Cars & Motorcycles
Road & Track

Road & Track December/January 2017

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 this issue

4 min.
capturing the life at speed

A HALF CENTURY OF PENSKE Fifty years. In motorsport terms, that’s an eternity. Fickle, expensive, and periodically lethal, the industry is a revolving door of teams and drivers and manufacturers. But one group seems impervious to it all. Always pushing, always winning. The finest racing outfit America has ever produced, Team Penske, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. How do you qualify that kind of longevity? There are the championships (Trans-Am, NASCAR, Indy, ALMS, Can-Am); the cars (McLaren-Offy, Camaro Z/28, Porsche 917); the drivers (Andretti, Mears, Unsers Junior and Senior). Incredible stuff. But when we started asking people what makes this team so durable, so special, the answer was unanimous: Roger Penske. Here, a collection of insights and anecdotes about the man—and the race team he built into a five-decade dynasty—from those…

4 min.
dear r&t,

I’d always dismissed auto racing as a rich man’s sport, something safely ignored except for maybe a quick look at the pictures. But after reading Smith’s take on Le Mans, I actually felt like I missed out on something. ZACHARY ANDERSON PHILADELPHIA, NEW YORK For decades, I’ve planned on “doing” Le Mans but never got around to it. Now, I’ve changed my mind. All I have to do is reread Sam’s you-are-there chronicle next year. TEX GUTHRIE SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA COURSE RECOURSE When I spun at Summit Point Motorsports Park, the idea that jumped into my brain was to stand on the brake and the clutch. Now, thanks to Jack Baruth [“Battle of Shenandoah”], when I go four-wheels-up instead of four-off, I’ll be ready . . . ish. JEFFREY HORTON GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA EXTRA GRAND CORVETTE Is the Corvette team taking lessons…

2 min.
editor’s letter

For some, performance is about the numbers. Others are more cerebral—what a car does for their soul. I REMEMBER WHEN a sub-five-second 0–60 time was considered seriously fast and anything under four was nuts. Lower than that was either a race car, sport bike, or million-dollar supercar. And that was just 10 years ago, during my first stint at R&T. Today, V-6 Accords are turning mid-fives, and sub-$100,000 sedans like the Cadillac CTS-V have broken into the threes. What a difference a decade makes. Along with powertrains, we’ve also seen huge gains in chassis development; ride and handling are leagues ahead of where they once were. Tire tech and more widespread adoption of electronics—engine management, suspension control, brakes, differentials, steering—have improved how all cars perform. From hot hatches to sporty crossovers to…

5 min.
purple kart

WHEN WE NEEDED A KART SHOP, I called Memo Gidley. Then I bruised a rib and decided to start buying stuff, which is basically the story of my life. (One: Discover ridiculous thing and get hurt doing it. Two: Vaporize money, eat beans for weeks.) Last month, I began researching this issue’s Lost Art (page 112), on the magic of karts. Gidley has written several books on the sport; I read one and got curious. Karts don’t use differentials or traditional dampers, so their function seemed like hoodoo. Gidley offered to show us how one worked. And because I had never driven a race kart, he agreed to help me try. Most pro drivers start racing as children, in karts. I am not a pro. I found road racing in college, through…

5 min.

CREATED BY ROAD & TRACK There’s a recurring image today of the sort of vehicle befitting the “overlanding” pursuit—a transport that’s nothing short of epic in terms of cost and modification. In fact, the popular perception of a heavily laden classic SUV with roof-top tent, cargo system, dramatic suspension lift and all manner of off -road accoutrements is not just an archetype, it’s become a definition of its own. However romantic and inspirational this ideal may be, I prefer the parameters laid out by my friend and co-pilot Scott Brady of Overland Journal: “Overlanding is vehicle-supported, self-reliant adventure travel to remote destinations, where the journey is the primary goal.”What I like about Scott’s definition is that it lays bare both the means and the end, without ever making a list. The objective…

27 min.
title fight

THE SUN HAS BECOME STACCATO, a stippled Dopplering twinkle through a fastforward canopy of trees, accelerated from a single scene into a 24-frame-persecond motion picture by the Porsche 911 Turbo S and the politely muted howl of its 580-hp twin-turbo flat-six. We are on a road that seems to connect no two particular places in the most serpentine manner possible. There’s a sharp crest ahead, and the Turbo’s front wheels briefly skip-squeak as they settle on the back side of it before I pick up the throttle once more. At the bottom of the next hill, halfway through a fast fourth-gear righthander, a dip in the pavement sends a dampened whomp through the cockpit, and I’m required to briefly cross wrists first to the left then the right, canceling this…