Our members are in the news this week. Peter Brock is the latest recipient of the prestigious Dean Batchelor Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism from the Motor Press Guild. Allan McNish is retiring from full-time racing. Playstation’s Gran Turismo 6 will feature Mario Andretti’s first racecar. And Simona de Silvestro is a finalist for the Swiss Female Athlete of the Year award.
For an automotive author, journalist, photographer or audio/visual artist, the most coveted recognition is the Motor Press Guild’s Dean Batchelor Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism. At it’s 19th annual Batchelor Banquet, the MPG bestowed that honor on Peter Brock for his seminal book “Corvette Sting Ray: Genesis of an American Icon”.
The press release announcing Brock’s accomplishment describes the book as revealing “the elaborate and complicated history and secret origins of the legendary “split window” 1963 Corvette Sting Ray.
One of the youngest designers ever assigned to the GM Styling department, Brock gives readers an inside view of working with one of the most brilliant design teams ever assembled: led by Bill Mitchell, Harley Earl, Zora-Arkus Duntov and Ed Cole, all of whom took great career chances by slipping the Sting Ray around and through a corporate culture that disdained performance machinery.
The release continues: “This profusely illustrated book, with previously unseen sketches and rare studio photographs, covers the unknown Italian influence that primed Mitchell’s design, right on through the many changes in direction, goals and sometimes outrageous political machinations that resulted in various full-scale models, racing prototypes, and even Mitchell’s personal race program before the production version was finally refined and brought to market in 1963.”
This heavily illustrated volume contains more than 180 images and some 20 of Brock’s original design sketches from 1957 and ’58.
ALLAN McNISH STEPPING BACK
Allan McNish is going out on top. The 2013 World Endurance Champion is stepping away from full-time racing at sport’s highest level, which means giving up his seat on Audi’s powerful WEC team.
“You have to get out at some point, and everything lined up to make this an extremely good time to do it,” McNish said. “Everything has fallen into place.”
Approaching 44, McNish said that he had won every race and championship that he wanted and that the new rules and cars for next season would require a commitment that would cut into the time he would like to spend on new activities and goals.
“I definitely want to do some other things in life, like management and TV stuff, and there are other little personal reasons as well,” he said.
McNish’s distinguished driving career includes three Le Mans 24 Hours victories, four wins in the 12 Hours of Sebring, three American Le Mans Series championships as well as well as a brief stint in Formula 1 was crowned this year by the WEC title.
He didn’t say he wouldn’t do the occasional special event, but would no longer be a full-time factory race driver.
MARIO ANDRETTI’S FIRST RACE CAR
Noted Japanese video game designer Kazunori Yamauchi’s latest Playstation offering for Gran Turismo 6 features Mario Andretti’s first racecar – a 1948 Hudson Coupe. As part of the process, a team led by PDI Car Modeling Director Takayoshi Kawakami uses laser scanning technology plus extensive research to recreate full-scale working models of the video game’s racecars.
Members of the modeling team invited Andretti to a short track to check out the finished product and to take a few laps in the Hudson dirt track racecar. Dressed in period overalls and helmet, Mario motored around sedately, coming in one time to have the air suspension pressure in the right front dropped two pounds.
It’s a neat reminiscence and shows off some amazing modeling technology.