It’s no secret that F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has a pretty deep set of pockets. Sure, having that much money has gotten him in trouble on numerous occasions, but it still doesn’t hurt to have those kind of resources because it might come in handy when you are reportedly interested in purchasing a bankrupt race track.
That’s the word coming out of German newspaper, Rheinpfalz, which reported that Ecclestone is interested in buying the Nurburgring race track. Yeah, when we’re worried about the financial hit that will come from buying shoes, Ecclestone seems to have no worries about buying a race track.
Such is life.
In any case, the F1 chief is actually interested in buying the company that owns the Nurburgring. Financial details and specifications surrounding this apparent interest isn’t being divulged, but Ecclestone has made it pretty clear that he still wants Formula One to have a race in one of the most famous tracks in the world although he did say that it would not happen at his expense. This negates previous rumors that F1 would waive the typical sanctioning fee to bring an F1 race to the Nürburgring, which totaled $25 million when the race was brought to Austin, Texas.
This, of course, isn’t the first time Ecclestone has gotten into the business of track buying, having previously done so a few years ago when he purchased a controlling stake of the Turkish GP race track. Ecclestone also owns the Paul Richard test circuit in France.
Now it looks like he’s got his eyes set on buying arguably the most famous race track in the world. Just another day in the life of the eccentric F1 billionaire.
Mini ’s recently revealed John Cooper Works GP has been described as the fastest production Mini has ever built. At the official launch, Mini announced that the new sports coupe lapped the Nurburgring in 8 min. 23 seconds and today, they have unveiled the video of their speedy lap. This lap time puts the 2013 Cooper JCW GP at about 19 seconds faster than the 2007 JCW GP .
The new GP version is distinguished by large front and rear aprons, striking side skirts, a bespoke roof spoiler, and a newly developed rear diffuser. On the interior, the rear seats were removed in order to add more of a racing appearance. Other adjustments include an adjustable suspension developed specifically for the car, racing brakes, chassis improvements, and special paint and graphics.
There will only be 2,000 units of the Mini Cooper JCW GP produced, so if you want to buy one, you better hurry up.
Videos of people tackling the `Ring are becoming more and more precious, as we await the outcome of its bankruptcy proceeding and find out if the Nürburgring will continue to exist or not. In the above video, we get a great look at just how awesome this sacred track really is, as we watch Kazunori Yamauchi navigate a Lexus IS F racecar around this technical track.
It’s not necessarily the most intense video, as it is relatively event-free, but watching Yamauchi whip the steering wheel as he feathers the throttle is a thing of art. You also get a front-row seat at seeing what it’s like on the `Ring, a thing that none of us will likely ever experience.
What’s even better is that this video was taken during the 24 hours race, so this isn’t the short version of the Nürburgring. This race includes the GP circuit of the `Ring, which also adds significant time to his lap, which YouTube commenters left so much negative feedback on, the poster had to add a disclaimer to the video.
So, crank up the speakers, kick back, and enjoy a spot in the passenger’s seat as Kazunori Yamauchi and his Lexus IS F take us for a tour around the `Ring. It’s definitely worth the 10 minutes.
As the Nürburgring sinks into its bankruptcy proceedings and the light at the end of the tunnel of relief for the famed `Ring looks bleak, everyone in the automotive industry would love to help, but they all have their own problems. F1 has its own lineup of issues to deal with, especially its boss, Bernie Ecclestone, but it has stepped up to the task and is offering a much-needed hand to the failing track.
Ecclestone has vowed to do whatever he can to save the track and isn’t just saying it to sound good. According to a report, Ecclestone has said that he will waive the typical sanctioning fee to bring an F1 race to the Nürburgring. For those that don’t know how significant that really is, the fee to bring F1 to Austin, Texas ran a full $25 million. That would bring huge attendance to the ’Ring and general tourism to the suffering area, possibly giving it the injection of cash that it needs.
F1 is still an extremely popular series in Europe, so the entire area could see income in the hundreds of million of dollars, if it is planned correctly. The biggest issue is whether the `Ring is suitable for F1 racing, as low income typically leads to poor track conditions. If it is not in acceptable shape, would Nürburgring officials have the spare cash to fix it up? If there is no cash to fix it, would F1 be willing to inch closer to that plate by helping fix the track to get it race-ready?
According to reports from `Ring officials, there is only a short time frame to get an F1 deal done, but it may be a little too late to completely save the famed raceway.
We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available.
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.
While we thought we were going to see the new SLS Black Series as Mercedes ’ next big move, the company decided to replace the SLS AMG with an even more impressive SLS AMG GT , and keep teasing us with a few more spy shots of the next Black Series. The sports car has been caught testing around the Nurburgring race track yet again, and BridgeToGantry managed to shoot an impressive video of the its hot laps.
The Mercedes SLS AMG Black Series will be powered by a revised 6.2 liter naturally aspirated V8 engine with an output taken up to an impressive 660 HP. The engine is mated to a 7-speed double-clutch gearbox and will help the car to deliver more impressive performance numbers. Expect to see a 0 to 60 mph sprint time of about 3 seconds and a top speed of more than 200 mph.
Last month, the Mini Countryman Coupe - or the production version of the Paceman Concept unveiled at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show - was spotted for the first time doing some of its testing. Now the Coupe is back for another round of testing at the Nurburgring race track, this time featuring the future Countryman Coupe in a completely new color.
Minus the two doors giving it a more sporty appeal, the upcoming Countryman Coupe will be similar to its four-door version. We expect to see the same technology and engines as the standard Countryman, which means it will get a 122 HP 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine for the standard model and a turbocharged variant with 184 HP for the S version.
Expect to see the new Mini Countryman Coupe launched at the 2012 Paris Auto Show with sales on the US market to begin as a 2014 model.
After releasing the first official details on the new SLS AMG GT - the replacement for the SLS AMG - Mercedes has confirmed that the new version is significantly improved. The company recently trekked to the Nurburgring to run the car on the famous Nordschleife race track, which it did remarkably well in barely under 7:30 - about five seconds quicker than the standard SLS AMG .
The test around Nurburgring was made at the hands of Ola Källenius, AMG CEO, who unsurprisingly so, seemed to be very impressed with the car. We are still waiting for the official video from this run to be just as impressed, but while we wait, here are the official specs for the new SLS AMG GT.
The new Mercedes SLS AMG GT is powered by a 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine that delivers an extra 20 HP thanks to new suspension components and a retuned ECU. This brings the output up to 583 HP, allowing it to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, up to a top speed of 198 mph.
A few weeks ago, we let you know that the Ferrari P4/5 Competizione became the hottest thing to lap the Nürburgring, as it crushed the old Ferrari record around the Ring by over 7 seconds. Well, the Ferrari P4/5 Competizione was again the hottest thing on four wheels on the Ring, but this time in the literal sense. Yup, while in the pits at the Nürburgring, a small amount of fuel hit the red hot engine and… Well, you can fill in the blanks.
Needless to say, the rear end of the Ferrari became quite the fireball, thanks to racing fuel meeting the freshly raced engine. Fortunately, the picture of the fire makes it look a lot worse than it actually was, as the team was able to douse the fire and get the car back onto the track. We guess that all part of the typical pit crew day, huh?
What’s even more impressive is following this fire, the team managed to regroup and end up taking 1st place in the Alternative Energy Class in the 2012 24 hours of Nürburgring, which it entered as a hybrid, and 12th overall. Good job to the team for their racing and fire-fighting abilities!
While Porsche keeps delaying the official launch of their new 911 Turbo Coupe and Convertible models, GT Board was lucky enough to catch both models in action at the legendary Nurburgring race track. The best part is that they were kind enough to share the video with us.
The future Porsche 911 Turbo will be powered by the same 3.8 liter turbocharged flat six engine found in the current model, but tricked to deliver a few more ponies. Having the sports car deliver about 550 HP would be a good call for Porsche since its greatest competitor, the 2013 Nissan GT-R , delivers a total of 542 HP. The engine will be combined with Porsche’s newest technologies, including brake regeneration and stop start systems which will help reduce fuel consumption by about 12%. The engine will be offered with an improved manual gearbox as standard, or an optional Porsche-Doppelkupplung (PDK) gearbox.
Let’s just hope these vehicles are in their final testing sessions and Porsche will be officially unveiling them later this summer. Keep your fingers crossed!