Watch a Tesla-Powered 2006 Honda S2000 Run a 10-Second Quarter Mile
If you’re still dreaming of the Honda S2000’s amazing 100-horsepower/liter figure that was an industry benchmark in the sports car class for years, there’s now a new benchmark, at least in the S2000 world. As expected, it’s highly modified but in an unusual way: it sports the drivetrain from a Tesla Model S P100D.
Discontinued back in 2009, the S2000 remained the backbone of many modified rides over the years. This white example, nicknamed "Model S2000", is one of the raddest yet. It’s employing parts from the Tesla Model S and the Chevrolet Volt to tear up the dragstrip and seamlessly tick a quarter-mile time of 10.24 without much hassle. And that’s only the beginning.
Keep on reading to learn more about this cool S2000 EV.
Here are Offical Shots of the China-Only Kodiaq GT and Leaked Images of its Interior
Skoda unveiled the Kodiaq GT, a mid-size crossover SUV with sportier styling that will only be available in China. The 7-speed DSG gearbox will be standard and, judging by the leaked interior shots, Skoda is targeting a wealthier clientele with this new model.
Czech automaker Skoda, part of the VAG Group, has been on a roll lately. They barely took the wraps off the menacing Kodiaq vRS that claims to be the fastest ever seven-seater SUV to lap the Nurburgring-Nordschleife. Now, they’re back with a new model, the Kodiaq GT, Skoda’s first Coupe SUV.
It features the same sloped rear window like the ’creator’ of this niche, BMW’s X6, but, unlike the Bimmer, you won’t be able to get it unless you live in China.
Keep reading to find out if it’s worth it to move to China for this Skoda
Someone Seriously Built a Functional Version of the Ford Falcon’s 4.0-liter Inline-Six
People are building anything from Lego, quite literally. The creation we’re discussing today isn’t as groundbreaking as that full-scale running and driving Bugatti Chiron, but it’s still amazing: a fully-functioning Ford Falcon engine.
This here isn’t just a scale reproduction of the inline-6 4.0-liter engine that powers some Australian Ford Falcons made out of Lego parts. No, this is a recreation that actually works, mated to a Lego ZF 6-speed gearbox.
2020 Subaru Outback
The Subaru Outback is due for a refreshment next year as the Japanese manufacturer prepares to roll the sixth generation as a 2020 model. Expect the same build quality and ruggedness from the next-generation off-road station wagon.
The new Forester will come next year along with the new seventh-generation Legacy to which it will still be linked. Both cars will sit on the new Subaru Global Platform which should ensure better handling thanks to a lower center of gravity, increased structural rigidity and versatility.
Subaru previewed the design direction of the new Outback with the Viziv Concept Tourer, but don’t hold your breaths for anything that sporty. Some design elements will be kept, albeit toned down a few notches, but, otherwise, this crossover between an SUV and a station wagon should retain its familiar proportions and lines.
Keep reading to find out how we reckon the new Outback will turn out to be
2022 Lexus LFA Successor
Lexus was seen this week testing a modified LFA with the Nurburgring package right at the fabled German circuit, and it got us intrigued. It’s been six years since the last LFA rolled off the production line, so could Lexus prepare for a replacement despite claims they aren’t looking at this possibility?
The original LFA, launched after much lament and almost a whole decade in the works, back in 2010 is a sort of a flawed genius. Originally criticized for its lumpy gearbox and somewhat underpowered V-10 engine, it ultimately grew on and won over some of its most fierce critics due to its special charisma. It was a refined supercar with build quality that rivaled and maybe surpassed that of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and with an engine that sounded as good as any Italian thoroughbred.
Now, six years on, we know from a couple of years ago that the message that was conveyed by the LFA has endured and that Lexus might not be looking at building a replacement for it in the next few years. But what if they are? Yoshihiro Sawa hinted during his visit this year at the Goodwood Festival Of Speed that “a pure F GT car, which could be a hybrid with an electric motor and a strong engine” is on the cards. What if he’s not only referring to an LC F but to something more?
Keep on reading to find out our thoughts on how the LFA’s replacement could be.
Watch This Amazing Review of the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon: Video
The guys at SavageGeese finally got around to reviewing a machine that’s hell-bent on creating havoc, the Dodge Challenger Demon. It’s all for a good cause since the car itself was supplied by Tri Industries.
Packed with a fun yet metaphorical intro, this Dodge Challenger Demon review from SavageGees Production was made with help from Tri Industries who offered the car for the video to raise money for their cause, employing veterans and other people of disabilities.
You can help by donating to the cause and, if you do, there’s something in it for you because Tri Industries makes it possible for you to win the Demon you’ll see in the video if you go and donate on www.winadodgedemon.com.
Read more to understand why the Demon is such a coveted car.
2019 Audi R8 LMS GT3
Audi is one of the most successful manufacturers in the highly-popular GT3 arena which attracted most of the world’s top manufacturers since the class debuted in 2006. The German manufacturer rolled out an update for its second-generation R8 LMS which promises to build on an already strong base.
2018 Ford Mustang GT by Bojix Design
Out of the five modified Mustangs that Ford is bringing to this year’s SEMA Show, the Bojix Design creation is the bluest of the lot. Under that two-tone bodywork, there are tons of Ford Performance parts to drool on.
Ford’s advertising the Mustang as one of the most tuning-friendly cars you can get your hands on. To showcase how easy it is to turn the Mustang into something special, using both Ford Performance parts and other aftermarket components, Ford commisioned five tuners to bring to the show their own interpretation of the sixth generation muscle car. These are CGS Motorsports, Galpin Auto Sports, CJ Pony Parts, TJIN Edition, and Bojix Design which is one of only two cars not to be covered in some dull gray or black paint scheme.
Keep reading to learn more about the Bojix Design model
2018 Ford EcoBoost Mustang TJIN Edition
Ford’s bringing five brand-new Mustangs to the 2018 SEMA Show modified by five different tuners. TJIN Edition’s interpretation is the only to feature the Ecoboost engine, but what it lacks in engine capacity it makes up with a purple paint job.
The Ford Mustang has been, historically speaking, one of the go-to muscle cars when it came to tuning. The tradition lives on to this day, and Ford is priding itself with this heritage. To showcase that tuners are still pushing and shoving each other for a chance to apply their treatment to the sixth-gen coupe version, the Blue Oval brings to this year’s SEMA Show five Mustangs, all different from one another.
Keep reading to learn more about the TJIN Edition Mustang.
Tesla Claims Model 3 Achieves "Lowest Probability of Injury" Ever Tested by NHTSA
Tesla’s compact Model 3 sedan is clearly one of the safest cars on the market today, receiving a perfect 5-star safety rating after being tested by the NHTSA. To add to that, Tesla has claimed that the Model 3 scored the lowest probability of injury score ever recorded by the NHTSA.
The Model 3 is fresh off receiving a 5-star rating from the NHTSA after completing the full NCAP tests earlier this year. The smallest Tesla was awarded five stars across the board, including each sub-category, and for standard safety equipment. Now, Tesla posted on their blog that the Model 3 is also the car with the lowest likelihood of injury in case of a crash out of all the cars ever tested by the NTHSA.
Learn more about how safe the Model 3 is and why NHTSA doesn’t quite agree with Tesla
2019 Toyota Yaris GR Sport
The Toyota Yaris GR Sport is the more down-to-Earth version of the limited-run GRMN. It features some sporty styling, but much of the oomph of the GRMN is gone, akin to a sheep in wolf’s clothes.
Last year, at the Geneva Motor Show, Toyota unveiled the Yaris GRMN hot hatchback to the world. A run of only 600 units was slated for 2018 for the car that was inspired by the Yaris WRC but, confusingly, presented itself with GRMN logos all round. GRMN stands for Gazoo Racing Masters of the Nurburgring – so not really related to rallying. In any case, the 209-horsepower pocket rocket was fun to drive and powerful enough to excite.
Now, a year later, Toyota brought to the Paris Motor Show a GRMN for the masses: the Yaris GR Sport. It’s based off the hybrid Yaris, so the figures are, frankly, negligible, but you do get great economy. What is more, the car comes in the usual Gazoo Racing white with red and black inserts and black wheels. It isn’t a hot hatch, but it’s sort of a stepping stone, a ”warm hatch.”
Keep reading to learn more about the Toyota Yaris GR Sport.
This Porsche 911 Shooting Brake Rendering Proves Porsche Needs to Rethink its Strategy
Is your average Porsche 911 not roomy enough for you? Rain Prisk has answered your plea with this, a shooting brake 911 that actually doesn’t hurt the eyes when you look at it. Porsche should get to work!
There comes a time in everyone’s lives when the sports car has to make way for something bigger, more family-friendly, like a sedan or a crossover SUV. What if, however, you could bargain your way into a compromise: have the sports car, but with some added room?
That’s exactly what the 911 in shooting brake guise is: the extra practicality offered by a hatchback rear without going for the added hassle of the longer wheelbase and two more doors of the Panamera. It would be really cool if it was real.
2020 Toyota Supra GR
There are images aplenty of the new Supra, but these days, Toyota’s been testing a race-prepped version of their new sports car at the Nordschleife which we think might be the mule for the upcoming sportier Supra.
With this occasion, we got a chance to get a little closer to the Supra, and we like what we see. For example, we got an eyeful of the interior, with the center stack lacking any sort of camouflage with the big infotainment screen on top of the central attraction. It all seems to be, apart from the racing wheel, pretty much stock, so there’s not much guesswork left to do about how the interior will look, given that some renderings of the interior and exterior were also leaked this week.
1988 Porsche 911 Turbo ’Ruf CTR’
The original RUF CTR, commonly known as the “Yellowbird”, outran the Ferrari F40 and the Porsche 959 from 0 to 100 mph and kept going all the way to a top speed of 213 mph. It was the fastest car of the ‘80s and, arguably, the most extreme road-going interpretation of the Porsche 911 Carerra at the time.
As a follow-up to the vicious BTR, the RUF CTR was even more insane. It used parts from the Porsche 962 Group C prototype racer, had lightened body panels, a gearbox built just for it, tires similar to those on the spaceship that was the 959 and a bright yellow paintjob that made it stand out and earned its nickname: Yellowbird.
Before Alois Ruf and the team set about building the CTR, the world’s fastest car was the Lamborghini Countach. Surely, with all the wings it had grown by the time it received four valves per cylinder in 1985, it looked the part. Sadly for the Italians, the more understated Ruf CTR blew by the Countach, and the Testarossa, and the 288 GTO and just about any other supercar you can think of. And Ruf themselves thought that they could’ve eeked more with longer gears.
Keep reading to learn more about the ludicrous Ruf CTR
Trump Boosts Sales of Corn Ethanol
President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that he urged the EPA to increase the sales of corn-based ethanol which would allow the year-round sale of E15 gas, which up by 5 percent over the blends that are now being sold in the U.S. Currently, the Clean Air Act restricts the sale of E15 gas during the months of summer. E15 gas is a mix of fuel that contains 85% gas and 15% ethanol.
2018 Holden Bathurst Time Attack Concept
Just when you thought nothing truly exciting could come out in 2018 with the Holden logo on the hood, here’s the Bathurst Time Attack Concept. It was developed as a futuristic race car to mark the 50th anniversary of the company’s first major win at Bathurst.
The R&D department at Holden, in Australia, set about proving that Holden isn’t just a badge GM slaps on the Buick Regal. So they came up with a groundbreaking concept that uses fans that direct airflow in order to improve downforce through each and every corner the car tackles. It’s low, wide, electric and it isn’t real. It’s similar to a Gran Turismo concept car without being one. But we wish they’d make it.
I mean, look at it. Check the tunnels that run on either side of the monocoque, the ginormous diffuser at the back, the rear wing, everything looking like it came from 2040. And it does, in a way, because all the tech that the AVD group crammed in it isn’t all here – yet.
New Climate Report Outlines Catastrophe Without Electrification
A new report issued on Monday by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns of a grim future that could materialize as early as 2040 if the world doesn’t cut its output of greenhouse gases massively.
An important element of this seemingly impossible turnover is the swift move towards complete electrification of our means of transport. The report, which was commisioned by the members of the Paris agreement, offers a much more dreary view on the near future of our planet and of our species unless we take action and drastically change our ways at a never-before-seen rate.
The Hoonigans Go Deep With Cleetus McFarland’s Insane ’Vette Kart: Video
How about stripping a Chevrolet Corvette down, strapping in a 7.0-liter LS, and going after some world records for manual Corvettes? Sounds like an insane project to you? It sure didn’t sound too daunting to Cleetus McFarland, the creator of "Leroy The Savage."
"Leroy The Savage" is, at its core, a Chevrolet Corvette C5 that was stripped of its bodywork and was able to run the quarter mile in 11 seconds with no other modifications. Then came an LSA supercharger and other mods that brought the time down to 9 seconds. McFarland then smelled blood and reckoned his creation could go after some records on the dragstrip and one thing led to another.
Audi Reveals E-Tron FE05, Preps for Upcoming Formula E Season
2019 Apollo IE Looks Amazing During Test Session
The Apollo Intenza Emozione is one of the most dramatic-looking hypercars money can buy and, so it’s no wonder the company behind it is hard at work to make it go as good as it looks. New images of a test mule testing at Lausitzring prove that the IE will be at home on a road course.
We first caught a glimpse of the Apollo IE late last year and it was one of the most spectacular things on four wheels that we’d ever seen. It’s as if the body was designed by the winds of a hurricane to be as aggressive as possible with ginormous carbon fiber aerodynamic elements at both ends. It was the perfect follow-up to the Gumpert Apollo and, just like the Gumpert, the IE is perfected on the race track.
Tesla Updates Autopilot with "Mad Max" Mode for Assertive Overtaking
Tesla keeps on improving its Autopilot system and the new version is now able to overtake other cars in traffic with the "Navigate with Autopilot" function. It features a "Mad Max" mode for more assured passes.
Tesla cars have been driving themselves around and about for quite a while now, but passing hasn’t been anywhere near second nature for the American EVs. To initiate an overtake when navigating with the Autopilot system turned on, you had to toggle the turn signals yourself. Now, with version 9 of the system being available, this is no longer the case.
New Autonomous Vehicle Rules On the Way
Autonomous vehicles might be exempt in the future from some of the safety standards put in place by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) if changes that accommodate this new type of road vehicle sees the light of day.
Automotive giants such as GM have called for legislative changes that would allow "the full deployment of self-driving vehicles" which, at the moment, have to be equipped with a steering wheel, pedals, and mirrors, although autonomous cars don’t have a driver.
As such, The NHTSA "intends to reconsider the necessity and appropriateness of its current safety standards" as applied to automated vehicles, the U.S. Department of Transportation said in an 80-page update of its principles dubbed "Automated Vehicles 3.0."
Take a Look Back at VW’s Record-Breaking Run Up Pikes Peak: Video
This summer, Volkswagen conquered the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb race with their fantastic I.D. R prototype, which was driven by Romain Dumas up the mountain in a record time of 7:57.148, 16 seconds under Sebastien Loeb’s 5-year-old record.
Motorsport is still a relevant marketing tool and battle-scarred Volkswagen decided the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is the perfect place to showcase its electric technology. The race, which has been going since 1916, sees competitors climb up the 12.42-mile-long course all the way to 14,000 feet. Nowadays, there’s no more dirt at Pikes Peak, but that doesn’t make the challenge itself any less daunting.
Porsche Runs the New Breed at Monza: Video
Renault Shows Off Futuristic AEX Infotainment in Paris
New Details Emerge for the 2019 Ferrari 488 Pista Spider
The Ferrari 488 Pista Spider has been around since August but only now, at the Paris Motor Show, did it make its European public debut. On this occasion, Ferrari presented a more detailed rundown of the Pista Spider’s bag of secrets and what sets it apart from the older and slower 488 Spider.
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz B-Class is Here and It’s Still Ugly
The new Mercedes-Benz B-Class is here. If nobody remembers the previous generation, that’s okay, because Mercedes has made their new compact minivan crossover taller, longer, and more in-line with the current Merc styling trends.
The new B-Class just dropped at the Paris Motor Show while everyone’s looking at the new EQC and the brash-looking A35 AMG. But the B-Class doesn’t deserve to be overlooked - within its tight minivan-crossover class niche, only BMW’s 2-Series Active Tourer provides any real competition.
Some may argue that there isn’t much market left for these compact minivan crossovers, as people look towards SUVs of varying shapes and sizes as grocery-getters and family carriers. But Mercedes hopes there is. The problem with the B-Class is that it’s not particularly good looking - you can thank the headlights from the A-Class for that - but, at least, it looks better than the visual atrocity that is the 2-Series Active Tourer.
Mazda Confirms the Rebirth of the Rotary Engine but Only as a Range Extender
Mazda is finally resuscitating the rotary engine, but not in the way that the fans would have hoped. The Wankel will be used as a range extender for one of Mazda’s upcoming EVs which are part of its ’Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030’ program.
It’s been three years since Mazda unveiled the stunningly-beautiful RX-Vision concept at the Tokyo Auto Show and we’ve been dreaming of a rotary resurgence ever since. Now, finally, it’s going to happen. Mazda will launch its first two EVs soon, the first as early as 2019, and one of them will have a Wankel engine which will act as a range extender. The other new car, however, will be the first true EV built by Mazda.
Keep reading to find out why Mazda brought the rotary back
The Renault EZ-Ultimo Takes Another Futuristic Approach to Driverless Mobility
Renault completes the EZ line of prototypes that envision an autonomous future with the EZ Ultimo, a luxurious full-size sedan with outlandish styling for the VIPs of tomorrow.
It’s long, sleek, with a gold-and-black sci-fi bodywork and stands as Renault’s view on luxury travel in the future. The chauffeur of the EZ Ultimo, however, isn’t a person, but rather Level 4 autonomous system. It’s a change of pace for Renault whose previous two EZ concepts were rather more mundane: the compact EZ Go, a futuristic taxi, and the EZ Pro light delivery truck.
This New Audi R8 LMS GT3 Serves as a Preview for the 2020 Audi R8 Road Car
Audi unveiled at the Paris Motor Show the Evo version of its ultra-successful R8 LMS GT3 race car ahead of a 2019 debut in competition. The R8 LMS Evo also shares some design cues with the upcoming 2020 Audi R8 road car.
The most popular sports car racing category of the past decade, FIA GT3, designed for production-based sports cars and supercars with revised aerodynamics and performance just got a new stablemate. It comes from Ingolstadt, and it is the Audi R8 LMS Evo which is an updated version of the second generation R8 LMS which debuted three years ago.
The car will debut in competition worldwide next year with the R8 LMS Evo expected to run in championships in Asia, Europe, North-America, and Australia. Customers will be offered the choice of either acquiring a brand-new race-ready R8 LMS Evo or just the aerodynamic kit and mechanical upgrades that can be applied to 2015-spec R8 LMS cars.
2018 Hyundai i30 N ’N Option’
The Hyundai i30N ’N Option’ is the i30 N customized to your preferences. Yes, the i30 N is already one of the best hot hatches on the market, but Hyundai reckons their customers want to make the cars their own, which is where the ’N Option’ steps in.
The Korean manufacturer thinks the 274-horsepower i30 N could take on some visual enhancements to make it look even meaner. That’s why Hyundai brought the i30 N ’N Option’ Concept to Paris. Yes, a concept, not the production-ready version. Granted, Hyundai assures us that this concept is the face of things to come in terms of ways you can personalize your own i30 N - as well as other Hyundais from the N lineup in the future.
Performance figures weren’t altered with the ’N Option’, but we don’t think that is a must. I mean, the i30 N already has a top speed of 155 mph from that buzzing 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot and 260 pound-feet of torque at just 1,500 rpm.
Read on to find out more about the i30N ’N Option’
Donut Media Dives Deep on the Jeep Cherokee: Video
The Jeep Cherokee is easily one of the most recognizable names in the world of SUVs, broadly considered as the first modern SUV, one that offered practicality, off-road ability, and luxury, all in one package.
The Cherokee brand is over 40 years old now and still going strong. Born as a cheaper, more compact version of the Wagoneer, the Cherokee was actually the first vehicle which was referred to as a "sport-utility vehicle" in the manufacturer brochures. Since then, the Cherokee has grown larger, and nowadays, you can choose either the compact Cherokee or the mid-size Grand Cherokee.
1951 Ferrari 340 America Barchetta by Touring
The Ferrari 340 America was the first model in the America series conceived with export in mind, used as a means to increase Ferrari’s footprint in the United States. The 340 featured a brand-new Lampredi V-12 which made its way to Formula 1, with this particular car racing at Le Mans twice in the early ’50s.
The Ferrari America series was launched at the dawn of the ’50s to appeal to American customers who wanted less rugged interior premises, bigger engines, and more performance. The first car of this lineage was the 340 America, which debuted at the 1950 Paris Motor Show in full racing trim. Granted, most Ferraris back then were as much race cars as they were road cars, but a customer could personalize his car to be more friendly on the road with softer suspension, different gearbox ratios, or new engine settings.
As this is a Ferrari from the early days of the company, it was made in very few numbers, on order from importers or customers. Barely 23 cars were completed between 1950 and 1952, with three coachbuilders taking care of the body. Carrozzeria Touring built six Barchetta and two Berlinetta bodies, Vignale crafted five Spyder bodies, five Berlinetta bodies, and one larger Convertible, while Ghia built only four fixed-head Coupes.
The car seen here is chassis #0116/A, the third 340 America built, and one of the 6 Barchettas by Touring. It ran briefly in period, its highlights being a couple of entries in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Owner Pierre-Louis Dreyfus shared the car in 1951 with well-known Grand Prix driver Louis Chiron and, in 1952, Rene Dreyfus. While the car didn’t reach the finish line on either occasion, it went on to sell for $8,430,000 during the 2016 RM Sotheby’s auction in Monaco.
Read on to understand why the 340 America commands such high prices.
Volkswagen’s Looks to Build Automated Systems with Virtual Test Drives
Volkswagen breaks new ground with its foray into the virtual world as an avenue to test its new driver assistance systems faster while also reducing expenses. Is it a double-edged sword, though?
As automakers worldwide make leaps and bounds towards a brave new world of automation, green energy and efficiency, German manufacturer Volkswagen set about trying a new way of testing its driver assistance systems that will be part of the new I.D. lineup of vehicles. Lengthy real-world tests where prototypes are taken out on the open road or on test facilities will be a thing of the past, thinks Volkswagen, who wants to replace all of that with virtual simulations. They should, in theory, be programmed to feature as many scenarios as needed to get the systems through their testing phases.
The process to move testing from the real-world to a computer-generated virtual one is complicated, but Volkswagen is already trying out the idea with virtual parking simulations where all the parameters can be altered to suit the needs of those conducting the experiments. This all sounds great, but can computer-generated simulations, regardless of computing power and intricacy, really provide the same randomness that actual testing on the open road gives? Will cars that go on sale with systems that went through virtual testing be as well prepared as those that had a bigger chunk of their testing done on the roads? Volkswagen did not officially say they plan to eliminate real testing from the procedure of introducing new driving assistance systems, so we have to wait and see.
Read on to learn more about Volkswagen’s new virtual testing and more
Hindsight is such a wonderful thing, isn’t it? Understanding some things weren’t as amazing as we thought they were in their golden days. The same applies to the tuning style of the “Fast & Furious” era or, rather, the early-to-mid 2000s. Got wings? Got flashy colors? Got the loudest audio setup and tons of screens? It was all about that!
Tuning goes almost as far back as the car itself. Modifying an object, with either functionality or looks in mind, is a natural impulse. Same goes for modifying a car. People used to do it as far back as the beginning of the first decades of the 20th century, switching engines off a Ford V8 and stuffing them in a Ford Model A. Everybody remembers the hot rods in movies like “Grease.”
A lot of the tuning in the early days was carried out with competition in mind, motor racing being a great catalyst of innovative ideas that arose from the need to make a car go faster than it was originally intended to. Generations of “garagisti” – as Enzo Ferrari would call the British racing teams – or shop owners made a living out of improving a car’s natural ability around corners or in matters like acceleration or top speed.
Coupled with the mechanical part came the visual part. If you are to modify your car, you want people to notice it even before you turn the key in the ignition – mind you, unless sleepers are your thing. That’s why the hot rods featured flame graphics on the sides or outlandish pinstriping following the car’s profile. All that evolved into metallic paint jobs, big chromed wheels and many other elements that made people turn their heads, if not in appreciation at least due to sheer awe.
Arguably, the peak of the looks-over-functionality drive was reached somewhere in the early ‘00s with the advent of the “Fast & Furious” franchise. Back then more about cars and illegal street racing than about jumping between skyscrapers, Michael Bay-esque explosions and desert racing, the franchise transformed cars like the Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34) or the Mazda RX-7 (FD) into cult icons that everyone bowed before and adored. And that everyone wanted to mod.
Be it visually or mechanically, Japanese machinery became the go-to platform for tuners in the early part of the new millennium. It wasn’t all due to the fad since these cars had very potent underpinnings that could hold vast amounts of horsepower beyond those offered on the showroom floor, but we’re talking here more about the aesthetic department. Large body kits, huge wheels, colorful everything, vinyl liveries – not to be mistaken by the vinyl trim on Malaise-era land yachts – and earth-pounding sound systems.
Read on to relish the memories of the tuning scene as it was back when many of us were in their teens.
Petrolicious Features the Beautiful and Brutal 1974 Lancia Stratos Group 4: Video
The Lancia Stratos was the first car to be constructed from the ground up with the sole purpose of going rallying. As legendary as it is fast, the Stratos still races in historical rally events, and this particular one won the 2017 European Historic Rally Championship with former endurance and GT racer Erik Comas behind the wheel.
Comas, a former Le Mans podium-finisher with Pescarolo, has owned four Stratoses over the years, but this one is the one he calls "The Rally Queen." It was formerly owned by Lancia test driver Claudio Maglioli who worked on the development of the Stratos. Comas took it back to Biella, Italy, where the car was originally maintained to have it refreshed before he returned it to action in 2015. That year, he won the Italian Historic Rally Championship. No wonder he hails the handling characteristics as "perfect."
Check Out this Ferrari-Powered, Road-Legal F1 Car
The latest machine to be dubbed an "F1 car for the road" is Zac Mihajlovic’s bespoke, Ferrari-powered single-seater, and it might be the closest one to the real deal we’ve ever seen. It will go into production if Mihajlovic finds customers for his ludicrous creation.
Remember the Caparo T1? What about the Bac Mono? What about Gordon Murray’s LCC Rocket from 1992? All of these were, at one moment in time, referenced as "F1 cars for the road". They had one seat, little pieces of fiberglass or aluminum to cover the wheels, and they were very, very fast. But, none of them really looked like an F1 car does.
Even Ford jumped on the bandwagon in 2012 when they brought to the Paris Motor Show a Formula Ford car fit for everyday roads. It had a 1.0-liter, Ecoboost engine and could lap the Nurburgring-Nordschleife in 7:22, but the limited production run of 20 to 40 units never happened.
Now, someone finally wants to make it happen. Mihajlovic previously built, with painstaking attention to detail, a replica of the Batmobile featured in the 1989 Batman with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. His credentials are set.
2018 Porsche 935 Type 991 Gen. 2
The year-long celebration of Porsche’s 70th birthday is just that! When we thought Porsche couldn’t possibly pop up with a new car to celebrate its birthday, after debuting the 919 ’Tribute’ and the 911 (993) ’Project Gold,’ the Germans decided to surprise everyone with a 935 for the modern age that was presented at Laguna Seca.
"This spectacular car is a birthday present from Porsche Motorsport to fans all over the world," said Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars for Porsche AG, upon unveiling this sci-fi-meets-retro-cool creation. "Because the car isn’t homologated for any series, engineers and designers didn’t have to follow the usual rules and thus had freedom in the development." Naturally, no place else was better to show off this limited-edition car - only 77 will be made - than at Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca during the Rennsport Reunion VI weekend.
Indeed, what we see here doesn’t resemble anything from Porsche’s current fleet of race cars, or road cars for that matter, but it was strongly inspired by a car from Porsche’s past. The inspiration is the 40-year-old Porsche 935/78 known as ’Moby Dick’ for its extra-long rear tail section, which raced only four times in 1978 but its legacy lives to this day.
The original 935, unlike this new model based on the Porsche 911 (991) GT2 RS, was built out of necessity. Porsche needed a car to compete in the new-for-1976 Group 5 rulebook that was introduced in the World Championship for Makes to attract manufacturer interest as the prototype car counts were at an all-time low.
The rulebook allowed for groundbreaking modifications to be done to the bodywork, as long as the roofline, windows, and doors were those of the production 911. With this freedom in mind, Porsche ditched the twin-headlight setup for a slant-nose front end with obvious aerodynamic gains. The widebody that resulted, coupled with the flat-six 2.9-liter engine from the 930, ensured that Porsche was the leader of the pack in 1976 and beyond.
Constant development work saw Porsche roll a new model in 1977, known as the 935/77 and a new one again for 1978, the 935/78, as well as working to benefit customers by updating its original 1976 design and offering it to private racing outfits under the 935/77A, 935/78A, and 935/79 designations.
The cars were so successful that they just about defined what Group 5 was all about: ludicrous silhouette bodywork, immense firepower from the engines - up to 700-horsepower for the later versions - and amazing speeds. Under various guises, the 935 won the 12 Hours of Sebring multiple times, the 24 Hours of Daytona multiple times, the 24 Hours of Le Mans once in the overall classification, and the World Championship for Makes for four years in a row.
A few of the aforementioned privateer outfits, due to their close affiliation with the factory, were allowed to modify the 935 further, according to their own plans. That’s how the Kremer-developed cars were born, as well as those constructed by Joest Racing, Fabcar or AIR. In fact, the Porsche 935 that won at Le Mans in 1979 wasn’t a works entry, Porsche dropping the Group 5 program after it retired the 935/78 from competition, but a privateer one from Kremer Racing with their own 935 K3 which was probably more celebrated in its day than the factory-developed cars.
All these victories, and Porsche’s improvements of its turbocharging technology which led to their domination of Group C in the ’80s, grant the 935 a spot in Porsche’s gallery of legends. It is, then, easy to see why the engineers in Zuffenhausen built this rolling tribute that is the 935 Type 991 Generation 2. This also means that the hype is big and, although it’s not homologated for any racing series, the new 935 has to live up to its predecessors on the race track. That’s why Porsche chose to unveil the car at the Rennsport Reunion VI.
Keep reading to find out more about the 935 Type 991 Gen. 2
President Donald Trump’s New Presidential Cadillac Limo "Beast" is Finally in Service
The new presidential limousine, loosely similar in appearance to the Cadillac CT6, is finally in service and was first seen in public in New York earlier this week where the UN General Assembly gathered. It is the first new presidential limousine in almost a decade.
No other president’s means of transportation is as famous as that of the president of the United States. Commonly known as ’The Beast’. The introduction of the automobile as the president’s means of transportation didn’t happen right away, though, the first president to have a fleet being William Howard Taft in the early part of the last century.
As time went by, the limousines grew in both size and weight when it was decided that bulletproof glass and bodywork is a necessity. Nowadays, the presidential limousines, codenamed ’Stagecoach’, run on truck underpinnings and their specifications are secret.
The fact that President Donald Trump was getting a new limousine was, though, an open secret with the car having been seen testing in camouflage back in April. The previous state car, which debuted back in 2009 under President Barack Obama, was also a Cadillac-badged vehicle.
Keep reading to find out more about President Trump’s new limo.
Top 10 Most Blasphemous Models To Turn Into An EV
The world of EVs is ever growing, and as we near a time when there will be no gas to fill our tanks, we realized some of the world’s best-sounding and glorious engines will have to be ditched in favor of electric power. Think of an electric Camaro, Mustang, Corvette, or Lamborghini... does it sound good? Or rather, does it make any sound at all?
With the advent of electrification in the business of car building, you see every major manufacturer scramble to put together a lineup of eco-friendly electric vehicles as a statement of their forward-thinking plans and their bias towards the future of mobility. It all looked foolish almost 20 years ago when Honda introduced the original hybrid Insight, which was shortly followed by Toyota’s Prius, but today, this seems to be the trend that will sell. For some, it might be a marketing ploy to appease a new section of the market, but you can’t dismiss the trend altogether.
Audi just took the wraps off its first fully-electric car, the E-Tron. Mercedes was doing the same just a few weeks ago with its EQC, and just about any manufacturer you can think of has a mid- to long-term plan for at least hybrid, if not electric. For instance, Aston-Martin is looking forward to the year 2030, by which time the British manufacturer’s stable should be made up exclusively of electric cars. Ferrari, well-known for their devotion to making their cars sound perfect, is planning a 60 percent hybridization of its lineup in just four year’s time. You can imagine a Ferrari EV isn’t that far off in the future, then.
All this got us thinking - which cars would you never want to see without a growling V-8, or maybe a high-revving V-12 under the hood? Which car’s move from gas to electric sounds like blasphemy to you? We know there is a Mustang-inspired sports utility vehicle coming from Ford in 2020, and the pony car itself might go electric in the future, so how does that make you feel?
Read on to learn about our top 10 cars that would be blasphemous to turn into EVs.
A Gorgeous 1990 Nissan Skyline GT-R Up For Sale
The Nissan Skyline GT-R of the R32 generation has been one of the JDM wet dreams of American petrolheads since its release back in 1989. Now, four years since it became legal to import one in the States, prices have started to level off, and this example could go for less than the market value.
The third generation of the Nissan Skyline GT-R, known shortly as the R32, was Nissan’s answer to the Group A regulations that were in effect in touring car racing at the time. With boatloads of power and AWD, it dominated the Japanese Touring Car scene until the ruleset was changed for 1994. The Australians were even more annoyed at the Skyline’s utter domination, which is how the "Godzilla" nickname stuck, of their national championship that they eventually banned both the all-wheel-drive system and the practice of turbocharging in the ATCC.
The countless racing successes as well as appearances in movies, cartoons, and video games made the car highly popular, both in native Japan as well as abroad. The American market couldn’t enjoy the GT-R upon launch due to it not meeting the NHTSA safety requirements at the time. This meant that American fans had to wait 25 years to import an R32 legally under the "25-year" law which allows cars that weren’t meant for the American market to be imported 25 years after they were first put into production. This opened a "Pandora’s Box" in the summer of 2014 which saw prices sky-rocket for pristine examples as well as the rare Nismo models. However, high-mileage GT-Rs have started to level off in prices and this particular model on BaT is currently at a $9,100 bid with six days left of the auction.
Read on to find out more about why the GT-R is such a big thing
Felipe Massa Goes All-Electric in Saudi Arabia Ahead of Formula E Opener
The fifth season of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship will kick off this December on the streets of Diriyah as part of an unprecedented week-long celebration of motorsport, live music and, entertainment under the Ad Diriyah E-Prix moniker.
Electrification will come to the outskirts of Riyadh, on the site of the ancient city of Diriyah, as Formula E is ready to commence its fifth season of eco-friendly competition. The motorsport event, which will feature the international debut of the Generation 2 Formula E car and the championship debut of former F1 Vice-World Champion Felipe Massa, will be just an element of the never-before-seen entertainment festival that will take the city by storm.
Everything is part of the Vision2030 plan which draws out the future of Saudi Arabia, a future very much focused on both tourism and electrification. This means that on the occasion of the Ad Diriyah E-Prix a new way of entering the Kingdom will be available in the form of an online visa, known as ”Sharek,” that will come with your attendance ticket. ”With the introduction with ‘Sharek’ our visa entry process for fans worldwide, we can share the event,” said His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki AlFaisal Al Saud, Vice-Chair of the Saudi Arabia General Sports Authority. ”We hope the Saudia Diriyah E Prix will see fans from around the globe come to Saudi Arabia to watch this epic sporting spectacle as now your ticket is your visa. We can promise a line-up both on the track, onstage and amongst a breathtaking historical setting that will excite fans across the world,” Al Faisal added.
The launch event for the Saudi Arabian E-Prix coincided with the announcement that Saudia, the Kingdom’s national airline company, will be the title sponsor of the race as well as the official airline of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. Former F1 driver Felipe Massa, who will race for the Venturi E-Prix Team this oncoming season, was present at the event as were series founder and CEO Alejandro Agag, Susie Wolff, Venturi E-Prix team principal, Andre Lotterer, driver for the Techeetah Team and many officials from Saudia and the Saudi Arabian state.
Check Out This Australian Ford Falcon Turned Ford Mustang GT500
Have you ever wanted a Ford Mustang sedan? Someone brave enough did the conversion starting from a Ford Falcon. We’re not sure if it’s an abomination or something mildly interesting.
The S197 Mustang was in production for a decade, debuting in 2005 before reaching the end of its production cycle in 2015. The fifth generation became popular for its early retro-inspired styling that harkened back to the original pony car of the mid-’60s.
Inevitably, some people who couldn’t have a genuine Mustang made themselves one. This seems to be an on-going trend if we take into consideration the latest copycat seen here. It’s a mid-’00s Ford Falcon from Australia that wants you to think it’s the long-lost four-door version of the American muscle car.
There’s Now an Official Scale Model of the McLaren 600LT to Complement your Car Collection
Are the mouth-watering images of the McLaren 600LT making you want to rob a bank and buy one? Well, there’s now a less felonious way to own McLaren’s latest "LongTail" car. You can get yourself an accurate scaled-down representation of the real thing, either at 1/18 scale or 1/43 scale.
The model cars, developed in secret using blueprints of the real beast, are made out of resin by TSM (TrueScale Miniatures). The company’s relationship with McLaren dates back a few years, having made model cars of all the previous creations from Woking, including the F1 and the P1.
While the running and driving 600LT costs $243,000, the 1/43 scale model is yours for just $85 while the 1/18 scale model, bigger and even more detailed, is priced at $263.
7 Of The Best Resto-Mod Cars
The world of resto-mods is the promise land of beautiful, vintage, bodyworks on top of modern, state of the art, powertrains with performance figures that embarrass modern sports cars. Be it an Alfa Romeo on steroids, a Mercedes bettered by AMG themselves, a Bronco that looks 35 years old but very much isn’t under the skin, the variety in restomods is ever increasing with quality as the main differentiator between the good, the really good and the exceptional.
The automotive industry has created some real design icons over the years, cars like the Mercedes 300 SL, the Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA, or the Porsche 911 remain etched into the minds of many petrolheads. Such emblematic designs seem to never age but, sadly, the engineering-wise, they are all outdated. Of course, you get a kick out of driving them merely because you get a chance to do it in the first place, but some want even more than that.
A select few look at classic cars as a starting point for a tough undertaking: transforming these icons of the past in machines that are able to keep up with whatever’s new on the road right now. The key is to have everything come out in pristine condition – hence the term restoration in ‘resto-mod’ – while modifying what’s under the skin. Some choose to start from existing cars while others do something more radical - building their own chassis from the ground up and then wrapping everything up in a retro bodywork that clearly reminds you of their inspiration. The Eagle E-Type and the Singer Porsches fall in the latter category.
Whichever road you choose, resto-mods are a brilliant – yet highly expensive – way to experience classic cars re-imagined in with technology that was barely on the drawing boards when some of these cars were new.
Keep reading to find our seven resto-mods picks
A New V-6 And Lots More is Coming from Aston Martin In The Next Four Years
Aston-Martin’s new V-6 hybrid engine is in the works. The British company, which has seen a rapid increase in profit in the past few years, is on the verge of a launching spree, planning to launch as many as four cars in the next five years. Among these will be the new Project 003, a mid-engine supercar with a V-6 heart that will act as the stepping stone for the company’s 488-beating model that will follow later.
With the Valkyrie and the DBX just around the corner, Aston-Martin is already working on their next car known as Project 003. Just by numerology, you’d have to think it will have some links with the Valkyrie – codenamed Project 001 – and the Valkyrie AMR Pro – known internally as Project 002. Indeed, the new hypercar will share the mid-engine layout, but the powertrain will be very different.
2019 Volvo V60 R-Design
Volvo brings the R-Design treatment to its latest V60 Wagon. It will be the top-tier trim for the V60, and it will enhance the car’s performance as well. A sportier exterior look is part of the deal, and it’s available for all the engines in the lineup.
The R-Design, where "R" stands for "Refined," is Volvo’s range-topping performance trim, with the first Volvo that benefitted from this treatment dating back 23 years. It comes as no surprise that the V60 will be available, for the 2019 model year, with the R-Design package that adds improved suspension to make sense of the sporty, yet conservative, exterior. The base price for the Volvo V60 R is $46,558.
McLaren has barely let loose the ludicrous 600LT and, already, the Spider version is in the pipeline for 2019. This was discovered when the name popped up on a CARB document that certifies emissions for next year’s cars. It was already known that McLaren was preparing the car from the way they designated the configurator for the Coupe model.
McLaren is on a charge in the last few years. After the 675LT and the 675LT Spider, the company from Woking delivered on its promises of a car to sit barely below the 675LT as an improved 570S on steroids with the 600LT. Now, we’re closer than ever to seeing the roofless model, and it may come our way at the upcoming Paris Motor Show.
By all accounts, the Spider will share the same astounding performance figures of the "LongTail" Coupe, albeit not as light. It will still be quite a sight to see, either early next month in the French capital or, later, at the L.A. Auto Show that kicks off on November 30.
1961 Plymouth Asimmetrica Roadster
Virgil Exener’s swansong within the Chrysler Corporation, the Plymouth XNR prototype, created quite a stir at the dawn of the ‘60s and Ghia thought it would be profitable to turn it into a road car. The Asimmetrica was thus born, but even it was too extreme for the consumer and only two were built, both of which had NASCAR goodies hiding under the hood.
1978 Shakee Can Am racer
Also known as the Shakee Sports Racer, this car is one of the first built by Fabcar Engineering from Roman Slobodynski’s designs. The former AAR Chief Designer was commissioned by Tom Spalding.
Inspired by early ’70s Can Am beasts, the Shakee never raced in the Citicorp Canadian-American Challenge itself which had, by 1978, turned to a single-seater formula where former F5000 open-wheelers were converted to closed-bodywork sports cars. It was most likely used for SCCA-sanctioned races or Autocross events.
Tom Spalding was involved in the Can-Am series running the Bob McKee-designed Schkee DB1 which won the first race of the rejuvenated series with works driver Tom Klausler a year before.
The car doesn’t have a verified racing history but is akin to C-Production sports cars that run in SCCA championships in the US.
The 2020 Audi A8 May Revive the Legendary Horch Moniker as it Rolls into Ultra-Luxurious Territory
Audi will revive the Horch name with the facelifted version of the A8. The current generation of Audi’s flagship full-size sedan will feature an ultra-luxurious trim level named after the long-discontinued brand Horch when the facelift is introduced three to four years from now. The car might come with a W12 engine like previous A8 L models but will not be stretched beyond the L’s wheelbase.
It will be almost 70 years since the last Horch was built, back in 1953, when Audi will introduce the nameplate again as a top-of-the-line trim package for the A8. Akin to Mercedes’ Maybach S model launched in 2015. It will mark Audi’s entry in the ultra-luxurious sector where it will also face brands like Bentley and Rolls-Royce.
Audi has learned from Mercedes’ past error, that of introducing Maybach as a separate brand, and will offer the A8 Horch as just a trim level under the Audi umbrella. It’s also unlikely that we’ll see the Horch moniker on the C-Pillars of other Audi sedans although Audi hasn’t ruled the idea completely out.
1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1
The 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 was Ford Motor Company’s response to GM’s Chevrolet Camaro as the Pony Car war reached its peak. It was the meanest looking Mustang up to that point, humiliated the GT in sales to the point the latter got discontinued and could be optioned with the COPO-rivaling 7.0-liter Cobra Jet engine.
Polish Automaker Mashes Together a Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro, and Mercedes-AMG; Takes Heat From Ford
Did you ever lay in your bed late at night, eyes wide-open, dreaming about the resurrection of Warszawa? No? Well, it’s back regardless, in the form of one of the most bizarre Mustang-based coupes you’ll ever see.
KHM Motors started off with a 2016 Mustang GT which they tried to restyle in a way that would honor the first mass-produced car in Poland: the FSO Warszawa M20 based on the Soviet GAZ-M20 Pobeda. Upon first seeing the Pobeda you’ll first think "That’s a blatant copy of an American car from the ’40s!" and then wonder why KHM Motors chose a Mustang to honor the hunchbacked sedan.
After all was said and done Ford Europe wanted to make it clear that they had nothing to do with the car. Their response came after KHM misleadingly put the Ford logo on their website - a move that Ford saw as lawless while KHM saw it as "a sign of respect for the brand".
Read on to learn more about the Warszawa M20 GT.
2018 Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Cargo
Volkswagen is reviving the Type 2 Transporter Delivery Van of the ’60s with its new I.D. Cargo Buzz Concept which was presented at the IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hannover, Germany. As a sibling to the I.D. Buzz it uses the same MEB platform and will come as early as 2021 with a variety of battery options to suit anyone and everyone’s needs.
Will the Toyota Celica and MR2 Join the Supra and 86 in an Epic Sports Car Lineup?
After 16 years of absence from the sports car world, Toyota returned by reviving the Supra, and now the MR2 or the Celica may get a second lease of life. The Japanese manufacturer voiced interest, through the Supra’s key engineers, of reviving at least one of those two emblematic cars, but the road ahead is tough for that dream to materialize.
We’ve all waited 16 years for a new Supra to emerge and now, with the fifth-gen A90 closer than ever to production, there might be more in store for us from Toyota. Masayuki Kai, the Assistant Chief Engineer on the Supra project, said to Road & Track that "We want to have Celica back, we want to have the MR2 back,” but he was also adamant to point out that “what will come next depends on the market needs."
This is because, as Kai pointed out, creating a sports car is tedious in the year 2018 and highly expensive, pointing to the cooperation with BMW as the only way to bring the Supra back. The GT86 is also the product of a shared project, this time with Subaru. We can assume, as such, that another partner must be found to finance and co-develop an MR2 or Celica follow-up. Otherwise, we won’t see any new sports car from Toyota other than a new GT86 in conjunction with a new BRZ and the production version of the Le Mans-esque Toyota Gazoo Racing GT Prototype.
Everything We Know About the Mercedes-AMG Project One
Finally, we see it again! It’s been almost a year since Mercedes-AMG first unveiled the Project One at the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show and the German Automaker has been slow on delivering news updates on its most insane creation yet. Now, though, Mercedes has released official spy shots of the car in full-body camo testing in the U.K., confirming our suspicions that prototypes have begun road testing.
1985 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe
The Porsche 930 Turbo was a turning point for the German manufacturer as it debuted turbocharging for the public rich enough to afford it. Debuting in the mid-‘70s, it took a turn towards flamboyance in the ‘80s with the Slant Nose version which, in its rarity, is as era-defining as the Ferrari Testarossa or the Lamborghini Countach. Early turbo-lag freights never looked this wacky!
The 930 Turbo, or rather the Turbo Carerra as it was sold in the US, was Porsche’s first stab at turbocharging a car for the public roads. Sure, they weren’t the first of the European manufacturers to do it, with BMW launching the 2002 Turbo three years prior in 1972, but the Turbo from Stuttgart had substantially more grunt which made it a bit of a menace.
From the get-go, a Turbo’ed 911 had over 250 horsepower making it the fastest car Germany could offer. It also had an unmistakable look with the black graphics on the lower sides and the enlarged whaletail wing that aided in both cooling and downforce. The German manufacturer had loads of experience with turbocharging on the racing front, debuting the 917/10-TC in 1972 and sweeping the Can-Am title with it. Then came the 917/30 which was even more dominant, to the point that it killed off the series, and then the 911 Carerra RSR Turbo which was based on a road-going 911 albeit with countless modifications.
That purpose-built prototype that looked like your streetwise 911 is the father of the 1975 930 Turbo which was unveiled at the Paris Auto Show in October 1974. For 1975, Porsche put out just 400 Turbos to meet homologation requirements for their next racecar, the 934. Unlike the previous homologation special, the Carerra RS 2.7, the Turbo really caught on, and by 1976 it became available in the United States.
The one-off, road-going 935 replica ordered by McLaren backer Mansour Ojjeh, then president of TAG, sparked an interest among well-to-do Porsche customers for a 930 with the nose flattened. The German manufacturer duly listened to the wishes of its customers and the Slant Nose – Flachbau in German – was born.
The design proved polarizing, and with an MSRP in the period of $29,000, which increased the cost of a 930 Turbo by almost 60%, less than 1,000 Slant Noses were made beginning in 1981. This special optional extra was also available in the US under the 930 S moniker.
After its production had ended, the 930 Turbo remained a cult classic with the Slant Nose the rarest version of them all. It’s a testament of the times and quite a bit more than that, as the racing-inspired modification actually aided handling and acceleration.
Keep reading to learn the full story of the Porsche 930 Turbo Coupe
Ferrari is Working on the Development of a New V-6 Engine
Ferrari is bringing back the V-6 for the first time since 1974 and, according to Chief Technical Officer Michael Leiters, hybridization is a big part of Maranello’s plans through 2022 when they plan to introduce the 488’s replacement, an even faster supercar and likely the new five-door Purosangue SUV.
Rumors regarding Ferrari’s reintroduction of its legendary Dino and, with it, the V-6 spring as far back as 2015, but little was heard from Ferrari on the subject since. Now, however, the Italian manufacturer has confirmed that a V-6 is in the works although it’s unclear what platform it will be mated with.
Ferrari offered some details about their plans over the next four years, underlining a clear desire for hybridization. The company is currently developing new mid- and front-engine platforms that welcome hybrid technology. “Ferrari will use hybridization to enhance performance and fun-to-drive,” Leiters pointed out. “We will also use it for fuel efficiency, obviously, but our main focus has to be performance and fun-to-drive.”
Given that the Italians want to see a 60-percent hybridization of their range by 2022, we can expect that many of the recently announced models will use hybrid technology. Enrico Galleria, who acts as Ferrari’s Chief of Marketing, told the press that plug-in hybrid technology will be first introduced on the front-engined cars that are part of the GT arm of the production line, as we’ve detailed previously in our Ferrari Monza coverage.
While we know that a fleet of new Ferraris are coming our way, with the earliest arrival scheduled for as early as next year, there is no LaFerrari replacement in the near future. We should look for a new top-tier, mid-engined thoroughbred to be set forth no sooner than 2023.
2018 Ferrari Monza SP2
Ferrari’s shock launch of two brand-new super cars, the Monza SP1 and SP2 put everyone under the pressure of a choice: to go or not go solo. The SP2 is the Barchetta that encourages you to be friendly and take someone with you for the passenger ride of a lifetime aboard the fastest non-hybrid Prancing Horse ever – with no windshield!
The Icona line of special, limited run cars is off to a scorching start with two new beauties dubbed the SP1 and the SP2 Monza. The name isn’t new; instead, just like the cars, it draws from Ferrari’s long and storied racing heritage. The Monza was one of Ferrari’s Barchetta-style sports racing cars from the ‘50s which had its successes on the track but faded into obscurity in the decades that followed. It’s nice to see Ferrari bringing back this nameplate, especially on such eye-wateringly beautiful cars.
It’s good to know that the Icona program is set to run for at least four years, so we’re certain we’ll see more amazing products coming their way considering Louis Camilleri assertion that Ferrari looks to debut up to 15 new cars in the following years. The scope is to increase the sales to $5,000,000,000 by 2022 which would be a 68% increase from the figure registered at the end of last year.
While we’re almost sure that some of those sales will come off of the launch of Ferrari’s much-rumored SUVs, we’ve got to live in the moment and enjoy the Monza SP1 and SP2 for what they are: Ferrari’s fastest non-hybrid cars. The fact that they follow the old norm of a front-mounted V-12 sending the power to the back wheels is just the cream atop an amazing pie.
2018 Ferrari Monza SP1
Ferrari shocks everyone again and launches two open-top sports cars for the road as part of a new program called Icona. They are the Monza SP1 and SP2; they look like bonkers re-imagined ‘50s racers, and will be made in very limited quantities – all of which have been already sold.
Just as I was lamenting the other day about the disappearance of coachbuilding, Ferrari decides to get up and unveil a whole new line of cars under the Icona moniker. We know about Ferrari’s Special Projects program that builds one-off models, sometimes starting from a clean piece of paper, for Maranello’s most-trusted and respected buyers. The cars that will come through the Icona program won’t be one-offs, but you still won’t see more than 200 made of each. That’s, apparently, how many new Monzas they will build and, despite a $1,400,000 price tag, all have been sold. Indeed, it’s a cheap price to ask considering a one-off Ferrari – for which all slots have been reserved all the way until 2021 – starts at about $3,000,000.
With the occasion of Ferrari’s Capital Markets Day, the Italian automaker debuted the Icona program on the premises of its new Centro Stile facility in Maranello. The program, which is slated to run until 2022 for the very least, will see more cars built using the same recipe: design philosophy that harkens back to the old days in combination with the latest Ferrari underpinnings.
The Lola Mk. 6 GT is genuine cornerstone material in the racing world as it laid the groundwork for what would become Ford’s answer to Ferrari: the GT40. It was also one of the first mid-engined GT sports cars to race at Le Mans, its philosophy transforming into the go-to recipe for endurance racers for years to follow.
This year, we celebrated 50 years since Ford’s third win on the trot at Le Mans. One more was on the cards for the following year, and all was possible because of Eric Broadley’s Lola Mk. 6 GT which debuted at London’s Olympia Racing Car Show in January of 1963. It was a sleek, yet simple design that blazed a trail that many would follow in the construction of purposeful endurance sports cars as well as many road cars that we now look at and consider the forefathers of the supercar.
It all happened thanks to a change in the regulations of the rebadged World Sports Car Championship, which would be known as the International Championship for GT Manufacturers for 1962. This rebranding exercise also led the way to FISA launching a new class for Experimental Grand Touring cars. These were, in effect, closed-top sports racers that didn’t need to worry about any homologation requirements that were in line for production-based machinery. While still retaining the GT moniker, these were, for all intents and purposes, prototypes that had to retain some degree of roadworthiness to be road legal.
This was very much the case with the Mk. 6 GT which, in innovative fashion, featured monocoque construction, although it wasn’t a “full monocoque.” Another innovation laid in the construction of the bodywork which was made entirely out of fiberglass, something quite uncommon at the time. For all the stir int produced upon launch, the Mk. 6 GT fell short on its promises, Broadley’s limited pockets effectively cutting the wings of his new design which seldom showed up at a race meeting, and when it did it never lasted too long.
Only three of these cars were ever made and, thankfully, all survive to this day. While you may think they are only a footnote in the Ford vs. Ferrari saga, if it weren’t for Lola raising Henry Ford II’s eyebrows at Le Mans 55 years ago, we may never have gotten the GT40 the way we know it today. Yes, the follow-up Lola T70 is the much more revered design, and the Ford GT40 is the one that gathered all the accolades in the winner’s circle, but the Mk. 6 GT deserves to lavish in much more attention than it gets for the pioneering act that it is.
Keep reading to learn more about the Lola Mk. 6 GT and its intricate history and historical relevance.
Mercedes-AMG A35 reveals its wing in new teaser
Mercedes-Benz seems to enjoy playing mind games with their fans and customers, testing their ability to wait for their upcoming releases while putting out a number of revealing sneak peeks. This is the case with their new A35 AMG which will be shown off to the public for the first time at the Paris Motor Show that kicks off on October 4th.
With each new Mercedes-AMG launch, you really have to take a moment to soak in all the details in order to appreciate the job done by the people in Affalterbach. That’s why each new image that Mercedes-Benz leaks out of their new hot hatch, the buzzing A35 AMG, keeps the hype alive as we look forward to a peek inside.
In the latest couple of images released by the German automaker, we can feast our eyes with both rear-end view and a view of the nose, albeit only half of each – hopefully they don’t have a good half and a bad half! What we get is what we’ve been expecting with Mercedes beefing up the body kit of their current A-Class with bigger air inlets and a host of purposeful winglets on either side. It’s the same story at the rear where we get dual exhausts, a diffuser for underbody aerodynamics and a generously-sized wing almost identical to that on the outgoing A45.
Mercedes will also unveil a new A45 early next year but, until then, we have to contend with its little brother who’s looking to scare away its neighbors: the likes of Audi’s S3, BMW’s M140i or Volkswagen’s Golf R. Granted, you’ll have a hard time telling the two apart if you don’t glimpse of their front ends, since the A45 will feature the Panamerica grille while the A35 is stuck with this twin-blade design we’ve become familiar with on lower-tier Mercedes models.
Keep reading to find out more of what we know about the A35 AMG.
We Just Caught the 992-Gen, 2019 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabrio with Its Top Down!
It’s not often that we get to see a car testing with its top down, and things get much more interesting when the car in question is Porsche’s new 911 Turbo. The 992-generation model is still months away from release but power output is said to be in the 600-horsepower region, and those beefy hips make us enjoy what we see so far.
Porsche’s been racking up the miles on their 992 test mules for well over a year now. We’ve seen them testing out in the Eiffel Mountains, on the Nordschleife to be precise, on the snow, and on the open road. What we hadn’t seen, though, was the new 911 Turbo Cabriolet with the soft top folded. Now that we’ve also ticked that, there’s not much else we would ask for before release aside, maybe, for a spec sheet?
The current 991 Turbo S packs quite a mean punch with its 580 horsepower, so a break into 600-horsepower territory wouldn’t be wishful thinking for the new car. What we’re sure of, in any case, is that we’d love to be in the place of that test driver and enjoy the last warm days of 2018 aboard a 911 Turbo, be it a factory test car.
The Ferrari 330 GT Shooting Brake by Vignale is as radical a departure from the production 330 GT 2+2 as one can imagine. It is a two-door station wagon Prancing Horse from the ‘60s that can sit four and reach 150 mph. You will not see another one like it, ever.
The ‘60s were an era when coachbuilding was still happening and it’s when many designers took it upon themselves to create unique reinterpretations of already outlandish sports cars. Such an outlandish reinterpretation was the Ferrari 330 GT Shooting Brake. It was based off of Ferrari’s then-new 330 GT 2+2, the Italian automaker’s fledging long-distance Grand Tourer that replaced the 250 GTE 2+2 and the 330 America in the lineup.
The bodywork you se now on the car, though, has nothing to do with the Tom Tjaarda-penned original coachwork. The shooting brake design was a joint effort between Luigi Chinetti, Jr. who acquired the car for this project and Bob Peak, the man commonly cited as being behind the way movie posters look nowadays.
Mechanically, chassis #09763 is broadly identical to any other 330 GT, but the clothes it wears are what sets it apart. The Vignale-built body, which has almost none of the components from the donor, is an acquired taste, which may be why the car’s been struggling to find a buyer for a few years now. It was once part of Jay Kay’s collection of Ferrari but has since seen the premises of many auction houses and dealers and is currently up for grabs again at The Petersen Automotive Museum auction on December 8th.
The asking price for what is, by all accounts, the last Ferrari to be bodied by Vignale – and one of the wackiest of the lot – is that of two Ferrari 488s full spec’ed out. Is it worth it? Read on to find out!
It’s not yet been 20 years since Y2K, and we’re already reaching for the rose-colored glasses when talking about the 2000s. It was a decade of rapid technological advancements, one where flip phones turned into smartphones and laptops were finally making some gains on desktop computers. It was, arguably, the decade of the Fast And Furious franchise, for the movie-going car guys, that went from glamorizing the tuner culture to being just another action franchise that happened to feature some exotics.
Above all, though, it was the decade of the electronic uprising in our sporty cars. The first flappy paddles found their way into up-market supercars, and even the more mundane machinery came with a host of electronic aids to keep them level and straight on the road. Some enjoyed having their skills behind the wheel complimented by the electronic suspension, self-leveling dampers, four-wheeled steering, and other clever robotics that made driving fast a bit easier. The purists, however, did not like the rise of electronic aids and kept searching for those cars that kept true to the old school setup of three pedals, a stick, and no help other than that given by your senses.
We’ve put together a list of 8 sports cars from the 2000s that you should still consider today. They offer the perfect blend between rawness and electronic advancement from a time when we didn’t hear doomsday preachers announcing the end of the manual transmission.
Who doesn’t like Porsche? Or Laguna Seca? The whole motoring world has been buzzing all through 2018 as Porsche took over the limelight to celebrate its 70th anniversary. Many marquee events already celebrated the Stuttgart-based manufacturer founded by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche – chiefly the Goodwood Festival of Speed – but the best is yet to come as the fabled Rennsport Reunion returns to Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca three years since everything Porsche last rocked the track nestled within the Monterey Peninsula.
It’s been 70 years since Dr. Ferdinand Porsche’s dream of building his own sports car materialized as the first Porsche 356. The house of Zuffenhausen has since developed into one of the most revered builders of sports and supercars the world over, boasting an almost unparalleled racing record littered with victories in the biggest races of the world: from the Paris-Dakar rally to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and from the Formula One World Championship to the Monte-Carlo Rally.
All of Porsche’s four-wheeled stalwarts, as well as key drivers that made history manhandling the German beasts and those that designed them, will be on site at Laguna Seca and many will also take turns driving around the legendary 2.238-mile-long road course. If we’ve learned anything from the past five Rennsport Reunions, is that this is a not-to-miss opportunity, especially considering this gathering only takes place every three or four years. Previous editions also visited Daytona International Speedway and Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.
The Porsche Rennsport Reunion V underlined once again, if it wasn’t obvious already, that the brand enjoys a huge following in the U.S. and across the world with over 60,000 people coming to Salinas, California for the event in 2015. Also, over 1.300 Porsche Club of America members joined the crowds with their prized possessions.
To find out more about the Rennsport Reunion VI and why you should attend, keep reading this article.
It’s been just 12 months since the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance was rocked by Infiniti’s unveiling of a Pre-War inspired concept named the Prototype 9. It was one of the best looking concept cars of 2017, and it was electric, which is what everyone is asking for nowadays. All this means that Karim Habib’s first job as chief designer at Infiniti must be a stunner, and the first glimpse we’ve got suggests just that.
Collective gasps welcomed the BMW Turbo Concept on the stage at the 1972 edition of the Paris Motor Show. The car, stunning from every angle, was the embodiment of what future BMW products would offer: cutting-edge looks, state-of-the-art technology, and performance. This mesmerizing prototype designed by Paul Bracq was the inspiration for BMW’s one and only supercar: the M1. Thirty years later, BMW honored both the Turbo and the M1 by creating the appropriately-named M1 Hommage. Dressed in a similar coat of hypnotic red as the Turbo and with countless design cues that trace their roots in the Giugiaro-penned M1, the Hommage was a way for BMW to look back while also looking towards the future.
First displayed at the Concorso D’Eleganza Villa D’Este in 2008, the M1 Hommage was the German manufacturer’s way of refreshing the wedge-shaped M1 which was celebrating its 30th birthday. BMW brought the much-revered older siblings to complement the launch of this design experiment, but many were left bemused by the company’s announcement that there would be no new supercar to come from Munich.
This wasn’t, however, entirely true as BMW didn’t ignore its waves of fans who fell in love with their 2008 concept and went on to include certain unmistakable design cues in their 2009 Vision EfficentDynamics concept which led to the BMW i8. It’s not a supercar, it was never intended to be, but it’s similar enough to the M1 Hommage to make us happy, and it also channels the Turbo prototype through all of its hybrid technology that it incorporates.
2018 24 Hours of Le Mans - Race Report
Toyota’s legendary bad luck at the world’s most famous long-distance endurance race has finally been broken on Sunday when the No. 8 Toyota TS050 of Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, and Fernando Alonso crossed the line to score the Japanese manufacturer’s first overall win. Toyota Gazoo Racing virtually ran away with the victory after dominating in practice, qualifying and the entirety of the 24-hours-long race ahead of a fleet of brand-new non-hybrid prototypes that were pegged back from the word go by the rule book. Alonso brought in significant media attention, and Toyota’s marketing division is jubilant after the Spaniard ticked it all: fastest lap at the Test Day, pole position, and victory – all on attempt number 1.
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2018 ADAC 24 Hours of Nurburgring - Race Report
Looking down the packed start/finish stretch of the Nurburgring GP Track on Saturday afternoon, the sunbathing each and every one of the thousands present, you wouldn’t have thought that a deluge was just around the corner. But unpredictability is the name of the game up in the Eiffel Mountains for the 24 Hours of Nurburgring, and it was the same this time around.
Every year since 1970, thousands upon thousands of racing fans line the mythical Northern Loop of the Nurburgring race track in Germany to attend one of the most grueling 24-hour-long races of them all. It involves the longest permanent road course in the world, the largest array of machinery, and the largest grid plus the always-enthralling weather that’s got enough curveballs for the race weekend to fill an entire F1 season.
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IMSA Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio - Race Report
IMSA’s return to the scenic Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, has been a true rollercoaster, Acura enjoying a green light route to their first victory where they needed it most, at the venue sponsored by the luxury brand itself. It was the first time that IMSA raced at Mid-Ohio since 2012, a return that’s been long awaited by sports car racing fans across the land. All three classes were present with the grand total of cars reaching 34 including 14 prototypes. With the other 20 cars being GTs, there were worries of incidents on the tight and tumbling 2.25-mile-long road course during the race, as was the potential of rain that eventually evaporated.
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The FIA World Endurance Championship got their fairy tale kick-off to the 2018-2019 Super Season with the overall winner while GT battles kept us glued to the screen throughout the whole six-hour-long fight in the Ardennes. This promises to be a very interesting season.
2018 FIA WEC Super Season Preview
The World Endurance Championship is back with a revised calendar, hanging its title on the back of the GT manufacturers and a sleuth of new cars in the P1 class – as well as a return to Sebring! Less than a week separates us from the start of the seventh season of the FIA WEC, and this one will be historic, as it marks the transition of the series towards a “winter” schedule via a Super Season that starts in May of this year and ends in June of next year. The schedule includes two visits to Le Mans for the fabled 24 Hours race, two at Spa-Francorchamps, as well as one at Sebring in the same weekend as the IMSA 12 Hours race.
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2018 IMSA GP at Long Beach - Race Report
When you think about a 100-minute-long race along the scenic Long Beach street circuit, you assume it’s all going to be about that one fast lap in qualifying with the shortness of the event and the tight nature of a street circuit, but IMSA’s annual visits to Long Beach have proved that you can have an exciting sports car race on a street course. The 2018 running of the race was no exception with a healthy prototype field backed up by an equally strong GTLM pack that did battle in 80°F heat.
Only 22 cars gathered on Shoreline Drive to take the start as IMSA decided the race will be a GTLM and Prototype-only event due to limited paddock space, with IndyCar, Pirelli World Challenge, Formula Drift, and Stadium Super Trucks also racing this past weekend. GTD will be coming back to fight at Mid-Ohio. With Vautier’s crash at Sebring, Spirit Of Daytona Racing’s Cadillac did not show up in California so the eight works GTLM machines were joined by 14 Prototype-class models. DPI dominated the proceedings at the sharp end of the field with the ORECA and Ligier prototypes acting as second-class citizens, and the status quo remained unchanged in qualifying.
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2018 12 Hours of Sebring - Race Report
With over a dozen Prototypes lined up on the grid, this year’s Sebring 12 Hours was bound to be epic, and after some very unpredictable round-the-clock action, through which nobody in either of the three classes marked themselves as a favorite, we can attest that IMSA competition has delivered yet again.
The break between Daytona and Sebring always seems longer than it really is and the same was the case this year, especially since we have such an amazing field in each of the three categories. Then, finally, race week was upon us, and we got to see some exciting practice sessions that saw Cadillac, Acura, and even Mazda top the timing sheets before everyone got themselves in line for qualifying. There was also the matter of refueling times that was addressed for Sebring with IMSA mandating a minimum refueling time for each class that varies between 30 to 40 seconds.
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2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona - Race Report
After 24 grueling hours that saw a myriad of punctures, but surprisingly few full-course cautions, Cadillac proved again to be head-and-shoulders above the plentiful opposition, which included F1 Champ Fernando Alonso, in what was a truly record-breaking 56th running of the ultimate enduro test on the Daytona International Speedway.
Just two short years ago, the 24 Hours of Daytona was broken apart by no less than 21 full-course yellow periods. They were for cars slowing down or stopping on course, a number of crashes, and other more or less minor incidents. This meant that many competitors were able to get back some of the laps they’d lost since IMSA allows for a ‘wave-around’ procedure that sees cars that are a number of laps down gain a lap at each caution period – although each car can only gain a certain number of laps. As a team owner, you can rest assured that, having a 24 hour-long-race in front of you, there will surely be cautions that will give you the opportunity to gain some time that you might’ve lost – or should you?
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Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona 2018 Preview
It’s that time of the year again, after the Roar Before the 24, of high anticipation, when everyone thinks they have the keys to all the locked answers but, in reality, it will take the whole of the upcoming Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona to find out what’s really what. That doesn’t mean, however, that we aren’t putting together this preview for you to get in gear for what is, as ever, the longest and most difficult race in the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship and, this time around, one that is buzzing with worldwide interest much more than in the last few years.
The 56th Annual Daytona 24 Hours is upon us. From the 25th through to the 28th of January, all of our eyes will follow the action at the 3.56-miles-long Daytona Speedway as 50 cars divided into three classes, Prototype, GT-Le Mans and GT-Daytona, will do battle twice-around-the-clock. It is, as per usual, the opening round of the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship and it might just be the opening act to a memorable season, as I’ve talked about in my race reports in 2017.
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2017 Six Hours of Bahrain - Race Report
The final hurrah of the Porsche 919 Hybrid was dented by Toyota’s determination to outscore their German rivals in the number of victories this season, which they did by scoring the fifth win in Bahrain to end the season on a high. Porsche returned to Le Mans with a car worthy of the overall victory in 2014 after a 16-year hiatus, and it promptly went on to bag three consecutive world titles (manufacturers’ and drivers’) and three Le Mans victories, albeit making the best out of Toyota’s misfortune, especially in 2016. This page of sports car racing history was to have its last lines written this weekend at the final round of the FIA WEC – The Six Hours of Bahrain.
The track in the middle of the desert posed nearly unique challenges in terms of tire management, but Porsche was confident they could score a farewell victory, which would have brought their total tally to a record-breaking 18. Audi, mind you, have gathered 17 between 2012 and 2016 and that’s exactly how much Porsche got between 2014 and 2016. Toyota, meanwhile, had gathered 15 and had the ability to get the 16th in Bahrain, thus derailing Porsche’s final WEC gig. The two teams were, roughly, on equal terms, so who got it?
It wasn’t a matter of championships being decided, at least not in LMP1, since Porsche got the job done with races to spare so, at the top, it was just about the last installment of the Porsche vs. Toyota duel. Lower down the order, however, there was very much still to play for as titles were undecided in LMP2, GTE-Pro, and GTE-Am.
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2017 Hankook 24 Hours COTA - Race Report
Up until last weekend, the Rolex 24 hours at Daytona was the only professional twice-around-the-clock race in the United States but all that changed after COTA hosted such an event for GT and touring cars as Dutch organization Creventic made its North-American debut after organizing a number of successful series in Europe.
Before delving into what went on at the Circuit Of The Americas at the end of last week when the second ever professional 24 Hours race was held in the U.S., let’s look a bit at Creventic’s history. The Dutch organization which was behind this event, although it was sanctioned by the SCCA, is not new in the motorsport scene. In fact, their first hit came 11 years ago with the very first Dubai 24 Hours when they realized the potential of the Middle Eastern market and the appetite to race at the Dubai Autodrome which was also a host of the FIA GT at the time.
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2017 Six Hours of Shanghai - Race Report
Toyota brought to China a new update to their aerodynamic package in a last-grasp attempt to push the championship battle all the way to the Bahrain finale, but Porsche’s steady run meant the Japanese fell, yet again, in the “close but no cigar” category – and not for lack of trying. It was strange and — while some blamed pollution for making their vision fuzzy — hard to believe, but after FP2 it started to sink in: Toyota were dominating in Shanghai. And not with half measures – properly!
The No. 7 TS050 of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose-Maria Lopez led every free practice session and then, in qualifying, nobody could topple Conway and Kobayashi. The duo managed a shattering 1:42.832 average, almost half a second quicker than what Andre Lotterer and Neel Jani could achieve aboard the No. 1 Porsche. Toyota’s other car was third, some 0.6 seconds adrift while the other Porsche filled up the second row after a botched run for Earl Bamber who got delayed by a P2 car and then spun on his hot lap.
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2017 California 8 Hours at Laguna Seca - Race Report
Last weekend, the Monterey Peninsula and many more GT racing fans watched as the longest race ever held at Mazda Speedway Laguna Seca unfolded under the sunniest of skies with a large array of both American and European entries in what was the third round of the SRO-organized International GT Challenge.
Blancpain GT Series organizers SRO (Stephane Ratel Organization) have been looking to expand their GT racing empire for a few years now. First, former BPR Global GT Series founder Stephane Ratel looked to have a hand in the Bathurst 12 Hours and, more recently, the Sepang 12 Hours entered under SRO’s control. The Malaysian race, though, will be part of the IGTC for the final time this year and it will be replaced come 2018 by a 10-hour-long race at Suzuka, replacing in a way Super GT’s blue riband event, the Pokka 1000. In turn, Sepang will be part of a so-called “Pacific 36 Endurance Cup” championship centered around three events: the existing Bathurst 12 Hours, the Sepang 12 Hours and a proposed race of the same length at Hampton Downs in New Zealand.
With these races under SRO influence (or organized by Ratel’s men), the logical step was to link them all in a world championship of sorts. The inaugural season took place last year and for 2017 four races were planned: everything kicked off at the Bathurst 12 Hours with round two being Blancpain Endurance Series’ most emblematic race, the Spa 24 Hours. Another hiatus was then in order as everyone geared up for last weekend’s race – the first ever 8 hours race at Laguna Seca. We’ve previously seen four hours worth of racing around Laguna Seca in the American Le Mans Series days but never a professional race double that duration.
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2017 Six Hours of Fuji - Race Report
As it’s almost always the case in the shadow of Fuji-san, there was rain and fog all through last weekend when the FIA WEC visited the former Formula One venue for its six-hour-long race. This prompted multiple interruptions and luck-favored the local stars. Fellow Moto GP fans will understand how us, endurance racing devotees, felt this weekend because they too endured a rain-soaked Japanese GP. For us, it was an important weekend because Porsche was virtually on the cusp of becoming World Champion with another win at Fuji. Toyota needed to win — and would have liked even more a one-two — to keep mathematical hopes alive with two more races left to run, in Shanghai and Bahrain.
This race was also important as many people thought that, being at home, Toyota might feel encouraged to make an announcement on their future in the WEC. As we know, Porsche will cut short their involvement at the end of this season, electing not to take part in the upcoming "super season." This will leave Toyota, if they choose to continue, as the only works hybrid LMP1 entrant — Peugeot choosing not to join the ranks of P1 in 2019 as they look forward to ramping up their Global RX presence.
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2017 Petit Le Mans - Race Report
The 20th running of the – by now – classic Petit Le Mans 10-hour enduro was a real rough and tough way to pull the curtain over a brilliant 2017 season of IMSA racing, making most everyone eager for everything next season has to offer. North-American sports car racing was in a difficult place in 1998 when the first Petit Le Mans was organized as Don Panoz was beginning to almost single-handedly grow this branch of road racing again with a sprinkle of Le Mans flavor thrown on top. This year, the 10-hour-long Petit Le Mans took place for the 20th time, and those involved are again looking towards what could be a "golden age."
The sign of things to come was Team Penske’s late announcement that they would make their debut this year, at Road Atlanta, before bringing the two ORECA-based HPDs to the grid next year. It was a surprising decision given their original ORECA 07 LMP2 was damaged quite significantly during testing at the same track, but strings were pulled and, sure enough, Hughues De Chaunac’s operation provided another car for Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud, and Juan Pablo Montoya to drive. They were to be joined by the usual crowd of three Caddies, two Nissan-Ligier DPIs, two Ligier LMP2s, and two other ORECA LMP2s – one for JDC/Miller and one for the returning Rebellion Racing.
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2017 IMSA America’s Tire 250 at Laguna Seca - Race Report
Laguna Seca seems to attract great racing like nothing else if last Sunday’s two-hour-and-40-minutes sprint is to be taken into consideration as what we witnessed was an up-and-down dramatic roller coaster that went to the wire across the board and left many googling online dictionaries for superlatives. The Monterey Peninsula again hosted a brilliant showcase of multi-class sports car racing as three classes of cars — Prototype, GT-LM, and GT-D — battled it out. It was a game of differing strategies, late stops for fuel, tight near-misses and daring overtakes. In the end, unexpected contenders rose to the occasion to take the victory in two of the three classes while in the last it was a story of continued consistency.
In qualifying, as ever, Ricky Taylor was head and shoulders above everyone else as he piloted the No. 10 Cadillac sponsored by Konica Minolta to an earth-shatteringly quick 1:16.853, eight-tenths off the next Caddy. The margin was even bigger before Christian Fittpaldi’s late 1:17.682 to beat VisitFlorida.com Racing’s Marc Goosens who only managed a 1:17.730. Dane Cameron and Eric Curran’s No. 31 was fourth quickest while Jose Gutierrez made it two LMP2s in the top five with his time in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsport Ligier. The two Nissan ESM DPIs followed next while the banana-yellow ORECA of JDC-Miller Motorsports was bog last.
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2017 Six Hours of COTA - Race Report
A rather thrilling race unfolded last Saturday on what was the final visit to Austin’s COTA for the FIA WEC – at least for a while – as Porsche managed to win yet again, although this time with significant pressure from Toyota. The World Endurance Championship freight arrived in Texas this past week for the sixth round of the 2017 season, the last to be run in regular fashion before a certain (for now) switch to a winter season from 2019-2020 onwards. Before that, and before we delve into what went on in Austin, let’s again talk about the super season that will mark the transition between the current status quo and the upcoming one.
As I wrote in my previous piece covering the Mexican round, an eight-round super season split between 2018 and 2019 was announced by series boss Gerard Neveu in Mexico City as a way to switch from the current spring-summer-autumn schedule to a autumn-winter-spring(ish) one that’s bound to end with the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This means that we’ll see five rounds in 2018 and three more in 2019. Four of these will be two visits apiece to Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans.
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FIA WEC Six Hours of Mexico - Race Report
The FIA WEC returned for its short American round last weekend with the Six Hours of Mexico amid lingering uncertainty about the series’ future as a whole raft of changes will give the championship a revamped look for 2018. Rumors turned into officially-confirmed information this past week as the FIA WEC geared up for its Mexican race which counted as round five of the 2017 season. Before we delve into the news, this was the status quo after the end of the European leg: Porsche, winners of this year’s Le Mans, announced they would pull the plug on their P1-H program one year earlier than originally planned, thus leaving Toyota as the only manufacturer in the top tier category.
With Peugeot, supposedly the closest manufacturer to a works program in the top class, still far away, the FIA and ACO had to react – and quickly. The reaction was two-fold: first off, according to Gerard Neveu – the man in charge of the championship, Porsche’s unexpected departure left the organizers with no choice but to alter the championship’s format which will take the shape of a super season for next year. This means the series will kick off with the Spa-Francorchamps Six Hours in May and end with the 2019 edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours.
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IMSA Michelin GT Challenge at VIR - Race Report
Can it get more old school than a GT-only race at a track like VIR? Sunday’s tenth round of the IMSA Weathertech Sports Car Championship was a showcase of proper throwback racing, with enough panel-to-panel rubbing to please anyone as well as a host of surprise turnarounds and a finish that sets the championship up nicely for the last two races of 2017.
It was GTO vs GTU, or rather GT-LM vs GT-D this past weekend at the up-and-down twisty Virginia International Raceway where another GT-only round took place, just last year. The race marked the return of Risi Competizione which took a hiatus following their unfortunate race-ending and chassis-bending crash at Le Mans. Giuseppe Risi’s No. 62 488 GTE was quick out of the box, not something impossible to predict when Ferrari regulars Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander were the listed drivers.
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2017 IMSA Continental Tire Road Race Showcase - Race Report
As the IMSA Weathertech Sports Car Championship enters its final leg, we were treated to an exciting race on Wisconsin’s Elkhart Lake road course where, finally, Cadillac’s stronghold was broken. Last weekend’s action at Road America got underway in difficult, mixed, weather conditions which meant not much valuable data could be gathered for what was forecast to be a dry race. That is, until the third and final free practice session but even that didn’t go all the way. Katherine Legge suffered a significant crash in the fast Canada Corner (anyone recalls her Champcar shunt there?) which almost ruled out the No. 93 Acura she shares with Andy Lally.
Michael Shank’s crew, though, decided to repair the damaged chassis – with help from the RealTime Racing Acura mechanics who campaign the same type of cars in Pirelli World Challenged and are based close to the track – and they managed to do just that, the blue NSX being ready for the pre-race warm up session. This meant, however, that Legge and Lally – who came to Road America sitting third in the standings – had to start from the back. This brings us to how the rest of the field was ordered by qualifying. First up was the GT-D which was an impressive showcase by Dutchman Jeroen Mul who, on his first visit to Elkhart Lake, took his first ever series pole in the No. 16 Change Racing Huracan. His time, a 2:06.649, was quicker by 0,174-seconds than the best that Jesse Krohn could do aboard the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3. It was the second pole in a row for a Lamborghini in GT-D while Porsche’s quickest car, that of Park Place Motorsport, was third fastest.
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2017 Blancpain 24 Hours of Spa - Race Report
The 69th running of the epic Spa 24 Hours was as much a battle between the world’s top brands as it was one between top teams in a race that was marked, like last year, by multiple penalties which shaped the finishing order as well as some scary shunts. The Spa 24 Hours, a staple in the world of endurance racing, has been around for just about as much as the 24 Hours of Le Mans and, in recent years, it has seen a constant growth since becoming the blue riband event of the Blancpain GT Endurance Cup. The SRO-sanctioned series is also flourishing and now, the Spa 24 Hours, is also part of the Intercontinental GT Cup (alongside the Bathurst 12 Hours and others) and the Blancpain GT combined leaderboard which brings together the Endurance Cup and the Sprint Cup leaderboards.
This meant that none was fazed when a 63-strong entry list was presented, which comprised of Pro entries, Pro-Am, Am, and National entries. The designations are basically using the FIA-approved driver licensing system where the Pros are the Platinum and Gold-rated drivers while the Ams are the Silver and Bronze-rated ones. The National category is an addition to the usual GT3-only classes which aims to bring lower tier machinery to Spa, such as the Porsche 991 Cup, the Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo or the Ferrari 488 Challenge. This year, only two Porsches made up the National class.
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2017 IMSA Northeast Grand Prix - Race Report
Lime Rock Park’s tight nature makes it perfect for an all-GT contest, and that’s exactly what we had on the plate for last weekend’s IMSA Weathertech Sports Car Race at the Lakeville track. Akin to the old days of the IMSA GT Championship, the two-hours-and-40-minutes sprint around the 2.459-mile-long circuit was open only to the GT-LM and GT-D contenders which made for great racing between the two “cores” of action.
The seventh round of the 2017 season came as a lot of news was coming out of the Prototype camp which will return at Road America. For starters, Mazda announced they will cut their season short as they begin a new relationship with Joest Racing which will take over the Japanese manufacturer’s program in IMSA over from SpeedSource. The team that previously ran Audi Sport’s LMP1 program (and has a rich history even before that, with Porsche) will begin testing with the Riley/Mutimatic-based RT24-P immediately which is why we won’t see the car back on track until its debut under the new Mazda Team Joest banner at Daytona in 2018.
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2017 Six Hours of the Nurburgring - Race Report
After a shorter-than-previously post-Le Mans break, the World Endurance Championship returned with the German round hosted, as ever, by the legendary Nurburgring. This time around, the race came amid looming concerns regarding the top LMP1-Hybrid class which is potentially in jeopardy. In spite of ACO’s early-year announcements that it will stick with hybrid technology, as stated in the new-for-2020 rule book, factory teams might step out as early as next year. Porsche is poised to take a decision on whether they will commit to their original plan – that of also doing the 2018 season – or if they will pull the plug one year short, at the end of 2017. Toyota, which had previously confirmed its commitment all the way through 2019, might, in the wake of a potential Porsche withdrawal, reconsider its position as well.
This means that, in the worst case scenario, we could be left with no works teams to fill the P1-H class next year and with a very uncertain P1-L presence to round up the debacle. That’s because, despite announcements from Dallara, Ginetta and Perrinn, there have been very few firm confirmations from teams that will actually run these new cars. Thus, the optimistic ACO-fueled figures of 6-8 cars might actually be just half, and with no P1-H, we might witness a very sorry sight at next year’s Le Mans.
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2017 IMSA Canadian Tire Motorsport Park - Race Report
It’s barely been a week since the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, and IMSA was back at it this Sunday with the Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix at CTMP, a race that over-delivered, as many do in the series, this time with the aid of Mother Nature. Mosport, as it was known some 50 years ago when it first welcomed the Canadian Formula 1 Grand Prix, is now the host of the annual trip that IMSA makes north of the border to Bowmanville, Ontario. All classes, P, PC, GT-LM and GT-D, took part in the 160-minute-long race for which mostly dry weather was forecasted “Watch out later on for that mostly!“
The weekend got going with practice where, again, prototypes showed their speed, namely the JDC-Miller ORECA which came tantalizingly close to a win at Watkins Glen. In spite of all that, it was business as usual in qualifying, Wayne Taylor Racing getting their third pole of the 2017 season thanks to Ricky Taylor’s storming 1:08.459 which was 0,128-seconds quicker than the best that Misha Goikhberg could do in the No. 85 ORECA. ESM’s Nissan-Ligiers were third and fourth filling up row 2 with Jonathan Bomarito fifth in Mazda’s No. 55 car, ahead of the winners last time out, Barbosa and Fittipaldi. The No. 31 Curran/Cameron Whelen-sponsored Cadillac performed even worse, so the duo was looking to rebound in the race after an ill-fortuned trip to New York last weekend.
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2017 Six Hours of the Glen – Race Report
This year’s Watkins Glen Six Hours was a race to remember with many plot twists and a story of attrition at the top that somewhat echoes that of this year’s Le Mans. Cadillac still won, however, not with the usual culprits and there were more stories down the order – including many awesome one-off liveries since July 4th is around the corner. The margin for pole in qualifying was only 0.162 seconds. The men battling out at the sharp end for the pole, Pipo Derani and Olivier Pla, were not Cadillac drivers as the Dallara-based machines had been hit by another BoP change in form of downforce limitations. It was Derani who got around the Glen quicker, namely in 1:34.405. Cadillac filled the second row of the grid while the Riley/Multimatic Mazdas were at the back of the Prototype group.
The pole for the No. 22 came as very good news to the ESM crew after the sad news that Ed Brown, who was poised to drive in his final Prototype-class race at WGI, would miss the event due to an unplanned back surgery he had to undergo. That’s the precise reason why Derani made his way into that car’s lineup. James French put down another good performance in Prototype Challenge that was remunerated with the team’s fourth pole in 2017. The No. 38’s quickest time was 1:40.049 and it was also the avenue to Performance Tech’s eighth pole in the series thus far.
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2017 24 Hours of Le Mans - Race Report
The 85th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours offered buckets of drama as it underlined the endurance element of the event, Porsche just managing to bag its 19th overall win ahead of a bunch of LMP2 cars after Toyota yet again fell to the wayside. The 2017 edition of the world’s most famous endurance race should have been a success story for Toyota and their better-than-ever TS050 prototype. The car, winner of both the Six Hours of Silverstone and the Six Hours of Spa, was finally bettering Porsche’s 919 Hybrid in most areas and, with three cars, the Japanese giant was confident that it would snatch Mazda’s title as the only automaker from Japan that has won the fabled round-the-clock race.
Toyota first wanted to prove their superiority in qualifying which was divided into three sessions: two in total darkness on Wednesday and Thursday and one, in between, on Thursday afternoon. Toyota was already first after Q1 on Wednesday but ex-Formula 1 racer Kamui Kobayashi felt there was more in the 1000-horsepower TS050. That there was, as he duly showed in Q2, but it was the way he did it that left everyone awestruck. First of all, it wasn’t in Q3 when all the other three pole laps were decided and, second of all, Kobayashi was on medium rubber and on his first flyer. Granted, he got a full clear lap, but that doesn’t take anything from the fact that he was on the ragged edge in each of the 33 turns that make up the 8.48-mile-long track, which he covered in 3:14.791 minutes – a new record.
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2017 24 Hours of Le Mans Preview
For the 85th time in history, the crème de la crème in the world of endurance racing gathers in the La Sarthe valley in France for what they call "Les 24 Heures Du Mans". This time around, it’s all about the Porsche vs. Toyota duel for the overall win while Ford seems to have a much harder job ahead if they want to go back to back in GTE-Pro. This year we’ve got again four classes and a 60-strong field with the biggest being LMP2, boasting a 25-car grid. There are only six LMP1 cars, five of which are the works hybrid machines, only one being a non-hybrid "light" prototype. GT cars make up the rest of the 29 vehicles, divided between GTE-Pro and GTE-Am. The former is made up of 13 cars, the remaining racers being entered in GTE-Am which also allows older spec GTE machinery.
The talk of the town is, obviously, the fight between Toyota and Porsche, especially after last year’s heart wrenching story that saw Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Kazuki Nakajima stop on the start/finish straight as there was just one more lap left to go of the 24-hour-long race. The electrical gremlin meant that Porsche scored an unexpected 18th overall win and the second in succession after their 2015 triumph. Toyota is back 12 months later and, this time, it’s all guns ablaze: three cars, nine drivers and a dramatically improved package. Porsche, the defending world champions as well, come with two cars, the German brand still feeling the reverb of the Dieselgate scandal.
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2017 IMSA Sports Car Detroit - Race Report
The IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship proved that even in the absence of one of its strongest classes, GTLM, it can put on a good show in the heart of Motor City on Saturday, when three categories went head to head on the Belle Isle street circuit in what was one of the most exciting sprint races in the championship’s history. With the GTLM class not present because most of the teams have flown over to France to take part in the Le Mans Test Day on Sunday, this year’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Detroit’s grid was made up of the Prototype, Prototype Challenge, and GT-Daytona contenders.
It was, however, no bore fest as the 100-minute-long race featured multiple battles, close calls, and even accidents, but the first twist of the tale took place well before the race. Prototype Challenge was a three-car affair with James French again smoking everybody, this time his rivals in the hunt for pole for the death-row-bound category being Tomy Drissi and Don Yount. Drissi was second on the timing sheets but his car failed the post-race technical inspection, and he lost his place to Don Yount. Before PC, however, more excitement was felt by those in attendance during the GTD 15-minute qualifying shootout.
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2017 24 Hours of Nurburgring
The Nordschleife remains the daunting challenge it has always been and last weekend’s 45th edition of the 24-hour-long race held on the world’s longest permanent race track underlined yet again the track’s infamous reputation. It was again a race between the Germans but with as dramatic a twist as they get – although it wouldn’t seem that way if you just read the results.
Sharing the weekend with Formula 1’s crown jewel, the Monaco Grand Prix, and one of the most amazing – if not the most amazing race in the world – the Indianapolis 500 means you will most obviously be outshined. But the Nurburgring 24 Hours is not just another endurance race and the 100+ entry list, amount of factory effort, 200,000+ fans that gather annually tend to prove it. But let’s delve even deeper and look at what the twice-around-the-clock race that takes drivers around the Eiffel Mountains had to offer.
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2017 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps - Race Report
Some traditions may annoy us, but the fact that the Spa six-hour race has been the final “practice” before the Le Mans 24 Hours is something well established and respected which has been the norm for years. This time round, the battle was as hot as ever with three Toyotas fighting two Porsches at the top. Add to the equation the complexity of managing just four sets of tires (plus two "Joker" sets) for the whole weekend on a track that’s really hard on tires, and you get the picture of a thrilling race.
Toyota cited the stability of the rules as the main incentive for the German-Japanese outfit to bring out a third TS050 to help in their decades-old desire to win at Circuit de la Sarthe. Until then, though, the No. 9 was present at Spa-Francorchamps in the Ardennes and poised to be driven by Nicolas Lapierre, Stephane Sarrazin and Yuji Kunimoto. This car was also fitted with the low-downforce package as was the case for the two 919s from Porsche. The difference was, however, that Spa, with its super fast first and third sectors, is much more fit for a setup with less drag. This meant that Porsche was, in theory, to close the gap on Toyota even more than they did at Silverstone, making for an electrifying six-hour race.
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2017 IMSA Advance Auto Parts Sportscar Showdown at COTA - Race Report
COTA welcomed IMSA’s different breeds of racing cars with hotter-than-expected conditions but, through it all, the end result was the same as at the first three venues of the season. The cliché question of "who can stop the Taylors?" is, maybe, on everyone’s minds now.
The Weathertech Championship was the headliner event last weekend at the Circuit of the Americas, which was because it was the first time it didn’t share the weekend with the FIA World Endurance Championship in what was known as the "Lone Star Le Mans". The series proved it could headline on North America’s only F1 track as on-track action kept everyone on their toes despite the déjà vu result after the near three-hour-long race.
2017 6 Hours of Silverstone - Race Report
Under a firm layer of heavy dark clouds, over 25 cars flashed down through Abbey to officially begin the 2017 season of the FIA World Endurance Championship with the traditional Tourist Trophy. Toyota was viewed as the favorite by many but it proved to be a much closer contest at the sharp end, a situation that was echoed all the way down the grid in what can only be described as an exciting six hours of racing.
In the preview I laid down late last week I decided to keep my wits about me regarding Toyota’s advantage against Porsche coming to Silverstone. As I mentioned in that piece, Toyota opted to debut its high-downforce aero package while Porsche brought its Le Mans-ready, low-downforce package. With Silverstone not being anymore the super fast airfield track it once was, Toyota’s added downforce should have given the Japanese-German outfit the upper hand by a clear margin over the reigning World Champions. Qualifying showed that this could be the case but the race was a different kettle of fish.
Toyota Gazoo Racing was coming into qualifying off the heels of dominating all the way through free practice. This was to be the norm in qualifying as well, Kamui Kobayashi managing a a personal best of 1:36.793 to put the No. 7 TS050 in pole. After debutant Jose-Maria Lopez’s turn at the wheel, the car dropped to fourth, but Mike Conway brought it back to P1 thanks to a sturdy 1:37.800 that put the trio’s average at an unbeatable 1:37.304. The other TS050 was close behind, Buemi, Nakajima and Davidson sharing front row with their average of 1:37.593 that surpassed Porsche’s best average by over a second. That time was managed by the No. 1 crew while the No. 2 919 was almost half-a-second behind. If the gap between Porsche and Toyota was to be expected, less so was the huge leap down the order to find the ByKolles – the only non-hybrid P1. Yes, the Nissan-engined car was never thought to be a threat to the front-runners, but it was even beating four P2 ORECAs!
Pierre Thiriet and 2017 Sebring 12 Hours winner Alex Lynn got pole in LMP2 for G-Drive racing, their 1:44.387 average being less than a tenth quicker than that of Nicolas Liperre and Matt Rao who put Alpine on the front-row in the virtually spec secondary prototype divison. Jackie Chan DC Racing’s No. 38 ORECA was third via a 1:44:591 that was below the best that any of the two Vaillante-sponsored Rebellion crews could do.
Ford dominated GTE-Pro qualifying with Priaulx and Tincknell pleasing the home crowd with an unrivalled 1:56:202 average time between the two of them. Sam Bird and Davide Rigon were roughly eight-tenths-of-a-second behind for AF Corse in their No. 71 488 GTE. Third was the venerable Vantage of Thiim and Sorensen who partnered for a 1:57:117 average that would have been slower than that of the No. 66 Ford if Stefan Mucke wouldn’t have had his best lap deleted for exceeding track limits. As it was, Mucke and Co. started fourth in the other GT run by Chip Ganassi Racing UK. It was Porsche who found themselves lacking pace, the new mid-engined 991 GTE qualifying seventh and eight.
Portugal’s Pedro Lamy teamed up with Paul Dalla-Lana for yet another pole position in GTE-Am. This time, the No. 98 Vantage beat the Spirit of Race Ferrari and the No. 77 Proton Racing Porsche.
With the starting order now set in stone or, rather, set on the time sheets, it was all about the race. Under the watchful eyes of FIA President Jean Todt – probably reminiscing of his Peugeot days in the early ‘90s – all cars lined up for the flying start on Easter Sunday; It was an important moment for Toyota.
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