4 Lesser-Known Celebrity Race Car Drivers

James Dean with race car

It can be easy to forget that celebrities are actually people as well. They have families, friends and their own sets of hobbies and interests, just like anyone else.

Take Johnny Depp, for instance. In his downtime, he enjoys being out on the road with his band, Hollywood Vampires, playing alongside them as a very accomplished musician. Similarly, Mila Kunis is known for being a keen gamer and is said to spend hours upon hours playing World of Warcraft online.

However, when it comes to racing, there are a number of celebrity wannabe race car drivers out there too. From film stars to fashion icons, join us as we take a look at four celebrities lesser-known for their love of the track.

1 – George Lucas

The man known as ‘Mr Star Wars’, it may surprise you to learn that George Lucas was actually a race car driver during his teenage years.

While still in high school, Lucas was said to be particularly interested in drag racing and competed in a number of underground circuits. After setting his sights on becoming a professional race car driver, racing in an Autobianchi Bianchina, his dreams were unsurprisingly put on hold when his movie career started to skyrocket. It’s safe to say he’s not done too badly for himself.

2 – Rowan Atkinson

Rowan Atkinson may be better known for driving around as Mr Bean in a bright yellow Mini Cooper but the world-renowned actor is also a keen race car driver.

Back in the 1980s, Atkinson even raced a Renault 5 Turbo in a manufacturer spec series. He’s also known for being a regular attendee of the Goodwood historic races, and is frequently spotted at a wide range of other racing events around the United Kingdom as well.

3 – James Dean

A fashion icon with a cult-like following, James Dean was as popular a celebrity as they come. While better known for his acting in movie classics like Rebel Without A Cause and East of Eden, the Hollywood hunk was also a keen race car driver.

Said to be a natural behind the wheel, he came second overall in his first-ever professional race and third in his second. However, his life was sadly cut short by a tragic car accident back in September 1955 and he was unable to compete in the Indianapolis 500, as he had planned.

4 – Patrick Dempsey

Before finding fame as the dreamy doctor in Grey’s Anatomy, Patrick Dempsey plied his trade as a race car driver, competing in a total of 68 events, including four starts at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. After winning nine podium positions during the IMSA SportsCar Championship, Dempsey decided to step away from the sport to pursue acting instead.

If you are a keen race car enthusiast, staying safe while competing is absolutely imperative. Here at FEV, we stock a wide range of fire safety equipment and suppression systems to keep you well-protected at all times. For any help or advice, give a member of our friendly team a call today.

Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

Three Of The Best Supercar Fails

A red car in an accident isolated on a white background

For many of us, owning a Bugatti, Lamborghini or Ferrari will only ever be a pipe dream. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy their beauty and aspire to one day test drive them for real.

For those who are rich enough to afford one, while they may get an ego boost from deciding to splash the cash, choosing to show off their affluent purchases doesn’t always work out in their favour – as the following videos prove.

Join us as we take a look at our three favourite supercar fails, proving that driving too quickly and showing off isn’t always the ‘coolest’ thing to do.

1 – The Flying Nissan GT-R

While being stuck behind a slow pickup truck can be incredibly frustrating, choosing to overtake it at high speed without knowing what’s around the bend isn’t the best idea.

This Nissan GT-R driver found that out the hard way, after overtaking two cars on a bouncy bit of road just before a roundabout. As you can imagine, it didn’t work out too well.

2 – The Floating Bugatti

One of the more bizarre supercar fails out there, this Bugatti Veyron driver appears to be enjoying the surrounding scenery a little too much.

Unlike many other supercar fails out there, where drivers crash at a high speed, this driver wasn’t driving too fast or dangerously. That didn’t stop him from veering his £1 million car straight into a lake though. Talk about splashing the cash.

3 – The Stuck Lamborghini

It’s not every day you get to see a Lamborghini Gallardo at a red light. Naturally, the first thing you want to do is reach for your phone and record the chance encounter. If you’re really lucky, this encounter could even go on to become a viral sensation, as the video below did.

After waiting patiently at a traffic light, the driver of this £200,000 Lamborghini hugely oversteered it when the light turned green, rather spectacularly squeezing himself between two cars on the other side of the road. Money may buy you a nice car but knowing how to drive it tends to help quite a lot.

Staying safe while driving is absolutely imperative. Here at FEV, we understand that better than most. If you need any advice on how to ensure you stay safe in your car or vehicle, please get in touch with our team today. After all, the last thing you want is to end up as a car crash fail video yourself.

Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

Ford Vs. Ferrari – How Did The Rivalry Start?

Le Mans 66 image

Following the recent release of Le Mans 66 – or Ford v Ferrari if you’re based in America – the rivalry between the two car giants has been brought back to the forefront of people’s minds.

While there may have always been a heated rivalry between the Italian and American-based car manufacturers, during the 1960s in particular, this feud became particular fierce – soon to be portrayed in the upcoming film release.

So, what happened exactly? Join us as we delve into the story behind the rivalry, seeing how the feud first surfaced and why it still rages to this day.

Ferrari looks to sell

Back in the early 1960s, Enzo Ferrari began thinking about selling his company. The reasons as to why still remain relatively unclear, but it didn’t take long for news to travel across the Atlantic that he was looking to potentially sell. Meanwhile, Ford were looking to add a race car to its portfolio, with the Mustang still some years off in production.

Ford looks to buy

Ford began talks with Ferrari to take over the brand, looking to add a high-end European carmaker to its portfolio. After months of negotiations, the manufacturers finally settled on a fee of $18 million.

However, this fee included a clause which said Ford would control all decisions related to Ferrari’s racing team. Ferrari didn’t like this and, after an informal meeting with Ford representatives, Enzo Ferrari told them he would never sell to an ugly company that builds ugly cars in an ugly factory.

Adding insult to injury, Enzo then sold a majority stake in Ferrari to Fiat, effectively proving he had used Ford to drive up the price. As you can imagine, Ford weren’t best pleased, and swore to get even where it mattered most: the 24 Hours of Le Mans race.

Ford begin building

Designing a so-called Ferrari Killer race car proved to be no easy feat for Ford though, with many early experiments showing that their GT40 creations were not only incredibly unstable and unreliable, but also had brakes that heated to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit within seconds.

That all changed when car designer Carroll Shelby (portrayed by Matt Damon) and his trusted friend Ken Miles (portrayed by Christian Bale) came in. Reinventing the GT40, the duo revolutionised the racing industry forever, utilising incredible engineering ingenuity to design the now-safe GT40 Mk. II.

Ready, set, go…

At Le Mans 66’, Ford’s upgraded car didn’t just beat Ferrari, it absolutely destroyed them. In fact, Ferrari didn’t even finish the race, while Ford took first, second and third place, respectively.

The race wasn’t without its controversy though. To rub salt into the wounds of Ferrari, Ford’s PR guru Leo Beebe wanted to finish the race with a picture of the winning Ford trio crossing the line together. Despite being miles in front of second and third, Ken Miles was told to slow down to let the other GT40 drivers catch up. He did as instructed but, during the photo finish, was found to come second to his teammate Bruce McLaren. As you might imagine, he wasn’t best pleased.

Manufacturing race cars can be an incredibly dangerous business so being safe while driving is absolutely vital. Here at FEV Motorsport, we understand that better than most. If you need any advice on how to ensure safety in your car, please get in touch with our team today.

Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

Verstappen – It’s a No for Ferrari and Other Comments!

Max Verstappen image

While Max Verstappen has been around for a while now, he is still young and arguably has the best racing years still ahead of him. His time at Red Bull has certainly been impressive, but 2020 will see him out of contract with the team. He may well choose to stay with Red Bull, a team that has been very good to him. At the moment though, discussions and rumours are circling on what he might do next.

Ferrari

Speaking on a Dutch TV channel, Verstappen said he would not move to Ferrari and race alongside his rival Charles Leclerc. The main reason he cited was that he felt it wasn’t a good idea for a team to have 2 number 1 drivers. It does seem wise for him not to be drawn into a PR fuelled head to head battle within a team, we all remember what a mess that can cause!

Mercedes

So, these recent comments about Ferrari then fuel the next question…how about Mercedes? If we take the logic of the Leclerc statement, it would seem obvious that it must be a no for running up against Hamilton who will clearly still be Mercedes No 1 in 2020. However, his comments are much vaguer on this subject. He said he hasn’t thought about it too much and ultimately it is down to the team to decide. This would suggest that he would be interested in moving to Mercedes and certainly doesn’t seem put off by battling Hamilton.

Anyone Could Do It…Almost

Verstappen has also suggested that while he agrees that Hamilton should be in the F1 top drivers of all time, it is important to understand how good the car has been. It has long been agreed that Mercedes have dominated the sport over recent years, and this is in no small part down to the cars. However, Max went a bit further and claimed 60% of the F1 grid could be world champ if they had Hamilton’s car. He also made it clear he would expect himself to count in that list.

You may or may not feel you belong on the list of people who could win if you had a Mercedes, but either way if you race and need advice on fire suppression or are looking for something unique for your car, then please get in touch with us at FEV today.

Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

Motorsport UK increasing investment but increasing costs

Motorsport uk blog image

Motorsport UK has just announced some new ideas to allow them to increase investment in motorsport in the UK. While we all love motorsport, there is a gradual decline in the number of people getting racing licences and a growing average age for participants so it is certainly a good time to invest. However, the money has to be raised from somewhere and there are some concerns about how this is being done.

Investment

The aims of the new plans are so there can be more promotion of motorsport events, more education and training as well as funding for new innovative ideas for future events. There are also plans to offer more to existing members of the organisation.

Price Changes

The actual structure has been changed with a new free RS Clubman Licence but some of the other licence fees have gone up. The International C licence is going up by £6, the National Licence is going up by £54 and the new Interclub licence is up £35.

Event Fees

While licence fees are an issue for some, the fees rises for events is certainly causing some worries for event organisers. There is a flat increase of £5 per entry at every event. This may not impact smaller clubs and events but when it comes to the larger ones they are claiming it could cost in the region of a five figure increase.

Motorsport UK have said they felt it was time to rebalance some of the economics of the sport in the UK. They suggested it was time to move the revenue growth away from competitors and place it on events instead. The concerns of others are based around claims that the extra money is being taken from people that have been running events and supporting British motorsport for many years.

Overview

It seems the general feeling is that an increase in licence fees is one thing and, considering the cost of motorsport in terms of running a car, £10-20 per year may not cause too many problems. But when it comes to the event fees it seems people are a lot less relaxed and have serious concerns for the profitability of some events at a time when attendances could be better.

At FEV, our team is passionate about supporting the motorsport industry, with a broad range of high quality fire safety systems for motorsport and track days. Don’t hesitate to get in touch for any queries.

Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

The Mighty Cobra

After seeing some of the footage of Goodwood this year we realised once again just what an awesome car the AC Cobra really is. However, it is a bit of a confusing one with different models and countless replicas out there. We thought it might be fun to have a quick look at some of the important stats, facts and info about this bruiser of an Anglo-American Sports Car.

427 and 289

These two numbers are very important when it comes to Cobras. They refer to the cubic inch engine capacity used in America. The 289 is roughly equivalent to 4.7 litres and was the smaller of the two engines that the Cobra was made with. This small block Chevy V8 was still quite a lump though by today’s standards. The 289 was lower powered than its bigger sibling but was considered a better handling car, mainly due to less weight.

The 427 Cobra had, to all intents and purposes, a 7 litre V8 which is big… it’s just big. With 425 bhp it packed one hell of a punch. The 289 had just 271 bhp so they are very different cars. 0-60 is just 4.5 seconds though there are some conflicting numbers out there. This was a car built in the mid 1960s and 4.5 seconds to 60 mph is still quick now.

An easy way to visually tell the two apart if you see a real Cobra is the exhaust pipes – the 289 has rear pipes and the 427 has side pipes. There are lots of other telltale signs including the grille shape but this is a pretty good difference to look out for.

Somewhat of a Handful

The Cobra obviously had no traction control and no assistance of any kind, so it was really a serious beast to drive. Trying to get even the 271 bhp of the 289 on the road must have been tough, but to get the 427 to 60 mph must have been scary to say the very least. However, these cars were raced and raced by some people with serious skills and some serious bravery levels!

Real or Fake?

The odds are that if you see a Cobra on the road it will be a replica. There are masses of kits that have been made over the years, many of which are pretty bad, some even have 4 cylinder engines and are just used for show. But there are also some very serious and very good replicas out there and these have been lovingly created since the 1970s by various companies like Dax, AK and CSX. Some of these replicas can go for well over £100,000 but some can be bought for £40k and above. There is a huge range of engine types and power options; there are quite a few 427 replicas running upwards of 800 bhp, not only tipping a hat to the madness of the real ones but taking it further.

Real Cobras are very rare, with only a few hundred being made of each one. They sell for around a million, so if you do have designs on owning one you may want to start saving.

The Cobra is a true icon of motoring and while seeing, let alone owning, a real Cobra is unlikely, it is one of the few cars where replicas are sought after and are very high quality. Of course, you can always pop to Goodwood Revival or FOS and you will probably see a real one.

Here at FEV, we’re passionate about making high quality fire extinguishers and fire suppression systems for motorsport, track days and classic cars. Contact our experienced and knowledgeable team to help you find the best fire extinguisher for your needs.

Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

Frankfurt Motor Show Highlights

Motor shows are a bit like Marmite and a lot of people really do not care what goes on. However, love them or hate them, the big ones often have some launches that everyone wants to see. The Frankfurt Motor Show was, unusually, missing some big names this year, with Peugeot, Citroen, Alfa Romeo and some others choosing not to have a stand. This meant the show didn’t have quite the usual glittering list of new marques to show off, but there were still some cool cars to be seen.

Land Rover Defender

The new Defender is here. Marmite again, anyone? Let’s face it, the old Defender will never be replaced and whatever came after was always going to be a bit of a faker. That said, the new version isn’t too bad. It has the feel of the Discovery 3 and 4 but is smaller and with some cool utilitarian features that are a nice tip of the hat to the original.

Lamborghini Sian

It looks a bit crazy, as a Lambo should. It still has a v12 which these days is rare, and so it is still a bonkers car…as a Lambo should be. There is a small concession to the modern world with a tiny electric motor to reduce emissions at low speeds but otherwise this new angry bull is, well, very angry indeed.

Porsche Taycan

So here it is…the first fully electric Porsche. It looks like a Porsche in so much as it carries with it all the familiar lines and shape, but it is a totally new car. It isn’t a modified 911 nor, what would have been easier, an electric Panamera of some sort. No, they have made a totally new car and it is going to make Tesla sit up and pay attention because this could be a serious rival for the luxury EV saloon market.

 

There were other launches but mainly of smaller electric vehicles like the Volkswagen ID 3 and a lot of crazy concept cars as usual. These concepts may seem pointless and to most people they mean nothing, but for the industry they do have a purpose in terms of design trends and showing where companies are going. They are certainly worth a look but, for our part, we do prefer seeing the real models launched as we are sure you do too.

As ever, we’re here supporting the motoring industry with state-of-the-art safety equipment and fire suppression systems for all vehicles. Let us know if we can be of service.

Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

Pininfarina Battista?

Unless you’re seriously into hyper cars, you may not have heard of this car, but you will know the brand. Pininfarina have been designing cars since long before World War II for a wide range of makes. Companies like Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Fiat, Lancia as well as brands like Hyundai have all worked with the Italian company to create cars. They have also designed trains, buses, yachts and even private jets! Well, now they are launching their own range of hyper luxury cars and the Battista is something very special!

The Name

The founder of the company was called Battista “Pinin” Farina so it stands to reason to choose this title for the first car in the range.

The Car

It is claimed to be a guilt free hyper car because, you guessed it, it’s all electric. The Battista is a zero emissions car that will blow your mind. The 120kwh battery pack will go for 280 miles and the Rimac-produced powertrain will deliver a mind warping 1874bhp and 1,696lb of torque. 0-60 will be under 2 seconds!

These kinds of numbers are almost impossible to grasp and, once again, it shows that electric may not sound that good but it sure can deliver the goods when it comes to performance. If you needed one more statistic, then how about the fact that this car will go from a standing start to 186mph in under 12 seconds? Fast enough for you?!

Looks

It is a stunning car to look at too. It has very strong shades of the Ferrari 458 for obvious reasons, but the Battista is its own car. It looks sleek but powerful with lines that come from well placed aerodynamics rather than forced design.

Sounds

While it won’t have an engine as we know it, the driver will have the ability to manipulate the noises the Battista does make. There will be no artificial amplification though. The sounds will come from the resonation through the carbon monocoque chassis, wind noise and the electric motors, so it’s all real!

2020

The first Battista will roll off the production line in 2020 and I think we are all looking forward to someone putting a video up of a 0-186mph test run!

If you own a supercar of your own, do get in touch with FEV to discuss how we can help protect your

Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

Is Hamilton as Good as Senna?

Is Hamilton as good as Senna? Well, according to the mighty Gerhard Berger, yes he is! In fact, in a recent interview DTM series head honcho Berger said that of all the world champs over the years since he raced with Aryton Senna, Lewis Hamilton is the only one to ever be on the same level as the much loved and respected Senna.

Why is He So Good?

According to Berger, it isn’t really about why or where. It’s about the fact that Hamilton is simply always “there”. No matter the conditions – wet, fast, street, open circuit, dry… – he is always competitive and, barring any very uncommon mistakes, he is always in the running. You might think after all his wins he might be happy to take his foot off, literally. But no, he is as driven (excuse the multiple puns) now as he always was.

Berger went on to discuss the fact Lewis can handle a 2nd place, he knows he gets the points and he simply puts them in the bank and gets right back in there for another round. Berger is also keen to point out that Hamilton makes far less mistakes than others. While he does have his moments, making fewer mistakes means the odds are better every time he races.

Will He Beat Schumacher’s Record?

Mr Berger thinks he might do! He may well go past the 7th world championship point provided he is healthy, and he is still able to race. In fact, he goes on to say that while there have been a handful of true racing legends including Michael Schumacher, Lewis is a cut above and sits on a different level with only one companion: Senna!

It’s the Car!

We all know Mercedes have had an amazing car for quite a few seasons now but the interview claims it is more than that. Yes, the engine is great but it needs Lewis to be behind the wheel to create the magic he has shown time and again. He is “outstandingly fast” and will carry on winning for some years to come.

People so often focus on football when they think of England and Britain in sport but they should all take a moment to remember we have a British driver who just might be the best driver of all time if he keeps going. Now that’s something to be proud of!

The team at FEV are passionate about motorsport, and that includes all the safety aspects that go with it. For more information about our MSUK and FIA approved fire suppression systems, why not contact us today on 01243 555566.

British Driver Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Sprays Champagne to Celebrate Award Presentation

Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

Summer is on the Way!

Road on a sunny day

Yes, it’s official, the clocks have changed and we can finally look ahead to some warmer weather. While this may be something everyone is pleased about there is a special frisson of excitement for any classic car owner. It is the time when the covers can come off and these wonderful cars can be enjoyed without worrying about salted roads, water ingress or a distinct lack of traction.

Dry Roads

Summer in the UK isn’t exactly arid but classic car drivers can, at least, be hopeful about getting some clear, warm and dry days. We all know a lot of older cars don’t have the traction modern cars do and while this can be fun the thought of having an off in a cherished and valuable classic really isn’t very nice.

Car Shows and Meets

The summer is also the season for car shows and owners club meets. Whether you are taking your classic to the local village fair or to Goodwood it will be fun and something to really look forward too. It is a chance to meet other owners, show off your car and have a good look at all the other cars in display.

Coming Out of Hibernation

As summer looms the excitement is often tempered with the issues surrounding getting a car out from its winter covers and making sure everything is as it should be. It may be time for a good service and a thorough check, and this also includes the fire extinguisher. A lot of classic car owners are having handheld fire extinguishers installed as a method of combating a small fire that could get out of hand. But as with cars, extinguishers also need servicing periodically. If you have one of our extinguishers then please check the date the service is due and get in touch as soon as possible so we can make sure it is all done in time for those summer jaunts.

If you have not thought about getting a fire extinguisher fitted then drop our friendly team a line and find out more. We offer a range of systems from small hand-held units to fully plumbed in options. While the later are primarily for FIA racing a lot of people who do track days and hill climbs also choose them.

Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail
Copyright © · Fire Extinguisher Valve Company Ltd - Privacy Policy · Unit B3 Ford Airfield Industrial Estate Ford, Nr Arundel West Sussex BN18 0HY