Cars & Motorcycles
Road & Track

Road & Track February 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

1 min.
capturing the life at speed

MOTORSPORT | BEST OF 2016 Desert sand or banked oval, Eau Rouge or the Corkscrew, a rainy Welsh forest or buzzing Asian metropolis. Wherever men and women climb into cars to do battle, drama and thrills ensue. Twenty sixteen had plenty of each. There were surprises and shattered records, heartbreak, titles won and lost by inches. New champions were crowned, and legends said goodbye. Here’s a look back at some of the year’s best moments—a peek at why motorsport, in all its colors, remains one of the best things on earth. A Ford GT at Le Mans last summer, on its way to the company’s first win there in half a century.…

1 min.
reigned out

The scrutiny and financial pressure of the dieselgate scandal prompted the Volkswagen Group to shutter two of racing’s most successful programs: Last fall, Audi (above) announced the end of its 24 Hours of Le Mans and other World Endurance Championship efforts, and VW withdrew from the World Rally Championship. In 18 seasons at la Sarthe, Audi won 13 times. VW’s modern WRC run (right) spanned four seasons; the brand won four titles and 43 of 52 rallies. CANON EOS-1D X, 24–70MM f/2.8 LENS @ 50MM, ISO 400, 1/30 SEC @ f/6.3 PHOTOGRAPH BY SEAN GARDNER CANON EOS-1D X, 16–35MM f/2.8 LENS @ 33MM, ISO 1000, 1/500 SEC @ f/2.8 AUDIM OTORSPOR TS; GETTY IMAGES…

1 min.
american pride

Alexander Rossi was born in California but spent most of the past decade in Europe, driving against the world’s best. After unsuccessfully chasing a full-time F1 seat, he came to IndyCar in 2016 a relative unknown, signing with Andretti Autosport. Despite having never raced on large ovals, Rossi won the Indianapolis 500 and took rookie of the year honors. The world raised an eyebrow, but we always knew—we put him on the cover four years ago. Go get ’em, kid. CANON EOS-1D X, 70–200MM f/2.8 LENS @ 155MM, ISO 400, 1/6400 SEC @ f/2.8…

1 min.
a winning formula

The Mercedes AMG Petronas team (opposite), led by drivers Nico Rosberg (left) and Lewis Hamilton (right), dominated Formula 1 in 2016. The duo combined to win 18 of the season’s first 20 races, setting the stage for a drivers’ championship battle in the Abu Dhabi season finale. Points leader Rosberg needed a podium finish to clinch the title over Hamilton. Leading in the closing stages of the race, Hamilton slowed his pace in a controversial attempt to back Rosberg into the pack and bump him off the podium. Rosberg held on to finish second and earn his maiden drivers’ crown. The only race of the season without a Mercedes driver on the podium was the Spanish Grand Prix, where Red Bull Racing’s 18-year-old phenom Max Verstappen (above) became the youngest grand…

4 min.

Dear R&T, Your October article on the V-8, “The Sound of Violins,” was just wonderful. I was overcome by the sounds of engines, their headers bringing beautiful music to my brain. The race engine at idle, with its raw power just waiting to come on full song and bring ruin upon my hearing in a most lovely fashion. I, too, care not if a V-6 puts out 650 hp; it still does not raise goose bumps like a V-8 at 8000 rpm. LARRY SMITH, MERCED, CALIFORNIA Congratulations to Jack Baruth for his fine writing about the singular essence, character, and sound of V-8s. Those simple but brilliantly designed engines have made some good cars exceptionally great. The Shelby Cobra comes to mind, along with the first Pontiac GTOs, V-8 Corvettes, Mustangs, and those…

2 min.
editor’s letter

We locked all three differentials once, but almost certainly didn’t need to. The G probably just laughed at us. FOR THOSE OF US WHO DRIVE and dream about the latest go-fast machines, it’s all too easy to think we know everything about what makes enthusiasts tick. Performance, for sure. Emotional connection, absolutely. Technological achievement, that too. Stirring design, yes please. Plus, ridge-running road trips in a pimped-out four-by-four and three-wheeled motorcycle. Hold on. What? Blame that last one on editor-at-large Sam Smith, who came up with the idea of pairing a Mercedes-AMG G65 with a Ural motorcycle (and sidecar) for a volcano-chasing romp through the Pacific Northwest’s Cascade Range (see “Jurassic World,” page 34). While neither come immediately to mind as typical “enthusiast” vehicles, our backcountry odyssey reminded us once again that a…