AAA is urging Illinois legislators not to raise the speed limit from 65 to 70 mph on state roadways.
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Travel times might be reduced soon in parts of Nevada if a new bill proposing an 85 mph speed limit becomes law.
Next year, the V8 Supercar Series will be heading to America for the first time ever in its storied history. The event will take place from May 17th to the 19th next year at Circuit of the Americas’ new Texas circuit.
The Chinese have something to learn about watching car racing, and maybe beer drinking too in light of the fact that the race was cancelled for a beer festival.
It’s common practice for regional auto journalist associations to gather, usually once a year, and vote on which cars they like most.
Ken Adams is a cancer survivor in Austin, Texas, but while he was undergoing treatment he realized how difficult it was for other patients to rely on friends, family, or even public transportation to get to the hospital for their treatments.
So once he was well enough, Adams arranged an organization called Your Ride is Here to help get cancer patients to their treatment appointments in style. By assembling a network of volunteers, Adams is getting patients a ride to the hospital in luxury and exotic vehicles ranging from an Aston Martin Rapide to a Ferrari Enzo.
Adams knows first hand that the chance at smiling can mean the world to someone battling cancer. It also brings a smile to our face to know that there are so many luxury and exotic owners out there that are willing to share their prized possessions in a charitable way.
Watch a video about the awesome organization after the break.
Back in 2002, a special edition Ram 1500 pick-up truck was launched specifically for Texan truck buyers. Called the Lone Star edition, it quickly became the top selling Ram model in the vast state.
“The Ram 1500 Lone Star was the first pickup truck designed by Texans and built specifically for Texans. Native Texans are very proud to be from the Lone Star State. For the last 10 years, this truck has given us the authentic opportunity to proudly connect Ram with Texas’ very proud state motto,” said Ram Trucks president and CEO Fred Diaz.
In the last 10 years, over 80,000 Lone Star edition trucks have been sold in Texas, and the automaker hopes to continue the trend with the new 2012 Ram 1500 Lone Star 10th Anniversary Edition.
The Lone Star 10th Anniversary edition gets new, larger “Lone Star” badges with the prominent red, white and blue Texas state emblem on its front doors and tailgate. The new badges are also part of an exclusive appearance package and replace the “Ram 1500” badging that other models wear.
More than just the badges set this truck apart from other Rams, inside you’ll find Katzkin perforated leather seats with Texas Lone Star logo’s. The glove box and floor mats also get the 10th Anniversary logos.
Powering this truck is the 5.7-liter HEMI V8, which produces 390 horsepower and 407 lb/ ft of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Offered only in the Crew Cab body style, you can choose between black, bright silver, bright white, deep cherry red, flame red, mineral gray and true blue for the exterior.
If interested, you can pick up this pickup sometime around June though a specific date wasn’t mentioned. Pricing for the Lone Star edition starts at $36,440. You also need to be in Texas as this is a Texas only truck.
When tuning company Hennessey Performance out of Sealy, Texas makes an announcement, it’s usually something fantastic. In this case, they posted details on their site about a new McLaren MP4-12C concept that wrings an extra 208 horsepower out of the car’s 3.8-liter V8.
They manage the incredible feat by performing major surgery on the drivetrain, dropping in everything from a better intercooler, exhaust, air intake and much more into the mix. Of course, the company backs all its tweaking with a warranty. Click here for the full specs.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Hennessey without a wickedly redefined look. As per ususal, that philosophy is alive and well. The car will get a new set of wheels, a CarbonAero body upgrade that compliments the wheel color and delivers a two-tone look and a redesigned custom interior.
Normally such an awesome machine wouldn’t be a laughing matter, but we have to make fun of the Texan lads a little. They claim on their site to have taken the MP4-12C from “mild to wild.”
While we don’t doubt the concept’s capacity for rambunctious hoonage, calling anything bearing the McLaren badge “mild” is a little like saying habanero peppers are tangy. Sorry Hennessey.
There aren’t price details listed yet, but this is just a concept car. In case you hadn’t already figured it out, this is one of those cases where having to ask the price means you can’t afford to play. If this one makes it to market, expect a healthy margin on top of the $229,000 base price for the mild version.
Next year’s U.S. Grand Prix could be in jeopardy if organizers of the Austin, Texas race do not agree on a contract and pay fees by the end of next week. Formula One’s head honcho Bernie Ecclestone’s patience is clearly wearing thin with negotiations and does not want to wait beyond the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix race in San Paulo on November 27th for a decision to be made.
The first race to be held in the United States since 2007 has been hyped up and highly anticipated but Ecclestone has no problems calling it off if no deal is done. Some might believe that Ecclestone isn’t so focused on working out a deal for the Austin, Texas race since a deal has been settled for a grand prix in New Jersey for 2013.
As with everything else that makes the world turn, negotiations have come down to money, Ecclestone exclaiming that “they can’t bloody well pay,” and “the teams want paying.”
Ecclestone claims that the deal has been ongoing for 18 months now, and that he doesn’t have any contract with anybody concerning the race in Austin. As of Tuesday, construction at the Austin track was halted but Steve Sexton, Circuit of the Americas president, remains optimistic.
At the end of the day though, Ecclestone is clearly becoming impatient and frustrated with the negotiations. “Since we’ve been talking to the people in Austin we’ve done two or three deals with different countries. I don’t know what the problem is for America really.”
[Source: Reuters UK]
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.
The moment has come. Formula One, the pinnacle of international automotive racing, is coming for Greater New York in 2013!
According to well placed sources involved in the matter, the Formula 1 franchise will make an official announcement of the “Formula One Grand Prix of America” some time next week. Slatted for June 2013, the Weehawken-West New York road course of New Jersey will feature a stunning Manhattan skyline backdrop.
A Tuesday press conference at Port Imperial, Weehawken is expected. This project was first proposed in August, when the mayors of Weehawken and West New York issued a joint statement that revealed discussions with a group of investors led by Leo Hindery by Leo Hindery, Jr., a former chief executive of the YES Network, to bring a race to New Jersey were in motion.
The current Formula One calendar features nineteen incredible destinations including Monaco, Shanghai, Sao Paulo, Yas Marina, Montreal, Melbourne, and Catalunya. The last grand prix held in the United States was at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2007.
By 2010, already a three year hiatus, Formula 1 already announced plans for a return to the United States. As we speak, a state-of-the-art $250 million racetrack in Austin, Texas enters the final phases of construction, readying for its debut at the November 2012 Formula One Grand Prix of America. With the addition of the New Jersey circuit, racing fans in the United States finally gets to experience the excitement they deserve.
[Source: Wall Street Journal]
Previously capped at 80 mph, the Texas House of Representatives approved a new transportation bill that will raise speed limits up to 85 mph in select areas and put an end to the night-time speed limit as well. Yee-haw!
Though exciting for driving enthusiasts (or anyone in a hurry), don’t pack your bags for the Lone Star State just yet. Texas engineers and traffic analysts must first make safety assessments before the state can swap for new signs. Only after a review on Interstate highways determining which will have its speed limit raised from 70 to 75 mph does the state review which can increase from 80 to 85 mph. Yes, the process does sound a bit lame but hopefully we will be rewarded for our patience.
David Coulthard and his Red Bull F1 team traveled down to Austin, Texas to check out the soon to be completed Circuit of the Americas track.
Over the weekend, David Coulthard took his 750-hp Red Bull Formula One race car on a cruise in and around the Texas capital, engaged in some hooning and put on a show for the crowd.
In this clip, Coulthard takes the high performance F1 car on the dirt roads of the soon to be grand prix track, as well as along some highways. It’s not every day you get to see one of these cars go off-roading, or tear through city steets.
Check out the videos after the jump!
GALLERY: Red Bull F1
Everything’s big in Texas, so the saying goes. Unless Fiat has something to say about it: out of 70 existing Fiat dealers, 10 of them are opening up in Texas—the second-highest amount of dealerships, behind California, and tied with New York and Florida.
Texas may seem like a strange state to sell small cars, considering that they’re so infatuated with pickup trucks that GM, Ford, Dodge, and even Toyota have “Texas edition” versions of their big honkin’ trucks. But two of its major metropolitan areas, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington and Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, feature populations over 5 million, with the usual issues of traffic and congestion found anywhere else. Fiat is betting on these population-dense areas to achieve market success.
And while Texas might not come to mind as a trendy, fashion-conscious place like New York, Florida or California, its major city Houston is America’s 4th-largest city, and brimming with cosmopolitans in the high-tech energy and computing industries. And dispelling the notion that these urban dwellers would spring for automatic transmissions: 70% of cars sold by these dealers are equipped with the 5-speed manual.
Eventually, Fiat will open up 130 dealers across the country. But for now, if you’re in one of these trendsetting states, then you won’t have to drive far to pick one up.
[Source: Ward's Auto]
Wanna make some extra dough on the side? Illinois is deciding whether to allow advertising space on its state license plates. If approved, this would allow corporate sponsors to put their business logos on the plates, which would be offered to drives at a lower price. A vote last month decided that the secretary of state should look at the pros and cons of corporate plates. Sen. John Mulroe, D-Chicago believes corporate plates will be a great way to bring in money without raising taxes.
Corporate plates have already been approved in Texas, and produced by a firm called My Plates. Companies advertising through these plates include Re/Max real estate and Mighty Fine Burgers. 489 plates have been sold in Texas since Nov 2009 and $51,805 has already been raised for the state’s general revenue fund, according to a My Plates spokeswoman.
The corporate plates may not be approved in Illinois, because there are already 70 specialty plates available ranging from promoting veterans and colleges to nonprofit organizations.
[Source: Chicago Tribune]
The proposed Formula 1 race track in Austin, Texas will officially be known as the Circuit of the Americas, and feature a variety of facilities beyond the 3.4 mile race track, including a full-time trauma center, and venues for commercial, educational and social events that will all be open year-round.
While a large degree of skepticism initially greeted the announcement of Austin as the home of Formula 1, the circuit is on schedule, and has been designed by noted track architect Herman Tilke. In addition to Formula 1, MotoGP has also signed a 10 year contract to hold motorcycle races in Austin, moving from its former home at Laguna Seca.
Construction begins in December, at a site near Austin’s airport.
[Source: Inside Line]
General Motors will idle their Arlington, Texas plant due to a parts shortage, although details were not given as to what the specific issue was.
The factory builds vehicles like the Chevrolet Tahoe and Cadillac Escalade. A UAW representative told Automotive News that two 10-hour overtime shifts would be cancelled. So far, the standard 10-hour shifts from Monday to Thursday appear unaffected, although the overtime hours have been a constant at the plant for over a year.
A GM spokesman said that the shifts would be “rescheduled” although further details were not provided.
[Source: Automotive News]
Yee-haw: the Texas House of Representatives has approved a new transportation bill, and part of it allows the Texas Department of Transportation to raise speed limits to an eye-watering 85 mph.
The Fastest State in America (hey, it’s been a couple decades since Wyoming- and Montana-ans enjoyed their “reasonable but prudent” signage) already has over 500 miles of 80-mph speed limits, mostly in flat West Texas—which is probably where all the best barbecue is. But before the DOT can slap on some new signage, they will need to conduct engineering and traffic studies to determine if the roads—and its pickup-driving denizens—are capable of handling the increased speeds.
[Source: Houston Chronicle]
Every year over in Houston, Texas, Toyota Supras from all over the nation gather at the Lonestar Motorsports Park for a weekend of motorsports festivities. It begins with a Dyno Day then a weekend of test-n-tune and drag racing. Over the years, every big player in the Supra industry has shown up with Florida heavyweights Titan Motorsports and Big Daddy being no exceptions to the rule. This year however, there was plenty more excitement when the two MKIV Supras took to the track.
Titan’s Supra has really been shoved aside for their full race program, with it only making select appearances yearly. One thing’s for sure, they never miss the Texas event with their infamous Copper Supra. Their day started out just fine, rolling out a 7.75 @ 178 mph pass as they made the rounds in the Unlimited Class. Fast forward to the end of the day and Titan found themselves in the final against fellow Florida rival, Big Daddy.
Big Daddy knew they’d have to be on their A-game to topple Titan’s giant, but unfortunately they might have pushed the pedal a little too hard as their Supra goes out of control, flying through the center line and into Titan’s lane slamming into the wall. Titan’s driver, Gary White, was able to escape with minimal damage to the car (though it’s still not a pretty sight) and luckily both drivers were just fine after the accident.
Check out the video after the break.
[Source: Titan Motorsports Blog]
You could be the proud regretful owner of a Bugatti Veryron, for what is certain to be a fraction of the cost of a new model. No, we’re not talking about a Fiero kit car, but a real Veyron. There’s just one issue, it’s got a salvage title given by the insurance company when the owner famously confused it with a submarine.
Likely you recall the story (and video) of the Veyron that wound up in a Texas lake in 2009. You might also recall that this wasn’t even fresh water, but that ultra-corrosive salt water. Worse still, the owner kept the car running – although its not clear if the engine was ruined.
The car is technically a write-off however, meaning that the insurer saw the price of repairing it as more than the car is worth. And when you consider it retails for roughly $1.5 million when it was new – that’s one seriously expensive accident.
From the outside it doesn’t look half bad, apart from a missing headlight and the Bugatti badge that’s falling off. Treat those as an omen, however, as inside the wiring looks to be a mess and some shots show the salt water has already begun its rusty journey to return the Veyron to its more basic elements.
Not scared away? Then hit the link below to bid. Offers are being accepted until Wednesday at 9 a.m.
GALLERY: Bugatti Veyron Salvage Title
And hit the jump for that famous video:
On December 1st, Fox 2 News in Detroit reported on a vehicle break-in. While this was nothing significant in itself, said vehicle was a Cadillac Escalade Hybrid and the items taken included two MacBook computers and some concert tickets.
But it gets more interesting. At the time, the Escalade was being driven by a 20 year-old, the son of Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan), plus it was a vehicle leased by Conyers under the Federal government’s congressional car program, under whose rules Conyers’ 20 year-old son is forbidden from driving.
This program, designed to provide members of the assembly with vehicles (similar to company car programs offered to sales reps at many private firms), requires the government to purchase a vehicle which is then leased to the member of congress up to a certain monthly amount or percentage of the vehicle’s price tag. In California, which has a taxpayer funded state vehicle program, this includes up to $500 or 90 percent of the vehicle, which the lessee (the member of the assembly) then pays on a monthly basis. However, there are stipulations; the vehicle must be American made and/or a hybrid. Texas is another state that has a similar program.
Besides the vehicle, with these programs, the state or government also pays for mileage and maintenance (again, funded by taxpayer dollars), though according to a report by the Sacramento News & Review these programs are widely open to abuse. One case documented an assemblyman’s Mustang receiving a $25,000 repair bill, while another showed that one assembly member burned through 5,500 gallons of fuel in a year, with the bill again picked up by the taxpayers.
And in a time when California is broke, such oversights are making voters turn red in the face – and for good reason. With all the cuts in emergency services and education in the Golden State, the fact that such antics have been allowed to persist is clear indication of a State Government with skewered priorities.
In Federal circles, it’s argued things are even worse. Conyers’ Escalade retails for around $76,000 (the monthly lease payment on his Caddy is a staggering $1,256.66), while according to the NY Times, New York Congressman Gregory Meeks spent $998 a month leasing a Lexus LS460 at the expense of taxpayers.
Yes, there are some members of Congress who use the program wisely, purchasing affordable transportation for official duties, but it’s clear that others use it as a gravy boat to further their own lifestyles (there’s hardly a need for tax payers to foot the bill for a $70,000 luxury cars so elected officials can ride around in pimping style). But despite the Fox probe and another from the LA Times, there hasn’t been much follow up – for example, Fox 2 didn’t question why Conyers’ 20 year-old son was driving the Escalade in the first place.
However there is a one man army dedicated to waging a war against this kind of corruption. David Palmer, a self-proclaimed ‘Watchdawg’ has been having increasing success at exposing government corruption with a reputation of being a Pit Bull in the courtroom. Those public officials that have dismissed him as just another angry taxpayer do so at their own peril. However, judging by the state of things right now, we could probably use a few more people like him.
[Source: Sacramento News & Review]