Monday, June 27, 2011

Final catch up on this weekend's N24 Race

GAZOO Racing Team
My work for the 29th Nürburgring 24 Hour Race is now over. My final blog entry has been posted on the Toyota Europe Corporate Blog. It was an amazing experience to be able to go to that legendary circuit to watch the famous 24-hour race and to report on it.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

P4/5 Competizione at night

Just listen to this...

Toyota Europe Blog: Exclusive interview with André Lotterer

Re-blog from my post on Toyota Europe's Corporate Blog coverage of the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race.

André Lotterer
Coming from your win at Le Mans just two weeks ago, what it your outlook for this year’s Nürburgring 24 Hour Race?
For me, it would be great to have a smooth race. The key to success is having no problems. It’s not as easy as it looks because the track is very demanding on both the cars and the drivers. There are also a lot of cars and the conditions can change quickly. It will definitely be a challenging task, but for the team, our target is to not have any issues.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Getting dark at the Nürburgring

It's been quite an experience at the Nürburgring this weekend. The third day is now drawing to a close. The sunlight has now all but faded. The Eifel Mountains are still ringing with the sound of race engines all the way into the night. I'll do my best to stick it through the full 24 hours, but no promises anyways!

GAZOO Racing Girls and me
GAZOO Racing Girls and me
Dr Ulrich Bez of Aston Martin
In the pit lane during Qualifying
The grid
The grid, part 2
LFA #87 and me
What on earth?
Me and the LFA

Toyota Europe Blog: Exclusive interview with Akira Iida

Re-blog from my post on Toyota Europe's Corporate Blog coverage of the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race.

Last night, after the final round of Qualifying for the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race, GAZOO Racing Team Manager and Driver of LFA #88, Akira Iida sat down with us to share his views on the team and how the race weekend has progressed so far. During the interview, he also gave us a rare insight on the team’s strategy and the outlook for the race starting this afternoon.

Friday, June 24, 2011

#N24h Day 2

The weather here has been as unpredictable as somewhere like Spa-Francorchamps. When we arrived at The Ring this morning, it was a little cloudy but the sun was beating through the light clouds.

Then it started pouring - and by that I mean buckets and buckets chucking down. Then the sun won against the clouds again... And it's kept going back and forth since.

Qualifying 2 starts in about half an hour. I'll keep posting and updating as the day progresses.

#N24h "Organised Chaos"

Wow! What a first day out at the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race. It was just the first Qualifying session yesterday, but I had a first hand look at how it all happens. It's pretty rough in the pits. Everything happens and everyone is squeezed in a very confined space. I called it "organised chaos".

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Toyota Europe Blog: The air is electrifying in Germany

Re-blog from my post on Toyota Europe's Corporate Blog coverage of the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race.

The excitement is building at that little known circuit nestled in the Eifel Mountains in Germany. I just arrived at the legendary Nürburgring for this weekend’s 24-hour race. Walking through the paddocks, you can just feel that electrifying excitement building in the air.

In the hustle and bustle, engineers are cleaning the wheels and checking the tyres. Just across the busy paddock walkway, members of another team are busy disassembling pieces of the car’s body to make adjustments and repairs.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Coming soon, live from Nürburgring 24 Hour Race

Just finished off at the office. Back home now to pack. Where am I going? - I hear you ask. The Nürburgring 24 Hour race, of course!

I'll be heading out tomorrow morning to bring you the gruelling endurance race live from the legendary circuit. Follow my blog posts on Toyota Europe's Cororate Blog and this site ( I'll also be tweeting from @toyota_europe and @KryptonZone throughout the weekend.

Watch this space!

- Coming straight from my iPad

Monday, June 20, 2011

Star Wars Theme on piano...

This is quite incredible. Really worth a watch. [embedded video]

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Photos from '11 Geneva Motorshow

Finally, I've found some time to get a few pics up from this year's Geneva Motorshow. You can find the album in the Cars page on this blog. Enjoy!

Toyota FT-86 II Concept
Image source: Krypton Zone (c) 2011 Entertainment

Friday, June 17, 2011

Waking Sleeping Beauty (2009)

I can't remember where it came from, but a few weeks ago I decided to rekindle some old childhood memories when I decided to watch what I've always thought were Disney's finest movies. Yes, Snow White and the old Disney Classics were spectacular. But I'm an 80s child, so, for me, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King were by far the most influential and memorable for me.

While reconnecting with my younger self, I also did some reading up about those movies as I watched. It turns out, that these movies were collectively part of the "Disney Renaissance" when the magic factory moved out of it's rut and produced some of the company's greatest hits, both critically and financially. Then I discovered Waking Sleeping Beauty, a 2009 documentary by Disney producer Don Hahn. The film documents the rebirth of the animation company all the way up to the 1994 release of The Lion King (the movie I've always considered as Disney's last properly good animation feature, in the traditional sense).

It wasn't like any documentary I've ever seen. The film was based on a series of home videos, stock footage and behind the scenes takes with some of the key players of the time. The film gave me an unprecedented insight into the workings, the politics, the strife and eventual return to the world stage of one of the world's most influential movie companies. The film, narrated by Hahn, starts off with a home video in the 80s of the artists at Disney, and within 10 minutes, you can already learn that young John Lasseter (of Pixar fame) was the cameraman for that particular video, and an even younger and sullen looking Tim Burton behind the drawing board.

The dynamics of several strong egos in the company's management and how they tried to balance out the artists from the businessmen was at the heart of this film. Everyone had passion for each of their areas, and so much more so than anything else I've seen, but, together, they eventually brought a company with an amazing history back from the brinks.

One scene showed one of the animators explaining why he chose to take up on drawing the lead character, Ariel, for The Little Mermaid after he heard the hauntingly beautiful title song, Part of Your World, sung by Jodi Benson. The shear passion exhibited by the animator was amazing. It really shows how good music and good soundtracks can add such an emotional level to movies.

Its really great to take a walk down memory lane again, and it couldn't have been better time for that. These newer Disney Classics told, not just a great story, but it contained a moral in each of the stories. At a time of general strife and uncertainty in the world we currently live in, not only is it nice to take a break from it all and immerse oneself in something truly meaningful, but also to relearn some old fashioned values that may have been lost in this fast moving world.

Since those days, I think the Disney/Pixar collaboration has been tremendous. Even though we are no longer talking about painstakingly drawing frame by frame, this new CGI medium is still capable of teaching great values to children and adult alike. How can I forget when Lightning McQueen pushed Mr The King across the finish line. And how WALL-E risked everything to save humanity's last hope in a tiny weed, also to show his affection for EVE.

How can we forget, though, the ballroom scene in Beauty and the Beast. The magic carpet ride in Aladdin. And the epic opening scene of The Lion King.

In my journey of re-discovery, I also discovered a chap on YouTube who recorded several of the theme songs from the Disney Renaissance. He played and recorded these piano instrumental versions of some of my all-time favourite Disney tunes, and I found them truly addictive. It's really worth listening to, over and over again. Below are direct links to pianomusiclovr's YouTube recordings.

Part of Your World (The Little Mermaid, 1989)

A Whole New World (Aladdin, 1992)

Can You Feel the Love Tonight (The Lion King, 1994)

- Coming straight from my iPad

Image source: Walt Disney Company
Audio source: pianomusiclovr on YouTube

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sneak Peak at New Top Gear Series

The 17th Series of BBC's Top Gear comes back to the screen in just 11 days time. Here's the trailer I found last night. Thanks to the guys at @AutoblogNews and

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Toyota Corporate Blog: Toyota name returns to La Sarthe


Are you as excited as I am? The 79th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans takes place this weekend. What makes it even more exciting is that Toyota is once again making an appearance, after being absent for 12 years, at the legendary La Sarthe circuit in France.

Toyota provides engines for the Swiss REBELLION Racing team for the 2011 season through Toyota Motorsports GbmH (TMG) based in Cologne, Germany. REBELLION is running two Lola-Toyota LMP1 racers in the Le Mans Series in Europe as well as the big race this weekend.

Read more

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Parting view from Endeavour

I really couldn't help but to share this amazing picture of NASA's Endeavour Space Shuttle docking, for the final time, at the International Space Station. As it sits, docked with the ISS, the shuttle and the station orbits at a relentless speed across the night skies set in front of the spectacular cosmos.

The wonderful workhorse of human advancement will be heading back to Earth soon to complete the STS-134 mission. At the end of this final mission for Endeavour, it will be prepared and delivered to forever stand as a museum display.

Maybe it will inspire the next generation to continue in the footsteps of those who came before us and dreamt up this wonderful vehicle to the stars!

- Coming straight from my iPad

Image source: NASA