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.
The X Games RallyCross is going through its practice runs today, and Finnish driver Toomas “Topi” Heikkinen suffered a violent crash into a metal jump ramp.
Norwegian WRC racing driver Mads Østberg has enjoyed a bit of success in his World Rally Championship career but as it is with all athletes, practice makes perfect so a little snowy stunt driving is practically training. Record-breaking is just a bonus.
Setting a new bar for himself, and the world, Østberg completed a world record snow jump at the “DC All in Trysil” event, a winter extreme sports festival held last weekend at Trysil, Norway, sponsored by DC Shoes.
Østberg took three attempts, leaping off a snowy ramp in his WRC Ford Fiesta, the first of which saw him barely clear the landing ramp. His second jump was cleaner but not quite record-worthy. Finally on the third try he cleared 50 meters (164 feet). Spectacular as it is to watch, the jump isn’t “official” and won’t be recorded in the Guiness Book of World Records.
The new B-Spec class was created to help give motorsports enthusiasts an affordable place to race their compact cars from automakers like Honda, Mazda, Kia, and Ford. The B-Spec class gives enthusiasts the chance to compete in SCCA and Grand-Am racing with less financial commitment.
Ford is helping make it even easier to become competitive in B-Spec class racing by offering an upgrade kit for existing 2011-2012 Fiestas. The Fiesta B-Spec parts being offered by Ford Racing include a set of coilovers, an air conditioning delete kit, a front tow hook, a K&N air filter, B-Spec ABS module, stainless brake lines, and a short throw shifter.
Unfortunately, the kit isn’t all that’s required to safely race in the B-Spec class. Fiesta owners will also have to be up-to-date with a roll cage, racing seats, and all the necessary safety equipment.
The company says that the full build cost for a race-ready B-Spec Fiesta is approximately $25,000, including the donor car and the Ford Racing B-Spec parts.
The first SCCA / World Challenge pro B-Spec event will be at Miller Motorsports Park on April 27th to the 29th. The first Grand-Am B-Spec pro event is the same weekend but at Homestead-Miami Speedway during the Grand-Prix of Miami weekend.
GALLERY: 2012 Ford Fiesta B-Spec
Ford recently unveiled their new 2012 Ford Fiesta WRC Rally Car in its full livery at the Autosport International Racing Car Show in Birmingham, England.
This will be the Fiesta’s second year competing in the WRC and the race team is looking forward to building off of its success last year when it won the season opener and the last race of the season. It’ll be powered by a 1.6L Ford EcoBoost turbocharged powerplant and was prepared to go rally-racing by M-Sport, Ford’s long time partner. As you can tell by the livery, Castrol remains the team’s primary sponsor.
The successor to Ford’s Focus WRC, there are high hopes for the Fiesta this year and things could get mighty interesting against Citroen.
GALLERY: 2012 Ford Fiesta WRC Rally Car
Valentino Rossi is clearly a warrior on all things two-wheeled. Rossi won his first 125cc championship in 1997, a 250cc World Championship in 1999, a 500cc World Championship in 2001, back-to-back World GP Championships in 2002 and 2003 with Honda, and another back-to-back in 2004 and 2005 with Yamaha. It would take until 2008 for Rossi to recapture his title, but he had no problem retaining it in 2009.
Despite a disappointing season in 2011 for Ducatti, Rossi is still first in all time 500cc / MotoGP race wins with 79 victories. And while we don’t expect Rossi to hand up MotoGP anytime soon, he did proclaim that he sees himself racing in rally sometime in the future.
I’ll do a few more years in MotoGP, then I’d race in rallies: these machines are really fun to drive because they have less electronics,” said Rossi.
For the 2011 edition of the Monza Rally Show, Monster Energy and Rossi put together a three-car team and shot a video of Rossi behind the wheels of a WRC Ford Fiesta. And despite not having a ton of time behind the wheel, Rossi showed off why he’s one of the fastest things on wheels (two or four) by finishing second in two race formats behind multiple WRC champion Sebastian Loeb.
Check out a video of Rossi piloting a Monster Energy WRC Fiesta after the break.
Just in time for the holiday season, Hot Wheels announced a lineup of Ken Block toys now available at retailers nationwide such as Toys “R” Us, Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart and Pep Boys. Three individual products make up the Ken Block Hot Wheels line, a 1:64-scale die-cast 2011 Ken Block Ford Fiesta Hot Wheels car, a Hot Wheels RC Nitro Speeders Ken Block Fiesta, and a 1:16-scale Hot Wheels Ken Block RC Stunt Car.
The 1:64-scale die-cast Fiesta is available sporting the black or white liveries, depending on your preference and comes in at a mere $1.00. The RC Nitro Speeders Fiesta is a small, self-containing RC car and controller and has the ability to go 0-60 mph in scale speed in just 1-second. The Speeders is for sale at $26.00. Lastly, the RC Stunt Car is a fully functional remote controlled car with two different drift modes, allowing the user to pull both wide and tight drifts. It features a scale speed of 0-80 mph in less than 2-seconds for just $45.00.
This is just the beginning of the collaboration, as Block elaborated that he’s already working with Hot Wheels for some 2012 items, including some of his current projects that are still secret.
GALLERY: Ken Block Hot Wheels
For long one of the most beloved hot hatches in Europe, the Ford Fiesta ST Concept will be unveiled at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show. Recently at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Ford revealed a three-door ST concept, a sign that perhaps the hot-hatch sub-compact would not be offered in North America. This new five-door concept changes all that.
North America’s first Ford hot hatch since the 2004 Ford Focus SVT, the Fiesta ST concept’s mission at the LA show is to show Ford Motor Company’s global performance strategy. The Fiesta ST Concept combines dramatic and aggressive styling with a dynamic sports chassis and a high-performance powertrain that will deliver both power and impressive fuel economy with low emissions.
Using a 1.6 liter Ford EcoBoost engine that is in very close relation to the engine used in the Fiesta RS World Rally car, the Fiesta ST features twin independent variable camshaft timing and turbocharging to produce 180-hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. The fiesta will also be using a six speed manual transmission to ensure driving pleasure.
In terms of styling, the Ford ST utilizes a the bold and distinctive honeycomb mesh trapezoidal grille that’s found on the larger Focus ST. The rear features a serious twin-exit exhaust wrapped around by stylized diffuser. Finally, the Fiesta ST receives a lowered stance and a ST body kit with widened wheel arches that are snugly filled by 17 inch wheels and low profile tires.
According to Ford director of Global Performance Vehicles Jost Capito, “With the Focus ST, we promised to deliver uncompromised sports performance and styling to a truly global audience for the first time, without sacrificing Ford’s key value of quality, green, safe, and smart. With the Fiesta ST Concept, we are demonstrating that our global performance plan has legs. The Fiesta ST Concept shows in the most dramatic way possible that the qualities that define an ST are not limited to one model.”
If that’s not a 99 percent confirmation that Ford will in fact bring the Fiesta ST from concept to reality, we don’t know what is.
GALLERY: Ford Fiesta ST Concept
It’s difficult to remember when Ford last had as strong a line-up as it does today, but don’t believe for a second that the Blue Oval team are foolish enough to take a moment to relax. Rather, Ford is set to reveal the most efficient non-hybrid family vehicles, the Focus ECOnetic Technology and the Fiesta ECOnetic Technology, both of which are set for their debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show.
How efficient are they? The Focus ECOnetic Technology boasts an 1.6 liter TDCi diesel engine capable of an incredible 83.1 mpg, while CO2 seeps out a mere 89 g/km. The Fiesta ECOnetic Technology is an even more frugal 85.6 mpg, exhaling a negligible 87 g/km CO2. Certainly a bit far fetched, but Ford says these fuel economy figures are measured upon the European cycle and not the EPA rating – which would be somewhat irrelevant anyway as we’re not scheduled to get them here.
A slew of innovations are responsible for the ECOnetic Technology’s success, including engine and transmission components that are not only lighter, but cause less friction. The ECOnetic’s 1.6 liter TDCi diesel will come equipped with NOx absorbing technology to reduce CO2 coming out the exhaust. The 1.3 liter EcoBoost engine receives direct fuel injection and benefits from recent advances made in turbocharging. Finally, both the Fiesta and Focus will have a new generation of regenerative charging; an alternator that increases output during vehicle braking or deceleration, converting kinetic energy to electricity without use of additional fuel.
Moreover, Ford adopted innovations such as the active grille shutter previously found in the Chevrolet Cruze to improve frontal aerodynamics. Shift light indicators found in Formula 1 will now be used to alert eco minded drivers when shifting a gear up will continue to optimize their fuel economy.
Expect half of all Ford cars sold in Europe to carry the ECOnetic Technology badge by late next year.
GALLERY: 2012 Ford ECOnetic
Ken Block’s Gymkhana 4 has been filmed and is ready for release in a few days, on August 16. To hype up the release of the video, a teaser trailer has been released, getting us ready for some serious hoon action. In the video, we get a thirty second taste of the turbocharged rally monster. Nine GoPro cameras catch the half-metre long flame flowing out of the Ford’s titanium exhaust. We are very excited to see what Ken has up his sleeves for us.
Check out the video after the jump!
Whether you know Ken Block from his infamous Gymkhana videos, or his other antics, there’s no denying his penchant for causing a stir among automotive enthusiast. And this time he got a lot of people’s attention simply by posting a photo on his Facebook profile and adding this as its caption: “Testing one of my ‘secret projects’ in the UK right now, the “Hybrid”. Who says the word “hybrid” has to mean boring?”
Now there’s no doubt in anyone’s minds that every automotive manufacturer developing hybrids right now want to push the technology and platform to the general consumer. So does this mean that Ford is working with Block to promote a Fiesta hybrid? Or maybe Ken’s definition of a hybrid is shoving in the STi’s powerplant under the hood of a Ford Fiesta. We’re sure it’s just a matter of time before Block reveals “The Hybrid” in its full glory.
[Source: Ken Block's Facebook]
Tanner Foust was able to add another win to his list after beating out Finnish rally driver Marcus Gronholm in the head-to-head SuperRally competition on Friday night at the Global RallyCross Pikes Peak finale. The Ford Fiesta driver opted to take a retirement from Formula Drift to conquer the Rally circuit and leading the Ford Fiesta sweep of the RallyCross Championship SuperRally was a great start to a weekend of racing.
Unfortunately for Foust, Saturday wouldn’t prove to be as successful. Hoping to overtake Gronholm right at the finish line, Foust had a run-in with Swedish driver Michael Jernberg. Insanity then ensued as race officials turned to replay videos to determine whether or not Foust and Jernberg crossed the finish line during their collision, which would have rewarded them with a wild second and third place finish. The officials determine however that neither Foust or Jernberg crossed the finish line and second place went to David Higgins while third place went to Stephen Verdier, another fellow Formula Drift driver.
Watch the video after the break to see the unfortunate, yet entertaining finish.
[Source: Motor Trend]
Ken Block and Tanner Foust are becoming household names in the world of motorsports, with Ken Block’s infamous Gymkhana videos and Tanner Foust being on every other automotive television show, rally race and former Formula Drift champion. Both are stars in their own way and both drivers have a cult fan following while campaigning their Ford Fiestas through motorsports mayhem.
This time around both Foust and Block (and their Fiestas) star in a promotional video for the upcoming DiRT 3 video game in a wicked, virtual gymkhana battle. And while DiRT 3′s Gymkhana mode has mostly been revolved around the presence of Ken Block, there’s no denying Foust’s presence after beating Block at the invitational Gymkhana Grid.
We’ll all be looking forward to campaigning either one of these awesome machines virtually on May 24th, when DiRT 3 is released.
Check out the video after the break.
Put away the Benadryl and tissues – the new Ford C-MAX and Grand C-MAX have been awarded TÜV Allergy Tested Certification.
The C-MAX has been allergy-tested and approved for over 100 materials used in its production. Ford took out materials like latex, chrome and nickel – all of which have been known to cause allergic reactions. Surfaces such as the steering wheel and seat covers have been dermatologically tested, so you can now breathe a big sigh of relief that your hands aren’t going to be touching anything harmful (unless, of course, you don’t clean your car).
“We want to give our customers the best vehicle design, performance and quality, and the best passenger environment,” said Caspar Dirk Hohage, Ford Europe’s engineering director. “That is why we are doing all we can to avoid or reduce to the absolute minimum all materials and substances that may pose an allergic risk.”
And for all you hay fever sufferers, you’ll be happy to learn that all Ford vehicles are fitted with a high-performance pollen filter.
Other cars that have the TÜV Allergy Tested Certification include the Fiesta, outgoing Focus, S-MAX, Galaxy, Mondeo and Kuga. To all of us here in North America with itchy eyes and runny noses, the C-Max will be available to us this year.
[Source: Autoblog UK]
Even with skyrocketing fuel prices, subcompacts are selling less than their compact counterparts. The Ford Fiesta was the overall leader in the subcompact department, 9,147 sales but still trailed the larger Focus’ 17,265 total sales. Honda Civic sales rose 7% to 26,777 which is more than triple the Fit’s total of 8,116 units in April. Furthermore, the mid-size Accord even managed to outsell the Civic.
The issue seems to be one of value for more consumers. Subcompacts are barely more efficient than compacts. The base model Civic coupe costs only $505 more than a basic Fit, but the mileage difference is minuscule.
With the ongoing price battle at the pumps, it wouldn’t be surprising to see models like the Fiesta, Accent or Fiesta to rival the Toyota Camry or Ford F150 in sales. Soon enough we may see subcompacts catching up to regularly sized cars and without a doubt, your wallet will thank you the next time you fill up.
[Source: Kicking Tires]
The new Ford Fiesta has been well received by both the members of the press and the buying public. However, some who have spent their hard earned on a new Fiesta aren’t exactly having the time of their lives.
According to reports, some Fiesta owners have been complaining about the dual-clutch automatic transmission. The so-called PowerShift transmission, which is built in a joint venture by Ford and Getrag in Mexico, has been causing its owners some headaches. Some owners have complaied about hard shifts, while others have spoken out about the transmission not shifting up at all at higher speeds.
According to a report, one Fiesta just would not engage drive after the owner reversed it, with the defect occuring after just 10 days of ownership. Ford said they would have to replace the entire transmission, but since none are in the country, the customer has been waiting for two-weeks.
Let’s hope these issues are soon resolved, because as small cars go, the Fiesta is a pretty neat, when it works.
The success of the Ford Fiesta brings with it another trend—the revival of the hatchback, long-derided in America as being cheap without the cheerfulness.
The Fiesta has dominated the small car segment below the Focus. Consumers are trading in their larger vehicles, even including the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, in response to increased gas prices. Ford claimed 19 percent of the C-class segment in December; January sales have put it in second place with Hyundai, against Nissan’s Versa.
And at the core of this success is the Fiesta 5-door, which is riding the surge of popularity in hatchbacks reports Ward’s Auto. “We’re now selling 5-door (SE trim levels) in volume now,” said Jim Farley, vice president of global marketing. “The price is more in the low end of the C-segment.”
Hatchbacks have traditionally been shunned in America because of their perceived cheapness and lack of security compared to a trunk; perhaps too many bad memories of tinny Hyundai Excels and blue-smoking Ford Aspires from high school are fueling the prejudice. Even Volkswagen, whose Jetta consistently outpaces sales of the Golf in America (and nowhere else) could have told Ford that.
Likewise, Ford had initially predicted that the Fiesta sedan would be the volume seller; yet demand was 50/50 once production started. And as of this week, sales of the hatchback trumped those of the sedan, at 55%. “The research didn’t tell us that,” said Farley.
If sales of the hatchback continue outperforming those of the sedan, this will give Ford valuable insight into consumer preferences in the small car segment—just in time for the new Focus to roll out, later this season.
[Source: Wards Auto]
If you are the owner of an Apple iPhone and a Ford vehicle equipped with the SYNC system, you may have noticed that your phone and your car don’t like talking to each other.
That’s probably due to the fact that the SYNC system was developed by Microsoft, and since Bill Gates is not exactly best friends with Steve Jobs of Apple, the lack of communication between the two systems was likely deliberate.
So unless you have a RIM or Android operating system, your SYNC system could not be all that it could be. However, Ford has now announced that the next generation of SYNC will feature AppLink, which will happily talk with your iPhone, and this system will be first available to Fiesta customers.
Among the first apps to work with the SYNC system include Pandora internet radio, Stitcher news radio and OpenBeak. More apps adaptability is on its way says Ford.
So if you’ve been ignoring Fords because your iPhone didn’t work in them, rest easy now, all has been resolved.
Download SYNC AppLink at www.syncmyride.com
Hit the jump to see the press release.
After taking the gold medal victory at the 2010 X Games in Super Rally, Tanner Foust took the top spot at the first ever U.S. Rallycross in his Rockstar Energy Drink / Etnies Ford Fiesta. His experience in European Rallycross has clearly paid off on American soil, not to mention his success competing in Formula Drift in the RWD Scion tC.
Even though this is the first official year that competition Rallycross has taken place in America, the idea and concept of bringing rally racing to America has been brewing for several years now. Mixing circuit racing with off-road racing and rally, all on a short course, Rallycross has everything a form of motorsports needs to be exciting: jumps, hills, turns, all in varying environments. Given Foust’s expertise in controlling a car sideways while drifting, rally wins is a nice complement to his back-to-back Formula Drift championships.
Look forward to two more Rallycross events at New Jersey Motorsports Park with the next one taking place on October 2-3rd, 2010.
Video and press release available after the break.