Wednesday, 31 August 2011
WRC legend, Marcus Gronholm was in the UK this weekend, doing what he does best – winning rally events. Well, rallycross to be precise, at the British Rallycross Championship encounter at Lydden Hill, in the #43 Best Buy Ford Fiesta Mk7. The record crowd will take away lots of memories – none more so that than the sight of Gronholm tipping the car onto two wheels all the way around the North Bend Hairpin before miraculously putting the car back onto four wheels and even maintaining his lead! The gasps and cheers from the crowd were audible above the roar of the engines. Marcus admitted that even he was a little worried and “I thought, oh I need to keep the wheels straight, but it seemed like forever before it came back down. It was an interesting moment!” David Binks making his debut in the new car set second fastest times in the first heats before a transmission problem meant he didn’t start Heat 2. However, he bounced back well to post the third fastest time for Heat 3 putting himself on the outside of the three-car front row, with his teammate Gronholm on pole. The final took two attempts before getting underway. Marcus Gronholm nailed his start – something that has been his Achilles heel – and led the pack into the first corner. Binks also made a good start and battled fellow front row man Kevin Proctor (Ford Focus) into the first corner. The Fiesta had the pace, but Binks was on the outside line and had to fall in behind Proctor and give chase. As Gronholm controlled the race from the front, Binks initially hounded the back of Proctor’s Focus but couldn’t find a way past. The race then settled into a rhythm as the first three circulated nose to tail without any changes in position. With Gronholm and Binks standing on the podium the weekend was a great success for the Best Buy/OMSE Ford Fiesta team. Binks now has three weeks to look forward to his next event at Knockhill in Scotland. Marcus Gronholm said: "Yes, this was a great result. The Best Buy Ford Fiesta Mk7 was excellent today. I worried myself a little when the car went up on two wheels but thankfully it landed on four wheels! It was a great way to end the season with Best Buy and to see all the fans was amazing." David Binks said: "I am really pleased with 3rd place although think it could have been better. The Best Buy Ford Fiesta was awesome and it has been great working with OMSE and it is incredible how they prepare the car between heats. In the third heat I was second to Marcus and followed him around and my splits were very even. To be on par with someone like Marcus is tremendous and I couldn’t have done that without being in this car. I am looking forward to the next round and wish it was taking place tomorrow!" And Andreas Eriksson (team manager) said: "Yes, I am pleased with the result although I think we should have been a 1-2. Marcus proved why he is a 2x World Champion and didn’t put a wheel wrong all day – even when he got the car up on two wheels! I must admit I didn’t know what to say to him but you can’t argue with the result. David adjusted to the team really well and he listened to everything that Marcus and myself told him. He has a lot of potential and will win very soon. Having two race winners is a nice problem for me – and Best Buy – to have." Great to see Marcus has still got it, and that Road buddy, David Binks is learning so much from the master. Good luck at Knockhill.
Brilliantly produced video of the tuned Underground Racing Ferrari 458 Italia Twin Turbo – all 700bhp of it. The massive power comes from a simple stage one exhaust, ECU and filter set-up, and just listen to it. Gorgeous and ballistic in equal measure.
Thanks to Sabine for linking us to this great in-car (with telemetry) highlights video of her amazing racing in the Frikadelli Porsche 997 GT3 R, at the phenomenal Nurburgring Nordschleife VLN Championships this year. Watch lap one, from pole, in the wet, with Sabine on the wrong tyres, being overtaken... a rare sight indeed! Then she pits, and te demolition begins, as she picks off other 911's, Astons, BMS M3's etc. It makes for compelling viewing. Check out some of her amazing lines, wet and dry... giving you an insight into her incredible Green Hell knowledge and race craft. Want to know how to win here? Watch and learn from the Ring queen... Go Sabine!
Tuesday, 30 August 2011
The MSA has launched a brand new Scottish Motorsport Festival – celebrating Scottish Formula One World Championship titles, Indianapolis 500 victories, Le Mans 24 Hours wins, World Rally Championship crowns and much more. The week of events (1-9 October 2011), taking place all over Scotland from Knockhill Circuit to Stirling Castle will be book-ended by the Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally and the RACMSA Rally of Scotland (7-9 Oct), two of the country’s premier sporting events. Organisers say: "The newly created Scottish Motorsport Festival will feature lots of highlights and activities. There will be star driver forums; the best of Scottish rally talent competing in the final round of the Scottish Rally Championship on the McRae Stages; an introduction to karting for schools; a special autotest between the media and leading competitors from the Intercontinental Rally Challenge; Scottish debuts for some of the late Colin McRae’s car collection; the excitement and speed of Europe’s best crews tackling the RACMSA Rally of Scotland stages; the launch of a new rally championship for 14-17 year old children at Scone Palace; plus the final round of the Scottish Motor Racing Club’s year at the Knockhill circuit. All these experiences give the Festival an exciting and packed programme with something for everyone to enjoy. As well as these sporting events, there will be engineering tours and visits to top racing and rallying teams by university students studying relevant courses." Five times British Rally Champion, Jimmy McRae said: “To have a motor sport festival that is designed to further promote all the opportunities that exist within our sport means that we look to grow on Scotland’s success into the future. That so many of the activities include kids is one of the reason that the Colin McRae Vision Charity is supporting this initiative as this is the reason for the charity, but it is also where the future champions will come from.” The Festival starts with an all-star forum run by Colin McRae Vision on the eve of the McRae Stages Rally on Friday 30 September at 8.30pm. Those attending the forum include 1984 World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist (the original ‘Stig’!) and 2004 World Rally Champion co-driver Phil Mills. The following day Blomqvist will take part in the Historic section of the McRae Stages before the Scottish Rally Championship crews take to the stages for the last round of their eight-rally season. Forthside Park in Stirling sees the Intercontinental Rally Challenge stars take on a new challenge with an autotest against their media counterparts. Autotesting is one of the cheapest forms of motor sport to enter and the stars from Skoda, Peugeot, Proton and Citroen will use road cars in these maneuverability tests on the Tuesday evening (4 Oct). Once back in their rally cars, the IRC crews will leave Stirling Castle on Friday night (7 Oct) to tackle two and a half days of flat out motoring over the world famous stages of Perthshire, Lanarkshire and Stirlingshire to find the winner of Rally of Scotland. The spectacular Stirling Castle start will feature motorbike trials demonstrations as well as an opportunity for fans to see the Colin McRae R4 rally car – for the first time in Scotland. There is also an autograph session during which fans can meet the very best rally drivers Europe has to offer. And on Sunday 9 October, the Knockhill Race Circuit in Fife hosts the final race weekend of the Scottish Motor Racing Club’s busy season. An action-packed afternoon of racing will feature Scottish Formula Ford, Legends, Mini Cooper, Sports & Saloon and Classic Sports & Saloon championships. With one eye on the future, the Scottish Motorsport Festival will culminate at Scone Palace on Sunday evening (9 Oct) with a sneak preview of a new rally championship aimed at finding the next Scottish champion. To be introduced in 2012, the championship is for 1000cc cars driven by children aged from 14-17 years of age. The enormous full schedule of events and timings are available from the new Scottish Motorsport Festival website: www.scottishmotorsportfestival.co.uk. It will be a stella event we are sure and we're really pleased to support it at Road.
Tuesday, 23 August 2011
Early next week, the next exciting, FREE monthly issue of www.roadmagazine.co.uk will be live here on the Road blog, featuring some seriously cool stuff from the UK, Europe and America, thanks to www.ashleyvandyke.com. Keep your eyes peeled here for that. Meantime, if you have not seen it, when not have a look at the current issue? It's a fully loaded Tim Schrick Turbo TV sideways special, featuring all the cool cars we lined up for a week of Tim tests earlier this Summer – including the awesome BAC Mono, a scary 1066bhp Mitsubishi Evo drag car, fun-packed engineering gem Z Cars Hayabusa Mini and some awesome track day cars, like the rapid Chevron GR9 and historic B19, a fabulous Porsche 911 964 Motec and a frighteningly fast Time Attack Evo with 1000bhp. There's over 10,000bhp to enjoy, FREE and lots of news from Tim! Please share it around...
Love Spa-Francorchamps and Ferraris as much as we do? Then check this out... as Shell bring together some legendary Ferrari Scuderia F1 drivers, like Fernando Alonso and John Surtees to chat about what Spa means to them, in advance of the F1 meet there this coming weekend. The video also includes Ferrari 156 F1-63 and 2009 Belgian F1 winning Ferrari F60. Nice.
Another day, another press release and another reason to get your tickets for the forthcoming Ecovelocity show – this time, to catch a glimpse of the future of racing? This is the iRACER, built by the team behind the EVCUP, the world’s first circuit racing series exclusively featuring zero-emission electric vehicles. They will be unveiling the iRACER in the supercar paddock, at next month’s EcoVelocity low-carbon motor festival at London’s Battersea Power Station. At the show, the race series organisers will reveal the definitive look and specifications of the iRACER – a totally track focused electric vehicle, designed and engineered from the ground up as a pure race car, which will compete in the ‘Sports EV’ classification of the series which gets underway in November in California. EcoVelocity Event Director, Giles Brown, said: "The EVCUP has already created an enormous stir in the world of motoring since its launch, and we are very pleased to welcome it at EcoVelocity to have EVCUP on board is extremely positive, and highlights the fact that greener motoring is now very much on the motor racing agenda." EVCUP Managing Director Sylvain Filippi added: "We are very excited at the prospect of unveiling the iRACER and we are delighted to be taking part in EcoVelocity, an event that helps to highlight the importance of driving cleaner, greener cars in our urban environments." The EVCUP will kick-off in the United States in November, with two race events in California, the first at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on the 26th November and the second at Auto Club Speedway on the 17th December before a full series launch in 2012. EcoVelocity will run from September 8-11th at Battersea Power Station and will feature the latest green models, including electric, hybrid and low CO2-emitting cars, as well as providing test drives on a specially-constructed circuit in the shadow of the famous power station. To purchase tickets visit www.ecovelocity.co.uk.
Like the new Ferrari 458 Spider (below), the world premiere of new 911 (991) will be at the 2011 IAA Frankfurt Motor Show, September 13 -25, marking "a new generation of benchmark sports car," with "innovative chassis technology raising dynamics," and it will be "lighter, more powerful, less fuel consumption and have class-leading emissions," Porsche say. They also say it'll start from £71,449, with the Carrera S (pictured) from £81,242. Since 1963, the 911 has been the car many performance enthusiasts wish to own, and with the technological advancements on this subtly re-styled 991 version, we see no reason why this will change. Improvements include: 100mm longer wheelbase for improved stability and greater interior space, shorter front and rear overhangs "maintaining the compact footprint that has been a longstanding 911 attribute," lower roof line and a wider front track "increasing on-road presence further still while raising the renowned chassis dynamics." The rear-mounted, flat six cylinder engine is an uprated range of powerful, efficient and evocative ‘boxer’ engines. The 911 Carrera is powered by a new 3.4-litre engine developing 350bhp, and the Carrera S features a 400bhp version of the familiar 3.8-litre. The 3.4-litre Carrera with PDK accelerates from 0-62mph in 4.6 sec, 0.1 sec quicker than the prior model. And pressing the Sport Plus button on the optional Sport Chrono Pack cuts that to 4.4 sec. The 3.8-litre Carrera S with PDK can accelerate from 0- 62 mph in 4.3 sec (Sport Plus 4.1 sec), 0.2sec quicker than its predecessor. There's also a new lightweight body, featuring intelligent aluminium-steel composite construction, shaving 45Kg and delivering significantly greater rigidity, and aerodynamic optimisation – including a wider, variably extending rear spoiler, reducing lift. Depending on the model, there are other standard or optional active control systems available as well that further enhance the driving dynamics. That is especially true for the excellent Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) active roll stabilisation system, available for the first time on the 911 Carrera S. The 991 also gets 20-inch diameter alloy wheels and interior styling from the Carrera GT. Oh, and CO2 figures are down, while mpg figures are up, despite the power gains! The new 911 will be in the UK from December 2011. We expect it to be popular, if not with the original air-cooled 911 fans...
The world's first mid-rear engined berlinetta equipped with a retractable hard top debuts at the Frankfurt Motor Show – the new 458 Spider. Lush! The Spider joins the 458 Italia, widening the range of Ferrari’s mid-rear engined V8s and offering "the same uncompromising technological solutions, handling and performance in a refined open-top configuration." It is equipped with a Ferrari patented, fully retractable hard top, a world first for a sports car with this lay-out and powered by Ferrari’s naturally-aspirated, direct-injection 562bhp, 398lbft 4.5 litre V8 which was nominated as the 2011 International Engine of the Year for its engineering excellence in terms of driveability, performance, economy and refinement. The power is transferred to the road by Ferrari’s class-leading dual-clutch F1 paddle-shift transmission through the sophisticated E-Diff, itself integrated with the F1-Trac traction control and high-performance ABS for maximum handling dynamics. Ferrari say: "Certain features, such as its accelerator pedal mapping and the damping of the multilink suspension, have been calibrated to guarantee maximum sportiness and absolute driving pleasure with the top down, in line with Maranello’s exclusive spider tradition. Even the engine soundtrack has been honed to ensure that the car’s occupants are completely captivated by the drop-top driving experience. Entirely in aluminium, the hard-top solution adopted for the 458 Spider offers a number of advantages over the traditional folding soft-top, including a reduction of 25 kg in weight and a deployment time of just 14 seconds. Fully integrated into the styling of the car, the hard-top was engineered to fit neatly ahead of the engine bay without compromising aerodynamics or the performance of the car. The small space needed to house the roof enables the designers to include a generous rear bench for luggage behind the seats. The rear of the car is characterised by innovative forms with the buttresses designed to optimise the flow of air to the engine intakes and the clutch and gearbox oil radiators. For maximum comfort whilst driving top down the 458 Spider features a generously-sized adjustable electric wind stop. The design was perfected to slow and diffuse the air in the cockpit, enabling normal conversation to be held even at speeds over 200 km/h. New technical solutions adopted for the chassis guarantee identical levels of structural rigidity with the roof up or down. The result is a car that is truly exciting to drive, blending extreme performance with the responsiveness that has always characterised Ferrari’s open-top berlinettas." 200mph with the top down and that V8... what's not to like?
458 Spider technical specifications
|Length||4527 mm (178.2 in.)|
|Width||1937 mm (76.3 in.)|
|Height||1211 mm (47.7 in.)|
|Wheelbase||2650 mm (104.3 in.)|
|Dry weight||1430 kg (3153 lbs)*|
|Weight/power ratio||2.51 kg/CV (7.42 lbs/kW)|
|Weight distribution fr/r||42%/58%|
|Displacement||4499 cc (274.5 cu in.)|
|Maximum power||570 CV (425 kW)** @ 9000 rpm|
|Maximum torque||540 Nm (398 lbs/ft) @ 6000 rpm|
|Specific power output||127 CV/l|
|Front||235/35 ZR20 8.5”|
|Rear||295/35 ZR20 10.5”|
|Maximum speed||>320 km/h (>198 mph)|
|0-100 km/h||<3.4 s|
|Fuel consumption + emissions|
|Fuel consumption***||11.8 l/100 km|
|Emissions***||275 g CO2/km|
|Dual-clutch, 7-speed F1|
|E-Diff3, F1-Trac, high-performance ABS|
Monday, 22 August 2011
The modified repmobile has done it – Skoda's Octavia vRS has broken the official record to become the fastest 2.0-litre forced induction production car ever, cracking a phenomenal 227.070mph at Bonneville's legendary American salt flats. A fitting way to celebrate 10 years of vRS, we'd say! Congratulations to the team and seasoned hack Dickie Meaden for his driving effort in the 600bhp ‘salt spec’ racer. Skoda said: "The modified production Octavia vRS hatch, prepared by Skoda UK, smashed the previous record for a 2.0-litre forced induction production car at this year's Bonneville Speed Week (13-19 August), registering an impressive official record speed of 227.070 mph. The previous record for what is known as the G/PS category was 216 mph, set in August 1998. The car was driven by veteran journalist Richard Meaden and the Octavia had set impressive speeds throughout the week breaking the 200 mph barrier on six previous runs."The Octavia’s record breaking runs consisted of two official runs of Bonneville's famous five-mile course at 225.513 mph on Thursday 18 August, and a return run at 228.647 mph on Friday 19 August. Robert Hazelwood, Director for Skoda UK, said: "This is a truly stunning achievement. Our goal was to break 200 mph as a celebration of 10 years of vRS, and we have achieved that, and significantly more. The success is a tribute to everyone who has worked so tirelessly and with such passion to make Skoda a world beater." Well done to all involved from Road Magazine.
We knew it wouldn't take long, and now its already happened... Prodrive has secured its first podium placement with the MINI WRC – just months after its first ever rally, in only its third WRC event. Result! Dani Sordo took the new MINI to an incredible third place, behind the two flying French Sebastians, Ogier and Loeb in WRC Rally Deutschland this weekend. Ogier was 39.8s clear of Loeb, with Sordo 1:55.6 off the lead pace. The podium puts Sordo into 10th place in the championship, currently led by Loeb (192 points), Ogier (167 points) and Hirvonen (156 points). Massive congratulations to Dani and Prodrive for this fine achievement in such an short time. Great things will follow we are sure...
Thursday, 18 August 2011
Gymkhana 4 may be dominating this week's video action, but I think even Ken would admit he'd give his DC-shoes to be able to pilot a Ford like this on a special stage! The 'if in doubt, flat out' master, Colin McRae is on a charge in the 2001 Rally GB in Wales, in typically slippery conditions (although, no fog for a change!). Thanks to Tiff Needell for reminding us about it via Twitter (@tiff_tv). Like he says: "McRae flat out. They don't use opposite lock like this anymore. Simply awesome." Well said Tiff. Takes us back to our time co-driving with Colin on the McRae Stages rally in his DJM Mk2 Escort: The surreal pace, the unreal late braking, the sheer amount of sideways, the ease in which he controlled it all and the crazy amount of time spent in the highest gear possible, foot buried – all with a grin. Colin, we miss you man... it's just not the same without you. Is it folks?
It's the last week to read the Tim Schrick Road Magazine special issue, before it becomes a back issue (read them here: http://www.issuu.com/roadonlinemagazine) and we replace it with the next thrilling installment! Road buddy, Tim rang us earlier this Summer and asked us to line up some "crazy British cars" to film for his fab TV show, Turbo Automagazin on Sport 1 (www.mediencenter.sport1.de). Job done! The cars were all amazing, all 10,000bhp of them! There was a crazy Z Cars classic Mini, with a Hayabusa engine and rear-wheel-drive, the incredibly engineered new selfish (single seater!) track day tool, the 575Kg, 280bhp BAC Mono and Andy Robinson's mental Mitsubishi Evo drag car with 1,066bhp at Santa Pod (Tim's first ever drag race!). We also had a great day out with the RMA at Donington Park – with the amazing new speedy racer from pedigree-rich Chevron, the GR8 and their stunning re-built historic classic, the B19, Car Planet Racing's mind-blowing 982bhp Time Attack Evo, Sean Lockyear's awesome Motec 964 Porsche 911 and the latest Lancer Evo X FQ-330 TC-SST. It was an incredible week... and you can read all about it FREE, see unseen behind-the-scenes images, and hear what Tim had to say about each crazy car in this month's Road magazine. Read it here FREE on the blog, by clicking on the cover image in the right hand tool bar or on this link below:
Do please like, share & follow Road Magazine (and Turbo TV) with your friends across the globe – thanks guys and gals! Some of the TV shows have already aired, and you will find them here on the blog (scroll down, or use the search tool in the menu), and we will upload the rest as and when they air for you to enjoy. Good times!
Ace instructor, Ron Simons and his Ring rental company, RSR Nurburg (www.rsrnurburg.com), are giving folk the chance to drive the two best circuits in the world, back to back – Spa Francorchamps F1 circuit and the Nurburgring Nordschleife full circuit, Monday 26th September and Tuesday 27th, 9am-6pm and 8am-5pm respectively. The Spa day is split into two sessions – road legal cars and unregistered cars and has a 103dB limit. The Ring day is open pit for road legal cars only (semi-slick tyres are fine) and has a 132dB limit. For more information, email Ron via email@example.com or go to the website. Have fun!
Sytners BMW will be selling two of the 15 lightweight, hardcore BMW M3 GTS' destined for the UK market. The Porsche GT3 RS competitor, priced at £118,000 OTR celebrates 25 years of BMW M Power and features a World Touring Car aero kit, 450bhp and 300bhp/per ton thanks to a revised V8, enlraged to 4.4-litres, with Titanium exhaust and linked to a seven-speed gearbox. There's also fettled suspension with adjustability for compression and rebound (perfect for track hounds), a load of weigh-saving measures taking kerb weight to 1490Kg (from 1675Kg), a roll cage, lush black rims with sticky, fat track day tyres plus lots of special touches inside and out. But you'd better be quick, or they will go... so call William at Przystupa at Sytners on 00 44 (0) 207 718 5600 to pick up this Porsche GT3 Rs baiter... rare, sorted, seriously quick and sexy (cheekily in GT3 RS orange and black!) and with V8 power. And it's £10,000 cheaper than 4.0-litre, flat six GT3 RS, and more exclusive... go figure!
Nice short viral video from VW, who will be back into the WRC in 2013, with the Polo R – a 300bhp, 260lb ft, 4WD, 1200KG turbocharged pocket rocket to take on Ford and Citroen. VW Motorsport will be developing the Polo from the Fabia IRC-spec rally car over the next year and a half, before building their first Polo WRC R to compete in various events as a shakedown for the WRC in 2012. On the plus side, it's another key manufacturer in WRC, may even see a return of one of rallying's hereos – Carlos Sainz – if only in a consulting role, not driving. But on the negative side, it may mean the end to the VW Paris-Dakar cars, to budget for the WRC events. Either way, it's great to see VW back in rallying – never their best motorsport, but maybe the Dakar successes and experience with the Scirocco and Golf for circuit racing at places like the Nurburgring will make them better than ever. Looking forward to it. More news soon...
Wednesday, 17 August 2011
Youth race senstation for Chevron Racing Cars (www.chevronracing.com), Jordan Witt incredibly walked away from this massive 110mph, 30g shunt at Donington Park – proving what a tough little nut the tiny, giant-killing GR8 GT is, and him! The unfortunate incident happened in race one of the GT Cup – after Jordan had put the GR8 GT on pole position, for the first time, in the dry. Not bad, I think you will agree, considering the GR8 was only created 15 months ago, and following an 11-second GT Cup win at Brands in August in the wet last time out! Oh, and he was carrying 60Kg ballast from that victory! And the Chevron is up against Ferrari 430's, Porsche GT3's and other such GT race aces! Respect to the heritage-rich brand is due, and the young gun racer. Thankfully, Road buddy Jordan walked away unscathed from the accident – caused by a Ferrai 430 driver tagging him off the track before turn one at Redgate. He was later black flagged and removed from the race, with his licence endorsed. Jordan Witt said: "It was quite a shock. The impact data from the in-car telemetry systems shows the car was at 110mph and pulling 30g when I hit the wall. The crash energy was so high, it broke the wall in three places and sent me bouncing back across the track in front of other cars, into the outside gravel. Very fortunately, I got out with no injuries apart from a minor one to my elbow. Most sadly, the race car is a mess, but it is our intention to be back out racing at the next British GT race at Rockingham on 03/04 September." Good man!
For Ken Block fans who may have missed it, here's an interview with the main man, who we had a lovely lunch with in Dunkeld, Perthshire, covering the McRae Stages Rally, chatting about good times with our mutual friend, the much-missed Colin McRae. You can read it here: http://issuu.com/roadonlinemagazine/docs/road_weekly_1
And, in case you missed it, check out the amazing new Gymkhana Four Hollywood Megamercial video on the post below... awesome dude!
It's what we've all been waiting for... and it's the best one yet, with the all-new Hybrid Function Hoon Vehicle (H.F.H.V) massively living up to its name, doing some mind-blowing stunts and serious four wheel drifts and handbrake action, accompanied by THE most aggressive anti-lag system you've ever heard. It's totally awesome to see Ken back at his hooning best, with a car specifically built for the job in hand. And shooting it at the Californian Universal studios and linking in with all the cinematic references is a stroke of genius – it's shamelessly American. DC and Ken Block present Gymkhana FOUR: The Hollywood Megamercial. Ken and his team say: "GYM4 surpasses the high-production style of Gymkhana TWO with even more spectacular effects shot in the backlots of Universal Studios, California. It was filmed over the course of five days, by director Ben Conrad (Zombieland and 30 Seconds or Less). And his team at Logan deliver a Hollywood caliber production complete with pyrotechnics, massive stunts and a series of unbelievable tricks – featuring robotic Jaws sharks, deranged zombies, and a hilarious cameo by the Epic Meal Time guys, Ken Block and his Hybrid Function Hoon Vehicle (H.F.H.V.) bring the magic of Hollywood and gymkhana together." It's another absolute cracker and is sure to be a HUGE viral hit... go Ken. Expect sales of DC-branded gear to go even more epic.
Tuesday, 16 August 2011
Road racing buddy, Mike Wilds took a fabulous podium place at Snetterton's new 300 Circuit – the race team’s third podium win of the season and Mazda MX-5 production race car’s second podium win, in the Britcar Dunlop Production GTN Championship, just weeks before the Britcar 24-Hour. Mazda said: "After qualifying seventh in class on Saturday, the Mazda MX-5 production car’s 50:50 weight distribution, handling and performance combined with the driving experience of legendary ex-F1 driver Mike Wilds saw the MX-5 race car fight its way to first in class in the first half of the race, further demonstrating its potential to challenge more powerful race cars in its class. During the halfway point on race day, Mike Wilds handed over to Piers Ward, Senior Road Test Editor, BBC Top Gear Magazine, to complete the final hour of the race. The Mazda MX-5 production race car continued to prove highly competitive and out handled rivals Seat Toledo, Seat Leon Cupra and the Synchro Motorsport Honda Jazz to give the production car its second podium of the season and third podium win for the team." Graeme Fudge, PR Director, Mazda UK added: "Despite the new Snetterton 300 circuit lending itself to the faster cars on track, we had a great result on Sunday, which is testament to the drivers and the handling and reliability for which the MX‑5 is renowned." The next race is the Britcar 24hr at Silverstone Circuit on 1-2 October 2011. Well done to Mazda and Mike. Life in the old dog yet, and you Mike!
Skoda's mental repmobile, the rally-bred Octavia vRS has broken the 200mph barrier – not on the M1, but at Bonneville Salt Flats. The world’s fastest Skoda nailed an impressive 202.15 mph on the iconic American salt flats to mark 10 years of vRS. The achievement has spurred the Skoda Bonneville team to go for the ‘2.0-litre production car’ record of 216 mph. Naturally, the normally 140mph Octavia vRS needed some modifications to hit over 200mph, and came in what Skoda called the ‘salt spec’ challenger. The car still retains its two-litre TSI petrol engine, but gains a massive Garrett turbocharger and bespoke intercooler, extensive REVO ECU remapping on the dyno and a heap of boost pressure (30+psi), pushing out over 500bhp, with help from Methanol-rich race fuel. And the aerodynamics pack was substantially altered to reduce drag, four-wheel-drive system was traction-optimised and the suspension slammed over 80mm. The car was driven by hack Richard Meaden – lucky bugger (again!). Robert Hazelwood, Director for Skoda UK, said: "Our special thanks go to Richard on an incredible drive. This marks another exciting milestone in the brand’s motorsport achievements and is a great way to celebrate 10 years of the vRS range and commemorate 110 years of Skoda’s participation in motorsport." There are still four days of the event to go, fo good luck to Richard and Skoda going for the 216mph record.
Monday, 15 August 2011
Aston Martin has confirmed the American debut of both the One-77 and V12 Zagato, with a series of exclusive celebratory events around the famed automotive week in Monterey, California, from 17-21 August. Aston Martin will commence the celebrations on the evening of Wednesday 17 August at McCall’s Motorworks Revival where the V12 Zagato will make its American debut. Aston says: "A truly bespoke and exclusive sports car, the V12 Zagato matches modern day technology with traditional craftsmanship. The new Aston Martin V12 Zagato was originally unveiled as a concept car at the prestigious Villa D’Este Concours in Italy earlier this year, where the car won the award for Design in the Concepts and Prototypes class. Just weeks later the V12 Zagato went on to prove its durability with successful completion of the gruelling 39th ADAC Nürburgring 24 Hour race in Germany. Last month, following overwhelmingly encouraging interest from customers, the company confirmed a strictly limited production run of the V12 Zagato will commence in summer 2012." As well as attendance at Quail: A Motorports Gathering and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Aston Martin will host guests from The Aston Martin Estate. This exquisite private venue, situated high above Carmel with panoramic views across the Monterey Bay, will provide the perfect backdrop for showcasing the ultimate Aston Martin; the One-77. Aston added: "The One-77 epitomises everything Aston Martin; modern technology fused with traditional hand-craftsmanship and painstaking attention to detail. As a culmination of all the marque’s know-how, the One-77 delivers effortless beauty guaranteed to stir the senses with performance potential eclipsing any previous Aston Martin. This grand estate will also serve as the location for a myriad of exclusive events including private viewings of the V12 Zagato and dynamic test drives in Aston Martin’s award-winning line-up of handcrafted high performance sports cars."
"Guests will be given the rare opportunity to test drive our latest model range, including the new Virage and Vantage S, as well as the four-door Rapide” commented Julian Jenkins, Vice President Aston Martin the Americas. "We are very excited about the program this year including the debut of the V12 Zagato, and we look forward to welcoming current owners, new customers and automotive enthusiasts to share our celebrations at The Aston Martin Estate." Suitably swanky!
Awesome hot lap, with telemetry and sound of extremely shocked passenger, in-car on the Green Hell in Radical SR3 with lap record holder, Michael Vergers at a Unique Track Days event (www.Uniquetrackdays.com). Well worth a view. Jees!
The final film from the week of UK TV work www.roylemedia.co.uk and www.roadmagazine.co.uk organised for Tim Schrick's Turbo Automagazin program on Sport 1 has aired. It features a classic www.rmatrackdays.com UK track day event at the amazing Donginton Park race circuit www.donington-park.co.uk. The fantastic cars we lined up for Tim to test were diverse and all brilliant: The purist race ace Chevron GR8 (& jaw dropping historic B19), Clive Seddon's CPR Mitsubishi Evo V Time Attack car with 982bhp and Sean Lockyear's perfect Porsche 964 911 with Motec magic. We know Tim enjoyed all of them, as you can see for yourself here: http://mediencenter.sport1.de/de/video/auto_motor/video_auto_motor_turbo/#/0_t2ve3q1o
And you can read a full behind the scenes report, find out more about the cars, see fresh images and find out what Tim thought about them all in the latest issue of Road here: http://issuu.com/roadonlinemagazine/docs/road_17
Last month www.roadmagazine.co.uk organised a week of extreme UK cars for Tim Schrick to test drive for his Turbo Automagazin program on Sport 1. We've shown you Andy Robinson's terrifying 1000bhp drag Evo at Santa Pod and the awesome Z Cars Hayabusa Mini, now here is the mind-blowing BAC Mono in action... the world's first press drive, organised by Road Magazine and www.roylemedia.co.uk PR. What a machine...! You can see the film here: http://mediencenter.sport1.de/de/video/auto_motor/video_auto_motor_turbo/#/0_me3qcof3
And you can read all about this incredible car, see a full tech spec and more images in the latest issue of Road Magazine here: http://issuu.com/roadonlinemagazine/docs/road_17
Thanks to Neil & Ian at BAC for their time an effort making the Turbo film and Road Magazine article.
Thursday, 11 August 2011
August 16th next week sees Ken Block's much anticipated Gymkhana Four released, and we can't wait. Ken being Ken, he's blogged a teaser, which hints at the soundtrack at least coming from the uber-aggressive anti-lag system on his Hybrid Function Hoon Vehicle. Expect some seriously cool new tricks and amazing filming techniques, thanks to GoPro Technology, the guys who filmed the recent Pike Peak Monster world record. You can read more via our sister site here: http://www.skiddmark.com/2011/08/11/gymkhana-four-coming-next-week/#.TkPI2lO4znI.twitter
See what Audi test driver, Emanuele Pirro (Le Mans winer five times) has to say about the "no compromise" 2012 Audi R8 GT – Audi's most powerful (560bhp V10), fastest (196mph) car in its model range. Only 333 of these will be sold globally, 92 in America, each with a numbered gear stick! Sure to be a collectors item...
Legendary Ferrari 512M + legendary Spa-Francorchamps = droolfest. Amateur, but good footage of a beautifully restored 1970-1971 Ferrari 512M, waking up and clearing its 610bhp V12 throat in the old pits at Spa and then giving us a good few full chat drive-bys, roaring, coughing and spluttering like the beast it is. Watch the 815Kg lightweight space framed body, massive rear rubber and serious downforce aero pack combine with the monster V12 to demolish Eau Rouge and remember why this was such a killer racer for Ferrari, and a big hit with the fans, then, and now. Sweet as...
Think all electric cars are dull? Think again. The forthcoming EcoVelocity show (September 8-11th at Battersea Power Station, London) is aiming to prove that electric cars can be sexy, fast and furious. They will be showcasing a load of "stylish, fast and exciting" electric supercars as part of the green show in a dedicated green supercar paddock – including the Bluebird Electric, fresh from its British Electric Land Speed Record, the mass production Tesla Roadster (pictured), Delta Motorsport E-4 Coupe with its 200 mile range, superquick Evelio (0-62mph in 3.2s), the Nemesis ESC, a Westfield Sport E and the 700bhp Lightning GT. Giles Brown, EcoVelocity Event Director, said: “The addition of the green supercar paddock might well be a little bit unexpected for some visitors and will definitely grab a lot of attention, but that is the whole point, changing perceptions. We are here to educate people about eco friendly motoring which is evolving all the time.” EcoVelocity is being planned by IMIE, organisers of the British Motor Show and Metro newspaper. For further information please visit www.ecovelocity.co.uk.
You've all heard of Pikes Peak, but we suspect many of you may not have heard of the Spectre 341 Challenge hill climb, aka the "Nurburgring of Nevada." 22 corners, no guard rails, 500-foot drops, 5.2-miles and some 50 drivers from the exclusive Spectre 341 club, in a range of superb performance cars doing over 390 runs up this challenging hill climb route, totalling over 2000 miles. The thrilling event is run out of Virginia City, Nevada and is well worth a go, as this great video shows clearly. Looks a lot of fun...
Grab a cup of char old boys, light up a Rothmans, sit back for five minutes and enjoy this fabulous old school footage of the 1967 Italian GP at Monza, in the good old analogue days of motorsport, when racers didn't do dandruff shampoo commercials and stopwatches ruled! Jim Clark's Ford is the one to beat, but legends Graham Hill, Colin Chapman, John Surtees and Jack Brabham have other ideas... leading to a thrilling last lap and photo finish. Pure class, what what?!
Check this short rolling road dyno video clip sent from our friends Flat 6 Motor Works (facebook 'em!) in the States... not the best quality picture, or sound, but watch it to the end... for a serious fire in the hole moment! The car (for anyone with no clue) is a Lamborghini LP-640 fitted with the GMG World Challenge Sports Exhaust System from south California; mandrel bent, T304 stainless steel tubing and available via Flat 6 with or without second catalyst. The direct replacement exhaust save 80% of weight over the standard system, and, as you can hear, sounds fabulous, and doubles as a flame thrower! See more at www.gmgracing.com
Wednesday, 10 August 2011
Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI), parent company of Subaru Automobiles, today confirmed the world production premiere of the all new Subaru XV (European specification) at the 64th Frankfurt Motor Show, September 13 – 25, 2011. Subaru’s brand new crossover will be unveiled to the world media at a press conference scheduled for 09.30am on September 13. Subaru say: "The Subaru XV defines a whole new generation of Subaru crossover vehicle. The Concept version of the XV received a warm welcome when it was first shown at the Auto Shanghai motor show in April, its design successfully combining the latest distinctive Subaru elements with the commanding silhouette expected of a crossover. The final production version of the XV remains true to the Concept and Subaru is confident that it will bring something fresh, as well as a new level of engineering excellence, to the segment." Subaru also expects the XV will bring a new type of customer to the brand – "people who are confident in the knowledge of the company’s AWD and engineering expertise and who are also looking for the flexibility and lifestyle statement that owning a crossover brings." The Subaru XV is due for launch in the UK in early 2012. Interesting...
Tuesday, 9 August 2011
Mazda are pushing the limits of engineering, to help create more economical – but, crucially, fun to drive – cars, using their innovative SKYACTIV Technology. They say: "SKYACTIV offers greater driving pleasure through weight reduction and improved performance, whilst responding to environmental needs with breakthrough economy-boosting and emissions-slashing technology for all Mazda drivers." Their SKYACTIV-G approach with petrol engines uses F1 style compression ratios of 14:1 to increase power and lower emissions, while SKYACTIV-D uses a compression ratio of 14:1 – the world’s lowest of any mass-produced diesel engine – to deliver a 20% increase in fuel economy and lower emissions in oil burners. Then there's the innovative SKYACTIV-Drive automatic transmission, delivering "a direct driving feel with up to 7% improvement in economy." And finally Mazda plan to make extensive use of ultra-high tensile chassis steels – slashing kerb weights by a full 100kg, resulting in greater agility and dynamism. Further in depth information is available at www.mazdaskyactiv.co.uk. Combine this technology with VW's Bluemotion ideas, Mitsubishi's "Intelligent Motion" and the like and we've got the start of of something special here, which all manufacturers should be busy with – to save us from dull electric cars!
Here on our sister site, www.skiddmark.com are some behind the scenes pictures and words from our week filming with Tim Schrick for Turbo TV on Sport 1: http://www.skiddmark.com/2011/08/05/road-17-behind-the-scenes-of-the-crazy-english-edition-wpics/ The last Turbo TV UK show, on the RMA track day – with Motec 964 Porsche 911, CPR 982bhp Mitsubishi Evo Time Attack winner, the latest Evo X FQ-330 TC-SST and Chevron Race Car's amazing GR8 and B19 – and the incredible BAC Mono, will air tomorrow night on Sport 1 (www.sport1.de). Check it out! And you can read the Tim Schrick special issue of Road Magazine, FREE here: http://www.issuu.com/roadonlinemagazine/docs/road_17/1
Two Road buddy's in action at the last X-Games before Colin sadly passed away: Ken Block gives Colin McRae a run for his money on the dusty, twisty mickey mouse super special at the X Games, with a dramatic ending! Check it out ;-) Road's first lady, www.ashleyvandyke.com has just been to the 2011 X-Games, and we will have a report from her in the next issue of www.roadmagazine.co.uk, out last week of August, via the blog. Yeeee-haaaw!
How's this for a bargain? "Affordable ICE brand," Sub-Zero ICE has released a no frills, CD-less, iPod/iPhone compatible head unit. It has a 4x40W output and features an Aux-in/3.5mm jack socket, USB/SD/MMC (MP3) playback port, LCD screen and ISO connector and retails at just £59.99. Find out more by calling Sub-Zero ICE on +44 (0)1488-689400. The unit also features an RDS FM/AM radio... which starts me on a long overdue rant... why in God's name, when we are bombarded with info on the digital TV switchover, is no one addressing digital radio? Road's station of choice in BBC 6Music, and in all the press cars we've tested, only two (top-end) cars have had a digital radio. This is a joke. I mean... who the bloody hell listens to AM anymore anyhow? It's awful! Digital radio is ace. So, manufacturers... stop being tight and give us digital radio in our cars, now! Anyone with me on my campaign?
"The Track Day King," Graham Clarke and his sublime track day club, www.rmatrackdays.co.uk has laid on a great mix of Summer events, with places still left to book. August 16th sees the RMA team take to Silverstone International Circuit, complete with the stunning new wing complex, with prices from just £95. Mid-Summer sees another classic RMA European trip, to the amazing Dijon Prenois circuit in France – a must for any self-respecting track day hound, if only for the food and booze R&R after a day on a fabulous, flowing circuit. This is a two-day affair, August 23rd and 24th and costs just £295, but be quick, as this is a very popular event, understandably. Then RMA are off to a Road favourite – the historic, high speed classic at Castle Combe in the beautiful Costwolds, for the only time this year – and its a very rare loud day there, with a 105 dB (A) limit, from just £145, September 1st. Want the best track days ever, with overtaking either side, low numbers, fabulous instruction (including from race ace Graham's son, www.leytonclarke.co.uk) and a paddock rammed with the best track cars imaginable? Book the best...
Monday, 8 August 2011
SEAT is extending the Leon range this September – with more options in its FR range and a performance-driven FR+ version. SEAT say: "The exciting FR hot hatch is now available as a 1.4 TSI 125 PS (manual only) or 2.0 TDI CR 140 PS (manual and DSG). The availability of lower-powered – but no less engaging – turbocharged petrol or diesel engines makes the FR range even more accessible to customers whose choices may be restricted by engine power, cost or insurance considerations. Bristling with sports styling and packed with equipment, the Leon boasts FR front and rear bumpers, twin chrome exhaust pipe, trademark silver-painted door mirrors, stylish LED rear-light clusters, FR sports seats and steering wheel, rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights and auto-dimming rear-view mirror." Additionally, the new Leon FR+ offers "a significant step up from the ‘standard’ FR trim in terms of both performance and equipment." It’s available to order now with SEAT’s powerful 2.0 TSI 211 PS and 2.0 TDI CR 170 PS engines. The Leon FR+ takes the FR trim and adds arch-filling 18-inch ‘Ibera’ alloy wheels; the SEAT Media System 2.2, which includes satellite-navigation with five-inch colour touchscreen and dynamic route guidance, DAB radio, Bluetooth audio streaming and SD card slot; Bluetooth phone connection; Bi-xenon headlights with AFS (Adaptive Front-lighting System) and front parking sensors. And the best news is that although the retail cost of this extra equipment when specified separately is £2,465 RRP, the price of the new Leon FR+ is up by just £1,070 RRP. SEAT’s Leon FR line-up now starts at only £18,205 RRP for the Leon FR 1.4 TSI 125 PS, rising to £22,615 RRP for the lavishly equipped Leon FR+ 2.0 TDI CR DSG-auto 170 PS. Finally, while sadly the Leon Cupra has been withdrawn from the range, SEAT has significantly improved the 265 PS Cupra R trim by adding plenty of extra kit to this fire-breathing, 155 mph ‘halo’ model for no extra cost. The latest Leon Cupra R now offers, as standard, SEAT Media System 2.2, Bluetooth connectivity, Bi-xenon headlights with AFS and LED rear-light clusters – priced at just £25,995. Steve Robertson, SEAT UK’s Head of Marketing, said: "The Leon FR has been an important mainstay of the SEAT line-up for some time, so it clearly makes sense to maximise its appeal. I think the showroom debut of these great new cars, which coincides perfectly with the important September plate change and makes the Leon FR range both more accessible and more attractive, should keep our dealers very busy!" For full details of the entire SEAT range, including the latest prices and a great interactive car configurator, simply visit www.seat.co.uk
Thursday, 4 August 2011
Road caught up with an old friend and rally hero, Alister McRae this week... who we last met, throwing up in his helicopter (I know!), whilst Alister flew like a hardcore Vietnam pilot over the treetops of Perthshire, following dad Jimmy through the McRae Stages Rally in his Sierra Cosworth. Awesome! Good times. Turns out Scotsman Alister is well settled in the sun and dusty gravel down under, in Australia and is busy as a bee. Check out his websites www.mcraemotorsport.com.au and www.speedaware.com.au. Alister offers a fabulous range of corporate experiences, first rate driver training and tarmac and gravel rally experiences, as well as industry and youth driver training and 4x4 off-road courses. And they all look and sound fabulous. What could be better than being trained by nice guy and phenomenal driver Alister McRae? We just wish we were closer, to pay him a visit...! But many of you www.roadmagazine.co.uk readers are... so get involved! His website also has some great deals on Proflex suspension, DMACK tyres, ITG air filters, motorsport merchandise and much more besides. Check it out. Good luck with it all Alister.
How's this for a bright vision of the short term future of "green motoring?" The UK's biggest eco-friendly motor show, EcoVelocity, is aiming to prove we don't all need to tap into expensive, impractical and unwanted (according to Top Gear) hybrid and electric car technology. Good news, right? They are aiming to prove this at this year's show (September 8-11), by showcasing a "future perfect" converted Ford RS2000 and a VW Camper... modern classics, turned green (virtually, for now!). The show has taken two iconic vehicles from the 1980s – the petrol-powered Ford Escort RS2000 and the diesel VW Camper Van – and showed how stuffing them full of the very latest in green car technology would make them viable, modern cars with vastly-reduced CO2 emissions and improved fuel efficiency. They say: "EcoVelocity is seeking to prove that, by using cutting-edge technology available now, including direct injection systems and stop/start technology, the venerable internal combustion engine has life in it yet for the eco-conscious driver. EcoVelocity’s project cars have been upgraded virtually only, however, independent engineers have confirmed the mechanical viability of all the work suggested." EcoVelocity founder and organiser, Giles Brown, adds: “Both of these vehicles, although iconic in their own right, had monstrous CO2 emission figures by today’s standards. With a potential price tag of tens of thousands of pounds to undertake all this work, you’d have to be very serious indeed about going green. But what we want to show is how it is possible to make both cars eligible for free road tax (VED Band A), increase their performance and even enhance their safety features.” Makes good sense to us... why go to the effort of producing all these new green cars, which drive with bland modernity, when you can recycle and revive a cult classic and still get the juices flowing when you drive – with reliability, economy and environmental sensitivity?
The EcoVelocity Ford Escort RS2000 features
- Modern counterpart engine (Ford 1.6-litre Ti-VCT) to replace original
- Thermal management
- Direct injection system for efficiency and performance
- Stop / start technology – up to 5% CO2 saving
- Hybrid engine technology – up to 25% CO2 saving
- ABS / ESP safety systems
- Thermal management
- Direct injection system for efficiency and performance
- Stop / start technology – up to 5% CO2 saving
- Hybrid engine technology – up to 25% CO2 saving
- ABS / ESP safety systems
The EcoVelocity VW Camper Van features
- Modern counterpart engine (Volkswagen 1.6 TDI 90) to replace original
- Thermal management
- Exhaust gas systems for efficiency
- Stop / start technology – up to 5% CO2 saving
- Hybrid engine technology – up to 25% CO2 saving
- ABS / ESP safety systems
- Thermal management
- Exhaust gas systems for efficiency
- Stop / start technology – up to 5% CO2 saving
- Hybrid engine technology – up to 25% CO2 saving
- ABS / ESP safety systems
The EcoVelocity show is at Battersea Power Station, September 8-11th and costs £5 for children and £10 for adults. Find out more at www.ecovelocity.co.uk
Tuesday, 2 August 2011
Last year, Pagani rocked the Ring with a 6:47.50 fastest ever 'road car' lap of the 20.832 Km Nurburgring Nordschleife, in the lightweight, downforce-special, 755bhp Zonda R monster. You can find the epic video of it in full here on the blog (just use the search function in the right hand tool bar). Here is a short behind the scenes video of the lap record, with interviews with driver and engineer. Interesting stuff...
A couple of weeks ago, we showed you one of our favourite ever videos from the Nurburgring 24-Hour – the Falken Tyres GT3 R blitzing a lap, in the pitch black. Awesome. Now try it at dawn... the "witching hours" for adrenaline-exhausted drivers. Seabastian Asch shows us how it's done, as the Falken GT3 R fights back the places, after a transmission failure earlier in the race. Wicked stuff!