Books – Racing in the dark

“RACING IN THE DARK: When The Bentley Boys Conquered Le Mans” – Peter Grimsdale

I have a confession to make. Until very recently, in my eyes Bentley was just a “cheaper Rolls Royce”. Yeah, they had a lot of victories at Le Mans and won again in 2003, nonetheless for the last 50 or 60 years it was just a luxury brand. Very good cars, no doubt, yet only a luxury brand. However, that view changed a lot after I read Peter Grimsdale’s book. With a fluid and enticing writing, Grimsdale showed me the story of W. O. Bentley, and his saga to make a great car. And he did, with blood, sweat and tears he made what was at the time, probably THE best sports car in the market.

Unfortunately though, financial strife ended his dream, to the point where the once great Bentley Motors became a cheaper Rolls Royce 😣. I truly loved the book – honestly, without a doubt the best car book I read in the last couple of years. A hardback with not too many photos (unfortunately), it is easily available at Amazon. Despite the title, I would say this book would be for all motorsports enthusiasts.

DO NOT buy Forza Motorsport!!!

Though I was over the moon when the game launched, after a couple weeks of FRUSTRATING game play, I advise staying away from the game. The biggest issue is that it’s not stable on my XBox System S – I can’t go through one session of gaming without needing to reboot the game. And every time that happens, the race I just finished is not registered in my career. Therefore, to progress in career mode, you have to do the same race one, two, three, four times (or more) until you get lucky and the game doesn’t crash. This is also happening with the XBox X and the PC versions of the game.

The other problem is graphics. They look really bad. Some stuff look like they came directly from Forza 6. So all that hype that “Forza Motorsport was made from the ground up” is utterly baloney. Sound is just okay, yet many cars sound generically just the same. There’s no in-game damage or tire wear in single player, and the penalty system (for going off track or collisions) doesn’t apply to the AI.

In essence, it feels dated and is full of bugs – looks like it’s a beta version. Adding everything up, DO NOT BUY IT. Perhaps Studio10 will fix it in the future, however for now do not waste money. After this I’ll never again buy a game in pre-order or will buy anything from Studio10 🀬.

Lesson learned πŸ˜–.

FINALLY! Forza Motorsport

It’s here!!! Finally! After too many many years, the new Forza game is out. The last one, Forza 7, came out in 2017, and only today a new version of the franchise became available. However, now it’s called Forza Motorsport, and is optimized for the lasted generation of X-Box consoles (Series S & X). I love so much the Forza series that for the first time I bought the premium edition. That entitles me to an early release (the regular game will only come out on October 10) and a bunch of cars and in-game cash to spend on cars.

I barley had time to play it, just the introductory race, so I can’t say yet how good the game is. It does look fantastically pretty though, and looks like race mechanics are better than Forza 7. However, it looks to be quite different from the previous games, since it looks like now you have to “develop” the car. From what I understood, you have to race each car so that you’re able to make upgrades to it. Not sure how that will work out, so let’s see.

What I am sure is that this weekend we’ll have LOTS of virtual racing around here πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹.

Future diorama

Today I began my most ambitious diorama… Well, ambitious for me, since I’m planing on doing a ton of stuff I’ve never tried before. With that, it probably will take a long time to complete with all the “nouveau techniques” I have in mind. Don’t forget that my modeling skills are level Kindergarten Basic πŸ˜‹. Since I’m doing things I’ve never done before, I’ll have to experiment a lot before actually doing the work. I’ll try my best to photograph the project as it’s coming along, and if it doesn’t end up in the trash bin, when finished I’ll post something about it. So fingers crossed!

Books – Porsche 917

“Porsche 917: Zuffenhausen’s Le Mans and Can-Am Champion” – Karl Ludvigsen

I got this book a few years ago, and for the 917 enthusiast, it’s one of the best books out there. Soft cover and with LOTS of pictures, the great Karl Ludvigsen offers a plethora of technical details on the car. In fact, he focuses more on technical aspects than on race history. You still can find it on Amazon, however like most good paper books nowadays, it won’t come for cheap. Well, I can’t say it is really expensive, yet I would say the price is a bit high for a soft cover. So, is it worth it? For the casual gearhead maybe not, though for the 917 fanboy it’s awesome.

Shop upgrade: the madness continues

Not huge upgrades, yet upgrades nonetheless. I got a better set of Allen wrenches, a new wire-stripper pliers, a set of insulated screw drivers and a small set of picks. I also managed to hang on the wall display two sets of drivers using new metal hooks and a small wood base that I drilled to fit them. Previously they were on the workbench, therefore I uncluttered my work space.

Most important of all, I got a new steel wall display for my cordless power tools. Previously I used a plastic display, that is great for lighter stuff, but power tools are too heavy. With that, in some spots the display was literally sagging, so I had to do something about it. With this metal display weight is not an issue anymore, and I even was able to hang more and heavier stuff, like my jigsaw and nail gun. By the way, I was a confessed Makita and Bosch fan boy, and now I can also say I’m an Einhell fan boy as well. Terrific tools!

The new steel display freed some plastic panels, so I used them on another section of the wall. With this new area, I was able to free up some space on the main wall. And best of all, I now have some free space on three wall displays for future stuff! Do you recognize a pattern here? Yep, think ahead, I always say.

What’s next? I still haven’t bought a Makita cordless router yet, and though a router is not exactly something that would see a ton of use, for some jobs it’s a godsend. And oh yes, I discovered I need a cordless circular saw. For sawing wood, I mostly use my Japanese saws (pull saws), which I love ’em. Really, I can make a cut at least 99,5% straight with them using a simple and cheap plastic jig. However, for longer cuts a power tool would come in handy. Right now I’m using an Einhell jigsaw, and it’s fantastic for none-linear cuts, yet tricky for straight cuts. Therefor, Bosche’s GKS 12V-26 is perfect for me.

And as you see, like collecting 1:43, the must-buy list NEVER ends πŸ™„.

The best Le Mans ever?

All right, that may be a bit too strong… So, maybe not the best ever but certainly the best in the last 10 years, then? Probably. The race had one of the most exciting beginnings ever, with lots of rain and drama. And after that, it was something or other happening all the time. Honestly, something happened every 15 minutes or so. Even so, the best part was Hypercar, hands down. Lead swaps occurred left and right, a VERY competitive race – so much better than the boring parades of the last five years. Moreover, the cars are absolutely gorgeous!

The bad part? A Ferrari won 🀣. Oh come on, it is bad – a Ferrari winning means that I’ll have to get an expensive Looksmart 😣. Yet, I’m NOT complaining – I was really dreading getting another boring white and red Toyota. And speaking of spending money, things will get expensive for the W-143 Garage: Ferrari 499P (Looksmart πŸ™„), Porsche 963, Peugeot 9X8, Cadillac V-Series.R, that Garage 56 Camaro, Oreca 07 #34 and the Corvette #33. And perhaps, because of the liveries, the “Dinosaur Porsche”, Nielsen Oreca 07 #14, a Glickenhaus and the Iron Dames Porsche. Oh yeah, the 2023 24 Heures du Mans will definitively be expensive.

Even so, all in all, and as expected, it was a FANTASTIC race! πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†

Books – So-Cal hot rods

“So-Cal Speed Shop” – Mark Christensen

After World War II, many returning American servicemen turned their eyes onto motorsports. One such person was Alex Xydias, an ex-B-17 airman. Xydias opened his shop in 1946, in Burbank, California, initially selling parts for car owners to boost the performance of their race cars. With these cars achieving good results and breaking a few records mostly on the salt flats, the So-Cal brand became a trusted name among the land speed record community.

Christensen tells the story of how the So-Cal Speed Shop moved on from a small car parts shop to one of the most famous hot-rod brands. The book is a hardcover, and it’s chock-full of high quality photos, though most black & white. Unfortunately out of print, though you can find a used copy on Amazon. An easy and very interesting read, I’m sure it will appeal to the gearhead in general.

Onboard race footage with Fangio

A few years ago, I posted the link to a short video showing footage of Fangio testing a Maserati 250F in 1957 at Modena. The video is really cool, showing El Chueco deftly handling that beautiful car. I’m bringing up this again because yesterday I found out how they made that footage. When I first saw that video I assumed that the camera had been fixed to the rear of the car, and remotely triggered by Fangio himself. However, I was mistaken, and as you can see above, it was not shot using a GoPro either πŸ˜‚. Well, I therefor conclude that if pilots at that time had balls of steel, cameramen had balls of adamantium. Even though it was Fangio at the wheel, holy cow! 😲😲😲