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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.
Global RallyCross has named SCCA Pro Racing as its sanctioning body, and SCCA Pro Racing will provide sanctioning for all nine rounds of the 2013 GRC Championship.
All forms of motorsports are dangerous, but rally is more so with races sometimes occurring in tight, windy roads in a natural environment. That means trees and lakes are always by a race car’s side, and so are spectators.
Just about a week ago, we told our readers about the new Dodge Dart Rally Car that will compete in the Global RallyCross Series, with X Games ace Travis Pastrana at the helm.
Now Dodge has revealed a video of their 600-hp, all-wheel drive Dart, being put to the test by Pastrana. The video is full of Ken Block Gymkhana style slow-motion scenes, which we think is getting a little old to be honest.
The Dart RallyCross racer is shown tackling both dirt and tarmac sections and ends up losing its rear bumper in all the mayhem.
You can check out the video below.
Rallycross is clearly catching on in America, as the Team O’Neil Rally School will now be offering a trio of two-day Rallycross classes in 2012. Located in northern New Hampshire, the rally school consists of a 6.5-mile forest road course, separate skid pad & braking zone, obstacle avoidance area and a slalom course.
The Rallycross classes will take place on January 19-20, February 2-3 and March 1-2. Students will be able to choose their type of vehicle they want to be instructed on: rear-wheel-drive, all-wheel-drive or front-wheel-drive and can also bring their own vehicle to autocross or rallycross with. Their personal vehicles can only be used on the second day however, as Team O’Neil will require them to learn on their own vehicles for day one.
The timing will be perfect, with plenty of snow and ice on their course. Class sizes are limited as Team O’Neil wants to maintain a 2:1 student to instructor ratio. The two-day course is priced at $1,897, but if you want to bring your own vehicle for day two it’ll be $300 cheaper – $1,597.
[Source: Team O'Neil]
MINI‘s hopes for capturing the 2012 World Championship Rally title took a big blow before the effort even started. Mini has missed the deadline for signing up for next years championship, which expired at midnight, last night.
The Mini rally car, which is based on the Countryman model is prepared by Prodrive in Banbury, U.K. Now Prodrive, Mini and its parent company BMW are in talks with the FIA to seek an extension to the deadline.
The driver’s for the Mini WRC; Kris Meeke and Dani Sordo made no comment on this situation, but sources say that the team has a strong desire to compete in the WRC 2012 season.
Despite the setback, Mini is expected to make a return to the Monte Carlo Rally next year, an event that made the Mini a legend back in the 1960′s.
Will the FIA grant Mini the extension it needs? We’ll keep you posted on any developments.
Subaru recently captured the 2011 Rally America National title, and to show off its road to success the automaker has released a short film titled “Gunning for Gold”.
The film debuted in Los Angeles and shows off Subaru Rally Team USA’s two talented drivers, David Higgins and Dave Mirra. The film features various rally racing clips and behind the scenes look as the team prepares for each competition with their Subarus.
Subaru is currently competing at X Games 17 looking to extend its success in the Rally Car and Rallycross events. Higgins has already captured a bronze medel at his first ever X Games in the Rally Car event. In the film, both drivers are seen behind the wheel of a 550-hp Subaru Impreza WRX STi.
Check out the video after the break.
After having just set the Isle of Man TT record, Subaru can now add another to its list after driver David Higgins smashed the official hillclimb record at New England’s highest mountain, Mt. Washington over the weekend.
The record for the 7.6-mile Mt. Washington “Climb To The Clouds” Hill Climb was last set in 1998, with a time of 6:41.99 in the legendary Audi Quattro. This year, Higgins shattered the record in a Subaru Impreza WRX STI with a time of 6:11.47—handily beating out Travis Pastrana’s unofficial 6:20.47 record from last year, as well.
As per the 6,288-ft. mountain’s reputation, weather provided additional difficulties. ”It was a very big challenge because the road was still wet in spots and would turn very slick suddenly,” said Higgins. “With the clouds the visibility was so low I could hardly see past the hood of my car.”
The Subaru Rally Team moves on to Maine for the New England Rally, through the weekend of July 15th and 16th, where Higgins will defend his honor as Rally America’s points leader.
GALLERY: David Higgins Mt. Washington Record Run
It’s been 40-some odd years, but Mini is finally returning to the world rally stage.
The Mini WRC Team will be competing in the 2011 World Rally Championship with the John Cooper Works Countryman, as modified by legendary performance company Prodrive. The team was recently launched in its factory in Oxford in a nostalgia-laden gala that saw Paddy Hopkirk and Rauno Aaltonen show up in the Mini Cooper S that won them three rally championships in 1964, 1965, and 1967.
“On the one hand, MINI can look back on a unique success story,” said Ian Robertson, a member of BMW’s board of management. “On the other hand, MINI is the epitome of excitement for millions of fans around the world and thrills them with its energy. This is precisely what we are able to authentically represent through our motorsport involvement in the World Rally Championship.”
This year’s drivers and navigators in the Countryman will be Kris Meeke of England and Paul Nagle of Ireland, and Dani Sordo and Carlos del Barrio, from Spain. Their first race will be at Rally d’Italia Sardegna from May 5th to the 8th, and they will enter five more races in the season.
The Infiniti G37S coupe is a rather accomplished luxury sportscar, and is hence quite popular in North America. In Europe, where the brand is relatively new, Infiniti can use all the help it can get to spread the word.
To do that, Infiniti of Spain and Portugal have prepared a G37S coupe rally car. Not for racing however, but to serve as a safety car for the Rallies Championship of Spain.
Dubbed the “Infiniti Work Zero Car” it features Recaro racing seats and seatbelts, fire extinguishing system, Vimesa roll bar, Bilstein dampers, Galfer brake pads, sirens and other equipment found on safety cars these days.
The mechanicals are untouched, with the familiar 320-hp, 3.7-liter V6 engine, mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.
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.
Do you enjoy watching the Dakar Rally? If so, then you probably have day dreamed about driving those awesome off-road racers to the mall or to work. Only problem is, while these racers have minor details like the shape of the headlights and names in common with models you’d find in showrooms, technically, they’re completely different.
Take the Volkswagen Touareg for example. The one that races in the Dakar Rally has little in common with the one you’ll find in the showrooms. That, however, could change if they decide to put the Race Touareg 3 concept into production.
Unveiled at the Qatar Motor Show, this concept marries the madness of the rally machine with some civility from the road going version. Thankfully it is more like the rally car than the normal showroom model.
Not only does it look like the racer that just won the 2011 Dakar rally, but it has the same powertrain also. So you get the same 2.5-liter turbo-diesel engine that produces 296-hp and a whopping 442 lb ft of torque. Power is sent to all wheels via a 5-speed sequential gearbox that has a three-plate ceramic clutch and three limited slip differentials. In other words, this vehicle doesn’t even know the meaning of getting stuck.
It’s quick too, 0-60 mph takes just 6.1 seconds and tops out at 117 mph (due to those large dune bashing tires, otherwise it would have been even faster).
While the cockpit of the race versions have no interior trimming whatsoever, the Race Touareg 3 concept has a fully finished, well appointed interior.
And now the bad news, this awesome concept is just a concept. There are no production plans yet, but if everyone bugs VW enough, they could put it into limited production. Hey, these things have happened before. So if you would like to park one of these on your driveway, tell those Germans at VW to make one for you and your friends.
Watch out Ford Raptor.
Bill Caswell, who famously campaigned a $500 BMW 318i in an FIA-sanctioned rally event, will be bringing his car to SEMA – and turning it into a Baja style off road racer.
The build will take place over the course of the SEMA show, with the roll cage on day 1,the suspension on day 2, rear suspension on day 3, and items like the front brush guard, fuel cell, light bar and final roll cage work on day 4. The car will then compete in the SCORE Baja 1000′s Sportsman class.
Hit the jump to watch a video of the Baja BMW
With the huge success of their C4 rally car, Citroen has a lot to prove with their DS3 successor. Having already claimed three driver’s championships and two manufacturer’s championships in four quick years, the DS3 will have a ton to live up to.
Obviously the playing field is a tad different with the new 2011 World Rally Championship rules in place, so Citroen opted for a smaller, naturally aspirated engine to power their DS3 rally car. We’ll be on hand at the Paris Auto Show to check out the DS3 rally car in person (at its official debut) but before then we’ve been teased by Citroen with this video.
And it’s a real tease, never holding a frame for more than a couple of seconds. If you’re adverse to quick changes in light and picture, we don’t advise you to watch the video. It’s just a whole mess of flickering with very subtle hints as to what the DS3 will pack inside and out. But as with most things on the Internet and YouTube, you’ve got 33 seconds to spare, don’t you?
Check out the video after the break.
The madness which is the X-Games are soon to be upon us and one of our favorite Formula Drift racers, Tanner Foust, will be back behind the wheel of the Rockstar Energy Drink Ford Fiesta. A rendering has recently been shown off on Tanner’s personal website of a wicked Ford Fiesta ready to do some Rally-battling.
This year Tanner Foust will be competing in the Super Rally and Rally events at X-Games 16 that kicks off July 29th. He was a former gold medalist in 2007 and looks poised to reclaim that crown this year. Along with his normal sponsors of Rockstar Energy Drink, AEM, Lucas Oil, Alpinestars and MSE, Tanner’s rally car will be competing on BFGoodrich tires and welcomes Etnies on board. Tanner Foust and teammate Brian Deegan are Etnies’ first rally drivers and boy do they know how to pick ‘em.
We’re looking forward to the X-Games kicking off and AutoGuide will be sure to deliver updates with the results!
It might not be as much of a testament to the durability of Japanese cars as it is to the strength of a roll cage, but either way, it’s impressive to see a vehicle roll completely over, slam into some trees and then drive away.
Just such a crash happened at the recent Rallye Baie des Chaleurs round of the Canadian Rally Championship when Subaru WRX STI driver Pat Richard cut in too tight on a corner only to dip into the ditch that then sent him and co-pilot Alan Ockwell into a barrel roll. The car then slammed into some trees, seemingly ending the duo’s race. But after spectators came to the rescue and flipped the car shiny side up, Richard was able to drive away.
Better yet, the team managed to top the podium, completing the race almost a minute ahead of their nearest competitors.
See the video after the jump:
Citing the global financial crisis, Mitsubishi Motors has just announced that it will pull out of all cross-country rally races for 2009, including the Dakar Rally. In a statement the company said that, “The sudden deterioration of the global economy made it necessary for the company to focus its resources more tightly.”
The news comes just after Mitsubishi announced it expects to post a 60 billion yen ($674 million) loss for the past fiscal year.
The move away from Dakar is particularly shocking considering the company’s strong presence in the event and its winning history. In 26 entries Mitsubishi has won the Dakar Rally 12 times , including seven consecutive victories from 2001-07.
Involvement in rally racing has also been a major part of Mitsubishi’s engineering and marketing efforts, with this grueling form of motorsports proving to be a valuable format for developing and testing new technologies (particularly 4WD and AWD technologies) – something that Mitsubishi often relies on in it’s advertising efforts.
Mitsubishi now joins the growing ranks of auto manufacturers that have pulled from motorsports over the past few months. Recently both Subaru and Suzuki pulled out of the World Rally Championship, Honda left Formula 1 and Audi announced it would not be competing in the American Le Mans Series.
Official release after the jump: