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.
Later this month British racing legend James Hunt will be one of four drivers getting inducted into the Motor Sport Hall of Fame.
As expected, Chevrolet Racing will be back in action for the 2014 season.
Originally designed to be an innovative replacement for the IZOD Indy Car race series, this futuristic race car seems to have a found some new life. Originally, it was rejected by the Indy Car series, who opted to go with the tried and tested (boring) choice of the old Dallara chassis, but Nissan Europe has given us new hope.
Thankfully, Ben Bowlby, the designer of the DeltaWing racer found new interest from the American LeMans Series, and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, who have granted it a spot in the popular 24-Hours of LeMans Endurance Race.
The question everyone has been asking though is, who and what will power the DeltaWing racer?
Nissan of Europe today posted a shadowy image of the DeltaWing, with “Nissan” written prominently on its nose, an obvious tip as to who will power the car.
The DeltaWing racer was using a four-cylinder, twin-turbo motor in its initial testing at Buttonwillow race track in California, and was believed to be the engine that was going to power this vehicle at the Sebring 24-Hour race, but only for exhibition. This car’s first official race outing with be at LeMans in June.
We will keep a keen eye on this project, as it is one of the radical race cars ever made. We hope to see it in the winners circle very soon.
While some may accuse Porsche for having the most lazy designers who rather than invent something completely different, just softly modify their cars year after year, the same cannot be said of its e ngineers.
Its engineers are constantly trying to improve the cars dynamics, making it faster and handle better. Those in the market for the 911 GT3 R customer race car will see a host of new changes that will make it an even more competitive weekend racer.
First of all, the 2012 version benefits from more power. The 4.0-liter, flat-six will now produce 500-hp, that is 20-hp more than before. Customers now also get the steering-wheel mounted pedal-shifters for faster gear changes. This gearbox also features an automatic throttle blip for those perfect downshifts.
To help keep the car on the racing line, it also has traction control and racing spec ABS brakes. Softer anti-roll bars on the front axle help reduce understeer. This race car might just make you look like a better driver than you really are.
This new and improved race car will go on sale in November, 2011 with prices starting at $434,500. If you still plan on keeping your old 2010 or 2011 model GT3 R, no worries, for $61,500 you can buy an upgrade kit for your existing race car to turn it into the new racer.
Just remember, this latest upgrade is based on the outgoing 997 platform and not the new 991, so expect another new racing car from Porsche in about a years time.
Gallery: Porsche 911 GT3R
When Aston Martin first unvieled the V12 Zagato coupe at the recent Villa d’Este concours event, the British exotic car manufacturer said this is just to celebrate the relationship between them and coachbuilder Zagato. They went onto say that just a racing version will be produced to take part in numerous endurance racing events this year.
Sure, the racing version did come out to play at the Nurburgring 24-hour race recently, but now a street version is being prepared for consumer consumption.
Aston Martin has been denying such rumors, however the Zagato was just added in the model line-up of their website, and even stresses that “Only a strictly limited run of road going cars will be built.”
While Aston Martin has not sent out an official press release on the road-going V12 Zagato, expect some official news to come very soon indeed. So if you want one, you better start saving up, limited run exotics aren’t known for being affordable.
GALLERY: Aston Martin V12 Zagato
For a luxury brand to be taken seriously nowadays it is a must to go racing with its most potent family car. All the European luxury brands are heavily involved in racing series like DTM, BTCC and the FIA World Touring Car Championship, and their successes on the track are well decorated in showrooms, to show their customers what the brand is capable off.
Japanese luxury car firm Lexus has, however, been less keen on taking the IS-F to racing circuits, but that hasn’t stopped some privateer entries from making race cars out of the brand’s most powerful sedan.
The latest IS-F race car hails from Europe and is campaigned by MN Motorsports team in the Superstars International Series where it will compete alongside other RWD V8-powered monster sedans like the BMW M5, Audi RS4, Cadillac CTS-V, Mercedes C63 and even the Maserati Quattroporte and Chrysler 300C SRT8.
The team, which is owned by Mauro Nocentini will wear the number 06 and will be driven by Diego Romanini, who is a two-time Formula 3 champion.
The team has had problems at the start of the season, but we wish them all the best for the upcoming races.
We have featured some interesting used cars before, but this one might top them all. It is based on one of the most successful racing cars of all time, the Porsche 962C, and its transformation was done over at Switec in New Zealand over a four-year period by the Sauber F1 teams ex-chief engineer Ernest Schlaepfer.
The end result looks like something Darth Vader might use on a track day. Its performance will surely not disappoint anyone either. It has a twin-turbo, 3.6-liter, boxer six-cylinder engine which produces 580 hp. That power is translated onto the road via a 5-speed, H-pattern gearbox. Couple that with the car’s 1,830 lb weight, and this is one rapid means of transportation.
Incredibly, this car is street legal (or at least it is in Europe). Then again, if you can afford a used car worth $573,200 then we’re pretty sure you can afford a condo in Europe so you can go play with your new toy.
GALLERY: Switec Porsche 962C
While the average person might think of Volvo as a safe, but boring brand, the truth is, Volvo has been involved in racing for a long time.
In recent years, K-PAX Racing has successfully entered an S60 in the GT Class of the World Challenge Touring Car championship, winning both the driver’s and teams championship in 2010.
For 2011, they want to repeat their achievement and will be running two Volvo C30 hatchbacks in the Touring Car class. No driver’s have been announced yet, but K-PAX team owner Jim Haughey is excited about his new race cars. He said, “The C30 is a front-wheel drive, two-door hatchback with a 5-cylinder turbocharged engine. It’s relatively aerodynamic and makes for a great platform to race in the Touring Car class.”
The vice-president of public affairs at Volvo, Geno Effler is similarly enthused and said, “K-PAX Racing’s Volvo S60 surprised a lot of people by winning the GT championship last year, and I think winning a Touring Car title in 2011 with a C30 is a legitimate goal.” They are hoping to win both class titles this year with the S60 and the C30.
The 2011 World Challenge season begins with two races in St. Petersburg, Fla., the weekend of March 25-27. Check your local listings to see which TV channel is showing the race.
[Source: World Challenge]
The Pikes Peak Hill Climb event attracts racers and car manufacturers from around the world. In the last quarter-century, the Germans, the Japanese and more recently the South Koreans have had a go in conquering this mountain, and now it looks like its Romania’s turn. Yea, Romania.
Dacia might not be well know in America, but they are getting ready to take on Pikes Peak this year with Jean-Phillipe Dayraut at the wheel. He will be driving a Dacia Duster with a tuned engine out of a Nissan GT-R. Peak output should be around 850-hp and since the car weighs under 2000 lbs., it will be quick.
Dayraut, who has won the French ice-racing series, the Andros Trophy in the last two years, is certainly qualified to handle the task. But in order to win, he has to beat the likes of Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima in his modified Suzuki Grand Vitara.
Dacia, which is part of the Renault-Nissan alliance, has recruited Tork Engineering to build their Pikes Peak racer. We can’t wait to see it in action.
Detroit is not the only city currently hosting a motor show. Birmingham in the U.K. is also hosting an event: the Autosport International Motor Show. This show, however, focuses more on track day toys, and hence that’s why Caterham has launched their latest track day special there.
Caterham’s first new car in 15-years (anyone remember the 21!) is called the SP/300R and it’s been jointly developed with Lola, a company that has a long history with producing race cars.
The Sp/300R features a supercharged version of Ford‘s 2.0-liter, four-cylinder Duratec motor, which in this application produces 300-hp. This mid-engined machine (a first for Caterham) sends power to the rear wheels via a six-speed paddle-shift gearbox. With a vehicle weight of just 1,210 lbs. you can imagine this to be rather quick, and it is. 0-60 mph takes just 2.5 seconds and top speed is in the 170-mph region.
So it’s a pretty serious performance car, but it’s not going to be a common sight. Caterham is currently only looking to produce 25 examples of this model per year, and all of these will be headed to a one-make racing series in the U.K. next year. It’s not cheap either as prices start at around $100,000.
You won’t be able to take your latest toy to the shops either, since it’s not street legal and currently there are no plans to do a road-going version of this model. Let’s hope they change their mind in the future.
See a video of the car after the jump:
If you like going around a track faster than just about anyone else, the Radical SR3 is the car for you. It is also currently the fastest ‘street-legal’ car to lap the 13-mile Nurburgring circuit in an incredible 6min 48 secs.
For pure driving enthusiasts, the fact you can tweak this car in infinite ways to suit your driving style, and the availability of many different engines to propel you along with, has won this car respect and a loyal following.
For Radical fans, the news is just about to get even better, as two new versions will be unveiled at the 2011 Autosport International Show next month.
The SR3 SL will feature Ford’s new 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, with some radical (get it?) tweaking, so in this application it will produce 300-hp, which is a lot when you consider the whole vehicle weighs just under 1,500 lbs. This model will also feature a six-speed paddle shift gearbox and a fly-by-wire throttle. Not extreme enough for you? Radical will also be offering a ‘Race Pack’ that will feature changeable engine mapping, an FIA approved fuel-cell, and a high downforce rear wing.
Want even more grunt, then how about the SR3 RX. This features a 2.7-liter V8, developed by RPX and it should produce nearly 400-hp.
So if you always wanted a Radical, you’ll have two new reasons to stop making any excuses.
At this year’s Modified Magazine Tuner Shootout, the Super Lap Battle track record set by Crawford Performance last year was broken by driver Gary Sheehan in the GST Motorsports Subaru Impreza L. With famed Japanese Time Attack driver Tarzan Yamada behind the wheel, the Crawford Performance 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI set a lap record of 1:02.1 in 2009, but that record was reset by a half second after Sheehan posted an impressive 1:01.6 in GST’s ’98 GC Impreza L.
According to GST owner and ECU tuner Mike Warfield, “We had the car running on our low boost [24 psi] setting because we wanted the engine to survive the weekend. Had we unleashed Sheehan with our high boost (32 psi] setting I’m confident the car could run sub 1-minute.” In fact, GST’s in-car data acquisition system revealed a hypothetic 59.8-second lap based on Sheehan’s best segment times around the circuit using their low boost settings, so Warfield’s prediction of a possible sub 1-minute lap seems entirely realistic. Regardless, with an official time of 1:01.6 GST Motorsports is now the current Super Lap Battle track record holder at Firebird’s main circuit.
Below is in-car video of Sheehan setting this new mark:
Featuring LP560-based Super Trofeo racecars
Following in the footsteps of Ferrari and its Challenge series, Lamborghini has decided to form its own one-make series using the successor to the Gallardo, the LP560.
Called the Gallardo Super Trofeo, this complete racecar will make 570hp and weight
significantly less than the street-going machine. Lamborghini will build just 30 of the spec cars and sell all but one of them to teams interested in competing. The final car will be a factory backed effort and Lamborghini plans to put different high-profile drivers behind the wheel during each race.
The series will begin in May 2009 and will run (only in Europe for 2009) alongside other major motorsports series, such as DTM, FIA GT and the World Touring Car Championship.