For many years, Cosworth has been providing Formula One teams with high-performance engines and rumors have been floating around that it may pull out when the new F1 engine standards take hold in 2014. When Williams chose to drop Cosworth as its engine supplier in 2011 and switch to Renault, it looked like the nail had been firmly driven into Cosworth’s F1-racing coffin. Cosworth continued on with only two teams using its engines – Marussia and HRT – and its current owners have reportedly seen enough.
A report out of the UK-based newspaper, The Times, is stating that the famed engine builder’s owners have chosen to sell the company. According to the same report, Rolls-Royce is being tossed around as a potential suitor for the high-performance engine builder. The reason Rolls-Royce comes up is because Rolls is also one of Cosworth’s key customers in the aerospace side of its business. That would immediately give Rolls-Royce a leg up in the aerospace industry and net it a leg up in auto racing as a byproduct.
There are several other names floating around, like British aerospace company, GKN, but Rolls is certainly the front runner at this point. The fact that it can also benefit from the automotive engine technology could really push Rolls to up the ante and give Cosworth’s owners a fair bid. Whoever chooses to buy the automotive and aerospace company needs to work fast, as it will need to have an engine build and tested in time for the 2014 F1 season, if it hopes to compete.
We’ll keep an eye on how things shape up and let you know if any other bidders arise. Hopefully this doesn’t turn into a Saab-like situation.
We have speculated, spied, and even rendered the C7 Corvette as we anxiously awaited any news on its upcoming release. Well, the speculation will officially be over in less than three months, as Chevrolet has just announced that it will officially unveil the C7 Corvette on January 13, 2013.
GM also let us know that the Corvette will be a “world-challenging sports car with design, refinement, efficiency and driver engagement that is second to none.” We also learned in GM’s presser that the C7 Corvette will be nearly 100 percent new, as it will use only two components from the C6 generation: the cabin air filter and rear latch for the removable top. That gets us extremely excited, as a fear of ours is a body overhaul but the same old driveline and chassis under the skin. Maybe the rumors of a 5.5-liter V-8 powerplant are true...
With these all-new components also comes a brand new Crossed Flags logo. GM was actually kind enough to provide us with an image of the new Crossed Flags logo (pictured above) and it is definitely far more modern and aggressive than any one before it. According to GM, there were over 100 different prototypes for the new emblem reviewed before executives finally decided on this one.
It seems as if GM is just as excited about this upcoming release, as it has launched a website – www.one13thirteen.com – dedicated to tracking all of the C7 `Vette release details over the next few months. In fact, the first video on the site unlocks on November 15th. You can also track all of the release info at the Corvette’s Facebook page.
Chevy also announced that we will see the C7.R Corvette running in the 2014 ALMS. So, the question now is what in the world does GM have up its sleeve? We’ll keep close tabs on every bit of info that GM releases.
Click past the jump to read GM’s full press release and see a video on the Crossed Flags’ evolution.
Love them or hate them, the Toyoscibaru triplets are a relative success and the Scottish Car of the Year award brass have confirmed its UK dominance by gracing it with the “Best Coupe” award. While the GT86 may not be a powerhouse, pumping 200 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque from its 2.0-liter Subaru-built flat-4 engine, its lightweight body and low stance make it a true “driver’s car.”
Ultimately, its “driver’s car” feel combined with its 164 g/km of CO2 emissions and 39.8 mpg was what convinced the voting members of the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers to give the Toyota the award. There is no mention of what other cars contended the GT86 for the title, but the press release alludes to the fact that the Toyota GT86 was a come-from-behind winner this year.
Congrats to Toyota on its latest achievement. This only leads us to wonder what else Toyota has in store for us, especially considering the fact that Toyota recently confirmed that the GT86 is just the first of a series of sports cars that the automaker will release. We all anticipate the other two being a return of the Celica and a redo of the MR2 that would hopefully put to bed the underachieving MR-2 Spyder that we saw in the mid-2000s.
Click past the jump for the full press release.
We all witnessed history, as the eco-friendly, 300-horsepower Nissan DeltaWing competed in the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans, and actually competed well until it was disabled following an accident. In that race, the DeltaWing was more of an honorary entry, running as “unclassified” and not really eligible to win even if it had crossed the finish line with the best lap time.
That is all about to change come the 2013 American Le Mans Series, as the DeltaWing will be a part of this series as a classified contender. This means that it can earn points and can theoretically win the championship title. In addition to that big news, we get another glimpse of the DeltaWing in action as it runs the 2012 Petit Le Mans race as an unclassified entrant at Road Atlanta on October 21st.
IMSA will use the DeltaWing’s performance in the 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans to setup rules for this unusual craft and also to classify it properly. We’ll keep a close eye on how the DeltaWing does in Atlanta and what rules ALMS places on the Nissan-sponsored racecar.
For the vast majority of the automobile’s life, horsepower has reigned supreme as the bragging right of most car owners. Torque snuck its way in through the 1980s and is now a little more relevant, but it was all about that almighty HP for the most part. Well, as the emission standards and fuel crisis of just about every decade emasculated muscle cars more and more, a new spec started rearing its wallet-friendly little head: miles per gallon.
With the price per gallon of gas tickling Abraham Lincoln’s feet in some areas of the U.S., mpg is becoming more and more important. In fact, just months ago, Consumer Reports did a survey that showed 37 percent of car buyers actually make their car-buying decision based on the mpg of a car. The next highest percentage chose build quality, and that tallied up to only 17 percent of the people polled.
It has gotten to the point now that even Lamborghini has introduced a start-stop feature on the 2013 Aventador, Ferrari and Porsche are building hybrids, and there is an electric-powered sedan hat hits 60 mph in 4.4 seconds while getting 90 mpg equivalent. This leads us to the inevitable, the sports car world is the next thing that has to change or die off altogether, as the supercar world is already rolling toward the mpg side.
There is mention of the Mustang and Camaro both switching over to turbocharged V-6 or, god forbid, 4-cylinder engines. If the pony cars can do it, chances are the sports cars of the world – Nissan 370Z, Porsche Boxster, Mazda Miata, etc. – are all going to have to push their mpg to extremes to remain competitive. This could ultimately increase sticker prices significantly and might result in buyers having no problems saying, “yeah, my car only has 100 horsepower and looks like a shoe, but it gets 75 mpg!”
The UK has been dealing with terrible gas prices for ages and you can see it in its cars. For example, the Nissan 370Z costs $33,120 in the U.S. and gets 26 mpg highway. In the UK, however, Nissan had to tweak it to meet the EU’s more stringent fuel economy regulations, raising its highway mpg to 36, but bringing the 370Z’s cost to an astronomical £29,975 ($48,202 at the current exchange rates). Would you pay nearly $50K for a base 370Z? I know I wouldn’t.
This may very well result in the death of the sports car, what a scary thought. Ultimately it is a change-inexpensively-or-die situation for the sports car as we know it in next 10 years…
With its acquisition spending-spree apparently over – for now – Volkswagen has turned its attention to developing its current models, which are plentiful. Two models, however, are likely receiving the wrong kind of attention, as Reuters is reporting the Lamborghini and Bentley may see their respective SUVs – the Urus and EXP 9 F Concept – delayed.
As we all know, the European market has been ravaged by the crash of the global economy and VW has been one of the handful of European automakers to succeed in these dark days. This delaying of the two limited-production SUVs would help VW stretch its funds farther with its more productive lineups, like itself, Audi, and Seat. VW is planning a spending review and the final answer will not come until November 23rd, so we’re stuck waiting on an answer for at least a month.
Also up for a potential delay is the upcoming Bugatti sedan, which, just like the Bentley and Lamborghini SUVs, will only be produced and sold in very small numbers. We’ll keep an eye on this situation, as VW inches toward cutting its manufacturing by a reported 300,000 units.
We’ll bring you more information as it comes across the wire.
Quality and safety took a hit this week as a number of vehicles are headed back to the dealer for some much needed repairs. It started with 432 units of the 2013 SL-Class recalled due to an air-conditioner refrigerant line before the Toyota whammy of 7.4 million units recalled because of a potential malfunction with the power window systems.
Today, the recall affects a total of 169 Aston Martin V12 Vantage coupe models produced between 2010 and 2012. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, those models have failed to conform to the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 138, "Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems." "On these vehicles, the low tire pressure warning light will not illuminate until the tire pressure in the front tires is more than 25% below the recommended cold tire pressure." Under certain situations, this problem could lead to tire failure and a possible crash.
From the 169 units, only 148 were delivered to customers, while the other 21 units are being put on hold until the problem is solved. The owners who have received their models are being asked to take their vehicles to the nearest dealer where their car will have the software for the tire pressure monitoring system reprogrammed free of charge.
The continued evolution of carbon fiber doesn’t appear to be slowing down in the auto industry. With the material already being used extensively in almost all sectors of the industry, it was only a matter of time before somebody came up with some new way to use carbon fiber.
Turns out, Carbon Revolution has that new product with the first production one-piece carbon fiber rim.
The claim is that the carbon wheel is 40% to 50% lighter than its aluminum counterparts, improves fuel consumption by 2% to 4%, reduces CO2 emissions, and increases overall efficiency by 5%.
The product was born as a result of what the company says is a decade-long attempt at research and development. Take the admittedly obvious benefits of a lighter and sturdier wheel, and this new product is certainly worth the buzz it’s generating.
“Creating a composite wheel that is made entirely in one piece from continuous fibers is particularly challenging given the significant geometric complexities”, Brett Gass, Carbon Revolution’s engineering director, said.
As a man that has been with the company from the start, Gass’ extensive knowledge in the technology and the subsequent applications allowed them to push past the tribulations of producing a product that could potentially revolutionize the industry.
As far as meeting industry standards are concerned, Carbon Revolution has said that the carbon fiber wheels have met OEM And Certificate Body standards, including SAE 2530, TUV German Aftermarket, and German OEM AK-LH 08 standards.
Kia has teamed up with DC Entertainment and Rides magazine to create a one-off version of the 2013 Optima that is inspired by the DC Comic “Batman.” This creation is slated to be part of a benefit dubbed the “We Can Be Heroes” campaign, which helps fight hunger in the Horn of Africa. The benefit itself is a great cause, but the car is simply awesome.
Kia started off with the range-topping Optima SX, which boasts a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that pops out 274 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and an impressive 269 pound-feet at torque at an ultra-low 1,750 rpm. This is enough to get this sedan to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds, but still turn in a 22 mpg city and 34 mpg highway EPA fuel economy rating.
Though there are no engine modifications, sans the performance exhaust system, to this Kia turned Batmobile, it does boast a lowered coil-over suspension to help it in the twist and Ksport performance brakes to grind it to a halt a little quicker. On the exterior, Kia draped the Optima in a matte- and piano-black color combination and tossed in a set of 20-inch black wheels wrapped in low-profile rubber. Kia also modified its trademark grille to look like the batman logo and even placed the batman logo in place of the “Kia” logo in the center of the grille. Wrapping up the exterior are yellow LED lights underneath the vehicle and the bat signal etched into the HID headlights.
Inside the Optima, Kia wrapped the interior in custom black leather and suede with yellow accent stitching to maintain the Batman theme. You even get a “Bat suit” in the trunk and a set of throwing stars in the center console. Two video screens on the front headrests cap of the interior and will be playing a video during the campaign that will showcase how people can get involved with the “We Can Be Heroes” project.
Our hats go off to Kia for building such an awesome car for just an awesome cause.
Click past the jump to read Kia’s press release.
We all know that Lotus has a lot of issues, but there has never been any confirmation of exactly how much trouble Lotus is really in. After DRB-Hicom requested a delay in tax payments to the Inland Revenue, people started looking a little closer.
According to reports, Lotus has about £30 million (roughly $48 million at the current exchange rates) in overdue debts to various suppliers. £23 million (roughly $36.8 million) of this debt is 90 days overdue and £7 million (roughly $11.2 million) of it is between 30 and 90 days overdue. Here comes the oddest of claims by DRB-Hicom; a source close to the company says that the blame for the overdue payments is related to prior management ::cough::Dany Bahar::cough::.
Okay, Bahar has been gone since late May and that means that DRB-Hicom has had full control of Lotus, and its bills, for over five months now. We will gladly give Bahar a lion’s share of the credit for taking one of the greatest sports car companies and flushing it down the toilet, however, we cannot put the blame on him for bills that are now three months overdue.
This issue falls directly on the plate of DRB-Hicom and the CEO it appointed to run Lotus, not Bahar and not any other previous management. Sure, previous management may have spent money that it didn’t have carelessly, but you have had five months to figure out how to pay the bills, so deal with it.
DRB-Hicom may start rethinking the £1 offer it received several months ago. That’s a small sum of money to hand someone a debt-burdened and troubled company… We’ll keep an eye out for more on this situation.