Emerson Fittipaldi

Brazilian Formula One driver Emerson Fittipaldi, was born December 12th 1946, and throughout a long and successful career he has won the Indianapolis 500 twice and championships in both Formula One and CART. By the Age of 14 Fittipaldi was racing motorcycles, and aged by the age of 16 hydrofoils. Howevever While racing one day, his brother Wilson took off at 70 mph (110 km/h) and landed upside down – so wisely they both decided that although he had survived, they would no longer race hydrofoils and moved onto to racing karts instead. The pair then moved up to racing Formula Vees, and built up a company with their parents. In his second season in single-seaters, Fittipaldi won the Brazilian Formula Vee title at 21 years old. He left for Europe in 1969, with the ambition to convince team owners of his talent in three months. After some podiums and his first victories in Formula Ford, Fittipaldi was first trained and then subsequently engaged by the Jim Russell Driving School Formula Three team. Fittipaldi continued to win, drawing the attention of Colin Chapman, who was looking for a driver to support the Austrian Jochen Rindt in the 1970 Formula One season. The team’s No 3 driver, he ended up becoming No 1 driver after Rindt was killed at Monza and John Miles left the team.

Thrust into the spotlight by leading F1′s top team, he proved up to the task and won for Lotus in its first race post-Rindt. In his first full year as Lotus’ lead driver in 1971, Fittipaldi finished sixth in the drivers’ championship as the team further developed the previous season’s Lotus 72. Armed with what was arguably the greatest Formula one design of all time, the Lotus 72D, Fittipaldi proved dominant in 1972 as he won five of 11 races and easily won the F1 Drivers’ Championship from Jackie Stewart by 16 points. At 25 he was then the youngest champion in F1 history. Fittipaldi left Lotus to sign with the promising McLaren team. Driving the highly efficient McLaren M23, he had three victories in 1974, reached the podium four other times, and beat Clay Regazzoni in a close battle for his second championship. The following season, he notched two more victories and four other podiums, but was second to a dominant Niki Lauda. However, at the height of his F1 success, Fittipaldi shocked everyone by leaving McLaren to race for older brother Wilson Fittipaldi’s Copersucar-sponsored Fittipaldi Automotive team.

Emerson Fittipaldi decided to retire from Formula One racing at the end of 1980 & took time out from major racing for four years, returning in 1984 in CART. The 38-year old spent his first season acclimatising to IndyCars, driving for two teams before joining Patrick Racing as an injury replacement. He stayed five years with the team, recording six victories and solid finishes in the overall standings. In 1989 he had five wins and finished in the top five in every race he completed, giving him a CART championship. Among his wins was a dominant performance in the Indianapolis 500 where he led 158 of 200 laps and won by two laps, but only after a dramatic duel with Al Unser, Jr. in the closing laps of the race.

Roger Penske hired Emmo for his racing team in 1990 and he continued to be among the top drivers in CART, winning a race with Penske for six straight years. In 1993 he added a second Indianapolis 500 victory by taking the lead from defending Formula One World Champion Nigel Mansell on lap 185 and holding it for the remainder if the race. Fittipaldi returned to Indianapolis to drive the Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car for the 2008 Indianapolis 500. Approaching 50, he was still with Champ Car in 1996 when an injury at the Michigan International Speedway ended his career with 22 wins. In 2003 he made a return to Champcars as a team owner. Fittipaldi was the acting team principal for the Brazilian A1 GP entry. In 2005 Fittipaldi made a surprise return to competitive racing in the Grand Prix Masters event held at Kyalami in South Africa, finishing second behind former CART sparring partner Nigel Mansell and was inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2001.

Evel Knievel

Legendary American motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel was Born in Butte, Montana on October 17, 1938. He was raised by his grandparents. After watching a Joie Chitwood auto daredevil show as a child, he took to jumping using a pedal bike, later moving on to motorcycles. As a troubled youth, he earned his stagename after occupying a jail cell next to a man named Knofel, leading the jailer to refer to the pair as Awful Knofel and Evil Knievel (Knievel later changed the spelling of the first name to Evel). In addition to stunt riding at local shows, his early life including a spell in the United States Army at the behest of a magistrate, as well as jobs as a hunting guide and an insurance salesman, while also becoming an ice-hockey team owner. Knievel notably staged an exhibition match against the Czechoslovakian hockey team ahead of the 1960 Winter Olympics.

After moving into sports full time, he had moderate success on the motocross circuit. Knievel moved into the entertainment business in 1966 by setting up his own touring daredevil show, initially using a variety of performers and later converting it to a solo show with his jumps as the center-piece. He came to national attention when he persuaded the owners of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas to let him jump their fountains on New Year’s Eve 1967. After a failed landing, which was caught on film, Knievel spent 29 days in a coma. After his recovery, he continued to make high profile and lucrative jumps, and began lobbying the government for permission to jump the Grand Canyon. Unable to obtain permission, he settled on a jump over the Snake River in Twin Falls, Idaho, which he attempted on September 8, 1974 in the X-2 Skycycle. The parachute deployed immediately after launch and the vehicle crashed just a few feet away from the river’s edge. Knievel suffered minor injuries and avoided drowning. Knievel then traveled to Britain, and on May 26, 1975, attempted to jump 13 buses in front of 90,000 people at Wembley Stadium, again crashing with severe injuries. His longest completed career jump came at Kings Island theme park in Ohio on October 25, 1975, jumping 14 buses, marking his peak television audience.

In 1977, Knievel served six months in jail for assaulting promoter Shelly Saltman for writing an unflattering book. After this conviction, Knievel’s career suffered, causing him to declare bankruptcy following a $13 million award for damages to Saltman. After cancelling an attempt to jump a tank full of live sharks in Chicago after injuring a cameraman during a practice jump, Knievel eventually withdrew from doing major shows. He instead concentrated on touring with and training his son Robbie Knievel, also a daredevil, eventually making his last jump in March 1981. Knievel’s nationally televised motorcycle jumps were four of the twenty most-watched ABC’s Wide World of Sports events to date. He became a celebrity, recognizable for his use of a Stars-and-Stripes red, white and blue V-shaped set of motorcycle leathers and cape. On the back of this fame, Knievel gained endorsements from Harley-Davidson and a toy line by the Ideal Toy Company. A 1971 film Evel Knievel starred George Hamilton as Knievel, and he starred as himself in the 1977 film Viva Knievel!. Knievel later said of his career that he had “earned $60 million, and spent $62 million”. In total he attempted over 75 ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps between 1965 and 1980, and in 1974, a failed jump across Snake River Canyon in the Skycycle X-2, a steam-powered rocket. The 35 broken bones he suffered during his career also earned him an entry in the Guinness Book of Records. Knievel Sadly died of pulmonary disease on November 30th, 2007 in Clearwater, Florida, aged 69. According to the obituary in The Times Newspaper , Knievel was one of the greatest American icons of the 1970s and was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999 and his daredevil exploits continue to inspire stuntmen and daredevils worldwide much to the chagrin of Health and safety regulators.

Murray Walker OBE

Semi-retired Formula One motorsport commentator and journalist Murray Walker, OBE was born 10th October 1923. For most of his Formula One Commentating career he worked for the BBC, but when it lost the contract for F1 coverage to the company ITV, Walker continued his commentating after the change of broadcaster.He has a distinctive, enthusiastic commentary style. Since 1978, British television commentary of the Formula 1 seasons has been used by other broadcasters right around the world, including Australia and Japan. He was an exponent of the commentator’s curse, noting in an interview that he might say how well a driver was racing or that they would probably win the race, only to have them retire or crash out of the race shortly thereafter, hence his catchphrase “…Unless I’m very much mistaken…” which might lead shortly after to a correction “…And I am very much mistaken…” to introduce the correction of the foregoing comment if it turned out in the event to be incorrect.

He is known for his gentlemanly and considerate conduct, seeing the best in drivers who had attracted controversy. He rarely criticised drivers and preferred to give the benefit of the doubt in attributing blame for incidents. One example of this was during the 1994 Australian Grand Prix where, following the controversial crash between Michael Schumacher and Walker’s close friend Damon Hill which decided the World Drivers’ Championship in the German’s favor, Walker, unlike his fellow commentators at the time, most notably former 500cc Motorcycle World Champion Barry Sheene, declined to blame Schumacher outright for the crash. Here are some of Murray Walker’s best quotes:“

“It’s raining and the track is wet”
“He is shedding buckets of adrenalin in that car”
“With half the race gone, there is half the race still to go”
“Anything happens in Grand Prix racing and it usually does”
“Do my eyes deceive me, or is Senna’s Lotus sounding rough ?”
“As you look at the first four, the significant thing is that Alboreto is 5th”
“Senna is 3rd with Mansell 2nd and Piquet 3rd!”

“This will be Williams’ first win since the last time a Williams won.”
“You can’t see Alesi’s Ferrari because it isn’t there!”
“You might not think that’s cricket, and it’s not, it’s motor racing”
“……..and Schumacher has just completed lap 77 out of 73.”
“..and Micheal Schumacher is leading Micheal Schumacher”
And Michael Schumacher is actually in a very good position. He is in last place.
“There is nothing wrong with the car except that it is on fire.”
“A sad ending, albeit a happy one”
“So this being Michael Schumacher’s 10th race in his 151st year in F1″
“There are 7 winners of the Monaco Grand prix on the starting line today and four of them are Michael Schumacher“.
Fantastic!! There are four different cars filling the first four places!!“Senna 1st, Prost 2nd and Berger 3rd that makes up the top four!”
“Here at Brands Hatch Will Gollop has a clear lead over Will Gollop”.

Murray: There’s a fiery glow coming from the back of the Ferrari
– James: No Murray, that’s his rear safety light
Murrary: “What’s that? There’s a BODY on the track!!!
-James: “Um, I think that that is a piece of BODY-WORK, from someone’s car.

Murray (To Damon Hill)): When did you realise that you had a puncture, Damon?
– Damon Hill: When my tyre went down, Murray!“
“Frentzen is taking, er…, reducing that gap between himself and Frentzen.
”Michael has moved up to the position that..that…that…the other one isn’t“
Two McLarens on the first row of the grid, two Ferarri’s on the first row of the grid…”
“Jenson Button is in the top ten, in eleventh position.
Upon seeing Pedro Diniz’s Sauber catch fire ” Fire! Fire!, Diniz in the oven”
“…and HERE COMES DAMON HILL IN THE WILLIAMS!!!!…..this car is absolutely unique!….except for the one behind it….which is exactly the same…”

Ferry Porsche

Automotive designer and Engineer Ferdinand Porsche was born 19 September 1909, mainly known as Ferry Porsche. His father, Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. was also a renowned automobile engineer and founder of Volkswagen and Porsche. His nephew, Dr. Ferdinand Piëch, was chairman of Volkswagen from 1993 to 1998, and his son, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, was involved in the design of the 911. Ferdinand Porsche Sr was chief designer at Austro-Daimler in Austria. His designs were focused on compact street cars and race cars. Austro-Daimler was so strongly tied to the local royalty that the Austrian double-headed eagle became the trademark of the company. Ferry Porsche learned to drive when he was only 10 years old. At age 12 he drove a real race car, the Austro-Daimler Sascha, which had just won its class at Targa Florio, Sicily, in 1922 and also attended school at Wiener Neustadt and Stuttgart, concentrating on mathematics. In 1923, the family moved to Stuttgart, due to senior Ferdinand Porsche’s unrest about the squandering financial destiny of Austro-Daimler. He joined the Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft at Stuttgart-Untertürkheim (where the design department from the whole company was concentrated). Soon, he achieved the position of technical director. Meanwhile, Ferry Porsche received consent from the company to stay at the plant together with his father because of his increasing interest in design issues.

Ferdinand Porsche senior enjoyed success particularly with his racing cars . His personal preference for designing compact cars differed to Daimler-Benz, who were in favor of more luxurious models. So he left and worked temporarily as the technical director of Steyr AG in Austria and then decided to open a consulting office of automobile design, in Stuttgart which had become a important part of Germany’s automobile industry and was therefor an ideal location for the new Porsche design company and soon Porsche GmbH was founded. Despite Germany’s financial crisis during the 1930′s Porsche managed to obtained contracts from important German automotive firms, such as Wanderer, Auto Union, Zwickau, Zündapp and Some of these projects had historical impact, such as the mid-engine Auto Union Silver Arrow race cars, which were designed by Porsche. During the 1930′s German racing cars were promoted.

Daimler-Benz constructed a racing car & In 1933 Ferry Porsche also constructed a rival Porsche race cars, which had a 4.5 litre V-16 engine and an aluminum framework. In 1934, Auto Union was created, and the senior Porsche became the chief designer and they too designed racing cars. Both racing teams, Daimler-Benz and Auto Union soon became bitter rival on the Race Track during the 1930′s. In 1938, when his father moved to the new Volkswagen plant at Wolfsburg, Ferry became deputy manager of the Stuttgart bureau and relocated the design departments to Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. Ferdinand Porsche’s old yearning had been to create a small compact & affordable car for the German family. So Work began at Stuttgart and the car became known as the Kdf-Wagen or Volkswagen (people’s car). During World War II Porsche seemed to develop a relatively “amicable” relationship with Adolf Hitler and Even though the relationship seemed mutual, in reality it was one-sided and The Porsche family was, in fact, somewhat pacifist and did not agree with Nazi ideals and may have even assisted Jewish employees including Adolf Rosenberger, without whose financial backing Porsche GmbH would not have existed, to escape Germany.

After World War II both Porsche’s father and son as well as Anton Piëch were arrested as war criminals and a bail of 500,000 francs was officially asked for each of the Porsche’s. It could be afforded only for Ferry Porsche who moved then to Austria, in July 1946. His father was taken instead to a harsh medieval prison at Dijon, upon release he attempted to return to Stuttgart but he was barred by the forces of occupation. Then in July 1946, he brought all the structure of the company to Gmünd/Carinthia, Austria & obtained two contracts for automobile design. One was for the construction of racecars for the Cisitalia racing team. The other was for the design of their own car, which later became known as the Porsche 356. , Ferry Porsche started producing Grand Prix racing cars again. The new model was called the Porsche 360 Cisitalia, and It had a supercharged mid-mounted engine displacing 1.5 liters and four-wheel drive. Ferdinand Porsche also designed the Porsche 356, based on the compact Volkswagen. The 356 had an air-cooled, rear-mounted, 4-cylinder engine producing 35 hp. Despite the car’s compact size, it proved very popular and by 1965 had sold nearly 78,000 units, which was helped by Ferdinand Porsche’s mottos to produce automobiles which had to be reliable and of high-quality sports cars, of a high utilitarian value. Porsche ‘s most recognized involvement in car races began at 24 Hours of Le Mans, on June 1951, when an improved version of the 356 debuted on this track and won in its category. On successive years, Porsche ‘s winning contribution to Le Mans is regarded as fundamental for the own existence of the circuit. Later, in 1959, Porsche won for first time an event of the World Sportscar Championship, at Targa Florio, while a Porsche 917 would achieve the first Le Mans win finally in 1970.

At the demand of Porsche’s fans, the company began planning a successor to the 356. The project was originally called Porsche 901 and The first units were manufactured in 1962. However, Peugeot pushed legally for a change of the name, due to its registered trademark on automobile names with a zero amid two numbers. The model was renamed Porsche 911. Over time, it has evolved, but still kept the general shape and architecture since the beginning with a rear mounted high performance engine. It has sold about 600,000 units. After his father’s death in 1951 Ferry became general manager, the chairman of the board of management and In 1972, he decided to transform the Porsche Company into a public concern. In 1989, Ferdinand Porsche stepped down from the chairmanship and became honorary chairman of the supervisory board and remained in that position until his death In 1998 and Ferdinand Alexander Porsche took his place as general manager. when Ferdinand Porsche retired definitively from the activity, returning to his cherished Austrian farm at Zell am See. one of his last visited events was the launching of a new model, the Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet. It was based on the old 356, with a water-cooled engine of 6-cylinders and 300 hp. He also assisted in the celebration of the 30 years of the Porsche 911 which took place at Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg. He was buried there at the Schüttgut church.

Stirling Moss OBE FIE

Former English race car driver Stirling Moss OBE FIE (Fellow of the Institute of Engineers) , was born September 17th 1929 . Moss was a pioneer in the British Formula One racing scene and placed second in the Drivers’ Championship four times in a row from 1955 to 1958 and won 212 of the 529 races he entered, including 16 Formula One Grands Prix.Moss’s first Formula One win was in 1955 at his home race, the British Grand Prix at Aintree. His Mercedes-Benz W196 led home a 1–2–3–4 win for the German marque. This victory made Moss the first British driver to win the British Grand Prix. It was the first race where he finished in front of Juan Manuel Fangio, his teammate, friend, mentor, and arch rival at Mercedes.One of his best remembered drives was in the 1955 Mille Miglia, which he won in the record time of 10 hours 7 minutes 48 seconds, finishing almost half an hour ahead of teammate Fangio in second place

In 1957 Moss won on the longest circuit to ever hold a Grand Prix, the daunting 25 km (16 mi) Pescara Circuit, again demonstrating his skills at high speed, long distance driving. He beat Fangio, who started on pole, by a little over 3 minutes over the course of a gruelling 3 hour event. In the 1960 Formula One season, Moss took the top step of the podium at Monaco, winning in Rob Walker’s Coventry-Climax-powered Lotus 18. For the 1961 F1 season, which was run under the new 1.5-litre rules, Enzo Ferrari rolled out his state-of-the-art “sharknose” Ferrari 156 with an all-new V6. Moss was stuck with an underpowered Climax-engined Lotus, but managed to win the 1961 Monaco Grand Prix by 3.6 seconds (beating the 156s of Richie Ginther, Wolfgang von Trips, and Phil Hill).

Sadly though, I n 1962, Moss was badly injured in a crash at Goodwood in a Lotus in the Glover Trophy. The accident put him in a coma for one month and partially paralyzed the left side of his body for six months. He recovered but decided to retire from racing after a private test session in a Lotus 19 the next year. He would compete in as many as 62 races in a single year and drove 84 different makes of car over the course of his racing career, including Lotus, Vanwall, Maserati, Jaguar, Ferrari and Porsche. Like many drivers of the era, he competed in several formulae—very often on the same day and was as gifted at the wheel of a sports car as he was in a Grand Prix car. For three consecutive years (1958–1960) he won the gruelling 1,000 km (620 mi) race at Germany’s Nürburgring, the first two years in an Aston Martin (where he won almost single-handedly) and the third in the memorable Tipo 61 “birdcage” Maserati, co-driving with young American prospect Dan Gurney. Moss was also a competent rally driver and is one of only three people to have won a Coupe d’Or (Gold Cup) for three consecutive penalty-free runs on the Alpine Rally (Coupe des Alpes). In addition, he finished second in the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally driving a Sunbeam-Talbot 90 with co-driver John Cooper. He retired in 1962 after a crash left him in a coma for a month, as afterwards he felt unable to continue driving at a professional level. In spite of this early retirement he has remained a well-known figure.

Ettore Bugatti

World renowned automobile designer and manufacturer Ettore Bugatti was Born 15 September 1881, in Milan. Before founding his eponymous automobile manufacturing company Automobiles E. Bugatti, Ettore Bugatti designed a number of engines and vehicles for others. Prinetti & Stucchi produced his 1898 Type 1. From 1902 through 1904, Dietrich built his Type 3/4 and Type 5/6/7 under the Dietrich-Bugatti marque. In 1907, Bugatti became an employee of Deutz Gasmotoren Fabrik, where he designed the Type 8/9. Bugatti developed the Type 2 in 1900 and 1901, respectively. He developed the Type 5 in 1903. While employed at Deutz, Bugatti built the Type 10 in the basement of his home. In 1913, Bugatti designed a small car for Peugeot, the Type 19 Bébé.

Although born in Italy, Bugatti established his eponymous automobile company, Automobiles E. Bugatti, in the town of Molsheim in the Alsace region of France in 1909 where they manufactured many gorgeous looking high-performance automobiles which were well known for the beauty of their designs Ettore Bugatti was from a family of artists and considered himself to be both an artist and constructor) and for the large number of races that they have won.The company was known both for the level of detail of its engineering in its automobiles, and for the artistic way in which the designs were executed, given the artistic nature of Ettore’s family (his father, Carlo Bugatti (1856–1940), was an important Art Nouveau furniture and jewelry designer). The company also enjoyed great success in early Grand Prix motor racing, winning the first ever Monaco Grand Prix. The company’s success culminated with driver Jean-Pierre Wimille winning the 24 hours of Le Mans twice (in 1937 with Robert Benoist and 1939 with Pierre Veyron). Famous Bugattis include the Type 35 Grand Prix cars, the Type 41 “Royale”, the Type 57 “Atlantic” and the Type 55 sports car.

Bugatti’s cars focused on design, Engine blocks were hand scraped to ensure that the surfaces were so flat that gaskets were not required for sealing, many of the exposed surfaces of the engine compartment featured Guilloché (engine turned) finishes on them, and safety wires had been threaded through almost every fastener in intricately laced patterns. Rather than bolt the springs to the axles as most manufacturers did, Bugatti’s axles were forged such that the spring passed though a carefully sized opening in the axle, a much more elegant solution requiring fewer parts. He famously described his arch competitor Bentley’s cars as “the world’s fastest lorries” for focusing on durability. According to Bugatti, “weight was the enemy”. Bugatti was known for the advanced engineering of its premium road cars and its success in early Grand Prix motor racing. A Bugatti was driven to victory in the first Monaco Grand Prix.

Tragically Ettore Bugatti’s son, Jean Bugatti, was killed on 11 August 1939 at the age of 30 while testing a Bugatti Type 57 tank-bodied race car near the Molsheim factory, after that, the company’s fortunes began to decline. World War II ruined the factory in Molsheim, and the company lost control of the property. During the war, Bugatti had planned to build a new factory at Levallois in Paris and designed a series of new cars. Sadly though he passed away on 21 August in 1947, and was buried in the Bugatti family plot at the municipal cemetery in Dorlisheim near Molsheim. His demise proved to be the end for the marque, and the death of his son Jean Bugatti in 1939 ensured there wasn’t a successor to lead the factory. by the 1950s The company was struggling financially, and released one last model , before eventually being purchased for its airplane parts business in the 1960s. No more than about 8000 cars were made. The company attempted a comeback under Roland Bugatti in the mid-1950s with the mid-engined Type 251 race car. Designed with help from Gioacchino Colombo, the car failed to perform to expectations and the company’s attempts at automobile production were halted. In the 1960s, Virgil Exner designed a Bugatti as part of his “Revival Cars” project. A show version of this car was actually built by Ghia using the last Bugatti Type 101 chassis, and was shown at the 1965 Turin Motor Show. Finance was not forthcoming, and Exner then turned his attention to a revival of Stutz.

The Bugatti marque was resurected when Italian entrepreneur Romano Artioli acquired the Bugatti brand in 1987, and established Bugatti Automobili SpA. Bugatti commissioned architect Giampaolo Benedini to design the factory which was built in Campogalliano, Italy.By 1989 the plans for the new Bugatti revival were presented by Paolo Stanzani and Marcello Gandini, designers of the Lamborghini Miura and Lamborghini Countach. Bugatti called their first production vehicle the Bugatti EB110 GT. Bugatti advertised the EB110 as the most technically advanced sports car ever produced.Famed racing car designer Mauro Forghieri served as Bugatti’s technical director from 1992 through 1994. It was around this time that the newly revived Bugatti presented a prototype large saloon called the EB112 in 1993. Perhaps the most famous Bugatti EB110 owner was seven-time Formula One World Championracing driver Michael Schumacher who purchased an EB110 in 1994. Sadly though By the time the EB110 came on the market, the North American and European economies were in recession. Poor economic conditions forced the company to fail and operations ceased in September 1995.

The Bugatti brand was then acquired by Volkswagen AG in 1998, and Giorgetto Giugiaro of ItalDesign was commissioned to produce Bugatti’s first concept vehicle, the EB118, a coupé that debuted at the 1998 Paris Auto Show. The EB118 concept featured a 408 kilowatts (555 PS; 547 bhp), W-18 engine, which is widely considered to be the first W-configuration engine in any passenger vehicle. After its Paris debut, the EB118 concept was own again in 1999 at the Geneva Auto Show and the Tokyo Motor Show. Bugatti introduced its next concepts, the EB 218 at the 1999 Geneva Motor Show and the 18/3 Chiron at the 1999 Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA). Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. began assembling its first regular-production vehicle, the splendidly awesome Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 in September, 2005 at the Bugatti Molsheim, France assembly “studio”, and the even quicker Bugatti Veyron Supersport currently holds the record for the Worlds Fastest Street Legal Production Car after being clocked doing 431.072 km/h (267.856 mph). The Veyron was also named Car of the Decade (2000–2009) by the BBC television programme Top Gear and The standard Veyron won Top Gear’s Best Car Driven All Year award in 2005. Bugatti also has a concept for a Luxury Grand Tourer, named the Bugatti 16C Galibier in the pipe-line too. The Bugatti Veyron has since been replaced by the Bugatti Chiron.

Gary Gabelich

American motorsport driver and Land Speed Record Holder Gary Gabelich was born 29 August 1940. During the 1960’s Gary worked and drove a split window 1960 era VW kombi delivery van for Vermillion’s Drug store . He lived with his parents in the Bixby Knolls area of Long Beach, CA during this time. He later went to work for North American Aviation which became North American Rockwell after a 1967 merger with Rockwell-Standard. Gary started in the mail room and stayed for 9 years in various positions from staff assistant before becoming a part-time test subject for Project Apollo in the years 1968 & 1969. Gary served as an Apollo test astronaut in 1968-1969 as stated on the plaque his family dedicated to him in 2001.

Unlike the actual astronauts, he was not flying the capsules, but testing their long-term viability in weightless conditions, their tolerance and performance under conditions of extreme lateral forces and, though they seldom spoke of it on televised moon shots, the toilet facilities. Gabelich was Mercury Seven astronaut Wally Schirra’s exact size and he did a lot of space checkout for him and testing of capsules and equipment before they were man-rated for operational use. Project Mercury ended in the early 1960s and Wally Schirra went on to become commander of Apollo 7

Gabelich broke the Land Speed Record by achieving average speeds of 622.407 mph (1,001.667 km/h) over a flying mile and 630.388 mph (1,014.511 km/h) over a flying kilometer on 23 October 1970. The thrust used during this attempt was between 13,000 pounds (5,900 kilograms) and 15,000 pounds (6,800 kilograms). A top speed of approximately 650 mph (1,050 km/h) was momentarily attained during one run. However The FIA rules dictate that a land speed mark is recognized only after two runs through the FIA measured kilometer and mile courses. The two corresponding speeds are then averaged for the official time and speed. Additionally both runs must be made within one hour. Gabelich averaged 629.412 mph (1,013 km/h) on his first run and 631.367 mph (1,016 km/h) on his second run for an average speed of 630.388 mph (1,015 km/h) establishing a new kilometer FIA LSR. The mile FIA LSR was the first exceeding 1,000 km/h (621 mph) and remained unbeaten until 1983, when Richard Noble broke it driving Thrust 2. The faster kilometer FIA LSR remained unbroken for 27 years until ThrustSSC went supersonic in 1997.

In 1969 Gabelich established a quarter mile Drag boat record of 200.44 mph (323 km/h) This is not the same as the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) Water Speed Record (WSR) in which Donald Campbell broke 200 mph (322 km/h) on 23 July 1955 in the Bluebird K7. Sadly Gabelich was seriously injured in the crash of an experimental 4 wheel drive Funny Car in 1972 that careered out of control at 180 mph (290 km/h) during a quarter mile run almost severing his left forearm and broke his left leg so severely that more than a year later he still wore a cast. This incident ended his racing career and he never raced again, concentrating instead on a new supersonic vehicle.

In the early 1980s he established the “Rocketman Corporation” with Tom Daniel. The objective was to design and build a vehicle capable of reaching speeds in the 800 mph (1,287 km/h) range. This conceptual vehicle was named “American Way” but the project was cut short by his untimely death in January 1984 in a motorcycle crash.Gary Gabelich was part of the cast in the 1977 movie “Joyride to nowhere” and he made a documentary,”One Second from Eternity: The History of the Land Speed Record” in 1971. Gary and his family appeared on the Family Feud with Richard Dawson, where he presented the key to the city of Long Beach, California. to Mr Dawson. In 2008 Gary was inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame in front of the Convention Center on Pine Avenue. He was represented at the ceremony by his wife Rae, a Long Beach City Councilwoman who retired in 2012 after 8 years service. On 23 October 1970 Gary Gabelich set the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Land Speed Record (LSR) with the rocket car Blue Flame on October 23, 1970, on a dry lake bed at Bonneville Salt Flats near Wendover, Utah. Blue Flame, was fueled with natural gas and when driven by Gary Gabelich it achieved the world land speed record on Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah on October 23, 1970. The vehicle set the FIA world record for the flying mile at 622.407 mph (1,001.667 km/h) and the flying kilometer at 630.388 mph (1,014.511 km/h).