Tag Archives: Pirro

Continental Falcon – Mercury Comet Cyclone #4T27K546286

In 1964 Mercury introduced the second generation Mercury Comet which featured a few front and rear end Lincoln Continental styling queues on a body that does not differ greatly from the second generation Ford Falcon also introduced in 1964.

A Cyclone performance package was offered for the Comet which included a 4,736 cc / 289 cui V8 producing 210 hp in 1964, but only 200 hp the following year despite an upgrade to a four barrel carburetor for the latter.

Mercury Comet Cyclone, Silverstone Classic,

Bill Stroppe and partner Clay Smith got started running a manufacturer sanctioned Lincoln / Mercury west coast race shop after impressing Ford’s top brass at the 1947 Henry Ford Memorial Regatta with their Miss Art Hall a Mercury flat head six power boat.

Bill won an SCCA championship with a Mercury powered Kurtis 500S in 1952 and prepared four car teams of Lincoln Capri’s which swept their class on the Carrera Panamerica in 1952 and 1953.

Mercury Comet Cyclone, Silverstone Classic,

After producing police packages for Mercury’s and working with Autolite during the 1957 to 1963 ban on manufacturer involvement in racing Bill Stroppe returned to the tracks with his stock car team who’s drivers included Parnelli Jones, Dave MacDonald and Darel Dieringer that found most of it’s success on the USAC circuit and at Pikes Peak.

Bill also produced a string of successful drag racers for Frank Christman and others and even convinced Parnelli – Jones to extend his career into the 1970’s to drive his successful Baja Bronco off road vehicles.

Mercury Comet Cyclone, Silverstone Classic,

Exactly what Bill Stroppe Racing Associates involvement with Roger Wills ’65 Cyclone historic racer chassis #4T27K546286, seen in these photographs, was is not clear at this time, if you know please do not hesitate to chime in below.

Roger has shared his Comet Cyclone in historic endurance events with 2 time European GT Champion and IMSA GT Champion John Fitzpatrick, 5 times Le Mans winner Emmanuele Pirro and current works Porsche driver and fellow New Zealander Brendon Hartley.

Thanks for joining me on this “Continental Falcon” edition of “Gettin a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for Ferrari Friday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Diesel Über Alles – Audi R10 TDI #102

After winning Le Mans five times from six attempts between 2000 and 2005, interrupted only by Bentley with it’s Audi derived V8 motor, Audi entered the 2006 season with a real game changer.

The turbocharged 5.5 litre V12 335 cui motor used to power the Audi R10 TDI was to run on diesel, and thus reopen a frontier of development in top line motorsport not seriously looked at since the turbocharged Cummins Diesel Special appeared at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1952.

Audi R10 TDI, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Chassis #102 seen here at Goodwood Festival of Speed appeared in just six races in 2006, after being the fastest car in testing at the Sebring it disgraced it’s self by retiring with an overheating motor in the Sebring 12 hours with Frank Biela, Marco Werner and Emanuele Pirro at the wheel. It’s sister car chassis #101 driven by Rinaldo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish became the first diesel powered vehicle to win an international sports car race.

The #102 was 4th fastest on it’s next appearance at the Le Mans test day and two weeks later qualified second for the 2006 Le Mans 24 Hour Race with the Frank, Marco and Emmanuel again sharing the driving.

Audi R10 TDI, Goodwood Festival of Speed

The 2006 Le Mans 24 Hours was won by today’s featured car which finished four laps ahead of the petrol powered Pescarolo Sport C60 Hybrid driven by Rally legend Sebastian Loeb with Eric Hélary and Franck Montagny.

After Le Mans #102 was sent back to the States to compete in the American Le Mans series where it competed in four more events with Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela sharing the car for two second place finishes at Portland and Laguna Seca.

The R10 TDI claimed two further Le Mans victories in 2007 and 2008 and every Le Mans winner between 2006 and 2011 would be diesel powered with Peugeot interrupting the Audi juggernaut with it diesel powered 908 HDI in 2009. In 2012 and 2013 Audi continued winning Le Mans with it’s diesel electric hybrid R18 e-tron quattro model.

Thanks for joining me on this “Diesel Überalles” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow for another pre ’39/’45 war British Le Mans competitor designed by W.O.Bentley, that is not a Bentley. Don’t forget to come back now !