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!
Artega is quite well-known for its plucky little GT sports car which has been in production since 2007. However, the company has fallen into dire straits recently filing for insolvency with the local courts in Paderborn, Germany.
In an official statement regarding the issue, Artega stated “This step was necessary from a business perspective, for months after the proposed sale to an Asian investor had failed at the last minute. Together with the insolvency administration is now talking with other investors will be taken to find a solution for Artega, and its 34 employees. The operations will continue in full.”
The crippled brand has been looking for investors for months, and the above Asian investor pulled out for unknown reasons, thus leaving the company with nowhere to go.
For those of you not familiar with the term “insolvency” it basically means Artega is unable to pay off its debt, and may signal the end of the company as we also expect bankruptcy to be filed in the coming months, unless a lifesaving investor comes out to purchase the company.
This is extremely sad news for the company, and the shaky economic conditions in Europe are likely to be partly responsible for Artega being unable to pay off its debt. Furthermore, Artega was developing a targa version of the Artega GT and these latest developments may mean the end of the GT all together.
The United Kingdom has been home to the Formula One British Grand Prix at Silverstone for over 50 years and is unquestionably one of the most illustrious races to win.
However, there have been a few rumors circling around recently proposing the idea of having an F1 Grand Prix in London itself and even though Formula One or the FIA have yet to deny these rumors (which we suspect they will), Vodafone McLarenMercedes sponsor, Santander, took matters into their own hands by creating a very special 3D animation of what the track could look and feel like.
With the help of McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, Santander has put together a track which winds its way through some of London’s greatest monuments including Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and even a single-lane road through Admiralty Arch being present in the proposed idea.
Despite this being a PR stunt more than anything else, it has helped to put the debate back into the public’s mind, and we’d be all for a London Grand Prix in the future. However, effectively closing down usually-busy parts of London for upwards of six weeks at a time could prove unachievable for race organizers, although Singapore manages to cope just fine with their street race.
F1 supremo, Bernie Eccelstone stated that, "The idea of an F1 street race in London is something I have had for many years. It would be magnificent. A couple of years ago we came very close to an agreement with the City of Westminster and The Mayor’s office but we ran into the small problem of cost.”
"A few years back over half a million people turned-up to watch F1 cars parading through the streets of the capital. The public’s appetite for a London Grand Prix is huge, as I am sure it is with teams and sponsors."
Check out the second video after the jump and leave us with your thoughts on this possible race in the comments section below!
Even though the official pictures taken by automotive photographer, Piotr Degler Jablonski have yet to be released, the following video gives us a good indication of how the photos will look. Hopefully, they’ll come our way in the following weeks where we’ll be sure to share with the full gallery if Jablonski allows us, and if indeed the gallery is released to the public.
In the meantime, check out the video and whilst doing so, keep in mind that the P4/5 Competizione ‘only’ pumps out 563 HP from its 430 Scuderia sourced 4.3-liter V8 engine, which makes its racing successes all the more impressive.
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.
Sergio Pininfarina, the former chairman of the legendary Italian design firm, Pininfarina, has passed away at age 85 at him home in Turin, Italy on Tuesday.
The Italian design firm formed in 1930 by Sergio’s father, Battista “Pinin” Farina, has designed many of the classic Ferrari’s throughout the decades, with the recently retired 599 GTB Fiorano and the present 458 Italia both being created by the firm.
A host of other Italian cars have also been designed by Pininfarina, including the Alfa Romeo Brera still in production with Pininfarina’s very first mass-produced design being the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 of 1933. Since then, the company has gone on to bigger and better things, despite the brand having to recently stop producing cars and instead focus solely on the design side of affairs. Other notable companies affiliated with Pininfarina include Cadillac and Volvo.
Sergio Pininfarina took over as chairman of the company in 1966, after his father’s death, and he’s survived by his wife of 60 years and their two children.
Capital punishment. It’s one of the most fiercely debated issues plaguing the world and whether or not it should be performed, no matter the severity of the crime committed. This latest case is sure to spark off even more topical debate about the issue as a man from Saudi Arabia was recently sentenced to death by public beheading after killing two people.
The man, identifying himself as “Mustannish,” killed two spectators a few months back when he lost control of his ‘drifting’ car in a reckless form of outlaw driving known commonly as “Hagwalah” which takes place in the land-locked nation.
In short, it simply involves hoons taking to the streets in stock Honda’s and Toyota’s and performing dangerous slides and spins in their cars with spectators watching the action from just meters away.
If you want to find out more about these hoons, then simply head over to YouTube were you’ll find a selection of videos, including the one above, of these drivers and their idiotic ways of showing-off. Keep in mind however, that several clips posted to YouTube have depicted spectators being hit by the cars, although a select few have been removed due to their severity.
Anyway, back to the issue at hand. The following video purportedly depicts “Mustannish,” which directly translates to “he who ignores,” in one of his many failed attempts at impressing the crowd before crashing into a sand bank. Fortunately, in this particular video, no one seems to be injured.
However, the case which has landed the man in hot water occurred when he plowed into the crowd, killing two, and the aforementioned punishment was swiftly handed down: Public beheading by sword. Not pleasant.
Despite this firm punishment, it’s currently unclear if and when the penalty will actually take place, as another man who killed three in 2005 under similar circumstances had his death penalty wavered and instead faced 3,000 lashes and 20 years in prison.
Between F1 and INDYCAR, we are unsure which of the open-wheeled racing conglomerates are in worse shape. INDYCAR gets bumped by a beer festival, then can’t find a location quick enough to replace it, so cancels the race altogether. Then again, F1 has its head honcho, Bernie Ecclestone, in hot water for bribing various banking officials. Both circuits, F1 more than INDYCAR, are constantly under fire for their lack of parity, as the same drivers/teams win over and over again. We don’t have an issue with the lack of parity, we say let the best driver and car win, but the public tends to get bored by it.
Now F1 is joining INDYCAR in the cancelling of races, as after saying that the New Jersey leg of its U.S. tour may be pushed back to 2014. Now Ecclestone is saying “No. Definitely no,” that the race will not happen in 2013. This all comes following Sebastian Vettel’s test drive of the course and him saying that the track is “nowhere near ready.”
Following his pretty definitive statement, Ecclestone backed up and reworded his statement by saying that if organizers get the NJ track ready, it will be added to the 2013 calendar.
This is obviously one gigantic mess, as even the event organizers in NJ are saying that they are ahead of schedule and have not hit any of the snags that the other American leg, Austin, Texas, hit. So, maybe Ecclestone is jumping the gun a little on this one, so we will have to keep an eye one what’s going on here.
We have already been over Cadillac’s “automated” driving system, which is basically just an adaptive cruise control system that takes over the steering too. Basically, it is not a true automated driving system, but it is semi-autonomous. Well, we all knew that Ford wouldn’t just sit back and watch GM take over this realm, as it has just announced that its engineers are working on a slightly similar, but far more restrictive, system.
The system that Ford is working on is called Traffic Jam Assist, and it does exactly what its name tells you. When you’re get stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, you can enable this system and it will move the car with traffic and keep it within the lines. This frees up your hands to do far more important things than look at the road, like text message, enjoy a coffee and doughnut, or reprogram your stereo system.
One the traffic clears up, the system asks you to take over and you’re then forced to attempt to complete the uncompleted tasks that you started in traffic while driving… What a bummer.
Ford has even released a video displaying the system, and we have to say that on 99 percent of the roads in the U.S. with heavy congestion, we doubt this system will do little more than increase your stress. From what we can see, this system waits for the car in front to get a good car length or two ahead of you before moving your car forward. That just may induce a few “friendly” honks and one finger salutes from the less patient drivers behind you.
So, unless Ford can develop a way to have the system respond more quickly, we can see this being a really cool feature until you catch the first severe traffic jam. Fortunately, this system is nowhere near ready for release, so Ford has lots of time to perfect it.
We’ll let you know if any new features of this system pop up.
It’s been almost exactly two years since any news about Tramontana or any of its cars was updated here on TopSpeed and as a result of this lack of news, we couldn’t help but think the small firm had gone under.
However, if GTspirit is to be believed, the Spanish brand has reached a massive milestone in its growth with its first dealership set to open in Barcelona, Spain in the coming days.
Set to open on June 27th, the showroom will be launched in conjunction with Sports Cars Events & Management although no further details about the opening have been released. In saying that, this new dealership should help production of the Tramontana R rapidly increase if, of course, the small brand can drum up enough interest in its present model line-up and any future cars Tramontana may have up its sleeve.
As a reminder, the Tramontana R is powered by a V12 engine pumping out 550HP in base tune, or 720HP when optioned with two additional turbochargers. Consequently, the R is capable of hitting 62 mph in just 3.6 seconds and continues onto a theoretical top speed just over 200 mph, although no real figures have been released due the limited number of Tramontana’s produced thus far.