AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Highcroft Racing has dominated the LMP2 class of the American Le Mans Series for the past 4 years, but the program didn’t seem to be doing much to promote the Acura brand. In light of that, the car will now be branded as a Honda Performance Development car, a move that signals both a positive shift for Honda’s in-house go-fast division, and a bad omen for the company’s beleaguered luxury division.
This year, Highcroft will be campaigning their new entry in the much tougher LMP1 class. Patron will also no longer be sponsoring the car, having decided to instead sponsor the ALMS series as a whole. Michelin will step up to provide the funding for Highcroft. The new car, dubbed ARX-01e, will share the same tub and 3.4L V8 as the LMP2 cars of years past, but everything from the suspension to the aerodynamic package will change to make the car more competitive for LMP1.
With legendary race cars like the Audi R15 and Peugeot 908HDi as the top dogs of LMP1, Highcroft will have a tough fight ahead of them if they want to gain any ground. The first race, held in Sebring, Florida, kicks off Saturday.
Hit the jump to read the official press release
Of all the highly touted films screening at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, the one we want to see most is Senna, a documentary on the life of three time Formula 1 world Champion Ayrton Senna.
Assembled entirely from previously unseen archival footage from Senna’s career (spanning from his youth karting days until his death in 1994), Senna captured the imagination of millions of Formula 1 fans around the world, leading to a global launch for the film – excluding North America.
Hopefully, the documentary will help Senna find a distributor for this market, as well the strong review in the L.A. Times. Even though Formula 1 is less than popular in the United States, the universal themes of passion, brotherhood and adventure will surely resonate with audiences who couldn’t tell you the difference between Ferrari and McLaren.
[Source: L.A. Times]
Trailer after the jump
With Mad Men setting off a slew of imitators producing 1960′s period pieces on network television, Ridley and Tony Scott, the two brothers collectively responsible for works like Top Gun and Gladiator, are apparently forging ahead with plans for a movie set in the 1960s, but with a motor racing theme.
“I grew up in the North of England at a time when Stirling Moss was a hero.Everyone wanted to be a racing driver. This is a hugely ambitious project and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tell the story of these iconic and legendary men who risked everything to win at Le Mans. It’s an epic story of courage and ambition and a history of racing which has never been told on such a grand scale,” Ridley Scott told Deadline.
Considering the uber-high production values and budgets that usually accompany one of the brothers movies, we literally cannot wait to see what transpires. The 1960′s were some of the best days of motorsports and played host to the infamous Ferrari/Ford rivalry among other legendary battles. Hopefully this one doesn’t languish in development hell.
Desperate times call for whoring yourself out for money desperate measures, and with the Royal Bank of Scotland pulling their funding from the Williams Formula 1 team, the outfit had to come up with some money, and fast.
One group able to come up with the money was PDVSA, the Venezuelan owned state oil company, who managed to chip in $14 million dollars, and effectively force Williams to sign Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado. Maldonado is an avowed supporter of President Hugo Chavez, making his signing barely more palatable than the patronage that may have gone on if a Venezuelan minister’s child was given a Formula 1 seat.
Who would have thought there would be a less evil team than Ferrari?
Formula 1 will revert back to its craziest era in 2013, when it adopts a 1.6L 4-cylinder turbo engine for its series. The last time the turbo 4-banger was offered, it made in excess of 1,300 horsepower, but the new rules will be focused more on efficiency rather than outright power.
With a maximum redline of 12,000 rpm and an onboard KERS mild hybrid system, the new cars will also have to make engines and gearboxes last longer, as their allotted replacements are reduced after 2013.
The black and gold Lotus paint scheme may be Formula 1′s most iconic livery, more dear to the hearts of fans than even the red Marlboro design used on McLaren and Ferrari cars.
While the colors originally came from the John Player Special cigarette design, they’ve managed to burn themselves into the hearts and minds of racing fans, long after Lotus had left the sport, and tobacco advertising was banished once and for all.
The revived Lotus Renault outfit comes from a partnership between Lotus cars and Genii Capital, an investment group that purchased the remnants of Renault’s Formula 1 outfit, that’s also won two championships. Using Renault engines, the name choice was obvious – except that a rival team, which had purchase the Lotus naming rights for the 2010 season, is also campaigning in the 2011 season with Renault power. Their name too, will be Lotus Renault GP. We expect this to be settled in court soon, but in the mean time, hit the jump to see the press release for one of two Lotus Renault Formula 1 outfits.
After discovering that Travis Pastrana had left Subaru and the world of rallying, the ex-rally driver has confirmed his intentions to dive into NASCAR, with a Toyota-backed entry into the NASCAR Nationwide Series in collaboration with Michael Waltrip.
The plan is to enter 7 races in 2011, with an additional 20 in 2012. Pastrana will surely introduce NASCAR to a new demographic that more than likely avoided the sport previously. We’re curious to see how Pastrana, someone adept at turning both left and right, will fare in the unidirectional NASCAR.
Hit the jump for the official press release
The German DTM Touring Car series is looking to make a foray into North America sometime around 2013, with a possible partnership involving NASCAR and Grand-Am.
In an interview with Autosport, the head of DTM’s promotion arm, Hans Werner Aufrecht said “In America, we are working with the NASCAR organisation. Beginning in 2013, we hope to have a championship with 12 races in the United States. They will be six with Grand-Am and six with NASCAR events, for a standalone championship in America. I believe this is very, very good for the future of motorsport in the United States.”
The timing of the races will coincide with the new generation of DTM cars, which will see technical regulations between DTM and the Japanese SuperGT series become standardized.