Friday, September 24, 2021

Robert Wickens Returns To Driving In A Hyundai!

 Rising star Robert Wickens was making a name in Indycar in 2018.  I watched as he won the pole for the 2018 Indycar Grand Prix run on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida in March that year.  He had already accomplished so much in other racing series including FIA Formula Two, the GP3 Series, Formula Renault 3.5, DTM and now Indycar.

A horrific crash in August 2018 nearly ended his life, let alone his racing career. But like Niki Lauda of F1 fame, Robert fought back with dedication and vowed to return to racing.  He is still progressing to this day and a major milestone has been achieved by landing a seat with Brian Herta Autosport using a hand control system developed for driver, Michael Johnson in a Hyundai Veloster TCR car. 

Click Here For Video:

The next year  Robert attended the St. Petersburg Grand Prix and I was fortunate to meet him at the drivers autograph session. It was there that I gave him a copy of my book, Echoes From The Glen that highlights Niki Lauda on the cover. I remember inscribing inside the jacket a personal note to Robert that said let Niki Lauda be your inspiration as you recover so that you in turn, can inspire others recoverinig from a spinal cord injury.  Here's the pictures that recorded my brief meeting with Robert:

                     That's me handing Robert a copy of my book 'Echoes From The Glen"

So for more on this story, here's a video of Robert back in a race car!  Thanks to Brian Herta Autosport Bravo!    Click Below:

Robert Wickens Interview

And here's some pictures of Robert on the track at the St. Petersburg Grand Prix in 2018. 

Good luck to you Robert and I can't wait to see you in a Hyundai at a track near me soon..

Brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher of 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Why I May Be Switching To Hyundai

 Hyundai has never been a brand I thought of for performance cars until recently.  I am most familiar with Porsche, BMW, Alfa Romeo and even Honda, having owned all of them in the past, but Hyundai never came to mind.  Until now.  To show you what I mean here's a quick look at what is helping me change my thinking to possibly buying an Elantra N when they are released later in 2021:

How Hyundai Is Changing Its Image

                New Hyundai Elantra -  At the Michelin Pilot Challenge Watkins Glen International

I first got a hint that Hyundai was up to some good things when seeing a Veloster N displayed at the Sahlen's IMSA Six Hours of the Glen race a couple of years ago. I took a look at the car and was impressed but then went on to dream of owning an Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio, powered by a 505 HP Ferrari derived twin turbo V6.  (Which I ended up buying in September 2019)  I needed the utility of a 4 door sedan to carry the grandkids but wanted a wicked fast, good handling car when by myself. The Veloster was not big enough for my needs.

I also remember seeing articles in the major car magazines a few years back announcing the somewhat shocking news that Hyundai had persuaded Albert Biermann to join them. Yes, that Albert Biermann - the engineer who made the BMW M  cars earn their stripes. Hyundai appointed him President and  Head of R&D Division of Hyundai/ Kia Motors and assigned him to making fast performance cars in 2018.  That did get my attention and I remember his name being mentioned often at the launch of the Kia Stinger. Obviously he had a lot to do with that project.  ( See attached for his credentials- very impressive)

Albert Biermann- Why he's good at making performance cars people want to buy:

But back at the drawing board Albert and company were working on developing the 'N' Brand of performance cars for Hyundai.  These cars would be fast, but affordable.  That is a tall order. First came the Veloster hot hatch,  then very recently the Kona N and any day now, the Elantra N.  At the same time they were developing the N Line cars for the lineup which are tamer versions of the N car concept.  (For example the N Line Elantra and the N Line Sonata.)

The Elantra N is so very new there are no real world extended tests or driving impressions published.  The few quick reviews and driving impressions I've seen on YouTube are promising.  Everything said so far is that this car is the real deal at a fraction of the cost of the brands I mention above. We will have to wait and see, but I have an inkling that this Elantra N will make a big mark in the enthusiast world and perhaps be the start of a new generation of Nthusiasts.  Like the Alfisti that drool over classic GTV's, or Porsche Aficionados that dream of owning a 356, or Beamers that wish they could own a 70's 2002; the Elantra N and the Veloster N may become the new cult cars that my grandkids will dream of!

Why is this happening?   In this world of rapid EV development, and predictions of the future death of the ICE vehicle, how is it that Hyundai is bringing cars like the  Veloster N, Kona N and Elantra N to market?

I think they are very smart, that's why.  Like Honda and Datsun in the late '60s and early '70's, Hyundai recognizes what people want.  Hyundai is creating a buzz, they are energizing the consumers with an exciting product that will get them to come into the showroom to see what the excitement is. And even for those that don't care about performance cars, the fact that Hyundai is winning races says they are bringing technology from the race track into their entire car line paying dividends in terms of reliability, durability and quality.  They are spot on IMO.

And now here's a teaser report on the new Elantra N that should be on sale by the end  of 2021.  Watch out Honda Si, Volkswagen GTI and Subaru WRX!

Hyundai is Gunning For Honda   Click here to see how!

To wrap up, here's a few pictures I have from seeing the Veloster N and Elantra N TCR cars racing at Watkins Glen back in July.  They are currently leading the series and they just came off an impressive 1, 2,3 finish at Laguna Seca,  which is Hyudai USA's home track.

        This is the N Line Elantra- Not quite the full blown 'N" but a real bargain at about $26,000

That's it for this report.  Stay tuned to see if I get that new Elantra N.   Performance Blue if you please, Mr. Hyundai.

Brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher and Author of Echoes From The Glen.  Follow at @wownowpics

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Watkins Glen International Summer 2021 Races Part 2


First, congratulations to David Porter for winning pole position and both races in the Masters Historic Racing series here at Watkins Glen in the #7 Peugeot 908.  David is getting the thumbs up from Scooter Gabel in his M3 while on the cool down lap in Saturday's race. The Peugeot 908 David is driving came in second at the 24 hours of LeMans in 2008.  Click below to get a sense of how well the car and David performed:

Here's the race report from Watkins Glen:

And here'sthe scoop on the new Formula Atlantic series:

Formula Atlantic To Race At Watkins Glen

Another friend of mine and fellow member of Tampa Bay Cafe' Racers, Don Ondrejcak was there with his 2007 Porsche GT3 that raced at the Daytona Rolex 24 Hour race in 2007.  It is an ex TRG (The Racers Group) customer car and with Don driving, took the HSR Group 10, Global GT and Modern Endurance Championships on 2017, 2018 and 2019.  Don took second in class and 2nd place overall in Sunday's race in the rain.   Here's Don's car:

        Luck would have it-  I took this shot of David and Don rounding the hill coming into turn 9!

I'll finish by sharing many other pictures for you, including some exqusite Formula 1 cars that screamed around this track decades ago.  I happened to be fortunate to see them in their heyday and was thrilled to see them back here. Sit back and dream of days gone by!

                                                  These guys are not taking it easy!

                                                             Niki Lauda's Ferrari


                                 A sight to remember!   Three JPS Formula 1 cars at full song!

           Oh, yes- David Porter also brought his Ford Cortina to campaign in the series.

    Like a shark about to jump out of the water, David Porter's Peugeot charges up the hill into turn 9.

                                                 Even Formula Atlantic cars were there.

As you can see, there were all kinds of cars and classes - like a kid in a candy store, where do you begin?  And where do you end-  well with some American muscle and some big F1 tires!

I'll be back here for the vintage car races in September.
Hope you enjoyed the pictures brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher of
Also @wownowpics on Instagram

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Watkin Glen International Racing Photos Summer 2021 Part 1

This is a most unusual way to start, but this picture says a lot about how the fans feel that come to this iconic race track in the incredibly beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York State. Like the I Love NY logo embedded on the grass on the inside of the 90, this decorated stone was left at the other end of the track by the base of a tree overlooking the boot area. Just left there, no rhyme or reason, other than for someone else to to see and think this is a special place!   Out of all the hundreds of acres, finding this meant something to me as this has been a special place for over 50 years for me. This is where I come to hear the whine and roar of engines reverberating against the forest. There's no way to describe it, so maybe that's what this fan did- make a chalk painting on a stone from the very ground the track is built from!


On to the race pictures-  there is so much to cover, I decided to make this a two post pictorial review. The first in this post the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen, Lamborghini Super Trofeo, The Porsche Carrera Cup, and the  Michelin Pilot Challenge TCR and Gran Sport race.  And the second post will be dedicated to the Masters historic racing series along with the return of Formula One cars to the Glen. 

All in all this is quite a feast of photos for you.

Let's begin some georgeous Lamborghini's:

And how about a few Porsches:

And then, the IMSA cars:

                            HERE'S THE SEQUENCE - THE FIRST TURN, FIRST LAP!

                             HOW HE DIDN'T CAUSE A HUGE WRECK, I DON'T KNOW.  
                        HE GOT STARTED AND KEPT GOING- NO FULL COURSE YELLOW.              

   And now the Michelin Pilot Challenge cars including TCR cars:

     Brian Herta Autosport had a big presence all weekend. Hundreds of fans wearing BHA T Shirts!

    Taylor Hagler, First Female To Win a TCR race in North America - (Lime Rock the July 17th)

            Race winner, Honda Civic by Atlanta Speedwerks. Robert Noaker and Brian Henderson.

                                                         Alfa Romeo  -  A quick car!

                                         The new Elantra N - coming to showrooms soon!

                                                   Fan favorite Hyundai Veloster

As you can see there was a lot to cover. This is a fraction of the 1600 photos I have. If you want to request any specific car or series, put it in the comments and I'll see what I have.  And you can see Hyundai is on a roll when it comes to the new 'N' cars which now include the Elantra N!

Part two is in the next post covering many more great shots of spectacular cars.

Brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Pulisher and author of "Echoes from The Glen".