The Rondeau-built M378 Le Mans GTP Racing Car is a true piece of Le Mans history, as it currently holds the title for most starts at Le Mans (10). With the amount of stress put on Le Mans cars today, this record is likely to stand for quite some time.
The M378 Le Mans GTP Racing Car made its debut in 1978 in the GTP class of the Le Mans 24 Hours race with two drivers, Bernard Darniche and Jack Haran. In its debut race, the Rondeau M378, or “Old Number 1” as it was nicknamed, took a somewhat disappointing 9th place. The following year, Old Number 1 was tweaked to M379 specifications and wound up pulling in 3rd overall and 1st in the GTP class.
The Rondeau M378 Le Mans GTP Racing Car saw plenty of success through the 1970s, but the 1980s were far less kind to it. As technology continued advancing, the Rondeau M378 Le Mans GTP Racing Car just couldn’t keep up. It all bottomed out in this record holder’s final race, as it ran in and finished the 1988 Le Mans 24 Hours race, but was not classified.
Shortly after its last race, the Rondeau M378 Le Mans GTP Racing Car went on to be sold off to an American collector, who raced it in the 1998 Monterey Historics race.
If you are looking to own a piece of Le Mans history, few stack up to this car’s legacy, but is this a good item to look into purchasing when it goes to auction on May 11th through 12th?
If there’s anything Americans love more than American cars, it’s German cars. BMW ’s, Audi ’s, and Mercedes ’ roam the streets of the U.S. like no other European alternatives, and sports car manufacturer Porsche is right up there with the best of them. Discounting the huge 911 sales Porsche records in the U.S, sales of the Cayenne and Panamera are also extremely high with Porsche selling no less than 25,320 cars in total in 2010 in the U.S.
And with so many sales you could excuse the German brand for being a little rough around the edges when it comes to servicing, but in a recent poll conducted by the Customer Service Index 2012 of 84,000 new car owners from the past three years, results showed that customer satisfaction for Porsche was the highest of any other German brand for their service and personal care of customer cars.
In an official press release, Porsche stated that it “isn’t just constantly raising the quality and thoroughness of its repair and maintenance standards through continuous improvement processes but also optimises the call on its customers’ time to their advantage – from the making of the appointment to receipt of the vehicle to its return.”
Sure some of Porsche’s English may be off, but we can forgive them for that, however these results don’t show the full story. While Porsche is the best of the German brands, it only rates 5th in terms of luxury brands behind Lexus , Cadillac , Jaguar , and Acura .
Nevertheless, we have to commend Porsche for this achievement, as Americans are as picky with their cars as they are fanatical about them.
Let’s face it, the vast majority of production cars don’t look like the concept cars they’re based upon. Sure, various features may be carried over, but concept cars allow designers to go crazy and that’s exactly what they did when designing the original Land Rover LRX Concept .
It was so new and innovative that most people believed it would never reach production and if it did, it would undergo massive changes. To the world’s surprise, when it went into production in July 2011 as the Range Rover Evoque it looked almost identical to the stunning concept car. As a result of the car’s incredible styling and its on-road and off-road capabilities, the Evoque has received 103 awards to date from websites, magazines, and newspapers all across the globe.
But arguably the most prestigious award the Evoque has received so far was awarded at the 2012 New York Auto Show where the Evoque was crowned World Car Design of the Year for 2012. No less than 46 nominations were given for the award and the Evoque was shortlisted by five world renowned design experts along with the Citroen DS5 and Volkswagen Up !
Final deliberations were handed over to a panel of 66 automotive journalists from 25 different countries, before the Evoque was crowned the winner. And we can’t say we’re surprised, as it’s an immaculate bit of design and also created a completely new segment in the market.
Land Rover Design Director Gerry McGovern had the following to say, "We are honored that the Range Rover Evoque has been named 2012 World Design Car of the Year. This prestigious accolade recognizes the overwhelmingly positive response that we have received to the Evoque’s bold and dramatic design. It is a car that truly resonates on an emotional level."
Just hours ago, we reported the somber news that the Porsche 911’s designer passed away , but this time we have some good news to pass along. This news continues to add to the legend that is F.A. Porsche, as his creation has been announced the 2012 World Performance Car.
The 911 S Coupe made it through a three-stage voting process, beating out some of the best vehicles in the world. In the final stage, the 911 faced off against two greats, the Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 and the McLaren MP4-12C .
The WPC judges specifically pointed out that the 911 combines pleasant driving, raw performance, and even fuel efficiency. Let’s crunch the numbers here. The 911 S Coupe pushes out 385 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque from a 3.8-liter flat-6, while getting 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. The Lamborghini has a 700-horsepower, 509 foot-pound producing V-12 engine that squeaks out 11 mpg city and 17 mpg highway. The McLaren gets 15 mpg city and 22 mpg highway – close to the Porsche – and pumps 592 horsepower along with 443 pound-feet from its 3.8-liter V-8.
There are two other factors that would make us put the Porsche on top of the Lamborghini and McLaren. One is the fact that the Aventador is notoriously impossible to drive on even a freshly paved highway – yeah, it’s a little rough. The McLaren, on the other hand, has received some complaints that it tends to over-correct itself via its traction control system.
Add in the fact that the Porsche 911 S Coupe is only one-third of the Aventador’s price and just about half the price of McLaren, you have one impressive hunk of machinery there.
This awesome roadster was crowned America’s Most Beautiful Roadster for 2012 earlier this year at the 63rd annual Grand National Roadster Show. The custom 1927 Ford Track T Roadster, better known as the "Indy Speedster," is owned by Bill Lindig of Houston, Texas, and was built by SoCal Speed Shop in Pomona, California. The craftsmanship that went into this roadster is absolutely amazing. It features an Art Chrisman built small block engine. The 352ci Ford makes over 450HP and is mated to a Tremec T5 five-speed transmission. And don’t think for a second this is just a show car; Bill actually does drive the Indy Speedster.
The Indy Speedster project goes back 16 years. Bill’s friend, Indy car driver Jack Howerton, wanted a racecar-inspired hot rod like the old sprint cars he used to drive. About 12 years ago, Jack started the Chrome-moly chassis, but never finished. Later, he brought in Moal Coachbuilders, and they made some progress, but the car was still very far from complete. Finally, Bill asked Jack to sell him the roadster, and promised him it would get finished. Jack sold the car to Bill, Bill took it to SoCal Speedshop, and the rest is history. As you can tell from the video, no corners were cut and this hot rod was done right.
The Grand National Roadster Show, once known as the Oakland Roadster Show, is the longest running indoor car show in the world. It was held at the Fairplex in Pomona, California for the ninth consecutive year. The show features the best of the best when it comes to roadsters, and this year the Indy Speedster proved to be the absolute best.
Hit the jump to watch America’s Most Beautiful Roadster for 2012 on HOT ROD Unlimited
The year 2011 was quite an impressive year for Chevrolet : one out of every three sports cars in the United States was either a Camaro or a Corvette . The company sold 88,249 Camaro units - or about 18,000 units more than its nearest competitor, the Ford Mustang - and a total of 13,164 Corvette units - more than double compared to the Porsche 911 .
To prove that these numbers are relative to the fantastic cars they create, Chevrolet took the Camaro and the Corvette to the "Grand Course" at Virginia International Raceway. The 2012 Corvette ZR1 lapped the Grand Course in 2:45.6 – faster than the published lap time for any production car. The Camaro ZL1 scored a time of 2:52.4 – more than six seconds faster than the published lap time of a 2011 Ford Shelby GT500 .
"With the addition of the Camaro ZL1, there are only a handful of brands in the world with two cars that can match the performance, technology, and excitement of Corvette and Camaro," said General Motors North America President Mark Reuss. "Unlike many competitors’ performance cars, the Corvette ZR1 and Camaro ZL1 are appropriate for both daily drivers and track use from the factory – with standard coolers for brakes and drivetrain."
"And we challenge any company to bring two cars to compete with the Corvette ZR1 and Camaro ZL1, dollar for dollar," Reuss said.
Hit the jump for more stats, as well as videos of the sports cars’ laps in Virginia.
We’re rounding off our Best of 2011 lists with one that is near and dear to our hearts. This list is all about top speed and top speed only, those who have it and one who hopes to achieve it.
Of course, speed hopes are nothing new. The battle for the fastest car in the world has been ongoing since the sports and super cars first made their appearance and more than likely, it will never end. These past couple years have been a game of one-upmanship between SSC and Bugatti with both succeeding in one way or another. But who tops the list for 2011?
Before getting into that, we think it is important to note that we only incorporated vehicles that were sold in 2011. For example, the Koenigsegg CCX may have a top speed of 240 mph, but that production ended in 2010, which takes the supercar out of the running for this list in particular. Don’t worry, though, Koenigsegg is still well-represented.
Hit the jump to see the top ten list of the fastest cars of 2011.
Going through all of the glorious supercars of 2011 was no easy task, especially since it felt like every random country of the world was developing their own supercar. Each vehicle we came across deserved to have their time to shine on the list for best supercar of 2011, but as time went on, it was clear which ones stood out above all of the rest.
A couple of the supercars on the list shouldn’t surprise anyone, especially since they were created by one of the top supercar makers in the world. Then there are the relative newbies to the group that have received enough recognition to warrant praise from the average car enthusiast, but the final vehicle would probably not be recognized by many and its home country may actually cause ridicule to ensue. The end result, however, was enough to give it a spot on our list.
Hit the jump to check out which of the supercar bad boys made it to the top of our list for Supercar of the Year.
Before we even get into the top list of sportscar for 2011, we think it would be best to clear something up: the new Porsche 911 would have definitely made the list if it wasn’t for the fact that it won’t be hitting Stateside until 2013.
That being said, we have a few top hitters for 2011 that we would be foolish not to take notice of. It was a battle trying to choose between the plethora of options provided in the sports car segment, but what we ended up with was a range of 450 HP to 560 HP, 0-60 mph sprint times between 4.6 seconds and 3.7 seconds, and speeds topping out between 186 mph and 198 mph.
Last year’s picks for the coupe of the year raged a war between the Chevrolet Camaro and the Ford Mustang , but this year things are a bit different. In fact, neither one of these muscle cars made the list, simply because the new Camaro ZL1 isn’t available for purchase just yet.
With the two major muscle cars out of the running, we were still left with a ton of vehicles worthy of some time in the spotlight. Our choices for the top coupes of 2011 are kind of all over the place. From the Audi TT-RS’ return to the States to the Lotus Exige S and its road-going capabilities on the other side of the pond, there’s pretty much a flavor for anybody.
In fact, if we’ve missed one of your favorites, make sure to hit us up.
Hit the jump for our picks for the 2011 Coupe of the Year, in alphabetical order.