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Auto blogWed, 28 May 2014
A pit stop is a pit stop, right? The race car pulls in, the crew changes the tires, pumps in some fuel, maybe swaps out a busted body panel or squeegees the windshield, and off it goes for another heat. Only pit stops have become the focus of news lately for a number of reasons, whether it's because of mishaps (like the ones that prompted F1 to ban mid-race refueling), new time records (due largely to said ban) or interesting new ways to film the fast-paced action.
A few weeks ago we brought you footage of an IndyCar pit stop filmed from multiple angles courtesy of Google Glass. Now BMW has released a brief clip of one of its M4 DTM racers coming in for fresh rubber, all filmed by infrared camera. Its the kind of technology BMW uses to help optimize its German touring cars for competition, and now the Bavarian outfit has released some footage for fans to enjoy.
The resulting thermal imagery gives you an idea of how hot the car runs (and where the heat is emanating from), how warm they get the fresh rubber before they get it onto the car, and what kind of temperatures the pit crew is subjected to. Look closely enough in the 25-second video below and you'll even see the heat sputtering out of the exhaust pipes as the M4 downshifts into its pit box. (Just don't try adjusting your speakers, the clip is without audio.)
We've run across some rather interesting news... or perhaps we should say interesting sounds. The folks from Bimmerpost have scrounged up a short video showing a preproduction BMW i8 running through a few gears in Sport mode at a quick pace, and if you were concerned that the somewhat eco-friendly nature of the upcoming German sports car would neuter its ability to stir the aural senses, fret not.
Judging by the lovely noise coming from the engine compartment of the i8 in the video, BMW's expertise in tuning high-strung, small-bore engines - remember, BMW Motorrad has quite the penchant for well-conceived motorcycle engines - has come through loud and clear. Now, it's worth mentioning that BMW's controversial Active Sound technology will be included with the i8, so the production car may not sound exactly like this version, which is running with the tech disabled. Owners won't have the ability to disable Active Sound on production i8s.
In related news, Bimmerpost reports that BMW will equip the i8 with an external Active Sound Design system to go along with its Pedestrian Protection System. That means those on the outside will likely hear piped engine recordings from the rear and a sort of "howl" from the front in order to warn pedestrians that the otherwise quiet (when running on electricity, that is) car is approaching. It will also feature technology that can stop the car before contacting a pedestrian.
Autocar wants to find Britain's best driver's car, and it's challenging a murderers' row of some of the world's best performance vehicles to find out, including the latest Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. All of them were therefore assembled at the Castle Combe Circuit to find a winner.
If it wants to take the crown from this pack of mostly European competitors, the 'Vette has to beat some steep competition. Its challengers include monsters like the Ferrari 458 Speciale, Ariel Atom 3.5R and Jaguar F-Type Coupe. As a further hurdle for the winner to clear, Autocar also has last year's champ among the fighters - the Porsche 911 GT3.
Even if you're not at all interested in the C7, there's still something here for practically any fan of fast cars. The competitors include relative oddities among the pack like the Renault Mégane RS Trophy and Alfa Romeo 4C. Plus, Autocar has some well-positioned microphones that let you hear the Atom wailing like a banshee and the roar of the 458 Speciale. Check out the video to see which one of these all-stars takes home the award this year.