Anime / Cosplay Conventions: Just Like Car Shows!

I remember the days when a huddled mass of dudes would scream and shout for any number of “import models” to look their way, so they can snap away with their “long” lenses and “big” flashes. I was there to shoot for magazines, be it Import Tuner, Super Street, Modified, C16, HCI, Performance Auto & Sound, Car Audio & Electronics, etc., etc. As for these photo “collectors,” I have no idea what their purpose was. What they intended to do with those photos…

Recently, my friend Les turned me onto anime / cosplay. (FYI, he had the baddest FD3S RX7 back in the day, fully built with Zeal suspension and Endless brakes, exactly the way I like it). Although known about, looks like I’ll be attending my very first one in July – Anime Expo is Los Angeles. It’ll be an assignment of a different sort for mass media outlets, but one thing stood out to me. It’s the same shit as Hot Import Nights! Bunch of dudes (a plethora of dweebs and creepy old men for good measure) huddled around female cosplayers, snapping away for who knows what purpose. Now, anime / cosplay fans are a different breed than car show attendees (I would hope) and most are legit – like my friend Les – but I can help but to wonder about the rest of these “photographers.”


Some of those creepy old guys I mentioned above…

Vettel: Everyone to Blame but Himself (Update)

Update: As reported by Motorsport.com:

“The footage clearly captures Vettel correcting an oversteer moment as he rejoins the track – which is shown by a sharp steering wheel movement to the right by the German.

Shortly after that, however, Vettel has dispatched the oversteer and begins steering to the left to follow the direction of the circuit – suggesting he is now under control.

But a split moment later, rather than keeping to the left, Vettel is shown to release the steering wheel which allows his car to drift to the right – cutting off the route that Hamilton would have taken had he had clear space.

The movement to straighten the wheel, which put Vettel into the path of Hamilton, is believed to be key to the unanimous decision by the stewards to punish Vettel.

A further reason the stewards established was through the use of an extra CCTV camera view of the incident, which was not broadcast on the international feed, showing Vettel’s head looking in the mirrors at where Hamilton was during these moments when he was releasing the wheel to the right.

Onboard footage of the Vettel incident also shows his head looking towards the mirrors in the moment when he is drifting out, suggesting he knew where Hamilton was.

Had Vettel kept his car tight to the left once he had regained control, then there was likely enough room to have allowed Hamilton through on the right, in which case the matter would almost certainly not have been investigated.

The fact that telemetry data showed Hamilton had to brake to avoid the collision with Vettel showed how the Mercedes driver was caught out by his rival’s actions.”

I wrote at the beginning of the season that Vettel is an #overrated driver. He again showed why he’s a petulant child who cannot and won’t take responsibility for his own fuck ups by doing what he did at the 2019 Canadian Grand Prix. It was clear from the on-board that he turned his steering wheel to the right as he was exiting the grass at turn 4 to stop Lewis Hamilton from passing him. At any cost. Even if it caused a wreck. Remember Singapore when he managed to wreck himself, Raikkonen and Verstappen at the same time?

That Hamilton had to back off to avoid that collision is quod durum that Vettel impeded the former. HIs rant about how the race was “stolen” is non-sense. And to further illustrate that he’s a petulant child / bad sport, he had the audacity to move the P1 sign in front of Hamiiton’s car and replace it with the P2 sign meant for his car – which, incidentally, never made it to the “parking lot” for the top 3 finishers because he couldn’t be bother. Because he ran off to the Ferrari hospitality building to complain to Binotto about the “unfair” race. Because he didn’t want to do the interview with Martin Brundle. Because he doesn’t like how the rules played out for him. Because he cocked up and nearly caused a crash. Because he was penalized 5 seconds for that.

Grow the fuck up.

A Visual Record of What Happened
Lots of commentary about the rules and other stuff but on point as far as Vettel is concerned

No, It’s Not a Surprise at All: Alonso @ Indy 500

Not a good look for the two time Formula 1 world champion

It wasn’t long ago when Fernando Alonso was leading the pack at the Brickyard. And it was no surprise when the Honda engine powering his Andretti-tuned Dallara blew up and relegated the Spaniard to a DNF at the Indy 500.

There was much anticipation for this year’s running of the race, with McLaren supposedly utilizing this opportunity to gauge a full time entry into the US-based open wheel series in addition to continuing their association with the two-time F1 champion.

But as with most things McLaren as of late, Alonso suffered a series of mishaps which prevented him from having another shot at the Borg Warner trophy. Think Robin Miller’s article on Racer.com summed up – politely – what happened. Lack of experience, humility and time. Yep.

(By the way, please support Racer.com – it’s run by some dear long-time friends in the business – Paul and Bill – both of whom are lifelong gear heads truly true to the game)

Here’s what we think Fernando should do to improve his chances of winning motorsport’s “triple crown”:

  1. End the silly association / relationship with McLaren – since the ousting of Ron Dennis, the Woking operation has been, basically, a shit show. Zak Brown has no idea what he’s doing. And what the hell is the purpose of Gil de Ferran collecting a paycheck as “sporting director”? Why let Mc:Laren’s indecision and lack of commitment prevent you from Indy success?
  2. Race Indycar full time – Alonso is arguably one of the best drivers of his generation, but even he needs some time to acclimate to a new car, new form of racing, etc. He’s already a champion in F1 and WEC. Nothing left to prove in those series.
  3. Win the Indy 500 and the Indycar championship while you’re at it – it’s hard to fathom Alonso NOT doing well in Indycar. And surely, it’s going to be great for ratings – bringing his GLOBAL fanbase to Indycar – and i’m sure he can bring heaps of sponsorship dollars with him. So why not someone like Roger Penske sign him to a full ride?
  4. Then go win Dakar. Why not add yet another memento to what must be a HUGE trophy case at the Museo Y Circuito Fernando Alonso?

Ron Dennis: Comprehensive Interview

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how important tobacco money has been to F1 and the lack of it is making the pinnacle of motorsport a bit laughable at times.

Well, I happened upon this comprehensive interview with Ron Dennis, the man who made what McLaren was – until the consortium led by Mansur Ojjeh booted him. It’s a thoroughly pleasurable viewing experience, going way back to the days of the Brabham team, and onto the days of Senna, Mikka and more. It’s also very interesting that Phillip Morris was the primary source of funding to grow the team into what it ultimately became – multiple constructor and driver champion.

Huge props to the American Academy of Achievement for the interview that we share above. Also check out their YouTube channel for more scintillating interviews with other overachievers.

Hot Import Nights: Los Angeles (March 30, 2019)

In what I can describe as a flashback moment, Chris and i decided to visit the first Hot Import Nights of the year. Not to date myself, but I was at the original HIN way back in the day, shot many iterations of this show – HIN, Hot Import Daze, Import Revolution – and so on. Glad to see that there are still some souls passionate about upgrading their car game from the very basic bolt-ons to full engine swaps.

Chris shot some video but you’ll have to wait a bit for that. In the meantime, enjoy the photos below!

F1 Steering Wheels: We Have It Way Easy

Maybe I am getting old. I don’t like all these damn buttons on steering wheels these days. On my Lexus, there are so many buttons that do all sorts of things it seems – voice command (which, by the way, is the worst system ever made… and not just based on my opinion), lane departure warning, “back’ button, volume control, media “mode” and on and on. In my Evo IX, there’s one horn button. Nothing else. Not even a cruise control button because, well, it doesn’t have cruise control.

While I long for days of simplicity in passenger cars, motorsports continues to innovate and revolutionize. Nearly every aspect of performance can be tweaked from the steering wheel, even engine maps – is this why I have an “economy” mode, a “normal” mode, “Sport” mode and a “Sport+” mode for my car? Compared to the typical steering wheel on an F1 race car, however, we have it easy. Way easy.

The Steering Wheel, as Explained by Valtteri Bottas

Donut Media did a fantastic job of visualizing the evolution of the F1 steering wheel in this video for those who are completely green to current racing technology.