Monday, February 27, 2017

Racing Season

I'm a big follower of the motor racing on the telly.

Ok. Actually just a moderate follower. A big follower or an addict would watch all of the racing, I just watch the Formula 1 and the World Endurance Championship. Not really enough time for watching more.

That pic just had to be the thumbnail for today. And while I'm thinking of turtles ... this site (at the link) is very dangerous. Do not click if credit cards are close to hand.

And I've been enjoying a game called Motorsport Manager too. I've ... ermmm ... gone past 148 hours in that game already. The current play through is seeing me build the worst team into the best team. I'll farm as many achievements as possible from this play (including the big one of winning the big title) before giving it a rest for a bit and moving on to something different.
Not with that team. That's the Dragon Race Team which just had to be the first team I chose. Graphics are up to the job, although admittedly they don't actually have to do that much.
That's what it looks like in the races as my pair of drivers were destroying all opposition in the middle league. It's a bit tougher for them this season in the top league but they should survive, build, get stronger and win. 3.5 seconds a lap to make up though (that's a lot).

If you're interested in motor racing management sims, I'd heavily recommend this. We've seen a drought of these games since the excellent Grand Prix Manager 1 and 2 from way back. There have been games of the type but they have been universally rubbish. That is until the mobile version of MM came along (I enjoyed this one on iOS) and now this PC version.

I like them. You have to make good decisions in order to win the races. Games should reward good play with good results. It seems pretty consistent with what it does too. And you can build that weak team into a world beater too. (Hire popular drivers, build the HQ up, get good facilities, don't get your parts banned ... make good decisions in the races) The opposition AI isn't dumb, it's actually quite reasonable and I don't think it cheats. It does make bad decisions with weather though which you can shamelessly exploit.

But this post isn't all about games.

The Formula 1 season started up again today with the first day of pre season testing. We won't learn much of consequence until the last test as they're finding out about the new designs and new rules before really pushing the performance. And in the case of two teams, getting let down by reliability issues which really .... shouldn't.

I don't really know who I'll be following this year. Previously it would be McLaren due to their brave choice of going to Honda for powerplants. This has not worked well ... Plus they had the boyish charm of the Jenson Button. With the changes in the off season though, I don't know who McLaren are any more. I still applaud their choice of going for something different for the power plant but ... the guts have been ripped out of the team. Not my team any more.

Mercedes is the boring choice, they've manipulated the rules (why not!) to favour their technically advanced solution. That rule book has been somewhat ripped up this year, it'll be good to see what happens. They also have Lewis Hamilton who has my vote for favourite F1 driver.

Of the other teams ... Red Bull are the most proficient technically but ... the drivers really put me off. Ricciardo with his Shooey is disgusting and an embarrassment to the sport. Verstappen is going to get someone seriously hurt. Ferrari have had a humbling time lately but they're the best competitors. The other Brit in the field, Jolyon Palmer was an embarrassment to his family and British racing drivers with his constant crashing last year. I'm amazed to see him back this year. The other Mercedes powered teams don't really have a chance in my view, the Mercedes car will always be better. That's why I applauded McLaren for going down a different route. The gamble hasn't paid off but it was their best chance of emerging from the herd.

World Endurance champs is something I'll keep watching too. That's these cars :
Not made of Lego though. Must look into seeing if I can turn that car into one of these :
The car on the right, not the spaceship dominating the scene. That's from the forthcoming Mass Effect Andromeda, which is being massively hyped by anyone who has played the previous Mass Effect trilogy which had 3 of the best games I've ever played.

World Endurance Champs is a more compelling sport to watch than Formula 1. There are only two teams at the top now (Porsche and Toyota) but they are incredibly evenly matched. You don't know who's going to win before the race. Compare that to Formula 1 and it was a shock if the Mercedes cars didn't run away from the field. And that even matching is continued down the field to the slower categories that race alongside the fastest LMP1 cars.

I think it's a shame that Formula 1 didn't dip into the supply of massively talented racing drivers from World Endurance Champs, where a bunch of drivers suddenly found themselves redundant after Audi pulled out. Yep. The Audi that used "We're coming home to Le Mans" on their adverts after abandoning the series. Poor show Audi.

The Formula 1 will be back testing tomorrow and I'll be curious to see how they do. You want all of the teams to be competitive, to make the races more interesting with the results a genuine surprise. It's been too long since Formula 1 has had that excitement of the random element.

Fingers crossed for excitement from the series !

And some developments coming for us in the road car area too ! The F1 and WEC LMP1s are both hybrid categories now, with motor generators going on brakes and the turbo in F1. The innovation there sees its way into our road cars. I'm not convinced the motor generator in the turbo has a road application, although it does eliminate the turbo lag as well as get a bit of energy recycled back in. The combustion chamber enhancement thing that hit F1 though, that could be handy in a road car.

The F1 and WEC systems are both quite different from the hybrid system in my car though. The race systems supplement the engine and feed a separate gearbox. In my car, the motors are the gearbox.

That's a little too complex for here though !
Hybrid cars with motor generator systems - are the future
Turbochargers with generators - not convinced for the road
Better engine designs - gimme
Smooth driving - love it
Racing - hoping for excitement.

And I'm pondering going to Silverstone for the WEC race this year. Not been yet.

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