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Insider Report: Rally driver demolishes brick shed with his Opel

Published November 27, 2013

A few years ago at Targa Newfoundland, an Ontario based competitor left the road and hit a house, doing major damage to both the Subaru and the house. In that case, there was some distance between the road and the house. Last weekend at a rally in Belgium, an Opel driver overshot a turn on wet roads and plowed into a large brick storage building that was right beside the road. No injuries, but the building crumbled like a dry old cookie.

Vettel – Webber… Last Fire Up of the Red Bull RB9!
After the Brazilian GP, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber went back to the paddock to put on a show for the fans who lingered. The Red Bull RB9 is destined for the show circuit as the V8 era comes to an end, making way once again for turbo cars, so the boys decided that a V8 symphony was in order. Just to make sure that the boring guy in the next cubicle doesn’t speak to you all day, crank the volume and listen as the beast spins up to 22,000 rpm, complete with glowing red exhaust headers.

V8 Supercar crash shows just how fast things can change a racer’s life
First off, I have to tell you that neither of the drivers involved in this crash were injured, thanks in whole to the strict safety regulations of the Aussie V8 Supercar series and the fact that both teams built super tough cars. Alex Premat suffered a flat tire, which sent him off the track at speed, where he sailed across the wet grass and into the side of James Courtney’s car. The first bit of video from an external camera shows a side impact between the cars that was so strong that it lifted both cars off the ground. That angle really doesn’t show the severity of the crash. At about 0:27, we see the onboard footage from a car that was following Courtney. The speed at which Premat’s car flies into view is unbelievable. Remember that these cars are right hand drive. The roll cage in Courtney’s car was severely damaged, but it did its job to protect the driver. These two cats are down to 8 lives.

Ride along with Jochen Mass at Daytona in a vintage Porsche
As a teenage race fan with a passion for racing history in 1984, I was determined to meet Jochen Mass when he was at Mosport for the Group C 24 hour race, driving for the Porsche factory team in one of the mighty 956 Rothmans cars. I pushed my way through the fans and he was kind enough to spend a few minutes chatting with me. This was only two years after the death of Canadian racing legend Gilles Villeneuve, who died after crashing into the back of Mass during qualifying for the ’82 Belgian Grand Prix. I’m not sure if other fans knew that this was the same driver from that incident, but I did. I was just excited to meet an F1 driver who I had also met when I was a young boy.

Mass is still racing and still has the touch as you can see in this video from a recent Historic Sportscar Racing event at Daytona, where he was driving an original Porsche IROC series car. He is pretty impressive for a 67 year old man, racing a forty-something year old race car.

Street racing in Detroit circa 1964. Where it all began
Given that today’s Insider Report has been all racing stuff, I guess I should continue the trend with a trip down memory lane. Okay, so it isn’t MY memory lane specifically, but car enthusiasts all over owe a debt to the street racers of the 1960′s Detroit. If it weren’t for these guys, the whole muscle car scene might never have happened. Think about it, no Mustang, no Camaro, no Cuda. No fun.

Despite the cheesy soundtrack used in this video, I could watch digitized super 8 videos like this all day long.

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