It’s dark, it’s December, it’s time to remember some of our occasional visits to race tracks or rallies c. 2015.
We started off with a short visit to Formula 1 winter testing in the green hills of Jerez; this year’s cars weren’t particularly impressive to watch in action, they whistle, they blow, they’re politically correct (to the point of having no sponsorship logos whatsoever!) they’re revving at lower RPM (range) and that’s not the way I am.
They’re freaky expensive, no doubt – it don’t impress me much, as you can tell from reading my angry F1-related tweets. Still, some nice pics were taken, and as per usual, we had a bit of fun. This PU era is reminiscent of A Momentary Lapse of Reason, it’s not Dark Side of the Moon, definitely! Yes, I know, road relevance, saving fuel, bla-bla-bla. Hybrid the Saviour of the planet, but money first (that’s what Toto said). Top 10 at every race can be predicted with 99% accuracy. I’m glad I didn’t go to any of the Petits Prix and spent my cash on other useful things.
The 2015 F1 season did have some entertaining moments, mainly courtesy of Jos the Jr Boss and one must also tweet hats off to LH, I’m sure his gold chains will get bigger and heavier in 2016. A gold Lear Jet? Maybe two?
GP3. What can I say? Fast kids, violent cars, pure racing, perfect tyre life balance. Friendly staff. Plenty of coffee in the race control. Loved every second of it.
Second gen GP3 car proved to be a real success with the drivers and the fans. The series gets a lot less coverage than it deserves at present to be honest, I hope third gen GP3 machinery will change that trend for good. Nº3 for GP3, that’s a good onus. Omen, I mean. Amen.
We were #blessed #yo – just like #teamLH #44goldchains – with probably one of the best seasons to date in the short history of the GP3 Series. E. Ocon aka Style Icon was guaranteed to win it (aided A LOT by ART’s art of winning – dude, this is the dominator in that part of the motor racing world), but Luca Badoer’s namesake Luca Ghiotto turned up the heat and put the MC hammer CDs down for a minute to win a few and keep the suspense until the last race in AD BC. Icon and Luca both drove beautifully. Get Badoer’s namesake an F1 test seat or something.
And don’t forget to check out GP2/GP3 wonderful online mag. Me fave. Just google GP2 or GP3 and go to respective official websites.
Next stop – DTM. Deutsche Tankwagen Monstershaft.
DTM, well, well, well. Secret testing at Estoril. I’m amazed they left the main grandstand open to the public. The cars felt alright to watch, good fun. They didn’t have the time to angelamerkel them, V8s sounded pretty angry under the cold Portuguese rain, no rich kids/pay “drivers” around – a real pleasure. A personal highlight of the season for us. Next time, make sure bloggers are allowed into the paddock. Our tweeting lives matter. Just one pic here: racing while testing. Pretty damn cool, aye?
What will Uncle Iberian do next? We subsequently found ourselves on the pit wall in Estoril watching Nick Padmore aka Padsta, the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Champion, posting incredibly quick lap times in the Williams FW07C. Mein Gott! Dat car is really something and the DFV is simply the best! !!! !!!! !!!!! Respect. Yo.
International GT Open weekend just totally rocked our world after a bit of ground effect immersion.
GT Open’s advantage is that it additionally brings a lot of free entertainment for the masses to serve as a warm-up act for the main race. Not unusual in other series – you will argue. Yeah, but watch the mean looks of those Seat Leon pure racers and raw power of another European F3! I’m loving it. You just can’t stop taking pics and fully enjoying your time at the circuit. Ferrari vs McLaren in the GT category – who could ask for more? It’s a classic, this one. No fuel saving mode or holding back, these guys give their everything and leave everything on the track. Dedication 100%. Going strong in 2015, aye.
WRC. World’s Racy-est Cars. In the sense that they race, rally… Whatever!
Put an F1 driver… No, skip that. Put an F1 champion in the best WRC car and observe what happens. Maybe it’s a P5 at the end of the event (provided the car is in EFFing one piece after all the stages), just don’t expect dem F1 aces to beat the rallying world’s Sébastiens and Mikkos.
Unfortunately, we was extremely limited in terms of free time around the time WRC came to the town of Guimarães in the north of Portugal. Hence, not many photographic impressions.
The new Fabia R5 is what you’d call a man’s man car. Proper looks, proper sound, proper presence, proper technology. I was drooling while pressing the shutter button and dancing around this work of art like a pagan. Comme il faut, quoi. Pohodě hajzl (thnaks, Google do not translate).
We think Meeke’s performances in 2015 were impressive, add that popular win in Argentina to what has been a mostly positive season for a guy who can occasionally beat Edmund Irvine’s wit. Many of us sofa experts would seriously suck in his position, gotta be honest with ya. Go Kris!
We was having a shocker, on zee özer ‘and, when it comes to Neuville’s Korean Gangnam drama. Mamma tua! He hit rocks, he rolled, he cut down trees! Could all this be down to Hayden Paddon’s presence at Hoondai’s WRC team? Dunno. TN must get his mojo Mohawk hair back in 2016.
FIA F3. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Cool kids, 1999. Sorry, my bad. They’re not that young actually. Some are even balding!
So we tasked ourselves with interviewing Felix Rosenqvist in Portimão and wot an interview that was! I’m immensely proud of Felix’s answers. Smart, very smart… him, not me.
FIA F3 is clearly emanating German vibes (one can say historically and knowing the manner in which it was created – google it): VW engines (not diesel, LOL, OMG) and Merc’s F3 power units, ja, are the most popular ones used by the F3 teams. You all know how much we love being an underdog and all other motor racing underdogs brothas & sistas here at Iberian HQ, it shouldn’t surprise people that we spent a lot of time snapping pics of the only Neil Brown powered vehicle on the grid. I get goosebumps from just looking at the engine, it’s a mighty octopus that screams and howls once it’s started. They didn’t win anything at Portimão – you only win there if you’re called Felix Rosenqvist. Nevertheless, NB, bro, you and me – friends for life.
After Monza gorilla shunts by Lance Armstroll we were expecting some wild sh*t to happen in the Algarve. It didn’t. People were going nuts on Twitter regarding F3 driving standards, this and that, race bans, etc.. OK, some incidents were uncalled for and people got the punishment they deserved. In general, there’s nothing to worry about. Uncle Iberian left the F3 paddock pretty satisfied with what he saw.
On a side note, Stroll family motorhome and luxury vehicles can’t be unseen, I want some of that in my life.
ELMS. The European dream. Endure it. Endurance.
We was extremely curious to get closer to new ELMS machinery in the paddock this time out. Gorgeous, shining LMP2 and P3 I dunno what to call them – future is here now race cars made our day.
Closed cockpit is a better way forward.
Watching an emotional Andy Priaulx in the presser is something I won’t forget for a long time. The guy’s had an amazing career, kind of European Jeff Gordon really, and he gets to win the final Marc VDS GTE race before he moves on to the next chapter of his illustrious career. Can’t beat it.
Bjorn Wirdheim’s blast from the past beard had its special moments under the press conference lights too: Quick Nick, move over!
All in all, ELMS managed to create the best race format ever for an occasional motor racing fan: 4hrs of non-stop action, an open paddock, cool looking cars, kids love it, old farts love it, generation X loves it. I suspect the series organisers (yeah, they do WEC while not busy running ELMS and Asian LMS plus #lm24) would love to add hybrid mumbo jumbo “eco” element to it, but fortunately they realise it would effectively drive the teams out of the sport with spiralling costs. Phew! At least we got lucky hybrids are so costly to run.
Historic Rally Portugal. Renault R5 Alpine Turbo, the Irritator of the German Engineering and Japanese Engineering fans.
I understand the need for Sahara and Zambeze SUVs to please the bourgeoisie, I sure do. Even so, the Irritator is a masterpiece of industrial design. The right amount of plastic, metal, the shape and the colour. She drinks petrol and she’s proud.
V de V. No nonsense. To the point. In 2015, they had zë Président de l’Automobile Club de l’Ouest by his baals in his LMP3 car.
V de V will rock you. They get down to business, they do it right. For more, check out Updates section on this website.
That’s it, folks.
Become my personal sponsor in 2016 and I’ll wear my Lauda cap in various paddocks across the continent. Hell, I’ll even tattoo your company logo on my bottom and run naked at any race track anywhere in the world!
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