All Hail the New Porsche 919, the Latest Nurburgring King

first_img Editors’ Recommendations Hops and Terroir: Why the Beer World is Embracing the Wine Term Watch This Bugatti Chiron Shatter a World Speed Record at More Than 300 MPH A Breakdown of All the Major Types of Car Racing Timo Bernhard is not human. He, like the Porsche 919 Evo racecar, are lithe machines built to do battle on a single surface; the Nurburgring.For 35 years, racecar driver Stefan Bellof held the Ring record. Behind the wheel of a Porsche 956C racecar, Bellof pulled off a staggeringly fast feat. He blitzed the infamous race track in just 6:11.13 minutes. It was a record that many thought would never be beaten. How could anyone go faster around a track that’s claimed so many lives? However, over the intervening years, more and more production cars have inched closer to that record. Still tens of seconds off, but the latest group of supercars have all dipped under the 7-minute mark. If only a manufacturer would bring a proper racecar to the track. Enter the 919 Evo.Then Porsche retired its Le Mans winning 919 Hybrid last season. Like most racecars, everyone believed that the 919 Hybrid would just be retired and placed on display at Porsche’s Weissach facility. Forever stationary. But Porsche had other plans. Instead of a life filled with collecting dust, Porsche’s top brass gave the 919 Hybrid back to the race team and said, “Go nuts.”The goal was to take the wildest evolution of the 919 Hybrid to tracks around the world with the ultimate goal of smashing records. For that, and with no rules or race regulations to hamper their engineering or creativity, Porsche’s engineers went wild. The 919 went on a diet that’d make Jenny Craig green with envy. Coming in at just 1,872 lbs,  the 919 Evo weighs just 200 lbs more than the skeletal Ariel Atom 3S. The engineers then took to increasing its power output. In race-spec, the 919’s V-4 engine makes 500 horsepower and is aided by another 400 horsepower from its hybrid batteries. The 919 Evo, however, makes a grand total of 1,160 horsepower.Aerodynamics were also reconfigured and a host of those changes come from the Formula 1 world, including a drag-reduction system that stalls the rear wing on a course’s straights. Michelin was also tasked at creating a new tire compound that would increase the racecar’s performance while simultaneously maintaining the car’s safety. The end result is exactly what Porsche had envisioned when it gave this program the green light; a record smasher.On its first outing at Spa-Francorchamps, the 919 Evo lapped the legendary Formula 1 track in just 1:41.770, or nearly a second faster than Formula 1 great Lewis Hamilton’s qualifying record set late last year. But that was just a warm up for the big one; the Nurburgring Nordschleife.On June 29th, Timo Bernhard woke up early, hopped into the 919 Evo and got to work. His first session, a blistering 5:24 time. It smashed Bellof’s record. But Bernhard felt they could go faster. The engineers looked over the car, prepped everything, and set Bernhard loose once again to do battle with the track affectionately known as the Green Hell. The lap, 5:19.54.Bernhard didn’t just smash the 35-year old record, he obliterated it by nearly a full minute.The in-car video looks as if it was sped up by a factor of three. Bernhard appears to not be using his eyes, but the Matrix to understand that there are no turns, just straights. He appears, super human. More machine than man. If you doubt this, watch the video above, then watch the video below of racecar driver Lars Kern setting a production record in Porsche’s 700 horsepower GT2 RS monster at the ‘Ring as well. The speed differentials are staggering.All hail Porsche! 5 of the Fastest Electric Cars in the World 6 Fastest Cars in the World Right Nowlast_img read more

In setback for drone industry NTSB says aircraft regulations apply to reckless

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Joan Lowy, The Associated Press Posted Nov 18, 2014 10:34 am MDT In setback for drone industry, NTSB says aircraft regulations apply to reckless use of drones WASHINGTON – The government has the power to hold drone operators accountable when they operate the remote-control aircraft recklessly, a federal safety board ruled Tuesday in a setback to small drone operators chafing under Federal Aviation Administration restrictions.The National Transportation safety Board, which hears appeals of Federal Aviation Administration enforcement actions, ruled that small drones are a type of aircraft and fall under existing FAA rules.The FAA had fined Raphael Pirker, an aerial photographer, $10,000 for operating his Ritewing Zephyr in a reckless manner on the University of Virginia campus in 2011. Pirker allegedly flew the drone, which weighed less than 5 pounds, at “extremely low” altitudes, including under a pedestrian bridge and directly at a person, causing the individual to duck out of the way. He had been hired to make photos and videos of the campus.Pirker appealed the fine, saying his aircraft was effectively no different than a model aircraft and therefore not subject to regulations that apply to manned aircraft. An NTSB administrative law judge sided with him in March, saying the FAA hasn’t issued any regulations specifically for drones and therefore can’t determine their use.The FAA appealed the decision to the four-member safety board, which said Tuesday that the definition of an aircraft is very broad.“An ‘aircraft’ is any ‘device’ ‘used for flight in the air.’ This definition includes any aircraft, manned or unmanned, large or small,” the board said. The board sent the case back to the judge to decide if Pirker’s drone was operated recklessly.The FAA said in a statement that Pirker operated the drone “in a careless or reckless manner” and the fine “should stand.”The decision strengthens the FAA’s position as the agency tries to cope with a surge in use of unmanned aircraft, some weighing no more than a few pounds and available for purchase on the Internet and in hobby shops for as little as a few hundred dollars.More than a million small drone aircraft have been sold worldwide in the past few years, and a growing number of them are turning up in U.S. skies near airports and airliners, posing a risk of collision. Reports of drone sightings near other planes, helicopters and airfields are reaching the government almost daily — a sharp increase from just two years ago when such reports were still unusual.“It’s a huge win for the FAA, and signals it’s not going to be the Wild West for drones, but a careful, orderly, safe introduction of unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system,” said Kenneth Quinn, a former FAA general counsel.But Pirker’s attorney, Brendan Schulman, said the NTSB ruling “is narrowly limited to whether unmanned aircraft systems are subject to a single aviation safety regulation concerning reckless operation.”“The more significant question of whether the safe operation of drones for business purposes is prohibited by any law was not addressed in the decision,” he said. Several cases challenging the FAA’s ban on commercial drone operations are pending in federal district court in Washington.The FAA has barred commercial operators from using drones, with the exception of two oil companies operating in Alaska and seven aerial photography companies associated with the movie and television industry. Even those exceptions have come with extensive restrictions, including that a requirement that the operators of the remote control aircraft have an FAA-issued pilot’s license the same as manned aircraft pilots. The aircraft also have to be kept within the line of sight of the operator and may fly no higher than 400 feet.A wide array of industries as varied as real estate agents, farmers and major league sport teams are clamouring to use small drones. Amazon wants to use drones to deliver small packages to customers. Congress directed the FAA to safely integrate drones of all sizes into U.S. skies by the fall of 2015, but it is clear the agency won’t meet that deadline.Congress also directed the FAA to first issue regulations permitting widespread commercial use of small drones, usually defined as weighing less than 55 pounds. Agency officials have indicated they expect to propose regulations for small drones before the end of the year. However, it may be months to years before those rules are made final.Meanwhile, the agency is poised to issue a series of special permits to a wide array of companies that have applied for exemptions to the commercial ban similar to the exemptions granted to the film industry. More than 120 companies have applied for special permits.Among those close to being granted are permits to monitor and spray crops, inspect smokestacks and natural gas flares, and to inspect pipelines and power lines.___Follow Joan Lowy on Twitter at read more