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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.
 |  Sep 17 2010, 2:30 PM

Things are already getting interesting in the sport compact motorsports world, and it isn’t even the off season yet. The rumor mill is churning on Redline Time Attack’s plans for 2011, but one thing has already been confirmed: the Pacific Tuner Car Championship Series is a reality.

MotoIQ has signed up as the official media partner for the Pacific Tuner Car Championship Series, and is helping bring a class of racing that will hopefully inspire others to participate. One thing that has really plagued Redline Time Attack’s growth over the year is the lack of excitement – especially when you have options such as drifting to watch, or even drag racing. The overall lack of wheel-to-wheel (or door-to-door) Touring Car-style racing has limited Redline’s growth as a spectator sport. But it looks like that’s all about to change.

The Pacific Tuner Car Championship Series will enforce a power to weight ratio and tire size to determine the class that you will run in. Instead of limiting the amount of modifications you can have on your car, or throwing you in some ridiculous class just because you opted for an engine swap on your car, MotoIQ’s brilliance will bring competitive wheel-to-wheel racing to the sport compact world.

So long as you meet the safety requirements to go wheel-to-wheel racing, your car will be classified based on its power to weight ratio. Currently there will be two classes, Tuner Over and Tuner Under. Tuner Under will field vehicles with a 12:1 power to weight ratio, while Tuner Over will field those with a 8:1 power to weight ratio. And in order to keep things equal based on the various vehicles in competition, tire restrictions will be put in place.

We’re extremely interested to see how this will all work out, especially on the basis of supplying a certified dyno sheet in order to classify your car. We’ll be guessing that some of those not-so-fun competitors will be sandbagging, but it’ll also be pretty easy to tell on the straightaways if someone is fibbing their horsepower figures. So hopefully rule enforcement will be strict to keep it a level and fun playing field for all. Will this bring Time Attack to the masses in an exciting way? Only time will tell, but we look forward to the growth of the sport.

[Source: MotoIQ]

 |  Jul 29 2010, 8:08 AM

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The Mercedes SLS AMG is a stunning looking machine, and a serious performer. Better yet is the FIA regulation GT3 model, which debuted at the New York Auto Show earlier this year. Up until now we’ve only seen this vehicle in a pristine racing white, but now Mercedes has rolled out an all-chrome version of the racing machine, in association with Laureus.

Unveiled at the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Mercedes is helping to support and promote the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which works to get kids off the street and away from drugs though sports.

Based on the street car and powered by the same 6.2-liter AMG V8 engine, the SLS AMG GT3 gets a six-speed sequential racing transmission and ultra-low curb weight to deliver a 0-60 mph time of just 3.5 seconds. That light-weight body is made entirely of carbon fiber, with impressive new aerodynamics including a massive front splitter, rear diffuser and enormous rear spoiler. Compared to the road car, the GT3’s bodywork is two inches wider, enough to accommodate some massive center locking 18×12-inch front and 18×13-inch rear wheels with racing slicks. Inside those wheels is a special composite AMG race braking system with six-piston front calipers and four-piston rear calipers.

Mercedes has announced the FIA GT3 spec car is able to compete in all FIA GT3 series, including the 24-hour races at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, and on the Nürburgring in Germany. There’s no word on a factory backed team and initially Mercedes will offer the car for sale to customers this Fall, with delivery set for just ahead of next year’s racing season.

GALLERY: Chrome SLS AMG GT3

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GALLERY: Mercedes SLS AMG GT3

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[Source: JonSibal.com]

 |  Jul 20 2010, 7:59 AM

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Rumors that MINI will enter the World Rally Championship have been swirling for almost a year now, but that could all end later this week. According to the most recent reports, MINI will confirm its intentions to join the WRC series later this week with renowned British racing firm Prodrive set to take over operations of the team.

Based on the Countryman crossover, the MINI rally car has been under secret development at the Prodrive facility in Banbury.

Once the car is unveiled, testing will then begin with Norway’s Mads Ostberg believed to be signed on as both an official test driver and as a factory driver in next year’s WRC season. Due to significant development time, however, its unlikely that MINI will be prepared to start the 2011 WRC season and is likely to join later in the year, using the remaining stages to properly develop the car in competition for a championship run in 2012.

[Source: AutoSport]

 |  Apr 12 2010, 2:23 PM

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Volvo has just unveiled its updated C30 race car, which is set to take part in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship (STCC) series at the end of the month. No new specs have been released, but Volvo will say updates have bee made to the suspension and ethanol-powered 5-cylinder engine. Most obviously, the 2010 edition of the C30 race car gets updated aerodynamics to reflect the facelifted production car. And yes, for those who are keeping track, this marks two cool Volvo is a week – with the debut of the S60 Belgian Touring Car racer just a few days ago.

The previous model, which debuted back in 2007, was quoted by Volvo as making 288-hp at 8750 rpm and 169 ft-lbs of torque at 7300 rpm.

Volvo has been testing the car with motorsports partner Polestar in Gaudix, Spain (video below) and will be ready to begin the championship points hunt when the season kicks off April 24-25 in Jyllandsringen, Denmark.

GALLERY: Volvo C30 STCC

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See the video after the jump:
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 |  Mar 31 2010, 9:34 AM

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Mercedes has officially revealed the new SLS AMG GT3 race car, powered by the street car’s 6.2-liter AMG V8 engine. Thanks to a special six-speed sequential racing transmission and ultra-low curb weight, the GT3 can rocket to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds. Mercedes says 3.7 seconds in its press release, but announced the two tenths faster time at the car’s unveiling in New York.

That light-weight body is made entirely of carbon fiber, with impressive new aerodynamics including a massive front splitter, rear diffuser and enormous rear spoiler. Compared to the road car, the GT3′s bodywork is two inches wider, enough to accommodate some massive center locking 18×12-inch front and 18×13-inch rear wheels with racing slicks. Inside those wheels is a special composite AMG race braking system with six-piston front calipers and four-piston rear calipers.

Mercedes has announced the FIA GT3 spec car is able to compete in all FIA GT3 series, including the 24-hour races at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, and on the Nürburgring in Germany. There’s no word on a factory backed team and initially Mercedes will offer the car for sale to customers this Fall, with delivery set for just ahead of next year’s racing season.

GALLERY: Mercedes SLS AMG Debut in New York

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Official release after the jump:

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 |  Mar 29 2010, 10:45 AM

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In its first outing at the season opener for the Nürburgring Long Distance Championship race, Porsche’s new GT3 R Hybrid placed an impressive sixth overall, raising speculation that there may be a future for hybrid sports cars.

In fact, according to a report by Autoblog Green, Porsche spokesmen Steve Janisse and Andy Schupak have confirmed the German sports car maker is in talks with the America Le Mans Series (ALMS) to run the hybrid Porsche in North America.

Based on the GT3 chassis and powered by a traditional 4.0-liter flat-six engine making 480-hp at the rear wheels, the GT3 R Hybrid also gets two electric motors that power the front wheels, with 60 kW of power going to each axle. The driver will be able to call up this extra power on-demand, for six to eight seconds, giving the GT3 R a temporary all-wheel drive setup as well.

In addition to the hybrid racer’s impressive debut, Porsche also took the top spot on the podium at the Nürburgring with the Manthey Racing Porsche 911 GT3, driven by Timo Bernhard, Marc Lieb and Marcel Tiemann.

If Porsche can reach an agreement with the ALMS, it hopes to compete with its new hybrid racer in a couple of races later this season.

GALLERY: Porsche GT3 R Hybrid

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[Source: Autoblog Green]

Official release after the jump:

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 |  Mar 15 2010, 9:45 AM

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With some big changes coming to the Australian V8 Supercars series, Mercedes-Benz may be looking to get in on the action. Starting in 2012, the Australian NASCAR-meets-Touring Car series will follow after the U.S. stock car series by introducing a Car of the Future platform, essentially making the championship more of a spec series.

The new cars would trade the out-dated live-axle setup for a fully-independent one, while DOHC engines would replace the current pushrod ones – both updates that are more consistent with Mercedes’ high-tech engineering capability. A series dominated by Ford Falcons and Holden Commodores, the fan following has done great things for the domestic Australian automakers, who have seen a rise in sales of high-performance FPCs and HSVs. Mercedes, quite reasonably, isn’t prepared to sit back and watch other automakers take over the market for big V8-powered rear-drive sedans.

Adding to the speculation is word that Mercedes has commissioned the renowned Brock Engineering team to build a C63 AMG-based track taxi to take VIP guests around for hot laps ahead of this year’s races – no doubt drumming up interest and testing the waters.

The rule change doesn’t take place until the 2012 season, so there won’t be any Mercs competing in V8 Supercars until then, but when and if Mercedes does arrive, they might not be alone. Reportedly, both Nissan and Hyundai are examining the possibility of getting involved as well.

[Source: CarPoint.com.au]

 |  Mar 08 2010, 11:19 AM

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With the start of the 2010 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) just around the corner, Corvette Racing has announced a new 12-part video series that will take an in-depth look at the new car, while following the team’s season this year.

Each of the videos will be posted on the Corvette Facebook page, starting with this first trailer. Over the past decade, Corvette Racing has been a dominant player in the GT1 category, switching to GT2 last year after there was really no one left to race against. For 2010 the GT1 and GT2 classes have been joined to form a single GT class and the racing will be ultra-competitive with Ferraris, Porsches and numerous other exotics looking to take the win in each and every race.

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.

The 2010 ALMS Season begins with the 12 Hours of Sebring, March 17-20.

GALLERY: 2010 Corvette C6.R

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 |  Mar 02 2010, 3:13 AM

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While Porsche’s new 918 Spyder hybrid concept is little more than a show-piece, the German automaker also used the Geneva Auto Show to officially debut the 911 GT3 R Hybrid race car. Set to compete on the track in the near future, it is based on the GT3 chassis and is powered by a traditional 4.0-liter flat-six engine making 480-hp at the rear wheels. In addition, two electric motors will be used to power the front wheels, with 60 kW of power going to each axle. The driver will be able to call up this extra power on-demand, giving the GT3 R a temporary all-wheel drive setup as well. The power surge is expected to last between 6 and 8 seconds.

Power for the electric motors comes via a flywheel generator that operates as a regenerative braking system, powering-up the on-board battery under braking.

Porsche will compete with the GT3 R Hybrid at the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring race, which runs from May 15th to 16th.

GALLERY: Porsche GT3 R Hybrid

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 |  Jan 19 2010, 12:37 PM

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Nissan’s NISMO motorsports department has finally announced full details on the 2010 FIA GT1-spec GT-R race car and along with some expected changes, there’s also a big surprise. Under the hood you won’t find Nissan’s twin-turbo V6, but rather a naturally aspirated 5.6-liter V8 engine that produces 600-hp and 480 ft-lbs of torque. That’s sure to motivate the GT-R rather briskly, thanks to a curb weight that has been reduced to just 2,756 lbs.

Along with the significant weight reduction, thanks in part to a striped out-interior and the use of a carbon fiber aerodynamics, the FIA GT1-spec GT-R also gets 18-inch RAYS wheels and carbon ceramic brakes with six-piston calipers.

Two GT-R’s will run in the 2010 FIA GT1 World Championship, fielded by Britain’s Sumo Power GT and Swiss Racing Team and supported by NISMO. They will compete against Corvettes, Aston Martin DBR9s, Ford GTs, Lamborghini Murciélagos and more, with the first race of the season taking place in the United Arab Emirates on April 17th

GALLERY: FIA GT1 Nissan GT-R Race Car

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 |  Nov 06 2009, 1:20 PM

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Modified Nissan GT-Rs are surprisingly few at the 2009 SEMA Show, but the ones that are in attendance are impressive machines. With the GT-R’s impressive Nürburgring lap time it was only time before tuners and race shops got started on tuning the GT-R to fulfill its motorsports calling.

The car features modifications including shocks by JRZ, aerodynamics by GT:R Fabrication and engine tuning by AMS and Cobb tuning. Power is a reasonable 550-hp, although the GOTO Racing team is reportedly working on upping the output to closer to the 650-hp mark.

Driver Brian Lock pilots the GT-R in both the Super Lap Battle and Redline Time Attack.

GALLERY: GOTO:Racing/Dell Equallogic GT-R

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 |  Nov 06 2009, 1:01 PM

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As a brand, Hummer’s time in the spotlight is pretty much over, although if there is something that can save the brand it might be a core group of enthusiasts and a strong motorsports background. While Hummers are best known for being excessive street machines, unlike a lot of SUVs, they are actually incredibly capable off-roaders.

And so despite the brand’s near disappearance for the marketplace over the past year, Hummer was in attendance at the 2009 SEMA Show displaying two special edition street machines and two off-road racing trucks – including the incredible Robby Gordon Off-Road Dakar Hummer.

Gordon has raced a Hummer in off-road events since 2008, and last year places third overall in the grueling Dakar Rally. This year, the Hummer team and Gordon have their sights set on first and it looks like they have the truck to do it.

Hummer claims the race-truck is based on an H3, but with what appears to be an entirely carbon fiber vehicle, we’re not sure there’s much of the factory car left. It’s a tube-chassis vehicle and while it is built for serious off-roading, Gordon will be comfortable inside thanks to a fully enclosed cockpit with air conditioning. As for the engine, Hummer will only say that it is based on a production GM V8.

The 2010 Dakar Rally starts January 1st and we’ll be sure to check in on how Gordon and his crazy carbon Hummer are doing.

GALLERY: Robby Gordon Off-Road Dakar Hummer

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Official release after the jump:

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 |  Oct 29 2009, 10:16 PM

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Kia appears to be readying an announcement that for 2010 it will launch a motorsports initiative using the Forte Koup.

We just received a brief (very brief) email from Kia Motors America stating that the Korean automaker will, “be accelerating its brand transformation” with an announcement at the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association) Show next week. Included with that announcement was the above photo.

Don’t be fooled by the badges and decals, however, as this is no SEMA show car. It appears to be a race ready Forte Koup, with the colors and badging being that of Kinetic Motorsports. Kinetic has long been involved in the Grand Am series an we suspect the announcement will be a car (or team) that will compete in next year’s Koni Challenge Series.

Kinetic does also run the Kinetic Speed Shop, for street legal performance, so there is also a strong possibility that Kinetic will be offering a full line of performance parts for the Forte Koup.

If we’re really lucky, Kia will announce both.

We’ll find out for sure next Tuesday, November 3rd on the first day of the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Be sure to check back for AutoGuide’s live SEMA coverage starting then.

See AutoGuide’s live SEMA Coverage here!