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  Car Racing in any way shape or form: F1, WRC, Nascar, NHRA, drag racing, monster trucks and more

Ford Fiesta RS WRC

Just days ago we let you know that Mini pretty much used FIA homologation rules to its advantage by finishing up the 2012 season and calling it quits, now another manufacturer is following suit. There have been rumors floating around since 2011 that Ford Europe was going to pull out of the World Rally Championship and that will become a reality following the 2012 season, as Ford Europe announced that it will pull its sponsorship following the 2012 season.

Unlike Mini , Ford has been a long-running sponsor, lasting 16 seasons. With that long of a history, it is more obvious that Ford’s pull out is mostly due to the crumbling automotive market in Europe. Despite pulling its sponsorship, Ford will provide M-Sport, its WRC partner since 1997, with the Fiesta R5 rally car , along with engineering and vehicle support following its departure. In addition, Ford Europe will still offer the Fiesta R2 rally car for grass-roots national and regional driver programs.

It looks like we are in for a drastically changed lineup for the 2013 WRC season, and we’re not even through the 2012 season yet. Hopefully no more manufacturers pull out this year.

Click past the jump to read Ford’s official press release.

Mini Countryman WRC

The Mini Portugal team, along with its WRC partner, Prodrive, actually started off pretty well in the 2012 WRC season, but things turned sour for the MINI rally team following its breakup with said partner. Following the March split, Mini never reached the podium again. Though the 2012 season is not quite finished, Mini has announced that it will withdraw from the World Rally Championship following this season.

In all honesty this really comes as no surprise, as Mini is thought to have only raced as a factory sponsored brand this year to get WRC homologation. Why is that so important? Well, this means that Mini now can sell its rally cars to private racing companies, make profit, and have zero racing overhead. This was all backed up by Dr. Kay Segler’s statement “By the end of the season WRC Team Mini Portugal will have competed in every rally in 2012. As such, in accordance with FIA regulations, we will have achieved the WRC homologation for the Mini John Cooper Works.” Well, don’t make it too obvious that you played the system, fine Doctor…

In all honesty, this is just one of the necessary evils of the racing world, as car manufacturers simply want all of the free advertising at these events without any of the corporate responsibilities. So in all honesty, we can’t fault Mini for its obvious using the rather loose WRC homologation rules.

With the Mini John Cooper Works WRC car pumping a wild 300 horsepower and 400 Nm (295 pound-feet) of torque from its little 1.6-liter Bimmer engine, we doubt that MINI will have any issues selling it to private teams. Since 2011, the rally Mini Portugal team made it to the podium three times and had its biggest success in the January 2012 running of the Monte Carlo Rally when it finished 2nd.

We’ll keep an eye out to see if any private teams select Mini as its WRC car.

Click past the jump to read Mini’s presser.

In 1992, the S4 was both luxurious and rather powerful, considering its 2.2-liter 5-cylinder engine pumped out a stout 227 horsepower. By today’s standards, those numbers are pretty much average for a 5-cylinder engine – the handful, or so, out there. So the last thing you would classify this aging Audi is supercar fast. Well, that is until you have a look at Jeff Garner’s heavily modded S4.

This beast’s 2.2-liter 5-banger has had more work done than an aging actress trying to make a comeback. It now pumps out a mind-blowing 1,100 horsepower to all four wheels via the Audi’s classic Quattro system. Jeff uses this massive powerplant to run the S4 at the Bonneville Salt Flats each year and last year he managed to hot 242 mph – an impressive number itself.

This year, however, Jeff was aiming for the stars and got pretty close; as he hit an astounding 260 mph. Soak that up for a second… That’s faster than a Bugatti Veyron and pretty much every other factory car on the market today. In fact, reports are pointing that this may be the fastest sedan on record.

Even better, there is now a two-part video of this awesome run. You can see part one above and part two is after the jump.

Simply awesome!

As we all expect, Mercedes has been hard at work testing out its upcoming SLS AMG Black Series , making sure its 600-plus-horsepower engine, upgraded suspension, and brakes are up to the task of daily use and high speeds. One place that every supercar needs to test at is the Nürburgring. Well, with the Nürburgring comes some of the most spectacular wrecks ever.

This time around, the SLS Black Series prototype got the short end of the `Ring’s stick, as it was smashed up in a wreck on the Dӧttinger Hӧhe section of the track – one of the fastest sections – and went up in flames. Fortunately, the engineers in the car were unharmed, proving that Mercedes put some serious work into the SLS’s safety devices and that the `Ring has some fast safety crews.

Before everyone gets up in arms about a Benz burning, don’t get too worried, as a wreck of this nature is bound to cause some flames and likely has nothing to do with the quality of the prototype. It is rather unfortunate to see such an expensive piece of experimental metal and carbon fiber go up in smoke, but we are willing to bet that Mercedes has a few more of these in the stable and the funds to build a new one, if needed.

What’s even cooler is that we actually got our hands on a few spy shots of the aftermath from this wreck. On top of the carnage, you also get a good look at this upcoming model with most of its camo… well, burned off…

Honda Civic WTCC Race Car

Recently, the World Motor Sport Council approved the proposed change to F1 engines. This new change requires all cars to switch from the current 2.4-liter V-8 setups to a smaller 1.6-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged setup. Interestingly enough, this just so happens to be the exact engine that Honda developed only months ago to run in the WTCC.

This drew suspicion that Honda might be interested in doing more than just run in WTCC with its new boosted 4-cylinder, which is also widely expected to grace the engine compartment of its upcoming Civic Type R . Autocar had a sit down with Honda’s head of R&D, Yoshiharu Yamamoto, about the engine and the possibility of Honda using this engine when F1 begins enforcing these new laws, which is scheduled for the 2014 season.

Yamamoto didn’t outright say Honda would return, but was quoted as saying “On a personal level I love racing, but there is a lot involved when you are in F1 – it is the very top of auto racing and that requires a large commitment. But it is true that we do look up at those races and hope that one day we can take part again.”

He the added “I do not personally think we can just go straight back immediately, but there is potential for the rules to change and attract us. I follow the rules, certainly, and if they present an opportunity then it would be nice to go back.”

He was later grilled again on the topic and made Honda’s intentions more clear by effectively saying that if the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine has success in the WTCC, there is a chance that Honda will look into creating variants for other racing series. We all assume that one of those racing series would almost have to be F1.

So for now we have an “eh, maybe” answer about Honda getting into F1 again, but the pure fact that F1 passed the rule about using a 1.6-liter turbo engine, then Honda released the exact same engine just seems too much of a coincidence to us. We’ll keep an eye on this, as Honda continues to retest the racing realm again.

Source: Autocar

It’s official that Italian automaker, ATS, is coming back and in full force. Back in the 1960s, ATS began its short, but storied, history as a racecar manufacturer, then quickly turned to manufacturing road-going cars when racing fell through. Well, we have already seen the road-going ATS model, the 2500 GT , and now we are going to have a look at the other end of the spectrum, the race-ready ATS Sport 1000.

The thing about racing is that it is not always about massive power. In most road races, it is more about agility, acceleration, and fast-revving engines. Judging by some of the details on the ATS Sport 1000, this car certainly meets and even exceeds some of the expectations of a racecar. So, can this up-and-coming automaker really produce a successful racecar and road car at the same time?

To figure that out, we need to have a look at what makes this car tick.

UPDATE 11/11/12: ATS has officially announced pricing details for the Sport 1000. If you’re a little nervous about how much it’s going to cost, don’t be. It was a little cheaper than what we initially expected.

Click past the jump to read our full review on the ATS Sport 1000 and find out if it has what it takes to dominate the racing world.

It seems a little weird that the people behind this three-minute video - producer Brenden Kent and director Paul Greg - spent six months putting it all together, but after watching it, you’re going to understand why it was all worth the wait.

Using an iPhone, an app called Stop Motion HD, and a number of custom-made rigging systems, Kent and Greg managed to produce Nitro Warriors. It features little, performance enhanced plastic toy cars doing their best high-octane toy car chase that would make the people behind Need for Speed stand up and take notice.

The scene is a living room where a Ford Mustang is being chased around by an army of police cars on a busy highway. When that chase ends in failure for the authorities, they sent out a car that can match wits with the Mustang: the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 . Check out the video and find out how Kent and Greg spent the most worth it six months of their lives creating a three-minute toy-car chase video.

Nitro Warriors is worth your time, folks. Take it from us.

Source: You Tube
Michael Schumacher could race again

Between 1994 and 2004, Michael Schumacher was the driver to beat, as he won seven F1 Driver’s Championships during that span. After retiring following the 2006 season, Schumacher took a cushy “Advisor” position with Ferrari Ferrari . It was clear that racing was not out of Schumacher’s system yet and he returned in the 2010 season to race for Mercedes GP. Schumacher never regained his form and endured very rough 2010, 2011, and, thus far, 2012 seasons.

Well, after finding out that Lewis Hamilton was taking over his slot at Mercedes in 2013 , we all pretty much assumed he would fade off into retirement. It didn’t take long for Schumacher to confirm our assumptions, as he just announced this morning that he will retire (again) following the 2012 racing season. There was some speculation that he would head to Sauber to take the place of Sergio Perez, but that is apparently a no-go.

Schumacher, in a cheeky manner, poked fun at himself via the Associated Press, by saying “…at some point it’s time to say goodbye and this time it might be forever.” Well, we wish Michael all of the best and we thank him for his 18 years of involvement with F1. We’re sure he’ll back his way into management somewhere – possibly even with Mercedes, who just signed the new Concorde Agreement. Regardless of the last three years, he will forever go down as one of the best drivers to ever grace open-wheel racing.

We’ll keep an eye on Schumacher’s movement and let you know if he is considering moving back behind the scenes as he did with Ferrari.

Click past the jump to read Michael Schumacher’s press release.

When Toyota Motorsport GmbH developed the TMG EV P001 specifically to set the electric vehicle lap record at the Nürburgring, we knew Toyota was onto something special. Then it released a follow up to the P001 specifically to run in the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and set a new EV record of 10:15.380 up the hill, and we were simply blown away.

Toyota then decided it was time to put the P002 to the test and see if it could beat the P001’s record-setting time around the `Ring. The P002 did not disappoint, as it smashed the P001’s record by 25 seconds, placing it in the top-15 times ever on the Nürburgring (at the time).

With the TMG EV P002 firmly situated in the history books, we felt it was the right time to take a closer look at this purpose-built race car and see what it’s like under the microscope.

Click past the jump to read our full review on the TMG EV P002.

At the Paris Motor Show , Motor Trend had a very telling sit down with Porsche CEO, Matthias Müller, about several of the upcoming models. This interview not only uncovered the fact that the entire lineup will be undergoing a facial and rump redesign, but also that a new, ultra-powerful hybrid drivetrain will grace the Cayenne in 2014. Almost missed amongst this plethora of new Porsche goodies was a statement by Müller that Porsche is hoping for a sub-7-second time around the `Ring,

If you recall correctly, the 918 Spyder recently screamed through the Nürburgring at an unreal 7:14. When asked about what this awesome time means to the 918, Müller said “That means this car will be a huge – huge – milestone for Porsche. One year ago we had a target of 7:20-7:22 or something. Last week one of our engineers drove one lap in 7:14. The record is 7:11. So I suppose at the end of the year, we will have a new record at the Nürburgring.” The record in question is not the overall record, but rather the major automaker record, now held by the 2010 Viper ACR.

Müller was later asked how fast he thinks the 918 Spyder can lap the `Ring and he replied “If we’re lucky, it will be under 7minutes… but, I don’t know, we’ll see.” With the overall Nürburgring record, held by the Radical SR8 LM , sitting at 6:48 might Porsche be shooting for the overall crown too?

To drop 11 seconds from the 918’s current lap time will be quite a feat and to drop 23 seconds – the time needed to match the record – is downright impossible. To hit the sub-7-minute mark, however, Porsche would need to turn its attention to creating an all-out racing version of the 918 and scratch its attempts to keep it a true production model.

Doing the rough math, the record-holding Radical SR8 lapped the ring with a 0.632 horsepower/kg rating and Porsche estimates that the 795-horsepower 918 with the “Weissach package” weighs just 1,665 kg. That puts the 918 at a 0.447 horsepower/kg rating. This means, in theory, Porsche needs to do one of two things to even come close to the SR8’s heels. The two options are either drop the 918’s weight by an additional 407 kg, which is nearly impossible, or increase its output to about 1,050 horsepower. The latter certainly sounds like the more obvious and possible route. We, of course, cannot take into account vehicle handling and driver skill, as those two variables can sway significantly based on track conditions and other uncontrollable variables.

We’ll keep an eye out to see if Porsche can really pull this off.

Source: Motor Trend

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