Why You Should Be Skeptical Of Every Nürburgring Run

Welcome to Must Read, where we single out the best stories from around the automotive universe and beyond. Today we've got reports from The Truth About Cars, NYCAviation, and ConsumerGuide.

Nissmo Ring GT-R: Not So FastThe Truth About Cars

Yes, we love to hype the latest 'Ring Run, including the NISMO GT-R's 7:08 trip. Yes, we also should understand that these times are largely meaningless.

The rest of the stuff probably matters, in this order: The 110-lb weight loss isn't much in the context of a GT-R but it's worth a few seconds. The additional aero must have been nice, but the 'Ring is one of those tracks where having big wings for cornering speed just kills you when it's time to go fast down the long straights. I've long suspected that a Viper ACR with a drag-reduction system in the rear wing a la Chaparral or modern F1 would be a seven-minute-flat car. The custom damping is hugely helpful and it's one of the reasons that Continental Challenge cars are so much faster than NASA PT racers to the same spec.

Do Commercial Pilots Really 'Suck' At Manual Flying?NYC Aviation

Well, we don't have much faith in cargo pilots at the moment.

So,then, is the FAA report full of hot air? Is the greatest danger in the sky today the automated cockpit or not? Well, danger is a mighty loaded term. Is it more "dangerous" to land with your fly open or closed? What the study apparently fails to mention is the vast improvement of air safety with the advent of these highly sophisticated systems. Aircraft and aviation technology have evolved to the point where human beings are by far the weakest link in the safety chain. Ironically, pilots also remain its greatest asset.

Driving a Trabant, the "Worst Automotive Monstrosity Known to the Modern World"ConsumerGuide Auto

Still, I kind of love the Trabant.

A couple of things became immediately apparent. Even for someone who has owned some seriously slow cars in his day (including a 40-bhp VW microbus, a Mercedes-Benz 190 diesel, and a full-size Chevy with three dead cylinders and a dragging brake), accelerating up to anything resembling "speed" takes a lot of patience. It also takes a lot of effort—from both driver and Trabant—as the lack of power and cumbersome shift linkage combine for labored progress. To say this relic of the erstwhile German Democratic Republic is "slow as molasses" would be an undue compliment. Not to put too fine a point on it, but if dropped into the stream of a Chicago commute, a Trabi at full gait would be slow enough to make a turtle honk.