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We are always writing article about this and that sports cars trekking around the famous Nürburgring course in Germany, which we have nicknamed the `Ring out of necessity. We have even seen some not-so-sporty cars lapping the ring, like a CR-V that found out it did not belong on a race track. We never really gave any thought to the financial health of our favorite circuit.

According to a report from Germany, the `Ring is in some serious financial trouble and is in need of a financial bailout. Officials running the Nürburgring have reached out to the European Union for a roughly €13 million bailout, but the EU has said “No way.” In addition to the denial of funds, there is also a pending investigation on a €524 million payment the `Ring and its surrounding attractions – an amusement park, mall and hotel – received.

The reasoning behind this investigation is that German Land Rhineland Palatinate (RLP) provided the €524 million in funds for the building of the aforementioned leisure activities under the guise of tourism. It was later found by the EU that the Nürburgring was already in financial chaos at that time and the funds are seen as a potential bailout, which requires EU approval.

Ultimately, the Nürburgring has already filed for bankruptcy and its future will be decided by either the courts or its new owners.

We knew that the `Ring was in some trouble back in 2010 when the Save the Ring group was formed, but we never would have expected this. We guess Porsche is likely happy with its decision to buy its own track , as the `Ring very well may not exist in just a few years. We hope that is not the end result, but it is a distant possibility.

Lindsay Lohan was Not Permitted to Drive When She Crashed a Rented Porsche

So there have been a few new details to emerge about Lindsay Lohan’s rented Porsche turned derby car since we last paid the story a visit, so we figured we should package it all up nice and neat, and let you know what’s up.

It all begins with Lohan driving a Porsche 911 , which was rented, to the studio where her newest TV show was being filmed. In the process, she managed to position the front end of this beautiful piece of German engineering firmly under the tail end of a semi-truck. Shortly after that, we found out that the insurance company insuring the TV show she is in strictly prohibits her from driving while the show is being filmed, thanks to her many run ins with the boys in blue while behind the wheel.

TMZ, our leading informant on this topic, then dug up a report that Lohan was claiming that the brakes on this nearly brand new Porsche failed to stop the car when the 18-wheeler [ahem] “cut her off.” So it couldn’t have been her fault, right?

It just so happens that Porsche decided that it needed to find out what was wrong with the brakes on this flagship sports car, so Porsche investigators called up the rental company that owns the car and had it shipped to a testing facility so the investigators can check the brakes. The investigators tested every inch of the braking system trying to find the root cause of his high-profile Porsche smash-up job.

There was just one problem with the tests... The brakes passed all of Porsche’s tests with flying colors! So, now Lohan is caught in a boldface lie and has officially garnered a large portion of our attention to see what kind of boneheaded excuse she can come up with next.

As we said before, we highly doubt that this is the end of this story and we anticipate a lot more information coming out soon. As soon as we get wind of anything else, we’ll let you know.

Source: TMZ
Toyota Prius

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.

Source: Tech-On
Posted on by Brad Anderson

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?

Click past the jump to find out.

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.

Posted on by Brad Anderson

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!

Posted on by Brad Anderson

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.

Source: BBC News

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.


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