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PostHeaderIcon 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.

Continue reading for the full story.

Uncertain Future for the Prototype Class


2017 Six Hours of Fuji - Race Report - image 739250
“Gazoo Racing is working on the 2018 model but isn’t looking at a departure from the 2017 version”

Indeed, Toyota officials did not leave everyone hanging completely although not definitive answer was given either. The team’s technical director, Pascal Vasselon, stated that they can easily halt the program which means they don’t have a due date for their announcement. The waiting card is being played by Toyota because the FIA and the ACO haven’t made it particularly clear how will the P1-H and the (former) P1-L cars will be “balanced” next year and beyond.

What we know thus far is that the privateer petrol-only cars (the former P1-L namely) will be much closer to the P1-H machinery, although the hybrids will retain their efficiency advantage. Vasselon also said that, with no decision having been taken, team Gazoo Racing is currently working on the 2018 model but isn’t looking at a departure from the concept showcased in 2017 because they will be the only ones with a hybrid anyway.

Qualifying


2017 Six Hours of Fuji - Race Report - image 739244
“The 20 minutes of qualifying for the LMP1 runners were marked by deteriorating weather”

The ominous skies never left Fuji Speedway so everybody had to brace themselves for tough conditions come qualifying. The 20 minutes of qualifying for the LMP1 runners were marked by deteriorating weather. That meant that the quickest times were locked in early, with Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley managing the best average – a 1:35.160 aboard the No. 2 Porsche 919. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Porsche’s No. 1 car followed suite qualifying second with an average just 0,071 seconds slower than that of the polesitters. Toyota’s two TS050s were third and fourth overall with the No. 8 just 0,195 seconds behind. The No. 7 was a more sorry sight as it went on to start from fourth after being over 1,5 seconds slower than the No.2 Porsche.

In similar fashion to Porsche, Vaillante Rebellion Racing was quickest in the LMP2 class storming to 1st and 2nd in the junior prototype category. It was the first time that the No. 13 ORECA of David Heinemeier-Hansson and Nelson Piquet Jr. took pole, thanks to a 1:44.196 average lap time. It bettered the No. 31’s average by 0,729 seconds. Championship leaders Thomas Laurent and Ho Pin Tung were third quickest in the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing car.


2017 Six Hours of Fuji - Race Report - image 739252
“In similar fashion to Porsche, Vaillante Rebellion Racing was quickest in the LMP2 class”

1:47.577 was the quickest two-driver average in GTE-Pro and it belonged to the crew of the No. 91 Porsche 991 GTE, Fred Makowiecki and Richard Lietz. It’s no anomaly to see Porsche reign supreme in the wet so Ford weren’t all that bummed to see their No. 67 pushed to second on the grid, a mere 0,441 seconds back. It’s worth noting that the No. 28 LMP car of TDS Racing was actually slower than the GTE-Pro pole sitter! Behind the Ford and the Porsche were the sister Ford, the No. 71 Ferrari and the No. 92 Porsche which scored the team’s first pole in 2017. Aston-Martin saw its cars qualify at the back of the field while the No. 51 Ferrari was last because it gambled longer on the intermediate tire compound than the No. 71.

Clearwater Racing was quickest in GTE-AM thanks to Mok Weng Sun’s and Matt Griffin’s efforts who managed a combined time of 1:409.408 in the No. 61 Ferrari 488 GTE. Championship leders Marvin Dienst and Matteo Cairoli, this time running in a pink-instead-of-blue livery to raise awareness to breast cancer, were second. The race got underway with rain falling – as it almost always did throughout the weekend – so that meant it wasn’t a proper get-away, rather a safety car start. That situation lasted for the first four laps before the pack was released. There was, though, a slow-zone on the longer-than-life start/finish straight but that was also lifted after another lap.

LMP1

“After seven laps had been completed, Porsche was in the lead thanks to Earl Bamber aboard the No. 2 919”

After seven laps had been completed, Porsche was in the lead thanks to Earl Bamber aboard the No. 2 919. The Le Mans winner managed to ease away from Sebastien Buemi in the No. 8 as the No. 1 Porsche dropped to fourth overall after contact with the Swiss’ Toy(b)ota. The Japanese outfit was expected to be close or even quicker than the their German rivals in wet conditions and this was somewhat the case with the No. 8 particularly keeping up with the 919s, although Bamber pitted for his first stop from a 12-seconds lead. Sonn after that was ticked away, the second safety car period began, just before the end of hour number 1.

The race continued, at reduced pace however due to the everlasting rain and foggy conditions, until it did no more. The fog got progressively worse and race director Eduardo Freitas called for a red flag early into the second hour. It lasted 33 minutes and the restart was again done with the aid of the safety car, green flags being waved with four hours and nine minutes left. At that point in time, Toyota’s No. 8 car led the sister No. 7 thanks to the way the pit stops worked out. That’s because the No. 2 Porsche had to pit for it decided to remain on track as the red flags were flown.


2017 Six Hours of Fuji - Race Report - image 739240
“The fog got progressively worse and race director Eduardo Freitas called for a red flag early in the second hour”

The somewhat unusual situation here was that the time continued to tick away even under red flag conditions, effectively shortening the actual race. This meant that there was the possibility of the teams only being given 50% of the points if it would have been permanently stopped before it had reached 75% of its duration. Happily, this wasn’t the case and the race cars only encountered one extra safety car period before breaching into the second half. The No. 8 Toyota of Kazuki Nakajima had almost 45 seconds worth of lead over the No. 1 Porsche while Jose-Maria Lopez was third in the trouble-hit No. 7. The car’s wiper malfunctioned which caused a blinded Kamui Kobayashi to leave the island. The event pushed Team Gazoo Racing to change the TS050s steering wheel at the pit stop that followed.

Toyota’s luck turned around late in the race with the advent of the second red flag. This was called by race control with one hour and 40 minutes left on the clock, also for fog. The tricky thing on this occasion was that there was so much inconsistency with this element of nature – sometimes you could see almost all the way to turn one while other times you could barely see 10-15 feet in front of you, and sometimes this change occurred within a few laps.


2017 Six Hours of Fuji - Race Report - image 739251
“The No. 8 car of Nakajima, Buemim and Anthony Davidson finished ahead of the No. 7 sister car”

That’s why this second red flag period was never lifted, although Freitas tried to restart the race for a 10-minutes shootout but it was already getting wetter, besides being foggy as per usual. Once more due to the pit stops cycles Toyota was in front when the red flag was waved and so they wounded up on the winner’s podium. The No. 8 car of Nakajima, Buemi and Anthony Davidson (who, on his return to the tea, didn’t even get to turn a wheel in the race) finished ahead of the sister No. 7.

This was Toyota’s third win of the year and it keeps both the drivers’and manufacturer’s titles alive, at least mathematically speaking. It also occurred on the third occasion that a WEC race was shortened due to bad weather, one of the two others taking place at Fuji as well. This is because the race is put in a period of generally treacherous weather in the Japanese area – although last year there was no rain.

Porsche finished third and fourth after a troubled run. The No. 1 car came back up the order after contact with Buemi made Lotterer lose time. The champion car of last year finished third ahead of the championship-leading No. 2 which was fourth after Timo Bernhard lost a lap due to dismal pace and a misjudged green flag pit stop.

LMP1 Results

Pos No. Team Drivers Car Laps
1 8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Buemi / Davidson / Nakajima Toyota TS050 – Hybrid 113
2 7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Conway / Kobayashi / Lopez Toyota TS050 – Hybrid 113
3 1 Porsche LMP Team Jani / Lotterer / Tandy Porsche 919 Hybrid 113
4 2 Porsche LMP Team Bernhard / Bamber / Hartley Porsche 919 Hybrid 112

LMP2

“The No. 31 ORECA led a dominant performance from Bart Hayden’s outfit which was close to a 1-2 at a certain point”

Nico Prost, Bruno Senna and Julien Canal were first in line when the second and last red flag was shown and thus won the junior prototype division. The No. 31 ORECA led a dominant performance from Bart Hayden’s outfit which was close to a 1-2 at a certain point. The championship-leading No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing car had to settle for third, which minimizes ever so slightly their advantage at the top of the standings. It’s notable that both Julien Canal Thomas Laurent, their crews’ respective silver rated drivers did not actually drive in the event but are poised to get the points earned by their team-mates due to the circumstances.

Second place in the P2 class went to Signatech-Alpine. The No. 36 Alpine A470 of Gustavo Menezes, Nicolas Lapierre and Andre Negrao managed to claw their way back to the front after a difficult start. TDS Racing had their honor reinstated after the poor qualifying session with a fourth place finish in class for Francois Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Matthieu Vaxiviere. Fifth in class was the Manor car No. 24 of Matt Rao, Ben Hanley and Jean-Eric Vergne.

Top 5 LMP2 Results

Pos No. Team Drivers Car Laps
1 31 Vaillante Rebellion Canal / Prost / Senna Oreca 07 – Gibson 110
2 36 Signatech Alpine Matmut Lapierre / Menezes / Negrao Alpine A470 – Gibson 110
3 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Tung / Jarvis / Laurent Oreca 07 – Gibson 110
4 28 TDS Racing Perrodo / Vaxiviere / Collard Oreca 07 – Gibson 110
5 24 CEFC Manor TRS Racing Rao / Hanley / Vergne Oreca 07 – Gibson 110

GTE-Pro

“The No. 51 AF Corse drivers scored back to back wins and take over the lead in the driver’s title chase”

James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi found themselves at the sharp end of the Pro field when the race was interrupted (never to be resumed) with less than two hours left to go. The No. 51 AF Corse drivers thus scored back to back wins and take over the lead in the driver’s title chase. That’s also thanks to a frustrating race for former championship leader, Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx. The Ford drivers first received a drive-through penalty. After that early offense, Priaulx found himself overwhelmed by the conditions and had to offs aboard the No. 67 which ultimately was scored eight (and last) in class. The two Britons head to China third in the standings.

Pole sitters Lietz and Makowiecki finished second for Porsche Team Manthey. The second 991 GTE finished third in a what-could-have-been race for the Germans that even led early with the No. 91. The Aston-Martins never dialed in their Dunlops in the wet conditions and in sixth and seventh, behind the No. 51 in fifth and the No. 66 in fourth.

Top 5 LMGTE Pro Results

Pos No. Team Drivers Car Laps
1 51 AF Corse Calado / Pier Guidi Ferrari 488 GTE 109
2 91 Porsche GT Team Lietz / Makowiecki Porsche 911 RSR 109
3 92 Porsche GT Team Christensen / Estre Porsche 911 RSR 109
4 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Mucke / Pla Ford GT 109
5 71 AF Corse Rigon / Bird Ferrari 488 GTE 109

GTE-Am

“Miguel Molina, Thomas Flohr and Francesco Castellacci combined for their first win in the 2017 FIA WEC season”

Miguel Molina, Thomas Flohr and Francesco Castellacci combined for their first win in the 2017 FIA WEC season. It could have been a hotly contested race win if not for the interruptions as the No. 54 Spirit of Race crew was battling hard with the pole-sitting No. 61 Clearwater Racing entry. The two identical 488s were clearly better in the wet conditions than the rear-engined Porsche 991 No. 77 of Dempsey Proton Racing which completed the podium.

The other Porsche in GTE-AM, that of Gulf Racing UK, came home fourth. It showed that not even the GTE-Am crew could get the wet weather Dunlops to work on the aging Vantage V8. The No. 98 of Dalla-Lana, Lamy and Lauda had to be happy they did not bin the car and will live to race two more times in an attempt to turn their season around and claim that elusive title.

LMGTE Am Results

Pos No. Team Drivers Car Laps
1 54 Spirit of Race Flohr / Castellacci / Molina Ferrari 488 GTE 107
2 61 Clearwater Racing Mok / Sawa / Griffin Ferrari 488 GTE 107
3 77 Dempsey – Proton Racing Ried / Cairoli / Dienst Porsche 911 RSR (991) 107
4 86 Gulf Racing UK Hedlund / Barker / Foster Porsche 911 RSR (991) 106
5 98 Aston Martin Racing Dalla Lana / Lamy / Lauda Aston Martin V8 Vantage 105

Full Results

Check out the full results from Fuji.

http://fiawec.alkamelsystems.com/Results/07_2017/07_FUJI%20SPEEDWAY/203_FIA%20WEC/201710151100_Race/Hour%206/05_Classification_Race_Hour%206.PDF

What’s Next?

Up next are the Six Hours of Shanghai in the first weekend of November. Toyota somehow must produce a massive upset and beat Porsche, in spite of an inferior high downforce package, to push the fight for the titles into the Bahrain final. As unlikely as this seems from an armchair, the WEC is known for its unpredictability so the odd curveball shouldn’t surprise anyone.

PostHeaderIcon Mazda 767B

The Mazda 767 was developed for the 1986 season…

Mazda definitely lives up to the whole “zoom-zoom” branding thing its got going for it. With a variety of sports cars to its name, including the indispensable MX-5, plus a solid dose of fun instilled in just about every model it produces, this is the go-to manufacturer if you’re looking for an enjoyable experience behind the wheel. Per tradition, much of that driving engagement can be traced back to competition on the track, a place where Mazda boasts a long resume of experience and success. Looking over the list of Mazda’s accomplishments, one of the most impressive bullet points is an outright win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, something no other Japanese manufacturer can claim. Clinching that victory was the 787B, the culmination of years of trial and error. Featured here is the preceding 767B, one of the most important components to the development of Mazda’s Le Mans-winning 787. As an advanced prototype racer, the 767B was designed for competition in the IMSA-spec GTP class, where it saw a good deal of success.

Introduced in 1988 by Mazdaspeed, the Japanese manufacturer’s performance division, the 767B replaced the outgoing 757 prototype racer, another GTP-class 24 Hours of Le Mans competitor. Not only does this otherworldly speed wedge look the part of a top-notch competitor, but with an innovative four-rotor engine providing motivation, it was also one of the best-sounding race cars ever made. If you love triangle-shaped engines, this is one of the all-time superstars.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mazda 767B.

History And Background


1989 Mazda 767B - image 727904

Mazda and the rotary engine go way, way back, all the way to the late ‘60s with the original Mazda Cosmo. Introduced at the height of the space race, the Cosmo mated out-there styling with a strange new engine designed by the German engineer Felix Wankel. For good or ill, Mazda has championed the powerplant configuration ever since.

By 1970, Mazda was getting serious about taking the rotary racing, offering up the 10A R2 powerplant in the British-built Chevron B16. By the time ‘80s rolled around, Mazda had recruited the talents of English designer Nigel Stroud, who worked with Mazdaspeed to create the Mazda 757 for competition in the 1986 season of the IMSA race series. Two years later, Mazda replaced the 757 with the 767, upping the ante with a new engine and a whole lot more power.


1989 Mazda 767B - image 727923
“In 1988, Mazda replaced the 757 with the 767, upping the ante with a new engine and a whole lot more power.”

The 767’s first outing was at the Suzuka 500 KM race in April of 1988. Only one of the two 767’s entered managed to finish, although the racer that remained ended up with a seventh-place finish overall. Following the Suzuka race, the 767’s went to the Silverstone World Championship, managing a first-place finish in the GTP class and a 9th-place finish overall.

Later that year, the 767’s went to the 24 Hours of Le Mans to complete alongside an older 757. Unfortunately, both finished towards the back with a 17th and 19th overall, even failing to overcome the older 757, which managed a 15th overall.


1989 Mazda 767B - image 727913
“Heading into the 1989 season, Mazda equipped the 767 with a new side exhaust and addressed the car’s reliability issues, and thus, the 767B was born.”

Heading into the 1989 season, Mazda equipped the 767 with a new side exhaust and addressed the car’s reliability issues, and thus, the 767B was born. Results for the Japanese automaker started to improve, including GTP-class wins at a variety of races. First tested in the IMSA 24 Hours of Daytona, the 767B finished 5th overall. Mazda once again went to the 24 Hours of Le Mans that year, this time with a duo of 767B’s and a first-gen 767. The 767B’s managed 7th and 9th overall, while the 767 got 12th overall. Mazda followed it up with a 12th-place finish overall in the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship.

In 1990, Mazda created the 767’s replacement, the 787. After a bit of teething issues, the 787 finally managed an outright win at Le Mans in 1991. The 787 was followed by the MXR-01 in the early ‘90s, which became the very last Mazda in sports car racing to date.

These days, you can find the 767B racing at historic events like the Monterey Motorsports Reunion and Goodwood Festival of Speed, among other events, as well fetching upwards of seven-figures at public auction.

Exterior


1989 Mazda 767B - image 727926
“It’s purposeful yet graceful. No wonder we love Mazda’s design schemes.”

Outside, the Mazda 767B looks like a traditional race car should. It’s impossibly low, impossibly wide, and curvaceously designed. The fenders jut high over the large, deep-dish, roller-pin shaped wheels and tires, flowing back into straight side panels and an enormous rear wing. The intakes are massive, gulping in atmosphere to feed the powertrain and keep it chilly. The cockpit is a single, center-mounted bubble, while side view mirrors are mounted on tall, slender composite stalks. Glorious noises are emitted just ahead of the rear wheels from a large-mouthed side exhaust.

Further features include large aero tunnels in the side panels, a feature made possible by the inboard suspension set-up, plus a carbon fiber and Kevlar composite material for the exterior body panels.

It’s all quite functional, but at the same time, it looks fantastic. It’s purposeful yet graceful. No wonder we love Mazda’s design schemes.

Interior


1989 Mazda 767B - image 727917

Sitting inside the all-business interior, the 767B’s control scheme looks like it was plucked from a spaceship. Drivers sit on the left-hand side of the cabin in a fixed-back bucket seat made from fiberglass, while a digital readout is mounted behind a detachable three-spoke steering wheel. Gear shifts are performed via a sequential shifter placed to the right of the driver. A variety of buttons and fuses adorn the dash, while a fire suppression system is mounted to the left of the driver. Carbon fiber and bare metal pervade throughout.

Drivetrain


1989 Mazda 767B - image 727920
“At full chat, the 767B makes as much 600 horsepower, far more than the outgoing model’s paltry 450 horsepower.”

Providing the motivation in the 767B is a mid-mounted Wankel rotary engine, which was updated to offer both more output and more displacement. Dubbed the 13J, the powerplant is an evolution of the Type 13 rotary engine, with the preceding iteration being a three-rotor 13G. By comparison, the 13J is a 4-rotor design, with all four combustion chambers adding up up to about 2.6 liters of displacement. Converted into “normal” cylinder engine displacement, that comes to about 5.2-liters. Redline is set at a head-spinning 9,000 rpm.

At full chat, the 767B makes as much 600 horsepower, far more than the outgoing model’s paltry 450 horsepower. Oh what a difference that extra rotor can make. Peak power hits 8,500 rpm, while peak twist (all 390 pound-feet of it) arrives at 7,000 rpm.

Like the previous 767 model, the newer 767B uses a five-speed sequential transmission from Porsche, which was obviously modified specifically for the rotary application.

Providing the go-juice is a 26.4-gallon fuel tank, the right spec for an endurance racer.

Chassis And Handling


1989 Mazda 767B - image 727919
“The inboard springs and dampers make room for those larger aero tunnels.”

Under the sponsorship-laden composite exterior, the Mazda 767B utilizes a monocoque construction with aluminum skin over a honeycomb core. The chassis was modified over the preceding iteration to incorporate the longer, four-rotor engine.

The suspension includes double wishbones at all four corners with inboard springs and dampers, which helps make room for those larger aero tunnels and downforce-making components. Maximum weight is set at 800 kg (1,764 pounds), with ballast mounted in the right spots for optimum weight distribution.

Finally, the steering is a rack-and-pinion set-up, while Rays Volk stopper discs haul it down in the braking zones.

Prices


1989 Mazda 767B - image 727905

1989 Mazda 767B - image 727907

Only three examples of the 767B were produced in 1989. If you would like to own one, they occasionally appear in auction, with one recent example selling at the Gooding & Co. event in Amelia Island for $1.75 million.

Competition

Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo

While the 767B raged for glory, fellow Japanese manufacturer Nissan was also in the mix campaigning the ZX-Turbo in the IMSA championship. Running between 1985 and 1990, the GTP ZX-Turbo utilized a turbocharged VG30ET V-6 engine, the same powerplant Nissan equipped in the street-worthy 300ZX sports car. Nissan ended up clinching the constructor’s championship, after which the ZX-Turbo was replaced by the NPT-90.

Porsche 962

With a debut in 1984 at the 24 Hours of Daytona, the Porsche 962 was a hugely dominant force in the world of IMSA racing, clinching a staggering 21 constructor’s championships throughout its career. Power comes from a 3.0-liter Type 935 flat-six engine, and funny enough, a few road-going iterations of the racer were built in the ‘90s.

Conclusion


1989 Mazda 767B - image 727928

There’s a lot to like about this racer. Superficially, it’s a rather pretty thing to look at, and it makes an absolutely breathtaking noise when unleashed. More concretely, it represents Mazda’s unwavering commitment to making the rotary engine configuration work at the highest levels of competition. It’s because of cars like the 767B that Mazda wants to bring the Wankel powerplant back to its production lineup, and for that, we’re grateful.

  • Leave it
    • Experienced a good deal of teething issues
    • Not the car that won at Le Mans

References

Mazda 787b


1991 Mazda 787B - image 10239

Read our full review on the Mazda 787.


Petrolicious Profiles The Ferrari 250 LM: Video - image 736677

Read more race car news.


2018 Mazda CX-8 - image 731556

Read more Mazda news.

PostHeaderIcon Audi Steps Up To Formula E With E-Tron FE04

The high-tech slab of open-wheel speed machine you see before you is the Audi E-Tron FE04, the Four Ring brand’s very first all electric race car. The FE04 just made its big debut in Neuburg, Germany, and will be used in Audi’s re-doubled efforts in the all-electric Formula E race series. That makes Audi the first German brand to enter the Formula E fray with a full factory-backed effort. Audi says the FE04 will be used as a test bed for new and upcoming technology that will eventually trickle down to its production vehicles, raising hopes that battery motivation alone will be enough to whet the appetites of future Audi performance enthusiasts.

“Following quattro, TFSI, TDI, hybrid drive and many other innovations, our single-seater race car is a portent of our product offensive in the field of electric mobility that we are ringing in with the Audi e-tron in 2018,” says Peter Mertens, Member of the Board of Management, Technical Development at Audi AG. The brand says it’s planning on offering as many as 20 new battery-assisted models, including both hybrids and all-electric models, by the year 2025. While the FE04 will use a spec chassis, per regulations, the FE04 is still an opportunity for Audi to develop it’s know-how with a new electric motor, transmission, and some suspension bits, as well as the software needed to run it all. Look for the FE04 to make its competition debut in Hong Kong this coming December, with pre-season testing taking place in Spain.

Continue reading for the full story.

Any Other Technical Bits?


Audi Steps Up To Formula E With E-Tron FE04 - image 734604

Audi didn’t mention too much in terms of specifications and details, but we do know it’s developing a brand-new powertrain and drivetrain to take on the competition. The transmission will be a single-gear unit, while the housing for the powertrain will be all carbon fiber.

“The FE04 is Audi’s first full-fledged factory effort, and thus, it represents a renewal and deepening of that previously mentioned relationship.”

Audi is partnering with the German-based Schaeffler Group when it comes to the technology development front. Although Audi and Schaeffler have enjoyed a working relationship over the course of past Formula E seasons, the FE04 is Audi’s first full-fledged factory effort, and thus, it represents a renewal and deepening of that previously mentioned relationship.

Why Formula E?


Audi Steps Up To Formula E With E-Tron FE04 - image 734610

The all-electric series is pretty much the most natural place for Audi to go right now. Following the disastrous Dieselgate scandal and Audi’s subsequent withdrawal from Le Mans, the “cleaner” Formula E series makes the most sense. Throw in the fact Germany is mulling an outright ban on the internal combustion engine, and battery-powered racers are just about the only option for competition-driven tech development.

“The FE04 is Audi’s first open-wheel single-seater”

Motorsports fans will be quick to remember Audi as the team to beat at Le Mans, with racers like the R18 absolutely dominating year after year. And while it’s a shame to see the brand pull out over a scandal, it’s an interesting development to throw all that go-faster know-how at a completely new sport. After all, the FE04 is Audi’s first open-wheel single-seater, and although Audi’s hybrid tech offers a little bit of guidance, there’s still quite a bit of catching up to do.

Who Will Drive And Who Will Lead?


Audi Steps Up To Formula E With E-Tron FE04 - image 734611

Luckily, Audi is tapping some pretty big names to help along the way. Taking the wheel of the FE04 will be Lucas di Grassi, winner of the championship title this year and pilot of the number 1 vehicle. His teammate will be Daniel Abt, who will race the number 66 car. Both will use black, green, and white livery, with Abt’s 66 car getting additional red marks to help fans figure out who’s who. This will be the fourth season for both drivers. The team principle will be Allan McNish, former Formula 1 star, long-time Audi factory driver, and three-time Le Mans winner.

With a roster like that, Audi certainly has decent odds for success. Whether it’ll pan out with a win remains to be seen.

References

Audi R18


2016 Audi R18 - image 670089

Read our full review on the Audi R18.

Audi e-tron quattro concept


2015 Audi E-Tron Quattro Concept - image 646016

Read our full review on the Audi e-tron quattro concept.


Meet "Robocar" - The First Concept Car For The Upcoming Roborace Series - image 671258

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PostHeaderIcon You Won’t Believe The Price For Chevy’s Race-Ready Camaro GT4.R

You might think the 2017 Camaro ZL1 1LE is the baddest Camaro offered by Chevy, but you’d be wrong. In fact, the Bowtie has a race-ready version of its pony car designed to comply with GT4 regulations. Not surprisingly, Chevy calls it the Camaro GT4.R. And like other automakers that make factory-built race cars available to the public, so will Chevy allow anyone to purchase this competition-proven track monster. Of course, it doesn’t come cheap.

The Camaro GT4.R will cost $259,000.

But let’s back up. The Camaro GT4.R is based on the ZL1 1LE and built by the specialists at Pratt & Miller in cooperation with General Motors. Naturally, the GT4.R has to comply with the GT4 race regulations, which mandate it have an internal safety cage, specific metrics on the aero bits, and fit within the requirements of engine output, among other things. Sadly, the ZL1’s mighty LT4 V-8 and its 650 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque are beyond the specs for the racing series. As such, Pratt & Miller swap in a naturally aspirated LT1 V-8 modified with only a new camshaft, stronger main bearings, and a dry-sump oil system. The result is 480 horsepower that will run laps all day long.

Behind the all-aluminum V-8 is a custom Xtrac six-speed sequential transmission with paddle shifters. Out back, a limited-slip differential keeps power moving to both wheels.

Surprisingly, the rest of the car is very similar to the ZL1 1LE, though everything is formed to meet GT4 spec. This includes the front dive planes and the rear wing. The doors and front fascia are now carbon fiber and the front fenders are wider, though the GT4.R uses the factory, 305-series tire size. Around back, the GT4.R actually gets narrower tires than stock, moving from 325- to 305-series tires. Of course, the tires themselves aren’t the road-going type but comply with GT4 regulations.

The Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R might be expensive, but it already has two victories under its belt. It took the checkered flag at the 2017 IMSA Continental Tire Race and the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge GTS. So, do you own a race team and need a new whip? The folks at Pratt & Miller want to hook you up. Just have your checkbook ready.

References

2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE


2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE - image 706859

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE.


2018 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray: Fresh Options, Familiar Sticker - image 724839

Read more Chevrolet news.

PostHeaderIcon 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.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Battle for the Pole

“BMW seemed bound to get at least the pole in GT-LM but, ultimately, ended up third and fourth”

BMW seemed bound to get at least the pole — if not the whole front row — in GT-LM but, ultimately, ended up third and fourth. That’s because a pumped up Toni Vilander, back in the car that was wrecked at Le Mans in June, found speed for an amazing 1:21.914, the only lap under 1:22. Dirk Mueller was second via a 1:22.156, Ford having won at Laguna Seca last year (granted, with the No. 67 car, not the 66). Just behind was John Edward’s BMW No. 24 who beat Alex Sims’ best lap by 0.001 seconds! It’s worth noting that this was Risi Competizione’s first pole in IMSA competition since 2015.


2017 IMSA America's Tire 250 at Laguna Seca - Race Report - image 734548
“The qualifying looked less-than-stellar at the other end of the GT-LM field”

The qualifying looked less-than-stellar at the other end of the GT-LM field. Both the works Porsches and the works Corvettes struggled for speed with Porsche managing sixth and eight and Corvette seventh and ninth. The last remaining Ford was obviously fifth fastest and was looking to cause an upset yet again.

Paul Miller Racing was again, for the third time in 2017, the class of the GT-D field with Madison Snow lapping the 2.24-mile-long road course in just 1:24.469, thus edging out both the Alegra and the Park Place Motorsport Porsches. A slew of Lexus, Lamborghini, BMW and Acura cars followed suit while the sole Ferrari was ninth, the sole Audi 12th (which will not return in 2018) and the best of the Mercedes 13th.

Prototype

“The race got underway under the clearest of skies and Ricky Taylor did not wait a moment to begin and gap the field”

The race got underway under the clearest of skies, and Ricky Taylor did not wait a moment to begin and gap the field. He kept it going lining up near-qualifying pace laps until the gap was over 9 seconds. Then there was a safety car than bunched everyone up again and then the first round of stops.

Jordan went out still ahead and was very much in contention until the second series of stops when the team encountered an issue with the right-front tire. It proved troublesome to tighten the nut up and that lost Wayne Taylor Racing the lead in favor of Action Express Racing with their No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac. The second AXR Cadillac wasn’t far behind either, as was the VisitFlorida.com Racing No. 90 Ligier.


2017 IMSA America's Tire 250 at Laguna Seca - Race Report - image 734550
“A little bit behind, the two Extreme Speed Motorsport Nissans had a difficult weekend”

A little bit behind, the two Extreme Speed Motorsport Nissans had a difficult weekend, so difficult that even Pipo Derani made a mistake at one point and went off the road by quite a margin. The Ligier-based prototypes finished sixth and eighth overall with the No. 2 ahead of the No. 22. Between the two Patron-sponsored entries was the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen car. The Pla/Gutierrez Ligier ran quickly during its home race but a series of spins, a couple due to Pla over-driving in an effort to get a lap back on the leader, meant P7 was all they could get in Monterey.

Meanwhile, the JDC-Miller Motorsports outfit made the best out of the trouble that befell those mentioned previously to finish fourth overall, just ahead of the No. 5 which lost pace in the last 40 minutes due to high tire degradation, especially at the rear. So, now, the top three…


2017 IMSA America's Tire 250 at Laguna Seca - Race Report - image 734555
“It was an uphill battle for WTR after their long second pit stop as he had fallen to fifth overall after that moment”

It was an uphill battle for WTR after their long second pit stop as he had fallen to fifth overall after that moment. The American managed to climb back to third, but it was Action Express’s No. 31 and the No. 90 Ligier who were going to fight for victory. Renger van Der Zande entered the final stint behind Dane Cameron, but his were the fresher tires because Whelen Engineering elected to only change two tires to gain track position. This proved costly later on as Cameron’s pace plummeted and he even went off-course in the second-to-last corner.


2017 IMSA America's Tire 250 at Laguna Seca - Race Report - image 734560
“The result keeps Curran and Cameron in the championship fight, but only mathematically”

Traffic management was key, and the Dutchman managed to get a run on Cameron with under five minutes left to run on the uphill run to the Corkscrew. Want happened next had everyone gripping to their seats and the more seasoned followers having a déjà-vu. Renger went on the inside of Dane and put down an almost identical reproduction of Alex Zanardi’s “The Pass” on Bryan Herta in 1996. After the Ligier was by, it became obvious that Cameron was holding on for dear life as the gap at the end was over 2.2 seconds – all gained in a lap and a bit.

The result, however, keeps Curran and Cameron in the championship fight, but only mathematically. That’s because leaders Ricky and Jordan Taylor hold onto a 29-points advantage going into the season finale at Road Atlanta. It’s not an impossible job, though, as a retirement for WTR and a win for AXR No. 31 would make Curran and Cameron champions for the second season on the trot! We just have to wait and see, though the Taylors are clear favorites.

Top 5 Prototype class results

Pos No. Drivers Team Vehicle Laps
1 90 Goossens/Van Der Zande Visit Florida Racing Ligier LMP2 114
2 31 Cameron/Curran Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi 114
3 10 Taylor/Taylor Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R Cadillac DPi 114
4 85 Goikhberg/Simpson JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA LMP2 114
5 5 Barbosa/Fittipaldi Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi 114

GT-LM


2017 IMSA America's Tire 250 at Laguna Seca - Race Report - image 734543
“In the end, it was a fuel run to the flag as we’ve seen last year from Westbrook and the No. 67”

The premier GT division again delivered, or should I say, delivered as per usual. In the end, it was a fuel run to the flag as we’ve seen last year from Westbrook and the No. 67. This time, though, it was a BMW in that role. The No. 24 M6 GTLM was spun off as the car went into Turn 1 for the very first time and had to continue from the last place overall. Martin Tomczyk and John Edwards, however, rebounded also thanks to a courageous pit stop strategy. They were in part helped, unwillingly though, by team-mate Bill Auberlen who spun in the sand aboard the No. 25 with just over an hour left to run. It was right after Edwards made his final stop and it helped the American save some vital fuel.

At the time, the surviving BMW wasn’t leading, that honor going the way of the pole-sitting No. 62 Risi Ferrari. The Prancing Horse had to give way with over 30 minutes to go when Toni Vilander pitted. Edwards then took the lead and never looked back, managing to have the lightest foot of them all. It was clear that the BMW’s pace had dropped but keeping track position proved vital. Vilander managed to rejoin in fourth and pass the No. 3 Corvette and the No. 911 Porsche. Then he slashed through a seven-seconds gap to get right behind Edwards on the run down to the flag. The two cars were almost side-by-side going under the checkered flag, and the American’s margin of victory over the Finn was just 0.152 seconds.


2017 IMSA America's Tire 250 at Laguna Seca - Race Report - image 734569
“The Prancing Horse had to give way with over 30 minutes to go when Toni Vilander pitted”

It was the first North-American win for former DTM driver Tomczyk while Vilander and Fisichella were happy with another podium – the team finished on the podium every time the car actually crossed the finish line this season. The No. 911 Porsche, which had the same strategy as the class winner, finished third ahead of the No. 3 Corvette. The C7.Rs lacked pace since qualifying and were nowhere even after half-distance, but the championship-leading Garcia/Magnussen ‘Vette bounced back to score an important fourth place ahead of the No. 67 Ford.

The second of the Fords was sixth ahead of the ever unlucky No. 912 of Bruni and Vanthoor. They were, still, better off than the No. 4 which suffered all race from damage incurred in the first corner of the first lap when Gavin was hit from behind by the GT-D pole-sitter. It’s worth noting that John Edwards’ final stint was 76 minutes long.

Top 5 GT-LM class results

Pos No. Drivers Team Vehicle Laps
1 24 Edwards/Tomczyk BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM 110
2 62 Fisichella/Vilander Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE 110
3 911 Pilet/Werner Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR 110
4 3 Magnussen/Garcia Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R 110
5 67 Briscoe/Westbrook Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT 110

GT-D


2017 IMSA America's Tire 250 at Laguna Seca - Race Report - image 734571
“Paul Miller Racing started the race on the back foot as the No. 48 Huracan hit the back of the No. 4 Corvette”

As I just mentioned, Paul Miller Racing started the race on the back foot. The No. 48 Huracan hit the back of the No. 4 Corvette. The former ended up with a missing headlight and bent hood while the other needed a diffuser change. Elsewhere in the class, Alegra Motorsport retired with a technical failure while Patrick Long was fighting for a podium position.

As the race progressed, the unlucky lot at CORE Autosport seemed poise for a luck turnaround as they led for roughly half of the race. The No. 54, though, had to pit with just three minutes left on the clock while the three cars that followed managed to stretch their stints. Also unable to stretch its stint was the No. 96 Turner BMW. This left the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari out in front with Alessandro Balzan literally driving on fumes on the cool-down lap.


2017 IMSA America's Tire 250 at Laguna Seca - Race Report - image 734565
“Balzan and Nielsen now only need to finish at Petit Le Mans to be crowned champions again”

It was all worth it, though, as himself and Christina Nielsen now only need to finish at Petit Le Mans to be crowned champions again. The situation is also echoed in GTLM. Behind the Scuderia Corsa 488 GT3 was the No. 93 of Andy Lally and Katherine Legge who came back from a poor qualifying session. The Park Place Motorsport Porsche showed that the 991 GT3-R felt good around Laguna Seca and finished third ahead of the No. 54 Porsche, the No. 96 BMW and the No. 50 Porsche of MacNeil and Jeanette. Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow only finished seventh.

Top 5 GT-D class results

Pos No. Drivers Team Vehicle Laps
1 63 Nielsen/Balzan Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 107
2 93 Lally/Legge Michael Shank Racing/Curb-Angajanian Acura NSX GT3 107
3 73 Lindsey/Bergmeister Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R 107
4 54 Bennett/Braun CORE Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 R 106
5 96 Klingmann/Krohn Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 106

Full Results

Check out the full results from Laguna Seca: http://results.imsa.com/Results/17_2017/23_Mazda%20Raceway%20Laguna%20Seca/01_IMSA%20WeatherTech%20SportsCar%20Championship/201709241405_Race/03_Results%20-%20Unofficial.PDF

What’s Next?

The season will end on a high, as it always does, with the 10-hour-long Petit Le Mans on Braselton’s Road Atlanta.

References


2018 Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo - image 733363

Read more car racing news.

PostHeaderIcon Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo

Back in 2014, during the annual auto extravaganza that is Monterey Car Week, Lamborghini revealed the Huracan LP 620-2 Super Trofeo, a hardcore, race-ready iteration of the popular Lamborghini Huracan road car. Framed as an entry into the exciting world of GT3 racing, the Super Trofeo offers world-class performance at a relatively affordable price point. Built to spec for competition in the international one-make Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo series, more than 150 examples of the Super Trofeo have sold worldwide in the three years its been on the market, with racers taking to the track in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America. As many as 90 cars participate in the series annually. Now, the motorsports geeks from Lamborghini Squadra Corse just released an updated version of the Super Trofeo at a special event at Sant’Agata Bolognese, and it’s got improved aerodynamics and new safety measures, all with the same Super Trofeo fun.

“As it is a single-brand series, there are no regulatory demands that mean a successful model has to be altered. But with the Evo we wanted to give our customers an even more thrilling experience at the wheel, with superior performance and improved safety,” says Lambo’s Head of Motosport, Giorgio Sanna. Lambo’s CEO Stefano Domenicali adds, “Lamborghini Squadra Corse is continuing its plan to grow and consolidate its position as a trend setter on the competition scene.” So then – is this six-figure speed toy worth the outlay?

Continue reading to learn more about the Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo.

Exterior


2018 Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo - image 733341

As you probably expect, the Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo employs a good amount of carbon fiber in order to keep the car’s curb weight as low as possible. That extends to the exterior body components, all of which use the popular composite in their construction.

Of course, that’s what the last Super Trofeo got as well, so what’s new this time around?

Probably the biggest update of the whole enchilada is the aerodynamics package, which was extensively redesigned by Automobili Lamborghini and Dallara Engineering, with styling input from Lamborghini Centrol Stile as well. The overall goal was to “maintain the same high downforce of the previous model, while achieving higher overall aerodynamic efficiency and so less resistance to forward travel with improved stability.”

As such, most of the exterior design was reworked, with the only carryover components being the flat floor, front splitter, and rear diffuser. Kicking off the upgrade list is a new rear engine cover fin and upper intake component.


2018 Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo - image 733336
“Much like you might see on a Le Mans prototype or Formula 1 car, the Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo employs a sizable rear fin that helps to increase rear stability”

The fin is similar to something you might see on a Le Mans prototype car or Formula 1 car, and was designed to substantially increase lateral stability. “Lamborghini’s official development drivers, in ongoing testing of the new Huracan Super Trofeo Evo since last spring, felt a considerable increase in rear stability when taking fast bends along with a reduction in oversteering, resulting in better driving stability and faster cornering,” says Lamborghini. And, to be honest, that’s exactly what you want with amateur drivers at the helm, as high-speed rotation can often result in pricey repair bills.


2018 Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo - image 733364
“The fin was designed to substantially increase lateral stability, and that’s exactly what you want with amateur drivers at the helm – high-speed rotation can often result in pricey repair bills.”

Ahead of the spine-mounted fin is an airscoop, which was designed to force feed the engine extra cold air. In fact, the scoop works so well, it actually ups peak torque by 3 percent when traveling at the vehicle’s electronically limited top speed, improving upon the old design considerably. The new intake also allowed Lamborghini to redesign the rear end of the vehicle for higher levels of aerodynamic efficiency, and, as Lambo is quick to point out, the new design looks better as well.

Further upgrades include a larger “rocker cover fin” in the flanks, which helps to improve overall cooling efficiency for the radiators. In front is a brand-new bumper, which was tweaked with larger lower intakes, plus new aero side spoilers that add additional downforce in front, thus increasing overall front-end grip and sharpening turn in characteristics.

The front fenders were also made to be sharper and flatter, and now incorporate a new slit in the upper section that acts to lower aerodynamic drag.


2018 Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo - image 733337
“Perched on top of the tail is the requisite adjustable rear wing, while a new spoiler designed with a flatter, larger surface is underneath.”

Perched on top of the tail is the requisite adjustable rear wing, while a new spoiler designed with a flatter, larger surface is underneath. This spoiler manages to help increase downforce without adding any extra drag, while the wing is mounted on top of aluminum pillars. Despite being metal, rather than composite, the wing pillars still weigh as much as their carbon counterparts. The wing also got larger end plates, while larger ventilation elements were added as well.


2018 Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo - image 733363
“The result of all this tweaking is 8 percent less drag – not bad when you consider downforce goes unchanged.”

The result of all this tweaking is 8 percent less drag – not bad when you consider downforce goes unchanged. Lambo also points out that customers who own the old Super Trofeo model can buy the new body kit and upgrade to the latest spec, if desired.

The livery we see in these press shots was designed at the Lamborghini Centro Stile, and uses a gray base color as a nod to a new partnership between Lambo’s performance department, Lamborghini Squadra Corse, and Roger Dubuis, a producer of high-end watches. The new partnership is slated to kick off in 2018.


2018 Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo - image 733342
“Overall, we love how this thing looks. It definitely has the craziness and over-the-top aggression we’ve come to expect from the Raging Bull, all of which is greatly enhanced by the motorsport-spec aero gear.”

Overall, we love how this thing looks. It definitely has the craziness and over-the-top aggression we’ve come to expect from the Raging Bull, all of which is greatly enhanced by the motorsport-spec aero gear. We also like the geometric shapes and angular approach, and definitely think this thing is worthy of your aesthetic approval.

Nice job, Lambo.

Interior


2018 Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo - image 733360

Inside the Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo, it’s all business. Any and all luxury items were ditched in favor of extracting every last tenth of performance, which means no infotainment, no superfluous materials, and lots of bare structural components. Drivers sit low in bucket seats from performance provider OMP, and grip a small, square steering wheel decked out in a variety of buttons to control various drivetrain and suspension settings. Behind the wheel is a digital readout providing all the pertinent info, across the top of which is a series of lights for razor-crisp up shifts. Racing harnesses and a roll cage round it out.

Speaking of safety gear, the new Evo model improves on the last with a new roof hatch. This component was first introduced on the Huracan GT3, and now finds its way into the Super Trofeo Evo.

“The new Evo model improves on the last with a new roof hatch that was first introduced on the Huracan GT3”

Further upgrades include a new intake in the front fascia that was designed to better circulate the air coming into the cabin, thus improving ventilation and driver comfort as a result. Because if you aren’t comfortable, odds are you aren’t fast either.

Drivetrain


2018 Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo - image 733362

Providing the go in this updated Lamborghini race car is a 5.2-liter V-10. Don’t bother looking for turbos – this thing is naturally aspirated, baby. Essentially, this is the same lump of go you get with the Huracan road car, but with output uprated to a stout 620 horsepower. That’s more than you get with the LP 610 (602 horsepower) and LP 580 (572 horsepower), but a little less than the recently unveiled LP 640 Performante (632 horsepower). All those ponies are routed exclusively to the rear axle (no AWD system here, just like a proper circuit-bound race car) by way of a six-speed sequential gearbox from X-Track. As a reminder, the street car gets a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Top speed for the racer is rated at 280 km/h (174 mph). This figure is substantially lower than the 200-mph Huracan street machine, but its not because of the aero – rather, the Evo is electronically limited at a buck 74.

“Thanks to the updates, the new Evo manages a substantial, measurable improvement to performance, as evidenced by lower lap times. When wheeled around the Monza race circuit, the Evo dropped as much as 1.5 seconds per lap.”

This latest model gets updates to the mechanics and electronic systems, as well as a new exhaust that places the catalytic converters in a different location so as to improve the overall exhaust gas efficiency and lower the exhaust gas temperatures.

Thanks to the updates, the new Evo manages a substantial, measurable improvement to performance, as evidenced by lower lap times. When wheeled around the Monza race circuit, the Evo dropped as much as 1.5 seconds per lap (the previous time was 1 minute 47.8 seconds, while the new best time is 1 minute 46.3 seconds). That’s a decent development for a race car, especially when you consider the majority of the upgrades are relegated to the aero, rather than the powertrain.

Chassis And Handling


2018 Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo - image 733340

Without a doubt, the hallmark of a car like this is extensive utilization of lightweight materials, with carbon fiber employed wherever possible.

To capitalize on the handling benefits of its low, low weight, the latest Super Trofeo comes equipped with a new power steering pump, which offers up greater levels of steering assistance for improved driver feedback.

“Meanwhile, drivers get ABS from Bosch and traction control from Motec.”

Meanwhile, drivers will get to employ several electronic aides in their quest for lower lap times. These include ABS from Bosch and traction control from Motec, with both the traction control and ABS getting as many as 10 individual settings for tuning to preference. Those settings can even be controlled from the steering wheel, which means on-the-fly adjustments as needed.

Prices


2018 Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo - image 733334

Pricing for the Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo starts at $295,000 in the States, and 235,000 euros for customers located in Europe in Asia.

Look for the updated racer to hit the track as early as spring of 2018, with races taking place in Asia, Europe, and North America. Not only will it compete in the one-make Lamborghini Super Trofeo series, but it’ll see time in various GT series and endurance races as well.

Competition

Ferrari 488 Challenge


2017 Ferrari 488 Challenge - image 697432

2017 Ferrari 488 Challenge - image 697434

If it’s absurd Italian exotic performance that you’re after, but you prefer horses rather than bulls, then Ferrari has your answer. It’s called the 488 Challenge, and it was introduced in 2017 to replace the 458 as Ferrari’s one-make spec competition vehicle. Power arrives thanks to a 3.9-liter V-8 stuffed by twin turbochargers, with power rated at 661 ponies and 561 pound-feet. All of that hits the rear axle through a seven-speed F1-style dual-clutch transmission. Pricing is set at around $300,000.

Read our full review on the Ferrari 488 Challenge.

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup


2017 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup - image 690361

2017 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup - image 690360

Of course, Porsche is no stranger to the track either, and Stuttgart’s latest race-bred machine is known as the 911 GT3 Cup. Mounted way out back is a 3.8-liter flat six-cylinder engine, which was turbocharged to produce 460 horsepower through a six-speed sequential dog box transmission. Aluminum calipers and oversized rotors haul it down, while an enormous wing in the rear keeps the tail planted at speed. Pricing is bit less expensive than the Lambo and Ferrari, starting at $213,000.

Read our full review on the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup..

Conclusion


2018 Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo - image 733339

Improvement in motorsport is often a matter of very small increments. Even shaving off a few tenths of a second can make all the difference between glory and running as a backmarker. That’s why it isn’t surprising Lambo was so conservative with this latest update to its spec-series racer.

Granted, “conservative” is pretty subjective in this case. The aero upgrades seem rather extensive, but for a full update, we might have expected some engine tuning and suspension tweaks as well.

“A new aero package makes a lot of sense, at least financially. Consider the current Super Trofeo owners.”

That said, a new aero package makes a lot of sense, at least financially. Consider the current Super Trofeo owners – if Lambo decided to ditch the old suspension set-up, they’d be left out in the cold for the new season. Rather, an upgrade with a new body kit is a relatively easy fix by comparison.

Either way, this gentleman racer remains a hot pick for those with enough coin to swing it. Look out, Ferrari.

  • Leave it
    • One very pricey toy
    • Only upgrades are to aero package
    • Ferrari 488 Challenge is mighty tempting

References

Lamborghini Huracan


2015 - 2016 Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 - image 709860

Read our full review on the Lamborghini Huracan.

Huracan LP 620-2 Super Trofeo


2015 Lamborghini Huracan LP620-2 Super Trofeo - image 565281

Read our full review on the Huracan LP 620-2 Super Trofeo.

Lamborghini Huracan GT3


2015 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 - image 612288

Read our full review on the Lamborghini Huracan GT3.

Ferrari 488 Challenge


2017 Ferrari 488 Challenge - image 697433

Read our full review on the Ferrari 488 Challenge.

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup


2017 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup - image 690465

Read our full review on the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.

PostHeaderIcon BMW M8 GTE

The official confirmation that BMW is planning to revive the 8 Series and build the first M8 ever is arguably the best BMW-related news we received this year. And while both cars are still a few months from going public, the German firm offered us a sneak preview by launching the M8-based race car first. Unveiled at the2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, it’s called the M8 GTE and will mark the brand’s return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans after seven years. The new race car will make its debut in early 2018, at the 24 Hours of Daytona.

BMW also confirmed that the M8 GTE will race before the 8 Series goes on sale, so don’t expect the flagship coupe to arrive earlier than January 2018. But the good news is that the race car gives a good look at what the upcoming M8 will bring to the table in terms of design and even performance. Of course, the production model won’t be as aggressive as the GTE-spec vehicle, but many of these styling features will make it on the coupe that you’ll be able to find in dealerships. Let’s have a closer at the M8 GTE and BMW’s upcoming campaign in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M8 GTE.

PostHeaderIcon BMW M8 GTE

The official confirmation that BMW is planning to revive the 8 Series and build the first M8 ever is arguably the best BMW-related news we received this year. And while both cars are still a few months from going public, the German firm offered us a sneak preview by launching the M8-based race car first. Unveiled at the2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, it’s called the M8 GTE and will mark the brand’s return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans after seven years. The new race car will make its debut in early 2018, at the 24 Hours of Daytona.

BMW also confirmed that the M8 GTE will race before the 8 Series goes on sale, so don’t expect the flagship coupe to arrive earlier than January 2018. But the good news is that the race car gives a good look at what the upcoming M8 will bring to the table in terms of design and even performance. Of course, the production model won’t be as aggressive as the GTE-spec vehicle, but many of these styling features will make it on the coupe that you’ll be able to find in dealerships. Let’s have a closer at the M8 GTE and BMW’s upcoming campaign in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M8 GTE.

PostHeaderIcon 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.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY

Jaguar’s “Pace” lineup has grown quite quickly, with the F-Pace winning the hearts of many, and the E-Pace – the baby of the lineup – coming to life for the 2018 model year. Both of these models, however, make use of gasoline or diesel engines for motivation. Recently, however, Jaguar debuted the I-Pace Concept, a vehicle that, once put into production, will sit at the top of the lineup with its sedan-like proportions and two electric motors – the same ones that delivered 394 horsepower and 516 pound-feet in the concept. It seems that we’re actually getting a look at a high-performance version of the I-Pace long before we actually see the production car, all thanks to Formula E and a race series that will feature as many as 20 examples of the I-Pace eTrophy. Details about Jag’s newest race car are still predominantly under wraps until at least 2018, but we do know that it will be built by Jaguar SVO in the U.K.

With that said, the initial debuting of this new race car stands as an increased effort being put forth by Land Rover and Jaguar to electrify its entire lineup of new cars starting in 2020. And, with the Brits planning to ban ICE cars by 2040 altogether, the I-Pace and I-Pace eTrophy set Jaguar up nicely to be prepared for that inevitable moment 23 years from now. The I-Pace eTrophy also comes along as the basis for the world’s first production battery electric vehicle racing series – the first step in what will eventually redefine racing as we know it. But, we’re getting a little too far ahead of ourselves, so let’s take the time to take a look at the new I-Pace eTrophy race car and talk about what we can expect from Jaguars latest pet project.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon BMW’s M8 GTE Le Mans Competitor Previews Production M8 Model

The Bavarians are heading back to Circuit de La Sarthe, and they’re bringing a new race car. Say hello to the M8 GTE, which just debuted this week at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. Set to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the M8 GTE clearly has its sights set on the 24 Hours of Le Mans. That’ll make it the first BMW to run the world-famous endurance event since 2011, following in the footsteps of such machines as the V12 LMR that took outright victory in 1999. The new racer’s first competitive event will be the 24 Hours of Daytona next year, with further races in the North American IMSA series on the docket as well. That’s all well and good, but for those of us chomping at the bit to see the new 8 Series, the M8 GTE offers some tantalizing insights into what to expect.

For those unaware, the upcoming M8 is framed as Bimmer’s end-all-be-all range-topping luxury two-door, a flagship coupe sporting large-and-in-charge dimensions, plenty of power, and high-end interior extravagance. It’s essentially BMW’s answer to competitors like the Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe, previewed with the BMW 8 Series Concept Coupe revealed in Italy at the Villa d’Este event earlier this year. However, with the racing version now out and under the lights, we’re taking a closer look to see what we can learn before the 8 Series drops at the Los Angeles Auto Show in a few months’ time.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M8 GTE and upcoming 8 Series.

PostHeaderIcon How Do We Make Racing More Exciting?

The lights go green, and in unison, a swarm of high-dollar machinery springs to life, engines roaring, tire smoke rising into the atmosphere, front aerodynamics springing ahead in full-throttle acceleration. Out of nowhere, a challenger appears for the lead, dicing through traffic and saddling up to the car in pole position. Juking left then right, the challenger flashes the lead car’s mirrors, but he’s undeterred, and the pack slides into a single-file line behind him. Suddenly, an overambitious back marker locks up his brakes, careering into an unsuspecting driver mid pack, and out come the flags…

Exciting stuff, no doubt. But how do we make motorsport even more engaging than it already is? It shouldn’t be too hard, right? After all, even though the cars have all advanced light years ahead of those first competition vehicles of the early 20th century, the basic format isn’t all that different. Sure, there’s rally racing, stock cars, formula cars, endurance racing, and the like, but hey – we’re already well on our way to 2018, so what can be done to up the entertainment factor?

Continue reading to learn more about making racing more exciting.

PostHeaderIcon 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.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Renault R.S. 2027 Vision

Formula 1 has always been a bastion of the high-tech, a series where futuristic ground-bound spaceships boom by at terrifyingly high speeds, challenging what we think is possible when a human pilot takes the helm on four wheels. For the past 40 years, Renault has taken part in this orgy of speed and technology, and now, we’re getting a peek at the French automaker’s vision of things to come. Long story short, expect even more of the heart-stopping pace we know today, plus more excitement, higher levels of spectator engagement, reduced costs, increased safety, and even a dash of environmental responsibility as well.

You gotta love it when a press release kicks off with the line “the year is 2027,” so I was keen to dive into the specifics as soon as I saw this thing roll across my desk. And while these sorts of design studies don’t always nail it in terms of predicting the real future, they almost always come with a nice set of interesting ideas that could gain some traction (in one form or another, at least) in the years to come. Not only that, but the aesthetic-driven renderings are a surefire way to light the imagination and set you off on a little sci-fi day dreaming…

Updated 09/18/2017: Renault R.S. 2027 Vision made quite an appearance at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. Hit the “Pictures” tab to see it on the auto show floor.

Continue reading to learn more about the Renault R.S. 2027 Vision.

PostHeaderIcon Lego’s Genius Knows No Bounds With Life-Sized Ferrari SF70H

I’m running out of superlatives to describe Lego. Really, I thought I had reached my limit when the company unveiled the life-size Lego version of the Mclaren 720S at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July. Turns out, I was dead wrong because Lego, in all its genius, has found a way to raise its own bar yet again. Feast your eyes on this beauty, a life-sized version of Ferrari’s 2017 Formula One Race car, or as it’s otherwise known in F1 circles, the SF70H.

If the mere sight of the completed work isn’t enough to make your eyes pop out, the facts about this creation are certainly going to do it. According to Lego, every crevice of the model is made out of the studded plastic bricks, right down to the wheels, tires, and even the control knobs and gear switches on the car’s steering wheel. All in all, the model features a staggering 349,911 specific pieces. To put that in perspective, the aforementioned life-sized McLaren 720S that was presented at the Goodwood Festival of Speed “only” had 267,300 specific pieces. Adding to the ridiculousness of Lego version of the Ferrari SF70H is the fact that the whole model weighs 1,250 pounds, which is close to the actual weight of the SF70H.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon 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.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon 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.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Acura ARX-05 DPi

Launched in 1986, Acura has come a long way in 30 years, evolving from a small two-car lineup into a full-fledged automaker with no fewer than six offerings in 2017. Acura also entered motorsport very early, hitting the race tracks in 1991, just five years after its launch. So far, it has raced in some of the most important motorsport series, including the SCCA, IMSA GT, and the American Le Mans, scoring class wins at Daytona and Sebring. In 2009, the brand produced its very first LMP1 prototype car, the Acura ARX-02a. Come 2017, and the Japanese firm is joining the IMSA SportsCar Championship with its latest DPi prototype, the ARX-05.

Developed for the 2018 season, the ARX-05 will join the top tier of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, where it will go against Cadillac, Mazda, Ligier, and Nissan. A new team will bring together Acura Motorsports and Team Penske in an effort to win the championship against Cadillac, which has dominated the 2017 season. The multi-year DPi program will be headed by Honda Performance Development (HPD), the racing arm for both Acura Motorsports and Honda Racing in North America. The ARX-05’s official debut will take place at the season-opening Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in January 2018.

Continue reading to learn more about the Acura ARX-05 DPi.

PostHeaderIcon Holden Colorado SuperUte

The Land Down Under has a new racing series that plays off the exploding popularity of pickup trucks. It’s called the SuperUte ECB Series and it’s hosted by Australia’s well-known Supercars Series – you know, the series with V-8-powered, rear-wheel-drive sedans thundering around an autocross course. Well, now Australia will have turbodiesel-powered, mid-size, crew cab pickups racing around tracks like the Gold Coast’s Norwell Motorplex starting in March of 2018.

Unlike NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series, these Utes aren’t sheet metal bodies on steel tube chassis. No, they are production pickups from the assembly line. Each undergoes a full work-over with a safety cage, suspension modifications, performance wheels and tires, and a tune of their stock turbodiesel engines. Every truck is capped at 340 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque, while the minimum weight is set at 3,968 pounds. Automakers currently preparing for the SuperUte Series include Ford, Mazda, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Toyota, and General Motors. GM’s fighter is the Holden Colorado, a truck very similar to North America’s Chevrolet Colorado, even down to the 2.8-liter Duramax turbodiesel.

With official testing currently underway, let’s have a look at Holden’s newest and most unconventional racer.

PostHeaderIcon 2017 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion – Preview

I’ll take any excuse I can to head out to Laguna Seca. Simply walking around this incredible ribbon of California tarmac is enough to send chills up and down my spine. Throw in a collection of iconic race cars doing hot laps, and I’m one very happy camper. Do it for four days straight, with a rotating variety of run groups, plus Q&A and autograph sessions with legendary racing personalities and tons of delicious food, and I’d call it pure gearhead bliss. This is the formula for the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, the place where the racing of Monterey Car Week all goes down. As the uber-epensive collectibles roll across the block at auctions like Mecum or Russo & Steele, and the show judges scour a field of pristine classics at the Concours d’Elegance, Laguna Seca plays host to hundreds of hardened competition machines doing what they do best – going fast.

As in years past, the 2017 rendition of the Reunion will bring together a vast collection of four-wheeled heroes, from a 1911 National Speedway, to a 1989 Mazda 767-B. In fact, there’s so much automotive goodness on hand, the event has been dubbed the “rolling museum.” We’ll be there to capture the action, but before we get there, here’s a preview of what to expect.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.

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