Category Archives: Racing

Mercedes Teases Project ONE Hypercar

The trail of teasers and statements surrounding the much hyped Project ONE hypercar are nearing the home stretch. With the Frankfurt Auto Show fast approaching, Mercedes-Benz has upped the ante by releasing a shadowy teaser image.

The lone image does not reveal very much, but the few elements that do stick out of the darkness offer compelling clues to the car’s wild capabilities. Mercedes claims that the Project ONE is “a two-seater supersports showcar” and it serves as the current pinnacle of the German auto giants engineering capabilities.

However, its also safe to call the Project ONE a road going Le Mans prototype with a Formula 1 engine. In fact, Project ONE evokes memories of the fabled CLK-GTR supercar. Unlike that model though, the Project ONE will be a visually innovative look into the future, especially with its performance hardware. This includes the Formula 1 grade engine and hybrid system, as well as the electronic systems.

The roof mounted scoop also hints at the aerodynamic tweaks that are in store for this car with much of the inspiration coming from Le Mans spec race cars. Look for the interior to invoke function over form with many racing elements and materials being used instead of the usual assortment of leather, wood, and other luxuries that define typical Benz models.

Performance for the Project ONE comes from a 1.6 liter turbocharged V6 that incorporates hybrid assistance technology and is largely based on the setup that sees duty in the 2015 Mercedes-AMG W06 Formula 1 hybrid car. Naturally, the engine will be reworked for road use with Mercedes claiming that it can last for 31,000 miles between rebuilds. This is impressive considering that the engine has a rev limit of over 10,000 rpm and packs “over 1000 horsepower.” This is achieved with the help of four electric motors with two mounted on the engine, and the remaining pair on the front axle.

When the Project ONE makes its debut in Frankfurt, it will appear as a near production prototype with the first deliveries expected to take place in 2019. Don’t bother pre-ordering through your local dealer unless you have done so already. Mercedes-Benz is only making 275 copies, with all of them being pre-sold for a cool $2.6 million each.

Mercedes-AMG Showcases Limited Edition GT3 Edition 50

Mercedes is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its AMG performance in bold fashion and has unveiled the limited edition of its Mercedes-AMG GT3 racer as part of the broader festivities.

Dubbed the AMG GT3 Edition 50, this special edition model is based off of the standard GT3 race car which was first introduced to the world two years ago at the Geneva Motor Show. Unlike that model however, the AMG GT3 50 features everla unique upgrades that aim to make it standout on the race track. For starters, the Edition 50 is bathed in a “real black” color which is actually a slick matte black finish. The appearance of this color is the first time that an AMG car has ever been equipped with this type of paint.

Each door features a “50 YEARS OF DRIVING” logo made out of carbon fiber, and even the seat belts get in on the act thanks to a stitched “AMG 50 YEARS OF DRIVING” emblem. Other than these minor tweaks, the bulk of the styling is largely unchanged which is a good thing given how sinister it already looks.

The performance hardware also carries over largely unchanged with the 6.2 liter “hand built” V8 still lurking under the hood. However, AMG engineers have slightly tweaked the exhaust system, and the Edition 50 sidelines the restrictor plates, which in turn increases power. While this may hinder its ability to be raced on some circuits, we are confident that the extra noise and velocity will be appreciated by both owners and racing fans.

As a bonus, each AMG GT3 Edition 50 will be delivered to buyers at AMG’s  headquarters in Affalterbach with buyers also having the opportunity to participate in a one on one racetrack coaching session to allow them to better wield their potent track weapons when thrashing them around the twists and turns of the world’s racing circuits. They will also be able to do so with impeccable timing thanks to the Ingenieur Chronograph Sport Edition “50th Anniversary of Mercedes-AMG” watch that will be provided by IWC Schaffhausen.

Buyers looking to add an Edition 50 GT3 to their paddock will have to contend with the biggest difference between it and the normal GT3, volume. Unlike the “standard” GT3, Mercedes will produce only five examples of the Edition 50 with each example arriving with its own distinct number plaque.

Tesla Announces One Model Racing Series

Ever wondered what would happen if Tesla chose to unleash the insane potential of Ludicrous mode out on the race track? The California based EV company aims to answer that by unveiling an all new racing series for eager enthusiasts.

Dubbed Electric GT, drivers will compete in identical Tesla Model S P100Ds that have been extensively modified for track day use. A key change is the radical diet that the typically 01-069_JJC1687porky car has undergone in its transition from the road to track slaying beast, with Tesla engineers cleaving 1,100 lbs of excess flab.

This was achieved by completly gutting the interior of virtually all of its luxury and convinence features. However, the spartan cabin retains the vertically mounted touchscreen, and adds goodies such as a carbon fiber bucket seat for the driver, a full roll cage, as well as a rectangular steering wheel.

The exterior styling is also race ready, and adds a full bodykit, a deeper front bumper with 01-013_JIM8378-Editarincorporated front splitter, and a massive rear wing. Also, look for each car to feature a slick paint job that varies depending on affiliation and sponsors.

The P100D is no slouch in performance either, and is capable of producing 778 horsepower and 734 lb-ft of torque thanks in part to its 100 kWh battery pack. The folks at Electric GT have added beefier brakes, a fully revised suspension system, and center locking wheels shod in sticky Pirelli racing slicks.

Both male and female drivers are eligible to compete in the Electric GT series, but U.S. fans will be mostly out of luck with the initial pool of races taking place in Europe. Each race will take place at a well known European race circuit including Estroil in Portugal, the Paul Ricard in France, and the famed Nurburgring in Germany. Three additional races will be organized in the Americas, but all three will not be championship races.

Electric GT events consist of a 20 minute practice session, as well as an hour long qualifying session. Once all that is out of the way, the formal competition is split into two 37 mile long events.

It will be interesting to see how various elements of strategy and tactics differ from other types of motor racing  and how the batteries hold up in rigorous track use.

In the meantime, Electric GT hopes to attract 20 professional drivers and 10 diffrent racing teams for the new season. We look forward to hearing more about this new series as information becomes avalible.

Aston Martin, Red Bull Unveil AMB-RB 001

These days the number of companies that are capable of creating a true hypercar has dwindled to a select handful of companies with an established pedigree. Aston Martin has boldly proclaimed that it is one of these companies, and has unveiled its most potent hypercar ever the AMB-RB 001.

Developed in a collaboration with Red Bull’s racing program, Aston Martin claims that the sleek two seater will arrive in 2018 and will be crafted on an all new carbon fiber structure. The car will be assembled in Aston’s Gaydon AMB-RB 001 rear fascia England plant, and also be built in the same hallowed confines that once housed the One-77. Aston claims that the AMB-RB 001 will share a unique degree of exclusivity, with the company only producing 99 to 150 copies which includes the initial prototypes.

Twenty five of these models will be built exclusively for the track, with Red Bull claiming AMB-RB 001 side profilethat the customer list  “reads like a who’s who of F1 legends, moguls, and megastars.” This is elite company, and should prove to be a very potent bragging point at dinner parties.

Both companies did not reveal further technical details about the fruit of their recently minted alliance, but did promise that the car would offer “unprecedented levels of downforce” created by aerodynamic features underneath the car. This in turn allowed the designers to produce the bold swoopy angles that define the visual statement of the car. The V12 will retain the naturally aspirated layout that is seen in other Aston models, but the suspension and transmission technology is all new, and was designed by Red Bull engineers.

The end result is a power to weight ratio that equates to one horsepower per kilogram or 2.2 AMB-RB 001 far shotpounds. The project will be jointly marshalled by both firms with Aston chief creative officer Marek Reichman and chief special operations officer David King overseeing the formal build. Meanwhile, Red Bull’s side will be covered by chief technical officer Adrian Newry.

“The synergy between Red Bull Racing and Aston Martin is clear” stated Newey. I knew Red Bull Racing had the ability to handle pure performance aspects, but Aston Martin’s experience of making beautiful fast and comfortable GT cars is of great benefit to the project.”

MINI Unveils JCW Challenge

With the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed fast approaching. MINI has taken the wraps off of the JCW Challenge which aims to bring lap time shredding capabilities to the venerable hardtop model.

As the name suggests, the JCW Challenge is heavily inspired by cars that compete in the Challenge racing series. This is most prevalent JCW Challenge when one views the front fascia which stands out thanks to bigger front air intakes, model exclusive trim for the wheel arches, and a roof mounted spoiler. MINI has always been known for its paint selection, but the JCW Challenge will only feature White Silver with a black roof providing much needed contrast.

The interior retains much of the basic traits that have come to define other hardtop models, but passengers benefit from supportive bucketJCW Challenge interior seats, as well as a sporty three spoke steering wheel. Like other special edition models, the JCW Challenge features a commemorative plaque on the dashboard which signifies its place in the production order.

Unlike the Challenge racing cars which make up to 255 horsepower, MINI did not make any alterations to the hardware lurking under the hood which means the Challenge will retain theJCW Challenge engine standard JCW’s 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine which brings 231 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. The Challenge makes the sprint to 62 mph in 6.3 seconds before topping out at 153 mph. A six speed manual gearbox is the only transmission choice available, but a trick limited slip differential built by Quaife helps brings more of the Challenge’s power to the road.

MINI claims that only 100 copies of the JCW Challenge will be produced, and that sales will be limited exclusively to the United Kingdom. Pricing begins at £32,000 which converts to about $46,000 in U.S. dollars. Speaking of the U.S, market, MINI revealed that it has no plans to sell the Challenge in the states due to our country’s stricter safety and emissions laws, as well as potential cross shopping between it and the range topping JCW hardtop.

 

Aston Martin Unveils GT8 Vantage

Following the early release of a teaser sketch that was leaked back in March, Aston Martin has fully revealed the GT8 Vantage which serves as a sequel to the limited production GT12 model.

Like the GT12, the GT8 was designed to embody the company’s racing heritage, and it’s exterior styling shares many traits with its Le Mans racing counterpart. A new body kit Aston Martin Vantage GT8. April 2016Photo: Drew Gibsonhelps improve the car’s aerodynamics and features a bigger front splitter, revised side skirts, and a beefy rear spoiler that generates maximum downforce.

In addition to looking good, the new suit of clothes also helps shed weight thanks to new body panels that are made entirely out of carbon fiber. This allows the GT8 to not only be the lightest production Vantage ever built, but also the most powerful thanks to a tweaked 4.7 liter V8 that makes a healthy 446 horsepower.

All of this raw power is channeled to the rear wheels through either a standard six speed manual transmission or the optional seven Aston Martin Vantage GT8. April 2016Photo: Drew Gibsonspeed SportShift II single clutch automated manual. Buyers can also choose how extensive the weight savings are with the company offering an optional carbon roof and polycarbonate windows. However, the interior has not completely forgotten its luxurious side and can be equipped with a stereo and A/C to make the driving experience a bit more pleasurable.

The GT8 will also debut three optional “halo” color schemes – China Grey mixed with blue, Stratus white with green, and Stirling Green (pictured) with lime contrast details. Pricing is expected to start at £165,000 ($233,880) with production being limited to 150 copies. Annoyingly like the GT12, this model will remain a Europe only treat with no plans for a North American introduction. While emissions and safety regulations are the most likely reasons behind this move, the GT8 would have added some much needed energy to its U.S. lineup especially in terms of sales and overall momentum.

 

 

Nissan Admits Defeat, Pulls GT-R LM Racecar From Competition

After a shockingly poor showing in various racing events this season, Nissan has thrown in the towel revealing that it is pulling the plug on its groundbreaking but flawed GT-R LM NISMO racecar.

The Japanese company initially planned to exploit a loophole in the regulations when it entered the endurance racing grid last season. Nissan put its fortunes on a radical front engine/front drive layout while the rest of its competition stuck with conventional rear mounted configurations. The idea behind this switch was to improve air flow while also enhancing aerodynamics with more downforce on the rear wheels.

However, the plan did not work, and the results were disappointing at best. All three cars under performed in their qualifying runs at the 2015 24 hrs of Le Mans, and were so slow that they  were issued penalties for being too slow for their class. This streak of penalties relegated them to the back of the prototype class grid prior to the race. Things only went downhill from there during the race itself in June, with only one of the cars successfully finishing the race. All three cars also ran with their hybrid systems only functioning at half power, which greatly affected the amount of muscle that they could generate. The car’s performance in the World Endurance Championship series (WEC) during 2015 was also less than spectacular with all three vehicles failing to keep up with established rivals in the LMP1 class.

Nissan revealed in its announcement that it put everything it had into making the cars succeed stating “The teams worked diligently to bring the vehicles up to the desired performance levels.” “However, the company concluded that the program would not be able to reach its ambitions and decided to focus on developing  its long term racing strategies.”

While its foray into the factory backed racing business went horribly wrong, Nissan will still be highly active in the WEC but in lieu of fielding any future racing entries, the company will serve as an engine supplier for the organization going forward. Hopefully we will see a new entry from Nissan in the not too distant future. As the saying goes “Rome wasn’t built over night” and perhaps a similar mantra will help keep Nissan’s dreams afloat.

 

 

 

DeltaWing Unveils Production Bound GT Concept, Previews Race Car Chassis

Following its initial appearance in the 2012 24 Hours of LeMans, American company DeltaWing has unveiled the newest iteration of its futuristic sports car while also showcasing an all new chassis that will eventually find its way into a future race car.

The concept known as the GT, is the latest iteration of the initial Le Mans prototype racer and embodies much of the lessons learned from its time on the race track. DeltaWing engineers have slowly been fine tuning and tweaking the car with key input from Panoz an engineering firm that also builds the Panoz Esperante sports car. The appearance of the GT also represents progress with DeltaWing finally ready to begin testing on the first few prototypes.

DeltaWing engineers designed the GT to be an exercise in functional simplicity while also ensuring that it was capable of taking full advantage of its aerodynamic shape. The latter helps the car nab an impressive 0.26 drag co-efficiency which should help give it an edge over rivals when pushed out on the race track. A low curb weight also helps maximize 12096525_495835363927082_501408471579350872_nacceleration and sharpen the car’s handling behavior at the same time. The GT also embodies maximum range with the car capable of achieving 74 mpg on the highway and 57 mpg in mixed cycle driving when paired with its standard 1.4 liter four cylinder engine which is good for a modest 138 horsepower. However the engine bay of the GT is quite flexible and can also be equipped with an all-electric powertrain, a plug-in hybrid setup, a diesel engine, or a CNG (compressed natural gas) powerplant.

DeltaWing did not release pictures of the interior, but look for it to be designed as a functional exercise in driver ergonomics while also retaining the simplistic theme embodied by the exterior. However DeltaWing did reveal that it ultimately plans to offer buyers the choice of either two or four seat configurations for their purchase though we are curious to see how a four seat arraignment will work with the GT’s unconventional profile.

Currently DeltaWing is looking to form a partnership with a major automaker to build the GT in an attempt to avoid having to invest in a dedicated production facility which would have placed an unnecessary burden on the company’s financial resources. Look for more information including pricing as well as a formal launch date to be released sometime in the near future. Also expect the GT to be a limited production affair with DeltaWing producing only a small handful of cars per year.

 

Red Bull, Aston Martin Teaming Up For New Hyper Car Entry???

With the recent success of its racing programs (especially F1 racing) Red Bull has proven to be a force to be reckoned with both on and off the track. However, new rumors appear to suggest that the energy drink giant is preparing to collaborate with Aston Martin on a new hyper car entry that would be on par with the recently unveiled McLaren P1 GTR as well as the Ferarri FXX K with its arrival coming as early as 2018.

According to the folks at Autocar, Adrian Newey the chief technical officer for Red Bull’s F1 racing team is currently developing a new hyper car project with input from Aston Martin’s engineering team. The purported offering is allegedly deep in the initial development stages, with the final exterior styling already being discussed by both parties, a move that could be an early signal of just how serious the project is. While Newey is an employee of Red Bull Racing, the majority of the project  will be worked on by Red Bull Technologies a separate entity of the Red Bull empire that is usually not directly affiliated with the company’s F1 program. Despite this though, the rumored collaboration could be a sign that the two sides are tentatively close towards reaching a formal racing contract which would be beneficial for both sides.

As for the hyper car entry itself, few details are known at this point, but the upcoming offering would possibly borrow electronics and engine technology from Mercedes-Benze’s AMG division which would represent a small part of the broader partnership between the German firm and Aston Martin. While it is strongly possible that the offering could be a track oriented weapon like the Vulcan, other reports suggest that Newey is leaning towards making the car a road legal offering for well heeled buyers which would be an indirect tribute to the iconic McLaren F1. A compelling clue that appears to suggest that something is indeed in the works, is a peculiar statement from Red Bull Racing chief Christian Horner ” It’s something that Adrian is keen to do as a legacy project.” “At the moment our focus is being an Formula 1 constructor, but as we see more technology cross over with the road car market, it’s something that will organically grow.”

If the project does indeed move to the point where initial prototypes are constructed, expect the car to share many of its components and basic platform architecture with the recently unveiled Aston Martin Vulcan. However, both Aston and Red Bull are supposedly keen on keeping the two distinctly desperate from one another which would help keep them from cannibalizing sales while also providing buyers with something distinct that is visually appealing .

Porsche Nabs 1-2 Spots at Le Mans, Audi Finishes Third

Porsche has taken the checkered flag at the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans setting a new record for most wins at the iconic race track and ending Audi’s five year dominance of the enduro event.

Porsche had plenty of confidence entering into the race with the Stuttgart firm actually turning their lead entry in a red and white hued tribute to the first Porsche Le Mans winning car the 1970 917 KH. However when all was said and done, it was the No. 19 Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Nico Hulkenberg, Earl Bamber, and Eric Tandy that crossed the line first with the fore-mentioned retro inspired throwback finishing second followed by an Audi R18 e-tron quattro in third place.

The Toyota TS040 Hybrid was another promising entry but an early collision would shatter the teams hopes for victory due to the lengthy repairs that had to be done to their entry. Despite this though,  they managed a small comeback, and clinched sixth and eight place in the final hours of the race. Lastly Nissan’s trifecta of GT-R LM NISMO Prototypes stole the Nissan NISMO LM GT-Rheadlines in the days leading up to the event, but when it came time for them to actually prove their chops out on the race track two of them were forced to retire early due to mechanical glitches with the third sustaining serious damage from debris that was on the Mulsanne straight. However the third car still managed to finish in 40th place with team representatives claiming that the car still managed to succeed in its first real time challenge and also did quite well for its first high profile outing on the famed race circuit.