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.
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.
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.
Recently, CARS (Car Allowance Rebate System) has sent out step-by-step directions on how to disable a “clunker”:
“Engine Disablement Procedures for the CARS Program
THIS PROCEDURE IS NOT TO BE USED BY THE VEHICLE OWNER
Perform the following procedure to disable the vehicle engine.
1. Obtain solution of 40% sodium silicate/60% water. (The Sodium Silicate (SiO2/Na2O) must have a weight ratio of 3.0 or greater.)
2. Drain engine oil for environmentally appropriate disposal.
3. Install the oil drain plug.
4. Since the procedure is intended to render the engine inoperative, drive or move the vehicle to the desired area for disablement.
5. Pour enough solution in the engine through the oil fill for the oil pump to circulate the solution throughout the engine. Start by adding 2 quarts of the solution, which should be sufficient in most cases.
CAUTION: Wear goggles and gloves. Appropriate protective clothing should be worn to prevent silicate solution from coming into contact with the skin.
6. Replace the oil fill cap.
7. Start the engine.
8. Run engine at approximately 2000 rpm (for safety reasons do not operate at high rpm) until the engine stops. (Typically the engine will operate for 3 to 7 minutes. As the solution starts to affect engine operation, the operator will have to apply more
throttle to keep the engine at 2000 rpm.)
9. Allow the engine to cool for at least 1 hour.
10. With the battery at full charge or with auxiliary power to provide the power of a fully charged battery, attempt to start the engine.
11. If the engine will not operate at idle, the procedure is complete.
12. If the engine will operate at idle, repeat steps 7 through 11 until the engine will no longer idle.
13. Attach a label to the engine that legibly states the following:
This engine is from a vehicle that is part of the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS). It has significant internal damage caused by operating the engine with a sodium silicate solution (liquid glass) instead of oil.
14. File this document in the file for the new vehicle purchase. ” Cars.gov
Which doesnt sound that harsh at all, until you watch the video:
That must be what a dying Transformer sounds like. Wait a minute, could this be part of a storyline in the next Transformers movie? I hope not, the car sounds terrible.
For those of you who may have slept through science class in grade school, this may be terrifying. To me, it’s an awesome way of showing great science in action. Since I am not the greatest teacher of this stuff in the world, I will let PBS explain it to you:
“Suspension Bridge: Forces
In all suspension bridges, the roadway hangs from massive steel cables, which are draped over two towers and secured into solid concrete blocks, called anchorages, on both ends of the bridge. The cars push down on the roadway, but because the roadway is suspended, the cables transfer the load into compression in the two towers. The two towers support most of the bridge’s weight.” PBS.org
And now, here is a video showing the Manhattan Bridge in action: