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JuggaLambo: A short tribute to the Pontiac Grand Prix GTP

 

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This is the 1997-2003 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP. It features a supercharged V6, a heads-up display, a gimmicky car information center, a CD player with seven-band equalizer, five-spoke alloy wheels, a trunklid spoiler, so much body cladding, weird lines, acceptable crash test ratings (Take that, Grand Am!), and probably water in the taillights. This is an attainable aspirational vehicle in the downtrodden and depressed parts of the Rust Belt. This is the JuggaLambo.

What then, dear readers, is the JuggaLexus?

 

[Photo: ProductionCars.com]

Forgotten Racetracks: The Eloy Grand Prix

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Hooniverse has written about several old temporary racetracks used by club racers when prepared racetracks were somewhat scarce: Brynfan Tyddyn, Las Ochas Millas, Callender Field, and Lake Garnett. Nearly all of those had gone away by the early 1970s, when liability concerns crept up and willingness among chambers of commerce dropped down. Street circuits became virtually non-existent at club-level racing, but one remarkable example cropped up in Arizona in the early 1980s.

Not only did the Arizona Sports Racing Associationwho’d branched off from the Arizona SCCA to focus on wheel-to-wheel racingtalk the small city of Eloy into hosting a race around its downtown, they also managed by 1984 to turn it into a two-hour telecast. Now, thanks to the deep archives of local racer Dave Riddle, you can enjoy the ASRA’s five-race 1984 Eloy Grand Prix, which is a profoundly unique affair for reasons that will be discussed after the jump.

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Motorsports Weekend Guide: February 27 to March 1

Eric Rood February 25, 2015 Motorsports

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This week marks a not-really-major accomplishment for the Motorsports Weekend Guide: It’s the MWG’s first anniversary. So thanks to Hooniverse’s editors for letting this hack writer continue this weekly feature that probably doesn’t get a ton of traffic. Long may it live because I’ve already put a ton of work into it for the rest of the year!

This weekend sees the opener of the biggest series in the Land of the Original Hoons and a massive field at one of America’s stories racing circuits. There’s also rally in the forest and the second of several dozen NASCAR races. Make the jump for more on this weekend’s motorsports offerings!

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24 Hours of LeMons: ‘North Dallas Hooptie’ preview at Eagles Canyon

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After visits to this year to California’s Wine Country and the finely manicured grounds of Barber Motorsports Park, the 24 Hours of LeMons now heads to Eagles Canyon Raceway for “North Dallas Hooptie.” This is not to suggest that ECR does not compare to Sonoma Raceway or Barber in terms of amenities, but like most things in the state, LeMoneers in Texas go big on insanity. One can see this above with the Wankel-cooked Easter bunny from LeMons-grade engineers Team Sensory Assault, whose charred FD RX-7 will be unfortunately absent this weekend.

As is always possible with North Texas races at the end of February, inclement weather tends to rear its ugly head. Last year’s race at this time was cut short due to Gulag-caliber temperatures and an ice storm. This year, early-week forecasts call for snow Friday and rain Saturday and Sunday. Foul weather tends to throw the expectations out the window so expect a chaotic weekend of racing. As usual in Texas, the field is chock full of Ford Fox Bodies and Nissan/Datsun Z cars, though 52 cars in total will heed the call of Texas-sized masochism. You can get the whole unofficial entry list here and you can see what I have to say about every single one of them after the jump.

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Videos: Racing 100-horsepower Hyundais Down Under

Eric Rood February 23, 2015 Motorsports

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In America, grassroots racers flock to one-make series in droves. Spec Miata is the big name, but the Porsche 944 and Nissan 350Z (among others) also enjoy the same vaunted status as Spec classes. From the types of cars mentioned, one might surmise the common denominator among most American one-make racing is performance.

However, Australians approach things a little differently. Instead of performance or sportiness, the Aussies run their own one-make championship(s) based on availability and affordability. The result is the Hyundai Excel Cup, a hundred-horsepower momentum mototorsport that resembles American B-Spec racing crossed with the 24 Hours of LeMons.

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Motorsports Weekend Guide: February 20 to February 22

Eric Rood February 19, 2015 Motorsports

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Depending on who you ask, this may very well be the biggest race weekend of the year. The biggest American racing series launches full bore into its racing season after three months of silly season and a week of pomp and circumstance. Across the world, the first two-wheel racing commences as well. The rest of the racing card is filled out with a dusting of grassroots racing, big-budget drags, and big trucks traversing hundreds of miles in obscurity. Make the jump for a rundown.

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Chicago Auto Show: Hooniverse chats with Nissan factory LMP1 driver Jann Mardenborough

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Yesterday, we brought you an interview with Darren Cox from Nismo, who is leading Nissan’s efforts to field the front-engine, front-wheeld-drive Nissan GT-R LM Nismo. If you missed our coverage at the car’s world premiere or Jeff’s great video on it from the Chicago Auto Show, here’s are the basics: This is a hybrid racecar that will put out more than 1,200 horsepower at full chat while it races at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this summer and also in this season’s World Endurance Championship.

With a nine-driver crew in the three Le Mans cars, Nissan has drawn out their driver announcements. Jann Mardenborough, a graduate of the GT Academy (which we’ve covered here before), was among the most recently announced trio of drivers. For a young Brit of just 21 years, Mardenborough seems completely composed at all times, even when we ambushed him before the unveiling of the GT-R LM last Thursday morning. We proceeded to bombarded with questions about everything from the GT-R LM to the recent Bathurst 12 Hours to the 24 Hours of LeMons and he was more than happy to oblige.

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CraigsList: The nicest 1988 Mercury Tracer wagon in the world

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Ever since I first ran across one at my first 24 Hours of LeMons race, I’ve been intrigued by the first Mercury Tracers sold in the U.S. Unlike the 1991 and later Tracers, these early examples did not share a platform with their contemporary Ford Escorts. They were instead rebadged Asian- and Australian-market Ford Lasers, which were themselves restyled Mazda 323s. And this one in Stark City, Missouri, must be the nicest Tracer wagon you’ll find left in the world. Here’s the entire ad text and follow the jump for a pocket history of the increasingly rare Tracer:

“This is a real clean nice little 4 cyl. 5 speed station wagon. It drives out real well. This will make somebody or family a great economical runner. The body is very straight, the interior is nice and clean. The engine has been very well cared for, oil changed on time. It has very good tread on all the tires, lots of life left. We also just put on a new alternator and master cyl. This car is ready to go. If you need a great little car at a reasonable price check this one out real hard. If we can answer any questions please feel free to call or e-mail. Thanks for taking a look.”

[Source: Joplin CraigsList]

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Chicago Auto Show: Hooniverse chats with Nismo’s Darren Cox

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When Nissan announced and revealed their GT-R LM Nismo car that will run at Le Mans, the idea was radically different: a front-engined, front-wheel-drive beast in the LMP1 class where the competitors all run mid-engine, all-wheel-drive cars. The unique design was not unexpected from Nissan if you’ve paid attention to their recent Le Mans efforts with radical designs like the DeltaWing in 2011 and the ZEOD in 2014. The man behind those designs is the brilliant Ben Bowlby and the man standing behind Bowlby for the duration has been Darren Cox,Head of Nisamo Global Brand Sales and Marketing, who also created and has championed the vastly successful Nissan GT Academy.

We caught up with Cox just after the GT-R LM’s unveiling at the Chicago Auto Show last week and managed to crowbar our way into the massive queue for his time. As the face of the program, Cox has approached the public launch of the program with uncharacteristic honesty and forthrightness in a motorsports landscape dominated by secretive designs from his competitors. He’s an amiable man, patient with the buzzing media circus and he nearly answered all of our questions for him.

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24 Hours of LeMons: ‘Shine Country Classic’ recap

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As predicted in our preview before the race, The 24 Hours of LeMons commenced to show up at world-class racing facility Barber Motorsports Park 10 days ago to sully the track’s name with the series’ trademark terrible hoopties. When the oil-dry settled and the exhausted cars had wobbled with bent and broken A-arms onto trailers, Barber was no worse for their wear and a couple teams had even managed to run good races by any standard. As always, you can get the full story on the award winners at the race from Murilee Martin over on Car and Driver, but follow the jump for a little more discussion of the winners, losers, and soiled drawers of LeMons “Shine Country Classic” at Barber.

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