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.
Arguably the most exciting part of this weekend’s Le Mans series race in France wasn’t the racing – but the crashing.
While anything from trading paint to end-overs always draws excitement (just ask the legions of NASCAR fans), it’s as much the reason for this crash as what happened that’s so interesting.
Taking place at the famed Paul Ricard circuit, the lights went green to start the race, but the Audi pace car had not left the track. The field immediately began to accelerate, only to then resort to braking in a hurry so as not to pass (or run into) the safety car. Unfortunately for those at the back of the pack, the front straight at Paul Ricard comes after a bump in the track, so that those at the back of the pack can’t see the front-runners – although they can see the race lights. With the prototypes braking and the GT cars still accelerating, a pileup was inevitable. The resulting crashes took out four of the five competitors in the GTE-AM Class, leaving the one untouched car to top the podium.
Watch the video after the jump:
N.Technology’s Porsche Panamera race car has already had great success in the Italian Supercars series with its limited race time, but it looks like those efforts aren’t enough to satisfy the team at N.Technology. And just like that, they’ve completed and tested their second Porsche Panamera race car that will be competing this weekend at the Paul Ricard circuit in France.
With the success of their first car, it’s no surprise they’ve expanded their major sponsorship with Zegg & Cerlati, a manufacturer of fine watches and jewelry. The Panamera race car also gets its new official livery of black and chrome.
We’ll keep our eyes glued to see how it does this weekend and whether or not N.Technology will experience growing pains with an all new race car… or just go blow the doors off of its competition right from the start – again.
GALLERY: N. Technology Porsche Panamera S
Official press release available after the break.
Over the weekend Maserati revealed its GranTurismo MC race car at the FIA Media Days at the Paul Ricard circuit in France. The completely stripped down car will weight less than 1,400 kg (or 3,087 lbs) and while Maserati hasn’t released horsepower output numbers, they have said that the car will use the 4.7-liter Maserati V8 powerplant and boast a power to weight ratio of 3.4 kg/hp (which would put the horsepower rating at about 411 ponies).
The car will initially only be for sale directly from Maserati to race teams who intend on participating in the European FIA GT4 championship – a series in which close-to-stock vehicles participate. In 2010, however, Maserati intends to use the GranTurismo MC more extensively by organizing a one-make racing series for gentleman-drivers, much like the Ferrari Challenge or Lamborghini SuperTrofeo.
The GranTurismo MC is priced at 130,00 Euro, or roughly $170,000.
GALLERY: Maserati GranTurismo MC
Official release after the jump:
Just three months away from the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans race, Aston Martin debuted its team of overall contenders in the LMP1 class during the first test session on Sunday.
Both cars featured the Gulf Oil blue and orange livery as they set out on the world-famous Paul Ricard Circuit. All six drivers from both cars (Jan Charouz, Tomas Enge and Stefan Mücke in the 007 car and Harold Primat, Miguel Ramos and Darren Turner in the 009 car) had a chance behind the wheel.
The tests looked positive with this being not only the first time the drivers have had a chance to pilot the cars, but also the first time the cars have seen track action. The test for the 007 team was, however, cut short when Czech driver Tomas Enge crashed the car. Enge suffered no serious injuries. The same, however, can not be said of the car.
“Unfortunately because of my error the test was compromised, but prior to the accident the car was good,” said Enge, whose co-pilots also praised the 007 car.
“The car was very stable and quick and we didn’t experience any technical difficulties which was great as it is a completely new car,” said Charouz. “I’m looking forward to the first race to see how we compare to the competition.”
As for Mucke, he had this to say: “The engine note from the V12 is fantastic, especially on the long straight here at Paul Ricard. I am looking forward to the first race; it will be interesting to see where we are against the diesel cars.”
As for the 009 team, which had a full session worth of testing, all three drivers were impressed with car and noted the vast difference in potential of an LMP1 car over some of the GT cars they have driven previously.
“The main focus right now is to put miles on the new car and to allow me and my team mates to get up to speed,” said Turner. “For me it is a big step from the DBR9 to LMP1 but I’m happy that after two days of testing I am starting to feel comfortable and I’m really looking forward to the first race in Barcelona and the rest of the year.
Ramos, who has also come from a GT car, was more than impressed with the capabilities of the new car. “The speed on corning is great,” he said but, ” I’m not yet used to it as I normally drive a GT car. The Paul Ricard circuit is really challenging for someone who is just starting out in LMP1 and the g-force is really tough physically.”
Team Principal George Howard-Chappell was pleased with the effort, stating that, “It’s a credit to the team that both of our cars have run so reliably after such an intense and tiring build period. Obviously the accident has set us back to a degree but as always we will recover and we will be in Barcelona with two race-ready cars.”
The first race of the European Le Mans Series starts in Barcelona at the Circuit de Catalunya on April 5, however, the big race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, is scheduled for June 13th and 14th.
GALLERY: Aston Martin LMP1
Official release after the jump: