Thursday, 24 February 2011
The latest FREE monthly issue of Road Magazine is live NOW! It is a luxurious, lavish prestige car special, featuring staff snapper Neil Denham's review of the high-tech Audi A8 V8, ex-Roadie Tim Hutton's verdict on the sumptuous VW Phateon W12, a sneaky peak at Range Rover's new baby Evoque and a glorious run through the alps on the Tour Des Niveaux supercar tour, in the sunshine of the south of France. You can read it FREE here: www.issuu.com/roadonlinemagazine/docs/road_12, or by clicking on the cover image in the right hand menu bar. Please enjoy it, let us know what you think, and share it with your friends. Thanks, Team Road.
The 81st Geneva Motor Show is packed with great car releases and concepts and Subaru will be unveiling a cracker – in the form of their "BOXER Sports Car Architecture" concept – a joint collaboration with the Toyota Motor Corporation. Based on an all-new platform, the concept features Subaru's hallmark horizontally-opposed Boxer flat four engine, but will not be AWD, but rear-wheel-drive. Yes! At last! Another great pair of Japanese manufacturers collaborate to make a modern RWD classic. It's most exciting! Subaru will also be unveiling their latest Impreza concept and the new Trezia compact smart wagon. Exciting times ahead... and it looks to be a great Geneva show, starts March 1st.
Geneva Motor Show will see Jaguar unveil and launch a special edition XKR-S, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their iconic E-Type. It will be Jaguar's most powerful and fastest series production car ever, with a re-developed and uprated supercharged V8 engine, offering a massive 550PS and 680Nm torque – delivering 0-60mph in just 4.2s, 0-100mph in a staggering 8.6s and 186mph top speed. An uprated Adaptive Dynamics System has been developed to "allow the enthusiastic driver to explore the edges of the handling envelope." Ian Callum, Jaguar Design Director said: "It is impossible to overstate the impact the E-Type had. Here was a car that encapsulated the spirit of the revolutionary era it came to symbolise. We’re looking forward to celebrating achievement and looking forward with our all-new sports cars in Geneva.” It looks and sounds tremendous, no? A fine modern tribute to the legendary E-Type – if not as pretty as the best looking car ever made.
To celebrate over 900,000 MX-5's rolling off the production line (100,000 of which reached the UK), Mazda are releasing a 'Kendo' special edition of the world's most popular roadster. Priced at £19,255 for the 126PS 1.8-litre soft-top and £22,320 for the 160PS 2.0-litre roadster coupe (OTR), it comes with unique stone leather interior, 17-inch tinted rims, front fogs, heated seats, brushed aluminium style-bar trim and aluminium pedals. “Today, the Mazda MX-5 remains unrivalled as a rewarding sportscar that can also be used for everyday motoring throughout the year. The MX-5 soft-top continues to offer the purest, fun-to-drive thrills, while the Roadster Coupe adds to those thrills with an even more premium experience, and the same exhilarating drive,” says Mazda UK Sales Director Mark Cameron.
Toyota will be supporting the 2011 Toyota Sprint Series – set-up and run since 2008 by Toyota enthusiasts, Adrian Smith of Fensport and Barry Cross. This season is expected to see a field of up to 50 Toyotas – from old school Celica, MR2 and Supra to modern day Aygo and Yaris – do battle against the clock at six UK sprint and race venues, including Rockingham, Croft and Llandow. The events are split into 16 different classes, so there are plenty of glories up for grabs, and opportunities for all – from race aces, to novices. Adrian Smith said: “The series truly reflects Toyota's sporting history and involvement with grassroots motorsport and we are proud to have Toyota's support. We will provide every driver with an exciting, enjoyable, friendly and affordable sporting experience.” The provisional calendar and entry fees and information can be found at www.toyotasprint.com
The Red Bull Skoda team will make its debut on the gravel of Mexico on March 5th and 6th – in the first round of the 2011 S-WRC series, covering 22 special stages over 365Km around Sierra de Lobos and Sierra de Guanajuato. Last year’s Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) champions, Juho Hänninen and Mikko Markkula, will be competing in this Skoda Fabia S2000, supported by Red Bull. Current plans are for the team to compete at events in Sardinia, Greece, Finland, Germany, France and Spain. Juho Hänninen said: “Our appearance in S-WRC is a big challenge for the whole team. We have high ambitions, as we want to be among the leaders of the field. The competition is going to be strong, but we have prepared well.” Looks good, great team and wonderful to see Skoda's name in rallying. Good luck team!
This is a fabulous video (from our friends at www.bridgetogantry.com) showing a classic Green Hell dog fight between two brilliant, but very different track cars – Caterham R500, offering 263bhp in a 506Kg shell, and Porsche 911 GT2, offering 462bhp in a 1430Kg shell. You join the action on the Dottinger Hohe straight, with the R500 flat out, swiftly passed by the bigger top-end GT2... much to the annoyance of the Caterham driver, Mario Margutti, who waves his fist in anger! But he's soon riding the rear bumper of the GT2 at T13, before making a great pass through Hatzenbach. Therein follows a 7m36s lap of big opposite lock and air moments in the R500 (including a huge moment at Schwedenkreuz), with the GT2 in hot pursuit. But who comes out on top? Place your bets please... then sit back and enjoy a great fun, well-filmed lap (including rear view camera, to see where the GT2 is). The R500 makes lots of 'errors,' but is driving by the seat of his pants. It's pure quality!
Wednesday, 23 February 2011
The tidal wave of sexy cars in anticipation of Geneva continues – with the new Aston Martin Virage. The sleek Virage (2+2 or 2+0) features a 6.0-litre V12, producing 490bhp and 420lb.ft torque via the rear wheels, linked to a carbon-fibre propshaft and six-speed Touchtronic II automatic transmission. Expect 0-60mph in 4.6s and 186mph top end. The new Virage also features a new Adaptive Damping System (ADS) attached to the double wishbone suspension, which "reads the road to provide optimum handling." Carbon Ceramic Matrix (CCM) brakes come as standard fitment too, along with 20-inch rims, Pirelli P Zero rubber, heated sports seats, cruise control, Bluetooth and a 700W in-car entertainment system. And expect a lavish interior to match its stylish exterior, as Aston Martin's finest spend 70+ man hours crafting it all. The best of British is back to rival Jaguar's recent great run...
Lexus have unveiled details of their breath-taking, hand-crafted LFA supercar Nurburgring Package, to be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show. Only 50 of the track day specials will be made, from the 500 total LFA production run. The 562bhp 4.8-litre V10 has been given a 10bhp hike for the Ring special, netting a fabulous 3.7s 0-60mph time. And the NBR Package also features carbon fibre reinforced plastic components including front spoiler, fin-type side spoilers, a canard fin and a fixed rear wing, increasing downforce and decreasing lift, as well as a 10mm reduction in ride height and exclusive wheels and sticky tyres package, for superior handling. Colours will be restricted to matte black, black, white or orange, with black and red, black and purple or all-black interiors. The interior will also feature a pletora of carbon fibre. Customers lucky enough to get one will also receive an annual pass to the Nordschleife and 1-2-1 tuition. We are very excited about this at Road HQ... what do you think?
The Ford Fiesta hot hatch is back – with the 134PS Fiesta S1600. The 500-run limited edition special takes on the Ford Fiesta hot hatch mantle, which goes back to the XR2 from 1981, and has included Supersport, XR2i, Si, Rs and ST models. The 1.6-litre Duratec Ti-VCT petrol engine will develop 134PS @ 6,700rpm and 160Nm at 4,250rpm, and will get to 60mph in 8.2s. Based on the 120PS Fiesta Zetec-S, the 120mph S1600 features a unique front bumper, flared lower valance, extended side skirts, large rear spoiler, 17-inch white rims and a rear diffuser outside and leather sports seats/steering wheel/handbrake cover and gear knob and motorsport branded mats and scuff plates inside. It will be available in Frozen White (pictured) or Performance Blue liveries. It's more luke warm, than hot, but is sure to be popular. You likey?
Tuesday, 22 February 2011
23 February 2011 at 18:00: The world premiere of the new Ferrari FF – the revolutionary 12-cylinder four-seater with four-wheel drive. The FF is "the most powerful and versatile Ferrari ever built" and the launch will be shown live on www.ferrari.com. Fezza enthusiasts can experience this piece of history unveiling in eight different languages simply connecting to the website, or you can catch it on your iPhone and iPad in English and Italian. The world premiere in Maranello will be presented by Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo and CEO Amedeo Felisa. And if you want to see the car in the metal, you'll have to wait until Geneva. We love it. What do you think?
An amazing 10 weeks after redevelopment work at MSV Snetterton in Norfolk began – the track work has been completed, and the first test event has been completed successfully. The multi-million pound investment "to transform Snetterton into the UK's best circuit" started in December 2010. And despite the difficult Winter weather, it's all system go, on time. Go Jonny Palmer! The 2.99-mile Snetterton 300 circuit was used for the first time on a test day last week, including this Williams JPH1B F2 car, driven by official F2 tester, Jonathan Kennard, who said: "The circuit is very flowing. There should be some good racing here and the views from the new banks will be great." Good news for UK racing and track day fans. Well done MSV! www.snetterton.co.uk
Monday, 21 February 2011
You should check out all of Road Magazine's back issues, by clicking on the header bar at the top, or the link in the website list to the right hand side... and here is our most popular to date... A Green Hell special... FREE to view and download at: http://issuu.com/roadonlinemagazine/docs/roadnurburgringspecial
Check out Martin Brundle and Road buddy, Mark Hales having fun at the 2010 Goodwood Revival in (Pink Floyd drummer and car nut) Nick Mason's £14 million Ferrari 250 GTO: Nice work, if you can get it! Quite a responsibility though eh? This www.chasecam.co.uk video is typically top quality and includes all the race build-up, warm-up laps and pit lane driver change. A great way to start the week's bogging... what do you think?
Wednesday, 16 February 2011
Just a quick "ALLO" to all the new Road Magazine and blog followers, who share a passion for Nordschleife life in particular, and all things automotive & cool. Thanks for coming to have a look around. Do follow us here on the blog, on twitter and join our facebook group (using the links in the right hand menu bar). And have a good look at our back issues of the monthly magazine, published the 25th of each month, here: www.issuu.com/roadonlinemagazine. You can read the latest issue of Road Magazine, a Track & Race special, by clicking on the cover image on the top of the right hand menu bar. The next issue of www.RoadMagazine.co.uk, a Prestige special is out next week. And we upload lots of cool car news, views and videos here on the blog most days. Enjoy it all FREE! And tell a few friends to join Team Road too! Thanks for your support and interest. Editor, Phil Royle (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Remind yourself why you should be signing the www.SavetheRing.org petition... with one of the names best associated with the place, Walter Röhrl, doing a speedy, scary and sideways passenger lap in a Porsche GT3, in soaking wet conditions. Heaven on the Green Hell! Get saving it - NOW!
Porsche is launching a market leader in hybrid performance vehicles – the Panamera S Hybrid, on sale from June, from £86,146. The engine set-up is the same as that seen in the Cayenne S Hybrid (now accounting for 20% of sales) – namely, a supercharged three-litre V6 delivering 333bhp, supported by a 47bhp electric motor, totalling 380bhp and offering 0-60mph in 6.0s and a 168mph top speed and just 159g/km of CO2. The Panamera S Hybrid will aso feature: Leather interior, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Bi-Xenon headlights, front and rear ParkAssist, tyre pressure monitoring, automatic dimming rear view mirrors, Porsche Communication Management with touch-screen satellite navigation and audio controls, cruise control and a three year warranty. Additionally, it features adaptive air suspension as standard, plus the innovative display panel - already seen in the Cayenne Hybrid - that provides the driver with all the relevant information about the vehicle’s specific hybrid driving status. Clean, and green... likey?
Tuesday, 15 February 2011
Road buddy, Sabine Schmitz is interviewed here on German TV (with English subtitles), about the issues facing our beloved Nurburgring, and its apparent descent into Nuro-Disney status. It appears the Lindner Group are trying to sideline all local businesses – monopolising Ring rentals, cameras, driver instruction, hotels and restaurants etc. This is a crying shame, as the greatest Ring experiences are made by these cool people and places. If you don't like what you see... join the fight-back at www.savethering.org. And, if you are going out there, stay and eat in the independent venues, not only for a truly authentic Ring experience, but to preserve the diverse, special nature of Nordschleife life and the people – like Ring queen Sabine – who make it such a fun, unique place. Get involved! Or loose it as we know it forever...
Here's a video of Juha Kankunen doing his old world record on the ice lakes of Oulu, in Finland, to give you a taste of what it must have felt and looked like to blitz it again. Notice the aerodynamic tweaks, By Makela Auto Tuning. Looks like a lot of fun eh? If a little chilly!
Finland's four-time World Rally champion, Juha Kankkunen has just set a new world soft-top speed record – doing 205.48mph (330.695 Km/h) on ice in a bio-Ethanol, 600bhp, quickshift-transmission, Bentley Continental Supersports convertible. Kankkunen blitzed his old 199.83mph record, set in 2007 in the Continental GT at the same -30C, Baltic Sea location – in this modified AWD, 6-litre, 12-cylinder Supersport rag top, complete with roll-cage, Pirelli SottoZero Winter rubber, front and rear spoilers and a bumper-mounted parachute. The top speed run was certified by the Finish Traffic Police! Kankkunen said: "200mph came up after 5Km of sheet ice... There's noting to beat driving a Bentley at these speeds; the conditions may be perilous, but the car responds so well to the slightest adjustment, which gives you the confidence to push even harder." 100 limited editions of this extreme Bentley will be made, and the car will be shown at Geneva, March 1st.
Following a cracking inaugural year in 2010, dates have been released for the 2011 VW Scirocco R-Cup, featuring these drop-dead-gorgeous, lean, green racing machines: Scirocco R. The environmentally-sensitive R-Cup will support eight out of 10 of the DTM series' rounds. The season starts and finishes at Hockenheim (April 29-30th and October 21-22nd), with rounds at the Red-Bull Ring at Spielberg (new for 2011), EuroSpeedway, Norisring, Nurburgring, Brands Hatch here in the UK and Oschersleben. Rookie and highly experienced male and female racers from eight different countries will take part, including some top name drivers. The Sciroccos are fuelled by bio-gas – so its clean racing (80% less CO2 than petrol racers), as well as big, highly competitive fun. Drivers can make use of a limited number of 'push-to-pass,' 50PS power boosts, making overtaking a regular event. No wonder an average of 86,000 motorsport fans turned up to spectate the series last year: It's very C21st racing. For a list of dates, drivers and other series information, visit www.volkswagen-motorsport.info
Monday, 14 February 2011
Here's a bit of full chat in-car footage from this weekend's Rally Sweden winner, Finland's Mikko Hirvonen, in his brand new Ford Fiesta WRC. Hirvonen headed-up an all-Ford WRC podium on Sunday, with Mads Ostberg an impressive second (just 6.5s behind) and Jari Matti-Latvala in third. Citroen's Seb Ogier came in forth, with Seb Loeb in a distant sixth (having been clearing the heavy-snow off the roads as first in the stages on day one). It was a bizarre event for Petter Solberg, fifth, who had to let co-driver Chris Patterson take the wheel of his Citroen DS3 on the last stage, after losing his licence to the local police, for a speeding infringement on a public road! Poor Chris had never driven the DS3 before and lost forth place to Ogier. Bonkers! The all-new-for-2011 is alive and well, with a new manufacturer on top: Go Ford! The gravel and heat of Mexico beckon next, March 3rd to 6th. Can Ford dominate again?
In case you are tired of all the sanitised (if impressive) new car news and videos... here's an old classic from the attic... rally legend Walter Rohrl blitzing the Pikes Peak hill climb in the legendary Audi S1. Phenomenal stuff, in a era much-missed by many eh? Just listen to all that boost! And look at the drops. Properly heroic! We're loving the old school footage too!
We showed you a snap of this amazing new concept car from BMW last week, but were left a bit at a loss about the C21st technology from the press blurb. Now there's a BMW video to help explain all this ConnectedDrive stuff... hooray! It looks great, is sure to impress folks (if not ladies) and it all sounds amazingly clever, but we're still no clearer what the hell its all for having watched the video really, are you lot?
The McLaren MP4-12C had its official press kit launch today, with all the technical specifications, PR spin, hype and understandable excitement contained within a very extensive document. And very impressive it is too... carbon monocell chassis, 592bhp/443lbft torque V8 twin turbo, 32V DOHC lightweight McLaren engine, 7-speed SSG gearbox, active McLaren airbrake, ProActive Chassis Control systems (Winter, Normal, Sport & Track), 0-124mph in 9.1s (8.9s on Corsa optional rubber), 0-62mph in 3.3s, 10.9s 1/4 mile @135mph and a 455bhp per ton power to weight ratio. Jees! A run of up to 1,000 cars will produced this year, with plans to make up to 4,000 by the middle of this decade, subject to demand, which we are sure will be massive. Enjoy this video of the car on its international media launch at Autodromo Internacional Do Algarve, Portugal in January, with Chris Goodwin, chief tester (lucky man!). And see Jenson Button's involvement in this short, sharp video: www.youtube.com/mclarenautomotivetv
Great news for owners of 1965-1989 air-cooled classic Porsches – Powerflex has released polyurethane bush kits for model years 1965-1973 and 1974-1989, so owners can banish those pesky, tired, failing rubber ones and bring their Porkas kicking and screaming into the C21st. Kits include all suspension arm bushes, anti roll bar mounts, engine and gearbox mounts and even steering column guides. Most kits come with a lifetime warranty too, so fit and forget and expect big reductions in inertia and sharper, fitter handling and a much improved driving experience. Find out more, or order at www.powerflex.co.uk
Friday, 11 February 2011
Yesterday we revealed the basic technical specification and Green Hell demolition mission statement from VW for the muscular Golf24. Today, here's a short, sharp video clip – complete with suitably dramatic music – of the beast in testing. Just listen to all that boost! Sweeeet! Can't wait to see this fly at the NBR24Hr in June. Top 10 car for sure we reckon.
Take a look into the deeply confusing future of motoring according to German giants, BMW. This is the BMW Vision ConnectedDrive concept car being shown at the forthcoming Geneva Motor Show. Sexy eh – with its Z1-style sliding doors, which disappear into the body of the car! It's in a two-seater roadster guise and is loaded with crazy C21st technology, design touches and innovation. BMW say it's designed to "present the potential of current and future in-car technology for optimising comfort, safety and infotainment." It's all jolly confusing, but essentially the interior is divide into three "layers" – comfort, infotainment and safety, each with a corresponding fibre optic light installation (red, blue and green respectively). Red will show driver safety-specific information from a cone on the bonnet, blue "promotes active social exchangement between driver and passenger" (!) and green highlights "interaction of the vehicle with the world around it." I guess it will all become clear at the show – maybe. Back with technology we comprehend, there's a flash head-up display, offering a 3D info-stream to the driver's sight-line, eliminating the need to re-focus and overlaying the real view with virtual information, highlighting hazards. It all sounds like a recipe to crash if you ask us! But I can't wait for BMW to prove us wrong. Learn more, or be even more confused at www.visionconnecteddrive.de!
Thursday, 10 February 2011
Volkswagen will be back to race at the Nurburgring Nordschleife 24-Hour this year – with a 440bhp, 540Nm monster of a race car, the Golf24. The pumped-up Golf is the ultimate racing incarnation from Volkswagen Motorsport, who last raced a Golf at the Green Hell in 2007, coming an impressive 8th overall with a 300PS FWD version, surprising many. VW have been using the Scirocco petrol and LPG GT24 cars since then, with great success and with drivers of the ilk, of Carlos Sainz. The Golf 24 comes with permanent 4WD, a sequential six-speed gearbox with paddle shift and a 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine producing the big numbers. The new car has been tested at Portugal's Portimao circuit an Vallelunga in Italy and will race the NBR24Hr June 23-26th. What a fine way to celebrate 35 years of Golf history. We love it! It's sure to do well, with this spec, great drivers and an experienced team. Best of luck VW! See more facts and pictures at www.volkswagen-motorsport.info
Check out the latest Korean car craze... remote control drifting! No, really! This footage is filmed (very well I might add), at the 2010 Korea RC Street Drift Challenge – seriously! We can't work out if this is ice cool (probably, if you are a kid, without a driving licence), or seriously sad (if you are a 'grown-up,' with a driving licence)... you decide!
Check this out! Lexus' amazing supercar – the LFA – has been re-worked into a track-focused special edition, in the form of this bespoke Nurburgring Package, to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show. The sub-brand is being aimed at those who want even more performance and focus from the V10 beast, and is seriously exclusive – with only 50 of the 500 LFA's being built, able to come in this special specification. It features aerodynamic tweeks to increase downforce and reduce lift, a 10bhp hike in power to 562bhp, faster gear shifts via the slick sequential six-speed transmission and technical improvements to the suspension, chassis and wheel & tyre package, to improve grip and handling – all lessons learned while racing their NBR 24Hr LFA over the past few years. Porsche GT3 RS... be afraid, be very afraid... this is not only a serious track weapon, but it makes the RS brand look common, thanks to its exclusivity and bespoke finish. We love it! What do you think?
Wednesday, 9 February 2011
Of course it's all very well making a lush promo video, which Ken does a brilliant job of (see below), but can he cut the mustard in the WRC this year, after a run of crashes, shunts, bumps and bad luck in 2010? Maybe the new, more agile WRC cars will suit his flamboyant style? We at Road wish you well in Sweden and on Ken. Here's a neat video of Mr DC testing on snow in advance of this weekend's Swedish Rally. Av it!
The most luxurious Range Rover ever debuts at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show – The Autobiography Ultimate Edition. It features "first class levels of luxury for driver and passengers," hand-crafted soft feel leather by the bucket load, machined aluminium detailing, "Super Yacht" inspired teak loadspace and comes with a choice of 313PS/700Nm 4.4-litre LR-TDV8 diesel (with new eight speed transmission) or the 510PS/625Nm 5.0-litre LR-V8 Supercharged petrol engine and, believe it or not... a pair of Apple iPads (a world first)! Two new colours – Roussillon Red or Otage Stone – will be added to the new model range (although we are sure most will go out in Santorini Black) and this "Ultimate Range Rover" also comes with unique 20-inch rims and badging. Land Rover's award-winning Terrain Response system, optimising set-up for on or off-road useage (with five different terrain modes), is standard. Pricing is yet to be confirmed, but don't expect such quality to come cheap folks!
Vauxhall has released a new Antara SUV priced under £20,000. It features two new diesel engines and six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. The 2.2 CDTi engines come in two specifications, 163PS entry-level developing 350Nm and offering 44.8mpg, and 184PS top-of-the-line, producing 400Nm and offering 42.8mpg. Peak performance is similar from both, at 9.9s 0-60 Vs 9.6s and 117mph top speed Vs 124mph, but you can expect more mid-range overtaking grunt from the 184PS model. The Antara also comes with "intelligent all-wheel-drive" combining the fuel saving advantages of FWD, with the traction gains of AWD. There's a fresh chassis set-up and design too, as well as trick features like Engine Drag Control, a yaw control system, Descent Control System and Hill Start Assist. Worth a look?
Lotus Magazine's second issue has turned up the heat... with this stylish, sexy photoshoot in the Hollywood Hills by iconic South African snapper, Purienne featuring the future Lotus brands, shot in a "real life" situation for the first time. This "Hollywood Issue" features a test drive with Bourne-film superstar, Matt Damon, a behind the scenes of the 1980's classic, Pretty Woman (which featured an Esprit) and other cool California stuff, like surfing, over 164 glossy pages. You can see a sneak preview of the magazine at www.lotus-magazine.com, or buy one for £20! P.S: Road Magazine may not go to Hollywood, but is FREE!
Tuesday, 8 February 2011
Sit back and enjoy this typically stylish, garish and flamboyant announcement by Road buddy and all-round-dude, Ken Block. This man doesn't just throw out a yawnsville press release... but the sort of You Tube video that'll viral like a dose of Bird Flu. Go Ken! He will compete in his brand new Monster WRT 2011 Ford Fiesta WRC in nine WRC events (Sweden, Mexico, Portugal, Argentina, Germany, Australia, France, Spain and GB), the Gymkhana World Tour (in LA, Australia and Austria), selected Rally America and Rallycross events, the Summer X-Games, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Italian Monza Show and the Irish Festival of Transport at Weston. There's also going to be "three special projects..." I wonder if he means his blonde companions?! Scorchio! This typically slick video was shot at the Torsby Ski Tunnel in Sweden... somewhere cool to keep Ken's temperature down I guess?! He's right in saying: "It's going to be an amazing year!" Good luck Mr Block!
The 2011 Nissan GT-R, aka Godzilla, has broken cover and is, unbelievably, better than ever! Three years of the GT-R has led to substantial development of the already space age bargain supercar by Nissan engineers. And the new car offers: 9% more power from the 3.8-litre twin turbo V6 (up to 530PS from 485PS) and a 4% hike in torque (612Nm, over 588Nm). 0-62mph takes a breath-taking 3.0s dead! There's a 3.5% improvement in emissions and fuel economy, with a 10% increase in downforce, thanks to improved aerodynamics. There's also: Tweeked suspension settings, revised electronics, bigger brakes, bespoke GT-R tyres, a revised interior, offering even greater comfort, improved cooling, and one equipment level, with two trim options, oh... and revised styling. Frankly, they could have just re-released the epic GT-R unchanged, and there would still be nothing else like it, but it's fabulous to see Nissan developing the bargain beast from the east. Still ahead of the game... wouldn't you say?
Check out this lovely video to wet our appetites for the title-defending entry to the WRC, the new DS3 WRC from Citroen. Superstar and seven-time World Champion, back for his 11th season, Sebastian Loeb and his co-driver Daniel Elena will be joined by Sebastian Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, after a great 2010 season in the hugely successful C4 WRC. It's quite a team. But it's also a level playing field this year, with the introduction of the new, lighter, more nimble 1.6-litre turbocharged WRC cars, which place the emphasis on driver skill, whilst also reducing the costs of WRC. It's going to be a fabulous, historic season, starting in Sweden, this weekend. Air horns at the ready folks! We special stage slags at Road can not wait!
Grrrrrrrrrrrr! Peugeot Sport have unwrapped their brand new endurance racer that will compete at the Le Mans 24 Hours and in the International Le Mans Cup (ILMC). It features a fresh 3.7-litre, turbocharged, 90-degree-V8 HDi FAP diesel engine (not the old 100-degree V12), producing 550bhp, keeps the 908 name, is closed-cockpit with the same size front and rear wheels, while getting the new "shark fin engine cover," new for 2011, to comply with race regulations. The new regs have also reduced power levels, to the tune of around 150bhp, so downforce levels via the aerodynamic package have been cut, to enable the new 908 to run to the same high speeds it needs to win endurance races like Le Mans. The 908 has already been tested twelve times on track and feedback is very positive. The drivers remain the same for the ILMC championship. Expect big things...
It's not the greatest quality video in the world, nor the most exciting, but it is a chance to see the new 2012 Porsche 911 (991), while Winter testing in Sweden. The quad-exhaust sounds rorty and check out the funky new rear lights... Do we likey?
Monday, 7 February 2011
Skoda UK continues its strong support of rallying this year – becoming the official vehicle partner for the excellent Rallye Sunseeker, the opening round of the MSA British Rally Championship, February 25-26th. The Southern Car Club (SCC) event has taken place in the forests near Bournemouth and Poole for the past 25 years and is a cracker of a rally. Skoda UK will supply the SCC with brand new, perfect-weapons-for-the-job 4x4 Yeti, Octavia Scout, Superb Hatch & Estate models, as official event vehicles... adding to the special stage fun. You going?
This year's Dynojet Avensis BTCC car will be powered by a modified 2.0-litre turbocharged version of the road-going Toyota. The engine is currently in development in Northamptonshire at engineering consultancy, X CTech R and is aiming to be one of the most powerful, lightest units in the Dunlop MSA BTCC, offering 300+bhp (road version is 140bhp). You will be able to see the car fly at the first round of BTCC at Brands Hatch, April 3rd. We at Road HQ are looking forward to that! Are you?
PalmerSport at Bedford Autodrome has added a taste of Le Mans to its 2011 corporate hospitality driving events – with the new Palmer Jaguar JP-LM. The new mid-engined two-seater sports prototype replaces the popular Palmer Jaguar JP1, is powered by a Jaguar Cosworth three-litre quad cam V6, and is capable of 0.60mph in sub-3.5s and 167mph. It also features revised gearing, a new aerodynamic body shape to increase downforce, suspension revisions, lighter steering, bigger brakes and a more comfortable re-designed cockpit. MSV boss and ex-F1 hand, Jonathan Palmer said: "It's the next best thing to jumping into an LMP prototype and heading off around the famous Sarthe circuit at Le Mans." Visit www.palmersport.com for more information on the seven cars on offer at PalmerSport HQ, Bedford.
The epic Silverstone Classic motor racing festival, will be even bigger this year – offering more track action and retro cars than ever before, July 22-24th. Changes to Silverstone's 3.666-mile GP circuit configuration have allowed organisers to expand certain grids from 48 to a record 58 entries, including the very popular HSCC big-engined Touring Cars, featuring V8 muscle cars and the iconic 50-year-old-this-year Jaguar E-Types. The three-day event – widely regarded as the world's biggest classic motor racing festival, attracting some 1,000 racers driving more than 800 classic race cars and with over 6,000 classic cars on display – celebrates its 21st this year. Tickets are available at www.silverstoneclassic.com
Friday, 4 February 2011
The world's most popular roadster – Mazda's iconic MX-5 – has reached an epic milestone, with 900,000 units manufactured today, over 21 years and 10 months (Incredibly! Has it really been about that long?). The incredible achievement puts Mazda Motors into the Guinness Book of Records. Jeremy Thomson, MD of Mazda UK said: "For British motorists, the Mazda MX-5 is the ultimate expression of our Zoom-zoom philosophy of creating cars that are fun to drive." And, its popularity never ends... as 10% more MX-5's were sold in 2010, despite the economic downturn. Congratulations Mazda and long live the three generations of tail-happy MX-5... simply one of the best modern classic drivers' cars ever made.
Thursday, 3 February 2011
It's not too late to book a fun and educational ice driving course! Check out this video from the MAT Ice Driving school, run by Makela Auto Tuning in Finland (www.mat.fi). The courses feature full racing and rally cars, including Evo X, 911 GT3 RS, BMW M3, Ferrari 308 GTB Group 4, Escort Cosworth Group A WRC and more. Sweet! And, if this doesn't grab you/fit your budget, you can always contact Road buddies, Don Palmer via www.donpalmer.co.uk/icedriving.htm, who runs courses in Norway, or Sean Lockyear via www.seanlockyear.co.uk – both of whom Road knows well, are brilliant, and will look after you royaly.
April will see Renault's 'Monaco GP' special edition hit the Mégane coupe range (as seen last year on the Laguna coupe, also due for a revision in April). Ostensibly representing "elegance, sport and style," the Mégane Monaco GP comes with 17-inch 'Celsium' gloss black alloy rims, GT front and rear bumpers, unique carbon grey upholstery with Monaco GP logo, rear parking sensors, electric folding door mirrors and has the 1.9-litre dCi 130, or the innovative 1.4-litre TCe 130 engines. The Laguna Coupe Monaco GP will have similar touches and 18-inch rims, 4Control four-wheel steering, TomTom sat nav, Bose stereo and 2.0-litre dCi 150 and 180 engines. The specials will unveil at the Geneva motorshow, when prices will be revealed. Expect them to be in the showrooms in June. Stylish and generous spec... n'est ca pas?
Alfa's five-door hatchback Giulietta range has a new 2.0-litre diesel engine in the range, offering 140bhp and up to 350Nm torque, in Alfa's DNA 'dynamic' mode (320Nm normal). The JTDM-2 MultiJet Commonrail diesel engine is a development of the 105bhp 1.6-litre and the high-power 170bhp 2.0-litre versions already in the range. It's been designed to sit in the middle, offering a good mix of performance – 127mph and 0-62mph in 9.0s – and economy – 62.8mpg. The improvements are largely down to trick variable vane turbocharger technology and advanced engine management systems. The Giulietta 140 comes in £20,750 OTR Lusso and £22,050 OTR Veolce specifications and is available now.
Wednesday, 2 February 2011
I still remember the buzz of getting a run out in the old iconic Renault 5 Gordini Turbo and, following the recent manufacturer theme of bringing back old ideas, Renault are reincarnating the French brand again – with the Wind Roadster Gordini. It will preview at the Geneva Motor Show on March 1st and features – Gordini colours, 17-inch black diamond alloys, Malta Blue paintwork with twin white stripes, Glacier white door mirrors, grille & rear wing, a glossy black roof and 'G' badging. The interior also gets a Gordini-themed black and blue trim. But will the owners flash their lights at each other, as the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's Gordini followers did?
After an inspired choice to revitalise the fabulous-then-and-better-now Scirocco, VW have taken this model re-incarnation theme a step too far, surely? Yep, retro drum roll please... the Jetta is back! Surely, a VW best forgotten? On the plus side, it's cheap (for VW) – starting at £16,960 OTR for the entry-level 122PS, 1.4 TSI S model, going up to the range-topping 140PS, 2.0-litre TSi with DSG (excellent engine and gearbox), costing £22,320. There will also be a twin-charged 1.4-litre petrol offering 160PS, featuring 7-speed DSG, and excellent BlueMotion technology 1.6-litre TDi versions, with six and 7-speed DSG's, or five-speed manuals. And all models come with air con, MP3 stereo, six airbags, ABS, ESP, alarm and folding rear seats. But really... do we want the Jetta back? Really?
Club MSV's Track Day Trophy is back for 2011, with a six round series, featuring three new venues. Now in its second year, the race series, designed for expert track day hands, turned novice racers will feature rounds at MSV's new Snetterton 300 circuit (March 19th), Cadwell Park (new, May 21st), Brands Hatch (July 17th), Donington Park National (new, August 14th), Anglesey International (new, September 10th) and Oulton Park (October 22nd). There will be a pre-event track day at Brands on February 17th and pre-season test day at Snetterton 300 on March 8th. For more information, visit www.trackdaytrophy.co.uk.
MINI has announced a raft of new special and performance edition MINI's for 2011. Topping the bill is the MINI Cooper SD (pictured), which will be the most powerful diesel (& most torquey ever MINI) in the range: It's a two-litre, putting out 143bhp and 225lbft (28% more than Cooper D and 60% more than One D models), capable of 65.7mpg, 134mph and 0.62mph in 8.1s: So, pretty fast and mighty frugal. It will be available in Hatch, Convertible, Clubman and Countryman editions. Also launching in March is the new MINI Clubman Hampton special and MINI One Pimlico Hatch, complete with sports packs. The SD will be priced between £18,750 and £23,190, Hampton Clubman between £20,360 and £23,185 and One Pimlico between £14,465 and £18,490, spec depending.
Porsche are definitely in a black mood. After the release of the 911 Black Edition, here's the Boxster S Black Edition – coming in a limited edition run of just 987 models worldwide. The Boxster S Black will feature the 320bhp, 370Nm, 3.4-litre flat-six Boxer engine (up 10bhp and 10Nm over OE S) and lots of Black interior and exterior touches, including black roll over bars, exhaust tailpipe, leather seats, dials, bespoke badging and 19-inch rims. Options include the PDK dual clutch or conventional 6-speed manual, Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) and Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM). It will cost £47,426 in the UK and Ireland, and goes on sale in March, including a Silverstone driving experience, as part of the package.
Hamilton & Co. chairman, Duncan Hamilton, has created a stunning collection of Gulf-livery race cars – arguably one of the best for years, from the company that has been trading such cars for over 45 years now. The collection contains no less than 14 of the most well-known and well-liked race cars to compete in the infamous Gulf colours from 1967 to 2010 – including, the first Gulf-liveried car to run Le Mans, the 1967 Mirage, 1968 Ford GT40, Porsche 917 & 908/3, McLaren M14, M20 and F1 GTR "Longtail," Aston Martin DBR9 and LMP1 and, most recently, the 2010 GT2 Lamborghini Gallardo. The collection will be shown at Retromobile, Porte de Versailles, Paris from today until February 6th. For more information, visit www.duncanhamilton.com.
Jaguar's electric supercar concept, the C-X75, last night won the Louis Vuitton Classic Concept Award 2010, in Paris, in front of a panel of luminaries from the design, fashion and luxury markets. The C-X75 has been built to celebrate 75 years of the Jaguar brand, and was praised by the judges for its use of future technology, and beautiful design. Ian Callum, Design Director for Jaguar, said: "We're at our best when we're breaking the mould – making our cars stand out, for all the right reasons." Ca c'est bon!
Tuesday, 1 February 2011
Last week we had Tommi Makinen in a 2011 Subaru Impreza STi. This week's must-see and considerably faster lap of the Green Hell is the lap record from the Pagani Zonda R, of a staggering 6:47.5s! It's super speedy, super scary stuff, particularly the roadworks at the terrifyingly-fast-and technical downhill left hander, approached at very high speed, Schwedenkreuz! But it's no wonder they set the record: Conditions, one evening in July 2010, were perfect and they had booked one of the best modern Ring racers, Marc Basseng, who has won the 24Hr here with Manthey Motors. Go Marc!
Getting us in the mood for the much-changed, but exciting new 2011 WRC season, here's some old footage of a much-missed friend, Colin McRae. With the "Welsh Wizard" at his side on Rally GB in 2001, in the brilliant Focus WRC, it's "maximum attack," as per usual, from the flying Scotsman – check out the speed in the downhill sections towards the end of the stage, flat out in sixth! Awesome! ROAD Ed, Phil Royle, was lucky enough to get to know Colin well, co-driving for him on the 2005 McRae Stages Rally in his 300bhp Mk2 Escort – a day and driving display he'll never forget. ROAD and rallying miss you Colin! Gone, but never forgotten... So, sit back and enjoy 7m09s of the sideways aggression gravel rally master in action. "Don't cut!" – followed by massive cut!
Don't forget to have a read of the latest FREE monthly issue of Road Magazine... A maximum attack Track & Race special, featuring Caterham-Lola SP/300.R, Ariel Atom Mugen and Daytona 24Hr in a BMW M6. Click on the image to the right, or find it here: http://issuu.com/roadonlinemagazine/docs/road_11.
And you can read all the FREE back issues of Road here... http://roadmagazine.blogspot.com/p/road-magazine-back-issues.html. If you enjoy Road... do please spread the word folks... Thanks!
Eighteen weeks before the flag drops at Le Mans, Audi are testing their endurance racers at Sebring in Florida. Two new R18's and one R15 TDi were in action, the latter being used in the 12-hour race at Sebring later this year, as the season opener to the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC). Basic set-ups were tested, with nine factory drivers at the helm of the three racers. Dr Wolfgang Illrich, Head of Audi Motorsport said: "We're very pleased with the performance of the Audi R18 at our first outing at Sebring. We opted for this race track, because it makes high demands on the mechanical systems of our vehicles." Watch out Peugeot!
Foxy-fame-seeking-flesh-bearers take note! The Motorpoint Yamaha team is on the hunt for "Grid Girls" for the start of the 2011 British Superbike Championship, at Brands Hatch on April 25th. The (volunteer) girls will appear with riders, Loris Baz and James Westmoreland (runner-up in 2010), in team photographs, videos and will no doubt be caught on camera for the TV coverage on British Europsport. To enter, simply join the Motorpoint facebook group at www.facebook.com/motorpoint, and post you details on the wall. Closing date is February 28th. Good luck ladies!
Many happy returns to the Toyota Land Cruiser, which, believe it or not, is celebrating its 60th birthday in 2011. Its ancestry can be tracked back to the 1951 Toyota BJ, which scaled 2,500m up Mount Fuji after its launch – proving Toyota's off-road credentials from day one. There have been many versions of the Land Cruiser in 60 years, and 2011 sees the launch of two new ones: A £49,950 3.0 D-4D and a £61,950 V8 model, all trimmed up to within an inch of their life. There will also be a newly available three-door version available later this year, for £30,395 OTR. Toyota... Road salutes you!