BMW M1

The modern cars that we love today are truly amazing.  They represent the leading edge of innovation in speed, design, luxury, and efficiency.  It is easy to Oooo and Ahhh at a brand new supercar: there is a lot to love.

While a new supercar can get the heart pumping, there are a few old cars that can really vibrate the heart-strings.  Something about old cars, with their history and their status, makes them even more special.  This explains why old Ferraris and Porsches are much more valuable now than they were the day they rolled out of the factory.

One very special car that is often left out of a conversation about great classic cars is the BMW M1.  Built in the late '70s as an attempt to get into racing, the M1 is BMW's only mid-engine supercar other than the new i8.  It has great specs for its time, especially the race car version, but the design is purely timeless.

It was designed by an Italian and was developed with the help of Lamborghini.  The Italian influence is striking.  The edgy, mid-engine design is reminiscent of a Lamborghini Countach which was from the same era.  Being similar to the great Italian cars of the '70s is a complement to any car but the M1 is more than that.  It is very unique: nothing quite like it has come along since.  It is still one of the best looking cars every made.  Details like the two BMW badges on the back of the car are awesome; no manufacturer today would do such a thing.  The pop-up headlights allow a very sharp nose that gives such an ominous look to the car that it could scare a Dodge Charger Police cruiser.  There are so many design elements which make it a great pleasure to look at.  The BMW M1 has truly a classic and very special design.

The video below is a great review of the M1.  It is a pleasure to see great footage of such a special car.  Thanks to XCAR for taking the time to shoot with the M1.

Ferrari LaFerrari

Ferrari has been on the leading edge of automotive innovation for a long time.  Enzo Ferrari once said "If you can dream it, you can do it." He then proceeded to dream very big.  His final creation before his death was the Ferrari F40 which redefined the supercar forever when it was released in the late 80s and it is still regarded as one of the greatest cars ever made.  Ferrari continued in Enzo's path after he passed away which lead to many great cars.

The latest and greatest car from Ferrari is the LaFerrari.  It is a $1.4 million hypercar with a naturally aspirated V12 engine AND an electric motor which have a combined output of 950 horsepower and 677 pound-feet of torque.  The electric motor can provide full power at any RPM so it can effectively eliminate the natural torque holes in the combustion engine.  This means that the LaFerrari is super fast and super sharpe on all corners and at all speeds.

Despite Enzo Ferrari once saying that "aerodynamics are for someone who can't build engines," the LaFerrari has state of the art fixed and active aerodynamics.  Ferrari did some interesting research about how the height of the center of gravity of a car relates to speed and handling, and basically, the result of their research is that the LaFerrari's roof is only 44 inches off the pavement.  That is very low.  These two advanced features as well as a very smart on-board computer mean that this car is very planted at speed and it has great handling characteristics.

The LaFerrari is a truly incredible work of engineering, passion, and art.

The video below shows the LaFerrari blasting around a famous track in Italy.  The track has a fair amount of traffic as is usual for a public track-day and the LaFerrari makes mincemeat out of everything including some very fast Porsche 911s.  This is a great demonstration of the marvel that is the LaFerrari as it flies past fast cars like they're standing still!

The photo above is from this link and it is a great place for more information on the LaFerrari!

Carbon Fiber

One of the biggest technological developments of the 20th century was the invention and development of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer.  First invented in 1958 in Cleveland, Ohio, Carbon Fiber is one of the strongest and lightest materials available to make components of aircrafts, bikes, sporting good, and especially cars.


By using fabrics of woven carbon fibers in layers, developers can create very specific strength and weight patterns in the product by having fewer layers where less strength is required and more layers when more strength is required.  Different weave patterns of the fibers are used to further specify the weight to strength ratio needed for a specific structure.  Resin then binds these fabric layers together to create a very stiff, strong, and light construction.


Almost anything on a car can be created with carbon fiber which bring a number of different advantages over the typical steel or aluminum car construction.  The low weight of carbon fiber increases gas milage as well as improving performance significantly. The increased strength over steel and aluminum make the car stiffer which allows for greater efficiency and accuracy in tuning.  Because carbon fiber components can be built to such a small amount of error, more of the performance potential can be reached; for example the car can go faster with a smaller engine or farther with a smaller battery pack.

The first video below shows how Koenigsegg produces the carbon fiber wheels for one of its hypercars, the Agrera.  Koenigsegg manufactures some of the fastest and most advanced cars in the world by hand with all research and development done very specifically in house on specific cars.  Koenigsegg is a leader in carbon fiber construction and use.  The second video goes more in depth into how carbon fiber is molded and set in a demonstration by Mr. Koenigsegg himself.  Koenigsegg is an amazing company and all of the INSIDE KOENIGSEGG videos by DRIVE on youtube are interesting and informative!

 


Supercars on Snow and Ice

Supercars are nearly always relegated to the occasional sunny, dry day of summer with their beauty and amazing abilities cooped up in the garage for most of the year.  Supercars are meant to be driven, to be admired, and as cars get more and more advanced and modern they break down much less and loose value much more slowly, eliminating all reasons to leave these beautiful beasts in the garage.  All supercar owners should take every opportunity get the absolute most out of their car even if it means loosing some money; it is definitely worth it!

Lamborghini believes that their cars should be driven and driven hard as proved by the Lamborghini Winter Academy.  Participants in the Academy learn how to drive at high speeds and on the edge of control around a course dug into the ice and snow in the mountains of Colorado and Italy.  As you can see in the video below, the course is not smooth, the cars have very little grip, the cars have a lot of power, and the speeds are high; this is what Lamborghinis are meant to do (especially with their All Wheel Drive system).

Inspire the Future will definitely use our car to it's fullest ability.  We will drive in all kinds of weather, all kinds of roads, and we will have fun everywhere we go!  We will also go to academies such as the Lamborghini Winter Academy; many companies have similar programs so we might go to a bunch of them.  We will definitely share our experiences so stay tuned!

In the meantime check out this awesome trailer of the Lamborghini Winter Academy!

Tesla Leading the Charge

Tesla Motors based in California, USA, has been innovating right past the competition since it's start in 2003.

"The critics said it couldn't be done, yet we are here, taking nothing for granted. We challenge custom and question tradition.  Our drivers benefit from it."   -Tesla Motors

Right from the off, Tesla has been creating electric cars that expand the accepted idea of what electric cars, and cars in general, can be.  The Tesla Model S is now one of the best cars in the world in any category.

 A Tesla Model S is something amazing to experience!

A Tesla Model S is something amazing to experience!

Elon Musk, a world class physicist, entreprenearer, and car lover, started Tesla in 2003 and released the award-winning Roadster.  The Roadster was a sports car with impressive performance figures, attractive looks (based on a Lotus Elise), and zero carbon-footprint guilt accompanying those full power canyon runs!

 Tesla Roadster looking speedy

Tesla Roadster looking speedy

After success with the Roadster and a lot of attention as a new kid on the block making big moves in the automotive world, Tesla pushed to create the Model S with the experience, resources, and money they had collected with the Roadster.

The Model S came out in 2012 and it immediately carved it's name into the stone that holds the big names of Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Infinity, and more.  With ergonomics that rethink the norm in a refreshing and useful way, style that is at home at any red carpet event, a new definition of vehicle safety, and one of the best drivetrains ever designed, the Model S is an amazing luxury, sport sedan.

Starting at $63,570 and maxing out over $130,000 after incentives, the Model S is a car for people who really care about what they own and drive.  $70k is a lot for most people so Tesla is planning to create a car costing around $30,000 which is smaller than the Model S after they gain enough resources and money from the successful Model S.  If this car, called the Model III, is anything like the Model S, it will be an incredible breakthrough in the world of electric cars and all vehicles with four wheels even.

 An artist's render of the upcoming Model III

An artist's render of the upcoming Model III

Despite the incredible challenge of bringing a new company into the already crowded automotive world, Tesla has had sweet success.  Amazing innovation, quality manufacturing, and design that just makes sense in so many ways are facets of Tesla's work so far and it is mouthwatering to think about what they will come up with next.  If the future of the car is electric, and Tesla rules the electric car world, then the future is an awesome place!

If you cannot get enough of the amazing Model S and Tesla itself, check out this short video.  It may blow your mind.

Science Drag Racing

Drag racing is one of the most widely used methods of measuring performance in wheeled vehicles.  Varying in length from a quarter mile to two miles, drag races take place on flat straight runways and tracks.  To perform well in a drag race, a car has to be able to get off the line quickly, shift quickly, have gearing that is suited to the length of the race, and have power to pull hard from the start to max speed.  It is fascinating how a small difference in the spec sheet can lead to a big difference on the track.

This video shows a riveting race between two of the fastest cars with the world, the McLaren P1 and the Porsche 918 Spyder, and one of the fastest superbikes, the Ducati 1199 Superleggera.  This drag race is special because it shows how four wheel drive differs from rear wheel drive and how cars differ from bikes.

Off the line the Porsche with it's four wheel drive has the advantage, jumping into the lead.  The sky high power to weight ratio of the bike helps the Ducati take the lead once the front wheel gets planted to the pavement and the driver can accelerate without worrying about flipping over backwards.  The P1 takes the lead when the bike runs into it's rev limiter at 191 mph and out guns the Porsche with sheer amount of power and less aerodynamic drag.

Drag racing can seem boring, it's a straight track after all, but if you think about what goes into it, drag racing is incredibly captivating.

Visionaries

"To shape the future you need to have a vision.  To bring it to life takes a visionary." 

 

This video created by Bentley Motors is part of a series called Visionaries.  The series explores the concept that the future is created by people with the vision to change the world.

Dave Chihuly is a glass artist from Seattle who has a true passion for his art.  Chihuly works with teams of artists to achieve his vision of expansive, ambitious, and complex works of glass art.

Chihuly comments on the beauty of the Bentley Mulsanne and the feeling while being inside one. Bentley is one of the premiere luxury car manufacturers and it is inspiring the level of detail and perfection that is built into each of their cars just like the inspiration from seeing the bright colors, unique shapes, and innovation of Chihulies works of art.

Inspire the Future will give people the motivation and push to have their own vision and be their own visionary through videos with people like Chihuly, events where technology and craftsmanship like that of the Bentley Mulsanne will be featured, and demonstrations giving a backstage pass to visions being achieved through design, engineering, and science.

Factory Tours

As a method for carrying out our mission, Inspire the Future will take you on factory tours and conversations with experts through videos, blog posts, and photos.  As soon as our Kickstarter campaign is verging on funded we will begin contacting interesting people and companies in the technology, automotive, and design worlds to set up tours and meetings.

As an example of a factory we would love to take a tour and tell you all about, here is a video of the Audi R8 factory in Germany.  This factory is one of the most advanced in the world and it is really eye opening to learn what goes into producing these cars.

If you are interested in learning more about how and where cars are made or exploring more of the behind-the-scenes of the technology we use and love, please support Inspire the Future.

Green Mountain Stage Race

The Green Mountain Stage Race is one of the biggest bike races in New England with over one thousand racers pedaling about two hundred miles over four days in the Champlain Valley.  The race starts with a time trial where cyclists power against the clock and the initial positions are set.  The next day there is a circuit race over a twenty mile course of rolling hills and finishes after two to four laps.  The third day is the biggest with a ninety five mile road race over two Vermont gaps.  The final day is in downtown Burlington and it is a fifty lap race around a short, technical course with sprints throughout the race.  The final race is called the criterium and that is where header photo of this blog is from.

At the criterium there were pace cars that would drive ahead of the racers to clear the course and make sure that the rules of the race are followed.  One of the pace cars was an Audi R8 V10.  It would race around the city streets with its deep V10 growl and heart-melting, high-rev scream attracting attention and getting all the spectators to stare open-mouthed at its beautiful design.  The combination of the pace cars, the close quarters bike racing, and the incredible athletic feats of the racers made for an extremely exciting day in Burlington.

It was amazing to see and participate in such an awesome race and the car made the event much more exciting but the crashes were definitely not fun to see, or hear!

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The Magic of Supercars

I am an enthusiastic reader of Automobile Mag and I have been since I was 14 years old.  I always spend hours pouring over the articles and photos in the glossy, crisp edition the day it comes in the door so I had no problem believing and relating to this quote in an article about the Ferrari dealership in New York City: 

"Miller Motorcars president Richard Koppelman has seen how powerfully Ferraris can affect kids.  "People come in and say, 'When I was a kid, I used to look in the windows here.'  And now I'm selling them a car.  The magic of Ferrari is good for the whole automobile business.""

I got super excited when I read this.  This quote confirms what I believe and supports Inspire The Future's mission and it was published in one of the leading automotive publications in the world.

Amazing cars can change the world by inspiring people to work hard, create, dream, and believe.  The magic of an amazing supercar is good for the whole world, not just the automobile business.