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Attending My First Formula 1 Race With Shell And Scuderia Ferrari

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2017 USGP - Sebastian Vettel

Attending a Formula 1 race has been on my bucket list for years now, and this year I was finally able to make that dream a reality thanks to our friends at Shell, who hosted me at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin TX for an action-packed, star-studded race weekend that I won’t soon forget!

For those of you wondering why Shell brought us out to the F1 race, it’s because Shell and Scuderia Ferrari have one of the longest, most successful partnerships in Formula 1 history, dating back to 1929 when Enzo Ferrari founded his racing team in Modena, Italy, and Shell was his partner of choice. Shell V-Power NiTRO+ premium gasoline grew out of this technical partnership between the two companies.

Shell V-Power race fuel and lubricants have delivered impressive performance & efficiency gain for Scuderia Ferrari’s Formula 1 cars over the years, and to learn more about this, we started off our weekend with a visit to the Shell Technology Center in Houston, where we got some behind-the-scenes interactions with fuels and lubricants scientists before making our way out to Austin for the race.

2017 USGP Paddock Tour

Like many of you, I never gave much thought to what gas station I was filling up at, typically going wherever was closest or cheapest (though I would avoid the sketchy no-name places). But as I learned, not all gas is created equally, and Shell V-Power NiTRO+ premium gasoline actually provides protection against gunk, wear, and corrosion for optimum engine performance.

To illustrate this point, Shell submerged two intake valves in fuel (one with Shell V-Power NiTRO+ premium gasoline, the other with a lower quality premium gasoline), and then set them ablaze to mimic what happens inside your engine. The results were pretty cut and dry, with the one intake valve looking good as new, while the other one had noticeable gunk and carbon deposits left behind. Can you guess which was which?

What’s more, making the switch to Shell V-Power NiTRO+ can help to remove the gunk, wear, and corrosion that has built up in your engine over time, resulting in better performance (like when your car left the factory) and possibly even better fuel economy. Given the small difference in price, which is even less if you enroll in the Shell Fuel Rewards program, it seems like a no-brainer to fill your car up with Shell.

Shell Track Lab

Afterwards, we headed off to Austin, excited for a weekend of high-speed racing at COTA, where we would get to take in all of the action from the swanky Ferrari Paddock Club. For those of you who have not been to the Circuit of the Americas before, it’s an incredible track, offering great views no matter where you sit.

Being in the Scuderia Ferrari suite, we had an incredible view of the front straightaway, garage and pit areas, which was pretty awesome. I couldn’t have asked for a better seat, but it’s definitely spoiled me for any future F1 races, that’s for sure.

After lunch, we headed downstairs for a tour of the Paddock area, where we got to see what goes on behind the scenes. In addition, we got to go inside the Shell Track Lab (pictured above), a trackside laboratory where Shell can sample and test the vehicles fuels and lubricants throughout the race weekend.

2017 USGP - Kimi Räikkönen

Now I know what you’re thinking – Why does Shell need a mobile laboratory to test fuel and engine oil, given that no one else is doing this? It’s all about that competitive edge. Case in point, if Shell notices an abnormal presence of wear metals in the oil, that could indicate a potential problem with the engine. Since teams aren’t allowed to open the engines to see what’s going on, they rely on data like this to make informed decisions.

Because each team only has four engines per driver per year available to them, you can see why this testing is so important, and how Shell’s Track Lab is a valuable resource to the Ferrari team.

In the end, Scuderia Ferrari had a successful weekend, with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen finishing the race in second and third place respectively, with Sebastian just a few seconds behind Lewis Hamilton. I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend, and I’ll definitely be coming back to COTA again!

Disclosure: Thanks to Shell for providing the accommodations for this trip.

Sujeet Patel is the founder of Guys Gab, and one of the biggest automotive enthusiast you'll ever meet. He's been fortunate enough to turn his passion for cars into a full-time job. Like they say, "If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life."

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How To Know When It’s Time To Get A New Family Car

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Whether you have a sensible sedan, a standard minivan, or a versatile SUV, you place a lot of trust in your family car. However, no matter how reliable your vehicle is, you’ll have to replace it with a new model eventually. How do know when it’s the right time to upgrade? Here are some of the top signs it’s a good time to buy a new family car.

1. You’re Paying Expensive Repair Costs

No matter how well you look after your vehicle, time, wear and tear, and age eventually take their toll. When you find yourself having to make minor repairs often or taking your car into the shop several times a year for substantial and expensive fixes, it may be time to consider moving on.

Keeping a car past its prime can cost a lot of money in terms of repair costs. Older cars are generally less efficient as well, so you could be overspending on gas. Mileage is another important factor to consider. Some makes and models can be reliable past 200,000 miles, whereas others become unstable before this milestone. Do some research on your car to determine how likely it is that you’ll run into constant problems if you continue driving it.

2. Your Family Is Growing

Your compact car may have worked fine when you had your first child, but squeezing multiple car seats in the back can be a challenge. If your family is growing in number, or simply growing up, chances are you have more car seats, luggage, backpacks, and sports gear you need to fit in your vehicle. If you’re constantly trying to maneuver things around to make riding in your car comfortable, it may be time to consider an upgrade.

If you choose to upgrade your family car, you can look forward to several benefits beyond just having more space. Newer cars generally have more features, and models designed for families (such as minivans) may have numerous helpful additions. You may find that having a new car with more cupholders, configurable seats, automatic doors, and entertainment systems makes your time driving with the family exponentially more comfortable.

3. You’re Moving to a Different Location

If you are moving to a place with a drastically different climate, it could be wise to buy a new family car. For example, if you’re moving to a sunny coastal climate, you may want to trade in your four-wheel-drive for something smaller and more efficient. Alternately, if you’re moving to a mountain state, it’s probably a good idea to consider switching your convertible out for a reliable and maneuverable SUV.

4. You’re Financially Ready

One of the most challenging parts of upgrading your family car is the financial burden. Whether you buy new or used, chances are taking home a new vehicle will require paying a hefty chunk of cash or signing a big loan. Either way, your personal financial status plays a large part in deciding when it’s time to buy a new car.

However, you can look at it the other way as well. If you are in a good financial spot with excellent credit and a comfortable safety net in the bank, you may want to think about investing in a new car. Buying at a time when you can afford a large down payment and qualify for a favorable loan can make more financial sense than waiting until repairs force you to buy a new car quickly. If you wait, you may not be in such sound financial waters as you are now.

Being able to afford a new car or qualify for a good loan also gives you the flexibility to choose the best option for your family. Maybe you want to move to an electric car to save money on gas and help the environment. Perhaps you want to get an SUV to make it easier and safer to spend weekends camping in the mountains. When you have the time and resources to do all the research and choose the best model for your family, it can take a lot of stress out of the whole process.

Deciding when to upgrade your family car can require a lot of thought. However, there are some standard signs that can indicate it’s time to start considering a new vehicle. Mounting repair costs can make it financially more affordable to get a new car. You may also want to consider upgrading when you’re in a good financial spot with the assets to either pay cash or secure a favorable loan.

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The 2019 BMW M850i xDrive Coupe Will Set You Back $111,900

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2019 BMW M850i xDrive Coupe

Last month, BMW unveiled the long-awaited 8 Series Coupe to the delight of enthusiasts from around the world, who have been waiting nearly two decades for the Bavarian car company to bring back the iconic luxury sports coupe.

BMW gave us a full run-down on the the 2019 BMW M850i xDrive Coupe, which is powered by a new twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 that puts out 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, launching the car from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 155 mph.

The BMW M850i is equipped with xDrive rear-biased intelligent all-wheel drive, mated to an eight-speed Steptronic Sport automatic transmission that has been updated with wider ratios and sportier gear shifts. Standard performance features include M Sport brakes and Adaptive M suspension with Active-Roll Stabilization.

Standard equipment on the BMW M850i xDrive Coupe includes Full LED headlights with BMW LaserLight technology, BMW Individual Merino leather seats, BMW Live Cockpit Professional, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, and more.

That all sounds great, but how much will it cost?

The 2019 BMW M850i xDrive Coupe starts will start at $111,900 plus a $995 Destination and Handling fee, with cars arriving in dealerships nationwide on December 8th.

Naturally, BMW has a plethora of options to push that sticker price much higher, including an optional Driving Assistant Professional, a 1,400 watt Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound system, a carbon fiber exterior trim package, just to name a few.

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The 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Is The Demon’s Spawn

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2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye

As you’ve probably heard, the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon has already reached the end of its limited-production run, with 3,300 of them produced in less than a year.

Missed out on your chance to purchase one? Well today is your lucky day, because Dodge/SRT just unveiled the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye today, a slightly less powerful Demon spawn, with “only” 797 horsepower and 707 pound-feet of torque, with an eight-speed automatic transmission as the only option.

The Hellcat Redeye will rocket from 0-60 in 3.4 seconds, run the quarter-mile in 10.8 seconds at 131 mph, with a top speed of 203 mph, earning it the bragging rights as the “most powerful production V8” and “quickest production muscle car” currently in production.

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye

Needless to say, the Mustang Shelby GT500 is going to struggle keeping up with this bad boy. Same with the Corvette ZR1, which comes up short with 755 horsepower.

Like its Demon brethren, the Hellcat Redeye has 25 major component upgrades, including a larger supercharger, strengthened connecting rods and pistons, high-speed valve train, fuel injection system and improved lubrication system.

It also has the Torque Reserve system that delivers up to 3.9 psi of boost at launch and up to 55% more engine torque, along with the SRT Power Chiller and After-Run Chiller (which use the air conditioning system to cool the intercooler and reduce engine temps).

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye

And new for 2019, the Redeye offers two final drive ratios, a standard 2.62:1 or an available 3.09:1 for enhanced launch capabilities. Helping put all that power to the ground is a high-strength steel prop shafts and 41-spline half shafts, both of which increase torque capacity.

Furthermore, the SRT Hellcat Redeye is available with the Demon’s Widebody package, which allows for some meatier tires (275mm on the standard body cars, 305mm on the widebody cars). That extra rubber helps shave off 0.3 seconds in the 1/4 mile (10.8s vs 11.1s), so to us it seems like a no-brainer. It also looks pretty bad-ass.

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye

No word on pricing just yet, but expect it to fall somewhere between the Hellcat and Demon. And if that ends up being too rich for your blood, you can always go with a “normal” Hellcat, which gets a modest power bump to 717 horsepower and 656 lb-ft of torque.

The 2019 Challenger lineup will roar into dealerships in the fourth quarter of 2018, so you’d better start saving your money now.

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