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.
It probably isn’t the case for most, but a special few electric car owners think of their EVs as more than green lifestyle accessories.
Which supercar owner event is the coolest so far of 2012? Easily the first-ever LFA owner’s meet that took place today at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca - eat your heart out Gumball 3000.
You don’t want to leave watermarks on the coffee table, but you don’t want to lose your street cred by putting down a coaster. We’ve got a solution – use Race Track Coasters and preserve your furniture (and cool status).
The Race Track Coasters are machined from layered HDPE and are adorned with six of the most well-known racing tracks from around the world: Laguna Seca, Monaco, Nürburgring, Road America, Spa, and Watkins Glen. And these coasters will perfectly match your décor, as they come in black and silver.
The set of six costs $40 and can be purchased at Groit’s Garage.
The corkscrew at Laguna Seca is one of the most noticeable landmarks in the world to any automotive enthusiast. So BMW got clever with the famous turn with a new marketing video for its X5M, proving that it can even best its M3 counterpart on the track.
The video starts out as your standard on-track video, with your good ‘ol bold text showing off that a vehicle packs a twin-turbo V8 with 555-hp and has a Torque Vectoring Rear Differential. That vehicle of course is the German automaker’s X5M. BMW then goes and showcases why the X5M is such a formidable vehicle on and off the track.
Check out the video after the break.
We were teased with some pictures of it prior to the car’s official debut at the LA Auto Show, yet with the emphasis on the 650 hp Shelby GT500, it was perhaps understandable that the Boss 302, which has been hogging the limelight as of late, took a step back.
Nonetheless, it remains a serious piece of kit for 2013. The 5.0-liter Coyote V8 with its unique induction setup and calibration, cranking out a credible 444 horsepower 380 lb-ft of torque, while power is transmitted through a close-ratio six-speed to a solid axle with 3.73 gears.
Like other Ford Mustangs, the 2013 Boss adopts more of a Shelby esque front fascia for 2013, with HID headlights, plus a more aggressive front splitter and removable covers where the foglights are found on standard GTs. They are designed to provide extra cooling during track days and can be quickly removed and reinstalled with a screwdriver.
Other distinguishing features include a move to a reflective stripe package, with hockey stick graphics on the flanks (the spitting image of those found on the 1970 Boss 302), a new exterior color in the shape of shocking School Bus Yellow (chosen due to partnership with Bluebird), a gloss back panel between the LED taillight lenses.
Laguna Seca Boss models feature an even more aggressive front splitter, and new gray accents on the exterior mirrors, grille and rear deck spoiler. There’s also a Laguna Seca logo on the fake rear “gas cap” as well as two-tone gray and silver 19-inch wheels. Laguna Seca models for 2013 will be offered in either School Bus Yellow or Black exterior colors and dispense with the roof stripes found on the 2012 version.
Another feature standard on all Boss 302s for ’13 is Ford’s SYNC in-car connectivity system, though one has to wonder if there’s a command that says “More Horsepower.”
GALLERY: 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302
As part of Cadillac‘s continued rebranding efforts the Cadillac Racing team has been releasing “ride along” videos from each of its races this season in the SCCA World Challenge series. The latest comes to use from the glass-smooth and world-famous Laguna Seca, where pilots Johnny O’Connell and Andy Pilgrim take us through all 11 turns of the circuit, displaying some incredible driving.
Unfortunately the race itself wasn’t what Cadillac Racing had hoped with O’Connell managing just a 4th place finish in the GT Class, while damage sustained to Pilgrim’s car put him entirely out of the running.
This particular video is particularly worth a watch with Pilgrim and O’Connell getting rather close to each other on a few occasions. Plus, watch out for a grenading Volvo engine.
GALLERY: Cadillac CTS-V
Watch the video after the jump:
Here is one of the latest clips of the BMW M5 booting it on the Laguna Seca track. Oh how sweet the sound is!
The M5 has been entirely redesigned but the biggest change is the switch from a high-revving V10 to a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8. The new engine cranks out 552 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque mated to either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. The car is capable of achieving a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds, not bad for a car weighs around 4,000 lbs. Pricing has not been announced but the M5 will probably sell for around $85,000.
The minute and a half long commercial paints this car as nothing less than a monster as it knifes its way through the turns on a track.
Plus, we also managed to catch up with that very car, on display at Pebble Beach.
GALLERY: 2012 BMW M5 at Pebble Beach
Check out the video after the jump!
Last Sunday, the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca hosted Refuel 2011, the third annual track day for electric cars and motorcycles. The event was open to anyone with an electric car, ranging from the Tesla Roadster to DIY conversion cars. This year’s event was the first time that fully electric production vehicles from mainstream car makers were present at the event.
Joe Nuxoll, Tesla employee and racing instructor achieved the fastest lap time in the production electric class and the Nissan Leaf wasn’t far behind. The Leaf was two seconds behind the Tesla with a commendable time of 2:10.223. Leaf owner Nadar Assemi took a video of the Leaf competing on the track. The Leaf surprisingly didn’t suffer from overheating issues like the Tesla and the DIY cars did.
“To my surprise almost every other EV out there (production or otherwise) had heat management issues after 2-5 laps. Tesla’s were hitting power cut by lap 4-5. Most of the other kit cars could do one or two laps due to heat or range issues.” Explained Assemi on a Nissan forum. “Conversely, the Leaf was pulling strong all day and the battery temp gauge didn’t move over 6 bars. Energy efficiency on the track was a stellar 1.2-1.3 m/kWh.”
Check out the video after the jump!
On August 19th at Laguna Seca Golf Ranch, Monterey California, Concorso Italiano will open the traditional Monterey/Pebble Beach Weekend. The event will feature more than 800-1000 beautifully designed Italian cars on display. Enthusiasts can engage in conversations with fellow car lovers and enjoy Italian fashion, food and art. There will no doubt be an astonishing variety of Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s, Maserati’s, Alfa Romeo’s, Pagani’s, and Lancia’s on display The event will run from 9:00am- 5:00 pm and admission will cost $130 per person.
Think electric vehicles aren’t sporty enough to tackle the vaunted Laguna Seca? Speed Ventures doesn’t think so. For the third year in a row, they’re offering EV owners the chance to drive the world-famous race track, compete against each other, and even win a trophy.
Refuel 2011 is open to all EVs, including electric motorcycles like the Brammo, purpose-built race cars, the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, and the veritable supercar that is the Tesla. This year’s EV trackday is on June 26th, so get your pre-registration in while you still can. The event is free to enter; expenses are limited to how friendly you are with your electric meter man.
[Source: Autoblog Green]
You’ve seen them on TV, and perhaps you’ve been lucky enough to see them up close in person – or even drive one one of them. And now you can bring your favorite racing circuits into your home with Race Tracks of the World.
These works of art can be hung on your walls and are made from high quality Baltic birch plywood and matte black Formica. Cut by a CNC machine for a precise design, they boast smooth edges and all the curves, turns and straightaways are exactly where they’re supposed to be. Race Tracks of the World measure in at around 36” (depending on the track shape) and they even come with a simple mounting process that doesn’t require nails or hooks.
You can pick from almost every track around the world – including better-known circuits like Monaco, Laguna Seca and Nurburgring – and hang them individually or create a wall of track art. Prices for the Race Tracks range from $200-$220, and you can order yours here.
From October 22 to 24, Laguna Seca will host the first ever North American Global Tuner Grand Prix, a time-attack event bringing the very best modified cars from around the world to compete for bragging rights.
Similar to the European Tuner Grand Prix and the Japanese International Lap Battle, the event is held on one of only four weekends at Laguna Seca where there are no sound restrictions. The competition will be divided up into three classes, including Street, Tuner and Unlimited, with categories for front-drive, rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive cars. In addition, the event will also include the GPGP Challenge Race – a 50 minute sprint session that will include pro race cars and club racers.
Also included in the event will be the Pirelli Driver’s Cup (running Porsche GT3 cup cars), a 30-minute Historic Motorsports Association race, as well as car corrals for almost ever brand.
For more info check out www.globaltunergp.com
Official release after the jump:
Chevrolet announced a custom one-off Z06 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Corvette’s first appearance at LeMans. Featuring the traditional American racing color scheme (white with blue stripes), as the 1960 Corvette, which won its class at the 24 hour race. The car’s sale will benefit the National Corvette Museum, and anyone who wishes to buy the car must make a $300,000 donation to the Museum, and then pay the $85,000 sticker price of the car.
The special edition Z06 also comes with a Z07 package, featuring some bits from the Corvette ZR1. A celebration will be held in honor of the Corvette at this Saturday’s ALMS race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, one week before the Corvette racing team heads off to contest the 24 Hours of LeMans in Frace.
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Corvette Racing has just released the first part of a 12 part series, chronicling the team’s build up and follow-through for the 2010 American Le Mans Series. The first video in the series doesn’t waste any time dealing with Corvette Racing’s crushing finale at Laguna Seca, where contact by one of the Flying Lizard Porsches sent driver Jan Magnussen into the wall, just seconds from the finish line. (see below).
Crew Chief Dan Binks expresses his anger, but says that the best way to avoid that situation in the future is to build a car that’s so far out front, this problem won’t occur. Corvette thinks they’ve got such a car, but this year the competition is even tougher, with the GT1 and GT2 classes amalgamated into a single GT class. Plus, for 2010 (like in 2009) the new C6.R is much more closely based on the street car and new for 2010 is a smaller 5.5-liter V8 engine.
We’ll be sure to keep an eye on how the new car stacks up, with the 2010 ALMS Season beginning with the 12 Hours of Sebring, March 17-20.
See after the jump for a video of last year’s season ending crash.
The mystery of the Dodge Viper LA Auto Show world premiere has been solved, with the automaker announcing it will debut a revised version of its ACR model. With just a few minor tweaks, the 2010 ACR also lays claim to the production car lap record at Laguna Seca Raceway.
In 2008 pro-driver Randy Pobst set the record with the ACR running a 1:35.117, which stood until August 6 of this year when it was trumped by the Viper-based Devon GTX with a 1:35.075 time. As of today, the new 2010 ACR has reclaimed the record with a new lap record of 1:33.915.
The car was driven by SRT engineer Chris Winkler who said that, “It was definitely exciting but a somewhat uneventful lap overall from behind the steering wheel. The Dodge Viper ACR has amazing power and handles like a dream, so following my first practice here last month, I came away pretty confident that we’d be able to set a new record.”
That’s right, Winkler set the record having only ever having driven on the track once before.
Additions to the 2010 model include a shorter fifth-gear ratio of 0.80 from 0.74, as well as a short throw shifter, and a new rear wing design. The car now also gains 4 mph on the top with a new top speed of 184 mph. The shorter fifth-gear came as the direct result of testing on the Nürburgring when the ACR set the (then) production car lap record in 2008.
“I’m still amazed with what the Dodge Viper can do on and off the race track,” said Dodge brand CEO Ralph Gilles. “After our record-setting lap at the Nürburgring circuit, we’re excited to set a second performance benchmark record at another world-famous road course.”
Gilles also gave Viper aficionados hope saying that Dodge is, “investigating what the next-generation Viper is going to be. When we have partners across the ocean who are known as the best sports carmakers in the world, the future opportunities are huge.”
GALLERY: 2010 Dodge Viper ACR
Official release and a brief video about the record setting lap after the jump:
Ever wonder what it’s like to drive the world famous Laguna Seca race track? Apparently the folks at Google were curious and so they sent out one of the Google street view cars onto the track.
For some reason the Google street view doesn’t include a whole lap of the track, just from around turn five to turn 10. That portion does include the famous Corkscrew but the Google street view car doesn’t seem to capture it, which does make sense to anyone who’s taken the corkscrew before. One of the things that makes the Corkscrew so challenging is the fact that it’s so steep you don’t even know where the road is until you’re going down it (or, if you’re unlucky, driving down the dirt). Likely the Google street view camera was filming the sky at that point.
The filming appears to have been done during a practice session at last year’s ALMS race, as you can see the black and yellow GT1 Corvette and one of the Flying Lizzard Motorsports Porsches. Make sure to look behind you though…. yup, that’s a LMP2 Acura and the Audi R10 TDI.
Ride along with the Google street view car at Laguna Seca here:
Just a year and a half after it was first unveiled as a concept car the Fisker Karma is set to take to the road track during the Monterey Peninsula’s Classic Car Week. On August 15th, the plug-in hybrid Karma will run two laps of the world-famous Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca course at 11:10 a.m on August 15th, during the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Race.
“The Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races is the best stage in the world for great moments in automotive history,” said Fisker Automotive CEO, Henrik Fisker. “Fisker is honored to be a part of it.”
Using a 260hp GM-sourced Ecotec motor and two 201.5hp electric motors, the Karma’s Q-Drive powertrain allows the plug-in hybrid to travel 50 miles on pure electric power before the gasoline engine kicks in to recharge the lithium-ion battery packs. But it’s more than just a plug-in hybrid, it’s a full-on luxury sedan and can even perform with a 0-60 mph time of 6.0 seconds and a top speed of 125 mph.
The Karma will also be on display the day before at Concorso Italiano, alongside the Karma Sunset hardtop convertible concept. The Karma Sunset will also make an appearance at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on Sunday, August 16.
GALLERY: Fisker Karma
Official release after the jump:
Lotus Cars USA has announced that it has signed on as the Title Sponsor of the grassroots Lotus Challenge Series. Started in 2008 by Jim Navarro and other Lotus enthusiasts the series held eight races in its first year with six in California and two at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, Nevada – the home of the Lotus Driving School.
For 2009 the series has expanded to 10 events in the western U.S. (including races at Streets of Willow, Buttonwillow, Laguna Seca and Infineon) with four additional events in Texas.
“The Lotus Challenge Series is a very well run organization that’s expanding through providing Lotus owners a fun, safe and positive environment in which to enjoy their Lotus vehicles and improve their driving skills,” said Lotus Cars USA, Inc. Director of Operations Arnie Johnson. “What Jim Navarro, Tom Hughes, Jack Fried, Robb Bonanno and all of the participants in the Lotus Challenge Series are doing is fostering tremendous enthusiasm and goodwill for our treasured Lotus marque. We’re extremely proud to support the expansion of the Lotus Challenge Series as the title sponsor and show some of our most devoted Lotus owners how much we appreciate them.”
The Lotus Challenge Series is comprised of several classes for both street cars like the Elise and Exige, as well as track-only vehicles like the Exige Cup Car 255 and the 2-Eleven.
For more info visit the Lotus Challenge Series website here:
[Photo Credit: Lotus Challenge Series]
Official release after the jump:
Lime Rock and Laguna Seca among tracks to host amazing AMG models and the upcoming SLS
Mercedes is bringing its AMG Driving Academy to the U.S. this September, allowing participants to hone their driving skills and experience the thrill that an AMG can deliver.
Launched in Europe in 2007, the AMG Driving Academy lets you get behind the wheel of cars like the E63 AMG, SL63 AMG, C63 AMG, SLK55 AMG and the CLK63 AMG Black Series. And now for 2009, AMG has included the upcoming 2011 SLS supercar. On a racetrack the AMG driving instructors will help you develop your driving skills and get the most out of the amazing AMG machines.
A Stage 1 one day program teaches fundamentals in performance driving and car control and includes a “high speed” track drive. A Stage 2 class is more advanced and involves much more track driving with timed laps and a “competitive performance course competition.”
Priced at $1,895 per person for Stage 1 and $3,495 per person for Stage 2, the AMG Academy will be at Lime Rock Park in Lime Rock, CT from September 9-15; Palm Beach International Raceway in West Palm Beach, FL from September 22-27 and Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, CA from November 7-8 and 17-20th.
The AMG Driving Academy will also offer a special opportunity at Laguna Seca from November 17-20th to drive the upcoming 2011 SLS AMG supercar. The price for this one-day event is $2,295 and includes a one night stay at the InterContinental Hotel in Monterey.
For more information visit:
Official release after the jump: