We do our best to keep you in the loop when it comes to new and cool developments in the automotive world. One of the hottest topics going right now in the U.S. is automated driving. Though it is still several decades away from being a national reality, although some states are legalizing autonomous cars, we are still seeing some progress. The leader in this technology to date in the U.S. is the Google Prius, but other automakers - such as Cadillac and Ford - sniffing around the automated car sector.
In Japan, however, they are taking the bull by the horns and setting up an outline for national implementation of an autonomous driving system. According to a report from Tech-On, the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) is starting to piece together how to make automated driving a reality in as little as eight years.
Starting immediately, the MLIT will start piecing together the problems related to automated driving and neatly package it in an interim report that is due for release in March of 2013. Some of the issues at hand have to include: driver attentiveness, driver override ability, handling of accidents, and infrastructure development.
The MLIT has already employed the help of Toyota , Nissan , Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (A.K.A. Subaru ), Honda , and Mazda in this project. Heading up the entire team is Yasuo Asakura, a professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.
For now, this is all just talk and we will see if anything ever comes of it. If this is actually a serious deal, it could drastically accelerate the timeframe that we in the industry have set for automated cars. We will keep a close eye on this situation and update you if any new details come up. Until then, enjoy your steering wheel, while you still can.
Summer in London, England just wouldn’t be complete without a selection of insane supercars cruising through the busy streets with herds of ‘car spotters’ following their every move. Thanks to Shmee150, we can bring you what is arguably the most unique Bugatti Veyron Centenaire you’ll ever see.
As a standalone car limited to just four units, the Bugatti Veyron Centenaire was produced in a range of four colors to help celebrate the racing histories of four different European nations. Despite the fact that the Centenaire looks incredible completely stock, the lucky owner of this example actually fitted it with a blue-chrome wrap and blacked-out wheels to help create the incredible work-of-art you see.
On top of that, the side windows and windscreen have been heavily tinted to help accentuate the beautiful blue wrap. As a result of this, we’d argue that this is quite a tasteful color choice and not overkill in anyway, unlike this gold-wrapped Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4.
So would you cruise the streets of London in this beast?
Radical has become one of those car companies that just “gets it.” They understand that not everyone is a multi-millionaire that can afford to drop several hundred thousand dollars on a racecar as an amateur. Radical-built sports cars like the SR4, PR6, and SR3 all come in at under $100K, so even a lower-budget racer can get into the sport.
For those that are a little more seasoned in racing and have the extra capital to spend, Radical can certainly cater to you too. One model that caters nicely to this group of more affluent racers is the Radical SR8 RX. This model sits just below Radical’s range-topping SR9, and is defines as “quite simply the world’s fastest production sports car.” The SR8 line is even the world record holder for fastest time around the famed Nürburgring, as its LM variant tackled the `Ring in just 6:48.
So how does the SR8 RX stack up against the rest of the racing world?
In honor of the recent release of “The Amazing Spiderman” TopSpeed brings to you what happens when Spiderman, bearing full-on spidey senses, hops behind the wheel of an F2 car. Well, not really, but this 19-year-old racer, Dino Zamparelli, certainly looked like he had the web shooter’s reflexes at a recent race.
As Zamparelli was pulling away from a yellow flag, which was caused by an earlier wreck, he got up to about 150 mph when suddenly out of the mist appeared a group of very slow-moving cars. Most of us would have likely soiled ourselves and started crying for our mommies, but not Mr. Dino. Nope, he quickly swerves to the left and narrowly avoids the rear, left side of the car in front of him.
On top of his impressive reactions, he also managed to gain a full four positions in the race in the process. How in the world he managed to pull that maneuver off in the pouring rain, with a soaking wet track, and no cockpit to keep the rain from beading up on his helmet’s visor is beyond us.
After he regains control of his car, you can tell that he takes just a few seconds to recollect himself and wonder what the hell just happened. Just a few seconds it was too, as he quickly downshifted after that brief pause and continued on as if nothing happened.
Check out the above video to see this amazing driving feat by this young man.
Chevrolet popped into the FIA World Touring Car Championship in 2005 with a fully modified Lacetti and was a near immediate success. In 2008, Chevy switched over to a modified Cruze and the wins kept coming. Actually, Chevy pretty much dominated the series for eight years, taking home the checkered flag in 59 races, taking home two drivers’ championships, and two constructors’ championships.
Despite all of its success, Chevy has chosen to end its stay in this not-so-popular racing series following the 2012 season. This comes as quite a surprise, given the fact that Chevy once again leads the drivers’ championship and constructors’ championship boards this year. Rarely does a manufacturer have such success in a series and chooses to pull out so sudden.
A silver lining to this announcement is that it is just mid-season, so all of its drivers and other various workers can try to find work elsewhere in the series or maybe in other racing series. With all of the success it has had, we are willing to bet that all of the employees and drivers on this team will have no trouble at all finding work, and some may even move onto bigger and better things.
The exact reasoning for Chevy pulling out was not given. We can connect dots pretty well and when you have a brand that is struggling to sell in Europe, despite its success in a European racing series, it is obvious that pouring money into said European racing series is throwing good money after bad.
There’s no denying the fact that the automotive world is changing dramatically, and has been ever since the first car was produced back in the late 19th century. However, the last 10 years has seen what are arguably the most dramatic changes to the automobile, with advanced technologies being at the forefront of every manufacturer’s minds.
However, is all of this technology, such as paddle-shifters and traction control, taking away the thrill of driving and making modern day cars worse than their predecessors?
Well, that’s the exact question that the Road Testament on the Drive YouTube channel aims to find out in their latest installment, with our very favorite automotive journo, Chris Harris, joining regular Mike Spinelli on the desk for the very first time.
It probably goes without saying that neither of the two are thrilled with the dramatic changes currently taking place, but still do hold out hope for the future where car manufacturers may start putting the driver’s needs and desires first before adding safety and unnecessary technologies.
Check out the video to get a great insight into the minds of these two, and if it helps to create or reaffirm your opinion on the issue, be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below!
In what’s been a very sad day for the automotive industry after the passing of Sergio Pininfarina, it’s also been confirmed that female Formula One test driver, Maria De Villota,has been gravely injured in a crash while testing with the Marussia team.
In what was her very first test in the Marussia car, Villota has suffered life-threatening injuries when the MR-01 racer she was testing plowed into a support truck for the team at high-speed. As a result, Villota sustained massive head-injuries and was rushed to hospital.
In an official statement regarding this extremely sad and unfortunate event, Marrusia stated, “At approximately 09.15 BST this morning, the Marussia F1 Team’s Test Driver Maria De Villota had an accident in the team’s MR-01 race car at Duxford Airfield where she was testing the car for the first time. The accident happened at the end of her first installation run and involved an impact with the team’s support truck. Maria has been transferred to hospital. Once her medical condition has been assessed a further statement will be issued.”
It’s currently unclear how the crash occurred, but it’s possible there was a problem with the accelerator pedal and the throttle was pinned to the ground, although that’s just speculation. We’d be very surprised if a racer of Villota’s caliber would make a mistake like this while still in the pit area.
It’s also unclear if Villota was conscious immediately following the impact or not, but either way this really is a tragedy and we wish Villota all the best with her immediate health and eventual recovery.
Okay, it is odd enough to say that the Nissan Leaf is running at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, but it’s even odder to say that it actually set a lap record there. This strange record set at Goodwood was the fastest time up the famed hill while driving in reverse. That’s right; they drove the entire 1-mile Goodwood hill in reverse.
There are some people in this world that have a hard enough time backing out of their driveways, let alone driving a mile in reverse. Then again, many years ago, I had a friend drive his 1980’s Civic CRX in reverse the entire 3-mile trek home, after his transmission got stuck in reverse gear.
In order to set this record, the team that worked with Terry Grant, the lucky driver stuck taking on this task, actually removed the reverse speed limiter, so he could essentially drive the Leaf in reverse just as fast as he could. Well, he definitely didn’t hit top speed, as his best time came in at 1:53, which equals out to an average speed of about 30 mph.
That’s still an insane feat, though, as driving a car in reverse at 30 mph is definitely not a simple thing, but to traverse the Goodwood’s twisting track is a completely different animal. Hats off to Terry Grant and his team for coming up with such an insane idea and actually executing it.
You can see one of the videos of this stunt above and the other two can be found after the jump.
Fitting high-revving motorcycle engines into cars is nothing new, as the incredible Ariel Atom 500 makes use of no less than two highly-modified and tuned Suzuki motorcycle engines. It’s little wonder why this exercise is so popular for lightweight sports cars.
Motorcycle engines rev like no other internal combustion engine in the world, with the exception of Formula One cars, and as a result, they provide an engine note unparallelled to those offered from high-performance sports cars.
Additionally, they’re generally very small and pump out considerable amounts of horsepower. The following YouTube user has actually fitted a 170WHP, 1.0-liter engine from the 2003 Yamaha YZF -R1 to a 1970 Austin Mini and the results can be seen in the following video.
The YouTube user responsible for the video, Daign, was recently out cruising down the highway when an orange Lamborghini Gallardo popped up, and the driver of the Mini was quickly on his tail.
Even though no drag race eventuated between the two (Boo!!!), Daign stated, "I think the Gallardo was a bit confused where the 11000 rev was coming from honestly. Shame we were in traffic. Just for kicks it’d be fun to see how the Lambo pulls against the Mini’s powerband between 7-11,500rpm... In the power band it pulls harder than my 500hp Camaro without a doubt. 170hp with only 1300lbs. It’s scary and fun."
Recruiting a racer often regarded as one of the greatest drivers ever - in this case Sebastien Loeb - was an ambitious plan for the organizers of the recent 2012 X Games in Los Angeles and Travis Pastrana himself, but after the WRC-driver blitzed the field in the final of the Rallycross event, all the millions they inevitably spent getting him to the event, certainly paid off.
In a tight circuit, Loeb started at the front of the grid for the short race which lasted only 6 laps. However, in that time, Loeb managed to scamper away from the field like he was from another planet and ended up beating second place Ken Block to the finish line by no less than 12 seconds!
Yep, that’s 2 seconds quicker per lap than all of his rivals, some of whom are considered the best drivers the U.S. has to offer for the rallying world, namely Tanner Foust and Ken Block.
However, for all the Block fans out there, he did manage to come home second despite picking up a puncture in the first half of the race, meaning his was running around on the right-rear rim for upwards of 3 laps. An achievement which is definitely worth commending.
On the day however, no man could even come close to Loeb in his modified Citroen DS3 which has been de-restricted to produce upwards of 600HP, making a 0-60 mph sprint of less than 3.0 seconds achievable.
At the conclusion of the race, Loeb stated, “The X Games was a good experience, the track was good and I was excited to race at the X Games and win this competition,” he said. “The most difficult point was that first corner because you lose everything if someone hits you.”