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.
Today, Group Lotus Motorsport announced the formation of Lotus Sport USA led by Team Principals Ian Dawson and John Pritzlaff. The factory endorsed team will focus on the GT2 and LMP2 classes sanctioned by the International Motor Sport Association. The new team will race with the Lotus Evora GTE for the North American and International schedule in 2012.
The team will announce innovative and exciting new partners to the program and the program will begin testing in quarter four of 2011. Claudio Berro,Director of Motorsport said, “We are very happy to confirm the formal plans for Lotus Sport USA. This part of the world represents a very important market to Group Lotus now and for the future. With Ian Dawson and John Pritzlaff on board, I’m sure Lotus Sport USA will go from strength to strength.”
The recently released Aston Martin V12 Zagato which was recently spied testing on the Nürburgring, has now been priced.
According to AutoWeek, Aston Martin will only build 150 examples of the V12 Zagato and the car will be priced at £330,000, or nearly $500,000 USD, twice the price of the high-performance DBS. It is also two and a half times the price of a V12 Vantage which the Zagato is based on. Some will think that is too much to pay but Aston will sell every last one of them.
Gallery: Aston Martin V12 Zagato
Chrysler is playing with the idea of returning to international GT competition with the next generation of Viper. Chysler dominated with the original Viper in the GTS class with wins at Le Mans 24 Hours from 1998-2000. The American automaker is looking at the possibility of taking on BMW, Ferrari, Chevrolet and Porsche in the GTE category.
Riley Technologies has been commissioned to undertake a technical analysis of the new Dodge Viper which will be available in 2013. The same company, produced the title-winning Grand-Am chassis for the past eight years.
“We are investigating some things and seeing what is out there, although no decision has been made yet. We have to be very careful about what we do”, said Chrysler’s motorsport manager Gary Johnson.
[Source: Auto Sport]
In the world of Super GT racing, we often think of Japan’s finest campaigning around the series, like Nissan’s Skyline variants, Toyota’s Supras and Acura’s NSXs. While there are some European race cars from Porsche, Japan’s finest has dominated the majority of Super GT’s championships taking back to the days of JGTC. That looks to change however ever since GSR & Studie with TeamUKYO started campaigning a BMW Z4 GT3 race car for the 2011 season.
Tuning European cars in Japan has become commonplace, and seeing Japan’s fine touch on Europe’s best is a pleasant sight to see. But seeing this full-blown race car sporting a very Japanese-themed livery makes us a little giddy. Combine that with seeing Nobuteru Taniguchi behind the wheel to help grab BMW’s first top podium in Super GT and it’s almost like a changing of the guard in Super GT.
The HatsuneMiku GoodSmile BMW Z4 GT3 race car is a wicked widebody racer that has been moving up in the GT300 class since it hit the track in Round 1 this year. First they ended up in fifth place and at the second race of the season, they netted themselves a fourth place finish. Now after Round 3, the team has nowhere to go but down after grabbing their first top podium finish in Sepang.
GALLERY: HatsuneMiku GoodSmile BMW Z4 GT3 Race Car
[Source: Jon Sibal]
Don Swanson’s racing school is up for grabs on eBay Motors, complete with a full semi, four EJ Honda Civic race cars and a Dodge Grand Caravan.
All four of the EJ Civics are DX models with five-speed manual transmissions and non-VTEC D15 single-overhead cam engines. Each of the race cars come equipped with ample safety equipment, several performance bolt on mods and a tach the size of a school clock. The auction includes all the suits, helmets and gloves and the buy it now price is set at a very reasonable $79,000 or best offer.
Interested? Buy it now or put in a bid here.
GALLERY: Don Swanson Race School
AC Propulsion, a global leader in electric drive design, development and manufacturing, announced today that the Yokohama-sponsored electric race car using AC Propulsion’s proprietary electric drive system broke it’s own record set last year at the 88th annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
The electronic race car won the hill climb’s Exhibition Class and set a new EV record, coming in at 12:20:084, beating last year’s 13:17:575 record. The car was also the race’s fastest EV among both cars and motorcycles.
“AC Propulsion electric drive systems deliver performance,” said AC Propulsion CEO Tom Gage. “Our string of Pikes Peak EV records–especially this one, where we are well into the 12-minute bracket–clearly demonstrates that electric vehicles can get up the hill fast. Now that more people are buying EVs, it’s important to offer really good performance. For us, the old racing slogan holds: win on Sunday, sell on Monday.”
This year’s 89th annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is comprised of racing to the 4,301-meter summit, covering 12.4-miles. Road conditions vary based on rapidly changing temperatiures and weather as well as combination of tarmac/ gravel surfaces and 156 turns.
The Yokohama EV is a rear-wheel drive, open-wheel race car . The AC-180 motor cranks out 268-hp at 6000-7000 rpm and has 258 lb-ft of torque.
The famous 1991 24-Hours of Le Mans winner, the Mazda 787B will be featured at this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Ex-Formula 1 driver and Le Mans veteran Mike Wilds and current Mazda works driver Mark Ticehurst will be racing the 787B up the hallowed Goodwood hill for the festival this weekend. The race car returns to mark the 20th anniversary of its famous victory in the demanding 24-Hours of Le Mans.
Mazda’s 787B made history in 1991 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans by becoming the first Japanese car to win the event. It’s victory lap was also its last as after 1991, rotary engines could not participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Mazda is still the only Japanese car manufacturer to win Le Mans.
The 787B is powered by a 700-hp rotary engine which has a top speed of 210mph.
The 787B will also join the MX-5 GT race car which is powered by a 275-hp 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated engine featuring a six-speed sequential paddle-shift gearbox, carbonfibre doors and polycarbonate windows. The car has a kerb weight of just 850kg and can accelerate from 0-60mph in just three seconds.
Gallery: Mazda 787B
Lotus has officially confirmed the use of its own V8 engine which will first be featured in the 2013 Esprit. Lotus is following its ‘New Era’ plan to launch five new models with less reliance on Toyota engines.
Lotus decided last Christmans to design and develop its own V8 engine. Chief executive of Lotus, Dany Bahar understood the reoccurring frustrations of customers asking ”how can you justify a £100,000 car with a Toyota engine?”.
Bahar also would not comment on how much the development program cost. “I’m not going to tell you whether it cost £40m, £60m or £70m, but the engineering result will be worth it.”
The V8 powerplant was put together in less than a year and the first test drive with the engine will take place on August 18,2011. The engine will power the 2013 Lotus Esprit, however it could be used for racing before then. The engine will be built in Norfolk, England and will be quite powerful. The 90 degree, 4800cc V8 will produce 562-hp at 9000rpm and the turbocharged R model will crank out 612-hp.
Gallery: Lotus Esprit
MINI has recently released the all-new 2012 Coupe and it will pack a serious punch. The company’s racing heritage will continue with this sporty two-door in the John Cooper Works Coupe Endurance. This race car has been developed to compete in this weekends 24-hour Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit. MINI will race the “Green Hell”, as the track is affectionately known with two cars wearing numbers 146 and 147. Three other MINI teams will also track two cars each, making for eight MINI’s in a race of 250.
The race car gets a specially-tuned version of the factory produced John Cooper Works engine, packsinga 1.6-liter four cylinder equipped with a twin-scroll turbocharger and direct injection. The car will produce 250-hp with an over-boost function cranking out 330 lb-ft of torque and a top speed of 240 km/h.
The car looks and sounds great in the video and looks very quick. The exhaust system sounds mean and the minute and a half long video is definetly worth watching.
Check out the video after the jump!
BMW will unveil its M3 DTM car next month to compete in next year’s DTM touring car race series. The Bavarian automaker has not competed in the series for 18 years but feels its car will pack a serious punch.
BMW has recently been with the DTM umbrella organization ITR e. V. and other manufacturers including Audi and Mercedes-Benz on issues regarding technical regulations, and taking DTM to a global audience.
BMW has been working on the M3 DTM since it announced a comeback in the series last October and has been a success so far. The car is expected to be tested in the next few months.
[Source: Motor Authority]
Less than a day after releasing their GRMN Sport Hybrid Concept, Toyota has announced specs for their sporty new concept, the first vehicle we’ve seen from the brand since the MR2 sports car bowed out earlier in the decade.
Using a 3.5-liter Type 2GR-FXE V6 engine that produces 249 horsepower, the front-mounted electric motor adds another 50 horsepower for a total of 299 horsepower. Torque figures weren’t announced, but curb weight is said to be 3300lbs or less. While the GRMN is no featherweight, the power-to-weight ratio is roughly equivalent to a BMW 135i, which is certainly no slouch.
The GRMN will make its debut at this weekend’s 24 Hours of Nurburgring race, and will also appear at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
GALLERY: Toyota GRMN Sport Hybrid
German driver Andre Lotterer will be racing one of two Lexus LFAs that will compete in this weekend’s race, marking the fourth consecutive year that the Japanese supercar is competing in the Nurburgring 24 Hours endurance race.
Lotterer just won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the number 2 Audi R18 TDI and has also successfully driven for Toyota and Lexus in the Japanese Formula Nippon and Super GT Champtionship. He will be racing in the number 119 car with Juichi Wakisaka and Takayuki Kinoshita.
The body and chassis of the LFA race cars are almost completely stock putting them at a significant weight disadvantage to many of the other race cars competing. However, Lexus is hoping to take a class victory as well as a top-10 overall position in the race. The LFA finished top in its class last year, but the two previous years it didn’t finish the race.
The Nurburgring 24 Hours endurance race starts on June 25th.
[Source: Motor Authority]
Marking the 20th anniversary of Mazda‘s victory in the world’s most demanding endurance race, the 24 Hour of Le Mans, Mazda has brought the winning Mazda 787B back from the dead.
Mazda’s 787B made history in 1991 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans by becoming the first Japanese car to win the event. It’s victory lap was also its last as after 1991, rotary engines could not participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Jonny Herbert, who was behind the wheel 20 years ago, donned his nomex and racing helmet once again to hit the track. Mazda racer and TV star Patrick Dempsey also got a chance behind the wheel. Watch videos of the outing, plus an overview video of the 787B car’s 20th anniversary celebration after the jump!
The Nissan Leaf Nismo RC will perform two demonstrations, Thursday evening and Saturday afternoon at the Le Mans Vers Le Futur, in celebration of the 79th anniversary of the event (June 11-12).
It will be interesting to see how electronic vehicles like the Nismo RC shape the world of motorsports while attaining zero-emissions.
Check out the video after the jump!
Nissan has announced that its Leaf Nismo RC Concept race car concept will be making two demonstration runs at the Le Mans Vers Le Futur, in celebration of the 79th anniversary of the event (June 11-12).
The 24 Hour of Le Mans is the world’s most renowned endurance race and is held on the Circuit de la Sarthe, 120 miles west of Paris. It is considered the toughest, most grueling endurance race in the world. Nissan believes its Leaf racer will provide a glimpse into the future at Le Mans when put in action for the first time outside of Japan. The Nissan Leaf NISMO RC made its debut at the New York Auto Show earlier this year and has been praised for bringing new meaning to the term ‘Racing Green’.
The Nissan Leaf Nismo RC is a car solely built for racing based on the first all-electric production vehicle in the world, and was the first-ever zero emission racing spec production vehicle.
“The 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours has provided us with a great opportunity to show the world that Nissan is at the forefront of automotive innovation,” commented Darren Cox, Chief Marketing Manager (Crossover and Sports Cars), Nissan Europe.
There will be two demonstration runs performed by the Nissan Leaf Nismo RC. The first will take place at 9:15PM on Thursday, June 9th, and the second at 12:10PM on Saturday, June 11th local time.
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.
Volkswagen gave us a first look at their Polo R WRC, a competition version of their Polo R hot hatch destined for the World Rally Championship. Powered by a 1.6L TSI four-cylinder engine, the all-wheel drive Polo R makes 296 horsepower thanks to turbocharging and direct injection.
The usual competition modifications, like a rollcage, bucket seats, upgraded brakes and suspension are all present, and Volkswagen’s rally experience in the Dakar rally will undoubtedly help them stay competitive in one of the world’s premiere motorsports series. If only we could get the Polo R stateside, we’d feel a lot better about the existence of this rally special.
See a video teaser of the car after the jump:
Despite a 13 year hiatus from producing road-cars, McLaren is now planning on launching a new road-going vehicle every year, starting with the introduction of the new MP4-12C supercar.
While timelines are still hazy, we do know that forthcoming products include an MP4 GT3, intended for international motorsports competitions, and an open roof MP4-12C. Beyond that, a new smaller sports car aimed at the Porsche 911 and a flagship supercar positioned above the MP4-12C should give the brand a suitable product line to do battle with sports car makers from Italy and beyond.
McLaren also is experimenting with new technologies to maximize horsepower and fuel economy, including new battery technology that can extract one horsepower from a lithium ion cell the size of a AA battery. While McLaren claims that getting this into a road-going car isn’t going to happen immediately, the company is advertising aggressively for hybrid system engineers on their website. Truth be told, there’s far worse than a KERS system in a sports car, even if “purists” bristle at the though.
[Source: The Detroit Bureau]
The Gogogear.com Hyundai Genesis Coupe, first premiered at the 2010 SEMA Show, will make its race debut in the United States Touring Car Championship series on April 16 at Thunderhill Raceway Park in Willows, California.
Driven by team principal Ali Arsham, the car uses the 3.8L Lambda V6, and most of the modifications have been made in the name of reducing weight, while BC dampers provide increased stiffness for the chassis, and an Earl’s oil cooler helps keep temperatures under control.
While anyone with a lot of money can slap together a race car, Arsham enlisted the help of students at Universal Technical Institute, one of the nation’s largest training schools for automotive mechanics. Building a race car is world’s away from changing oil or even re-building an engine, and it’s nice to see Arsham allowing the next generation of mechanics to participate in the ground-up construction of a proper race car.
James Glickenhaus took his custom made P4/5 Competizione to the Nurburgring ahead of its first race there at the Nurburgring 24 Hours.
Driver Mika Salo was able to get ample seat time in the hand-built racer, but co-driver Luca Cappellari was limited to a single lap after a red flag came out for unidentified reasons.
Fortunately, there was plenty of video shot during the session, and no less than 4 clips have surfaced online, and we have them all after the jump.
[Source: P4/5 Competizione]
Cadillac is back with their web series highlighting the CTS-V Race Car and its quest for victory in the World Challenge series. We’ve already brought you the first 3 episodes and now we have the 4th installment ready to go.
This episode shows the team gearing up for its first real race, and we’re about as excited to watch as the team is to hit the track.
Hit the jump to watch the video
You will never be able to buy one off the showroom floor, but that shouldn’t stop you from drooling over the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, a race version of Mercedes’ most extreme sports car.
At a sticker price of $430,000, the GT3 version is the psychotic sibling of the standard car, and only a shadow of a similarity remains. The necessary add-ons like a rear wing, center-lock wheels, widened carbon fiber bodywork and all the safety equipment needed to go racing are in place, not to mention a new 6-speed sequential gearbox and a cool air-jack system that negates the need for a hand operated unit.
The video doesn’t show too much of the car’s capabilities, but we do get some great audio of the SLS AMG’s NASCAR-like exhaust note. Expect to see this at racetracks far and wide, but never bearing a license plate.
Hit the jump to see the video
The first round of the Lotus Cup USA kicked off this past weekend at Willow Springs Raceway, with Jack Fried taking the overall win in the awesome, track-only 2-Eleven sports car. Fried won after race leader Andy Kern bowed out with mechanical problems, but Kern managed to take the overall win in the Time Attack class.
The next round will be held at Firebird International Raceway in Arizona during the weekend of April 9th, and we are soliciting donations so that one of the AutoGuide staff can rent a seat in a 2-Eleven. Any takers?