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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.
Batteries and cold climates often don’t mix well. Anyone who has tried to operate an electric device, like a camera that has been sitting in the cold, will soon find that the batteries have lost their charge.
This sort of issue isn’t catastrophic with a small device, just a little inconvenient. The same can’t be said about a car, which has to work in all climates.
Volvo currently allows select customers to lease the C30 Electric and worked hard to ensure that not only the car will work in cold climates, but also the car can generate heat to make its occupants feel more comfortable.
To prove what its car has achieved, the company staged an event in Finland to show what the C30 Electric can do.
The test started by placing the car in a cold climate chamber, which kept the car at a steady -13 degrees Fahrenheit.
Not only did the cars start, but they were also able to warm up very quickly because of its separately-fueled heating system. The C30 Electric has three heaters, an electric immersion heater, an electric PTC heater, and a fuel operated heater that runs on ethanol.
The testers on hand were very impressed, not only with the way the car drove in icy conditions, but also how quickly the heaters warmed up the car. You can watch the video after the jump:
Race circuits crafted from Finland’s finest snow and ice await the one percent next month as Bentley announces its 2012 Power on Ice Adventure.
We strongly suggest attendance if you can get past the almost $11,275 dollar starting price without having an aneurysm. That said, it sure will be fun. It’s not every day you get to take your choice of a Bentley Continental GT coupe or Continental Supersports coupe on a track.
“The circuits are crafted from snow and ice and are unlike any other track or road you have seen before,” says Peter Barnes a senior instructor with Bentley Driving.
Should you decide to participate in some of the world’s most luxurious shenanigans, you’ll have somebody like Barnes in the passenger seat.
“Power on Ice mixes the pure exhilaration of slaloming a Bentley supercar on a purpose-built course or taking a spin around a ‘figure of eight’ track, with the opportunity to acquire advanced techniques from a personal instructor, that will enable drivers to handle their cars with confidence even in the harshest weather conditions,” Peter said.
Bentley says their cars are well suited for such driving. Their all-wheel drive system normally has a 40-60 rear-wheel bias to give a sporty feel but according to the company can instantly adjust to provide maximum grip. We’ll leave it up to someone else to test that in a hard corner.
Power on Ice was first established in 2005, and has been a chance for anyone to try their hand behind the Bentley wheel every year since, or at least that’s what the company says.
It’s true that anyone may participate, but whether they can is an entirely different matter. The starting price for the event would absorb 78 percent of a minimum wage worker’s salary, and that doesn’t include paying for a flight to Finland. The premium package costs just over $13,600, but at least we can still dream.
Don’t blink – you may miss the action. You’re about to see what could be the fastest car slot race ever and trust us… if you follow it too closely you’re bound to get dizzy.
This eight-track slot car race was set up by a group of Finnish speed fanatics in a place called Autorataharrastajat ry. The video is mesmerizing – you can’t help but watch. There’s some preparation involved, but the video mostly showcases how fast these slot cars can go. If you jump to around the 3:20 mark, you’ll see the guys controlling the cars… and it looks like the cars are going so fast, they can’t keep track of where their racers are.
Watch the blur of slot cars racing by after the jump.
The 2007 Formula 1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen is making a comeback to the sport after a two-year break.
However, its not like he was sitting at home doing nothing for the last two years. Raikkonen dabbled in WRC rallying, and also tried his luck in the NASCAR Truck Series. But it’s F1 where his star shined the brightest, where he had won 18 races and 62 podiums while racing for McLaren and Ferrari. His only championship win came at the wheel of a Ferrari.
Raikkonen’s return to F1 was in the rumor-mill for several months, but many speculated that he will drive for Williams. But the 32-year old from Finland will return with Lotus GP (known as Lotus-Renault GP for the 2011 season). On this occasion, Raikkonen commented: “My hunger for F1 has recently become overwhelming. It was an easy choice to return with Lotus GP.”
Raikkonen who first entered F1 in 2001 with Sauber, raised many eyebrows in the paddock when he scored a point in his debut race. He moved to McLaren a year later.
Will Raikkonen’s return be heroic or will he suffer from the same fate Michael Schumacher has been dealing with during his comeback? Only time will tell.
What are you doing for your winter vacation this year? We’ve got a great idea – test drive the new Porsche 911 first-hand through extreme conditions in some of the most exotic locales from across the world.
The Porsche Driving Experience’s new winter training courses will take beginners and expert drivers through their paces on South African coastal roads all the way to the snow fields of northern Finland. Just like the Camp4 Canada courses in Quebec, participants, with the guidance of skilled instructors, can ramp up their driving skills in the Porsche 911 while working on their driving style.
For the Finland route, you’ll take on icy but controlled conditions through three progressive proficiency levels – Precision, Performance and Master. On the South African Porsche tour, you’ll drive from Cape Town and make your way through the Garden Route and the inland game reserves – this is truly a unique experience with an amazing car, and it’s sure to be a winter vacation you won’t soon forget.
Head over to the Porsche Driving Experience website to learn more and check out all of the courses available.
A few weeks ago, Bentley announced that it had set a world speed record on ice in their Continental Supersports. The modified convertible hit 205.48 mph on a Finnish lakebed, which is no trifling speed. Now, obscure tire manufacturer Nokian has announced that they have bested that record by one mph, with their own special tires—in an Audi, no less.
Just like the Bentley’s record, this speed run was completed in Finland…with a Finnish driver, Janne Laitinen. The record was completed with Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 studded ice tires, commercially available in Finland (naturally). The as-yet unverified record was completed at 206.05mph in the Gulf of Bothnia, between Finland and Sweden, aboard a mildly-modified Audi RS6 sedan.
“Testing at high speeds in demanding conditions forms an important part of our winter tyre development,” said Matti Morri, Nokian technical customer service manager. ”Testing our boundaries can teach us new things, which can then be reflected in all of our products.”
If this record is legitimate, Bentley can be proud that they held onto the previous record for a mere three weeks. Those who threw down money for the Continental Supersports Ice Record Edition are starting to feel nervous, aren’t they?
In Finland, rally champion Juha Kankkunen has cracked the 200-mph barrier on ice in a Bentley Supersports, setting a new world speed record on ice.
Atop the frozen Baltic Sea at temperatures of minus 30 degrees, he drove the AWD, W12-engined, biofuel-powered Bentley Continental Supersports convertible to a record 205.48 mph, which bested his own previous world record of 199.83 mph set at the same location in 2007.
“The last time, I narrowly missed the magical 200 mph mark in a Continental GT,” he said. “When I heard about the Supersports I was determined to go record breaking again with the Bentley Boys.”
One of the goals of the British/Finnish team was to keep the car as stock as possible: modifications included a roll cage, low-resistance Pirelli winter tires, front and rear spoilers, and a bumper-mounted parachute. Juha Kankkunen fought crosswinds and sudden blizzards on the 10-mile track, atop 27 inches of ice, to complete two runs in opposite directions. The speed was verified by the Guinness Book of World Records.
Of course, Kankkunen is no stranger to racing in extreme conditions. Since he started rallying in 1978, he has over 23 World Rally victories under his belt, been crowned World Champion four times, and won the Dakar Rally outright in 1988. Finland breeds rally champions, so the saying goes, and off the coast of Finland Kankkunen seemed within his element.
Bentley is planning a limited edition 100-car run of the Supersports to reflect this achievement, in case well-heeled buyers want to tackle the record on their own.
Hit the jump to read the official press release.
What could be better than your readers being involved in a groundbreaking automotive project? That’s exactly what happened to our friend Ben at Bespoke Ventures, who had a reader named Janne thank him for a post about rear mounted radiators…then attach a few photos.
Above is the finished product, the ERA (Electric Race About) electric car from Finland. The ERA will be competing in the upcoming Progressive Auto X-Prize, too.
The car itself, according to Ben, is being developed by Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, spanning more than three years of work. And, without a doubt: this electric car is an absolute stunner.
They’ve gotten support from a variety of companies, including Valmet Automotive, also in Finland. The company not only assembles Porsche Boxster and Cayman models, but had produced a concept called the Valmet Raceabout in 2005. We think they may be related…
Back to the electric car. Here are some (impressive) preliminary specs:
- • Weight: 2,755 lbs (1,250 kg)
- • Drivetrain: AWD
- • 0-60 MPH: Less than five seconds
- • Range: More than 180 miles per charge
We wish the ERA team luck, and hope the vehicle sees series production soon. We’ve pasted a video of the car after the jump. Oh, and readers: if you have something cool in your garage, don’t be afraid to share!
[Source: Bespoke Ventures]