French automaker Citroen might not make money (in fact it lost $6.7 billion last year) but it sure can make a mean diorama.
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Rally Cross is gaining a name for itself in America. After already finding a solid foothold in Europe, the second race in the series is scheduled to take place in Texas this weekend.
During its glory days, Toyota enjoyed 43 victories as well as seven FIA world rally titles. From 1973 through 1999, Toyota was a fixture in the sport.
Now, a report from the FIA World Rally Championship website revealed that Toyota has built a regulation 1.6-liter turbocharged powerplant, which meets the WRC Global Race Engine technical regulations, and is currently performing a series tests at Toyota Motorsport GmbH in Cologne. According to a spokesman from Toyota Motorsport, “We’re leaning towards an S2000-style of car which would be available for customers first. This is a development project, but it’s very early days – the engine only fired up for the first time a few weeks ago- at the very earliest, a car won’t be available until next year. Obviously, this being a Global Race Engine, it could go in any car, but the Yaris seems to make sense.”
According to the anonymous spokesman, participation in rallying is a part of the automaker’s medium-term future goals. What’s more, a Super 2000 category vehicle may also suggest new plans for World Touring Car Championship, as the S2000 specification is split to cover both rally and touring car racing regulations.
Norwegian WRC racing driver Mads Østberg has enjoyed a bit of success in his World Rally Championship career but as it is with all athletes, practice makes perfect so a little snowy stunt driving is practically training. Record-breaking is just a bonus.
Setting a new bar for himself, and the world, Østberg completed a world record snow jump at the “DC All in Trysil” event, a winter extreme sports festival held last weekend at Trysil, Norway, sponsored by DC Shoes.
Østberg took three attempts, leaping off a snowy ramp in his WRC Ford Fiesta, the first of which saw him barely clear the landing ramp. His second jump was cleaner but not quite record-worthy. Finally on the third try he cleared 50 meters (164 feet). Spectacular as it is to watch, the jump isn’t “official” and won’t be recorded in the Guiness Book of World Records.
Race cars, check. Beautiful women, check. Ken Block video, check. Gymkhana racing with Ken Block in video, negative. Wait, what? Ken Block is releasing a video that has no real action in it and it’s still worth watching?
The Ford Fiesta driver spoofs himself with the aid of actor and comedian Nick Swardson in this fairly hilarious video. From inventing his own vegetable called the “Blockli” to referring to rival Travis Pastrana as the drummer from Blink 182, this 2012 race season interview is not only creative, but well worth the laughs.
Whether you like Block or not, you have to admit that he certainly knows how to make a viral video.
Watch the interview below:
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.
Valentino Rossi is clearly a warrior on all things two-wheeled. Rossi won his first 125cc championship in 1997, a 250cc World Championship in 1999, a 500cc World Championship in 2001, back-to-back World GP Championships in 2002 and 2003 with Honda, and another back-to-back in 2004 and 2005 with Yamaha. It would take until 2008 for Rossi to recapture his title, but he had no problem retaining it in 2009.
Despite a disappointing season in 2011 for Ducatti, Rossi is still first in all time 500cc / MotoGP race wins with 79 victories. And while we don’t expect Rossi to hand up MotoGP anytime soon, he did proclaim that he sees himself racing in rally sometime in the future.
I’ll do a few more years in MotoGP, then I’d race in rallies: these machines are really fun to drive because they have less electronics,” said Rossi.
For the 2011 edition of the Monza Rally Show, Monster Energy and Rossi put together a three-car team and shot a video of Rossi behind the wheels of a WRC Ford Fiesta. And despite not having a ton of time behind the wheel, Rossi showed off why he’s one of the fastest things on wheels (two or four) by finishing second in two race formats behind multiple WRC champion Sebastian Loeb.
Check out a video of Rossi piloting a Monster Energy WRC Fiesta after the break.
Earlier in the month we reported that Volkswagen was testing their new WRC Polo R with Carlos Sainz behind the wheel, and now there’s video from Sainz’s testing sessions along with the official announcement of VW signing Sebastian Ogier as their first driver for the FIA World Rally Championship alongside Julien Ingrassia as his co-driver.
Ogier finished third in the 2011 WRC and looks to play a pivotal role in shaping the Polo R to become a championship caliber race vehicle. The 2.0L turbocharged Polo R cranks out 296-hp and 285 lb-ft of torque and looks right at home as it tears through its testing. Ogier drove for Citroen in 2011 and won’t be back behind the wheel until 2013 with the Polo R. The 2012 season will be dedicated to developing the Polo into a serious contender.
GALLERY: Volkswagen WRC Polo R
Check out the videos below:
[Source: Inside Line]
Prodrive is synonymous with turning everyday family runabouts into championship winning rally cars. Most recently, they have competed with a Mini Countryman, which is faring quite well so far.
Now Prodrive is turning its attention to making a special version of a Countryman for those who don’t have a race seat in the FIA Rally Championship.
Based on information by some industry moles, the Prodrive Countryman sports a more muscular body, a large rear wing and some tasty alloy wheels.
The changes won’t be just cosmetic as it will also feature a Milltek exhaust and a performance enhancing chip by Superchips, which will easily boost output to 230-hp. It might get even more if they decide to replace the current turbo unit with a larger one.
No pricing or availability is known for now, but since North Americans never got to sample any other products Prodrive produced in the past, chances are we won’t get this one either.
Mini will eventually offer its own John Cooper Works version of the Countryman, which will be exciting enough for most of us.
Ford presented a concept model showing what a future Fiesta ST might look like when it joins the Focus ST in the company’s high-performance small car offerings.
The Ford Fiesta ST hot hatch has a silhouette inspired by Ford’s rally racing Fiesta RS WRC. The lowered stance with 17-inch alloy wheels and full ST body kit are all based on the Ford Fiesta WRC race car while the trapezoidal front grille with honeycomb mesh design is similar to that found on the Focus ST.
Like the rally car, the Fiesta ST Concept is powered by Ford’s 1.6 liter EcoBoost engine. Combining turbocharging and direct injection, the 1.6 l engine also features Twin-independent Variable Camshaft Timing to improve power and torque, just as in the upcoming Ford Focus ST. Ford claims an output of 180 hp and 177 ft-lb. of torque and a 0-100 kph (0-62) time of under 7 seconds.
GALLERY: Ford Fiesta ST Concept
Ask someone from Volkswagen what their most important reveal is at the Frankfurt Auto Show and the answer will be simple: the Up!, the diminutive city car with a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine. That’s all well and good, but what about a car (another small car we might add) that’s just awesome. We are, of course, talking about the Polo R WRC, the VW brand’s entry into the World Rally Championship.
Shown before in sketches, Frankfurt is the first public showing of hot-hatch on steroids, with massively flared fenders doing a poor job of hiding VW’s all-wheel drive setup. Under the hood is a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine pumped all the way up to 296-hp.
Set to compete in next-year’s WRC season this is at least some indication that VW is planning a Polo R street model with AWD – a full baby brother to the Golf R. We’ll just settle for a Polo GTI.. if only VW would bring the sub-compact to North America.
GALLERY: VW Polo R WRC
Subaru may decide to have a separate WRX line different from the Impreza family in a move to create a more dedicated performance range for the automaker. The new Impreza goes on sale this fall and is expected to be a significantly higher volume model than any of its predecessors. Subaru may chose to separate the WRX and Impreza for the first time in nearly 20 years.
With plans to launch a new sporty car in 2014, there is speculation that the new performance model will actually be the next generation WRX. “Apart from a few nuts and bolts, every part on the WRX will be unique. Even the engine and body. Obviously the WRX’s platform will be inherited from the new Impreza, but it will be radically modified and significantly shortened,” according to a Subaru insider.
Motor Trend has also speculated that the new WRX may use a 1.6-liter four-cylinder boxer engine, with a massive turbo, producing as much as 270-hp. The new model would be sized more like a subcompact and would feature extra-wide tires. Subaru is also said to be considering returning to the World Rally Championship from which the Impreza WRX got its name. Subaru pulled out of the series in 2008 because of the economic downturn .
After years of Citroen dominating the World Rally Championship, Fiat is getting ready to challenge the French automaker’s dominance with their own entry, based on the Punto Abarth.
The Abarth has been racing in the International Rally Challenge and national rally championships with the Punto S200. The S2000 has done considerably well in a number of lower-tier motorsports campaigns, and a WRC campaign would mark the first time the Punto Abarth has competed in a high level race series.
If the Punto Abarth does compete, it will likely be adapted to WRC specifications, which now closely mirrors the S2000 spec used in the IRC.
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:
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.
Former F1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen will join NASCAR, in a surprise move, a departure from his previous endeavors in Formula 1 and rally racing.
A Finnish newspaper, cited by Autosport, claims that Raikkonen will start out in the Truck series before moving on to both the Nationwide and Sprint cup car series. No start date has been announced, but Raikkonen is expected to join sometime in the summer.
The Finn will be part of the newly formed ICE1 Racing, owned by Foster Gillet. Gillet had previously partnered with Richard Petty Motorsport, and the Gillet family has had previous ownership of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, as well as the Liverpool F.C. soccer team.
Kimi will finish up his World Rally Championship season as part of his contract, and is scheduled to compete in 8 events throughout the season.