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Archive for the ‘car racing’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Green4U Panoz GT-EV

Just like all-electric cars are slowly but surely coming into dealerships in higher numbers, battery-powered vehicles are becoming more involved in the racing scene. Hybrids can be found in quite a few series nowadays and they have made up the top tier in the World Endurance Championships for a few years now. With Formula E having already established an all-electric series, it’s only a matter of time until EVs will be raced in just about any motorsport series out there. Green4U isn’t the first company to set its eyes on the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans race, but it could become the first to join the event with a full EV. Its new prototype is called the Panoz GT-EV and could race at Le Mans as early as 2018.

Founded in September 2016, Green4U, an electric vehicle company, owns George-based automaker Panoz (hence the Panoz GT-EV name), Team Panoz Racing, and DeltaWing. Panoz is already a famous name in the racing scene, having built several prototypes and GT race cars, as well as the founding of the American Le Mans Series, which later merged with the Rolex Sports Car Series to form United SportsCar Racing. The DeltaWing race car, known for its unusual design and rather unsuccessful stint at Le Mans in 2012 was also linked to Don Panoz. Later on, designer Ben Bowlby left to create the strikingly similar Nissan ZEOD RC. Neither the DeltaWing or the Nissan were electric, but the Panoz GT-EV is being designed to work on electricity alone. The car is still a long way off from hitting the race track, but Green4U is already rolling out the details. Find out more below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Green4U Panoz GT-EV.

PostHeaderIcon Make Sure You Abide By Dodge’s Rules Before You Buy A Challenger SRT Demon

Suppose you already have a reservation for the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon and you’re just waiting for that precious call from your local Dodge dealer. It’s hard not to get excited about getting your hands on one of the most anticipated muscle cars to be released in recent history. Exciting times, isn’t it? Well, before you get a little too excited about the possibilities, Dodge is dousing that excitement with a three-page Demon Disclosure Form that you’ll have to abide by before you can bring your Challenger Demons home.

The document, acquired by Jalopnik, is essentially a “terms and conditions” waiver that Dodge wants every Challenger Demon buyer to sign, effectively waiving their rights to sue in the event they don’t follow any of the conditions laid out by the automaker. Among the important points that Dodge indicated in the form pertains to passenger seats. Specifically, the form says that “if the vehicle is not factory equipped with a passenger seat, customer shall never attempt to install a passenger seat because the passenger will not be properly protected.” Another important reminder included in the form is a warning for owners never to use “any “Track-Use” features, functions, equipment or parts on public roads or any other prohibited area.”There are a lot more conditions laid out in the form, and almost all of which were put in to lay out the simple fact that the Challenger SRT is effectively a street-legal drag car and owners should use it with utmost care and caution.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon 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.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon WTF1 Lists The 7 Craziest Stories From The History Of Le Mans: Video

Let’s be honest – the 24 Hours of Le Mans is pretty much one of the most insane races of all time. Just think about the underlying concept for a second – put dozens and dozens of cars on a high-speed track (the roster this year includes 60 entries), with four different categories and huge speed differentials between them, then let ‘em have at it for 24 straight hours to see who comes out on top. With a premise like that, prospects are high for the creation of some epic stories and nail-biting finishes. And since 1923, that’s exactly what’s come out of the Circuit de la Sarthe. This weekend, the 85th running of the event is about to go down, and the motoring world is on the edge of its seat to see which drivers and teams will take home the win. As such, we’re bringing you this three-minute, 51-second video from WTF1 to help whet your appetite.

The video spans a good deal of Le Mans history, listing such notable stories as Jacky Ickx’s protest to the “Le Mans-style” start, all the way up to last year’s heartbreaking near-win for Toyota. There’s also a few interesting surprises included, like the story from 1933 detailing Alfa Romeo’s chewing gum fix for a leaky fuel tank. Suffice to say, you’d need one very lengthy documentary to cover all the great stories from this iconic motorsport event, so make sure to list your favorites in the comments below.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Ford’s "The Return" Documentary Is Now Up On Amazon Prime

For those of you who are looking for something good to watch this weekend, Ford and Amazon Prime are here for your viewing pleasure. The two companies have been working for quite some time on a documentary about Ford’s return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year and the good news is that the documentary, titled The Return, is now available on Amazon Prime.

We’ve heard a lot about the process behind the creation of this documentary, which focuses on the Blue Oval’s return to the race that still stands as the company’s crowning achievement in motor racing. Ford’s return to Le Mans in 2016 after years of absence also coincided with the 50th anniversary of the 1-2-3 finish in the world famous endurance race back in 1966. The whole documentary lasts a good 78 minutes (one hour and 18 minutes) and it goes on a deep dive behind Ford’s history in Le Mans and the preparations that went into its dramatic and ultimately successful return to the race. There’s plenty of behind-the-scenes action in the documentary, as well as interviews with some of the world’s most prominent racing experts. Members of the Ford family are also in the documentary and if there are any questions on why Le Mans was so important to Ford founder Henry Ford, his family provided a lot of interesting answers in the documentary. If you count yourself as a Ford or Le Mans fan, or even a fan of both, The Return is undoubtedly going to be must-see TV. Good thing that the weekend’s coming up then.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Oreca 07 LMP2

If you’re at all familiar with the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) or the 24 Hours of Le Mans, odds are you’ve heard the name “Oreca” before. Also known as the Organisation Exploitation Competition Automobiles, Oreca is a French race team headed by former F1 team manager Hugues de Chaunac. Founded in 1973, Oreca is best known for developing and producing top-shelf racers for the LMP2 category, providing a winning platform for a number of teams from a variety of different nations. Oreca’s latest effort is dubbed the 07, offered as an upgrade over the outgoing 05 model, coinciding with rule changes for the 2017 season. The new car is now headed to Le Mans, where Oreca hopes to clinch yet another class win thanks to improved aerodynamics, more power, and a tweaked chassis.

Oreca Technology’s Director, David Flourey, describes the 07 LMP2 as the “furthest-developed prototype to date, the one on which we have made the least compromises possible.” At its core, the 07 is essentially an Oreca 5, which isn’t a bad thing when you consider the 05 took top honors in the LMP2 category at Le Mans for the last two events running. The 05 was also the first closed-cockpit racer to bear the Oreca name, and considering this isn’t historic racing, it’s time to evolve the breed. As such, Oreca is promising even higher levels of performance and greater reliability with the 07. So far, things are looking up for 2017. Read on for the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the Oreca 07 LMP2.

PostHeaderIcon The Hoonigan Crew Goes Opposite Lock In Crosskarts: Video

The major automakers boast all the time about offering a “pure” driving experience, but even the most hardcore street machines can’t compete with this – say hello to the Crosskart. Essentially a four-wheeled, rear-engine, high-performance speed pod, this is a machine that you wear like a tight pair of jeans. Strap into the single-seat cockpit, plug in the steering wheel, and hit the throttle, and you’ll be enjoying the high-revs of a 750 cc engine motivating the rear axle through a six-speed sequential transmission. Course corrections come courtesy of a quick-ratio steering system and hydraulic handbrake, and with roughly 150 horses on tap to motivate just 680 pounds of curb weight, rest assured it’s got what it takes to tap into your adrenaline reserves. And that’s exactly what the Hoonigan folks got to experience, as documented in this 14-minute video.

The video follows the crew on a field trip to Grange Motor Circuit in Southern California, where Crosskart USA provided a few examples of the aforementioned speed pods. Per usual, the Hoonigans put their feet down and hang the ass end out, displaying some slick tandem drifts on the tight race track. Hearing the engine scream alongside the screeching tire noise is a real treat, while the in-car shots and jaw-dropping drone footage capture what appears to be illegal levels of fun. Sign us up. Please?

PostHeaderIcon Ferrari Challenge 2017, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

The first round of the 2017 Ferrari Challenge was just concluded at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in a three-day outing, May 12-14.
Affable weather accompanied the event, and although I diligently applied my sunscreen in the morning, I never felt excess heat.
Just the right amount of cool air movement kept the sunny skies from overheating.

A new model is taking part in the 2017 Ferrari Challenge racing series.
It comes in the form of the 488 Challenge, introduced last December as the sixth Ferrari model to take part in this one model racing set which Ferrari initiated in 1992.
The Challenge was initiated by Ferrari for their clients who had a special zeal for racing. The 488 Challenge represents two firsts in the Ferrari Challenge. It is the first turbocharged Ferrari as well as the most powerful to compete in this racing series.

PostHeaderIcon The Best Driving And Racing Schools In America

Just because you think you can drive, that doesn’t mean you can really drive. See, there’s a difference between casually going to your local market in a Honda Civic and blasting along a race track at speeds in excess of 200 mph. The latter takes time to learn and even then, only a small population of drivers can really be adept at driving race cars to their full potential. Everyone can try it, though, to see how far they can go. And for them to find out, the best way is signing up for any one of the many racing schools populating the great ‘ol U.S. of A.

Obviously, we’re not here to list down each and every racing school in America. That would likely end in the thousands when talking about them quantitatively. Rather, we’re lining up some of the best racing schools in the country. Each of the schools on this list is either run by high-end automakers or drivers with racing pedigrees. Regardless of who or where it is, these schools all have something unique to offer with a catalog of classes and racing opportunities all at the table. So, with the summer season fast approaching, now may be as good a time to compare the best racing schools in the U.S.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Mitsubishi Evo X Does Quarter Mile In 8.48 Seconds, Sets Record, Melts Face: Video

Enthusiasts the world over shed a tear when Mitsu killed off the rally-bred Lancer Evolution last year. After 10 generations and nearly a quarter century of bringing high-tech speed to the masses, you could say we were growing rather fond of the Japanese imports. Thankfully, even with production now ended, Evo owners are still pushing the limits of what’s possible with the platform. The latest evidence of this comes from Texas and the TX2K17 drag racing event, where one Evo X managed to set a new world record by doing the quarter mile in an astonishing 8.48 seconds at 164 mph.

Documentation of the new record comes courtesy of 1320 Video, which put together this superb three-and-a-half minute bit of evidence, complete with tons of runs, lots of hard launches, and plenty of pleasing noises. The video starts with rollouts, which offer good prep for the later, more serious runs. The video then follows the Evo’s progress towards quicker and quicker ETs, ending with the record-setting 8.48. Watching this thing scoot down the strip is pretty awesome, especially when you consider the pilot is working a five-speed manual, rather than a sequential shifter. We can’t wait to see where it goes next.

PostHeaderIcon 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.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon 2017 World Endurance Championship Season Preview

This weekend, at Silverstone, will mark the beginning of a new era for the World Endurance Championship. An era without Audi in the top-tier LMP1 category and an era with a brand-new fleet of LMP2 machinery to further compound the mix. Porsche will also debut their new mid-engined 911 in GTE-Pro – that will never see series production. If those aren’t strong enough reasons to make you want to follow the WEC in 2017, I don’t know which are.

Established in 2012 as the natural evolution of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, the World Endurance Championship in its current form is an attempt by the FIA to bring endurance racing back to the position it once occupied – right behind Formula 1, of course.

The sixth season of the World Championship is set to kick off without one of its core teams on the grid – Audi Sport Team Joest. The German manufacturer, heavily hit by the Dieselgate scandal that shook the Volkswagen Group to its core, pulled the plug on its LMP1 program after a staggering 18-year-long stint at the sharp end in sportscar racing. This leaves only Porsche and Toyota to battle it out for overall honors while the whole grid will be made up by no more than 27 cars across the four categories: LMP1, LMP2, GTE-Pro and GTE-Am.

Beyond Silverstone, we have eight other rounds to look forward to, one of which being the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans. The blue riband event is the only one to last more than six hours and is also the one that gathers the biggest crowd and the biggest grid. This weekend’s stop in the UK will be followed by the Spa-Francorchamps Six-hour race on May 6-7, then by Le Mans on June 17-18. The Six Hours of the Nurburgring is next after a month-long hiatus on July 16. An even longer break stands between the German round at the trip across the pond for the American races. First off is the Six Hours of Mexico on September 3. This is then followed by the popular Six Hours of COTA on 16 of the same month. Mid-October brings us the Japanese six-hour race at Fuji on the 15 as the final two races are slated for November. Second to last are the Six Hours of Shanghai on November 5 followed by the season-ending Six Hours of Bahrain on the 18th.

While it seems, looking over the grid size and car count per classes, that the WEC’s growth has stopped, things aren’t as bad as they seem and the future still looks bright for the world’s premier sports car endurance racing championship.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon 2017 IMSA Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach – Race Report

From the long and wide stretches of Sebring Raceway, the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship motley gang went to the winding streets of Long Beach, California. The shortest race of the season proved to be every bit as exciting as the first two, mixing controversy, drama and some great on-track battles in a space of just 100 minutes between the waving of the first green flag, to the appearance of the white flag.

The streets of Long Beach were as packed as ever come the end of last week as teams from a number of series were preparing for the Long Beach Grand Prix. Indycars were on site, as well as the IMSA crews, the Pirelli World Challenge folks and, last but not least, a group of Can-Am cars. These were slated to run for the first time ever at Long Beach in what was a true spectacle for both the eyes and ears. Such cars as the Shadow DN4, the McLaren M8F or the Lola T70 made their way through the 1.9-mile-long street course for a couple of demo races that got everyone in the mood for the races of the modern cars – maybe not as dramatic but surely not forgettable.

Ricky Taylor proved to be the quickest in qualifying with his 1:13.549 being a lap record for the Prototype class. It was also the second podium in the last three editions of the Long Beach Grand Prix for Wayne Taylor Racing’s driver who was 0.2 seconds quicker than Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 10 Action Express Racing Cadillac. Tristan Nunez was third for Speedsource Mazda, but his 1:14.393 was almost a second off the pole time. It was JDC/Miller Motorsport on the fourth spot of the grid while the third Cadillac of Dane Cameron and Eric Curran qualified fifth. One car did not take part in the Prototype qualifying, precisely the No. 90 Racing Riley LMP2 which was crashed in practice by Renger van der Zande, the Dutch going straight into T1 after he lost front brake pressure, the cause of the failure yet unknown.

Corvette Racing scored the pole in GT-LM thanks to Jan Magnussen’s 1:16.609 which was less than tenth of a second quicker than Joey Hand’s best lap in the No. 66 Ford. Hand was on an even quicker lap with three minutes left to go when his team-mate, Richard Westbrook, spun and crashed his No. 67 Ford GT which caused a session-ending red flag that denied Hand a chance to get pole. Also denied of a chance was Risi’s Toni Vilander whose starting position, third, could have been better as the Finn was quicker on his last flyer on which he spun out. Fourth was the best that Porsche’s No. 912 could do. The other 991 GTE did not take part in qualifying after Patrick Pilet’s shunt in practice that called for a partial rebuild of the mid-engined car. Bill Auberlen could do no better than fifth for BMW Team Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – thus missing out on the chance to score three consecutive poles at Long Beach in three years.

GT-D pole went the way of Bryan Sellers and Paul Miller Racing. The Lamborghini driver reeled off a 1:19.243 to beat Jack Hawksworth whose bid for Lexus’ first pole fell short by just 0.033 of a second. Daniel Morad was third for Alegra Motorsport while Corey Lewis put Change Racing’s Huracan on fourth, right ahead of Lawson Aschenbach’s R8 entered by Stevenson Motorsport. 3GT Racing’s other Lexus did not take part in qualifying after Scott Pruett damaged the No. 14 quite badly in a practice crash.

With qualifying done, everyone was ready for the race which promised to be more busy than ever as never before had the GT-D cars taken part in the Long Beach round which was, in the past, welcoming only the Prototypes and the GT-LM teams. 34 cars were entered and 33 would take the start on Saturday afternoon.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon 2017 12 Hours of Sebring – Race Report

The 65th Annual Sebring 12hrs race proved to be one of high attrition in the Prototype ranks that produced a result that most of us could’ve predicted to a certain extent and, on top of that, amazing battles towards the very end in both GT-LM and GT-D. Weather was fine throughout and, as a contrast to Daytona, there was a clear lack of caution which made it possible for strategies to play out as time went by.

The almighty Cadillacs received a hit in qualifying as Porsche works driver and 2016 WEC Drivers’ Champion Neel Jani slipped past to claim pole for Rebellion Racing and their ORECA 07 P2. The Swiss managed a 1:48.178 which was a record lap time in itself and was also better than Christian Fittipaldi’s fastest lap by only 0.095-seconds. Fittipaldi might’ve bettered Jani’s time with his last flyer but the No. 5 Action Express Racing Dallara-built Cadillac ran out of fuel while out on the track.

However, Fittipaldi still beat team-mate Dane Cameron who started third in the No. 31 Cadillac, ahead of Jose Gutierrez in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Ligier JS P2-17. Fifth sat the highest of the Extreme Speed Motorspot Nissan, specifically No. 22, while Wayne Taylor’s car was sixth. The other Nissan’s times were erased as the team pitted during the 15-minute-long session to fix some boost-related issues which is against the rules.

Gustavo Yacaman of BAR1 Motorsports was the fastest of the four-car Prototype Challenge field, his last lap attempt, a 1:53.506, besting James French’s quickest run on the famed road course. Buddy Rice was third in the sister BAR1 Motorsports entry, but his lap was some 2.5 seconds off pace.

Down the order in GT-LM, Ford set the pace, with two of its three GTs claiming first and second. Ryan Briscoe was the benchmark, his 1:55.939 in the No. 67 Ford also being a new track record in his class. Bill Auberlen held the previous record, his time being nearly 2.5 seconds slower. Tommy Milner was third, beaten also by Dirk Mueller’s Ford. Next to Milner sat Kevin Estre’s No. 911 works Porsche. It was again very close in GT-LM as the top six were separated by just 0.5-seconds.

Mercedes-Benz claimed its first ever Sebring podium as Tristan Vautier stormed to pole in the SunEnergy1 AMG GT GT3 posting the only lap in the 1:59 bracket. The lap time was another record and it was almost 0.8 seconds quicker than the best that Connor de Philippi could do in the Land Motorsport Audi. Corey Lewis was third in the quickest Lamborghini Huracan.

Looking at qualifying, it seemed like it was all to play for, although Cadillac in Prototype and Ford in GT-LM respectively seemed to have a certain advantage over their in-class rivals.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Lexus RC F GT3

Lexus debuted the RC F coupe, and it took no time at all for the brands racing division to come up with the RC F GT500, a car that’s been around since late 2014 and was actually quite successful last season. It dominated the Super GT series in Japan and earned Team SARD team and drivers’ championship titles in the GT500 category. Now, as the 2017 racing season kicks off, Lexus is at it again with another RC F-based racecar, this time called the RC F GT 3.

Slated to competing in the U.S. GTD class of the IMSA WeatherTech Championship, and the GT300 class of the Super GT Series in Japan. It’s powered by a 5.4-liter V-8 (0.4-liters larger than that of the road-going RC F) and is said to deliver 500+ horsepower through a six-speed sequential racing transmission. If the success of the GT500 is any indication, Lexus likely has another winner on its hands, but we’ll see more of that in the coming months.

For now, we know that 3GT Racing team here in the U.S. will put the GT3 to the test at the WeatherTech Championship while the LM Corsa team will be fielding two examples of the car in the Super GT Series. But, will the new GT3 car have what it takes to be dominating like the GT500 was last year? Well, let’s take a closer look at it and see what it brings to the table.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Lexus RC F GT3.

PostHeaderIcon 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona – Race Report

This year’s Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona was akin to a waterslide which picked up speed in the last couple of hours, with the big splash being in the very last minutes that decided the twice-around-the-clock race in three of the four classes. While at times lackluster due to the extended periods of rain that put proceedings under lengthy safety car periods, the longest race in IMSA’s Weathertech Sportscar Championship did not fail to deliver at the end in both excitement, drama, and controversy.

Daytona is where we’ve seen many formulas stage their debut. It was where the then-new 3.0-liter open-top prototypes kicked off, as well as the World Sportscar prototypes that replaced the GTPs in 1994. Then, in 2003, the Daytona Prototypes also had their first start at the 24-hour-long race. We were all looking back at the positive debuts and the not so positive ones trying to figure out how 2017’s edition will look. But, if anything, it was very hard to read into these 12 new prototypes. Seven of them were US-bound DPis while five were FIA/ACO-spec LMP2s and, after the December Test and the Roar, it was hard to pick a clear favorite. Certainly, the Cadillacs would be a feature but returning Swiss squad Rebellion Racing were also serious bidders for Victory Lane.

The GT classes were no pool of certainty either, new machinery also featuring in both GT-LM and GT-D. Porsche came with their first ever (or first since 1998, if you wish) mid-engined 911 while, further down, it was Lexus and Acura that debuted new cars. Mercedes-Benz was also on its IMSA debut, facing its first ever 24-hour race at Daytona. Perhaps the only certainty was that the Prototype Challenge was going to start in its last season of IMSA competition and a diminished grid of just five ORECA FLM-09s proved it.

Last but not least, weather was potentially preparing to throw a curve ball to add to the race’s equation in the form of rain between Saturday and Sunday. So, how was it all going to play out? We’d all find out in the course of 24 long hours.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Toyota's Camry NASCAR Racer is Built in America

With Donald Trump officially elected as the 44th President of the United States, automakers have found themselves under a lot of stress thanks to his “build in American or pay dearly” strategy. Well, that actually led to a bit of a theme at the Detroit Auto Show, with automakers giving nods to the U.S.-based production in one way or another. One effort to prove U.S.-production loyalty came in the form of Toyota’s NASCAR racer that looks somewhat similar to the all-new Toyota Camry. Of course, most of the body is fake and all, but from a distance, it looks quite similar. More importantly, however, are the two nods to U.S.-loyalty that are advertised on the car.

First off, there’s a big decal just above the rear windscreen that says “Built in Kentucky.” That’s right, Toyota’s NASCAR racer is actually built in the Southern U.S. But, that wasn’t the only thing that caught my attention. There also a bright green decal around the fuel filler cap that reads “American Ethanol,” a simple but effective way to let everyone at the show know that the Japanese brand relies on American-made ethanol and American citizens to keep its presence on the track known. It makes complete sense, but it leaves on to wonder: Would these decals be there if Trump wasn’t pushing automakers for U.S. production so much?

That’s hard to say, but I have a feeling they wouldn’t be – or they wouldn’t be so prominent anyway. On a side note, since we’re here, I want to point out that it must take a lot of dedication to sit in one of these racers for so long. After getting a good look at the inside, I can tell you that there is absolutely nothing comfortable about them. The seat is hard, and there’s sheet metal everywhere – all with sharp points and thin edges. In case you haven’t had the chance to look inside an actual NASCAR racer, I snagged a few shots of the interior as best I could. You can check those out by clicking the “Photos” tab above, and I suggest you do if you really want to see what NASCAR drivers put up with for hours at a time on the track.

PostHeaderIcon Dakar Rally 2017 – Day 1 On The Books!

The latest edition of the Dakar Rally is now officially underway, with over 500 adventurous souls taking the helm of their chosen chariot to see if they have what it takes to conquer this monster of an event. And while there’s still quite a bit of ground to cover, the results from Stage 1 are in. Leading the cars is Nasser Al-Attiyah, while Xavier de Soultrait heads the bike class. Meanwhile, Marcelo Medeiros takes the lead in the quad class, Martin Kolomy leads in the truck class, and Tim Coronel leads in UTV’s.

For those of you who are unaware, the Dakar Rally is an annual “rally raid” event whereby competitors race off-road, from point to point. The event pits drivers and their vehicles against some of the most challenging terrain Mother Earth can muster, including nearly 5,600 miles of dirt, sand, boulders, grit, and grime. Just finishing the event is considered a major accomplishment.

Established in the late ‘70s, the name of the event stems from the original route, which started in Paris, France, and ended in Dakar, Senegal. In 2009, the event was moved to South America, but make no mistake – it’s still every bit as treacherous as the original rally.

Stay tuned, because we’ll be bringing you updates as the event progresses towards its conclusion January 14th.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Nissan GT-R Nismo GT500

The current Nissan GT-R, also known as the R35, was introduced in 2007 as a successor to the popular R34. Redesigned from the ground up, the R35 set many new benchmarks for the GT-R nameplate. It’s the first to no longer feature the Skyline name and the first GT-R to use a V-6 engine (previous generations have used inline-six units). More importantly, it’s the first GT-R offered globally, being exported to the U.S. and giving Nissan unprecedented popularity in the sports car market. Finally, it is also the longest-running GT-R model. While previous versions were produced for three to five years, the R35 is ten years old as of 2017. Although a bit long in the tooth, the current GT-R is still making headlines on both the road and the track, the latter fueled by numerous versions prepped by Nismo. One of them is the GT500 and it just received an update for the 2017 racing season.

Used by Nissan in Japan’s top-spec Super GT racing division since 2008, the GT-R has brought the company five championship triumphs in nine years. However, after winning the series in 2014 and 2015, the GT-R was defeated by Lexus and its RC F-based GT500 race car in 2016. Nissan wants to fix that in 2017, which brought significant modifications to the GT500 rule book, with a revised version of its Nismo-built, race-ready GT-R.

“We will make further development improvements during off-season tests and aim to create a race car that will shine brilliantly within the history of motorsports,” said president and CEO of Nismo, Takao Katagiri. “We hope to thrill fans with a fast, more appealing GT-R that will excite fans as it lines up on the grid for the opening round competing against the new Lexus and Honda machines.”

The new GT-R GT500 was unveiled at the Twin Ring Motegi along with entries for rival companies Lexus and Honda, and was showcased once again at the Nismo Festival at Fuji Speedway in December. The 2017 Super GT Series is scheduled to begin in April.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Nissan GT-R GT500.

PostHeaderIcon Alfa Romeo Eyeing Return To Formula 1

After a spectacular comeback to the market with vehicles such as the 4C sports car, Giulia Quadrifoglio sedan, and the Stelvio SUV, Alfa Romeo could return to high-profile racing after a very long hiatus. According to Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne, an Alfa Romeo Formula One project could be used to help up-and-coming Italian drivers join the sport. No Italian has started an F1 race since 2011 and Ferrari hasn’t fielded an Italian pilot since 2009 (but it has hired GP2 rookie Antonio Giovinazzi as its reserve driver for 2017).

“Alfa Romeo in F1 could become a fine breeding ground for young Italian drivers. The best one, Giovinazzi, is already with us, but there are others besides him, and they are struggling to find room. Alfa Romeo, more than our customer teams, could offer them that space,” Marchionne told Italian media, according to

There’s no specific deadline as to when Alfa Romeo might join F1, but Marchionne said that the project would have to wait due to the several road cars launched that are underway.

“The problem is that, at the moment, because of the launch of road cars that will come out soon, there already numerous commitments from a financial point of view. With the launch of the Giulia and the Stelvio we have to wait for a bit, but I hope to be able to bring it back,” he added.

I wouldn’t get my hopes up to see the Alfa Romeo badge in Formula One before 2019.

The Italian brand has been an important figure in motorsport since the early days, fielding several cars in pre-WWII Grand Prix events. After joining sports car racing and winning three back-to-back 24 Hours of Le Mans races in the 1930s, Alfa Romeo joined Formula One in its maiden season in 1950. The Italians dominated the series in 1950 and 1951, but withdrew after that and didn’t return as a construction to this day. However, Alfa Romeo supplied several F1 teams with engines, including McLaren, March, and Brabham. Alfa’s last appearance in F1 as an engine supplier was in 1988 alongside the small Italian team Osella. In 1987, Alfa Romeo made a deal to supply engines to Ligier, but all was cancelled when Fiat took control of the brand.

Continue reading for the full story.

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