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racing prototype

racing prototype

Posted on by Jason Smith  

Toyota ’s history with the 24 Hours of Le Mans goes way back to 1985, but, to the automaker’s dismay, the Japanese have yet to clinch an overall win. It was close though, scoring second-place finishes on four occasions.

Toyota’s earlier efforts ceased after the 1999 race, right before Audi rose to power to become the fierce "oppressor" that won 13 out of the last 14 events. Yes, we’ve included Bentley ’s success from 2003 as well, because the Speed 8 was nothing but an Audi R8 underneath.

With the Germans sweeping just about anything in their way, Toyota returned to Circuit de la Sarthe in 2012. Itsweapon of choice, the TS030 Hybrid , failed to finish, sending team engineers back to the drawing board. The 2013 evolution of the race car was more competitive, but Toyota Racing had to settle with second place once again.

Fortunately, Toyota’s not willing to give up just yet, and the Audi - Toyota prototype class war will see another battle this year. In fact, it’s going to be a three-way, because Porsche will be returning to France, after 16 years, with their latest hybrid machine - the 919.

Anyway, Toyota won’t be fielding an updated TS030, but a brand-new vehicle. Dubbed TS040 Hybrid (no surprises here), the new TMG-developed LMP1 car will be quite different. And we’re not talking about the fact that it’ll be narrower, as required by new FIA regulations, it will also benefit from all-wheel drive.

It appears the Japanese are keeping the gasoline-electric drivertrain, with the naturally-aspirated V-8 motivating the rear wheels. For 2014, however, an Aisin electric motor will be spinning the front axle, while a DENSO inverter will be in charge of sending energy to a super-capacitor during braking. Nothing too fancy to today’s standards, but competitive enough for endurance racing .

Toyota will field two TS040 Hybrids in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and World Endurance Championship. The driver lineup will remain unchanged, with Alexander Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre, Kazuki Nakajima, Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Stephane Sarrazin sharing duties.

The new race cars will make their first public appearances at FIA’s official test session at the Paul Ricard Circuit on March 28, so make sure you stick around for additional details.

Click past the jump to read more about the Toyota Racing TS040 Hybrid.

Just in time for the 2014 Geneva Motor Show is coming to the party with a new racing concept that’s based on the all-new Lexus RC F performance coupe .

The race car is called the RC F GT3 Concept and as its name suggests, Lexus built and developed it to meet Group GT3 international racing standards. All the preparations leading up to this point will actually come in full bloom next year when the concept is turned into a full-fledged racing car that will become available to racing teams beginning in the 2015 season.

So in the meantime, the RC F GT3 Concept will proudly wave to attendees of the Geneva Motor Show before undergoing a series of tests later this year to ensure that the car is fit and ready to tackle some of the best GT3 races in the world, including the 24 Hours of Nürburgring endurance race and the Super Taikyu Endurance and Super GT series in Japan.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Lexus RC F GT3 Concept

Posted on by Simona  

As previously announced the 2014 Formula 1 racing season comes with a series of important changes , including the replacement of the old V-8 with a new, turbocharged V-6 engine. One of the first companies to comply with these requirements is McLaren with its new MP4-29 — the car that will be raced during the 2014 Formula 1 season.

The MP4-29 race car is powered by a turbocharged, 1.6-liter, V-6 engine paired with an advanced Energy Recovery System (ERS) that includes two electric motor-generators. The V-6 engine delivers a total of 600 horsepower, while the ERS system adds another 161 horsepower.

Other changes announced by McLaren include new front wings that were narrowed by 150 mm (5.90 inches) and an updated lower beam-wing that will improve downforce.

The new MP4-29 be driven through the entire racing season by Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen. McLaren will being testing in Jerez, Spain on January 28th, before the official racing debut later in March.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 McLaren MP4-29.

Posted on by Simona  

Back in July, we heard the first rumors of a possible return to Le Mans competition for Ferrari . We heard the first semi-official confirmation of this return in December when Ferrari president, Luca di Montezemolo , decided to comment on those rumors.

The firestorm is now growing, as a very strange Ferrari prototype was caught testing on the Mugello race track, which may be the ultimate confirmation that the Italian company could indeed return to Le Mans .

A while ago, we came across a video that revealed a LaFerrari testing something other than its usual hybrid powertrain. Now, new rumors suggest that the engine tested was not a turbocharged V-6 engine, but likely a supercharged V-8 engine or a hybrid powertrain that are more suitable for endurance racing.

Along with the new engine, the Le Mans LaFerrari will also be equipped with lots of aerodynamic modifications and a huge rear wing to produce the downforce needed for racing, according to the above image.

Click past the jump for a full list of Ferrari victories at Le Mans and to read more about the regular LaFerrari.

Posted on by Simona  

Le Mans prototype are not - and we repeat: are not - homologated for road use, but it looks like in Japan everything is possible. Motorhead magazine and Maiham-Media.com invited three guys that own three Le Mans prototype that actually raced the famous competition to show us how does it feel to drive such powerful cars.

The cars you’ll see driven in this video are: Mazda 767B , a Jaguar XJ220LM and the Porsche 962C . Apparently, two of these cars received some kind of approval to be driven on the streets - just occasionally - so the video is not a complete brake of the law.

All we can say is that we’re very happy to see the three cars aren’t just kept on a garage or museum for safe keeping, but will have been nicer to see the three cars raced on their natural environment.

Posted on by Simona  

We first heard rumors about a possible return to Le Mans racing by Ferrari back in July. Now, just a few months later, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo decided to finally comment these rumors.

In his recent Christmas address to the factory, Montezemolo said that Ferrari is proud of all the results obtained by the 458 GTE , but also liked "the idea of racing at the Le Mans 24 Hours in the highest category."

According to Montezemolo , this idea needs "some serious consideration," but no final decision has been made as of yet. Though we do not know yet when or if the return will happen, we can say that it would add a little more excitement to the legendary race.

Ferrari needs to be very careful with this decision and take the time to prepare cars that can actually be competitive. The last thing the famed supercar builder wants is to end its long absence — since 1973 — with a string of undesirable results. Simply put, Ferrari wants to "return and win, say thanks and come home."

Click past the jump to read more about Ferrari’s participation at Le Mans.

Source: Autosport

Lightweight, track-ready sports cars have turned into its own market these days, so much so that more and more companies are coming out with their own versions. We’ve seen a number of them in recent years, including the Ariel Atom , the KTM X-Bow, and heck, even the Flip Car from Fast & Furious 6.

Recently, two companies are joining in on the fun, and they’re preparing a car that will pack a chest-caving punch.

The companies are Palatov Motorsport and Sector 111 and their mission is to build an 1,800-pound sports car that will not only make use of an emissions-compliant, V-8 engine, but do so while also producing 430 horsepower. Using Palatov Motorsport’s D2 racer as the base car, the vehicle, which has been coined "Project Dragon," is being developed with the purpose of turning it into a full-fledged pocket rocket that can give its more esteemed competitors a serious run for their money.

Other than their ambitious plans and stated goals, both Palatov and Sector 111 are keeping tight-lipped on the progress of Project Dragon. Rest assured, though, the two are serious are about this project, and with Sector 111 having some experience in building the US-market BAC Monos, this project figures to gain more traction in the coming months.

Someday, we’ll probably see Project Dragon get an official name and someday, we might even see it go toe-to-toe with the Atoms and X-Bows of the world. Like everybody else, that’s a day we can’t wait to see.

Click past the jump to read about the Palatov D2 Race Car

Audi ’s dominance of endurance racing has become the stuff of legend and just when it appeared that the company had earned a slack off in preparations, think again.

The 2014 R-18 e-tron quattro LMP1 racer will make you believe otherwise.

Fresh off of another dominant showing at the 2013 World Endurance Championship, Audi is taking to heart the saying "the early bird gets the worm" with the early development of the R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 race car . Testing is set to begin this week with particular emphasis being put on achieving high fuel efficiency, using its sophisticated hybrid drive systems.

That’s the kind of thing you’d expect from a champion that wants to win more and not sit on its laurels and bask in all the glory it has earned.

As for the car itself, the 2014 R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 racer is expected to feature a flywheel-based, electric-drive system paired with a powerful TDI engine. Exact specifications have yet to be revealed, but preparations are already underway to build a race car that can take advantage of the company’s expertise in endurance racing, while also fitting in new rules in the WEC with particular focus being paid to efficiency, and the use of advanced fuel-saving technology, like hybrid drive systems and diesel engines, to ensure that the race car is more than just competitive, but one that can live up to Audi’s sustained excellence in endurance racing.

Judging by its looks, the race car retains all the shapes and lines of the current R-18 e-tron quattro that the company used to win the 2013 WEC title. The full-blown, cockpit-style look is going to be kept, as are those vertical LED lights, the swooping flat nose, the enormous rear wing, and those bulging wheel arches that helps in keeping the race car low to the ground.

With Porsche , Toyota , and a host of other brands determined to push Audi off of its pedestal, the company is preparing a revised version of the R18 to ensure that things of those sort never happen.

Click past the jump to read about the 2014 Audi R18 e-tron quattro’s predecessor

Posted on by Tushar  

If it’s a classic from Maranello that is rare and has won races in the past, you can’t expect it to come cheap. That fact that was proved once again at a car auction in New York, where a gorgeous 1964 Ferrari 250 LM, along with other more collectible items from the history of the automobile, were on sale.

Noted auction houses, Sotheby’s and RM Auctions , brought 32 trophy vehicles that fetched a total of $62.8 million in sales. Of that $62.8 million, the Ferrari 250 LM was contributed a whopping $14.3 million, more than double that of the previous 250 LM sold and a new record for the model.

The sale of the 1964 250 LM also got its name in the costliest Ferrari’s ever sold list. Ferrari never produced more than 32 examples of the 250LM.

Click past the jump to read more about the 1964 Ferrari 250 LM

Posted on by Simona  

Chris Harris took a siesta from the likes of the Ferrari F12berlinetta and Alfa Romeo 4C in the latest episode of Drive, and he went to something a little bit more intense and high-tech: an 850-horsepower, electric racecar from Drayson Racing .

The only problem with this electric racer is that the batteries only last 10 to 15 minutes, but according to Harris, "when it’s running, this thing scrambles your brain." We’ll take his word for it on that one, especially when we consider the enjoyment and fear he displayed while whipping this monster around an airport runway.

This race-ready EV is powered by four axial-flux motors (two per rear wheel) with an integrated transmission. This system delivers a total of 850 horsepower and helped the car to hit a record speeds of 204.185 mph.

Check out the video to see what Harris thinks about the electric future of the racing world.


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