Autosolo is cheap, easy to get involved in, and good fun

Very few things about "get up at 5 a.m. on a Sunday and drive to a bit of concrete in Rugby" appeal. First, there's the hour, then the day, then the "desolate bit of ground" bit. If it were a palace of gold and rubies I'd be there before 5 a.m., not just stirring. Still, I had good reason for an early start: Autosolo.

Autosolo is one of the newer grassroots motorsports doing the rounds, and it's surprisingly simple. It's a simpler version of Autotesting, a sport that sees specially … Read more

Lotus founder Colin Chapman: The best and the brightest

Any list of the greatest minds in the history of the car has to include Colin Chapman. He was the man behind Lotus, the prime architect of the Formula 1 car as it is today, and an innovator in road cars, aircraft, and even boats. He might have gone on to even greater heights had he not died at the age of just 54.

Chapman trained as an aeronautical engineer, but put his knowledge to use on four wheels. The first Lotus was an Austin Seven heavily modified for competition. It was so successful that Chapman was soon in business … Read more

Banger racing (destruction derby) proves that motorsport doesn't have to be expensive

Motor racing is expensive and inaccessible, right? Well, that's not always the case. Banger racing is cheap, fun, dangerous, and very accessible. So we decided to have a go.

I was told that I could get out at any point. I'd not be judged and no one would blame me for wanting to stay in bed on a Sunday rather than have lots of car crashes.

The majority of my Twitter followers told me to run and stay safe. My chums on Facebook were organizing a small audience to spectate, not for support, but so my death wouldn'… Read more

Electric vehicle concepts hint at a three-wheeled future

Convincing a nation so steeped in its car culture to think differently about the way we drive is a test of both patience and persistence. But the 2012 Vehicle Concept Showcase at Stanford University's Center for Automotive Research yesterday offered some interesting arguments about how our future personal transportation will better suit our needs.

One feature that may take some adjustment for many drivers is wheel configuration. Only two of the eight vehicle concepts rolled out at the showcase had the tried and true four-wheel configuration -- most were three-wheelers. As the makers of Switch Vehicles pointed out, dropping … Read more

Fanatec CSR racing combo for Xbox 360 (hands- and feet-on)

I've previously confessed to being a fan of Fanatec's series of racing wheels, I even use its original Porsche 911 Turbo styled wheel, pedal, and shifter combo as my daily digital driver when piloting the virtual cars 'round the tracks of my racing sim du jour.

But my now-discontinued Fanatec kit sits at the bottom of manufacturer's line of racing peripherals and leaves much to be desired.The plasticy buttons on the wheel's face feel cheap with vague tactile feedback; the pedals, while accurate throughout their travel, are too light and mushy for furious racing; and the H-pattern shifter's poorly defined gates have cost me more races than I can count. Most of these issues have been addressed with subsequent versions of Fanatec's Porsche wheels and at the core of this kit is a fantastically accurate 900-degree racing wheel with strong force feedback, great sensitivity, and the ability to be customized on-the-fly to the user's needs. I always wondered, what would happen if you took that awesome core steering wheel hardware and upgraded the components and build materials?

This is the point in our story where the Fanatec Forza Motorsport CSR wheel and shifter kit and CSR Elite pedal set landed at my desk. These components aim to address each of the issues that I have with my current setup.… Read more

GoPro strikes back with HD Hero2 sports camera

My initial introduction to the world of action cameras was through the lens of a GoPro Motorsports Hero. However, GoPro's camera system, while rugged in construction and versatile, hasn't been what you'd call "easy to use." So consider my interest piqued when GoPro called to inform me that it is pulling the wraps off of the GoPro HD Hero2: the sequel to the HD Hero boasting a simpler interface and increased performance.

GoPro would like us to believe that this sequel is twice as good as the previous-generation HD Hero, and it's got the … Read more

Forza Motorsport 4: Complexity meets accessibility

It's one of the last mutually exclusive genres left in gaming. PlayStation owners have Gran Turismo and Xbox 360 loyalists have Forza Motorsport. Both franchises are proven winners, and the latest incarnation on Xbox 360 allows Kinect users the chance to race controller free. But does that ambition steer Forza away from what it does best?

Jeff:Forza Motorsport 4 packs in such a shocking amount of content and detail, most racing buffs will salivate just at the introduction movie. Sure, it can be a bit overwhelming for people who don't have transmission fluid running through their veins, … Read more

Forza Motorsport 4 is a digital playground for car lovers (hands-on)

I'm a huge fan of cars and a huge fan of video games. So it should go without saying that I spend a lot of time playing racing games. I was a bit late to the Forza Motorsport party, having spent a number of years as a faithful fan of the Gran Turismo franchise. However, last year I got hooked on Forza Motorsport 3 for the Xbox 360. Recently, I was slipped an early copy of Forza Motorsport 4, the next iteration of Turn 10's racing series promising more cars, more tracks, higher levels of realism, and, hopefully, … Read more

Drivers are an 'Endangered Species' in latest Forza Motorsport 4 trailer

Turn 10 Studios has produced a live-action trailer for the upcoming Forza Motorsport 4 racing sim for Xbox 360, and it is officially the saddest thing I've seen this week.

Now, I don't mean "sad" as in poorly made. The trailer, titled "Endangered Species," is beautifully produced. It's narrated by Jeremy Clarkson, from the show "Top Gear"; the action follows an enthusiast's escape from a carpool and into an Aston Martin DB9 sports coupe and his subsequent attempts to outrun all those things that suck the joy out of driving. … Read more

Turn 10 shows how real tracks are re-created for Forza Motorsport 4

Turn 10 Studios, developer of the Forza Motorsport series, has released a behind-the-scenes video of the step-by-step process that goes into translating a real-world racetrack into a fully digital track that players can experience in the upcoming Forza Motorsport 4 for Xbox 360.

It all starts with a visit to the track, in this case Hockenheim in Germany. Here, Turn 10's guys snap thousands of photos, record video of multiple laps from multiple angles, and collect sub-centimeter-accurate military-grade GPS data for the layout, elevation, and camber of the track. Next, the developers take the collected data and feed it … Read more