Every Soccer Mom Needs This: Renault Espace F1

I do everything fast and efficiently. Only one brush stroke for my teeth. Only wash half my face. Put only one sock on. Never lock doors. Sleep in work clothes. Never change underwear. Taught my dog to feed itself. Eat meat raw. Park wherever the hell I please. Don’t dot my i’s. Don’t cross my t’s. Never finish sentenc…

I complain often, though, and make sure people know it. My biggest gripe in life is grocery shopping. Hate it. It takes forever, I can never find what I want, and I never leave with what I shopped for (curse you magazine racks…).

BUT! I think I’ve finally found something that will help alleviate the burden… Enter the Renault Espace F1. Yes, the Espace, normally a comfortable, practical, and somewhat reliable French family van. The van was created in partnership with Matra Automobiles, the same group that helped Jackie Stewart to a Formula 1 World Championship in 1969 with a Ford-Cosworth engine and Ken Tyrell running the team. Launched in 1984, the Espace was one of pioneers of the MPV, or multi-purpose vehicle.

This mental version though, is based on the 2nd generation Espace. It features a 3.5L Williams-Renault championship winning Formula 1 V10 (!) engine, making around 800hp. The engine, naturally, is in the back of the car, and is surrounded by a carbon fiber chassis. And don’t worry, the thing will stop. It has the F1 brakes as well. It seems to be just what I need to make the trip to the corner deli almost worth it. I can finally run to the store as fast as I live my life!

Milk and cereal anyone?

You Can’t Do This: Ryuichi Kiyonari – WSBK Donington

You know, it takes a brave soul to drive a car in the rain at full tilt. Four tires searching for grip, the tread bending, stretching, straaaaaining trying to find any sort of dry surface to cling to. The driver, feeling the car through only his/her rear end, back, and hands, must make corrections for every slight slip or twitch. A gentle feel for the throttle and soft, smooth, buttery application of the brakes to fight the car’s stubborn actions while plowing through a turn at the very limit.

But imagine, if you will, trying all of this on a motorcycle…

Ryuichi Kiyonari.

Former World SuperBike rider, Suzuka 8 hour winner, and 3 time British SuperBike Champion (2006, 2007, 2010). It’s more than likely you’ve never heard of him before. That’s okay because, to be honest, I hadn’t either. Not until I started paying more attention to what it takes to ride one of these machines.

Check the video. And don’t act like you’re not impressed…

Cars Can’t Do This…

I’m an idiot. A few months ago, I decided to buy myself a car, not just any car, but one that would be fun to drive while being comfortable, sporty while being luxurious, and it had to come in a manual. I’ve always been a big fan of the BMW 5-series and eventually settled on a 2000 540i. You know, the V8 one. Luckily it is the sport model so it came with a 6 speed gear box. Unluckily, gas prices have rocketed and proceeded to burn a hole in my wallet every few days due to my commute. So what did I do? I began to look at alternate means of transportation. From buses, to trains, vanpools… Etc. I love the thrill of speed though and as much as I LOVE taking the bus (ehh…), there would be no satisfaction in it for me, at least as far as going fast is concerned.

I’ve never ridden a motorcycle in my life. In fact, I only started watching moto racing about a year ago. I’ve come to the conclusion that this may be the way to go, as they are formula car fast in a straight line, are fuel efficient, cost of maintenance/ownership is lower, and you just look like the business. Bonus.
And yes, I realize that their is an inherent risk riding motorcycle, but my logic is that you can die doing anything. Walk out of a building? Whoops, squished by a falling piano. Strolling through the park with grandma? Attacked by a wolverine. Enjoying pasta with your childhood friend? Nuclear missile to the forehead. Point is, it could happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. I will be going through the state approved motorcycle safety school and will definitely make sure I have the proper safety gear, as should any responsible motorist.

I recently came upon this video of the season opener for the 2011 AMA Pro Daytona SportBikes and my jaw dropped. The race is the Daytona 200 and as the name implies, is 200 miles long totaling 57 laps. The bikes in it are anywhere from 600cc to 1100cc in engine displacement and 120 to 140hp, manufacturers ranging from Ducati, Suzuki, Honda, Kawasaki, Aprilia, Buell, and Triumph, with top speeds reaching 175mph! And these guys are going 6 wide into the final section of the track?!

Oh yes… Do want. Roll the video…

2011 F1 Grand Prix of Australia: Winners and Losers

The 2011 Formula 1 season began last weekend with several surprises and a few unexpected shocks. After a week of deliberation and review, I’ve had an opportunity to watch the race again to analyze a few aspects of the race.

2011 Australian GP Podium - Vettel, Hamilton, and... Petrov???

The least shocking surprise of the weekend was Red Bull’s incredible speed, as Sebastian Vettel and his RB7 car were seemingly untouchable. Even Mark Webber had a chore trying to keep up with the guy, and that’s saying something because Webber often traded times with Vettel in qualifying last year or was at least within a few hundredths of a second of him. During Q3, Webber was .866 off of Vettel, an astounding margin between two title contending teammates. Vettel had a rocket start off the line, despite neither Red Bull having KERS equipped for the race. Once he pulled out a gap, he left the field in his wake and never looked back. He managed his tires better than Webber and made only two stops on his way to the maiden victory of the season.

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