When a broken engine can help you in a race

Le Mans, June 14th, 1990. Nissan Motorsports had three cars on the track, ready for the gruesome 24 hours of racing on the following Saturday, June 15th. Two of them were RC90CK and one was the older RC89CP. Mark Blundell was piloting RC90CK #24, and it was his turn at qualifying on that Friday.

Specially at high level endurance racing, there’s an equilibrium between raw power and engine lifespan. All cars can produce more power then what they race with, but their engines would not last the 24 hours. So essentially engines are detuned for reliability. However, unbeknown to Mark or the whole Nissan team, his engine was faulty. When he started his qualifying lap, the wastegate for his RC90CK’s turbo system stuck shut. That translated to instead of the optimal 700-800 hp normally produced by his 3.5-liter twin-turbo V8, the turbos were delivering in excess of 1000 hp!

Blundell’s qualifying lap in the “broken” RC90CK .

With that kind of raw power he lapped La Sarthe in an eye-watering 3m27.020s. Okay, but is that fast? If you take into consideration that the second fastest came a full 6 seconds (!!) behind, that’s unheard of. During that lap, on the Mulsanne straight he reached 383 km/h. As a comparison, the 2019’s pole position (Rebellion’s R-One AER #13) clocked 339.1 km/h in qualifying.

So unbelievably, a mechanical issue in your own engine can bizarrely be to your advantage 😲.

A Diablo at La Sarthe? Yeah, almost…

In the 90s, with everybody trying their hand at GT1 racing, Lamborghini didn’t want to miss the fun. So despite basically ZERO racing experience, they contracted French Signes Advanced Technology to build them a race car. Based on the lines of the current Diablo, they came up with the Lamborghini 132 GT1.

With a specially designed 6-liter engine delivering around 655 hp, they built one road-going example. And even got it homologated by the FIA in April of 1998. However, in September Audi bought Lamborghini and the program stopped right there.

And that was that, no Diablo at La Sarthe. What a shame! I for one would love to have a racing Raging Bull in the W-143 Garage.

Art Cars. What?

Once in a while (not often enough, in my opinion) I review an “art car”. In fact, I even started designating them with an emoticon in the car lists. But what exactly is an art car? A car immortalized in a famous painting? Or something Uber sends you if you say you’re attending a vernissage?

Not exactly. But if you have five minutes you can find out here.

And happy New Year! 👍

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Hope everyone has a fantastic 2020, and that from 2019 you only carry the good memories!

For W-143 2019 was a great year. Of course there were fumbles, like that Top Model Alfa and the Hippie 917 upgrade. Oh, and of course, the fiasco of the decade: Photobucket 🤬. It’s been two weeks (TWO WEEKS!) and I still can’t see the photos in my account. That I payed for. But whatever, all my photos are hosted elsewhere now and those jerks will never get a cent from me again.

But if I do the math, the year closed in a VERY positive note. There were all the 917s and the Merc 300 SL. And the fantastic Büssing-NAG! And of course the two best grail models of the year for me: the W25 and the 917K/81. But if I had to pick the model of the year, I think I would choose the W25, just because I never thought I would get one.

So if 2020 is just half as good as 2019, it’s gonna be a great year again!

🏆🍾🥂🎉