Last post on Dec 08, 2007 at 6:35 PM
You are in the Coupes & Convertibles
What is this discussion about?
Porsche 911, Chevrolet Corvette, Ferrari F430, Lotus Exige, Lotus Elise, Coupe
#48 of 531 sports cars
Apr 11, 2005 (12:33 pm)
Two new Corvettes lost to an Aston Martin DBR9 at Sebring. Is GM going home? Nope.
Does Panoz go home after getting beaten by many Porsche 911s in the American Le Mans Series? Nope. In fact, they are going to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. According to a recent issue of Motor Trend, the 2006 Esperante will use some carbon fiber for its chassis which will drop an estimated 100 pounds and improve rigidity.
Ferrari marketed the Enzo as an F1 car for the road. What a joke. F1 cars bear just about zero resemblance to production cars. Did Ferrari back the 360 or Enzo in racing? Yes to the second car in a way as Maserati's MC12 takes an Enzo and makes it bigger and entered it in FIA GT last year. It doesn't meet requirements for the American Le Mans Series though.
The people behind the new Corvette C6-R are too dedicated to back out if the competition walks over them. Haven't you seen how excited Dave Hill and the rest of the people behind the new Corvette C6 are?
The C5-R couldn't compete with the Vipers back in 1999. The new Viper isn't raced in ALMS, but it has won the first two races in the Speed World Challenge.
If Porsche is so excited about racing and what not, why did they sell out and make an SUV? Why don't they race the blocks from the standard 996 and 997? Perhaps because those pumped-up Boxster engines can't handle racing like the GT3 engines.
Has Saleen backed down in racing just because they haven't won as many races as the C5-R?
#49 of 531 Porsche
Apr 11, 2005 (12:35 pm)
Does Porsche back the Carrera GT in racing? Nope.
Lambo packed up and left ALMS after last year.
#50 of 531 Let's try and focus for a minute
Apr 11, 2005 (1:18 pm)
We're not sure that all these marques didn't make some of their decisions because of financial woes, or a shift in the company's focus.
SUVs make money. No doubt about that. If there were no potential to successfully market and sell SUVs in the American market, then the Cayenne would have never seen the light of day. Porsche obviously wanted to make money more than they wanted to focus on their racing efforts at that particular time. Maybe they'll use that money to develop new powertrains for either racing efforts, or consumer purposes. And why would Porsche discontinue a racing chassis to build a supercar, only to back it in a GT effort?
Try to look at the company as a whole and where they've been in the last few years. We, as the consumer, may not always be able to explain a company's decisions primarily because we're not sitting there during the board room discussions as to the company's direction.
Apr 11, 2005 (2:46 pm)
If Corvette continues to lose, the factory will pull out. If they win some, lose some, they'll stay a while, but if they are not competitive, only privateers will stay. GM beancounters will not allow a money-losing race season of defeat year after year. You can count on this, trust me. LeMans is a big effort and costs mega-bucks.
Porsche and Ferrari were run by dictators, to be fair about it, and thus it wasn't really a beancounters decision. It was the passion of one man really. That kind of passion took Ford to LeMans, too (some say revenge) but unfortunately when Henry II got his prize he went home. You didn't see Ford at Lemans after that.
Besides, we are talking 57 years here, not 5 years. Big difference if you are building a legend that translates into "brand equity", which I think is what we were originally talking about---why people choose some cars over others regardless of the numbers on paper.
Also we were looking at the broad expanse of history to find out why America took so long to make a decent sports car, and my contention was that the lack of international racing experience was one reason.
Why is the Honda S200 such a great little sports car? The Miata? The RX-7 twin-turbo? International racing experience is part of the answer. Honda has been in Formula for many years and Mazda won Lemans in...um....think it was 1991.
Corvette has never won Lemans, only class, not an outright. To be fair, you need a specialty car to do that, so I'm not knocking it---you just can't say "_____ won Lemans" when you mean a class win rather than an overall. Still, class win is great, something to be proud of.
#52 of 531 Shifty, times change ...
Apr 11, 2005 (3:42 pm)
"Okay, it's 57 years for Porsche and Ferrari...got me there cheating 3 years ... "
Hey that's over 5% error, and in a Sarbanes-Oxley world you're a felon! Never admit a mistake, suggest it was the system and you had good intentions, makes a difference under federal rules, sec. 8, I think.
Problem with worry about what happened in history of racing is that I'm in the 99th percential, never followed it and only know what I've read in the last couple years. Loved the link to the London Times article, I too grew up a Ford guy. Maybe too much baggage is a burden and it helps just looking at what is offered today. I'm really having trouble imagining how fast a C6 Z06 will be in the track, down right dangerous I'm thinking!
Apr 11, 2005 (5:01 pm)
I'm waiting for some nutcase to take one on the Silver State Classic....those guys are hitting over 200 mph on (closed) public roads!
I'd like to enter in the 140 mph class. I think after that you have to really modify your car.
#54 of 531 sports cars
Apr 11, 2005 (5:21 pm)
I agree about the vision of one man and a few others with regard to sports cars and racing.
I've heard that Aston Martin has never made a profit, but they will make a profit this year. Wealthy owners kept Aston Martin going.
Carroll Shelby had the idea to take a big-block Ford V-8, install it in a British sports car's chassis, modify it, and go racing. Peter Brock then styled the Shelby Daytona Coupe which dominated the Ferraris.
The following is from http://www.corvettemuseum.com/library-archives/timeline/1951.shtml
"The Automobile Manufacturer's Association passes a resolution that recommends that member companies (including General Motors) not participate in auto racing."
- June 4th, 1957
I've heard that a Mercedes-Benz racecar crashed at a major race in 1957 or so and over eighty people died. Mercedes-Benz pulled out of racing after that. They didn't come back to racing until decades later.
The following is from the same link shown above
"Zora Arkus-Duntov, in a Corvette SS, hits 183 MPH on the General Motors Proving Grounds in Phoenix, Arizona."
The following is from http://www.corvettemuseum.com/library-archives/timeline/1960.shtml
"General Motors' Chairman Frederic Donner issues a policy memo, re-iterating the company's compliance with 1957 AMA company-sponsored racing ban. This officially cancels production plans for the Corvette Grand Sport, with only 5 of the intended 125 cars built.    [55.77] [79.70] [106.5] [131.84] (February ) (halt called first week, 5 cars built after that"
- January 21, 1963
Zora Arkus-Duntov is the "father of the Corvette."
Dave Hill and Bob Lutz are likely bigger car enthusiasts than other people at GM.
My guess is that the people behind the C6-R want to dominate racing and they aren't going to let Aston Martin, Maserati, or Saleen get in their way. The more car makers in racing, the better. They probably welcome the competition. If the C6-R turns out to be a flop, which it wasn't at Sebring, it would still be the LAST racecar that GM would pull out of racing.
Pontiac will back the GTO in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports car series by mid-season, which includes 911 GT3s and BMW M3s.
I have no doubt that Don Panoz is sick and tired of Porsche 911s winning race after race in the American Le Mans Series. He now has two GTLMs running this year compared to one last year.
Apr 11, 2005 (7:06 pm)
But Panoz makes all the decisions I guess, so he might stay no matter what. It pays to be nuts in this game.
Beancounters on the other hand only count beans. They don't understand passion and glory and heritage. Unfortunately, in most corporations the passion boys don't hold the power. That's what's nice about having a company with a dictator.
The only way I can see for an American company to stay in racing is for that company to carefully choose the arena, and only go into venues where the car has a good chance. Otherwise the beancounters will bust your racing program sure as shootin'.
Apr 11, 2005 (8:20 pm)
Thought I'd chime in here. When someone says "sports car," the first thing that comes to my mind is "British sports car," i.e. MG, A-H, Jag etc. with a tan rag top and British racing green paint. I can imagine a chap with goggles and a scarf cruising down back roads of England with his girlfriend. Definately first half of the twentieth century while jets were still nothing more than German top secrets. Sports cars and auto racing grew alongside each other in the early aviation age, and the idea of barnstorming and performance driving seem to have been intertwined during that era.
The early Corvettes, which were beautiful cars by the way, evoked Italian (i.e. Ferrari) design elements and still do imo. Porsche was a different kind of animal...sort of garage mechanic's culture, really. Porsche brothers loved to race tractors, so heck, why not drop a hot engine into the Beetle and have some fun!? That lead to the improbable, rear-engined 911 series...an accident of invention, perhaps.
All of the above can be called sports cars in their own right, because they all have an air of danger and adventure and freedom and impracticality...even a touch of madness. Like the way men perceive women, perhaps??
#57 of 531 One missing factor
Apr 11, 2005 (8:54 pm)
I hear about the cars and the makers but in some cases the sanctioning bodies make the winners. Ask a few other than Archer why Viper is winning in the World Challenge right now. Restrictor plates and weight, added after a good result but then not removed when the results change might be a factor. Lou G. took 3rd in a Corvette in the last race after blowing an engine in 5th place the prior race. Also what benefits is the Caddy effort getting since it is factory backed with advertising dollars for the series? It's not always about the best car or driver for that matter.
I wonder right now if "F" is holding back in F1 so the series doesn't break up and leave them out of power. We will never know.
The racing is fun to watch but driving is more fun still!