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.
Learning and Lapping Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
When Skip Barber decided it was time to retire from professional racing in the 1970s, he had a radical idea. What if aspiring racers were coached just like any other athlete? Although this is a no-brainer today, in the 1970s it was not a popular belief as many still thought racing talent was born, not created.
The American Le Mans Series (ALMS) is fading into the sunset after a decade and a half of high-octane competition. Starting next year it will cease to exist as it does today; it’s merging with the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. But it’s not too late to stock up commemorative ALMS memorabilia.
Historic track in Canada gets a new lease on life
There is a racetrack northeast of Toronto, Ontario, Canada that is steeped in history. Formerly known as Mosport (pronounced Mo-sport, not Moss-port), Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) is a rare track in that it’s barely changed in configuration since the first race was held on the 810-acre property in 1961.
Auto enthusiasts probably know the airplane versus supercar schtick pretty well at this point. It’s old hat. Or is it?
Chances are a burnout is pretty far from the picture when you think of a hybrid, but in this case speed is the name of the game.
Last friday we posted a story about a teaser video featuring the Porsche Panamera S Hybrid titled “World’s Fastest Full Hybrid,” but just when you thought the message was clear, an Infiniti M35h showed up in the shiny Porsches’s paint. Well, it’s official: the M35h is faster than the Porsche, meaning it’s the fastest accelerating hybrid in the world.
Just when we thought Audi had a headlock on the cheeky advertising niche, Infiniti jumped up to prove that they too could pull sneaky shenanigans over the competition. The teaser video turned out to be the first little bit of the full clip which, not surprisingly, showcased Infiniti spanking Porsche in a heads up race.
The video is a dramatization, though reading the small print reveals that the company did have Guinness World Redords there to keep things fair. In the end, the M35h scored a 13.41-second quarter mile, though there was no small print to show how Porsche fared. We get verification that Infiniti won the race, though the video isn’t a trustworthy source of the margin of victory.
Regardless, the M35h gets an impressive 39 mpg while managing to hit 60 mph in just 5.9 seconds. That beats the Porsche’s maximum 30 mpg highway by a big margin, meaning the Infiniti takes a win in both columns, something all but the most brand-loyal customers will likely be concerned with. On top of that, opting for the Infiniti, which starts at $53,700 means room in the budget to buy a couple of new economy cars for the kids, versus the $95,000 Porsche price tag.
That said, you should make up your own mind. Watch the video below.
Volkswagen won’t be competing in the 2012 Dakar Rally, but the company will still provide support vehicles to event organizers.
For the third year in a row, the company will provide 40 vehicles including 30 Amarok pickup trucks. Despite not competing, those trucks have to be tough enough to handle anything the course can throw at them— everything from canyon crawling to desert dune running.
Those attending the event can look forward to meeting some notable guests, like F1 legend Jacky Ickx who, won the Dakar in 1983 for Mercedes-Benz, will be giving off-road racing lessons.
The race starts at Mar del Palta, Argentina and runs just short of 5,600 miles through Chile to finish in Lima, Peru.
Circuit of the Americas is halting of the Formula One circuit in Austin, Texas, effective immediately.
The organizers came to this decision after they didn’t receive a contract to assure that the Formula One United States Grand Prix will be held at their venue.
“We have spent tremendous resources preparing for the Formula One and MotoGP Championship races, but the failure to deliver race contracts gives us great concern,” said Bobby Epstein, founding partner of Circuit of The Americas in a press release. He went on to say that more than 100,000 fans expressed interest in the event.
The track would be the first purpose-built Grand Prix facility in the United States, but it seems that construction which otherwise had proceeded as expected, will only continue with a contract.
The announcement came shortly after Texas state comptroller Susan Combs said there wouldn’t be money paid out until after the race takes place.
That stacked on top of Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone’s $25 million sanctioning fee means the whole thing faces serious challenges.
Maybe you can’t choose between the 23 different Porsche 911 variants currently listed on the German automakers website. Maybe none of them suit you perfectly. Well there is some good news, add a twenty-fourth variant to that list. Brumos Porsche of Jacksonville, Florida, confirmed today that five rare, factory-built 911 Carrera GTS B59 Edition Coupes will be produced. It’s a tribute model to Hurley Haywood, who the Daytona 24 Hours four times in the 1970s and once again in 1991 while driving for Porsche. Since only five examples will be produced, costing a whopping $133,540 a pop, buying one will be tricky.
The five special edition 911′s will all be finished in Carrara White and feature a Black leather interior with Alacantara trim. The 408-hp Porsche looks the part and comes with several performance goodies including:
- Brumos Red/Blue stripe design for the front hood and rear deck
- Brumos Red/Blue stripe “PORSCHE” door decals
- Exterior mirrors in Black
- 19″ Sport Classic Wheel (Fuchs style)
- Interior limitation badges
- Door entry guards in Stainless Steel with “Hurley Haywood” engraved signature
- Deviating (dual stripe) stitching in Red/Blue on steering wheel and gear/brake lever
- Carrara White painted interior accents including Adaptive Sport Seat Backrests
GALLERY: 911 Carrera GTS B59 Edition
In this 14 minute video, Audi takes the viewer through all that goes into competing and winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. The video takes an in depth look into the all-new sophisticated R18 TDI race car and all the people working for the Audi racing team. The video is very entertaining whether hearing from Audi’s top executives or the race car drivers themselves and features some great slow motion shots of the Audi race car going airborn and some terrific angles of Le Mans car crashes.
Check out the video after the jump!
Porsche has released a unique application called the Porsche 360° app for the iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. This app allows for an up-close driving experience without actually sitting inside one of the sports cars.
The app allows users to ride shotgun, alongside Porsche driver Jeroen Bleekemolen for a lap around the Zandvoort circuit. While in the simulator, the user can choose any viewing angle by moving the Apple product into the according direction.
This app is currently only available in The Netherlands, but is also in the App store in co-operation with Porsche AG.
Check out the Porsche 360° video after the jump!
Mitsubishi is becoming much more aggressive regarding future EV sales in its home market of Japan. Currently Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV sells for 3.98 million yen which equals $49,200. Government subsidies bring the price down a million yen equalling $36,900. The i-MiEV’s chief rival, the Nissan Leaf costs 3.76 million yen which equals $46,500 before subsidies and is the more popular choice compared to the Mitsubishi.
However, Mitsubishi will slash a million yen off the i-MiEV’s retail price to improve sales, bringing down the price to around 2 million yen or $24,700. The big savings are coming from a smaller battery. The existing model was good for 160 km (100 miles) per battery charge whereas the new model can only travel 120 km (75 miles). The Leaf can achieve only 100 miles per charge.
Prices in the United States are much cheaper, with the 2012 i-MiEV selling for $27,990 before the Federal $7,500 EV tax credit and state incentives. California and Hawaii go a step further with rebates, and in EV can be picked up for as low as $15,500 in these locales.
[Source: The Truth About Cars]
Subaru’s version of the Toyota FT-86 front-engine, rear-wheel drive sports coupe will finally debut at this December’s Tokyo Auto Show. Toyota will sell its version as a Scion in the U.S. As for the Subaru model, well, according to the latest reports, there won’t be a powerful, turbocharged STI version.
Subaru has planned to produce a version of the STI, but it won’t be like previous high-powered STI’s that typically offer massive turbos. The issue with turbocharging the engine is that it goes against the vehicles original plan to be naturally aspirated, according to Subaru.
Power will be supplied by Subaru’s new generation 2.0-liter, four-cylinder boxer engine. The same powerplant will be used in the redesigned Subaru Impreza arriving this fall. The engine will be positioned 5-inches lower than in the Impreza to keep weight and handling as low and as balanced as possible. Both a manual and automatic transmission will be available.
No official price has been announced, however the sporty coupe will likely sell in the mid $20,000 range.
[Source: Automotive News]
The Romanian racing company Dacia famous for winter racing has joined Renaultsport, and a number of independent firms to build the Dacia Duster. The “No Limit” race car driven by Jean-Phillipe Dayraut was built for the Unlimited class at Pikes Peak.
In this class, there are essentially no restrictions placed on a car’s specifications. In this case, the Dacia Duster features a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V6 from a Nissan GT-R. The engine is tuned to 850-hp, and is mounted behind the cabin, connected to a 6-speed sequential gearbox.
The car will be raced at Pikes Peak on June 26,2011.
The Reagan Library located in Simi Valley, California, will debut an exhibition on May 27th called Start Your Engines: American Race Cars at the Reagan Library. This exhibit will feature race cars and other racing memorabilia. This exhibit will be featured at the Reagan Library, because of the former President’s interest in racing.
The exhibit will run until Oct. 23 and will display several famous cars from NASCAR and the Indy 500. Cars driven by Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, Jimmie Johnson and Dan Wheldon will be on display, as well as trophies, helmets, fire suits and photos.
Reagan’s NASCAR passion was highlighted in 1984 at the Firecracker 400 at Daytona Speedway when he started the race from Air Force One saying “Gentleman, start your engines!” phrase. Later that day, Air Force One landed behind the Daytona Speedway in full view of the fans.
BMW put this video together regarding a duel held between Nico Bastian in his E92 M3 and Rico Penzkofer on his 1000cc BMW RR motorcycle. The two friends bet one another that both were faster then each other around the track. The race was set up with both drivers on opposite sides of the track to see “who would catch who first”.
See for yourself in the video after the jump. You won’t be surprised.
The Nissan Leaf has been in the press quite a bit recently. While it recently took top honor of “World Car of the Year” at the 2011 New York International Auto Show, it has been in the news recently that some Leaf owners have been left stranded on the road because the battery indicator was incorrect and hence they had much less actual range than the indicator suggested.
Still, this electric vehicle has achieved many milestones in its short life, and now it seems to have its sights set on a peak. Pikes Peak to be exact, which is undoubtedly the most famous hill climb event in North America, probably even the world.
Nissan will enter a completely stock Leaf EV at this years event and it will be piloted by Chad Hord, a professional off-road truck racer from the TORC series.
Last year, Pikes Peak had a class just for electric cars, so it will be interesting to see what this stock 110-hp car can achieve against purpose built electric racers. Guess we’ll have to wait until June 26th to find out.