Tag - Ferrari

My Oil Brings All The Girls To The Yard: Pennzoil’s new Ferrari synthetic hopes to find a home under the hoods of a million Toyotas.

As first gigs go, it wasn't that bad. From his secret lair beneath a hollowed-out volcano, SSL's notorious Jack Baruth asked me to head to Las Vegas for a weekend. As a lifelong oval-track fan, I was on the plane before he had a chance to change his mind and send me to a minivan "first drive" instead. The trip didn't disappoint; I had a chance to watch Kevin Harvick hammer out his thirty-fifth career Nationwide Series win, I saw and met a variety of celebrities of the NASCAR and non-NASCAR variety (see above photo) and I also attended a presentation on the new Pennzoil Ultra "full synthetic" motor oil. The definition of "full synthetic" in the US is complex enough to rate its own Wikipedia page (and here it is) but all the information we could find indicates that Ultra is, in some or possibly all blends, a "Group III" synthetic. This means that, strictly speaking, it's not a head-to-head Mobil 1 competitor. Ferrari has chosen the oil for factory fill, as Porsche did with Mobil 1 some time ago. However, oil formulations differ across national borders, so this doesn't necessarily mean that the Pennzoil Ultra sitting on your AutoZone's shelf is exactly the same stuff that is being poured into the 458 Italia. The most interesting thing about Ultra, from my perspective, isn't the Ferrari endorsement or the admittedly handsome packaging. Rather, it's the explicit claim that the use of Ultra can prevent sludge formation and significantly clean existing sludge from engines. They've backed this testing with numbers, one oil-forum wonk to state that "They improved the deposit control and improved the detergent system while retaining the very good Seq IVA performance. Throw in API SN and a Tbn of 13, and I think it's an impressive oil. At least on paper. Specifications met are a good indication of quality. This oil has quality written all over it." As soon as we figure out what that means, we'll let you know. If something like this is sitting in your engine, chances are you have problems. There was a time when "oil sludge" was considered to be equivalent to "muffler bearings": something unethical mechanics told credulous customers about in order to empty their pockets of any loose change. No longer. Toyota has big sludge problems and has been forced to admit it. Volkswagen and Audi have also experienced similar issues. In an era where people expect their engines to last well beyond 100,000 miles with no special maintenance, oil sludge issues are haunting manufacturers and drivers. Pennzoil believes their Ultra can remove existing sludge, and they are handing out the results of rather specialized tests to anyone who asks. The implications of this marketing strategy --- that an oil manufacturer is targeting a product at drivers who inadvertently purchased a sludge-prone engine, or think they might be at risk --- bear thinking about. As modern cars show more and more evidence of fundamental cost-cutting more and more drivers will be looking to the aftermarket to fix some of the engineering and manufacturing shortcuts taken in the name of profitability. For a long time, the self-performed oil change has been the province of the "car guy", but how many "car guys" own four-cylinder Camrys? I'll go out on a limb and predict success for Ultra. It's probably the right target at the right time. Regrettably, here at SSL we don't own any Ferraris, and Jack's infamous Neon racers all use Quaker State zero-weight, special-purpose racing oil, but this Ultra might be just the ticket for a front-running Lemons racer. Does anybody out there want to put a little Ferrari in their Solara?
Full Disclosure as required by the lovely FTC: This trip was sponsored by Pennzoil, however all opinions are solely those of the author.

2009 Petit Le Mans Wrap-Up

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Story by ALMS Communications
Photos by Zerin Dube
Franck Montagny and Stephane Sarrazin gave Peugeot its first American Le Mans Series victory on Friday, winning a weather-shortened 12th annual Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6. Race officials, citing hazardous conditions due to torrential rains that fell at Road Atlanta just past the four-hour mark, called the race at eight hours, 44 minutes running. Peugeot’s two diesel-powered factory prototype coupes finished 1-2 with the pole-sitting 908 HDi of Pedro Lamy and Nic Minassian in second. The first of Audi Sport Team Joest’s Audi R15 TDIs placed third, the car driven by Allan McNish and Dindo Capello. The Peugeot-Peugeot-Audi finish mirrored the end result at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, and it ended Audi's nine-year unbeaten streak at Road Atlanta. “We only did three races this year,” Montagny said. “We missed Sebring by only 22 seconds, and it was a win for the Peugeot team at Le Mans and a win here. I think if we had a full time we really would have battled it out with the Audis.” IMG_5380 McNish and Capello dominated the race before the rains fell and led all but five of the first 168 laps. The two Peugeots got past McNish under yellow when the Scot looped the Audi under wet conditions barely past the two-hour mark. A few minutes later, the skies opened and officials parked the cars in pitlane. “We started in the wet and it was difficult with a dry set-up,” Sarrazin said. “We were very far behind. But in the dry we could push very hard and make up time. I could catch the two Audis and it was not too hard to overtake them. But in the big rain it was just OK. We did our best in the time we had and the team did a great job.” The highly anticipated battle between the Peugeots and the Audis lived up to expectations in qualifying and the early part of the race. Both Montagny and Sarrazin had to fight back from a lap down on more than one occasion after the Peugeots’ early race setup struggles. It was sweet redemption for a team that lost out in last year’s race by a little more than four seconds to McNish and Capello in an Audi R10 TDI. “We traveled thousands of miles to race here, so sure we’d love to have a full race but we also enjoyed it,” Montagny said. “Sure…at 300 kph, you hit the water and you just keep going…it’s not so much fun.” “The mechanics here have won Le Mans, so they are very good and they know what they can do,” Sarrazin added. “We are improving all the time, in the race and in testing. I think we show that. And the drivers, we are always giving the maximum just like our crew does.” IMG_5674 Dyson Racing took its first Petit Le Mans victory with a victory in LMP2 for Marino Franchitti, Butch Leitzinger and Ben Devlin. Their Mazda-powered Lola B09/86 coupe had problems with gear selection early, but the Acura ARX-01b of Lowe’s Fernandez Racing’s Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz experienced steering issues throughout. Nevertheless, the duo completed enough laps to clinch the team championship for Lowe’s Fernandez and the manufacturer championships for Acura. “We had a gearbox issue just once and the guys were able to fix it with only one repair,” said Franchitti, who qualified on the class pole. “I think I saw every kind of condition possible here at Road Atlanta today. It was especially great to bring a win here with the Mazda especially for a race presented by the Mazda 6. And now the Dyson win for Petit is pretty great.” Franchitti and Leitzinger were class winners at Lime Rock in July, the first victory for the Dyson-Lola/Mazda partnership. The team also won for the first time at Road Atlanta in American Le Mans Series competition. “These guys made it easy for me and this had to be one of the toughest conditions I’ve ever raced in,” Devlin said. “Marino did a great job keeping the car up there and so did Butch. By the time I got the car I just had to keep it on the black. It was great how well the car has developed, especially how I left it last year and the continued commitment and effort from Mazda.” Things didn’t look promising early as the Lola-Mazda dropped as far back as 27th overall before attrition started to take a toll on the class. There were the problems with the Lowe’s Fernandez car, and the Team Cytosport Porsche RS Spyder of Klaus Graf, Sascha Maassen and Greg Pickett led 30 laps before a spin and loss of power sent it tumbling down the order. “This event, it is truly amazing - year on year increased in significance and attendance,” Leitzinger said. “I was here for the first event in 1998. The buzz just gets bigger and bigger. There are certain places that you go to, Sebring, the Indy 500, Le Mans, and this really has attained that in just a short amount of time and how everyone has embraced that. We’ve had some really horrible disappointments here, and it was really important for Dyson Racing to get this win here.” IMG_6211 Risi Competizione’s Jaime Melo, Pierre Kaffer and Mika Salo won in GT2 in their Ferrari F430 GT, the fifth straight endurance victory for the team. A brilliant call by Salo to take wet tires before the rest of the GT2 field proved to be the difference, and it took him six laps to move the Ferrari past the five cars in front of him to take the lead for good. BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team’s Dirk Müller, Jörg Müller and Tommy Milner placed second in their BMW M3. Dirk Werner and Wolf Henzler were third in their Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, clinching the manufacturer championship for Porsche. “This is only my third race this year with the team,” Salo said. “It is such a good atmosphere; everyone works so hard. You can trust them and they don’t go off the track. It’s so much a pleasure to drive with the Risi team. We might not have been the fastest in the dry but in the wet we were very quick.” The Ferrari began 10th on the GT2 grid after a tire puncture limited Melo to one flying lap in qualifying. The Ferrari never cracked the top three until the rain fell. The opening portion saw the top six cars in class on the lead lap, another testament to the level of competition in the class. The victory enabled the Risi team to stay alive in the class championship. Melo and Kaffer are 19 points behind the Flying Lizard Motorsports’ duo of Patrick Long and Jörg Bergmeister with a maximum of 25 points remaining. “It’s a kind of strange race, but we had a competitive car,” Melo said. “I was a bit conservative at the beginning, the track was wet. I didn’t take any risk. I was feeling comfortable, and in the dry condition we had a good car and could keep up with the guys right up to the last minute. Thanks to Pierre for keeping the car good for his two stints. Our whole crew and the strategy were phenomenal the whole time. Even the tires on wet and dry, we could manage the car really good.” “Jamie was quick in the race. We made a change in the bar in my first stint but we changed it back,” Kaffer added. “I have to thank my team for working so hard and this victory. I always can learn something from Mika, even from today with not such a long stint, he made the important call today. In the end, we are the lucky winner.” IMG_5135 The Audi R15 TDI of McNish and Capello was the prototype winner in the MICHELIN GREEN X Challenge, a revolutionary award that goes to the cars that go the farthest the fastest and with the least environmental impact. The second Flying Lizard Porsche of Seth Neiman, Johannes van Overbeek and Darren Law was the GT winner. Porsche captured the manufacturer season championship in the environmentally based efficiency competition. [nggallery id=43] Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6 Road Atlanta, Braselton, Ga. Saturday's results 1. (2) Stephane Sarrazin, France; Franck Montagny, Brignoles France; Peugeot 908 HDI FAP (1, P1), 184. 2. (1) Pedro Lamy, Lisbon Portugal; Nicolas Minassian, England; Peugeot 908 HDI FAP (2, P1), 184. 3. (3) Allan McNish, Scotland; Rinaldo Capello, Italy; Audi R15 TDI (3, P1), 184. 4. (4) Marco Werner, Germany; Lucas Luhr, Germany; Audi R15 TDI (4, P1), 182. 5. (6) Nicolas Lapierre, France; Romain Dumas, France; Olivier Panis, France; Oreca 01 AIM (5, P1), 181. 6. (26) David Brabham, Australia; Dario Franchitti, Scotland; Scott Sharp, Jupiter, FL; Acura ARX-02a (6, P1), 180. 7. (28) Chris Dyson, Pleasant Valley, NY; Guy Smith, England; Lola B09 86 Mazda (7, P2*), 177. 8. (22) Jaime Melo, Brazil; Pierre Kaffer, Germany; Mika Salo, Finland; Ferrari F430 GT (1, GT2), 170. 9. (16) Tom Milner, Leesburg, VA; Dirk Mueller, Germany; Jorg Muller, Germany; BMW E92 M3 (2, GT2), 169. 10. (21) Wolf Henzler, Germany; Dirk Werner, Germany; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (3, GT2), 169. 11. (15) Oliver Gavin, England; Olivier Beretta, Monaco; Marcel Fassler, Switzerland; Corvette C6.R (4, GT2), 169. 12. (18) Patrick Long, Oak Park, CA; Jorg Bergmeister, Germany; Marc Lieb, Germany; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (5, GT2), 169. 13. (8) Marino Franchitti, Scotland; Butch Leitzinger, State College, PA; Lola B09 86 Mazda (1, P2), 168. 14. (19) Johnny O`Connell, Flowery Branch, GA; Jan Magnussen, Denmark; Antonio Garcia, Spain; Corvette C6.R (6, GT2), 168. 15. (25) Seth Neiman, Burlingame, CA; Darren Law, Phoenix, AZ; Johannes van Overbeek, San Francisco, CA; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (7, GT2), 162. 16. (14) Tom Sutherland, Los Gatos, CA; Tomy Drissi, Hollywood, CA; Matt Bell, Los Altos, CA; Chevrolet Riley Corvette C6 (8, GT2), 157. 17. (7) Jon Field, Dublin, OH; Clint Field, Dublin, OH; Lola B06/10 AER (8, P1), 152. 18. (20) Ian James, England; Dominik Farnbacher, Germany; Panoz Esperante GTLM Ford (9, GT2), 152. 19. (12) Bryan Willman, Kirkland, WA; Tony Burgess, Canada; Chris McMurry, Phoenix, AZ; Lola B06/10 AER (9, P1), 144, Accident. 20. (13) David Murry, Cumming, GA; David Robertson, Ray, MI; Andrea Robertson, Ray, MI; Doran Ford GT MK 7 (10, GT2), 142. 21. (11) Luis Diaz, Mexico; Adrian Fernandez, Mexico; Acura ARX-01B (2, P2), 139. 22. (10) Klaus Graf, Germany; Sascha Maassen, Germany; Greg Pickett, Alamo, CA; Porsche RS Spyder (3, P2), 136. 23. (23) Bryan Sellers, Centerville, OH; Dominic Cicero, Portland, OR; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (11, GT2), 136. 24. (5) Gil de Ferran, Brazil; Simon Pagenaud, France; Scott Dixon, New Zealand; Acura ARX-02a (10, P1), 136. 25. (17) Bill Auberlen, Hermosa Beach, CA; Joey Hand, Sacramento, CA; Andy Priaulx, Germany; BMW E92 M3 (12, GT2), 133. 26. (24) Joel Feinberg, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Chris Hall, Daytona, FL; Dodge Viper Comp Coupe (13, GT2), 129. 27. (9) Jonny Cocker, UK; Robert Bell, UK; Paul Drayson, London, UK; Lola B09 60 Judd (11, P1), 123. 28. (27) Hideki Noda, Japan; Jose Manuel Balbiani, Argentina; Dion von Moltke, Coral Gables, FL; Radical SR9/AER (12, P1), 0. 29. (29) Adam Pecorari, Aston, PA; Gunnar Van der Steur, Chesapeake City, MD; Robbie Pecorari, Aston, PA; Radical SR9 AER (4, P2), 0. 30. (30) No drivers; Jaguar XKR (14, GT2), 0.

S:S:L Ride Along – Ferrari Enzo @ MSR Houston

A few months back, we ran a story about the famous Ferrari Enzo that was featured in the movie Redline, and later crashed by actor Eddie Griffin.  Friend of S:S:L, Matt Groner, picked up the wrecked Ferrari and promptly proceeded to put the sacred Enzo back together.  This weekend we headed down to MSR Houston to hang out with friend of S:S:L, Michael Mills, who asked us if we wanted to go for a spin.  Uh, Fluck yes!   Enjoy the video and turn up the volume! [nggallery id=25]