Thursday, 30 June 2011
The latest FREE monthly issue of Road Magazine is live for you all to enjoy now via http://issuu.com/roadonlinemagazine/docs/road_16_small. (Or by clicking on the cover image at the top of the right hand tool bar). It's a cracking issue, featuring three fabulous cars – three of the best 'Road's Favs' we've tested in recent months, as they handle amazingly, are cool and offer big fun. The cover story is all about the brand new Lotus Evora IPS automatic, which is a triumph, and enough to make you give up manuals for life. Then there's Mitsubishi's brilliant pocket rocket turbo nutter, the Ralliart Colt, which is quite possibly the most fun you can have in a new FWD car for under £14,000. It handles amazingly, and goes like stink – revealing its Ralliart roots. It's a modern day Renault 5 GT Turbo, only better! Finally, we tackle our Road magazine diesel sports car prejudice and find an oil burner we love... the VW Scirocco TDi 170, which proves to be a fine, cool, stylish, practical daily driver and a surprisingly effective and fun track day tool at Cadwell Park. Please do pass the link on to friends and family. Road magazine is free to one and all! Enjoy it! And remember to check out all back issues here: http://www.issuu.com/roadonlinemagazine
Wednesday, 29 June 2011
The dates of the second Donington Historic Festival have been confirmed – Saturday May 5th and Sunday May 6th 2012. The inaugural event this May was a tremendous success, attracting 12,000 people who basked in the Donington sunshine for two days of action-packed historic racing with 300+ cars out on track. And the 2012 Festival "is guaranteed to deliver an equally thrilling array of huge grids of the cream of Europe’s historic single-seaters, sportscars and touring cars, all battling it out around this hugely popular and exciting circuit in the hands of some of the top drivers in the sport." Car clubs were another important focus for the first Festival, with hundreds of classics from 38 clubs forming a fabulous display in the infield and entertaining the crowd with parade laps, and the event organisers are keen to build on this for 2012. They say: "With fantastic racing, a decidedly car club-friendly atmosphere, a superb location and attractions on site such as the Donington Grand Prix Collection museum, the Donington Historic Festival weekend is the perfect choice for club AGMs or other celebrations, and the organisers are inviting clubs to apply to take part. And, of course, the Festival will keep true its ethos of family-friendly ticket prices and free access to the paddock and off-track activities." For further information please visit www.doningtonhistoric.com.
It's special edition time of year... and Peugeot is opening the book for orders of a limited edition RCZ ‘Asphalt,’ characterised by its special matt Telluric grey bodywork. Just 75 right-hand-drive Asphalt LEs are being produced for the UK and all feature a bespoke high level specification over the top-of-the-range GT trim and powered by a 200bhp THP petrol engine. Distinctive features for this RCZ include the exclusive Matt exterior Telluric grey paintwork with black roof, ‘Asphalt’ badging, 19” Solstice black alloy wheels, complemented with matching black brake callipers. And the interior has bespoke ‘Asphalt’ branded and stitched Nappa leather trim, an Alcantara / leather steering wheel and gear stick, with bespoke ‘Asphalt’ sill covers and floor mats. Additional standard specification includes front and rear parking aid, auto lighting (with approach and follow me home modes), Peugeot Connect Media Navigation and a top-of-the-range JBL sound system. The RCZ Asphalt will be priced at £29,995 and the first orders taken will secure the only 75 RHD cars available. Moody little beast don't you think? Still no rear passenger room though!
Just 100 of these Audi R8 V8 Limited Editions coupe models will be released from July – created in honour of the tenth victory for Audi in this month’s gruelling 24 Hours of Le Mans marathon race. They feature the acclaimed 430PS V8, offering 187mph V-max and 0-62mph in 4.6s and come loaded with R8 GT-inspired Titanium finish 19-inch ‘5-arm double-spoke Y design’ alloy wheels and red brake calipers, and inside by trim detailing in crimson red, with exclusive titanium effect paint finish and carbon package options. Standard R8 V8 equipment includes Audi magnetic ride, satellite navigation, the Audi Music Interface (AMI), interior light package, Bang and Olufsen sound system and Bluetooth mobile phone preparation with integrated seat-belt microphones. It will be priced from £93,935 OTR. And in common with all R8 models, the R8 Limited Edition also includes a bespoke R8 Driving Experience at Silverstone Circuit which will "enable owners to fully acquaint themselves with the dynamic characteristics of the R8 in controlled conditions," in Audi speak, or, to have fun with your new toy, in plain English! Looks good eh?
The viral video campaign continues for BMW's new 1M. This time, it's drifting on top of the world's tallest helipad, on the LA US Bank Tower. You'd want to know what you were doing up there eh? Good job is was dry too! Fake??? You decide... Either way,it's a fun viral spot... well done BMW marketing.
Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Congratulations to Subaru – who claimed an impressive class win at the infamous 24 Hour Nürburgring (a safe, sorted, swift car we've always fancied racing there). The All-Wheel-Drive WRX STI tS, prepared by Subaru Tecnica International (STI), the firm’s in-house motorsport division, completed 142 laps (approx 3,603km) in 24 hours – 76km further than the car covered in the keenly-fought 2010 race. It finished first in the SP3T class for sub-2.0-litre turbocharged vehicles, ahead of some notable race-proven machinery, including Team Raeder Mortorsport’s Audi TT S, Kissling Motorsport’s Opel Astra GTC and Michael Kraus’ Mitsubishi Lancer CTO. The WRX STi was driven around the famous race circuit by Toshihiro Yoshida, who has taken part in the Nürburgring 24-Hour race every year since 2008, and Kouta Sasaki, who competes in Japan’s Super GT series with a Subaru Legacy. Dutchman Carlo van Dam and Germany’s Marcel Engels completed the four-man team. Engels and van Dam both joined the Subaru team last year. Hideharu Tatsumi, General Manager of STI’s Vehicle Experiment Department and Team Manager for the 24-hour race, said: “As always, taking part in this race presents an enormous challenge, and our team has put in a mammoth effort to fight against some of the world’s best cars. In our third year of racing in the SP3T class, it’s clear that we have come a long way. Our success in 2011 stands as testament to the fundamental capability of the WRX STI, and that STI’s direction in creating cars is not wrong,” Tatsumi continued. Based on the standard Subaru WRX STI, the tS competition vehicle has been developed with a focus on weight-saving, improved aerodynamics and performance upgrades on its EJ20 turbo engine. The Nürburgring 24-Hour racer retained the standard model’s permanent Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, a setup that delivers unrivalled balance, stability and handling. The WRX STI is currently available from all Subaru dealers from £32,995, with free satellite navigation and engine upgrade, taking the power output to 320PS. For more information please visit www.subaru.co.uk.
One of the finest sights in world motorsport... the flying start of the ADAC Zurich Nurburgring 24-Hour, as more than 200 cars get off across the GP circuit and onto the green hell, all out to make an impression. Watch race winners, Manthey racing, cut through the traffic of seriously quick cars, to lay down the gauntlet.
The new Jaguar XF, equipped with a 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, has just completed an epic journey from the factory in which it was created at Castle Bromwich in Birmingham, to Munich – a distance of 816-miles – on a single tank of diesel. Four countries and oer 800 miles on one tank of juice – perfect in this day and age eh? The 2.2 XF Jag with its new eight-speed auto gearbox and innovative Stop-Start system was driven by David Madgwick, an independent tester, accompanied by navigator Alexander Madgwick, taking in a mix of winding country roads, motorways and dense urban traffic. The brand new XF, with just over 3,000-miles on the clock at the point of departure, consumed just 64-litres of fuel to average a remarkable 57mpg – not bad for an engine with 332lbft and 192PS, capable of 140mph and 0-62mph in 8.5s eh? (Although I am pretty sure it didn't do those speeds on this test!). On-hand to meet the car on its arrival in Munich was Andy Whyman, Chief Programme Engineer for the XF, who commented: "The entire development team is very proud of what the new XF 2.2 has achieved – this not only proves the efficiency of the new model but underlines that performance and economy can be combined."
Set to be launched in September, the new XF 2.2 forms part of the new 2012 Jaguar model range. Benefitting from a fresh new look, upgraded interiors and equipment as well as improvements in efficiency and refinement, the latest generation XF looks set to build on the achievements of the model it replaces. Good stuff Jaguar... continuing to make great cars for the real world of today.
Monday, 27 June 2011
Manthey Racing have won the epic 39th ADAC Zurich Nurburgring 24-Hour – for the fifth time, setting a new distance record in the process, of an incredible 156 laps. Welcome done Olaf, Manthey Racing team and driver Marc Lieb, Lucas Luhr, Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas... and of course their incredibly successful green and yellow Porsche 911 GT3 RSR! The Manthey RSR dominated the race, beating the BMW Motorsport BMW M3 GT by almost 4.5 minutes, who had a good dog fight with the Heico Motorsport Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 and the Audi Sport Team Phoenix Audi R8 LMS, for a great proportion of the race. Unfortunately, the front running Mamerow Mercedes crashed out of the race at the Niki Lauda-Kurve, as did the BMW Z4 GT3 #76 and the #24 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3... leaving a huge crash site, and the yellow flags out for an age until 6am! This caused some major disruption, and the flow of the endurance race, but the 250,000 spectators still had a riot, as usual... enjoying their beer and BBQ's in the forests, watching some of the best endurance race cars and racers blitzing this most awesome track. Roll on 2012!
Friday, 24 June 2011
Here is a visual and audio taster from BMW on the forthcoming 'F10' BMW M5 – set to debut in the UK at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, June 30th to July 3rd. It will be more powerful than its V10 predecessor, with a 552bhp twin turbo V8, with Vanos and Valvetronic BMW technology. It promises to be 'a return of the ultimate driving machine' and will offer 0-62mph in 4.4s and a top speed of 189mph (with the M Drivers Pack). Eco drivers take note also, as the new M5 will put out just 232g/Km, compared with the 357g/Km the previous E60 M5 did. Looks good, but what will M5 purists make of the turbos?
Subaru have finally released a cool edited highlights video of Mark Higgins' incredible production car lap record attempt on the 37-mile TT Course on the Isle of Man – done in a thrilling 19 minutes, 37 seconds, averaging 115.356mph, in a 305bhp roughly production spec WRX STi (Tein suspension, Pirelli P Zero rubber, exhaust and safety modifications 'only')! Hero Higgins hit the 162mph V-max on more than one occasion, navigating over 200 corners, crests, bridges and, of course, Bray Hill – where he had "the biggest moment of my life." Multiple rally winner and top bloke, Mark Higgins, talks us through the massive high-speed moment, with the aid of front and rear facing multiple cameras, in slow-mo... and it's staggering how fast his reactions were, and just how much opposite lock he had to get on, and off, left and right, to catch it. Genius! Hell of a bit of driving man. Big respect from Road, who've driven the TT course too (with Jimmy McRae in a Porsche Cayman S), but not quite this fast. Balls of steel!
Goodwood opens its doors to over 175,000 spectators in a week’s time for the annual Festival of Speed and Moving Motor Show (30 June – 3 July). And one of the top attractions must be the Cartier Lawn, where the acclaimed celebration of fine automotive design – the Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’ concours d’elegance – has become a ‘must see’ attraction at Goodwood. Now in its 17th consecutive year at the Festival, the Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’ has gathered hundreds of the world’s finest, most beautiful, valuable and sought-after cars, all competing for the coveted Overall Winner award, as voted by a distinguished panel of judges. For 2011, the Cartier judging panel will include iPod, iPad and iPhone creator Jonathan Ive, design entrepreneur Anya Hindmarch, adventurer and TV presenter Bear Grylls, rock star Roger Taylor, artist Julia Peyton-Jones, royal hat designer Philip Treacy, and leading industrial designer Marc Newson. Automobiles of distinction participating in the 2011 staging of the Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’ will be split into seven distinct classes, with an eclectic mix of motor cars for all tastes, including some of the most unusual and beautiful pre-War cars in a class for distinctive coachbuilt boat-tailed vehicles, including a stunning 1931 Bentley 4.5-litre Roadster and 1935 Auburn 851 Speedster, as well as some stunning and pioneering 1930s streamlined ‘people carriers’, most of which have rarely been seen in the UK, such as the 1934 Crossley Burney and unusual Mercedes-Benz 170 Kamm 3S. Post-War Cartier classes will include a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the iconic Jaguar E-type, with a selection of significant examples. Complementing these will be some stunningly beautiful 1950s coupes, including a rare Farina Jowett Jupiter, a Ferrari 340 America and amazing Abarth 1500 Biposta BAT 1. By way of contrast, a class dedicated to post-War European people cars is bound to generate huge interest with early and original examples of vehicles familiar to us all, including a 1959 Austin Seven Mini, 1961 Renault 4, and the very first production DAF 600 from 1958. A class of cars with unusual means of entry will include a gullwing Mercedes-Benz 300SL, Koenigsegg CCX and the wild Adams Probe 16, as used in the film A Clockwork Orange. Finally, a collection of ‘comeback kids’ car marques that had disappeared but been revived includes a 1991 Bugatti EB110 GT, 1996 Lea-Francis 30/230 and 2001 Veritas RS3. In all, the 2011 Cartier lawn promises to offer a truly visual treat for lovers of cars of all types.
During the weekend, a visit to the Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’ is made all the more enjoyable by a superb soundtrack of live jazz playing on the bandstand on both Saturday and Sunday, making this is an unmissable occasion for anyone who appreciates the inherent creative magnificence of great automobiles.
Tickets and further information for the 2011 Festival of Speed, Moving Motor Show and Goodwood Revival can be found on the Goodwood website (www.goodwood.com/motor sport/), or via the Ticket Hotline on +44 (0)1243 755055, or On-line via the Ticket section of the website www.goodwood.com/motor sport/
A chrome Audi R8 Spyder will go under the hammer at the annual White Tie and Tiara Ball – as usual, set to take place at the home of Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish. Bling bling! Audi says: "A dazzling and unique mirror-like chromed finish has been applied to the 194mph open-top sports car especially for the occasion - which takes place on Thursday June 23rd - to attract the highest possible bids in the auction that raises hundreds of thousands of pounds for the Elton John Aids Foundation (EJAF) annually. Sir Elton John’s fundraising ball really is a golden ticket event that is as glamorous as it is hugely effective in fundraising terms. We are delighted, and enormously proud, to support it for a ninth year with the donation of what is arguably our most fittingly glamorous model.” The R8 Spyder features a fully-automatic lightweight fabric hood, ten-cylinder, 525PS petrol engine with manual transmission and is normally priced at £117,710 OTR. It can top 194mph and blast to 62mph from rest in just 4.1 seconds.
The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) was established in 1993, and is amongst the 10 largest AIDS grant-making organisations in the world, currently managing over £14 million in programmes across 15 countries supporting thousands of men, women and children with life-saving medication, as well as information, nutrition, education, shelter and support. The White Tie & Tiara Ball, now in its 13th year, is the EJAF’s foremost fundraising event, and has been supported by Audi with special auction lots for the past eight years. Jushi!
Petter Solberg and co-driver, Chris Patterson managed to finish Rally Greece in forth overall... as the two Citroen Sebs, Ogier and Loeb traded places for first and second (Ogier won!) and Ford's Mikko Hirvonen finished third. But it could have all been very different for Solberg and Patterson, on special stage three. Check out this rare co-driver error call from Chris just one minute into this 11 minute clip. Petter was not happy! After the rally, Petter said: "To be honest, it's been a good weekend. For sure, I was hoping for a win, and I'm very disappointed not to be on the podium, but that is how it is. I have pushed really hard all weekend... but sadly it is not good enough." Never mind though Petter... the Greek fans watching voted you their favourite driver, by 70%! We love ya man!
The next round of the WRC is on the fast, flowing stages of Finland, 28th-30th July.
Thursday, 23 June 2011
Nice little teaser video by Aston Martin on their brace of V12 Zagato's ready to do battle in the toughest race of them all, the Nurburgring 24-Hour. How will the new weapon fair? The rain is coming down over there... and, in this video, it already looks lively, in the dry testing! Good luck boys!
We all know that motorsport is in the MINI genes. And here's new proof... check out the new MINI John Cooper Works Coupé Endurance. This newly developed racer will line up at this year’s 24-hour race at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit, previewing the series-production version of the car due to be unveiled to the public in autumn 2011. MINI’s declared aim in entering the Nürburgring 24-hour race is "to experience the adventure of the Green Hell.” MINI engineers have called on the experience gained over many years of MINI Challenge sprint racing in the development of its new racing car for this unique event. A pure-bred racing set-up will equip the MINI John Cooper Works Coupé Endurance for a full day lapping the combined Nordschleife/Grand Prix circuit at race speed. Providing the power is a specially-tuned version of the series-produced MINI John Cooper Works engine. The 1.6-litre four-cylinder unit – which boasts a twin-scroll turbocharger and petrol direct injection – delivers 250bhp, and the overboost function pushes peak torque up to 330 Newton metres. Top speed is in excess of 240 km/h. The new MINI specification is:
|Engine||Tuned version of series-produced MINI John Cooper Works engine with adapted engine management. Four-cylinder in-line engine (front/transverse-mounted) with twin-scroll turbocharger and petrol direct injection. Racing exhaust system|
|Output||Approx. 184 kW / approx. 250bhp|
|Max. torque||Approx. 330 Nm (incl. Overboost)|
|Top speed||240 km/h +|
|Power transfer||Front-wheel drive, sequential six-speed gearbox with electronic differential lock|
|Suspension||Independent race suspension (KW Suspension) with adjustable compression and rebound, adjustable front strut brace|
|Tyres||Racing tyres (Dunlop) / slicks: 215/45 R17, wets: 205/620 R17, 17-inch racing rims (Borbet)|
|Body||John Cooper Works Aerodynamics Package, adjustable rear wing, rear diffuser acc. to regulations, pneumatic jack|
|Safety||MINI Challenge braking system with Race ABS, race-tuned DSC, welded-in roll cage, six-point safety belt, racing seat (Recaro) with HANS system, main switch concept with electronically controlled fire extinguishing equipment|
|Interior||Racing steering wheel (Sparco), Drive Data Display with shift display|
|Tank capacity||100 litres|
Nissan has set its sights on claiming two records at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on 1-3 July – and it will be the Leaf and Juke that set them, rather than their flagship GT-R. The Nissan Leaf, 2011 Car of the Year, will attempt to become the fastest car ever to be driven up the famous hill climb course – backwards. Unlike petrol-powered cars, in which reverse gear allows only low speeds, the Leaf has an electric powertrain that, theoretically, enables it to be driven backwards as fast as it can go forwards. This means the car has a potential reverse top speed of 90mph! Mental! Nissan will also makes its first attempt at a two-wheeled record up the Goodwood Hill, with the Juke aiming to become the fastest four-wheeled machine to climb the entire course using just two wheels (pictured). Professional stunt driver, Terry Grant, will be the man attempting to set the records in the Leaf and Juke by performing the stunts once every day. Terry said: “I’ve experienced Goodwood before but never attempted to set a new record. To have the chance to grab not only one but two records at the same event will hopefully provide everyone with a very entertaining spectacle.” Nissan also plan to unveil the Nissan Leaf Nismo RC "Racing Competition” version of the electric car, which generates 107 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. And, in a more conventional demonstration run on the hill climb course, one of the 600bhp V8 Sumo Power GT team’s GT1 race-winning Nissan GT-Rs will blast up the famous hill climb, piloted by lucky Alex Buncombe, Nissan’s FIA European GT4 Championship and GT Academy driver. Meanwhile, the road going 2011 GT-R will also take part in non-competitive supercar run and is sure to be a star attraction in the Supercar Paddock. Joining the flagship GT-R in the Supercar Paddock will be the Nissan 370Z GT Edition, which not only celebrates 40 years since the very first Z-badged car arrived in the UK, Nissan’s GT racing success and the award winning GT Academy. And the Nissan stand promises to be packed with stuff to amuse Goodwood crowds. Good show Nissan!
Nigel Mansell was re-united with his Essex-Lotus 81B – the car he started his F1 career in 30 years ago – to celebrate the opening of the newly-re-vamped Hethel test track at the Lotus factory in Norfolk. Mansell led a convoy of seven stunning Lotus race cars around the new circuit, with a host of race aces, including Mansell's two sons, the 1980 Type 88 twin-chassis car, the Lotus Type 125 Exos Experience car driven by F1 star, Jean Alessi and a brace of Lotus Renault GP cars, driven by current F1 stars, Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna. The layout of the 2.2-mile circuit has changed very little, adding just one new corner, but there's new asphalt and larger run-of, to better suit modern racers. Nigel Mansell, Group Lotus ambassador said: "What a joy it is to be reunited with my old 81B after 30 years. This is a very special place, Hethel, and it was wonderful to open the circuit up today by driving alongside my sons, Leo and Greg." Road will be there very soon, no doubt, as we gave offices just down the road and you can read all about the latest Evora IPS twin-clutch car on the cover of the next issue of www.roadmagazine.co.uk, out next week.
Porsches and the Nürburgring 24-Hour go hand in hand. But hybrid Porsche 911 GT3's are relatively new to the endurance racing classic, debuting in the epic event last year – where one lead the race for eight hours. The GT3 R Hybrid, with its two electric motors adding 200bhp to the flat six GT3 448bhp grunt, have been testing here in long endurance races in the VLN Championship, and netted a win in May. So, hopes are high for the eight Porsche factory drivers and a strong contingent of Porsche customer teams contesting the race. The hybrid's low fuel consumption helps reduce the number of fuel and pit stops, putting it in contention for a good result. But Porsche say: "for this year’s Nürburgring 24 hour race, the 911 GT3 R Hybrid has been substantially reined in by the organisers. After the latest re-classification, the combustion engine now produces only 448 hp. Calculated over one lap, the 2011 edition of the car now delivers a lower system output than last year’s vehicle with a combustion engine." Sharing the cockpit of the 911 GT3 R Hybrid at the Nürburgring are factory race drivers Jörg Bergmeister (Germany), Richard Lietz (Austria), Patrick Long (USA) and Marco Holzer (Germany), who were all deeply involved in the vehicle development. At first glance, the new GT3 R Hybrid is clearly distinguishable from the 2010 model. Thanks to the optimisation of the hybrid system’s high voltage components, the large louvres in front of the rear wheelarches were no longer necessary. This reduces aerodynamic drag and also lowers fuel consumption. All in all, the weight of the vehicle has decreased from 1,350 to 1,300 kilogrammes. The cockpit of the 911 GT3 R Hybrid has also been completely revised. Most of the displays and controls have moved to the steering wheel. Drivers can operate the rest of the functions via backlit buttons now situated on the centre console. Priority was placed on the ergonomics and the clear layout for drivers; always a priority but particularly significant when racing in darkness. Away from the hybrid, the Nürburgring 24-Hour specialist local team, Manthey Racing, fields two examples of the Porsche 911 – a GT3 R and a GT3 RSR – each sporting a prominent yellow-green design. Manning both vehicles is the winning Porsche factory driver quartet, Timo Bernhard (Germany), Romain Dumas (France), Marc Lieb (Germany) and Manthey driver Lucas Luhr (Switzerland). And another Porsche factory driver, Wolf Henzler (Germany), is competing for the Falken Motorsport team in a 911 GT3 R (see video below). His teammates are Martin Ragginger (Austria), Peter Dumbreck (GB) and Sebastian Asch (Germany). Also hoping for a top result is the Haribo Manthey Racing line-up of Richard Westbrook (GB), Christian Menzel (Germany), Mike Stursberg (Germany) and Hans Guido Riegel (Germany). And with its all-German crew of Georg Weiss, Oliver Kainz, Michael Jacobs and Jochen Krumbach, the Wochenspiegel Team Manthey has proven Nordschleife specialists at the wheel of its 911 GT3 RSR. Follow the Nürburgring 24 Hours race on Porsche Origin
Road Magazine's final two days of shooting with Tim Schrick and his Turbo Automagazin program for Sport 1 took place early this week at the thrilling Donington Park circuit (www.donington-park.co.uk). Road friends, RMA Track Days (www.rmatrackdays.com), kindly let us invade the amazing 'noisy' event, which saw a wealth of amazing sports, performance and race cars take to the 1.953-mile National Circuit. It was a fabulous day out. Road's Ed, Phil Royle, had a bit of four-wheel-drift turbo nutter fun on track with the new Mitsubishi Evo X FQ-330 (www.mitsubishi-cars.co.uk/evolution) with its slick Twin Clutch SST gearbox, which proved to be darn quick. And Tim Schrick's TV crew and Road Magazine were also busy shooting three phenomenal track cars: The amazing new Chevron GR8 Challenge car, built for GT racing (www.chevronracing.com) which Tim said he was "falling in love with, and is a beautiful car to drive" a Porsche 911 964 with Motec modifications from Sean Lockyear (www.seanlockyear.co.uk) which Tim described as "the best 964 he'd ever driven... perfect" and Car Planet Racing's (www.carplanetracing.com) 982bhp, 830lb ft monster of a Time Attack-winning Mitsubishi Evo which Tim said "the power is still most surprising... and it grips and stops so well." It was a stella day on track, so big thanks to all of you who made it possible. You can read all about these incredible cars in the July issue of www.roadmagazine.co.uk, out July 25th.
Aston Martin is putting the final touches to its ADAC Nürburgring 24 Hours race preparations – where a brace of new Aston Martin V12 Zagatos will compete. Car number 3 race car, nicknamed 'Zag' (red) and will be piloted in the 24 hour race by Aston Martin CEO, Dr. Ulrich Bez, the company’s Nürburgring Test Centre Director, Wolfgang Schuhbauer and automotive journalists Horst von Saurma and Matthew Marsh. And in the second car number 5, nicknamed 'Zig' (green), which was prepared by the small team based at Aston Martin’s global headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire, will be One-77 Chief Engineer Chris Porritt, experienced sports car driver Oliver Mathai, automotive journalist Richard Meaden and experienced amateur racer Peter Cate. Aston also have a V8 GT4 racing, nicknamed ‘Smurf’ (now orange, but formally blue), which will be driven by Aston Martin Racing works driver, Darren Turner, journalist and experienced 24 hour driver, Shinichi Katsura, Australian racer Rob Thomson and seasoned Nürburgring pilot Jurgen Stumpf. And three further customer team V8 Vantages will be competing over the weekend bringing the Aston Martin presence in the race up to six cars with Mathol Racing (#62), Bratke Motorsport Team – AVIA (#85) and Team Pflanz (#75) driving Vantage GT4s in the SP10 class. Aston Martin’s Head of Motorsport, David King said: “Our entries this year extend our Nürburgring racing philosophy. For five years now we have signed-off our new products by entering a car which is as close to the road car as possible and subjecting it to the toughest 24 hour test on what best simulates the extremities of public roads. This year we go a step further by testing a car at prototype stage. As ever, the race will present an enormous challenge in a vast and increasingly competitive field which will be fraught with all the unpredictable elements associated with racing at the Nürburgring. However, we are excited by the potential we have seen from the V12 Zagato in the testing we’ve completed and that gives us great hope for the task ahead. We look forward to a safe, successful and enjoyable race for our teams and customers.” The 39th ADAC Nürburgring 24 Hour race starts at 4pm CET on Saturday 25 June – live updates are available by following @astonmartin on Twitter and live commentary will be broadcast via Radio Le Mans (www.radiolemans.com). We can't wait to see how Aston get on.
Wednesday, 22 June 2011
Mark Watts at Courtenay Sport just sent us this short clip of a crazy FWD drag Astra their ECU guru is working on: A Klasen-Motors Astra-H FWD Drag car with 2.2-litre, four-cylinder Fam2-Ecotec engine and GM-Racing three-speed Hydramatic transmission. These runs are only at 12psi of boost pressure, but still net over 400bhp! Expected power is over 800bhp! Wicked!
A nice video here from Falken Motorsports of their Porsche GT3 RSR, racing in the excellent VLN Championship. The Falken Porsche will take part in the ADAC Nurburgring 24-Hour, June 25th and 26th, with drivers Wolf Henzler, Peter Dumbreck, Martin Ragginger and Sebastian Asch. Looks set to do well from our point of view, with a great car, experienced team, Falken slicks and masses of expertise. Keep your eyes peeled...
Monday, 20 June 2011
Road is still on the road filming TV shows for Tim Schrick's Turbo Automagazin program on Sport 1. And Saturday saw Tim take to the drag strip, at Santa Pod (www.santapod.co.uk), at a RWYB (Run What You Brung) quarter mile event... for the first time in his life! A circuit and sideways man through and through, this was a little outside Tim's comfort zone, and "not really my scene" he said. However, when the rains cleared, he soon got to grips with Andy Robinson's Car Planet Racing-modified 1,000bhp Mitsubishi Evo... saying "it's all nothing, then this ferocious 'raaaaaaaaar' boost hit and the car is squirming all over the place. I have a lot of respect for the guys who built this car and do this stuff, but it's not really my thing at all!" He was grinning from ear to ear mind! Maybe he was just glad to have survived! Good on you Tim. Donington Park for two days now, track testing a modified 911, another monster power (but circuit spec) Mitsubishi Evo and the amazing Chevron GR8. Reports here in Road magazine, and on the blog very soon...
Friday, 17 June 2011
Renault Sport has just got its first lap record for a front-wheel drive production car at the Nordschleife– with a cracking time of 8 minutes 17 seconds (nine seconds up on the record!). Congratulations! The time was posted in a basically showroom-specification front-wheel drive Mégane Renaultsport 265 Trophy, with a Green Hell set-up optimised tyre choice by Renault Sport engineers, with Laurent Hurgon (development driver, Renault Sport) at the wheel: He said: "The Nordschleife is a legendary course. Its length and layout, which is very different to that of a conventional circuit, make it a unique and technically demanding challenge. Its difficulties are extremely varied, ranging from fast and even very fast in places to much twistier and slower portions. Turns like ‘Karusell’ and ‘Pflanzgarten,’ for example, make huge demands of the car and driver alike, yet Mégane Renaultsport Trophy is very much in its element here and feels particularly reassuring despite the uncompromising nature of the terrain. The limited slip differential allowed me to accelerate hard out of the countless turns without understeer. The carefully-tuned Cup chassis, the dampers, the fade-resistant brakes, the Recaro seats, the power of the (new, up 15bhp) 265bhp engine, the ready availability of torque between 2,500 and 5,000rpm and the car’s Bridgestone RE 050A (235/35 R19) tyres allowed me to make the most of the car’s enormous potential, especially into and out of the corners. It is this package which enabled me to post such a quick time round this circuit which you must always approach with a certain degree of humility."
The new Mégane is very active in both rallying and circuit racing. Designed for rallying, there's the Mégane Renaultsport N4 – widely acclaimed for the quality of its chassis and engine. Renault Sport say: "Developed for tarmac competition, the N4 is emerging as a new benchmark on sealed-surface events." And on track, there's the Mégane Trophy V6. Renault Sport say: "It sets new standards in the world of ‘high performance’ racing saloons. Designed and engineered solely for motorsport, this prototype delivers 360bhp while tipping the scales at just 980kg. It has become emblematic of the World Series by Renault and delivers unrivalled performance/driving pleasure package for its price and class."
More information on the Mégane Renaultsport range and new lap record is available at www.renaultsport.co.uk, with the latest Renault news on Renault TV on Sky Guide 883 and Freesat 651, or by following on twitter @renault_uk. Nice work Renault.
Road Magazine has teamed up with pals at the British Rally Championship and is offering you lucky blog followers the chance to win a BRC goody bag, rammed with rally merchandise. The British Rally Championship (BRC) was established in 1958 and has become recognised as one of the UK’s premier motorsport championships, providing mouth watering action between established drivers, and young up and coming talent. Check out the video above from the 2011 Bulldog Rally to see some of the awesome special stage action. The list of previous BRC champions is a "who’s who" of the rallying world, testament to the status of the BRC championship crown—Roger Clark, Ari Vatanen, Hannu Mikkola, Pentti Airikkala, Stig Blomqvist, Jimmy McRae, Colin McRae, Richard Burns, Mark Higgins (see Mad Manx video below) and most recently Guy Wilks and young Irishman Keith Cronin. To enter the BRC Road Magazine competition, simply click on http://rallybrc.co.uk/competitions.html, fill in your email address and answer this (easy!) question...
Which former British Rally champion was the last to win the World Rally Championship title?
A) Roger Clark
B) Jimmy McRae
C) Richard Burns
Get entering! And for further information on the BRC, please click here: www.rallybrc.co.uk. Support British rallying at its best! Road does.
Get entering! And for further information on the BRC, please click here: www.rallybrc.co.uk. Support British rallying at its best! Road does.
Thursday, 16 June 2011
The Goodwood Festival of Speed also hosts a feast of Ferraris this year – including the UK public premier of the new four-seater FF, Ferrari's first 4WD model. The FF offers "exceptional performance, courtesy of the new 6,262cc V12 direct injection engine which develops 660hp at 8,000 rpm. In tandem with its transaxle dual-clutch F1 gearbox, stunning acceleration (0-62mph in 3.7sec) is guaranteed."Also taking part in the event is the Ferrari 458 Italia, an 8-cylinder two-seater berlinetta with a mid-rear mounted engine – "designed to fulfil the expectations and ambitions of our most passionate clients, the 458 Italia continues the Ferrari tradition of putting the thrill into driving as a result of track-derived technological innovations. Thanks to a 4,499cc V8 engine, which punches out 570hp, the F1 dual-clutch gearbox and a 1,380kg dry weight, the 458 Italia boasts an extraordinary weight-power ratio of 2.42 kg (a power-weight ratio of 413 hp per ton). This means it sprints from 0 to 62 mph in under 3.4 seconds and hits a maximum speed of over 203mph." The new Ferrari California will also be at the Goodwood event and Ferrari is also represented by the Scuderia Ferrari team who will be demonstrating the 2009 F1 car, driven by Marc Gené (TBC), throughout the weekend. Additional fine examples of Ferrari’s illustrious racing heritage can also be seen in the Cathedral Paddock, with the following privately-owned cars entered in this year’s event:
|1951||Ferrari 340 America||(Fifties Finesse)|
|1953||Ferrari 375MM Berlinetta||(Classic Endurance Racers)|
|1968||Ferrari 312/68||(Garagists Grand Prix Cars)|
|1968||Ferrari 246 Tasman||(The Cosworth Years)|
|1972||Ferrari 312 PB||(Open Racing Prototypes)|
|1973||Ferrari 312 B3||(The Cosworth Years)|
|1979||Ferrari 512 BB/LM||(Post-war GTs)|
Goodwood Festival of Speed fans who like Toyota and Lexus are in for a treat. The Japanese uber-brand is bringing a fabulous collection of new and old gems, including – the new LFA supercar, running for the first time with the Nürburgring Package (3.7-second 0-62mph and a 4.8-litre V10 engine developing 562bhp), Gazoo Racing’s full-blooded competition LFA, direct from its participation in the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race, the Dynojet Racing Toyota Avensis driven by Frank Wrathall in the 2011 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship and a reunion for Belgian F1 grand prix winner, Thierry Boutsen with the fantastic Toyota GT One sportscar he drove at Le Mans in 1999 (pictured). Meanwhile, Jonny Milner will once again be in hot contention to claim the fastest time up the hill, returning with his 800bhp Fensport-fettled Toyota Sprint Series Celica. And, on the Forest Rally Stage, Juha Kankkunen, one of world rallying’s most successful drivers, will be taking the wheel of a mighty Group B Celica, a version of the car that was specially built by TTE to take part in the Hong Kong – Beijing Rally in 1986, while Björn Waldegård will rally another Group B Celica, the famous “King of Africa” that dominated the Safari and Ivory Coast rallies in the mid-1980s. And Carlos Sainz’s 1992 WRC Celica and a WRC Corolla – piloted by Jonny Milner – will also be taking part, together with one of the earliest rallying Celica cars, a TA23 that was prepared for Group 1 competition in the French rally championship in 1981. There's also this year’s class-winning Land Cruiser V8 from the Dakar Rally. And new innovative Toyota road cars will also feature on the Totoya stand, including the Auris Hybrid and its Prius-based Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle with cut-away and chassis exhibits on show, together with the new full hybrid Lexus CT 200h in the Technology Pavilion. Looks like a great show from Toyota-Lexus.
This week, Road Magazine has been out filming with Sport 1's Turbo Automagazin presenter and star driver, Tim Schrick. And here he is (instantly sideways!) getting to grips with one of the great cars www.roylemedia.co.uk lined up for him to test in the UK. It's a Z-Cars (www.zcars.org.uk) Hayabusa bike engined classic Mini, in action broadside at the excellent www.manbymotorplex.com. Tim loved the lightweight (550Kg), space framed, sequential geared monster of a Mini. He said: "It's super direct, very quick and a lot of fun to drive." We concur... and you can read all about the test – and our trip to the awesome Z-Cars factory near Hull, where there was a myriad of amazing projects on the go – in our monthly magazine here very soon (follow us by email to get daily updates on our Road magazine"Life with Cars"). Happy days!
Monday, 13 June 2011
Road Magazine will be out on the road and track this week, shooting and drifting with our dear friend, Tim Schrick for his Turbo Automagazin TV show on Sport 1 (http://www.sport1.de/de/video/vid_motorsport/vid_turbo/). Road PR firm www.roylemedia.co.uk has lined up Tim's tests with Andy Robinson's and Car Planet Racing's 1,200bhp Mitsubishi Evo drag car at Santa Pod – Tim's first go at drag racing, which should be fun – a feature on the exciting new BAC Mono (http://www.bac-mono.com/), a bike-engined classic Mini by Z-Cars (http://www.zcars.org.uk/index.php), which should be VERY sideways, and a day testing three mental track day cars at Donington Park with the RMA Track Club. There will be reports on the blog in a week or so, live feeds on Twitter as we do it all and full articles in www.roadmagazine.co.uk very soon... all accessed via this Road blog. Meantime, have fun, and do enjoy the 100's of blog posts already here (scroll down and click on 'Older Posts' to see more) and also please do read the back issues of road magazine at www.issuu.com/roadonlinemagazine. Thanks for the support. Please share Road with your friends. It's FREE, now and always!
Friday, 10 June 2011
Road's first lady, Ashley Van Dyke (www.ashleyvandyke.com) went to a wicked night of gaming in honour of Forza 4, at LA Live, Stateside for us last night. She said: "The digital world met reality on Wednesday, as Tommy Kendall hosted a night of gaming heaven for gear heads and I was there to soak it up. Nearly 1,000 people turned out to game it up, trying their hand at a lap on the infamous Top Gear track (making its game debut). Gaming systems packed the inside of the event tent and I was determined to work some practice time in before attempting my official lap time to go on the boards. Playing with the wireless remote was my favorite setup for racing on Forza 4 and I was impressed with the feel of controls. Car gaming is really moving on fast! After making some settings changes, taking off all traction control and braking aids, I had the Kia maxed out at a 1min 48sec best time. As I await the release of the Forza 4, I stand determined to find more speed...and skill! Its quite addictive! With a special appearance by The Stig from Top Gear, music performed live by Travis Barker and Mix Master Mike and a display of kick ass rides, this party was all that... and a set of Pirelli tires!" Numerous awesome cars were also on display at the gaming event, including Spyker C8 Spyder, ALMS LMP1 LOLA Aston Martin Muscle Milk Car, Gumpert Apollo, 1967 Chevy Camaro, Mercedes SLS, Ferrari California, Red Bull Hyundai Rallycross Veloster, Koenigsegg CCX, Lexus LFA, and more. Road Magazine's Ashley was raving about it. Good times!
Photo Credit: The ID Agency
Another Friday. Another great Nurburgring lap record video! This time, it's Chevrolet doing the business in the latest 2012 Corvette ZR1, in the hands of their chief tester and development engineer. It's mildly modified from production spec, with a roll cage and other safety equipment (so it's heavier!), and on a new compound of Michelin Pilot Sport tyres, but, other than that, it's bog stock – and deeply, deeply impressive, pulling 183 mph on the home straight and some frightening cornering speeds and G's... which you can see clearly on this excellent video, with telemetry. The lap time... 7m19s... which is absolutely amazing. Well done to Chevrolet, stalwart supporters of the Green Hell testing methodology. A well-deserved fastest production car lap record! Check it out!
Mitsubishi Motors are flying out of the showroom, bucking the national trend for a percentage downturn in car sales. Sales are up 82% overall in May compared to 2010 figures, with Mitsubishi dealers shifting 888 cars in May – with the brilliant Shogun rising 34% over the same period last year and the legendary Lancer increasing a huge 94%. Meanwhile, Mitsubishi’s “Intelligent Motion” environmental range, including the ASX and Outlander (pictured) crossover vehicles, are also out-selling expectations even more – with a 195% hike on the same time last year! Mitsubishi Motors in the UK’s Managing Director, Lance Bradley said: “This was a very strong month for Mitsubishi Motors in the UK and is another piece of good news for us and our dealer network. We have more new low-emissions products coming soon and a very stable and profitable dealer network, so all the signs are good for a continued successful future.” Frankly, having tested a load of Mitsubishis recently – Colt Ralliart and Juro, Shogun, Outlander, ASX and Evo X – we aren't surprised. The new "Intelligent Motion" Mitsubishis are fun, practical, affordable, economical and generously specced. See road tests in www.roadmagazine.co.uk very soon and find out more on the cars at www.mitsubishi-cars.co.uk
Goodwood's Festival of Speed is always impressive – but this year seems more so than ever, with over 100 top drivers, riders and famous faces and some epic cars lined up. Star motor sport names include: Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Mark Webber, Nigel Mansell, Ken Block and Leon Haslam. From the world of rallying there's current drivers: Kris Meeke, Dani Sordo, Ken Block, Guy Wilks and Skoda UK Motorsport IRC Rally driver Andreas Mikkelsen and legends Juha Kankkunen, Rauno Aaltonen, Jimmy McRae, Hannu Mikkola and Russell Brookes getting back in their own steeds. Even TV chef and classic car lover James Martin will also be in action on the Forest Rally Stage, which should be amusing. No fewer than eight of the 12 2011 F1 teams are also signed up including: Red Bull, Scuderia Ferrari, McLaren-Mercedes, Lotus-Renault, Mercedes GP, Williams-Cosworth, Marussia Virgin and Team Lotus. And Past Grand Prix winners present at the Festival of Speed will include Sir Stirling Moss, Nigel Mansell, John Surtees, Damon Hill, Jochen Mass, Emerson Fittipaldi, Thiery Boutsen andPeter Gethin, alongside the current voice of F1 on the BBC, Martin Brundle. Le Mans winners Derek Bell, Richard Attwood,Jan Lammers, Andy Wallace and Marco Werner will join a roll-call of other motor sport stars at Goodwood that reads like a Who’s Who of motor racing. The 2011 Festival of Speed will also see "the largest celebration of Indy Cars outside of Indiana to honour the centenary of ‘The Greatest Spectacle In Racing’ – the Indianapolis 500." Looks set to be another classic...
Audi has its first pole position at Le Mans since 2006 and has the front row sewn up after qualifying.
Audi said: "In one of the most thrilling qualifying events in recent years, the new Audi R18 TDI and the company’s ultra-lightweight technology prevailed. Benoît Tréluyer set a time of 3m 25.738s and clinched the top grid position for Audi. His French team-mate Romain Dumas was merely 0.061 seconds slower." This is Audi's sixth pole at Le Mans and the first since 2006, when they achieved the first victory of a diesel-powered vehicle at the world’s most famous endurance race. Audi added: "Benoît Tréluyer’s performance was particularly impressive. The Frenchman clinched the pole position 30 minutes before midnight on the 21st lap of a race simulation on used tyres. The competition despite making several attempts to do so tried in vain to beat Tréluyer’s fastest time in the final phase of the captivating qualifying in which the fastest six cars were running within just six tenths of a second. This was also the first pole position at Le Mans for Tréluyer, who together with Marcel Fässler and André Lotterer, will start from the grid in the number "2" Audi R18 TDI. An in the Audi R18 TDI trimmed for uncompromising lightweight design Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Mike Rockenfeller clinched the front row as well. The car designated as number "1" had been slightly damaged in the first qualifying session on Wednesday night." The 79th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans starts on Saturday at 3 p.m. Audi has the chance to secure its tenth Le Mans victory. In view of the extremely narrow time gaps between the front runners it will be more important than ever to deliver a zero-mistake performance in the race. Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport) said: "The front of the field is incredibly close together at these 24 Hours of Le Mans. That doesn’t surprise me though but makes me all the happier that we’ve managed putting two of our Audi R18 TDI cars on the front row. That’s the nicest way to say thank you to the squad for their work and commitment during the past few months and also this week. Of course we know that the pole position at Le Mans means nothing yet. But our cars have been very quick on the long-runs as well. I believe that we’ve got a very good base for the race." We will see what Peugeot have to say about this... but well done Audi drivers and team. Looks all set to be a classic.
Welcome to Renault's fastest ever road car – the Mégane Renaultsport 265 Trophy – revealed ahead of its world debut at World Series by Renault, at the Nurburgring next weekend. It produces 15 bhp more than current Mégane Renaultsport 250, plus 20Nm extra torque at 360Nm. That's a power-to-weight ratio of 191hp per tonne. Performance is improved (very mildly) too: 0-62mph in 6 seconds exactly (instead of 6.1), and top speed 158 mph (up from 156). It comes with "Formula 1-inspired Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tyres for greater traction in both dry and wet conditions" and only 500 examples will be sold, worldwide, 50 of which destined for UK. It features: Cup chassis, Recaro seats with yellow seatbelts and detailing, 19" Speedline alloys in gloss black with red rim, standard Liquid Yellow i.d. metallic paint, 'Trophy' red decals on F1-style front blade and doors, LED daytime running lights, Renaultsport Monitor on-board performance tracking, UK numbered plaque, and comes with an optional £415 gloss Renault i.d. Diamond Black roof and free access to all Renaultsport trackdays in UK in 2012, worth circa £650. It will be priced at £27,820 OTR in the UK, with orders open 20th June and first deliveries at the end of July. Looks a pretty mean wrong-wheel-drive machine to us... in a line of great Renaultsport cars, although we'd still rather have the racing one on the left. What do you think?
"The biggest moment of my life" is how the charismatic Mark Higgins describes this sixth gear 150 mph sideways slew at Bray Hill on the Isle of Man TT course, just moments after the start of the lap. He went on to set the new car lap record in the safety-modified Subaru WRX STi, deeply impressively, but it could have all been so different! Good save Mark!
Thursday, 9 June 2011
The long-standing road-car lap record for the Isle of Man TT circuit has been comprehensively smashed – in a Subaru WRX STI saloon, driven by former British Rally Champion Mark Higgins. It blitzed the record on the 37.8-mile course on its very first run, posting a lap time of 19 minutes and 56.7 seconds, translating to an average speed of 113mph. Higgins topped a peak speed of 162mph on the mad Manx lap. Higgins’ time is more than two minutes faster than the previous record, set by the late, great Tony Pond 21 years ago to the day (on 6 June 1990), at the wheel of a Rover 827 Vitesse. Pond was the first to break the average 100mph barrier in a road car, and his lap record has stood ever since. The TT event organisers gave Higgins just one lap to conduct his record attempt in the car, and there was no opportunity to carry out high speed practice runs – in an almost off-the-shelf, 300PS WRX STi. It was fitted with a roll cage, harnesses and fire extinguisher for safety and ran road-legal Pirelli P Zero Trofeo tyres, while the springs and dampers were "adjusted to minimise any potential damage when the car encountering the various bumps and jumps at high speed along the course." It also has a "high-decibel exhaust" - allegedly to warn folk watching it was coming (more likely for serious power gains!).
“Setting the record was both the most exhilarating and the most frightening thing I have ever done,” explains Higgins. “The lap was simply fantastic, and the WRX STI behaved impeccably. That we managed to set such an impressive time at our first attempt is a great tribute to the Subaru, especially given that so few modifications have been made. The engine pulled incredibly strongly throughout and the cornering capability proved crucial on such a twisty, unforgiving course.”
The TT crowds got fully behind the record attempt, reports Higgins: “The atmosphere out on the circuit was incredible, especially once the spectators heard over the PA system that we were in the process of setting a new record. I could hear the cheers in the car and it really added to the experience.”
The WRX STI is currently available from all Subaru dealers with free satellite navigation and a free power upgrade, taking the power output to a blistering 320PS – more than enough, no doubt, to break the Isle of Man record yet again. The outright lap record on the TT course was set in 2009 by John McGuinness on a Honda CBR1000RR ‘Fireblade’ motorcycle. McGuinness posted a time of 17 minutes and 12.3 seconds, equivalent to an average speed of 131mph. Deeply impressive stuff Subaru, and Mark – especially "the catch of the season" at Bray Hill! Wowzers. Video up next!
Porsche Cars PR have shockingly revealed there will be Porsches racing at this years Le Mans! The PR team says: "Last year’s GT2 class winning team - Marc Lieb, Richard Leitz, Wolf Henzler – return to defend their crown behind the wheel of the 2011-spec Felbermayr-Proton team 911 GT3 RSR, the ultimate racing Porsche 911. Porsche is the most successful marque in the 79 year history of the Le Mans 24 Hours race. Porsche customer teams from Europe and the USA are particularly well represented at the 79th running of the long distance Le Mans 24 Hours motor race this weekend. At the toughest automobile race in the world, the teams will enter a total of eight Porsche 911 GT3 RSR race cars in the two sports car classes: GTE Pro and GTE Am. All Porsche works drivers compete – including last year’s winning trio, Marc Lieb (Germany), Richard Lietz (Austria) and Wolf Henzler (Germany). With 16 overall and 98 class victories, Porsche is by far the most successful marque in Le Mans history." Nothing like stating the obvious eh? To be fair, there will be five teams, eight vehicles and 24 drivers involved in the 79th Le Mans 4-hour... almost as many as there will be at the Nurburgring 24-Hour later this year.
So, it's true... Ring queen, Turbo Automagazin Sport 1 presenter and Road buddy, Sabine Schmitz (pictured here at the NBR 24HR) is retiring from the BMW Ring Taxi program. That is the end of an era. This was one of the best experiences you could ever have around the Green Hell. The Ring Taxi will continue, but it just won't be the same without queen Sabine. We salute you...!
Road's track day operator of choice is RMA (www.rmatrackdays.com). We're off to Donington Park with them next week with Tim Schrick in the latest Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X TC-SST FQ-330, and a load of awesome track cars... more on that to come here soon and via Twitter.
RMA offer fabulous quality, low number track events at Europe's premier circuits, great instruction (including from race ace Evora GT4 son, www.leytonclarke.co.uk) and there's always a fantastic atmosphere and fine array of performance, race and track cars on circuit. But they also work hard to forge sponsorship partnerships with big names to help their members. Two such deals recently signed are with Michelin Tyres, where RMA members can get a 20% cash rebate on a set of tyres (visit www.michelin.co.uk/rmamichelin), and Competition Car Insurance (www.competition-car-insurance.co.uk), who are offering 20% track day insurance and an Aviva road car policy including five days track day cover. Cool eh? Visit the RMA website for further details of these great offers from "the king of track days."
Slick and stylish cool promo video from Audi Motorsport on the R18, which has the new diesel-engine and is racing at Le Mans this weekend. Works driver, Allan McNish set the fourth fastest time in the opening qualifying session for this weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hours last night. The Scotsman, who shares the Audi R18 TDI with co-drivers Dindo Capello (Italy) and Tom Kristensen (Denmark), set a personal fastest time for their car of 3mins 28.301secs, an average speed of over 146mph around the 8.47-mile circuit. Frenchman Stéphane Sarrazin (Peugeot) sits on provisional pole-position (3:27.033) for the 79th running of France’s annual twice-around-the-clock race. “I put in a good, clean, tidy lap early in the session just after 10pm but the times are very close – it’s nip and tuck between Peugeot and us [Audi],” commented McNish who finished third in last year’s Le Mans race. “Each Audi had a specific programme to undertake and we’ve made steps forward. There are two more qualifying sessions but we’re looking towards the race as opposed out-and-out qualifying.” The similar “factory” entered “closed cockpit” 3.7-litre, V6 turbo diesel engined Audi R18 TDI sportscars of Marcel Fässler (Switzerland)/André Lotterer (Germany)/Benoît Treluyer (France) plus 2010 Le Mans winners Timo Bernhard (Germany)/Romain Dumas (France)/Mike Rockenfeller (Germany) set the second (3:27.939) and third (3:27.949) fastest times respectively in the opening two hour time trials staged in dry weather conditions. Two, two-hour qualifying sessions continue this evening. Good luck to one and all from Team Road!
Get in the mood for the epic 79th Le Mans 24-Hour, with a bit of on-board footage from the first practice session in Chevrolet Racing's Corvette C6 ZR1. There's a wealth of of footage on You Tube and across the internet this year for Le Mans fans to enjoy. Keep up to speed at: www.lemans.org/en
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
For the past few weeks, Road Magazine Publishers and automotive PR firm, www.roylemedia.co.uk, has been commissioned to organise some more crazy UK filming features for sideways TV star and race ace, Tim Schrick and his new Turbo Automagazin program on Sport 1 (http://www.sport1.de/de/video/vid_motorsport/vid_turbo/). And what a cool line up it is! Road readers, you are in for a treat, as we travel the UK's test tracks, featuring some of the coolest cars out there, for you to read all about, as well as see the Turbo TV shows. More details to be revealed here, exclusively... soon! Meantime, grab a drink and sit back and enjoy one of the last batches of filming we shot together, testing the Ariel Atom s/c, Caterham CSR260 and Toniq R at Cadwell Park.
First Michelin produced their Le Mans guide, now there is another FREE Le Mans 24-Hour e-guide – from Dunlop Tyres – to help you get the most from your pilgrimage to Sarthe, or from watching the classic endurance race unfold on TV this weekend. The PDF file can be downloaded by signing up to Dunlop's 'In-Touch' newsletter via http://motorsport.dunlop.eu/lms. The special issue features all the Dunlop entries at Le Mans, team and driver profiles, race calendars and a report of the Dunlop win with Mazda in 1991 etc. Check it out, free! Like Road (only not as sexy!).
See what Castle Combe Circuit's fabulous Action Day formula is all about, with this slick video of some seriously hot and sorted Mitsubishi Lancer Evos from the Mitsubishi Lancer Register, one of the biggest and best car clubs in the UK (www.lancerregister.com), at the recent 2011 Japfest show. Japfest is not strictly an Action Day, it's much more of a show, but the formula is similar to the excellent Action Days. And remember... there's the Classics and Sports Cars Action Day this weekend, costing just £10 admission (U16s free) and £35 for track sessions (on the gate/day). Please visit www.castlecombecircuit.co.uk for more details of this classic and sports car event, and the Forge Summer Performance Car Action Day September 10th. And, check out the latest Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X at www.mitsubishi-cars.co.uk/evolution. They are so awesome, we had to have another one on test in Road Magazine soon... the FQ-330 TC-SST automated manual, which racer Tim Schrick will be getting his talented hands on with us at Donington Park, with the RMA. Oh yes! Wastegate flutter tastic!
Road friend and European motorsport photographer, Jochen Van Cauwenberge of www.frozenspeed.com – who has worked us many times at his second and third homes, the Nurburgring and Spa-Francorchamps – has just released his excellent annual yearbook: 2011 Edition. It's a collection of Jochen's evocative imagery from some of the best race meets, track days, bike events and historic races and rallies in the Eifel and Ardennes regions, and beyond. Friendly Jochen has been snapping motorsport events at the two best circuits in the world for years now and his local knowledge gets him to all the best locations first. His images can be seen all over the world's media, thanks to this know-how and his slick style of imagery. The yearbook costs 33 Euros and makes a great pressie for anyone into motorsport.
Tuesday, 7 June 2011
Mazda's iconic two-seater – the world's best selling roadster, the MX-5 – has been ranked the highest sports car by owners in the JD Power Survey, once again, as it celebrates 900,000 units being produced. The survey polls almost 17,000 motorists from across the UK, who rated their MX-5's "well above the competition for its driving dynamics, handling, low ownership costs, mechanical reliability and interior quality." Remarkably, the Mazda MX-5 notched up a satisfaction rating of 82.4 percent, an increase on its score from last year and an even greater margin of victory over its rivals than in 2010. And the MX-5 beat off competition from the Volkswagen Scirocco, Audi TT, and Mercedes-Benz CLK and SLK. Earlier this year, the regular 10-strong range of Mazda MX-5 models was boosted by the arrival of two special editions of the legendary roadster, called the MX-5 Kendo. Peter Allibon, Sales Director, Mazda Motors UK said: “The MX-5 soft-top continues to offer the purest, fun-to-drive thrills, while the Roadster Coupe’s folding hard top provides a more refined experience, with that same exhilarating drive. Its low running costs and legendary reliability means the MX-5 remains an extremely competitive proposition as hundreds of very satisfied owners confirm. It is little wonder that it continues to break records as the world’s best-selling open top roadster.” Long live the MX-5!
A standard production Passat BlueMotion has entered the record books – after covering a distance of 1,527.63 miles on a single tank of fuel, achieving an incredible average of 89.83 mpg. Now VW has now added a BlueMotion model to the seventh-generation Passat range, claiming it is even "even more efficient." Prices start at £19,875 for the saloon and rise to £21,180 for the slightly less economical Estate. At the heart of the Passat BlueMotion is a modified version of Volkswagen’s efficient 1.6-litre common rail TDI engine developing 105 PS, coupled to a six-speed manual gearbox. The incredible 90 mpg potential comes from a raft of BlueMotion technologies, including: Stop/Start and battery regeneration systems, modifications to improve aerodynamics and reduce drag, low rolling resistance tyres, suspension lowered by 15 mm at the front and 7.5 mm at the rear, a revised radiator grille and underbody panel to minimise drag. And the saloon is also fitted with a compact rear spoiler. The eco-Passat also comes with lightweight and aerodynamic 16-inch steel rims are fitted as standard, while exclusive 17-inch ‘Buenos Aires’ alloy wheels are also available as an option. The new Passat and Passat Estate BlueMotion are available to order now, with first examples arriving in showrooms towards the end of July. Want a practical, economical car that's comfortable and stylish? Look no further. Incredible stuff. BlueMotion technology engineering should be standard on all makes of car these days, don't you think?
Road buddies, RSR Nurburg, are running another great road and track drive event from the Nurburgring to Spa-Francorchamps this Summer. Those who book the 'Spa-Francorchamps Tour Rally and Track Night' will get a chance to drive in a group of RSR Nurburg Lotus Exige S' on a guided, two-hour road tour from the Green Hell to the famous Belgian F1 track, Spa-Francorchamps... and then enjoy a two-hour exclusive track session on "the best F1 track in the world." The post-lunch tour takes in the Eifel region, and crosses the border through stunning countryside (Road has driven many times) on the old smuggler's routes through the Ardennes. Lush! Then the track time starts at 6pm, after a short briefing. As per usual, there's a chance to get top tuition from RSR boss, Ron Simons, and Dale Lomas, Racelogic Vbox recordings of laps for analysis, and excellently-prepped track cars to rent including Renaultsport Clio Cup 200 and R26.R, Lotus Exige S, BMW E92 M3 and Porsche GT3 and GT3RS. And an instructor will be out on track, showing the right lines, for the whole two hour session. Sounds like a perfect afternoon and evening to us... See dates and more details at www.rsrnurburg.com or by emailing email@example.com. RSR also have open pit lane, 130Db days on the Nurburgring on offer on July 11th (8am-1pm) and 21st July (2pm-7pm), allowing you to experience the Dottinger straight at full tilt, and all 73 Green Hell bends, with tuition. Go RSR. Great events. Get involved!
Monday, 6 June 2011
Historic (and Road favourite) Castle Combe Circuit has joined forces with another Road friend (Project S4 supplier), Forge Motorsport – who are partnering the forthcoming Summer 'Performance Car Action Day,' Saturday September 10th. Forge will be sponsoring the packed track and paddock show event, attracting over 100 car clubs, showing off their immense product range, along with various race cars – including Bo Neilson's Astra VXR (2010 Tim Attack Champ) and two sorted VW Racing Cup cars. The event will also feature Combe's first "Subaru Saturday" – showcasing a host of tuned Imprezas, Legacys and Foresters, on and off track. Subaglue fans, take note! Track time can be bought in advance for as little as £30 a session, and tickets are just £8 in advance (£35 or £10 respectively, on the day). And under 16s go free! We'll be there, to support this great performance car event at the speedy 1.85-mile circuit. Will you? Get information and tickets via www.castlecombe.co.uk or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The remarkable sight of 50 Jaguar E-types greeted London commuters today – as a fleet of privately owned vehicles travelled in convoy through the Capital to the 2011 Motorexpo in Canary Wharf, marking 50 years of the sports car in style. The convoy was organised by the Jaguar Drivers' Club and started its journey under police escort at Forbes House in central London, home of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The route took in landmarks including Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square, before arriving at Canary Wharf where the cars lined up on display. Leading the convoy was a team of professional cyclists joined by ex-Formula One World Champion Nigel Mansell, supporting Motorexpo's chosen charity, UK Youth. Jaguar said: "The Jaguar E-type was first shown at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1961. When launched its mix of daring design, advanced engineering and the ability to hit 150 mph caused a sensation. The intervening years have seen it become one of the most acclaimed and desirable sports cars of all time. The same spirit of innovation and emphasis on design lives on in Jaguar today, with the latest XF, XK and XJ models making their UK debut at the Motorexpo. Also present will be the fastest Jaguar production car ever created, the 550 PS XKR-S." On arriving at Canary Wharf, Graeme Carver, CEO of Motorexpo commented: "It's been a terrific day and a fitting tribute to the E-type – we are incredibly grateful to the police and all the owners for providing their support to make it possible. We all feel honoured to have taken part in such a key celebration of what was, and remains, a landmark car." The Motorexpo opened today and runs through to June 12. For more information visit www.motorexpo.co.uk