Sports car racing is set to change dramatically in North America next year with the ALMS and Grand-Am series joining forces. With the future uncertain, Europe may become the battleground for racing supremacy.
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If you’re like us then you can’t get enough of the McLaren MP4-12C GT3. While a bit too tame a design in production trim, the race car pops – thanks in part to the bright orange paint.
A trio of MP4-12Cs competed this past weekend in the first 24 hour endurance race for the company since the McLaren F1 GTR raced around Le Mans back in 1995. The results were less than victorious, with only one of the three vehicles (No. 60) completing the grueling test. Car No. 59 was involved in an accident and the chassis damaged, while car No. 58 was pulled after it caught fire.
McLaren GT executive and McLaren Automotive Chief Test Driver Chris Goodwin, commented that “the 12C GT3 is meeting its reliability and driveability targets.” The company will push ahead with the program, continuing to test the vehicles before building 20 similar cars for customer teams to compete with next year. McLaren has said the MP4-12C GT3 will compete at the Blancpain Endurance Series races at both Magny-Cours and Silverstone later this year.
GALLERY: McLaren MP4-12C GT3 at Spa
Audi beat out BMW and Mercedes-Benz at the 24 Hours of Spa in Belgium, running the legendary Spa-Francorchamps course in an R8 LMS.
The V10-engined R8 beat out 57 teams in the GT3 category, leading 22 out of the 24 hours. Audi Sport Team WRT took the lead as well as 4th place in cars #33 and #32, respectively. Its drivers consisted of two DTM champions Mattias Ekström and Timo Scheider, as well as endurance racing veteran Greg Franchi.
By midnight, the top three cars were all Audis. But an hour later, the #99 R8 fielded by Marc Basseng, Christopher Haase and Frank Stippler slid off from a wet patch and retired. Its #98 teammate lost second gear in an accident and spent an hour getting a new transmission, but managed to claw its way back up from 36th to 14th—and with Mike Rockenfeller behind the wheel, it even managed the fastest race lap at 2m 20.286s.
The #32 car driven by Stéphane Ortelli made a spectacular comeback: after qualifying down in 41st, she drove to 2nd place within the first 90 minutes. After a penalty and a suspension swap sent it back to 42nd place, but skilled driving allowed it to finish fourth.
“This is without doubt the most important victory for the Audi R8 LMS and our still relatively young customer racing program,” said Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, the man in charge of Audi’s motorsport program. “After just a few hours we only had one iron still in the fire – but we won with this car. This shows our strong nerves and team spirit because everybody helped to take the win with the only remaining car.”
The RSRNurburg school runs a fleet of brand new Lotus cars at the Nurburgring and Spa-Francorchamps for those feeling the need for speed. Based out of Nurburg, Germany, the company allows drivers to sample a new Lotus Exige S’s and track the car on both the Nuburgring in Germany and the Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
As well as the two track sessions, beautiful twisty turny roads have been selected so the driver gets to experience both road and track. The tour is ended by passing the secret factory workshops of Porshce, Ferrari and Aston Martin. RSRNurburg will teach the driver high speed driving techniques, correst use of the controls, the racing line and the best use of different variations through the convoy training system and finding the importance of balance.
Prices vary from €249 which includes fuel and insurance for a half day package to €1495 per driver for a full day of racing at the Nurburgring racetrack.
[Source: The Lotus Forums]
As we recently reported, the newly released Ferrari 599 GTO is the fastest street-legal Ferrari ever built. With a 670 horsepower V12 and a six speed transmission derived directly from the F1 program, this 3,538 lb technological marvel also has highly sophisticated aerodynamics, suspension tuning and traction control systems.
With the first 599 GTO owners taking delivery of their half million dollar super toy very recently, the video after the jump shows several in action at what appears to be a Ferrari Club lapping day at the revered Belgian F1 circuit Spa-Francorchamps. The sound of 599 GTO starting is enough to give us goosebumps, but its exhaust note as it blasts down the front straight is beyond sublime.
[Source: Jorrik's Car Channel]
Leading up to the introduction of the new twin-turbo V8-powered S63 this September, Mercedes has decided to compare the new model with one of the AMG race cars that started it all – the 1971 300 SEL 6.8 AMG. Heck, they even rented out the Spa Francorchamps in Belgium to arrange a stunning photoshoot of the two cars side by side. And to help with the visual impact, the S63 “Thirty-Five” (showcar) has been gussied up in the same livery used on the original Benz when it placed second back at Spa in 1971 – during its very first race.
This victory, says Mercedes, made AMG world famous over night.
That original race car was powered by a modified 6.3-liter V8 with displacement increased to 6.8-liters. In that form it made 428-hp (a big jump over the standard 250-hp) and 448 ft-lbs of torque. It’s top speed was rated at 265 km/h (165 mph). Weight had been shaved from the big saloon using aluminum doors and light-weight magnesium racing wheels. Still, the 300 SEL weighed in at 1,635 kg (3,604 lbs), due mostly to the fact that in race trim it still had power steering, an air suspension, carpets, paneled doors and real wood trim on the dash.
The S63 “Thirty Five” showcar features an all-new 5.5-liter biturbo V8 engine making 544-hp and 590 ft-lbs of torque. And when equipped with the AMG Performance package makes 571-hp and 664 ft-lbs of torque. The only transmission available is a 7-speed AMG Speedshift MCT sports transmission. This is enough to deliver a 0-62 mph time of 4.5 seconds (4.4 seconds with the AMG package) and a top speed of 250km/h (165 mph) or 300 km/h (186 mph) with the AMG package. And to help draw the comparison between the two cars, the new S63 showcar gets 4.5 cm (1.7-in) flared fenders and some wide 275/35/10 front and 325.30/20 rear tires. Plus, don’t forget the AMG Le Mans red metallic paint (offered o the SLS), with plenty of race decals to boot.
GALLERY: Mercedes S63 AMG Showcar vs. 300 SEL 6.8 AMG
Get even more info on the two cars after the jump:
This past weekend the Lamborghini Super Trofeo racing series was in Belgium, running during the same weekend a the famous 24 Hours of Spa. Lamborghini race car manufacturer Reiter Engineering used this opportunity to debut its full carbon-bodied version of the new LP670-4 SV.
Dubbed the LP670 R-SV, the racing version is powered by the same 6.5-liter V12 engine as the street car with 670hp and 487 ft-lbs. Incredibly, as the SV is already a lighter version of the LP640, this race-ready version weighs even less, tipping the scales at just 2,535 lbs.
The LP670 R-SV is the followup the carbon-fiber Murciélago R-GT by Reiter and features a new suspension setup and improved steering thanks to an even wider track. The braking system has also been upgraded with carbon discs and pads and better air ducting to keep the brakes cool over long periods of time.
Reiter Engineering has built the car to meet FIA regulations so that it can qualify to race in the GT World Championship
GALLEY: Reiter Engineering LP67- R-SV
Official release after the jump: