Blackbird Automotive Journal Vol 9-12
Blackbird is a presentation of a design, a pure art form, a passion and it explores the intricate relationship between man and machine, as opposed to it simply being an object of desire or a status symbol. It is a title that looks into the mechanics, precision and engineering of past and present that gives life to the automobile as a cultural icon.
VOL 9: BUSHIDŌ
In this volume of Blackbird Automotive Journal, we turn an eye closer to home in an effort to study and celebrate some of the milestones in Japanese motorsport – a history rife with success and failures. With the GT-One gracing the cover, we speak to Toshio Sato, President of Toyota Motorsport on the marque’s entries and exits from the motorsport world, culminating in the new WEC contender – the TS050. We also take a look at arguably one of the most coveted cars of the fabled Group C era – Mazda’s formidable 787B and end with a dissection of Honda’s disastrous return in today’s Formula 1. Staying in the region, we travel to last year’s Macau Grand Prix to cover the GT world cup, speak to Rahel Frey – the swiss Audi Works girl driver who’s leaving tracks in the Audi LMS Cup, before rounding up the volume with some spirited driving in the new McLaren 570S and Porsche’s latest showroom blow-out – the Cayman GT4.
Blackbird Automotive Journal Vol. 9
- Toshio Sato, President of Toyota Motorsport
- Toyota 2016 TS050 Hybrid WEC contender
- Mazda 787B
- Honda Formula 1
- Niki Lauda
- Macau GP – FIA GT World Cup
- Rahel Frey, Audi Works Driver
- Klaus Wagger, Austrian Car Painter
- McLaren 570S & Porsche Cayman GT4
VOL 10: ABSOLUTE PRECISION
For our tenth edition of the Blackbird Automotive Journal, we focus on more than 100 years of German automotive engineering.
We begin with a review of BMW’s 100th Anniversary celebration at Goodwood this summer and then continue with a reflection on the continuing link between Italy’s Mille Miglia and Mercedes’ original 300SLR racer. We offer thoughts on how the iconic event’s modern celebration remains a focal point for Mercedes and the marque’s solid support and participation.
Blackbird also visits both the site of Porsche’s original Austrian factory and the private Porsche museum that became a labour of love for a young Austrian and his desire to commemorate the manufacturer’s modest early history.
We pivot to the Porsche brand of 2016, and the retell the story the manufacturer’s struggle and surprise victory over fellow corporate brother Audi and the tremendously motivated Toyota squad at the truest test of man and machine, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
We stay on track to recount the heroic rise of Keke Rosberg, the fiery Finn (and father to current Mercedes F1 pilot Nico) who miraculously went from a down-on-his-luck racer without a contract to 1982 World Driver’s Champion in the space of one enigmatic Grand Prix season.
Finally, we again get our petrol fix with the review of the BAC Mono, one of the purest driver’s cars on the planet. As a technical tour-de-force, we sample what it’s like to drive a “formula car” on public roads.
VOL 11: GRAVITY
In our eleventh edition of the Blackbird Automotive Journal, we delve deep into the greatest street race in Asia; the Macau Grand Prix. For all its uncompromising brutality, Macau’s legendary Guia Street Circuit has endless incredible stories to tell, from beautiful career-defining moments, to heart stopping photo-finishes and teen-age flickers of greatness, sparked by the next generation of driving superstars. These stories are told through some of the race’s most honoured veterans and past champions; Herbert Adamczyk, Nobuhide Tachi and Charles Kwan. We also look at this year’s controversial race and check up on the current crop of up-and-coming future megastars vying for attention through Guia’s tight and unforgiving bends.
In this edition, we also cast our gaze over the recent retirements of Formula 1 legends Jenson Button and Felipe Massa – and a subsequent sensational, un-retirement in Massa’s case. They’re not the only big players to call it quits in the last few months though; what will Audi’s departure from the FIA World Endurance Championship mean for both the dominant German team and the sport itself?
From there, it’s on to Sussex for the greatest weekend on earth, The Goodwood Revival, but not before we attempt to strangle all the performance we can get out of Ayrton Senna’s latest legacy piece – the new Honda NSX. The questions are clear: does this high-tech machine live up to it’s game-changing predecessor and does a hardcore sports car really need four different driving modes?
VOL 12: ETERNAL FORCE
In our twelfth volume of the Blackbird Automotive Journal, we endeavor to understand the eternal forces that push motoring and motorsport ever-onwards.
Japan’s most recognisable race circuit, Fuji International Speedway, turns fifty years old this year, and Blackbird joined the celebrations to better appreciate Fuji’s hand in pushing successive generations of Japanese cars and drivers to new heights. We next move across the Pacific to Amelia Island Concours, and then to Daytona Speedway for Ferrari’s annual Finali Mondiali end-of-year celebrations marking seven decades of excellence from the Italian automaker.
The constantly-evolving world of Formula One is well represented in this volume, with a look back at the sport’s greatest losers; brilliant drivers who, thanks only to unfortunate twists of fate or team orders, never found themselves crowned champion. Next, F1 photographer Hiroshi Kaneko, a veteran of 40 years in the traps, tells us what it took to be the best then, and what it still takes to be the best now. After a look at the state of this year’s Formula One championship, we delve into the story of El Caballo II, an American racer heading back to the Mille Miglia to settle unfinished business.
Volume Twelve rounds out with Tesla’s big-but-fast Model X P100D, the visceral Porsche 911R and the thunderous new Mercedes AMG E63 S 4MATIC+ being put through their paces.