Nismo? Gazoo Racing? Just Stop Already

Back in the day, Nismo meant something. TRD meant something. And, until recently, Gazoo Racing meant something. They all held the deepest level of respect among car enthusiasts as these sub-brands of OEMs went racing. And they won. And these brands were attached to some of the most iconic Japanese supercars of yesteryears – namely, the Nissan GT-R, the Toyota Supra and, most recently, the Toyota TS050 LMP1 Le Mans and WEC champion. So, I ask, why take such respected names and just, well, screw it all up?

Basically, Nissan and Toyota have taken the Nismo and Gazoo Racing brands, respectively, and slapped it on any ‘effin car they deem fit. Hell, the new Supra isn’t even powered by a Toyota engine but they felt it was appropriate to slap the GR moniker on that car as well. With an even greater level of shameless-ness, they’ve slapped the GR name to a hybrid Yaris that tops out at 108mph.

Didn’t know Toyota had so many Gazoo “Racing” models in development. Horseshit.

Nissan isn’t doing much better either. They’ve managed to slap the Nismo branding onto the 370Z and the Sentra. Neither of the Nismo versions offer any performance advantages over their non-Nismo brethren. It’s all exterior bullshit. Might as well add a bunch of stickers to the non-Nismo versions (don’t forget the “NOS” sticker!) and save some money. The stickers will add as much horsepower as the Nismo versions!

For shame!!

Toyota and Nissan: instead of making these cars “sticker-fast,” why not start making some cars that are actually fast? Yes, the R35 GT-R is a fast car, but it’s a bit long in the tooth (probably an understatement) and the latest additions have made the car about as attractive as Pete Burns, lead singer of an old band who’s had one too much plastic surgeries.

Current Nissan GT-R. Oh so hot! (NOT)

Detours of the Week – December 11th 2009

Daniel Lewis

From BBC – The Silverstone Circuit has signed a 17-year deal (17 years??!! – Ed.) with Formula One to host the British Grand Prix. Silverstone was the host of the first Grand Prix championship in 1950, and since 1987, hosted every British Grand Prix in Formula One. Donington Park was supposed to be the new venue for the British Grand Prix this year beginning next year, but their finances fell through the floor.

Danica Patrick

From LA Times – OMG! Danica Patrick is in NASCAR. On Tuesday, Danica Patrick announced that she would drive in a “limited number” of races in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series. Danica’s IndyCar resume consists of 1 win, 3 poles, and 81 starts. Her first season was in 2005, and she finished 5th (best career finish) in 2009. Not bad for a 27 year old, but in my personal opinion, it’s better to be great at one thing, than so-so in many things.

VW vs Toyota

From Reuters – Volkswagen is buying a 20% stake in Suzuki for $2.5 billion. This is not too long after Volkswagen just bought a 49.9% stake in Porsche AG. After this transaction, VW will have stake in 11 different car brands. VW’s goal is to become the world’s number one automaker by 2018. Toyota, we await for your rebuttal.

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We Remember Ayrton Senna

ayrton_senna_1991_united_states_gp2

1991. Phoenix, Arizona. The United States Grand Prix. It would be the first and last time I would personally see Ayrton Senna blaze by in the McLaren-Honda livery that started my fascination with Formula 1. Taking the pole and the win, it seemed business as usual for the Brazilian driver.

Exactly 15 years ago at the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola, Senna would go straight on at Tamburello and eventually die from his injuries later that day. Racing fans around the world were shocked and mourned the loss of probably the greatest racing driver of all time. Three F1 driver’s titles, numerous records for poles, wins and fastest laps. Any car, any where… he made it go faster. His 2 second gap over Alain Prost during qualifying at the 1988 Monaco GP is just one example of the sheer speed and brilliance this man possessed.

We miss you, Aryton.

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