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Along with a new name being announced today for the merged Grand-Am/ALMS series, sanctioning body IMSA has announced that a total of five classes will form the makeup of the racing organization. Continue Reading…
Most car enthusiasts would argue that the best supercar ever made was the McLaren F1. Since it’s launch back in 1994, many rivals had seen it as a benchmark for performance, but few have been able to best it.
Toyota has already announced that it intends to set a new electric car lap record at the Nurburging, but now the automaker has some extra exciting news for EV performance enthusiasts – you’ll be able to buy one!
Just days ahead of the planned record breaking attempt, Toyota has said the electric SR9 racer will be available for retail sale, well, some if it will anyway. Consumers will be able to buy the car’s electric drivetrain, battery, twin electric motors and lithium-ceramic batteries. Buyers won’t, however, be able to purchase the body shell or lightweight chassis from Radical – although we suppose you could buy both individually and match them up yourself.
Pricing has yet to be announced, but the lucky few that do purchase these sophisticated items will likely have to shell out some serious coin.
GALLERY: Electric SR9 Race Car
[Source: Green Car Reports]
Morgan Motor Company and British technology specialists have teamed up to build a new, high-performance electric sports car prototype. The development project is being partially funded by a £100,000 grant from the Niche Vehicle Network CR&D Programme that supports companies active in the niche vehicle sector.
The vehicle will use a new derivative of Zytek’s high power-density electric powertrain mated to a conventional manual gearbox. Zytek has an extensive experience with fast electric cars. Zytek’s first experience was back in 1997 when it converted a Lotus Elise to electric drive. Zytek was also the first company to race a hybrid at Le Mans and supplied technology for the first KERS-equipped Formula 1 car to win a Grand Prix.
The prototype being built will use a new derivative of Zytek’s proven 70kW (94-hp) 300 Nm electric powertrain. The compact, lightweight unit will be installed in the transmission tunnel and will require three additional connections for cooling water, high/low voltage electrics. Power will come from a Li-Ion battery pack integrated into the vehicle’s aluminium structure. The technology can be integrated with a rear-wheel drive platform, which is great news for auto enthusiasts. Morgan is expecting the prototype to be ready in early 2012.
“This is an exciting investigation into the potential for a zero-emissions Morgan with near supercar performance,” says Morgan’s Operations Director, Steve Morris. “By working closely with Zytek and Radshape, who already have considerable expertise in this field, we aim to make this a realistic concept that could lead to further developments if demand and other factors prove favourable.”
Mazda spoke about new gasoline engines during a recent presentation, and also touched on the possibility of offering a clever new diesel engine to our market, but they didn’t mention anything about hybrids.
But just because they didn’t say anything, doesn’t mean they aren’t working on one. According to some spy photo’s circulating the web, it is working on a hybrid version of the Mazda6. However, rather than spend huge amounts of money on developing their own bespoke hybrid system, Mazda has signed a licensing agreement with Toyota over the use of its hybrid tech.
The Mazda6 hybrid test mule confirms its Toyota roots as the gear-lever in these prototypes have been lifted out of the Prius. Mazda says that while the technology is borrowed, the tuning will be all Mazda’s own, so the drive feel will be unique to them.
Will the hybrid model have an affect on Mazda’s plans to launch diesel models in North America? We hope not.
[Source: Car and Driver]
Jaguar hasn’t won at Le Mans since 1990, or when the XJS was just starting to get long in the tooth. But parent company Tata is interested in a return to the prototype class, with an LMP1 car of its own.
Hopefully Jaguar will replicate any of its seven past wins, the most recent with the XJR-12. ”We are monitoring developments in motorsport around the world,” said a spokesman for Jaguar, whose parent company Tata Motors is crunching the numbers necessary for a return. Jaguar already competes in the GT2 class with the XKR.
No concrete information has been given on the plan, or even a date for anything, but at least their head’s in the game now. And it’ll be interesting to see them battle it out against Porsche’s own hybrid-fueled return to LMP1 for more cross-continental rivalries!
According to the CEO Lotus, Dany Bahar, the new Lotus Esprit will offer a more “authentic” driving experience than its rivals, the Ferrari 458 Italia and McLaren MP4-12C. Bahar has also claimed that the Esprit will “have the character and emotion” that McLaren lacks.
The all-new Esprit will launch in the spring of 2013 and will pack a serious punch. Bahar revealed that Esprit prototypes will be operational, and tested by November. The Esprit will be powered by a V8 producing as much as 570-hp. Bahar said the Esprit will be 80kg lighter and 40 percent smaller than the V8 built by Toyota originally slotted for the Lotus. Formula 1 KERS-style technology will also come equipped on the vehicle further adding to the driving experience.
Gallery: 2012 Lotus Esprit
A very rare 1965 Ford GT40 prototype is being featured at RM Auctions and is to be sold May 21st. The GT40 is just one of five roadsters that were built.
This particular model, the GT/111, entered into the Targa Florio rally where it had numerous engine problems. Its 4.7-liter V8 was only firing on seven cylinders and it had the misfortune of crashing on its last lap. After its debut, the protoptype was transported back to England where it was stripped down and forgotten. Eventually the car was restored and RM Auctions is expecting to fetch $3.6- $4.3 million at the auction!
The excited hoardes of car-geeks who drooled over a prototype BMW M3 pickup, spied lapping the Nurburgring, will have to steel themselves for more disappointment, as Road & Track magazine confirmed that this car will not be entering production.
“BMW M did indeed create the pick-up seen on the ’Ring, but it was just an internal project, not something that is in development,” Dave Buchko, BMW’s Advanced Powertrain & Heritage Communications Manager, said to R&T. “There are no plans to produce it.”
Aside from the sheer novelty of it, is there any reason to really lust after an M3 pick-up? The sedan, coupe and convertible provide a good range of bodystyles, and frankly, the only people that would be interest in an M3 pickup wouldn’t have the funds to purchase one.
[Source: Road & Track]
Meet the 2011 Aston Martin AMR-One race car: the new prototype race car designed for the Le Mans LMP1-spec class, with snazzy Gulf livery, a (very British) 007 racing number, and a 2.0-liter inline-six engine.
Wait, the mighty race car has an engine half the size of a DB9? Well, yes, somehow. Le Mans regulations for 2011 have downsized their engines and increased efficiency; the all-dominating Audi cars have switched from V10 diesels to V6 diesels. Aston Martin’s last LMP race car had a naturally-aspirated 6.0-liter V12; this new engine is far smaller, being a direct-injection, turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-six. And instead of producing 600 horsepower like the V12, this engine produces 10% less, at 540 horsepower, connected to an Xtrac six-speed sequential gearbox.
“We have chosen to run with a six cylinder turbocharged engine because we believe this offers the best potential within the petrol engine regulations,” says George Howard-Chappell, Aston Martin Racing’s team principal.
Aston Martin has also switched from a closed-cockpit car to an open cockpit, a move done in reverse from Audi. The AMR-One features a double-wishbone suspension on all four corners braced by pushrod Koni dampers, Brembo six-pot carbon brakes, and 18-inch Michelin tires surrounding forged magnesium wheels. And in accordance with regulations, the AMR-One matches the mandated minimum of under 2000 pounds.
“With the ACO’s commitment to effectively balance the performance of petrol and diesel Le Mans entrants,” says Howard-Chappell, “our hopes are high that we’ll see the closest racing yet in the premiere LMP1 category.” Which means: with the smaller engines across the board, Aston Martin will have a far greater chance at taking out Audi’s and Peugeot’s continued dominance.
Ever wanted to collect one of the world’s most famous vehicles? Here’s your chance. The only working test car for the Enzo is now available for purchase with an unknown price tag. This is the only prototype Enzo that ever left Ferrari‘s factory and comes with all the factory certification.
A true collector’s car, this prototype Enzo features a more powerful V12 with approximately 670-hp, which is about 30-hp more than what was offered in the production Enzo. The prototype weighs in at just a few pounds over 3,000.
Unfortunately no pricing could be found, but if you have to ask you most certainly can’t afford it.
GALLERY: Ferrari Enzo Prototype
[Source: Modena Motorsport]
Mercedes-Benz has unveiled their A-Class E-Cell electric car, with an extremely limited production run of 500 units. Available only to customers in Germany, France and the Netherlands, buyers will be able to lease the cars only, but terms have not been disclosed.
While the gasoline powered A-Class has always been a bit of a slowpoke, the electric version will hit 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds, giving it straightline acceleration on par with some high-end sports cars. The electric motor itself is good for 95 horsepower and 214 lb-ft of torque, with a 124 mile range and a 93 mph top speed.
Hit the jump to read the official press release
Gallery: Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-Cell
A heavily disguised prototype of the 2012 Mercedes ML crashed into a Mazda that was stranded on the side of a road near Stuttgart, Germany. The driver of the Mazda was killed, and the ML rolled down the road for 800 feet before coming to a stop.
Three fatal crashes involving manufacturer test vehicles have occurred over the past seven years, two from Mercedes and one from Porsche. In the previous Mercedes incident, innocent bystanders were the victims, while in the Porsche accident, it was the driver who was the sole casualty. Germany’s transport minister Peter Ramsauer lashed out, admonishing the test drivers not to act like “Rambos” and called for a code of conduct among test drivers.