Road & Track August 2018

Road & Track includes technical features on automotive subjects, wide-ranging feature stories, spectacular automotive art and standard-setting new-car photography, humor, fiction, travel stories, book reviews and the most comprehensive racing coverage offered by a monthly magazine.Bonus: iPad Interactive

United States

in this issue

1 min
monster’s ball

It’s not hard to see the draw of Monster Jam: six-ton trucks with ear-splitting engines performing wild stunts. Since the first major show in 1983—Bigfoot at Michigan’s Pontiac Silverdome—Monster Jam has evolved into a traveling circus of stupefying logistical, engineering, and driving feats. A lot of work goes into creating such primal pleasures. Road & Track went behind the scenes.…

1 min
650,000 cubic yards of dirt per year

A crew works 12 to 14 hours for three days to transform the venues—in this case Detroit’s Ford Field. Each year, 3000 cars sourced from local junkyards line the courses and provide structure for ramps. Dump trucks make hundreds of trips to deposit dirt—700 cubic yards for arenas, 3500 cubic yards for stadiums. Dirt must have just the right amount of clay content: too much and it gets clumpy; too little makes it hard to sculpt to exacting specifications. After each event, the dirt gets stored locally for the next time the show thunders through town.…

1 min
1500 hp, 12,000 pounds

A single wheel and tire weighs 645 pounds. Rear-wheel steering eases maneuvering, as do massive methanol powered engines—540-cubic-inch V-8s producing about 1500 hp. Toss six tons around like a toy and, no surprise, stuff breaks. Kevlar straps attach to axles to control suspension droop when airborne. The driveshaft U-joint gets wrapped in a ballistic blanket to contain shrapnel in the event of a failure. A pair of driveline brakes, attached to the front and rear driveshafts, are the only way to slow these behemoths.…

1 min
88 drivers

Monster Jam is a team exercise, but like any motorsport, it boils down to a skilled human wrestling a machine. Drivers often start as crew members, guiding the $250,000 trucks on and off transporters and working on them. Becky McDonough (photographed here through plexiglass panels that wrap the cockpit, a feature that aids visibility), crewed for five years. Now she performs V-8-powered acrobatics for sellout crowds in a truck called El Toro Loco. “It’s a high,” she says. “Pure adrenaline.” Frightening? “Of course. Those are the good moments.”…

4 min

DEAR R&T, WHAT A BRILLIANT IDEA TO HAVE JOSEF NEWGARDEN COVER INDYCAR’S CHANGES FOR 2018 [MAY]. MORE THAN JUST FOCUSING ON THOSE DIFFERENCES, HE EXPLAINED THE MANY FACETS OF AERODYNAMICS IN RACING, AND NOT IN A CURSORY WAY. NEWGARDEN FULLY EXPLAINED HIS CRAFT, LENDING A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THE INTRICACIES OF RACING. AND WHO KNEW THE MAN IS A POET: “TO SHOW THE AGGRESSIVE ARC OF YOUR LEARNING CURVE.” STEVE BENOFF,BEAUMONT, CALIFORNIA I enjoyed reading the Indy car’s specs [page 46]. I used to read the magazine as a kid and encourage you to add more Track and have less Road in the future. How about a Ferrari Formula 1 car versus a street Ferrari? How about more on grand-prix racing? Le Mans series? Just saying. PETER ROBBHOLLISTON, MASSACHUSETTS Front-to-back, open-to-close, racing, racing, and…

2 min
editor’s letter

WITH ADVANCES IN DRIVER AIDS and autonomous technologies, it’s easy to get distracted—wondering if drivers and driving still matters, if the newest wave of product managers still care. Recently, talk of pushing boundaries has been applied as much to levels of autonomy as it has to horsepower, performance, and vehicle dynamics. Is this bad? Truth is, it’s all good. The increased focus on moving forward—be it more efficient gas engines, EVs, or even self-driving tech—makes all cars better. So long, that is, as there are still companies passionate about and obsessed with what makes driving satisfying. Case in point, this month’s cover car, the McLaren Senna. More rules-be-damned race car than roadgoing hypercar, the Senna showcases how out-of-the-box thinking and active aerodynamics raise the bar on street-legal speed. A car so capable,…