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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Place Your Bets! '08 Baseball Season Mathematically Predicted

Mario_baseball_2_2It’s the beginning of the baseball season, and no matter who you’re supporting (Go Blue Jays!) it’s time to make your yearly predictions. And though each of us have a different method to work out who is going to win what and who’ll take bottom place, I doubt yours will be as involved as Bruce Bukiet’s.

Of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Bruce Bukiet has for the past seven seasons used a mathematical model to calculate who will win, who will do well, and who will fail miserably.

The computer model predicts the probability of how a team will do against any given team, based on who is hitting, who has the home field advantage, who’s on the bench, and who is the starting pitcher and relievers.

Created by an avid New York Mets fan, the model has a pretty decent accuracy rate. According to its creator the model has more often than not picked correctly rather than incorrectly. Last year’s predictions saw him pick the Yankees, Indians, Angels, Mets and Padres as clear Division winners; he was right about the Indians and Angels.

"These results give a guide of how teams ought to perform during the season," he said. "But there are so many unknowns, especially concerning trades, injuries and how rookies will perform that cannot be taken into account."

Nevertheless, the predictions for this season see the American League pretty much down to a contest between the Yankees, Sox, Tigers and Angels (what about my Blue Jays???). However the National League is not so clear cut.

"The National League should see much tighter races, with the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves winning the East and the wild card respectively, while in the Central and West Divisions, only the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Francisco Giants have no real shot of making it to the postseason," Bukiet said.

The complete list of predictions is below, but no matter what the predictions say, the game isn’t over until the fat lady has sung!

* AL East: Yankees – 98; Red Sox – 98; Blue Jays – 86; Rays – 75; Orioles – 63

* AL Central: Tigers – 96; Indians – 87; White Sox – 79; Twins – 74; Royals – 63

* AL West: Angels – 92; Mariners – 78; A's – 75; Rangers – 70

* NL East: Mets – 92; Braves – 89; Phillies – 84; Nationals – 73; Marlins – 70

* NL Central: Brewers – 84; Cubs – 83; Reds – 81; Cardinals – 80; Astros – 79; Pirates – 71

* NL West: Rockies – 85; Padres – 85; Diamondbacks – 83; Dodgers – 82; Giants – 75

Posted by Josh Hill.

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Motor Trend gets 0-60 in 3.2 sec for GTR

Godzilla Unleashed! 2009 Nissan GT-R Acceleration Test

0-60 in 3.2 seconds: Nissan's GT-R terrorizes El Toro Marine Air Station

By Frank Markus
Photography by Evan Klein Art By Mike Royer

Okay, we've strapped Japan's latest monster car to a four-wheel Dynojet dynamometer and tortured it into giving up a 430.6-horsepower rating at the wheels. That translates to between 507 and 574 horses at the crank depending on how much power one assumes the drivetrain is siphoning off in the form of mechanical friction (heat) and hydraulic pumping losses. Judging by the heroic acceleration numbers this two-ton Terminator has been credited with by various testers around the globe, it's tempting to peg power near the top end of that range, but a charge up the Angeles Crest Highway and numerous brief blasts along public roads suggest this is no 570-horse beast. Rather, we expect this car's performance will be explained by more than mere horsepower alone, and a day on the runways at El Toro Marine air station should tell us all we need to know.


The sun is shining, the air is a comfortable 66.9 degrees, humidity is SoCal-low (30 percent), and the car has essentially been sitting still for about two hours when we line up for the first full-on acceleration run. Programming the GT-R's launch control mode requires toggling the transaxle and shock absorbers mode switches up for "R" race modes and the stability-control switch down for off, then engaging the manual shifting mode via the shifter lever. Hold the brake, floor the throttle, revs climb to 4500 rpm -- hold on, they're hovering at 2000. Hmmm. Somewhere in that sequence, the transmission has popped itself back to "normal." To make sure the driver never accidentally engages this mode, one of the switches always has to be reset upon completing the sequence. Ah, there's 4500 rpm. Then simply side-step the brake and...


BAM! The GT-R leaves the line like an arrow from a cross-bow. From the outside, the rear tires spin for a little over a foot, the fronts never visibly slip. The acceleration screen on the center dash confirms the test equipment's assertion that longitudinal acceleration of at least 1.0g persists for almost two seconds. No wonder the forged-aluminum rims have little knurled ridges to keep the tire beads from slipping. Despite the big gs, the car doesn't squat much (Launch Control does NOT loosen rear jounce control to induce squat like many such systems do). Comparatively little thrust is sent to the front wheels, at least according to the center-console display. The rear wheels spin, then 25 percent of the torque gets routed forward (just half the max available), front torque increases to 37 percent briefly during the 1-2 upshift, then trails off to the typical 2 percent. Speaking of the 1-2 shift, the car is accelerating so fast that the tachometer has trouble keeping up, and the driver has to signal for an upshift slightly before the needle kisses the redline to avoid a time-consuming bounce off the rev-limiter.

Nissan senior project engineer Bruce Robinson, on hand to observe the test, remarked that our Bridgestone tires appeared to spin more than did the Dunlops that were run on all previous tests he's observed. This might explain our slightly better launch. (The Bridgestones will be standard fitment on GT-R Premium package models.) A brief cool-down run returns engine temperatures to normal between runs, and by the third one we have our perfect clean run. Employing our customary one-foot rollout and SAE weather correction (it slows the car down by 1.1 percent today), we get:

Acceleration to mph
0-30 1.2 sec
0-40 1.7
0-50 2.4
0-60 3.2
0-70 4.2
0-80 5.3
0-90 6.5
0-100 8
0-110 9.7
0-120 11.6
0-130 14.1
Passing, 45-65 mph 1.6 sec
Quarter mile 11.6 sec @ 120.0 mph

That 3.2-second zero-to-60 mph time ties our best runs in a Porsche 911 Turbo and a 911 GT3-R, and trails only the Ferrari Enzo (3.1 sec) and Bugatti Veyron (2.7 sec) among production test cars. Our 11.6-second quarter-mile time ties the mighty Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR's, but 13 other supercars manage to squeak ahead of our GT-R's elapsed time. Its trap speed of 120 mph is neck-and-neck with the Porsche 911 Turbo's, but at least 20 different models we've tested can top that figure. Perhaps that's the revelation here: Nissan's everyday-usable supercar is at its most super at everyday speeds. Beyond 110 mph the mythical beast becomes increasingly mortal, as illustrated in this graph.

Not in quite that big a hurry? Floor the throttle without Launch Control and the quieter launch adds just 0.8 second to the 60-mph time, 0.6 to the quarter mile.

Acceleration to mph
0-30 1.9 sec
0-40 2.5
0-50 3.2
0-60 4
0-70 4.9
0-80 6
0-90 7.3
0-100 8.7
0-110 10.4
0-120 12.3
0-130 14.8
Passing, 45-65 mph 1.6 sec
Quarter mile 12.2 sec @ 119.7 mph


There are three factors helping the 3879-pound GT-R appear to dodge the laws of physics:

1. Horsepower and torque. Our testing on the four-wheel Dynojet dynamometer at K&N Engineering indicated that the factory ratings of 480 horses and 430 lb-ft are discounted by at least 5 and 14 percent, respectively. To verify the accuracy of the dyno readings we ran a fourth-gear acceleration pull at El Toro and computed the horsepower required to accelerate the mass of the car and driver, plus the power lost to aerodynamic drag and tire friction (using Nissan's 0.27 drag coefficient, a 22.5-sq-ft frontal area computed per SAE formula and assuming a 0.020 coefficient of rolling friction for the tires). Note how closely the overall shape of the curves match, including the slight plateau from 4000-4500 (intake cam timing change?)

2. Short Gearing. The Nissan GT-R's overall gearing (including tires) is among the shortest in supercardom. The Porsche 911 Turbo that served as the GT-R's performance target spins gearing that's taller by an average of 10 percent in the first three ratios, while the Corvette Z06 it competes with most closely on price averages 40 percent taller in the same three gears. Short gearing effectively increases the engine's "leverage" but results in more frequent shifts, which can add time (the Z06's 0-to-60-mph trick is hitting 60 mph in first gear with no time-consuming shifts).

Nissan GT-R Porsche 911 Turbo Corvette Z06
Gear Ratio MPH/1000 RPM Ratio MPH/1000 RPM %Taller Ratio MPH/1000 RPM %Taller
1 4.06 5.33 3.82 5.79 8.70% 2.66 8.42 58.10%
2 2.3 9.39 2.14 10.34 10.10% 1.78 12.59 34.00%
3 1.6 13.55 1.48 14.95 10.40% 1.3 17.24 27.20%
4 1.25 17.32 1.18 18.75 8.30% 1 22.41 29.40%
5 1 21.59 0.97 22.81 5.70% 0.74 30.28 40.20%
6 0.8 27.15 0.79 28.01 3.20% 0.5 44.81 65.00%
Axle ratio 3.7 3.44 3.42

3. Uninterupted torque during shifts. Nissan quotes a 0.2-second time required for shifts, but this is simply the time that elapses between ordering a shift at the steering-wheel paddles and accelerating in the next gear. What isn't mentioned is that rather than coasting with the clutch disengaged during that time (as happens during a 0.10-second Ferrari F1 shift or a 0.15-second BMW SMG shift), power is still flowing through the previous gear. Those precious tenths add up in other cars, but torque interruption is imperceptible in the GT-R. Manual shifts in the Porsche or Corvette consume about a quarter of a second each, and there are at least three of them in a quarter-mile run.

And that, dear GT-R fans, is the science behind the apparent magic that allows this two-ton Godzilla to sprint like a cheetah. Our final installment will dissect the Nissan GT-R's handling performance. Stay tuned.