Milestones

New Lotus podcast celebrates 35th anniversary of Senna's first Formula 1 win

A new podcast features the story of Ayrton Senna's first F1 win.

Photo courtesy of Classic Team Lotus

Famed Formula 1 racer Ayrton Senna lived for life at high speed and died doing what he loved. The Brazilian race car driver was just 34 when he died leaving a legacy of wins to be remembered by. Today, Lotus marks the 35th anniversary of Senna's first Formula 1 win with a new podcast.

Senna was a member of the Lotus team form 1985 to 1987 and achieved his first pole position while behind the wheel of one of their cars in 1985. The Lotus years were some of the least fruitful of Senna's Formula 1 career but his two wins in each of the three seasons and two consecutive fourth place season finishes in '86 and '87 pushed his career in high gear.

Ayrton Senna Lotus car posing Ayrton Senna was a member of the Lotus racing team from 1985 to 1987.Photo courtesy of Classic Team Lotus

On April 21, 1985, Senna, all of 25 years old, was behind the wheel fo a Lotus 97T in monsoon conditions at the Portuguese Grand Prix. Lotus describes what happened next:

"Rain, as ever, is the great leveler for on-track performance. It requires sensitive driver inputs, instinctive car control and a sympathetic approach to the mechanical set-up. One weekend in Estoril revealed Senna could excel in all.

It was also the setting for Senna's first-ever F1 pole position, and he went on to claim another 15 for Lotus. His record of 65 F1 pole positions is eclipsed only by Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.

In the race, Senna got off the line well and led a Lotus 1-2 after the first lap. With a clear road ahead, he began to pull away from team-mate Elio de Angelis and the chasing pack. The race was one of bravery and attrition; conditions worsened and, in an era before safety cars, pit-to-car radio or yellow flags, cars were pulling off the track or hitting the barriers.

Senna remained calm and composed in his Lotus and, after two hours of brutal racing, crossed the line first. Just nine cars were classified as finishing.

He later commented: "It was a hard, tactical race, corner by corner, lap by lap, because conditions were changing all the time. The car was sliding everywhere – it was very hard to keep the car under control. Once I had all four wheels on the grass, totally out of control, but the car came back on the circuit. People later said that my win in the wet at Donington in '93 was my greatest performance – no way! I had traction control!"

He became a national hero in Brazil and won fans the world over. Despite his tragic death in 1994, he remains a racing legend.

Portuguese Grand Prix 1985 Ayrton Senna raining rain pit row The monsoon, combined with Senna's first F1 win, made the Portuguese Grand Prix particularly memorable.Photo courtesy of Classic Team Lotus

The new podcast – part of the recently launched US LOT Sessions – features an all-new and exclusive interview with Chris Dinnage, Senna's chief mechanic in 1985 and today the Team Manager at Classic Team Lotus.The podcast is joined by rarely seen classic archive images of Senna and his 97T race car from a private collection, and a new blog revealing insights into Senna the man and his time racing for Lotus as part of the celebration of life.

Describing the raw emotion of the weekend and the Lotus that catapulted Senna to stardom, Dinnage says: "Ayrton hadn't tested the car in the wet – that was the first time he'd driven in those conditions. Estoril was when he really hit the scene, because people sat up and thought 'hang on, he's lapped almost everybody' and we knew we had something pretty special."

Portuguese Grand Prix 1985 Ayrton Senna raining rain track It poured rain on the track during the Portuguese Grand Prix making racing conditions hazardous.Photo courtesy of Classic Team Lotus

Dinnage adds it was this which made the difference between Ayrton and other drivers, explaining: "Ayrton had the same raw pace as everyone else, but he was only using 50% of his capacity as a human to drive the car at full speed, leaving him the other 50% to be really aware of everything that was going on around him. His concentration levels were unparalleled – I've never met anyone else like him."

You can listen to podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and ShoutEngine.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV will go into production this summer.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Right before Christmas, Chevrolet showed off the new headlights it's created for the forthcoming 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV. Now it's time for another bit of news regarding the model.

The Bolt EUV will be the first Chevrolet offered with Super Cruise, a hands-free driver assistance system that allows for advanced computer-lead driving on over 200,000 miles of North America roads.

Chevy's newest Bolt will join the already-on-sale Bolt EV, the all-electric car slash hatchback slash crossover that we've come accustomed to seeing on the road (in some parts of the country). The Bolt EUV is expected to be more crossover-like and less car-like. The Bolt EV is expected to get a refresh for the 2022 model year with looks to match the EUV.

The 2022 Bolt's EUV lighting signature features a sequential front turn signal and LED daytime running light. The video was first shared on TikTok by automotive content creator Pushing Pistons.

The company hasn't let much information about the model slip, but the automotive universe is rife with speculation. The Bolt EUV teaser released by Chevy earlier this year makes the vehicle look a lot like the Buick Velite 7. The what? You've probably never heard of the model because it's built for the Chinese market, but it's an electric SUV in the General Motors portfolio that could be rebadged as a Bolt EUV for America. It wouldn't be unprecedented.

Despite low adoption rates for electric vehicles nationwide, sales of the Bolt EV were up in the third quarter of 2020, to 5,682 from 4,830 in 2019.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Chevrolet teased the 2022 Bolt EUV by revealing new blade-like headlights late last year. Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

The Bolt EUV is part of a larger electrified product portfolio General Motors is expected to offer. The company recently detailed their vehicle plans by brand.

General Motors will begin production of the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV this summer.

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A general view of the Mercedes Laver Cup cars in front of TD Garden in promotion of Laver Cup Boston 2020 on March 2, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images for The Laver Cup

The 2050 Decorbonization Roadmap laid out by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in December makes it clear, the sale of new gasoline-powered cars will end by 2035. It's all part of the Commonwealth government's push to Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Though it's not law, the guidelines set forth in the plan make it clear that the internal combustion vehicle is marked for dead despite the current very low rate of electric and hydrogen-powered vehicle adoption. Despite pushes from government, advocacy groups, and the automakers themselves, the public just isn't buying electric vehicles at a high volume. In the last 10 years, there have been just 1.6 million plug-in electric vehicles sold in the U.S.(BEVs and PHEVs) out of over 156 million light-duty vehicles sold in the U.S. during the same time period according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Ford sold more than 1.6 million F-150s in 2018-2019 alone.

2020 Hyundai Nexo The Hyundai Nexo runs on a hydrogen fuel cell rather than a traditional electric battery setup. Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Effectively, Massachusetts is set to eliminate choice for its residents, a move that echos recent action by the State of California.

The Roadmap looks to slowly reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions using the measurement of million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e). The baseline the study uses for measurement is 1990, where there was 94.5 MMTCO2e in the Commonwealth. 2005 was the last year where emissions were above that level. They've been sinking since.

By 2017, emissions were 22.7 percent below 1990 numbers nearing the 70.8 MMTCO2e goal set by the commonwealth for 2020. Sixty-nine percent of that is from households and light-duty vehicles. Light-duty vehicles make 27 percent of the state's emissions.

Efforts to decarbonize come in four areas: end use energy (transitioning away from fossil fuels), energy flexibility and efficiency (aggressively pursuing energy efficiency and flexibility to enable cost-effective decarbonization), decarbonizing energy supply (production of zero and low-carbon energy supplies), and carbon sequestration (facilitating carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere).

The Roadmap contends that "although several clean options already exist for both light-duty transportation and for home and small business building services, across our in-depth analysis, electrification tends to be the most cost-effective - both individually and system-wide - and easiest to deploy." Basically, if the government requires buyers to purchase more electric cars, their cost will go down and that area of the graph is "fixed".

A 2021 Toyota Mirai fills up with fuel at a station in Southern California.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.

The report doesn't completely neglect hydrogen use in vehicles. It says that "zero-carbon fuels like hydrogen help power the rest of the transportation system". By "the rest" they mean vehicles that aren't cars, trucks, or buses. That means high-load transportation vehicles like tractor trailers will be able to use hydrogen but the public would be discouraged from purchasing and driving a Toyota Mirai or Hyundai Nexo, both of which run on hydrogen fuel cell (FCEV) technology, are available for sale today, and produce only water vapor out of the tailpipe.

Massachusetts and other states in the northeast face a unique barrier to widespread hydrogen fuels adoption. According to Toyota, in the 1980s, many municipalities in the area outlawed the transportation of combustable fuels over bridges and through tunnels. Using hydrogen as a fuel in vehicles is not as risky as traditional transportation methods because of the technology that has evolved to protect the fuel, vehicle, and passengers. However, these laws have not changed to accommodate the advances. This means that driving a FCEV over a bridge or through a tunnel in some areas is illegal despite the fact that a neighboring jurisdiction may have modernized their regulations.

Most automakers are willing to publicly admit that their company views FCEVs as the endgame while battery electric vehicles (BEVs) like the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model 3 as merely roadways to the full FCEV future.

The Roadmap spells out other ways in which the Commonwealth is committed to reducing the amount of fossil fuels emitted by vehicles including maintenance and support of existing public transportation systems, reducing single occupancy vehicles "where possible", making complementary land use decisions, and supporting active transportation architecture like bike lanes and sidewalks.

The report lays out the biggest obstacle facing wider spread adoption of electric vehicles by residents, the development of dependable and accessible charging infrastructure throughout the Commonwealth and in residents' homes. Europe, which is far ahead of the U.S in terms of regulating certain types of vehicles into popularity and the government subsidization of energy initiatives, still struggles with charging infrastructure woes.

Uncovered in the plan are the business consequences of the actions set forth. Assuming not as many people will need gasoline to run their vehicles, it is likely that gas stations will go out of business. The transportation of fossil fuels has its own sector of the industry that will be made mostly redundant. Vehicle service centers, often independent retailers, will be forced to spend big on equipment so that they can service electric vehicles as they gain popularity due to government regulation. Recently, many Cadillac dealerships balked at the quarter-million dollar cost of installing EV repair and service technology at their dealerships instead electing to give up their dealership rights entirely.

The report does say that "close attention and vigilant care is given to mitigate any undue or avoidable impact or burden on Massachusetts' residents across the Commonwealth's entire economic, social, and geographic diversity."

However, t does not cover what could happen if new vehicle buyers simply cross the border into Maine, Rhode Island, or Connecticut and purchase their new internal combustion vehicle there.

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