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.
On Monday, we let you know about our suspicions that Porsche was mulling over a return to the world of F1, as it was snagging up what seemed like every unemployed F1 engineer available and was looking for more. It looks like us media folk have kicked up a bit of dust in the Porsche offices, as its motorsport spokesperson, Oliver Hilger, spoke out in reference to the speculation.
Hilger made it quite clear that the speculation is exactly that – speculation – and there is no truth behind it. He was quoted saying “We have no ambitions for Formula One” and that “if you need good people, of course you have a look around also in Formula One.”
We’ll take Hilger at his word for now, but hiring a pile of F1 guys really seems like a strange trend if you are simply trying to hire the best people. We wouldn’t be surprised to hear Porsche singing a different tune in the future.
Image Credit: John Chapman
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.
Renault just unveiled its all-new Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo road-going car in Paris and we all knew it was in for big things. Well, now we know exactly what plans Renault had for it, as the French automaker has announced that a racing version, the Clio Renaultsport Cup will be offered for competition in time for the 2014 British Touring Car Championship.
The Clio Renaultsport Cup will feature an Oreca Magny-Cours-tuned 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-banger that pumps out a stout 220 horsepower and 270 Nm (199 pound-feet) of torque mated to a 6-speed sequential gearbox via an AP Racing clutch. The power is delivered to the wheels via a limited-slip differential. Buyers can opt for a paddle-shift interface, if they desire.
Bringing this high-performance Clio to a halt are 320 mm (12.6-inch) AP Racing front rotors, which are squeezed by quad-piston calipers. One-way ZF-Sachs adjustable dampers are on the corners with custom-built aluminum wishbones. Also on the corners are 17-inch Speedline Corse alloy rims, wrapped in performance rubber to keep the Clio glued to the track. Keeping up with the times, Renault will fit the Clio Cup with a data acquisition system integrated into a color TFT screen, so the driver can pull all of his race data immediately.
The body boasts a large rear spoiler that puts down about 40 kg (88.2 lbs) of down-force at 125 mph, helping keep the tires on the ground at high speeds. The press car is draped in white with checkered livery, but we figure you can snag up the Clio Renaultsport Cup in a variety of color schemes.
There’s no mention of pre-installed safety equipment, so we are left to assume that this is something that you need to install to fit whichever racing series you choose to run the Clio Renaultsport Cup in.
This awesome racer will be ready for delivery in the UK in September 2013, so we have a while to wait. You’ll need all of that extra time to save up the whopping €37,800 (about $49,286 at the current rates), plus VAT, attached to this hot hatchback.
Click past the jump to read Renault’s presser.
We have already learned the Porsche is returning to Le Mans, but now there are some new rumors with a little bit of validity regarding Porsche and professional racing. This new rumor is that Porsche is considering a return to F1. This rumor, however, has some strength, as Porsche has been hiring folks with F1 background. The latest hiring episode by Porsche included: Fritz Enzinger, Alex Hitzinger, Mike Krack and Urs Kuratle.
Enzinger was the Head of F1 Test and Race Organization at BMW Motorsport, Alex Hitzinger was the Head of Advanced Technologies’ for Red Bull F1 and Scuderia Toro Rosso, and Mike Krack and Urs Kuratle were race engineers at BMW Sauber. That’s a lot of F1 experience for any other manufacturer to hire, but Porsche is not your typical manufacturer, so those hirings alone are strange, but really no big deal.
There are also rumors that Porsche is scouring the F1 pits searching for more talent to add to its stable. This odd hiring trend combined with these rumors may be to prepare for Le Mans. If you really think about it though, wouldn’t Porsche hire a more eclectic group of racing experts or stick with Le Mans talent for that?
We definitely think there is something to this rumor and that Porsche will soon announce that it is returning to F1 in some capacity. Stay tuned for more!
Image Credit: John Chapman
Just days ago we let you know that Mini pretty much used FIA homologation rules to its advantage by finishing up the 2012 season and calling it quits, now another manufacturer is following suit. There have been rumors floating around since 2011 that Ford Europe was going to pull out of the World Rally Championship and that will become a reality following the 2012 season, as Ford Europe announced that it will pull its sponsorship following the 2012 season.
Unlike Mini, Ford has been a long-running sponsor, lasting 16 seasons. With that long of a history, it is more obvious that Ford’s pull out is mostly due to the crumbling automotive market in Europe. Despite pulling its sponsorship, Ford will provide M-Sport, its WRC partner since 1997, with the Fiesta R5 rally car, along with engineering and vehicle support following its departure. In addition, Ford Europe will still offer the Fiesta R2 rally car for grass-roots national and regional driver programs.
It looks like we are in for a drastically changed lineup for the 2013 WRC season, and we’re not even through the 2012 season yet. Hopefully no more manufacturers pull out this year.
Click past the jump to read Ford’s official press release.
The Mini Portugal team, along with its WRC partner, Prodrive, actually started off pretty well in the 2012 WRC season, but things turned sour for the MINI rally team following its breakup with said partner. Following the March split, Mini never reached the podium again. Though the 2012 season is not quite finished, Mini has announced that it will withdraw from the World Rally Championship following this season.
In all honesty this really comes as no surprise, as Mini is thought to have only raced as a factory sponsored brand this year to get WRC homologation. Why is that so important? Well, this means that Mini now can sell its rally cars to private racing companies, make profit, and have zero racing overhead. This was all backed up by Dr. Kay Segler’s statement “By the end of the season WRC Team Mini Portugal will have competed in every rally in 2012. As such, in accordance with FIA regulations, we will have achieved the WRC homologation for the Mini John Cooper Works.” Well, don’t make it too obvious that you played the system, fine Doctor…
In all honesty, this is just one of the necessary evils of the racing world, as car manufacturers simply want all of the free advertising at these events without any of the corporate responsibilities. So in all honesty, we can’t fault Mini for its obvious using the rather loose WRC homologation rules.
With the Mini John Cooper Works WRC car pumping a wild 300 horsepower and 400 Nm (295 pound-feet) of torque from its little 1.6-liter Bimmer engine, we doubt that MINI will have any issues selling it to private teams. Since 2011, the rally Mini Portugal team made it to the podium three times and had its biggest success in the January 2012 running of the Monte Carlo Rally when it finished 2nd.
We’ll keep an eye out to see if any private teams select Mini as its WRC car.
Click past the jump to read Mini’s presser.
In 1992, the S4 was both luxurious and rather powerful, considering its 2.2-liter 5-cylinder engine pumped out a stout 227 horsepower. By today’s standards, those numbers are pretty much average for a 5-cylinder engine – the handful, or so, out there. So the last thing you would classify this aging Audi is supercar fast. Well, that is until you have a look at Jeff Garner’s heavily modded S4.
This beast’s 2.2-liter 5-banger has had more work done than an aging actress trying to make a comeback. It now pumps out a mind-blowing 1,100 horsepower to all four wheels via the Audi’s classic Quattro system. Jeff uses this massive powerplant to run the S4 at the Bonneville Salt Flats each year and last year he managed to hot 242 mph – an impressive number itself.
This year, however, Jeff was aiming for the stars and got pretty close; as he hit an astounding 260 mph. Soak that up for a second… That’s faster than a Bugatti Veyron and pretty much every other factory car on the market today. In fact, reports are pointing that this may be the fastest sedan on record.
Even better, there is now a two-part video of this awesome run. You can see part one above and part two is after the jump.
Simply awesome! Full story
As we all expect, Mercedes has been hard at work testing out its upcoming SLS AMG Black Series, making sure its 600-plus-horsepower engine, upgraded suspension, and brakes are up to the task of daily use and high speeds. One place that every supercar needs to test at is the Nürburgring. Well, with the Nürburgring comes some of the most spectacular wrecks ever.
This time around, the SLS Black Series prototype got the short end of the `Ring’s stick, as it was smashed up in a wreck on the Dӧttinger Hӧhe section of the track – one of the fastest sections – and went up in flames. Fortunately, the engineers in the car were unharmed, proving that Mercedes put some serious work into the SLS’s safety devices and that the `Ring has some fast safety crews.
Before everyone gets up in arms about a Benz burning, don’t get too worried, as a wreck of this nature is bound to cause some flames and likely has nothing to do with the quality of the prototype. It is rather unfortunate to see such an expensive piece of experimental metal and carbon fiber go up in smoke, but we are willing to bet that Mercedes has a few more of these in the stable and the funds to build a new one, if needed.
What’s even cooler is that we actually got our hands on a few spy shots of the aftermath from this wreck. On top of the carnage, you also get a good look at this upcoming model with most of its camo… well, burned off…
Recently, the World Motor Sport Council approved the proposed change to F1 engines. This new change requires all cars to switch from the current 2.4-liter V-8 setups to a smaller 1.6-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged setup. Interestingly enough, this just so happens to be the exact engine that Honda developed only months ago to run in the WTCC.
This drew suspicion that Honda might be interested in doing more than just run in WTCC with its new boosted 4-cylinder, which is also widely expected to grace the engine compartment of its upcoming Civic Type R. Autocar had a sit down with Honda’s head of R&D, Yoshiharu Yamamoto, about the engine and the possibility of Honda using this engine when F1 begins enforcing these new laws, which is scheduled for the 2014 season.
Yamamoto didn’t outright say Honda would return, but was quoted as saying “On a personal level I love racing, but there is a lot involved when you are in F1 – it is the very top of auto racing and that requires a large commitment. But it is true that we do look up at those races and hope that one day we can take part again.”
He the added “I do not personally think we can just go straight back immediately, but there is potential for the rules to change and attract us. I follow the rules, certainly, and if they present an opportunity then it would be nice to go back.”
He was later grilled again on the topic and made Honda’s intentions more clear by effectively saying that if the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine has success in the WTCC, there is a chance that Honda will look into creating variants for other racing series. We all assume that one of those racing series would almost have to be F1.
So for now we have an “eh, maybe” answer about Honda getting into F1 again, but the pure fact that F1 passed the rule about using a 1.6-liter turbo engine, then Honda released the exact same engine just seems too much of a coincidence to us. We’ll keep an eye on this, as Honda continues to retest the racing realm again.