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.
After a half a decade of waiting, Gran Turismo 5 failed to really live up to the hype. But at the driving simulator’s launch the game’s creator Kazunori Yamauchi promised that this was just the beginning; and now we have a clear idea of what he meant.
Starting October 11th, a “Spec 2″ updated version of the game will be available for download with plenty of added features. Two of the most significant additions include the ability to save progress during an endurance race, as well as a new interior view for all “standard” cars. Previously only premium class cars were available with a view from behind the wheel.
Additional upgrades include 11 new NASCAR race cars from the 2011 season, adjustable weather conditions during a race, shortened load times, improve car physics, an improved and enhanced user interface, new features added to the Online Lounge and the ability to use the new Logitech G25/G27 steering wheels. But perhaps the best news is that the entire “Spec 2″ package will be available for download for free.
For Pikes Peak this year, Porsche looked to reset the record books by throwing seven-time Pikes Peak Champion Jeff Zwart behind the wheel of the 911 GT2 RS. But to make it even more exciting, they had Zwart pick up the car from Porsche Motorsport in Santa Ana, CA and drive it 1,132 miles to the start line of America’s second oldest race in anticipation of setting new records.
While the achievement of besting his 2010 record setting run by 10 seconds and setting the fastest street-legal car ever at Pikes Peak is amazing enough, the video that Porsche produced of the journey is simply one-of-a-kind. From the adventure of getting to Pikes Peak to the actual car footage of it setting the record is simply incredible. Porsche did a fantastic job of capturing the elegance and beauty of Pikes Peak, while showing the exhilaration and danger of racing up the famed mountain.
Check out the video after the jump:
While it’s been assumed for quite some time now, McLaren’s M4-12C supercar will be hitting the racetrack in 2012. McLaren already has plans of releasing the M4-12C for sale next year, and with the aid of British CRS Racing will be unleashing a GT3 variant in 2012 with a GT2 version in 2013 (that could be racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans).
15 of McLaren’s MP4-12C GT3s will be unleashed in 2012, with some of the earlier developed vehicles attending races at the end of the 2011 season.
And no future race car would be complete without renderings. Thankfully Jon Sibal took his creative juices and did several McLaren MP4-12C’s and applied a ton of classic McLaren F1 GTR liveries to them. We’re very excited to see McLaren’s new pride and joy hitting the track in true race form.
GALLERY: McLaren M4-12C Supercar
Some people just have all the luck don’t they? Walter Röhrl is Porsche‘s senior test driver and has quite a resume in his racing career. He’s an accomplished rally driver and road racer with victories for a fine collection of manufacturers including Fiat, Opel, Audi, Porsche, Ford and BMW. So what do you get when you pair a Porsche 911 GT2 RS with Röhrl behind the wheel and a video camera? So much jealousy from every one of us stuck behind a computer all day.
The 3.6L twin-turbocharged, quarter of a million dollar supercar puts out 630-hp of pure joy and at the very least we get to experience it vicariously through a video. Check out the video of Röhrl taking the GT2 RS around Luk Driving Center and enjoy the awesome Video Vbox display spouting off all sorts of data including throttle, brake, Gs, RPM and speed. One thing we do want to note is that it’s clear Röhrl is taking it very easy with the car – probably the reason for them to not be sporting any helmets.
Video after the break.
Episode 6 of the Corvette Racing Series is the big one; the team gets ready for the 24 Hours of LeMans race, a mere two days after their Laguna Seca event.
Having to assemble and ship 14 tons of gear on 48 hours is no easy feat, but couple that with having to win the world’s most grueling sports car race, and commemorate the 5oth anniversary of the Corvette’s LeMans debut, and you have a recipe for high stress.
Just as you would expect, some high drama does occur, but the Corvette squad does an admirable job of dealing with the various crises thrown their way.
See the full video after the jump:
Corvette Racing today unveiled its new GT2-spec C6.R racer and invited folks to listen in on a conference call with those responsible for running the team as well as one of the drivers of the No. 3 car, Johnny O’Connell.
For years Corvette Racing has ran a team of cars in the top-level GT1 category in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but decided to move to the lower GT1 class for several reasons, namely the competition and the marketing potential. For starters, the GT2-spec C6.R is closely based on the new ZR1, whereas the old GT1 cars had little in common with their road-going counterparts. Being so closely related to a street car is ideal for marketing.
“With the international regulations converging around a single GT class, Corvette Racing will continue its motorsports heritage by racing against manufacturers and marques that Corvette competes with in the marketplace, while also increasing the production content of the C6.R race car and the relevance of racing to our customers,” said Mark Kent, GM Racing manager. “This is truly a step that positions Corvette Racing for the future of production-based sports car racing worldwide, and a move that is perfectly aligned with GM’s marketing and business objectives in racing.”
As for the competition, the GT1 class has heated up over the past few years. Traditionally dominated by Porsche, Ferrari is now a major contender. Additional players include BMW, Aston Martin and Panoz. Competition on GT1 is almost non-existent now as Corvette Racing has developed into such a dominating sport over the years (beating Ferrari, Aston Martin, Saleen and Dodge).
“There was literally very little competition on a global basis to race in the existing GT1 category,” said Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing program manager.
Under the hood, Corvette Racing has modified the 7.0-liter GT1 powerplant, adding a new crankshaft to decrease the displacement to 6.o-liters (as the rules demand). A new engine is also in development for 2010 when the rules change to limit the maximum displacement to 5.5-liters. According to Fehan this new engine will be based on a production 5.5-liter V8 that is planned for future GM products. The Corvette Racing GT2-spec C6.R will make its racing debut at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 6-8. Familiar faces Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen will share the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R, and Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta will drive the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6. R.
GALLERY: GT2 Corvette C6.R
Read a transcript of the full teleconference after the jump: Continue Reading…
Mosport International Raceway Plays Host to Traveling Porsche Experience
Photos: Stew Lawson
For the first time ever the traveling sportscar (and SUV) experience that is the Porsche World Roadshow has made its way to Canada. Held at Mosport International Raceway, just outside Toronto, the former Formula 1 facility played host to the vast majority of Porsche’s fleet of cars, with activities both on and off the track.
The Porsche event will be in Canada for several weeks, offering current and prospective Porsche owners a chance to truly appreciate the capabilities of these amazing machines. But before the event was officially opened, Porsche Canada invited us to bang gears, hit apexes and even go off-roading, to experience just what a Porsche can do.
In total, we had the chance to get behind the wheel and experience a Boxster S, Cayman S, 911 Carrera S, 911 Targa 4S, Cayenne, Cayenne GTS, oh… and a 911 Turbo. Other vehicles on-hand included several Cayenne S models, a Cayenne Turbo and a GT2 (which was strictly reserved for instructors to give hot laps in).
OFF-ROADING IN CAYENNES
First up during the busy day of activities was an off-road course, which was a genuine eye-opener. In just a standard Cayenne I drove through ditches, clawed my way up steep hills and climbed treacherous inclines – even dropping off small cliffs and getting the luxury SUV’s wheels up in the air at times.
Possibly even more amazing is how relaxed such an off-roading adventure can be in a luxurious Porsche cabin that doesn’t creak or squeak. Even the engine seemed relaxed, thanks in part to the low-range gearing that can be selected, a setting that also tells the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) to give maximum range to the active front anti-roll bar, allowing the wheels a greater range of movement.
The only real sounds detectable from inside the cabin are the differentials locking and the traction control ticking and clicking away, giving you maximum grip to get up a dirt slope you never dreamed a Porsche could.
The Cayenne, our instructor informed us (and we experienced), is capable of tremendous off-road feats, even though very few drivers will ever need or want such back-country credentials. Greater off-road capability is possible, however the Cayenne, being a Porsche, needs to sit somewhere in the middle to ensure the best possible on-road performance as well.
Normally a Cayenne has 215mm (8.46-inches) of ground clearance, while selecting the High Level I will give 241mm (9.49-inches) of clearance for speeds below 50 mph. A special High Level II, which we used, stretches the maximum ground clearance to 271mm (10.67-inches) and stays that way for speeds below 19 mph.
In the High Level II setting the Cayenne has an approach angle on gradients of 31.8 degrees and a departure angle of 25.4 degrees, with a ramp breakover angle of 24.7 degrees – all of which we used to their full extent.
OUT ON THE GRAND PRIX RACE TRACK
And so with mud covered SUVs we headed back to the main tent and exchanged our Cayenne keys for a set of sportscar starters. In groups of two we followed instructors out onto the Mosport Grand Prix track (officially the third fastest race track in the world), where we had the chance to toss around a Cayman S, Cayenne GTS and two 911s (a Carrera S and Targa 4S).
I felt the most at home in the Carrera S with the Targa 4S a close second. Both cars kept me pushing the instructor harder in his Boxster S, with the roadster’s smaller and less powerful 310hp 3.4-liter engine no match for the 385hp 3.8-liter engine in the 911s – especially on the back straight.
Having never had the opportunity to track drive a Cayman, I wasn’t as blown-away as I expected to be. There was nothing wrong with the car, as it delivered a well-balanced and neutral experience. I think I can chalk up my experiential discrepancy to the fact that unlike a lot of folks I’ve always felt at home in a 911, despite its rear-engine layout.
The final vehicle was a 405hp Cayenne GTS, which was certainly a surprise. It handled fabulously for a big SUV and I had no problem hanging with the Cayman driver in front of me. Body lean was incredibly minimal and the brakes were equally as good.
BOXSTER AUTOCROSS, 911 TURBO BRAKE TEST
The final two events of the day involved the Boxster S on a large autocross track and a 911 Turbo, which we used for a braking exercise.
The Boxster really is a fabulous vehicle for autocross and when combined with Porsche’s PDK double-clutch transmission (which automatically upshifts, taking one element of difficulty out of the equation) is incredibly easy to drive hard. Even when the body does pitch and roll (as evidenced by the photography) it never felt that way inside the cabin.
As for the braking exercise, it’s arguably a waste of the 911 Turbo’s acceleration talents, however, it proved an excellent way to get a feel for the Porsche Carbon Ceramic Brakes (PCCBs).
We did also get a chance to try out the Turbo’s torque converter that allows the car to build boost while sitting still for better off-the-line performance. Just place your left foot on the brake, with your right foot on the gas and watch (and hear) the boost build on the dash gauge. Once you’re at a suitable level (0.8 bar or 11.6 psi in our instance) just release the brake and hold on.
HOT LAPS… AKA REVENGE
As the day drew to an end, there was one final event left. Referred to as “Hot Laps” a more accurate name would be “Revenge,” as the instructors took willing journalists out for a full-speed romp on the Mosport track.
Unfortunately, with the huge number of journalists in attendance it wasn’t possible to get a ride in every vehicle. We all drew straws for our “hot laps” and unfortunately I didn’t draw the GT2. Instead I got the Carrera 4S and Cayenne Turbo.
First up was a Carrera 4S, which rocketed around the track with precision and poise. Next was the Cayenne.
As both the Cayenne off-roading experience the Cayenne GTS track drive proved to be the most surprising events of the day, I decided it wouldn’t be wise to pass up a tour around the track in a Cayenne Turbo. Boy was I right… this was no Sunday drive.
Along with two other writers I went for the ride of my life as our 26-year-old instructor manhandled the Porsche SUV with frightening vigor. Throwing the big truck around with the fearlessness of youth on his side, it wasn’t until we reached turn 8 at the end of the back straight that things got really hairy. After shaving off some speed, he flicked the steering wheel and sent us into a completely sideways drift, all four tires screaming for their lives as we defied gravity and never even came close to rolling over. Knowing full well that we were moving at a good clip, I chanced a glimpse at the German-spec speedometer and sure enough it read 160 km/h (100 mph)!
Porsche needs to work this into its marketing materials for the event. “The Porsche World Roadshow: 100 MPH… Sideways!”
AN EASY SELL
As I mentioned earlier, this was the first time the Porsche World Roadshow was held in Canada, and it’s not likely to be the last time either. Every aspect of the experience leaves participants with a specific impression of just how capable a Porsche is.
It’s hard not to think how successful this sort of event must be for securing vehicle sales. Who wouldn’t want to take this experience home with them?
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