The FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) will be heading to the Circuit of the Americas on September 20, 2013.
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What’s the first company that comes to mind when you think of car seats? If it’s Grayco or Britax you really need to get out more. In the realm of performance automotive seating Recaro is a leader in the industry, whether it’s at the OEM or aftermarket level.
With much of Europe mired in recession and seemingly ever widening debt crisis amongst member states, the very notion of spending exorbitant sums of money on activities like motorsport is coming under increasing scrutiny.
MINI‘s hopes for capturing the 2012 World Championship Rally title took a big blow before the effort even started. Mini has missed the deadline for signing up for next years championship, which expired at midnight, last night.
The Mini rally car, which is based on the Countryman model is prepared by Prodrive in Banbury, U.K. Now Prodrive, Mini and its parent company BMW are in talks with the FIA to seek an extension to the deadline.
The driver’s for the Mini WRC; Kris Meeke and Dani Sordo made no comment on this situation, but sources say that the team has a strong desire to compete in the WRC 2012 season.
Despite the setback, Mini is expected to make a return to the Monte Carlo Rally next year, an event that made the Mini a legend back in the 1960′s.
Will the FIA grant Mini the extension it needs? We’ll keep you posted on any developments.
Just as the end of racing season draws near, Audi announces the TT RS Race Car is available for private sale. Although it shares its name with the production car, the new race car is nothing like it.
Rather than fitting it with the Quattro system that put Audi on the map, the TT RS Race Car is front wheel drive. Properly German, Audi is completely unfazed by the possibility of torque steer and extracted 380 horsepower from the production 2.5 liter five cylinder turbo. The engine is mated to a sequential six-speed racing transmission with paddle shift.
Other measures to tame this front wheel drive TT include multiple aerodynamic additions designed for extreme downforce and efficiency. An adjustable racing suspension will provide teams a wide range of tuning as well.
If the idea of a front wheel drive race car still feels uncomfortable, fear not. Audi has already put the TT RS Race Car against extensive shakedown prior to its launch. Intended to participate in the German VLN Endurance Championship, Audi’s factory team entered the car into the Nürburgring 24-hour race this past June and earned itself a class victory. It’s final testing was just the end of August, at a six hour racing event again held at Nürburgring. This time, the Audi TT RS Race Car earned the first ever pole grid position of any fwd vehicle and clinched the overall race win. You can’t argue against results.
The Audi TT RS Race Car is available at 180,000 Euros, or approximately $250,000.
GALLERY: 2012 Audi TT RS Race Car
Porsche and racing go hand in hand, however, the German sports car maker continues to shy away from the likes of Formula 1 and the DTM series.
Now there is news that Porsche will compete in a new class of motorsport in 2014. So far the details for this new series are very scarce. All we know is that it is sanctioned by the FIA, the governing body that overlooks Formula 1 and other top-tier motorsports around the world.
Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller said “FIA is working on a concept. Other brands have already shown interest.”
2014 will also mark the return of Porsche to the Le Mans series of endurance racing, where it is believed the German automaker will compete using a hybrid.
[Source: Automotive News]
F1′s former chief commandant Max Mosley has joined Red Bull pilot Mark Webber in speaking up against the FIA’s decision to race in Bahrain this October, claiming that it is a mistake that “will eventually cost Formula One dear.”
“By agreeing to race there, Formula One becomes complicit in what has happened,” said Mosley in a column for the Sunday Telegraph.
“We will be told that holding the Grand Prix in October will show that, once again, Bahrain is a happy, peaceful country. So why is it wrong for Formula One to go along with this? Surely the line has to be drawn when a sporting event is not mere entertainment in a less-than-perfect country, but is being used by an oppressive regime to camouflage its actions.”
Of course, Mosley may have more clout than a mere racing driver—”hey, we don’t pay you to think!” seems to be the operative phrase with all the other domestic appliances. But for the son of one of Britain’s most infamous fascists, Mosley writes an impassioned opinion about the influence F1 would have on a country still facing its own charges of bloody oppression. “If a sport accepts this role, it becomes a tool of government,” he writes. “If Formula One allows itself to be used in this way in Bahrain, it will share the regime’s guilt as surely as if it went out and helped brutalise unarmed protesters.”
[Source: Times of India]
The FIA has just posted its 2012 Formula 1 schedule, and good news to race fans and Americans in general: in the world of international motorsports, our fair nation is once again significant!
That’s right, the 10th round of the 2012 Grand Prix schedule includes a date in Austin, Texas—the return of F1 to our shores since 2007, when the U.S.: Grand Prix at Indianapolis staggered on for two years after the embarrassing 2005 tire controversy. FIA president and Dr. Evil impersonator Bernie Ecclestone vowed in 2009 to never return to the U.S. again, but last year Austin was awarded a 10-year race contract on a brand-new track, the Circuit of the Americas, to be completed in time for next year’s race.
So mark your calendars for June 10th, for when the F1 circus storms into Austin to continue keeping it weird. Now that America is back on the international racing map, maybe we can embrace soccer next. Nah, one step at a time.
Indefinitely postponed after the March 13th race was canceled, the FIA has reportedly given the green light for the Bahrain Grand Prix to return to the Formula 1 schedule this season.
“Mabrook, Bahrain, will host f1″, tweeted Fawaz Al Khalifa, the head of the country’s information affairs authority, adding that a date is being worked out now.
The news comes after a meeting of F1′s World Motor Sport Council and just as the Bahrain government lifted an emergency rule on Wednesday.
The FIA has yet to confirm these reports, but the race is believed to take place on October 30th (the former date of the Indian GP), which would then be pushed back to as late as December.
Back in the 1980′s the FIA World Rally Championship had the infamous Group B class, which featured some of the fastest cars to ever enter professional rallying.
Rallying rules at the time dictated that at least 200 road-going examples had to be made, and hence the era saw many wild, road-legal versions of cars like the Lancia 037 and the Renault 5 GT Turbo.
Ford was heavily involved in the world of rally racing, and made a car specifically to take the Group B crown. It was called the RS200, and it featured a mid-mounted, 1.8-liter four-cylinder motor with a Garrett T03/04 turbo charger bolted on it. Factory claims for the power output suggested 444-hp, but that could be easily tweaked to produce upwards of 650-hp.
However, just as Ford had prepared all the necessary road cars to meet homologation rules, the Group B class of rallying was canceled due to some terrible accidents. Group B was deemed too dangerous and such giants have never been seen in professional rallying ever since.
The road cars that resulted from this era are still highly sought after and exchange hands for large sums of cash. One such example of the RS200 is now on sale in Japan. This particular car has covered just 3666-miles since 1986, and is currently listed at $179,900. The seller points out that importing it to the United States is “very complicated,” but since a few of these do exist in American garages, we bet there are ways of having one registered.
[Source: Car Classic]
With an eye toward fostering electric-powered F1 competition, Jean Todt, president of the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), said it plans to begin with electric auto, go-kart, and single-seater racing.
The first season could come as soon as 2013, he said, and plans for a series and championships are comprehensive. “We want as soon as possible to have new categories with new energy,” Todt told the Financial Times. “As much as we can do it all over the world, we will do it.”
The idea dovetails with a number of Europe-wide public transportation initiatives to switch to electric power in coming years. Plans for European cities call for a 50-percent reduction of petrol-powered cars by 2030, and utterly phasing them out by 2050.
Todt has been encouraged to start on a similar path in the racing world by Antonio Tajani, the European Union’s industry commissioner. The idea is that witnessing high-powered electric F1 and other race cars will promote EV’s overall acceptance. Tajani has said he would at least like EU-based racing to promote electric cars.
But Todt is expected to meet opposition from Bernie Ecclestone, president and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Administration. Ecclestone is already against hybrid turbo F1 racers proposed for 2013, and would likely disagree with all-electric because alternative tech is not as competitive.
“The racing community are only interested in how to improve performance because they want to win,” he said.
Presently, the world’s quickest EV the Shelby Ultimate Aero EV does 0-60 in 2.5 seconds, about a second slower than an F1 car. How long EVs could race, and how quick re-charging pit stops would be handled for longer races is also in question.
[Source: The Telegraph]
Due to the ongoing protests in Bahrain, F1 officials have officially pulled the plug on the Bahrain Grand Prix, originally scheduled for March 13th.
F1′s governing body, the FIA, and its president Bernie Ecclestone have decided to “postpone” the opening race of the 2011 season, instead starting in Melbourne, Australia on March 27th. A new date is still being considered to the already-full 20-race schedule.
The past few weeks have been full of speculation on whether the FIA would make a statement regarding the humanitarian issue. The deadly protests in Bahrain against the monarchy are still ongoing, and holding an F1 race there after such political upheaval would have been trivial, if not disastrous.
With the 2011 Formula 1 season fast approaching, the sport’s various teams are getting ready to unveil their latest entries. One of the most highly anticipated unveilings was that of Ferrari‘s newest machine, the F150.
No, the Italian squad has not taken a Ford F-150 pick-up truck and turned it into a racer. Instead, they have come up with a car so revolutionary, that Aldo Costa, Ferrari’s technical director calls it a “complete rethink.” ”We had to rethink quite a lot on the car from an aerodynamic point of view.”
The new car has to comply with all the technical changes mandated by Formula 1 for this season, including a ban on double diffusers . For 2011, hydraulically adjustable rear wings are allowed, which the driver can use when overtaking to give more straight-line speed.
The Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) has also been re-introduced, so expect more passing this season. The 2011 Formula 1season will kick-off on March 14th in Bahrain.
Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo expressed disgust regarding Formula 1′s new engine regulations, slated to come into effect in 2013.
According to a report by British network Sky Sports, the sartorially impeccable Ferrari boss said that the new turbo 4-cylinder engines are “a bit pathetic” for “the top class of racing”. “
Why couldn’t we have a V6 turbo?” asked di Montezemolo. “We should not confuse affordable with cheap. If there is the slightest possibility to delay the four cylinder, I will look for it. We see a chance. We need unity.”
Speaking to German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, di Montezemolo re-affirmed that Ferrari will never offer a 4-cylinder engine in its road cars.
[Source: Sky Sports]
This new series will be performed on tracks around the world and in terms of performance will rival the current FIA Formula-3 series, which uses 2.0-liter gas engines.
The new race car, which is developed by the French company Segula Matra Technologies, features a pair of electric motors, mated to a custom 2-speed transmission developed by Hewland.
All the racing rules and regulations have not been announced yet, for instance, how long the races will be and if teams will be allowed to change the lithium-ion battery packs during the race. The SAFT developed battery pack can currently run for about 20-25 minutes and can take up to 90 minutes to charge.
The frame and bodywork for the new race car was developed by Mercedes-Benz Petronas F1 team at their facility in Brackley, U.K.
Michelin will develop new energy saving tires for the series. The prototype was tested at the Magny-Cours and Le Mans Bugatti circuit, where it set some impressive performance numbers. 0-60 mph took just 3 seconds, and it hit a top speed of 155 mph.
The plan is for the series to run 10 races on five continents. We wish this series all the best.
Formula 1′s ubiquitous safety car, deployed whenever an accident takes place, was present for its 250th Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi last weekend.
Known as a pace car in American race series, the safety car has been used on and off since 1973 but became a permanent fixture in 1996. The safety cars have generally been Mercedes-Benz AMG vehicles, including a C36, SLK55, CL63, SL63 and finally, an SLS AMG Gullwing. Over the 250 races, the safety car has been deployed 135 times.
[Source: World Car Fans]
Debuting in an unfinished forum at the Geneva Auto Show earlier this year, Lotus how now officially unveiled the Evora Cup GT4 race car at at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Monterey, CA. And judging by the tires, this car has already seen plenty of track time.
Built to compete in the FIA GT4 series in Europe, Lotus U.S.A. head Arnie Johnson confirmed that the car can be delivered in anywhere from GT4 to GT2 trim. The GT4 car on display uses a 360-hp 4.0-liter V6, but Cosworth can increase that number as high as 470-hp.
Built to run in its own Lotus Evora Cup series, it can also compete in any GT4 racing series and according to Johnson the company has already sold six of the $160,000 race cars this week.
But the most exciting news might be chatter we heard amongst some Lotus folks at the booth, indicating that Lotus will look to field the car in the Grand Am series here in North America – likely next year.
GALLERY: Lotus Evora Cup GT4
In 1969; Ford Motor Company and Bud Moore battled Roger Penske and Chevrolet in the Sports Car Club of America’s Trans American Sedan championship for supremacy. Now, one of the survivors of that tremendous season is being put up for sale.
Despite being highly competitive in the 1969 season (Bud Moore/Ford team drivers Parnelli Jones and George Follmer won four out of the first five races) a series of late season mishaps, including a spectacular three car crash at Ste. Jovite gave Mark Donohue and the Team Penske Camaros the edge and the manufacturer’s title went to Chevrolet. Nevertheless, the surviving Trans Am Mustangs from this golden era, still command serious money when they go up for sale today.
One of only two genuine 1969 Trans Am Mustangs still in existence, is this car – chassis number 112074, which is due to be auctioned off at Russo and Steele’s event in Monterey on August 12-14th. This particular machine made it’s competition debut at the Citrus 250 NASCAR race in February 1969, driven by Parnelli Jones. Built originally as a Daytona Special, it became the Bud Moore prototype and later the team’s main car during the 1969 Trans Am season. It’s also significant in being the only 1969 Trans Am Mustang to be raced both by Bud Moore and Team Shelby. The car, which is fully certified and documented by both the Federation Internationale d’Automobile (FIA) and the Historic Trans Am Registry, is likely to attract a lot of attention and some very serious bidding at Russo and Steele. Make sure you check back with AutoGuide for the final sales results from this highly anticipated auction.
FIA President Jean Todt is looking at re-instating the 107% rule as a means of whipping chronically under-funded under-performing teams into shape. The 107% rule gets its name from the stipulation that in order for a driver to qualify for a race, he must obtain a qualifying time within 107% of the polesitter’s time.
The gulf between the “have’s” and “have not’s” is substantial, with many of the new-for-2010 entrants facing potential exclusion from competition. The 107% rule hasn’t been in place since 2002, and introducing it mid-way through the season would require unanimous approval from all teams, something that would have a snowball’s chance in hell of happening. Expect it to come next season, if it’s approved by 70% of the teams in an off-season vote.
The latest nugget of information surrounding Volkswagen‘s often-rumored foray into Formula 1 came at last weekend’s 24 Hours of Nurburgring race, with a VW executive claiming that the Volkswagen Group’s premium brands, like Audi or Porsche would be the best fit for the company’s shot at the world’s most prestigious motorsport.
“Within the group, for sure, it could be Audi, it could be Porsche and might also be Volkswagen,” said Kris Nissen, who is in charge for Volkswagen’s motorsports efforts, in an interview with the Brisbane Times. ”I think it would not suit so well Skoda or Seat or Bentley.”
Volkswagen is looking to enter Formula 1 as a possible supplier for the “world-engine” the FIA wants to implement in 2013. The engine would be shared across all motorsports, not just Formula 1, and take on a direct-injection four-cylinder turbocharged form. The move is unpopular with many constructors, but ironically, the four-cylinder format was last used around the same time that Porsche supplied engines to McLaren under a partnership with the TAG Group.
Nissen’s comments come shortly after Toyota’s own motorsports head derided Formula 1 as an “elitist” motorsport and claimed that the company would never return to the sport.
[Source: World Car Fans]