Road & Track October/November 2021

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
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in questo numero

2 min
where did you become a race fan?

FOR ME, IT WAS A summer night at the base of Chesley Mountain in rural New Hampshire in the mid-Eighties. Standing atop a stack of hay bales, swatting mosquitoes and drinking Pepsi from a can, I was mesmerized watching local yokels racing stripped-down LTDs, Impalas, Novas, and Bonnevilles, bashing into one another around a muddy, dusty dirt oval under lights that had been roped into the tall firs lining the track. The smoke from burning oil in my nose, the carbon filth in the air—you know the sensation. These guys—they might as well have been superheroes—were racing street cars that my parents drove. And the V-8s were so loud, I thought my heart would burst. Who were these lunatics who painted numbers on cars and raced to the death under the…

2 min

Hannah Whitaker AN ARTIST AND PHOTOGRAPHER based in Brooklyn, Whitaker was recently included in the Henie Onstad Triennial for Photography and New Media at the Onstad museum in Norway. Other recent projects include Lifelike, a solo exhibition at the Marinaro gallery in New York, and Ursula, a monograph published by Image Text Ithaca Press. Her next solo exhibition will be at Galerie Christophe Gaillard in Paris in November. A returning Road & Track contributor, Whitaker photographed racing helmets for the section-opening pages of this issue. J.R. Hildebrand A professional racing driver, Hildebrand is best known for competing in the IndyCar Series, where he’s a multiple-time podium finisher and has contested the last 11 Indy 500s. He’s also competed in endurance sports-car racing, rallycross, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, land speed racing, and…

5 min
so you want to build a supercar

ON HIS 18TH birthday, Gordon Murray’s parents gifted him a set of Wild Heerbrugg Swiss drawing instruments. From those simple tools—a pen for lines, one for curves, a compass, some odds and ends—Murray’s future unfurled like a red carpet. “And then I was away, you know,” Murray says. “Once I had a drawing board at home and the instruments, I thought I was absolutely away.” The set of chromium-plated tools was built to offer a lifetime of dutiful service. And it did. Murray used them to design his first car, the T.1 (aka IGM-Ford). The burnt-orange Ford-powered imp looks like a Lotus Seven, but is lighter and stiffer. Murray cut his teeth on the car, rebuilding and refining, always looking to a future in motorsport. As a kid in South Africa, Murray grew…

2 min
think fast

IN SPORTS, the most exciting moments happen when human beings perform with superhuman powers. Example: Ayrton Senna’s qualifying lap at the 1988 Monaco Grand Prix. On F1’s most technical circuit, Senna was an astounding 1.427 seconds faster than his nearest rival. Senna himself described this lap: “I realized that I was no longer driving the car consciously. I was driving it by a kind of instinct, only I was in a different dimension. It was like I was in a tunnel.” Senna was describing what is called flow state, arguably today’s hottest field of scientific research with regard to peak human performance. By definition, flow is an optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best. For generations we have heard racing drivers talk about flow state,…

3 min
pato’s republic

PATO O’WARD IS at the top of his game, challenging for an IndyCar title at 22 years old, in just his second full year in the series. Asking a natural like O’Ward for tips on learning a new track is silly—like a novice pianist asking Herbie Hancock how to write “Watermelon Man.” But if you had the chance, wouldn’t you ask exactly that? The Arrow McLaren Schmidt Peterson driver agreed to explain his process. O’Ward’s prep begins by watching onboard videos. This gives him an idea of where the track goes and what kind of corners to expect. O’Ward has an encyclopedia of corners from tracks around the world in his head, with a detailed understanding of how to navigate each. By studying beforehand, he can formulate the correct line around…

3 min
an alien race

IN 1997, Paul Newman finished second in his class in an IMSA race at Lime Rock Park, just one position ahead of a racer who claimed to be the 40th and final prophet of an extra-terrestrial race that created mankind. After the race, the cult leader known as Raël gifted Newman a copy of his 1987 book, Let’s Welcome Our Fathers from Space. Newman reciprocated with a bottle of salad dressing. Nobody knows whether Newman read the book or Raël slathered some greens in Newman’s Own. Racing is no stranger to dubious funding sources, nor is it new ground for an offbeat religion. Scientology was promoted through the placement of L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics on Kremer Porsches and Roberto Guerrero’s Indy car in the late Eighties. Except instead of attempting to…