the news is a little outdated already, in fact i am a couple of weeks late here, but boy oh boy, that lightning stroke: matt kenseth made his return to the cup series as a replacement driver for kyle larson at CGR for the remainder of the 2020 season. that! is!! awesome!!!
i never really mentioned matt’s farewell from the series at the end of the 2018 season here. i didn’t even watch most of his races in the #6 car. the man still is such a hero to me, i couldn’t stand seeing him in a car that just wasn’t capable of winning.
with his return my interest, my excitement and all enthusiasm immediately skyrocketed back up to 100, just like all fell to almost zero in late 2018. it’s a funny thing to look at myself from back then. i was like “i don’t think i’ll ever be interested in the sport again. good times, over now!”. well, no. hehe… fourth wave?
right now, i definitely think NASCAR got me back. i am seriously looking forward to feeling a ton of excitement as long as matt is behind his wheel. and even after that, let’s see who’s gonna replace him as my favourite driver. the most promising candidate for now certainly is william byron. let’s wait how things will turn out… but for now:
as a follow-up of last year’s post, i’ll quickly check what happened in 2017 in my cute motorsport universe:
the 2017 NASCAR season was nothing too special, i’d say. the newly invented stage racing format killed a good part of the “endurance” factor but my personal nightmare was something else: somewhere in the midst of the season rumors emerged saying 2017 could mark matt kenseth’s final season. time creeped by until matt himself announced the fact that he indeed didn’t have a seat for the upcoming cup series. erik jones will take over the #20 and all the other available seats were given to wtf names. even though hope is known for dying last, it eventually did and therefore i quit my subscription of raceview. unlike in the early 2000s when rusty wallace waved goodbye to the cup, there is no successor this time, no too interesting young gun. well, erik jones maybe, ok… or william byron? we’ll see.
the WRC season was a complete success. the new cars are fantastic, gone was vw dominance, warmly welcomed were different manufacturers and driver’s names on the podiums – and the thrill! hell yeah! it was a purely exciting season, the first one in more than a decade. in the end the champion was the same though, but winning the whole thing in a ford gained ogier a ton of respect. thumbs up, WRC!
world rallycross championship lost almost all of its fascination and attractivity again in the blink of an eye. everything started good and interesting but soon turned into a hyperboring vw dominance show. not only that lydden hill was permanently kicked off the schedule, they also will skip hockenheim for the 2018. thumbs down! it all will depend on the first few races whether or not RX will go across the styx soon.
highlights 2017: the NASCAR whelen euroseries made its first stop in hockenheim which was a very cool thing to attend (still lots of potential for growth and optimization though). the outstanding highlight clearly was the 24 hours of le mans live at porsche museum in zuffenhausen. the 919 hybrid took the heavily celebrated win in porsche’s last LMP 1 season.
in 2018 i hopefully will finally manage to go to le mans… in any case i’m gonna focus on the endurance series and finally turn myself towards my longer lasting but always shy love for LMP3 cars…
it’s clearly a one of a kind experience to be able to follow your favourite driver as a realtime 3d-model from a variety of angles throughout an entire race, listening to in-car audio and having all kinds of live stats available all the time – nerd’s paradise! it makes you feel more connected, especially to your driver of course, but also to the entire race in general since the whole thing runs interruption-free, a big bonus primarily in NASCAR, where the live broadcast is paused every 5 minutes for commercial reasons.
despite all that, it all makes sense only as long as there is somebody out on the race track that you call your favourite driver. my favourite driver since the retirement of rusty wallace is matt kenseth who most probably won’t run (fulltime) in the upcoming season. so far there is no successor in sight and that’s why i just stopped my subscription to RaceView after three seasons.
big thanks & shouts to NASCAR, all thumbs up for this thing! i’ll get back as soon as there is another star in my personal cup driver firmament…
(screenshot from the final race of the 2017 cup series season)
occasion-related summary – what great britain stands for (for me… so far):
richard burns, colin mcrae, kris meeke, craig breen, elfyn evans
jungle (brockie & mc det)
aston martin, lola, radical
the it crowd
top gear (clarkson, hammond, may)
drum and bass (amoss, dispatch rec.)
user, utility plastics, serial scratch
brands hatch, brooklands, donington park, lydden hill, snetterton, thruxton
barbican, tate modern
uk space techno
luke slater, cristian vogel, neil landstrumm, regis, surgeon, luke vibert
james graham ballard
to be continued…
porsche recently announced to leave the lmp1 division at the end of the 2017 wec-season. from then on toyota would be the only remaining manufacturer and its more than probable that they’re gonna quit as well.
porsche’s reasons for this decision are quite understandable (constant pursuit of the biggest challenge) and it makes me more than happy that i got the opportunity to watch their la(te)st 24h of le mans live at porsche museum in zuffenhausen including victory (and victory celebrations).
they will keep their rsr in the gt-competition but that, to be honest, is nothing of interest for me at this point. le mans will be le mans after all and for quite a while now i wanted to throw myself deeper into the lmp2 business. time has come, i reckon.
[postscript: there is still a shitload of lmp-like cars and series that i never heard of so far, as i found out only today again during american fan fest at hockenheimring. world dfinitely keeps turning! let’s start with radical-universe maybe…]
as top 30 qualifying of the 24h grid is underway i am fully back in nordschleife mood… it’s certainly one of world’s most (in)famous, dangerous and fascinating race tracks – and it’s one of the hardest ones to pronounce for our sweet international commentators (norsleeve? seriously?). actually i’m afraid i never achieved a decent virtual lap time or even a single completely clean lap, but i always loved to watch races there – real ones as well as sim races. i’ve read much about the nordschleife and i’ve been there once years ago, even doing one lap as race taxi passenger (not cherishing the value of this experience enough though due to young age). obvious and clear that i had to make my return to this topic one day… i guess it’s time now to stand up from the all too cozy consumer’s armchair and take the challenge.
- improve simracing capabilities doing laps, laps, laps (including knowledge of braking points, suicide curbs und bumps and shit later on)
- learn names of turns / course sections (where is “hohe acht” and whats so special about it?), read some more history and stuff
- visit nürburg castle, sit on steilstrecke with a bag of dried fish or something and of course the track, do some hiking, attend a VLN-race maybe
everybody needs aims, right?
(PRISMAfied screenshot of a run with an old skyline in GT Legends)
the timeframe between end of november and mid january (rallye monte carlo) or mid february respectively (daytona 500), motorsport nerds traditionally are busy with speculating on rumors, contingencies and expectations concerning driver seat swaps, rule changes and stuff. 2016 edition: “what might the launch season of the NASCAR monster energy cup be like?”, “can’t wait to see the power-enhanced cars and especially the all new toyota yaris WRC performing!”, “will dodge really announce the comeback to the NASCAR cup series?”, “what might happen to the drivers of the former volkswagen motorsports WRC team?” and so on and so on. it’s also the time to recall the past season, watch the missed races, take a look to other motorsport series – or even explore new things like “australian v8 ute racing series”. it’s also the time to download and install the new mods and updates for the big three.
my personal retrospection on the 2016 motorsport year brings out first and foremost the live discovery of the world rallycross championship with the attendance at our lovely hockenheimring earlier this year. even though i knew this genre before (more from the global rallycross championship) i was charmed, fascinated and taken away by the live action and tension right away. it certainly outshines the pop duo in some way – but NASCAR as well as WRC had solid seasons too.
so, what to expect from 2017 finally? besides all usual stuff i’ll try to follow the “veranstaltergemeinschaft langstreckenpokal nürburgring” endurance series as close as possible (maybe even with a live attendance?) as well as the german national rallye championship. world RX makes its stop again in hockenheim in early may and the NASCAR whelen euro series in july. see you there!
it’s a déjà-vu-moment. for the 2007 season, the citroën world rally team replaced my deeply adored xsara with the c4, whose unracy backside reminded me of a dishwasher or something. the entire thing looked like the saxo’s malformed elder brother who wanted to be a minivan – and failed.
for the 2011 season his uglyness made way for the ds3 who immediately won me over. it brought back this adorable female-ish curvyness and the hot booty that was gone and missed after the xsara. those were happy days – but came to an end last weekend. the 2016 dayinsure wales rally gb was the last appearance of the ds3 who’s gonna be supplanted by the spacetourer. kidding. its not really the spacetourer but the c3 that looks like the spacetourer’s malformed younger brother who failed to become a tank. got close though, only the cannon left to grow.
farewell then, beloved ds3 and thank you for all enjoyment! i do hope and pray for another reincarnation in a couple of years…
the picture below was taken by me during the 2014 rallye de france, somewhere in alsace. i was on my way back from the supermarket together with my son. we bought lunch and were caught by surprise by the sudden public appearance of the world rally cars that were on their way from one stage to another. the car was driven by mads østberg and co-driver jonas andersson back then. prisma perfectly underlines its sweet grace…
the question was whether to choose post #17 or #20 for my little matt kenseth tribute. as you can see i went with the #17. matt kenseth in his #17 ford totally represents my second NASCAR wave.
first wave started around late 80s / early 90s i guess. for a very long while i didn’t see any race, i only knew the cars and the fact that they were racing on oval tracks. NASCAR became part of my personal US myth (alongside drag racing, burgers and monster trucks) – and was per se awesome. later on, german sportkanal and eurosport started to broadcast short summaries after the race weekends. i got in touch with driver names and race tracks. my first wave hero was rusty wallace in his miller #2 car (pontiac / ford / dodge).
second wave started early 2000s and was pushed mainly by the availability of internet. when i watched the first full length cup race i was deeply impressed how long they are in fact. i only knew f1 and dtm so far. it soon turned out that this was no comparison at all (not only in terms of race length actually). i still cheered for rusty wallace but soon there was this young roush driver in his #17 dewalt ford coming up, who fascinated me more and more. matt kenseth became the symbol of this new era with full length race enjoyment and american commentators. down to the present day i never watched a race with german live commentary. boogity, boogity, boogity! kenseth won the cup title in 2003 and was my ultimate hero. a couple of years later i lost interest though. the fancyness of the ‘new’ vanished.
third wave started early 2010s when my son developed a shy interest in racing video games. since he struggled a little with the controls (small hands, big controller) and the track layouts of laguna seca, bathurst, spa and so on (what is a turn and why do i have to break?) i remembered these rather beginner friendly fenced ovals, where walls and safer barriers keep staggering race cars on track if necessary. matt kenseth was still driving the #17 car as i found out with immediately emerging excitement. third wave still persists and my NASCAR cheering reached its next higher level: sim racing, live races with raceview usage and cute contact to NASCAR dudes from all over the planet. for the 2013 season matt kenseth left roush racing and moved on to joe gibbs racing – currently driving the #20 dollar general toyota camry. he is still competitive, sovereign, consistent and awesome. but despite everything he’ll always be associated with his #17 car i guess. thats why i picked this blog post.
(picture taken from: http://www.modelroundup.com/)
and then you sit there on the grandstands, surrounded by extensively tattooed and tough looking dudes with beers and half military half rockeresque clothings; desciples of lucifer, you think, ready for the invocation of their lord, the fallen angel, the antichrist, the devil himself. the instruments used for this are hell machines with thousands of horsepower, so called “top fuel dragster” or “funny cars”, roaring down the quarter mile with more than 400 kph and creating an ear-shattering noise that must be able to wake up the people of china, you think.
at some point, i decided to leave this scenery, went for a walk and found myself in heaven all too soon. ok, enough silly metaphors. i left the dragstrip at hockenheimring and went for a walk through my beloved sachskurve, my favourite of all racetrack turns. everyone should have a favourite turn. if you dont have one yet, go with the corkscrew or eau rouge.
after some shots, the devilish part of me took over again and i returned to the dragstrip, anxious not to miss the second round of qualification runs of europe’s drag racing elite.
the attached images that are white-dominated are taken in heaven, sachskurve area. those black-dominated are associated with hell, hellfire and the invocation of the devil; looking peaceful though. for action pictures go ask google for “nitrolympx 2016”.