19
Jan
09

Miscellaneous Monday motorsports mumblings, vol. 3

The Formula One launch season has really kicked off.  Plenty of open-wheel porn in this edition:

——

First of all, we have the Toyota TF109:

tf109_right_3-4

Another gorgeous car.  Different front-end treatment from the Ferrari F60 , but a similar graceful visual effect.  The front wing endplates are also far more interesting — visually and aerodynamically — than any we’ve seen in preseason testing.

While the F60’s designers at least made an effort to disguise their sidepod aero bits as mirror mounts, the good folks at Toyota seem to have said “fuck it, let’s see what we can get away with”.  I doubt those rectangular fences outboard of the inlets will still be on the car in Melbourne.

——

Next we have the defending champion’s new chariot, the McLaren MP4-24:

mp4-24-launch

After the aero shenanigans from Ferrari and Toyota you’d almost expect the McLaren team to say “fuck it” and stick with the 2008 wing or some such, but instead they turned out a sleek, clean car.  There’s gotta be some interaction between the mirrors and those wide, high sidepod intakes, but nothing so blatant as Ferrari’s mirror mounts.  The front wing in particular is elegant from both functional and aesthetic points of view.

——

We move on to the Renault R29, unveiled just this morning:

r29-launch

That blunt, heavy-looking nose is about as close to ugly as we’re likely to get, but I imagine it’ll add a fair chunk of downforce at the front of the car.  I’m a bit surprised to see a 2008-style shark fin on the R29: I’m sure ING appreciates the extra billboard space, but the new rear-wing regulations were supposed to make them impractical.  The sidepods are interesting, too: undercut like the Ferrari’s, with similarly narrow intakes, but with what looks like the same mirror-intake interaction as the MP4-24.

——

Latest of the Formula One cars to be launched is Williams’ FW31.  Well, “launch” may be saying too much; it was a low-key event with no really good shots of the car.  Here’s an official render:

fw31-render

It’s a bit much on the specular component, so it’s kind of hard to pick out details, but we can see a blunt, Renault-ish nose and the same gratuitous sidepod plates as on the TF109.  It might be my imagination, but it sure looks like the rear suspension’s upper links are decidedly wing-shaped, too.  If they do generate any significant downforce, I’d expect it to make the car behave weirdly… but then again I’m just a glib dilettante at aero and Williams have real engineers.

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If you’ve come all this way looking for the maochistic pleasure of a truly ugly fucking car, well, here you go:

dp01wins

That’s right: it’s time for the 24 Hours of Daytona to kick off the 2009 Rolex Grand-Am season.  I loves me some sports-car racing, but holy shit those Daytona Prototypes are ugly.  The race itself kicks off on Saturday the 24th, and since they’ve apparently completely exhausted their supply of shit I don’t care about SpeedTV is actually going to show some honest-to-balls racing at the interesting layout of the Daytona tri-oval.

Those of you who just can’t bring yourselves to watch the turtle-tops — and believe me, I sympathize — will have to wait another couple of months for the American Le Mans Series’ 12 Hours of Sebring to bring you hot LMP-on-LMP action.


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