini cooper and boat load of Dodge Monaco style police cars.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riding_Bean

F Motori in Pista
This one is not available in English, only an Italian translation of the Japanese and that makes it difficult to follow, but it has some interesting F1 style racecars. It also probably provided the inspiration for Capeta. Here is the synopsis according to Wikipedia.

http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/F_-_Motori_in_pista

Motorcycle Legend
The wiki article that’s translated from Japanese to English calls it Crunchy Legend. Shuichi Shigeno who went on to create Initial D, created this manga and anime series first. It shares many similarities with the Initial D series, like high school age kids racing on mountain passes, just on motorcycles this time. From a technical standpoint a lot of the cinematic camera angles feel similar to watching an episode of Initial D.

http://ja.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%90%E3%83%AA%E3%83%90%E3%83%AA%E4%BC%9D%E8%AA%AC

 

Yoroshiro Mechadoc
Yoroshiro Mechadoc aka A Tutto Gas. No good English dubs seem to exist, but has some cool vintage J-tin in it. I suggest reading Ben Hsu’s post on Japanese Nostalgic Car about the series here; http://japanesenostalgiccar.com/2014/01/17/yoroshiku-mechadoc/

Now on to the more modern Anime’s and cartoons, the most noticeable difference is the switch to computer animation for the action sequences. Initial D, Wangan Midnight, Capeta and Archer all use computer animation for the action scenes. It doesn’t take a way too much from the animation, but is a noticeable difference that some people don’t enjoy.

Capeta
This is an interesting anime, because not only does it have excellent imagery, details and references to actual racing, but it makes an effort to tell a story about a young man coming from nothing and racing his way up the ladder into Formula 3. Anyone who’s watched the Senna documentary knows that life a young racing prodigy is a very compelling story. While the Capeta version has been heavily dramatized, it still makes great entertainment.

Wiki page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capeta

Wangan Midnight
Wangan Midnight is similar and related to Initial D, but instead of dealing with Touge Drifting, it centers on Highway Street racing in Tokyo and a cursed Z car! Just like Initial D, Keiichi Tsuchiya is listed as a producer. It is an incredibly detailed anime and you should just watch it. There are too many cool things to list.

Initial D
Initial D, this is probably the most famous of all car related Anime, it’s got a cool, sort of mysterious story. This is what most westerners think of when they think car related anime. With good reason, the cars are fantastically detailed and are important as characters. Part of this is again, is because Keiichi Tsuchiya produced it.

Keiichi Tsuchiya should be recognizable to most as the “Drift King” and host of Best Motoring / Hot Version. Another interesting bit of trivia about Wangan Midnight and Initial D is that the manga’s have both been published in Young Magazine. This is a magazine geared toward young men, it’s best described as a soft-core porn magazine that features models in bikinis or lingerie. FHM magazine would be something similar in the U.S. What most people don’t know is that Young Magazine’s logo is the “Subaru Rally Pig”. This is because Young Magazine was a minor sponsor on the WRC cars. So the next time you see one on a Subaru, they probably don’t know the real origins or meaning of the logo, in reality they’re advertising a soft-core porn magazine.

Archer
A surprising American entry, this show is packed with great car art. There is simply just too much to list. In fact just watch the damn show. There is a fantastic homage to Grand Prix in one episode and a bonus is that Jessica Walter starred in Grand Prix and is also the voice of Mallory Archer. There is another episode that features underground drifting, a Smokey and the Bandit tribute and just this season a fantastic tribute to the Bullet chase scene. There is simply nothing better than an El Camino full of rampage. I suggest reading the Jalopnik article that ran two years ago about the cars of Archer.

The episode “Drift Problem” is not available on YouTube for free, but if you have a Netflix streaming account you can watch all the back seasons currently.

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Scaled Project Cars

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Scale model building is another interest here at Raced In Anger. New England winters are long, cold, and dark. Unless you have the luxury of a heated garage, working on a project car can be unpleasant and if your car isn’t waiting on repairs. It’s probably tucked away for winter storage. Scale model building is great way to enjoy cars even in the off season. It may even become something you do year round, but using winter as an excuse to start isn’t a bad idea.

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Scale model building allows us the thrill of owning and building many different vehicles while comfortably being indoors during these cold months. There is an almost unlimited amount of choices in 1/24 scale subject matter. Race cars, Rally cars, Drag cars, Classic cars, American, JDM, EDM. Kits are a blank canvas for imagination, build them box stock or totally customized and any where in between.

Finished decals For the Toshi Arai WRC car

The goal is to make Scaled Project Cars a spin off of Raced In Anger. I’ll will posting more builds and tutorials in the future along with coverage of 1:1 cars.

I'm no Mangus Walker but this Tamiya 930 911 turbo came out pretty nice.<a

Masstuning Underground Meet December 27, 2014

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Masstuning events have become immensely popular over the past few seasons, because for many years the Boston area has lacked decent all inclusive car meets/shows. The response to these shows can be simply overwhelming at times and it’s amazing how many enthusiasts there are in New England. For the Masstuning Underground meet, unseasonably warm weather and a lack of road salt brought out normally hibernating enthusiasts to the last event of 2014. It’s awesome to see a group of enthusiasts put these events together for other enthusiasts.

The majority of attendees are respectful and grateful to the organizers, but there are a number folks who can’t seem to handle themselves at a car meet. It’s so simple and it really shouldn’t have to be said, but “show respect, get respect”. The Masstuning organizers asked everyone to follow some simple rules. Just fucking, be cool. Don’t fuck this up for everyone.

Disclaimer: I made it into the meet at around 4:30, I left around 7 because it was unclear if more cars where going to come in. It is what it is, after reviewing some instagram feeds I missed out on some great cars. I’ll do my best in the future to capture more cars.

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Full flickr gallery

Japanese Car Day 2014

Japanese car day is one of many lawn events held at the Larz Anderson Auto museum in Brookline, Massachusetts. Every year the Larz Anderson museum holds 10-15 lawn events on it’s grounds for varying marques and genres of automobiles during the summer. This year Japanese car day fell in mid-October, which can be a dicey proposition for fickle New England weather. Luckily, for the J-tin enthusiasts of New England, the weather stayed dry, sunny and cool.

The Japanese car day lawn event has grown in popularity over the past few years, with 2014 being the most well attended so far. In a region well known for destroying J-tin with harsh road salt. The cars that show up are often a surprise, you never know what you might see, in years past there has been mint condition survivor cars that had spent years in local storage or now more west coast cars and JDM imports are popping up at Japanese Car day. New England enthusiasts are doing their best to find quality cars to preserve and it shows at Japanese car day.
It wasn’t all classic j-tin on display, because this show doesn’t have a year cut off, you’ll find plenty of late model motors too. However, once you waded through some of the newer models there was some classic j-tin gems to be ogled parked on the lawn. It’s a strong indication that the J-tin movement is taking hold in New England and will only continue to grow.

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Fully gallery here

 

 

Clubloose North NHMS event 10.18.2014

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Drifting is about having fun and there is was a new group in New England having a blast drifting this past season. This group is a spin off (drift off ?) of the New Jersey drift group Clubloose. The October 18th event at NHMS was the final in the inaugural season for Clubloose North. So, if you live in New England and you want to check out some high quality grassroots level drifting, whether it be driving or spectating. You need to check out a Clubloose North event next season.

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Full Gallery here

Clubloose North

The Petit Le Mans experience

Visiting race tracks has become a sort of hobby of mine. While some people like to travel the world to visit famous landmarks, I like to visit race tracks or other car specific events. Some of these are famous, some not so famous. This sort of travelling becomes a pilgrimage for me, visiting temples of the automotive world. This year I was able to visit Road Atlanta for Petit LeMans. Now, Atlanta Georgia is a long way from France but, for endurance racing, Le Mans is the ultimate event. No race is more synonymous with endurance than the 24 hours of Le Mans. Seventeen years ago Don Panoz brought a little slice of that prestige to northern Georgia when he created the Petit Le Mans event. The race lasts 10 hours instead of 24 hours and over the years Petit Le Mans has become an institution in American endurance racing. Rivaling in difficulty the other North American endurance races, the Daytona Rolex 24 and Watkins Glen 6 hour races.

You should never let the excuse “If I only had a media pass” run your life. If you enjoy taking photos at races, Road Atlanta is a great place to visit.

So far, the only other track I’ve been to that comes close in style is Lime Rock Park. There is no grandstands or assigned seating and as a spectator you can just wander the grounds during the race. Basically except for the “hot” pit lane you are allowed everywhere. It is an amazing place, a real old school road course, it doesn’t have huge modern run offs. That would require a massive zoom lens to cover the distance between you and the cars. There are points along the track that you can stand (behind a barrier) only 30 – 50 feet from the track. Road Atlanta has some fantastic sight lines. If Petit Le Mans isn’t on your bucket list, it should be.

Dempsey racing had a tough go at it over the weekend. This shot was from practice.
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The famous “esses”
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The light changes so dramatically over turns 6 and 7
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Endurance racing at night should not be missed.
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Petit Le Mans Highlight gallery