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Archive for the ‘car racing’ Category

PostHeaderIcon NASCAR’s eSports Venture Could Be a Real Thing

Is NASCAR about the jump aboard the digital gaming craze? That looks to be the case after a report from The SportsBusiness Journal revealed the racing series’ plans to finalize an eSports venture. Nothing has been confirmed at the moment, but the report indicated that NASCAR is in the final stages of hammering out a venture that would lay the foundation for NASCAR-themed video game race competitions during race weekends this season.


NASCAR's eSports Venture Could Be a Real Thing - image 767366
“It’s actually surprising that a popular racing series like NASCAR has not yet capitalized on the eSports craze”

It’s actually surprising that a popular racing series like NASCAR has not yet capitalized on the eSports craze. The industry has turned into a billion-dollar behemoth that has attracted millions of players from all over the world, playing organized, multi-player video game competitions against each other.

In other words, it’s the perfect venue for NASCAR to not only attach its name to a booming industry, but also expand its reach to a younger demographic that doesn’t count itself as a fan of the sport. It’s a good thing that NASCAR is doing it now, though, because eSports is still ascending as a business. According to the report, an announcement could be made in the coming days, possibly after the season-opening Daytona 500 race on February 18.

The exact details of NASCAR’s eSports venture are still unknown, but it is believed to be based on starting two different tournaments, specifically iRacing and the “NASCAR Heat” franchise. The latter is the series’ official video game franchise for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows via Steam. The second installment, NASCAR Heat 2, had its release date last September 2017 so it’s still new enough as a game to build an eSports tournament around it. For its part, iRacing is a subscription-based racing simulator that’s seen as a more advanced and technical offering that can cater to hardcore gamers and actual racers themselves.


NASCAR's eSports Venture Could Be a Real Thing - image 767367
“Logistically, the events are expected to be held during race weekends”

Logistically, the events are expected to be held during race weekends. That part of the plan appears to be in place because both the International Speedway Corp. and Speedway Motorsports Inc., are involved in the discussions. Together, the two companies own 20 race tracks and venues in the NASCAR calendar. The involvement of the three independently owned tracks — Dover International Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Pocono Raceway — are still unclear, but if this eSports venture is to see a green light, they probably need to get on board with the plan so the competition can build a full schedule for the whole season.

Cross your fingers that we get to see this project come to fruition. I’m a fair-weather fan when it comes to eSports, but the addition of a NASCAR-owned tournament will raise my interest in the business.

References


NASCAR's eSports Venture Could Be a Real Thing - image 767368

Read more NASCAR news.

PostHeaderIcon McLaren Senna to Race at Le Mans in a Couple of Years

Launched in late 2017 as a successor to the P1, the McLaren Senna is the company’s most radical road-legal car yet. Not just superior to the P1 in almost every department, it’s one of the quickest supercars on the race track. At least that’s what McLaren claims. There’s no proof of the Senna skill at the track, but all the specs, performance figures, and the extreme aerodynamics seem to point in that direction. And McLaren wants to take things up yet another notch in the near future with a racing version.

Although it has yet to confirm it, the British firm is most likely developing a GTR version of the Senna. It will be here once production of the regular model, limited to 500 units, comes to an end, so it will probably take until late 2019 for that to happen. Much like the P1 GTR, the Senna GTR will be a race-spec model of existing Senna clients and part of the company’s customer program with racing events around the world. But while the P1 program was halted after the GTR, the Senna will become a full-blown race car for FIA events. At least that’s the plan.

Continue reading for the full story.

It’s All Down to the Upcoming Technical Rules


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“Taking a supercar like the Senna racing is a bit of an issue right now, as most series under the FIA banner do not allow such vehicles to the track”

Taking a supercar like the Senna racing is a bit of an issue right now, as most series under the FIA banner do not allow such vehicles to the track. But this could change in the future. Recent rumors suggest that the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), which organizes the 24 Hours of Le Mans, is planning to revert technical rules for the top class back to road-legal supercars following the demise of the LMP1 category for hybrids. This could open up the opportunity for McLaren to field a prototype-spec Senna at the iconic event.

“I certainly could conceive racing [the Senna]. I genuinely cannot confirm anything at the minute, but we are working on a plan. The way it is designed from an aerodynamic perspective, and the sheer balance of our cars, would be very, very competitive. You could never say outright that you’d go and win, but we wouldn’t go in with any other intention,”
McLaren Automotive chief executive Mike Flewitt told Autocar.

Big Shoes to Fill


1995 - 1997 McLaren F1 GTR - image 631241
“A race-spec Senna would have big shoes to fill, as it will become the spiritual successor of the Le Mans-winning F1 GTR.”

A race-spec Senna would have big shoes to fill, as it will become the spiritual successor of the Le Mans-winning F1 GTR. The innovative F1 hit the race track in 1995, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in its first season. What’s more, four of the top five cars at the finish line were F1s. The GTR remained competitive in the series until 1998, getting a major upgrade in the Longtail spec. It continued to race internationally with noticeable success until 2005. In all, it won 39 races and scored 64 podiums, plus three constructors’ championships in the BPR Global GT Series and the FIA GT Championship.

Granted, it remains to be seen whether the race-spec Senna will become reality or if it will be able to win at Le Mans, but McLaren will surely put up a good fight. And no matter the result, it will probably remain one of the most radical race cars based on a road-going model.

References

McLaren Senna


Meet the 2019 McLaren Senna – Track-Going Evil With a Hunger For the Road - image 752221

Read our full review on the 2019 McLaren Senna.


2016 McLaren P1 GTR - image 617805

Read our full review on the 2016 McLaren P1 GTR.


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Read more McLaren news.

PostHeaderIcon Audi Sport Shows Off its New Formula E Racer

The fifth season for Formula E is upon us, and Audi Sport is ready to dish out some electric-bred hell on the track. In preparation for the fifth season, Audi has prepared its second-gen racer with a new livery that is just downright hard to look away from. Check out Audi’s latest twitter post below along with some higher-resolution images in the gallery at the bottom.

References


maker logos - image 744956

Read more Audi news.


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

Read more Formula E news.

PostHeaderIcon Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona 2018 Preview

It’s that time of the year again, after the Roar Before the 24, of high anticipation, when everyone thinks they have the keys to all the locked answers but, in reality, it will take the whole of the upcoming Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona to find out what’s really what. That doesn’t mean, however, that we aren’t putting together this preview for you to get in gear for what is, as ever, the longest and most difficult race in the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship and, this time around, one that is buzzing with worldwide interest much more than in the last few years.

The 56th Annual Daytona 24 Hours is upon us. From the 25th through to the 28th of January, all of our eyes will follow the action at the 3.56-miles-long Daytona Speedway as 50 cars divided into three classes, Prototype, GT-Le Mans and GT-Daytona, will do battle twice-around-the-clock. It is, as per usual, the opening round of the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship and it might just be the opening act to a memorable season, as I’ve talked about in my race reports in 2017.

Continue reading for the full story.

New Class Configuration


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“Prototype Challenge (PC) is the missing category from what we had on the plate last year”

For those of you not yet up to speed with all the news – of which there are plenty – I’ll try to do a rundown of those that really matter and I’ll start with how many classes we’ve got, before we delve into each one of them. Prototype Challenge (PC) is the missing category from what we had on the plate last year, the spec prototype class being dropped from the series after first appearing in the ALMS all the way back in 2010. The venerable Chevy-powered ORECA FLM-09s saw their glory days come and pass and, as of late, the class was thoroughly depleted with a number of teams choosing the top prototype class as a natural evolution of their programs. This left only a handful of cars on the grid in 2017 and, with no foreseeable increase in interest, IMSA decided it was time to wave goodbye to the sometimes-troublesome PCs. There were discussions at one point of a possible LMP3 class to fill the bill, but that never materialized, and those cars currently compete in the IMSA Prototype Challenge.

Beyond the demise of the PC category, there are no changes in the class structure from what we’ve enjoyed in previous years. Prototype (P) still boasts a combo of Daytona Prototype International machinery as well as European ACO-compliant LMP2 beasts. Down the line, GT-Le Mans (GTLM) consists of, as the name suggests, the top tier road-based GTE cars that can also be seen in the FIA WEC.


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“Beyond the demise of the PC category, there are no changes in the class structure”

GT-Daytona (GTD) will still be a GT3-spec class, and this is what keeps the category relevant and full of manufacturers. With that being said, this year, we expect to see much more action unfolding at the top of the ladder since there will be more prototypes than ever before in the championship’s history. For more on that and on what the other classes have to offer, as well as who is poised to do good over the 24 hours that are just around the corner you’ll have to keep scrolling.

So, now that we’ve pieced together the general picture, here’s a more in-depth look at how the 50-strong field shapes up to be. Everyone involved has already gone through the now-mandatory Roar Before the 24 test and, prior to that, there was also a test in December, but this doesn’t mean we truly know where everyone’s at – quite the opposite. The weather is also a bit of an uncertainty with high humidity on Saturday and a 70% probability of rain on Sunday – at the time of writing. The temperature during the day won’t probably leap much over 70F so it will get quite cold during the long hours of darkness.

Prototype Class


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“No fewer than 20 cars will take part, with an even number of DPIs and LMP2s”

The top class of the field will be mightier than ever. No fewer than 20 cars will take part, with an even number of DPIs and LMP2s. The 10 IMSA-only cars come courtesy of Cadillac, Nissan, Acura, and Mazda. Meanwhile, we will see P2s from Ligier, ORECA, and Riley. As such, only Dallara is missing from a complete palette of modern second-tier prototypes. Racing Team Nederland and Villorba Corse from Italy both looked at entering their Dallaras at Daytona, but none went through with it, sadly.

After last year’s tour de force, Cadillac again proves to be the most popular DPI manufacturer with a total of four cars entered for Daytona, as well as the full IMSA season: two for Action Express Racing (No. 5 and No. 31), one for Wayne Taylor Racing (No. 10) and one for Spirit of Daytona Racing (No. 90), the former VisitFlorida.com Racing squad of Troy Flis.


Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona 2018 Preview - image 762302
“AXR has shook up its driver lineup ahead of this season and the No. 5 will feature Filipe Albuquerque alongside Joao Barbosa”

AXR has shaken up its driver lineup ahead of this season, and the No. 5 will feature Filipe Albuquerque alongside Joao Barbosa for the full season with Christian Fittipaldi filling in as driver no. 3, besides his new job as sporting director. The car was third quickest in the Roar qualifying session for garage slots. Albuquerque managed a 1:36.135, behind two other Cadillacs. In fact, the fastest car was the sister AXR car. Whelen’s machine was unbeatable with Felipe Nasr at the wheel, the Brazilian being the only man who divided into the 1:35s. He will also be Eric Curran’s new full-season team-mate while Mike Conway will be the third driver, AXR also recruiting Stuart Middleton for Daytona.

In between the Action Express sandwich was Tristan Vautier who moves up from GTD to partner Matt McMurry in the blue Cadillac. The car will also be driven by Eddie Cheever III in the North-American Endurance Cup events most likely. The last of the four Cadillacs was, frustratingly for the opposition, fourth in the Roar qualifying. Wayne Taylor’s car, which also features a different driver roaster, was driven to a 1:36.481 by Jordan Taylor’s new team-mate, Renger van der Zande. Ryan Hunter-Reay will be the third man in the No. 10 Konica Minolta-sponsored car which won five races in succession last season en-route to the title. This success brought Ricky Taylor to the attention of Roger Penske, but we’ll talk about that below.


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“The Caddy’s new 5.5-liter V8 sees its air intake openings reduced by 0.6 mm”

So, the Cadillacs dominated at the Roar, and they have a fleet of new drivers. Will they also dominate the race? IMSA tried to make sure that won’t be the case as they rolled a series of Balance of Performance (BoP) changes ahead of next weekend’s race. The Caddy’s new 5.5-liter V8 sees its air intake openings reduced by 0.6 mm but, on the other hand, will benefit from an extra liter in fuel tank capacity as well as quicker fuel flow during pit stops since the nozzle was increased by 0.5 mm. We’ll have to wait until the proper qualifying session and then the race proper to see the full effects of these changes (if there are any).

Moving on to the greatest head-turner in the Prototype paddock – Acura. When months of rumors were ended by Penske’s announcement that they will, indeed, participate in IMSA, everyone was eager to see The Captain’s team back in endurance. The squad already showed its potential in last year’s Petit Le Mans where it came close to winning with an LMP2-spec ORECA, ultimately finishing third overall. That was, though, just a trial run and this year they will campaign a pair of Acura ARX-05 prototypes which are based, obviously, on the ORECA chassis.

The cars were the best of the rest at the Roar, qualifying fifth and sixth overall with a 1:36.988 and a 1:37.231 respectively. While that’s over a second behind Nasr’s lap, there’s no shortage of talent that could make up for a car that’s maybe lacking in ultimate speed. For starters, we have Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 for the entirety of the year, with Graham Rahal as no. 3 driver. On the other side of the garage, aboard the No. 6, which was the faster of the two Acuras, there will be Columbian Juan-Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron doing full duty, with Indy champion (and ex Peugeot LMP1 driver) Simon Pagenaud driving in the NAEC rounds.


Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona 2018 Preview - image 762285
“The Tequila Patron ESM team had its fastest car (No. 22) in P7 at the Roar and it will run with a restyled Nissan-Ligier DPI”

The six drivers are strong and, after Petit Le Mans, the team is oiled up and ready for another go at endurance racing. The car is brand-new so that could be something to worry about although we’re talking about Penske and their impeccable preparation so it might not be that big of a factor. The ARX-05 also received an increase in fuel tank capacity by four liters and a bigger fuel nozzle, increased with 1.5mm.

The Tequila Patron ESM team had its fastest car (No. 22) in P7 at the Roar, and it will run with a restyled Nissan-Ligier DPI. There will be, however, some consistency as far as driver pairings go: Johannes van Overbeek will be driving with Pipo Derani in the No. 22 while the No. 2 will be driven by Scott Sharp and Ryan Dalziel. Team boss Ed Brown has retired from driving prototypes and, in turn, the third seat in each car will be filled by Nicolas Lapierre and Olivier Pla. It’s uncertain if both of them will continue in the rest of the NAEC rounds or not. What’s certain is that Brendon Hartley won’t return either. The Nissan will also have two more liters of fuel in its tank and a 1.5mm-larger fueling nozzle. Otherwise, the car has proven fast, especially when Derani is doing the driving, but reliability has been a case of hit-and-miss in 2017. They’ll need to be flawless in that department to fight against the likes of Cadillac and Acura.


Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona 2018 Preview - image 762294
“Joest’s operation took a year-long hiatus after the end of the Audi deal but is now back with an updated Mazda”

The last of the DPI manufacturers, Mazda, was also a headliner in the news when the Joest partnership was announced. Reinhold Joest’s operation took a year-long hiatus after the end of the Audi Sport WEC deal but is now back with an updated Mazda (remember the discussions with the ACO/IMSA on upgrades that are not part of the single approved joker during the car’s four-year lifespan… that’s what this is about). The beautiful RT24-P isn’t, though, faster than last year. The fastest of the pair was eighth quickest, almost 1.5 seconds behind the fastest Cadillac. The other one was the slowest of all the 20 prototypes…

Since Speedsource is out of the picture, driver pairings have also changed with an infusion of drivers close to Joest. Car No. 55 will be driven by Jonathan Bomarito and Spencer Pigot while Harry Tincknell will be the third man in the car. The sister car will be driven full-time by Oliver Jarvis an Tristan Nunez, and fellow Audi-man Rene Rast will be the endurance specialist. Besides certain upgrades that will also be given to the base Riley P2 car, the Mazda also received 15-kilogram decrease in total weight and a rev limiter increase.

On the other hand, it did lose boost at the top and bottom of the rev range of its 2.0-liter turbo engine. Finally, the fule nozzle was increased by 0.5 mm. Speedsource amassed a respectable amount of near-misses during its stint as the works Mazda team as they had only themselves to blame for missing the elusive win on more than one occasion. Mazda hopes that Joest, with its age-old involvement in sportscar racing, will be more efficient in bringing in silverware and that has to start at Daytona although that looks rather unlikely with all things considered.


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“With the Ligiers out of the way we get to the only real threat to the sleuth of DPIs: Hughues de Chauanc’s ORECAs”

I think I’ve managed to not mention Alonso for long enough so I’ll start with him and with United Autosport’s effort – although the Ligier wasn’t the quicker of the P2 contenders.

Yes, thanks to the fact that Zak Brown still has a word in how United Autosport is run – and is the boss of McLaren – Fernando Alonso, the two-time F1 World Champions (2005 and 2006 with Renault) – will make his Daytona 24 Hours debut in a prototype. He will share the No. 23 with Asian LMS champ Phil Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris. This decision could be just a step in Alonso’s bid to tackle the 24 Hours of Le Mans before a return to Indy 500 to complete the “Triple Crown.” The split focus isn’t, however, seen as something positive by all of Alonso’s peers. Former rival in F1 and Porsche WEC stalwart Mark Webber was adamant that “today’s F1 is so specific that does not allow gaps.” The Australian added that “It’s a mistake” to run this race and possibly Le Mans since it won’t be in any way beneficial to Fernando.

Beyond Webber’s somewhat bitter comments, the Spaniard was the quickest Ligier driver, trailing three ORECAs. While this effort will, most likely, not feature in the fight for the overall honors, it’s great for the series in general. Also, United will enter a second Ligier for Will Owen, Hugo de Sadaleer, Paul di Resta and Bruno Senna – a great lineup in its own right. None of these cars will do the full season, but we will have one Ligier that has signed up for the full gig: the No. 52 AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsport machine of Sebastian Saavedra, Gustavo Yacaman, Roberto Gonzalez and Nick Boulle. The first two will be partnered for the whole year.


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“JDC-Miller were maybe the most prominent in the news after it was announced that the Gainsco “Red Dragon” will return to racing”

With the Ligiers out of the way, we get to the only real threat to the sleuth of DPIs: Hughues de Chauanc’s ORECAs. Even with Rebellion Racing’s decision to not run at Daytona s they focus on their WEC LMP1 return, there will be a total of six 07 P2s: two for JDC-Miller, two for Jackie Chan DC Racing, one for Performance Tech and one for CORE Autosport. The last two move from PC and GTD respectively to the prototype ranks.

JDC-Miller were maybe the most prominent in the news after it was announced that the Gainsco “Red Dragon” will return to racing, despite the end of Bob Stallings’ team. This was made possible after an agreement was signed with team JDC to run two ORECAs, the usual yellow “Banana Boat,” and the “Red Dragon.” Simon Trummer of Switzerland and Robert Alon will feature full-season in the No. 85 yellow car and will be helped by Austin Cindric and Devlin DeFrancesco at Daytona. The No. 99 sister-car will be driven by JDC regulars Stephen Simpson and Misha Goikhberg with Chris Miller and Gustavo Menezes lending their help for the twice-around-the-clock race. Sadly, Jon Fogarty will not return to the Gainsco prototype.

The Jackie Chan DC Racing Team’s cars (prepped by Jota Sport) were first and fourth among the P2 runners in the Roar qualy, sandwiching the two JDC ORECAs. Both the No. 78 and the No. 37 have strong lineups of endurance rookies and veterans. The former will be driven by Ho Pin-Tung, Alex Brundle, Antonio Felix da Costa and youngster Ferdinand of Habsburg who impressed in the Macau GP F3 race. The other car will be handled by Daniel Juncadella, Robin Frijns, Felix Rosenqvist and Williams F1 driver Lance Stroll. For the Canadian, it’s just for fun but Frijns and Juncadella, usually seen in GT3 Mercedes and Audi machinery, will take it very seriously, as will Rosenqvist so both of Jackie Chan’s cars could punch…


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“The Jackie Chan DC Racing Team’s cars were first and fourth among the P2 runners in the Roar qualy”

Finally, we have PC champions Performance Tech and CORE Autosport’s own entry. If Performance Tech brings James French as the hotshoe of the trio alongside Kyle Mason and Patricio O’Ward, CORE has Romain Dumas and Loic Duval ready to boost its Daytona lineup alongside the usual pairing of Colin Braun and Jon Bennett. They were only 19th at the Roar but the ex Audi/Porsche men will surely be feisty in the race proper. Last but not least we have the car that just beat CORE – BAR1 Motorsport. Their Riley/Multimatic car is the ex-VisitFlorida.com chassis, and it will be driven by former Mazda driver Joel Miller, as well as Marc Drumwright and Ryan Cullen. Eric Lux was also announced as part of this effort but did not drive at the Roar. The team’s hopes are all in the new updates that should ensure the car at least doesn’t fall apart during the 24 hours.

All in all, the mix of cars and driver talent is eclectic and, to be honest, the best in the world. It’s light years ahead of the WEC’s ORECA show and also the much less high-level operations of the European Le Mans Series. This race should go down into the history books if we’ll also have rain – but not too much, since nobody likes long interruptions due to a wet track…

Now, if your question is ‘Will Cadillac run away with this one like it did in 2017?’, I don’t have a straight answer. If that will, indeed, be the case, at least there will be four cars with fairly equal chances – not three like last year!

GT-Le Mans Class


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“The top GT category will have a tough time being the most enthralling class to watch this year”

The top GT category will have a tough time being the most enthralling class to watch at this year’s Rolex 24 with so many cars lined up just above them, in Prototype. Ford, Ferrari, Porsche, BMW and Chevy will do their best – we’re sure of that. Everyone other than BMW returns with familiar equipment and, as expected, the new car from BMW is the one that’s attracted the bulk of the issues. We’ll start with them since Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport boss, was kind enough to explain their hardships.

Remember how Ford asked every other manufacturer involved if they’ll basically let them run a car that did not have (yet) a road-going counterpart and they all agreed? That’s the same that BMW tried to do, asking for a waiver to be able to roll its new M8 GTE with a lower side profile. “What we were initially told was OK, was all of a sudden not OK anymore,” said Marquardt. He also added that “Our initial target was, having discussed with IMSA, to get it within the ballpark of all the frontal areas of all the other cars.”

With the final decision coming very late, after one of the manufacturers denied BMW’s waiver, the German manufacturer had to push back on its testing program for the new car since the initial design was quite far along into development. This meant that the initial tests began in July of last year, not February as initially intended. With only three months of testing under the car’s belt before its homologation was set in stone, the setback was evident at the Roar.

The quickest of the two M8s was a massive 1.4-seconds behind the pace-setting Ford while the other car was a further 1.7 seconds adrift. IMSA hopes to minimize the disparity after its pre-race BoP tweak which made the M8 10 kilograms lighter, increased its boost throughout the 7000 rpm rev range and added six liters of fuel to the capacity of the tank.


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“The quickest of the two M8s was a massive 1.4-seconds behind the pace-setting Ford”

Also, the fuel will flow faster through the nozzle that was increased by three mm. If this will actually help it is left to be seen, but if it won’t, it will probably not be due to the drivers. BMW will have Alex Sims, Bill Auberlen, Connor de Phillipi, Phillip Eng and Colton Herta ready in the No. 25 while the No. 24 will be piloted by Jess Krohn, John Edwards, Nicky Catsburg, Augusto Farfus and the same Herta who will pull double duty. The two Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-entered cars should be, at least, quite safe on the reliability side as BMW did clock over 10,000 miles in testing without major issues, as well as a 23.5-hours-long endurance test.

As mentioned, Ford was the quickest (1:43.610) at the test with the No. 66 of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller, and Sebastien Bourdais. The No. 67 Chip Ganassi Racing chassis was third and will be driven by the usually-flawless trio of Scott Dixon, Ryan Riscoe, and Richard Westbrook. The latter two will do the full season while Hand and Mueller will again team in the sister car. The team won at Daytona last year with the No. 66 and they also finished second in the championship last year (both in the Driver’s rankings and in the Manufacturer fight with Chevrolet). The No. 66 hasn’t won in IMSA since Road America last year while the No. 67’s run of podiums in 2017 can’t hide the fact that its last win was in 2016 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park… they’re definitely eager for more in 2018.

“Ford were the quickest (1:43.610) at the test with the No. 66 of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais”

GM’s Corvette Racing managed a clean sweep in IMSA last season, narrowly missing on the Le Mans win as well. This year, the aging C7.R might not be able to fight for the crown again, but Gavin tried to dash such claims on the way to P2 in the Roar qualifying session. He’ll again be partnered by Tommy Milner and Marcel Fassler in the No. 4 while the No. 3 will be driven by defending series champions Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller. Even with an old car, it’s hard to bet against Corvette in the longer races.

Porsche’s louder-than-loud mid-engined 991 GTE was quick last year, but results eluded the duo of Gianmaria Bruni and Laurens Vanthoor. This year, Porsche will shake up its driver lineups in the wake of their decision to leave the FIA WEC P1 class. The move means that we’ll see 2015 GTLM champion Patrick Pilet return to a full-time seat in the No. 911 car alongside Nick Tandy. Fred Makowiecki will make up this lineup in the NAEC races. The No. 912 car will again feature Laurens Vanthoor as well as Le Mans winner Earl Bamber back for the whole season. Bruni will only drive in the longer events. With the know-how and a car that already has many racing miles under its belt, Porsche is again a very serious contender.

“Trying to pick a winner in GTLM is almost futile”

At the end of the GTLM pile, we have a car that usually managed to make its way to the top: the No. 62 Risi Ferrari. Again the lone Prancing Horse in the class, Giuseppe Risi’s entry will feature top Ferrari men Alessandro Pier Guidi, Toni Vilander and James Calado. What it will not feature is any full-season drivers since Giuseppe decided it will run select races throughout 2018. Last year, the 488 GTE only showed up seven times but finished on the podium on five occasions. The red car is always one to keep a keen eye on – and this time it isn’t Risi’s only entry!

Trying to pick a winner in GTLM is almost futile. All cars but for BMW should have equal chances and it will be all about how the race will go on and how every squad will work its way through traffic. As Oliver Gavin pointed out, restarts will be harder than before with so many prototypes that, usually, get their tires up to temperature slower than the GTLM cars do – it’s gonna be a lottery here as well then.

GT-Daytona Class


Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona 2018 Preview - image 762292
“Ferrari is the better represented marque in the Italian camp with four 488 GTEs”

If you watched the 13th running of the Dubai 24 Hours, you would have noticed Grasser Racing Team’s heroic crawl back to a podium position after early trouble sidelined the pole-sitting team. That exact outfit was quickest in the GTD qualifying at the Roar. The No. 11 Huracan of Rolf Ineichen, Mirko Bortolotti, Franck Perera and Rik Breukers managed a 1:47.374 lap around the Daytona Roval. Bortolotti is the reigning Blancpain GT Series Champion, so it’s no wonder he’s fast any day of the week. If the Lamborghini holds itself together, they will surely be a threat.
With that being said, Gottfried Grasser’s team will bring a second Huracan (No. 19) for good measure. This one will be driven by Christian Engelhart, Max van Splunteren, Ezequiel Perez Companc, Luis Machiels and Christopher Lenz.

There is one more Lamborghini Huracan on the entry list – the only one that will run the full season. Paul Miller is the entrant and, as per usual, the No. 48 of Madison Snow, Bryan Sellers, Andrea Caldarelli and Bryce Miller is sharp looking and, just as much, an interesting proposition for the title fight. In the BoP shakeup, the Lambo received a smaller air restrictor by 1mm and a smaller fuel tank capacity by three liters as well as a smaller fuel nozzle by one mm.

Ferrari is the better-represented marque in the Italian camp with four 488 GTEs. Two of these will be entered by defending champions Scuderia Corsa. The team expands to two cars as one receives Weathertech sponsorship. That’s the No. 63 car which will be driven by Cooper MacNeil and Alessandro Balzan in all of the races. Gunnar Jeanette and Jeff Segal complete this lineup that misses Christina Nielsen who was dropped from the lineup after the Weathertech deal took place. Keep reading to see where she ended up.

“There is one more Lamborghini Huracan on the entry list – the only one that will run the full season”

The other Scuderia Corsa 488 GT3 (No. 64) will be driven by Sam Bird, Frankie Montecalvo and two familiar faces within the team: Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler- who’ve also performed very well at Le Mans with this outfit in GTE-Am. Spirit of Race returns with a single car for a quartet of Aston-Martin drivers, strangely. Paul Dalla-Lana brought his team-mates Mathias Lauda and Pedro Lamy to drive this Prancing Horse alongside Dunlop-man Daniel Serra. Sadly, although we get Aston-Martin works drivers, we don’t get any Vantage on the grid. Same goes for McLaren although both marques are partners of the series.

As I’ve said before, Risi will enter a second car and it’s a GTD entry: the No. 82 for Santiago Creel, Martin Fuentes, Matt Griffin, Miguel Molina and Ricardo Perez de Lara.
It’s worth noting that the Ferraris will benefit from larger fuel tanks (two liters added) and faster fuel flow due to the bigger fuel nozzle (by just half a millimeter).

Mercedes-Benz gave last season’s NAEC champions in the form of the Riley AMG GT3 of Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen. Bill Riley’s team will return as a single-car effort, the Dutch and the American again doing the full season. They will be aided at Daytona by Luca Stolz and Adam Christodolou. Both are Mercedes drivers, so they know the ins and outs of the No. 33 car. P1 Motorsports (No. 71) and SunEnergy1 Racing (No. 75) will also field Mercedes cars.


Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona 2018 Preview - image 762299
“Mercedes-Benz gave last season’s NAEC champions in the form of the Riley AMG GT3 of Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen”

The latter features Mercedes works drivers Maro Engel and Thomas Jaeger but, with Tristan Vautier vaulting to the top class, Mikael Grenier will team with Kenny Habul for the rest of the season most likely. As for P1 Motorsports, Kenton Koch is the only man in that quartet with Daytona 24 Hours experience having also won a Rolex in the past. The other three, Robby Foley III, Loris Spinelli and JC Perez are making their debut. Mercedes left the BoP changeover lighter by 15 kilograms but with no changes to its fuel capacity or air restrictors.

Two more German brands will be represented in GTD: Audi and Porsche. The first will have two R8s in the hands of returning Magnus Racing and Land Motorsports. The No. 44 car will again have a super strong lineup consisting of Andy Lally, back from a stint with Acura, Andrew Davis, and Markus Winkelhock – all trying to catch up to the pace of team boss John Potter! The other Audi came within striking distance of victory last time out at Daytona, and Chris Mies is again in the car. Also, the No. 29 R8 will be driven by Sheldon van der Linde and brother Kelvin and Jeffrey Schmidt. The German team was fantastic at Petit Le Mans so success at Daytona wouldn’t be surprising. Their car, though, suffered somewhat in the BoP procedure after receiving a one-mm smaller air restrictor as well as three liters less in the tank and a smaller fuel nozzle by one mm.


Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona 2018 Preview - image 762301
“Two more German brands will be represented in GTD: Audi and Porsche”

The old field-filler that was Porsche, back when they were basically alone with Ferrari in the GT (or NGT or GT2) category, has three cars in GTD as well: one for Park Place Motorsport, one for Manthey and one for Pirelli World Challenge stalwarts Wright Motorsports.

Joerg Bergmeister headlines Park Place’s No. 73 entry alongside Patrick Lindsey and Black Swan boss Tim Pappas. Meanwhile, Manthey again promotes young talent and, as a result, their No. 59 (but not in Brumos colors, frustratingly) 911 GT3R will be driven by Matteo Cairoli, Sven Muller, Harald Proczyk, Steve Smith and Randy Walls. The car didn’t set any time during the Roar qualifying but held the second quickest lap time at the end of all of the practice sessions. Finally, the Wright Motorsport effort will be spearheaded by the full-season duo of Christina Nielsen and Patrick Long. Robert Renauer and Mathieu Jaminet complete what has to be one of the strongest lineup in the entire class. Despite running in the December test, Carlos DeQuesada’s Alegra Porsche will not race this year in IMSA so we won’t have a repeat winner in this category.

3GT Racing continues on with Lexus and their factory support, in spite of the original deal with IMSA which said that the factory link could only be for the first year of competition. This was a hot topic in the paddock as rapidly increasing costs, and more factory involvement could put the class in jeopardy. Of the 21 cars that will run at Daytona, only 11 will also compete in the other IMSA rounds this year – four cars less than in 2017. What the future will hold for the junior GT category is unknown if IMSA won’t put a cap on factory involvement and Pro drivers in the vein of SRO’s latest decisions that will affect both the Blancpain Endurance and the Sprint GT Series.


Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona 2018 Preview - image 762295
“3GT Racing continues on with Lexus and their factory support”

The two RCF GT3s will be driven by talented youngsters as well as seasoned veterans, but none is more seasoned than Scott Pruett. The five-time Daytona 24 Hours winner will hang his helmet after a staggering 40-years-long career and countless race wins and titles. To put things in perspective, he was on the grid ready to drive at the Daytona 24 Hours thirty years ago. Alongside Scott in the No. 15 car will be Jack Hawksworth, David Heinemeier-Hansson, and Dominik Farnbacher. The sister car will be driven by Bruno Junqueira, Dominik Baumann, Kyle Marcelli and Philipp Frommenwiler.

Same as 3GT, Michael Shank Racing will also remain loyal to Acura and, on top of that, there will be a third NSX GT3 entered by HART. This team will have the entirety of its personnel made up of Ohio-based volunteers. All have Honda backgrounds and some have previously work on Honda of America Racing Team’s Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge effort. The drivers will be Ryan Eversley, works Pirelli World Challenge Acura driver, Chad Gilsinger, John Falb and Sean Rayhall.

“Will Turner’s effort has been finalized after the announcement that the No. 96 will run in Liqui Moly colors this year”

MSR will enter the No. 86 and No. 93 to build upon their up-and-down debut season. The first car will be driven by Katherine Legge, who won last year with the team, Alvaro Parente (PWC champ with McLaren), Trent Hindman and AJ Allmendinger. The other will be wheeled in the 24 hours by Justin Marks, Lawson Aschenbach, Mario Farnbacher and Come Ledogar. Both cars could climb up the order given the talent of the drivers and if the extra 10 kilograms of weight won’t affect the car’s balance. The NSX did receive, though, five more extra liters of fuel tank capacity and a nozzle bigger by one mm.

Finally, Will Turner’s effort has been finalized after the announcement that the No. 96 will run in Liqui Moly colors this year, departing from its usual yellow-and-blue scheme. The lone M6 was second-to-last in the Roar qualy and features Jens Klingmann in the driver’s seat as well as Don Yount and Mark Kvamme – but no sign of Markus Palttala or Markus Tomczyk who was announced as part of the effort.

All in all, the GTD field features cars with engines in all three places: front, middle and back and no less than nine manufacturers. If the BoP’s done right, you’ll need to install an extra pair of eyes or two to be able to follow all of the action!

The 56th Annual Rolex Daytona 24 Hours will kick off on Saturday, January the 27th, at 2:30 PM EST.

PostHeaderIcon KTM X-Bow GT4 by Reiter Engineering

Minor exterior improvements include

Launched back in 2008, the X-Bow (pronounced “crossbow”) is KTM’s only automobile to date. In 2015, the Austrian firm introduced the GT4, a closed cockpit version of the X-Bow built in cooperation with Reiter Engineering, one of Germany’s most important racing teams. Considered to be a pioneer vehicle of the GT4 category, the X-Bow GT4 has scored numerous victories and titles in the GT4 European Series, Pirelli World Challenge, VLN, China GT, Thailand Superseries, and Australian GT in less than four years. Come 2018 and KTM is updating the race car for the upcoming motorsport season.

While exterior changes are rather mild and the cabin carries over unchanged, save for a few new techy bits, the X-Bow GT4 boasts many new features under the skin. There is a new transmission and some new chassis components, all designed to increase performance, increase mileage, and reduce running costs. “Although we already have a GT4 vehicle that offers one of the best values for money – just take a look at the VLN where there’s no other car that runs faster lap times for less money – we want to further reduce the costs for the teams and the drivers with these updates,” said Reiter Engineering boss Hans Reiter.

So what’s new for 2018? Keep reading to find out.

Continue reading to learn more about the KTM X-Bow GT4.

What makes the KTM X-Bow GT4 by Reiter Engineering special

  • Revised aerodynamics
  • New front splitter
  • Carbon-fiber interior
  • New control panel
  • GT3-spec Motorsport Traction Control
  • LMP-style headrest
  • 2.0-liter Audi engine
  • 360 horsepower
  • New Holinger transmission
  • Motec M142 engine control unit
  • Lower running costs

2018 KTM X-Bow GT4 by Reiter Engineering - image 754540
“The race car sports the same aggressive design with angular lines and canopy-style roof”

At first glance, the revised X-Bow GT4 is identical to the previous model, launched in 2015. The race car sports the same aggressive design with angular lines, the canopy-style roof, and the big wing atop the decklid. But there are a few design changes to talk about upon closer inspection. For starters, the carbon-fiber splitter is now rounder. The grille under the nose has a different configuration too, with the the posts sitting at an angle on each side of the revised radiator mesh.

We can see minor changes around the side pods and redesigned wheels but other than that, nothing has changed around the sides. Upgrades to the rear fascia are also mild but the rear wing is now narrower toward the top. KTM doesn’t say how this change affects aerodynamics but it should decrease aerodynamic drag and improve handling.


2018 KTM X-Bow GT4 by Reiter Engineering - image 754538
“The X-Bow GT4 now has a new user-friendly control panel with a Motorsport Traction Control system”

The story is pretty much the same inside the cabin, with only mild modifications applied to the original cockpit. Almost every panel is made from carbon-fiber and there’s little room for more than the basic racing gear. The steering wheel is wrapped in Alcantara and features no fewer than 10 buttons, while the remaining controls are placed on the narrow center console. But while the layout was carried over unchanged, the X-Bow GT4 now has a new user-friendly control panel that gives the driver access to the new Motorsport Traction Control system borrowed from GT3 racing. Finally, the driver’s seat benefits from an LMP-style headrest.

Under the hood, the X-Bow GT4 continues with the Audi-sourced, 2.0-liter engine that’s offered in all KTM models. The turbocharged unit cranks out 360 horsepower, a hefty amount for a vehicle that tips the scales at only 2,200 pounds. The unit mates to a brand-new transmission made by Holinger and designed to handle up to 700 Nm (516 pound-feet) of torque. The new transmission is also more durable, with KTM claiming it can withstand 10,000 km (6,214 miles) of race track action. That’s double the mileage of the previous gearbox.


2018 KTM X-Bow GT4 by Reiter Engineering - image 754537
“The unit mates to a brand-new transmission made by Holinger”

There’s also a new Motec M142 engine control unit, which replaces the previous Series ECU, and a complete motorsport cable harness with electronic fuse box. KTM says that the mileage of the chassis components, such as the wishbones or the GT3 central locking wheel hubs, has been increased to 20,000 km (12,427 miles).

All these upgrades are supposed to push the running costs of the X-Bow GT4 down to €3.90 per km (about $7.36 per mile). This means that a lap around the Red Bull Ring and Brands Hatch, two popular venues in GT4 European Series, would cost around €16.8 and €15.2, respectively. Of course, once you add up the many laps that make up a full race, costs can increase to more than €2,000 per event, but this is pretty reasonable in the expensive world of motor racing.

Speaking of costs, the X-Bow GT4 is priced at €152,360. Only 15 units will be built by the end of Spring 2018, but production for February is already sold out, so there might not be many examples left.

References

KTM X-Box


2015 KTM X-Bow GT4 - image 616272

Read our full review on the 2015 KTM X-Bow GT4.


KTM X-Bow
- image 148438

Read our full review on the 2008 KTM X-Bow.

PostHeaderIcon Mini John Cooper Works Rally And Buggy

Xtrac differential

As is tradition, the world of motor sport is looking to kick off 2018 with the infamous Dakar Rally, one of the most brutal, unforgiving, car-breaking, will-sapping events ever conceived. The Dakar heads into its 40th running this year, and its tenth stint in South America after the move across the Atlantic in 2009, and once again, competitors will do battle over a variety of terrain, from sand, to tarmac, to boulder fields, to 13,000-foot mountain passes. With so much tough terrain and such insane distances to cover, simply completing the Dakar is considered a major accomplishment. However, X-raid and Mini aren’t looking to just reach the finish line – they wanna win. Thus far, the collaborative effort has yielded four consecutive victories between 2012 and 2015, with the most recent outing in 2017 snagging sixth overall thanks to the efforts of Argentinian driver Orlando Terranova. Now, X-raid and Mini are gearing up for a fresh approach that includes the brand-new RWD Mini John Cooper Works Buggy. Created to take advantage of certain regulations to bolster 2WD competition, the Buggy will race alongside the more traditional Countryman-based 4WD Mini John Cooper Works Rally for a two-pronged approach to tackling the Dakar.

Fittingly, both vehicles were presented in Paris prior to their competition debut. The Buggy is a particularly exciting new venture for the Germany-based X-raid, which for the past 15 years has focused primarily on 4WD competition vehicles. However, with an experienced roster of drivers ready to take the controls, plus the proven Mini Rally to bolster the ranks, the team is feeling good about its chances. Read on for details on what makes these machines tick.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mini John Cooper Works Rally.

RALLYE DU MAROC 2017

Wracamy jeszcze do naszego ostatniego startu cross-country w sezonie 2017! Podsumowanie Rallye du Maroc 🙂

Posted by Kuba Przygoński on Monday, October 23, 2017

Exterior

  • Unique exterior between the Rally and the Buggy
  • Rally takes its inspiration from the Mini Countryman
  • Carbon fiber and kevlar body panels to cut weight
  • Aerodynamically optimized package
  • Big fenders to fit big suspension
  • Tough underbody protection

2018 Mini John Cooper Works Rally And Buggy - image 747072
“The bespoke exterior looks tough and ready for competition, with ultra-high fenders, a plethora of intakes and scoops, and loads of underbody protection as well”

While both the Countryman-based Mini Rally and the 2WD Mini Buggy employ body panels constructed from carbon fiber reinforced plastic and kevlar (to help save weight), the Buggy is unique in its aesthetic. The bespoke exterior looks tough and ready for competition, with ultra-high fenders, a plethora of intakes and scoops, and loads of underbody protection as well. Several outside sources assisted in the creation of the Buggy’s exterior, all of which collaborated to make sure it was “aerodynamically optimized” and could easily cut through the atmosphere at speed. “The aero package was of major importance and was enhanced together with KLK in many simulations,” said X-raid Team Manager Sven Quandt. “The final looks of the vehicle were created in cooperation with Mini Design.


2018 Mini John Cooper Works Rally And Buggy - image 747064

Meanwhile, the Countryman-based 4WD Mini Rally looks a little closer to something you might buy in a showroom, albeit with innumerable enhancements under (and over) the skin. While the overall shape of the Mini Rally is similar to the street-friendly sub-compact crossover, it too gets impossibly flared fenders, tons of extra ground clearance, an extra intake on the roof, tough underbody protection, and a few sponsorship stickers as well.

Cute these Minis are not.

Finally, there are 17-inch diameter wheels on the Buggy and 16-inch wheels on the Countryman-based Rally.

Exterior Dimensions

Mini John Cooper Works Buggy Mini John Cooper Works Rally
Length 4,332 mm (170.6 inches) 4,350 mm (171.3 inches)
Width 2,200 mm (86.6 inches) 1,999 mm (78.7 inches)
Height 1,935 mm (76.2 inches) 2,000 mm (78.7 inches)
Wheelbase 3,100 mm (122 inches) 2,900 mm (114.2 inches)
Track Width 1,855 mm (73 inches) 1,736 mm (68.3 inches)

Interior

  • Stripped down and business like
  • Lots of vents to keep it cool
  • Digital instrumentation
  • Loads of tools and spares in case something breaks

2015 MINI ALL4 Racing - image 577252

Note: Mini All4 Racing pictured here.

While we didn’t get a full rundown on the interior spec for these machines, there are a few things to mention right off the bat. First off, both will get utterly stripped-down cockpits, with bucket racing seats and multi-point racing harnesses to keep driver and co-pilot in place while rocketing through the scenery. Various vents and intakes will help to keep ’em cool while on the move, including via small sliding ports in the lexan windows. Digital instrumentation will help the pilots keep tabs on the vitals.

If something does happen to go boom (and considering this is the Dakar, that’s definitely a distinct possibility), the racers come equipped with a plethora of tools and spare parts. If called upon, the pilots can set up a little impromptu workshop out in the field to quickly get them back up and running.

Drivetrain

  • Similar drivetrain and powertrain between the Buggy and Rally
  • Turbocharged diesel powerplant
  • 340 horsepower, 590 pound-feet of torque
  • Six-speed transmission
  • Xtrac differential
  • 118 mph top speed

2018 Mini John Cooper Works Rally And Buggy - image 747075
“Developed with input from BMW Steyr, both oil burners produce peak output figures of 340 horsepower at 3,250 rpm and 800 Nm (590 pound-feet) of torque at 1,850 rpm”

The beating heart for both the Buggy and the Mini Rally is a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder diesel powerplant. Developed with input from BMW Steyr, both oil burners produce peak output figures of 340 horsepower at 3,250 rpm and 800 Nm (590 pound-feet) of torque at 1,850 rpm. Regulations dictate that the engines must suck the atmosphere through a 38 mm (1.5-inch) restrictor, otherwise you can bet these lumps would be making a helluva lot more power. Top speed is clocked at 190 km/h (118 mph), which might not seem very high at first glance. That is, until you realize the sort of terrain its over.

“Top speed is clocked at 118 mph, which might not seem very high at first glance. That is, until you realize the sort of terrain its over. ”

Although the engine utilizes BMW-bred turbocharging technology, the transmission and drivetrain are both newly developed for the racing application. And even with the Buggy using RWD and the Mini Rally using 4WD, the drivetrains for both are quite similar in terms of which performance company makes which components. Both racers utilize a six-speed gearbox from Sadev, a high-performance clutch from AP Racing, and a differential from Xtrac. Both also have a 325-liter (85.9-gallon) fuel capacity.

Mini John Cooper Works Rally And Buggy Engine And Performance Specs

Engine turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder diesel
Drive Type RWD (Buggy), 4WD (Rally)
Horsepower 340 HP @ 3,250 RPM
Torque 590 LB-FT @ 1,850 RPM
Transmission Sadev six-speed
Clutch AP Racing
Differential Xtrac
Top Speed 118 mph

Chassis And Handling

  • Tubular steel frames
  • Up to 11 inches of suspension travel
  • Roughly 4,000-pound curb weight for the Rally
  • Roughly 3,750-pound curb weight for the Buggy
  • Two spares for the Buggy, three for the Rally
  • Obsessive weight reduction – down to the screws used

2018 Mini John Cooper Works Rally And Buggy - image 747080
“Under those composite body panels, you'll find the Buggy and Mini Rally get a specially designed tubular steel frame”

Under those composite body panels, you’ll find the Buggy and Mini Rally get a specially designed tubular steel frame. Basically, these are custom-built racers with almost nothing in common with Mini’s production line, but hey – this is the Dakar. Any and all advantages you can get are well worth the investment.

This time around, the Mini John Cooper Works Rally gets a refresh for its chassis, offering up more suspension travel and further weight reduction compared to the outgoing iteration. The suspension travel was increased from 250 mm (9.8 inches) to 280 mm (11 inches), making for a massive amount of leeway when bashing through harsh terrain. Meanwhile, the Mini Rally’s weight was reduced from 1,952 kg (4,303 pounds) to 1,850 kg (4,079 pounds), a significant savings in the world of top-shelf motorsport competition.


2018 Mini John Cooper Works Rally And Buggy - image 747065
“Basically, these are custom-built racers with almost nothing in common with Mini's production line, but hey – this is the Dakar.”

“We succeeded in achieving the new minimum weight,” said Team Manager Quandt. “We looked at absolutely every component. As a result, the thickness of the carbon fiber body and the weight of the frame were reduced. We also checked all screws what [sic] helped us to save another three to four kilograms. This demonstrates that reducing the car’s weight really was an in-depth effort.”

All those weight saving efforts benefited the Buggy as well, and thanks to the lack of extra driven wheels, the rear-wheeler weighs just 1,700 kg (3,748 pounds) when empty. Of course, that 150-kg weight loss is the trade off for reducing traction by half.


2018 Mini John Cooper Works Rally And Buggy - image 747072
“The rear-wheeler Buggy weighs just 3,748 pounds when empty, a trade off for half the traction.”

To haul down the Buggy, the RWD machine gets Brembo brake discs measured at 355 mm (14 inches) by 32 mm (1.3 inches). There are also two spare wheels in case of punctures, with the rubber coming from BF Goodrich and measuring in at 37 inches tall and 12.5 inches wide.

Meanwhile, the Works Rally gets AP disc brakes measured at 320 mm (12.6 inches) by 32 mm (1.3 inches), with ventilated air cooling in front and water-chilled cooling in the rear. To stave off the DNFs, the Rally gets three spare wheels, with BF Goodrich once again supplying the rubber, this time measuring in at 245/80.

Competition

Peugeot 2008 DKR Maxi


2016 Peugeot 2008 DKR16 - image 647549

Like the Mini, the Peugeot 2008 is based on a street machine, and also like the Mini, this Dakar champion has very little in common with the production variant. Without a doubt, Peugeot is Mini’s chief rival, having lost the last two Dakars to the French automaker. This year, the Peugeot Total team is going for its third consecutive win, and the 2008 DKR is looking as mean as it’s ever been. And with Peugeot boasting a roster that includes rally legends like Sebastien Loeb and Carlos Sainz, Mini definitely has its work cut out for it.

Read our full review on the Peugeot 2008 DKR Maxi.

Conclusion


2018 Mini John Cooper Works Rally And Buggy - image 747069
“Despite its fresh-start beginnings, the Mini John Cooper Works Buggy has performed quite well in testing thus far.”

While the Mini Rally is certainly impressive, it’s the Buggy that really piques our interest. While the larger SUV has seen the field of battle, the Buggy is still green, as construction only got underway this past February. That’s not a lot of time to develop a world-beating racer, but the X-raid team poured a lot into the project in such a short period.

“This has been the biggest project in our company’s history so far and we have worked extremely hard at it,” said X-raid Team Manager Sven Quandt. In total, more than 50 engineers from X-raid contributed to its creation, as did several other company partners, such as BMW Motorsport, Magna Steyr, Heggemann, CP Autosport, and Faster. “It was the very first buggy designed and built by us but we could benefit from our massive cross-country experience.”

Despite its fresh-start beginnings, the Mini John Cooper Works Buggy has performed quite well in testing thus far, with the team wringing it out on a variety of terrain, conducting sessions in locales like Hungary and Morocco. “During this time the Buggy never had to stop once due to a technical problem, which is really quite remarkable,” said Team Manager Quandt. “Despite all the euphoria, we must definitely not forget the Mini John Cooper Works Rally. There are tracks and types of terrain where an all-wheel drive has advantages. What is more, our car is extremely reliable.”

This year, the Mini X-Raid Dakar effort includes no less than seven cars and a corresponding roster of drivers and co-drivers. There will be three new Mini John Cooper Works Buggies, with drivers including Mikko Hirvonen from Finland, Bryce Menzies from the U.S., and Yazeed Al-Rajhi from Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, taking the helm of the remaining four Mini John Cooper Works Rally will be Argentina’s Orlando Terranova, Poland’s Jakub Przygonski, Spain’s Joan “Nani” Roma, and Chile’s Boris Garafulic.

“This year, the Mini X-Raid Dakar effort includes no less than seven cars and a corresponding roster of drivers and co-drivers.”

“It’s our goal to make it onto the podium,” said Quandt. “No matter if the Mini John Cooper Works Buggy or the Mini John Cooper Works Rally makes it. There are many variables we can’t control, such as the routing, the weather and – of course – a little dose of luck, which is something you definitely need if you want to succeed in the Dakar.”

“With these two cars we have the most powerful Mini family that ever raced at the Dakar Rally,” said Mini Senior Vice President Sebastian Mackensen.

However – will it be enough to stop Peugeot from grabbing a third consecutive win?

The opening stage of the Dakar is set to take place on January 6th in Lima, Peru, with the final stage set for completion by January 20th in Cordoba, Argentina.

  • Leave it
    • * Peugeot is on a roll
    • * Luck plays a major role in success at the Dakar
    • * Will the advantages of RWD outweigh the drawbacks?

References

Mini Countryman


2017 Mini Countryman - image 693012

Read our full review on the 2017 Mini Countryman.


2018 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works - image 702705

Read our full review on the 2018 Mini Countryman JCW.


2015 MINI ALL4 Racing - image 577242

Read our full review on the 2015 Mini ALL4 Racing.

PostHeaderIcon BMW M5 MotoGP Safety Car

BMW M GmbH has been the partner of MotoGP organizer Dorna Sports for nearly two decades now, and is recognized as the “Official Car of MotoGP.” That means every time the top-rung motorcycle racing series needs something four-wheeled to help out on tack, Bimmer is there to provide the ride. Now, BMW has revealed a new safety car for the series, pulling the sheets at the 2017 MotorGP finale at Valencia. Based on the brand-new F90-generation M5, which was revealed earlier in 2017 at the gamescom trade fair in Germany, this spiced-up four-door is destined for duty in the 2018 MotoGP series scheduled to kick off March 19th. Rocking the same 4.4-liter V-8 as the road-going variants, this is also the first BMW Safety Car to run the M xDrive AWD drivetrain, and it’s got a good deal of M-branded Performance Parts to go with it. Read on for the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M5 MotoGP Safety Car.

What Makes The BMW MotoGP Safety Car Special


2018 BMW M5 MotoGP Safety Car - image 741350
“The exterior design was inspired by the BMW M8 GTE race car. Carbon was added for the roof, side sills, rear diffuser, and more. In front is a prototype diffuser.”

Taking up the responsibility for prepping the M5 for life as a safety car was BMW M Manufaktur in Garching. The engineers started with the standard street car, then proceeded to add a variety of M Performance Parts, which, as BMW points out, “are available as retrofit parts for the BMW M5 production model.” The group also upgraded the styling, aero, cooling, and safety systems, while simultaneously cutting out a weight where possible.

The exterior design was inspired by the BMW M8 GTE race car, a competition-spec vehicle destined for the harrowing 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018. In terms of weight reduction, the M team added loads of composite material, such as with carbon fiber reinforced plastic for the roof panel, as well as carbon components for the side sills, rear diffuser, rear spoiler, grille, side view mirror housings, and air breather slats. It looks pretty good, and it’s decently functional as well.


2018 BMW M5 MotoGP Safety Car - image 741375
“It looks pretty good, and it’s decently functional as well.”

Take a peek behind that weave-laden kidney grille intake, and you’ll find the M5 Safety Car is powered by a turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8, which just saw an increase in power to 600 ponies total with the latest F90 generation changeover in August. Torque is rated at 750 Nm (553 pound-feet). The output numbers match those of the road car, as do the acceleration figures, with the 0-to-62 mph sprint completed in 3.4 seconds. Swapping the cogs is an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission equipped with Drivelogic, once again mirroring what you get in the road car.

BMW also saw fit to throw on a fresh BMW M Performance sport exhaust, a nice upgrade that’s made from titanium and tipped with carbon fiber end pieces. Up front, there’s a prototype front splitter, which you unfortunately can’t buy from the dealership. There are also new hood latches for the sake of safety, and up top, there’s a new light bar with LEDs, plus front-facing blue LED flashing lights and flashing corona rings in the headlights.


2018 BMW M5 MotoGP Safety Car - image 741353
“One of the big headlines for the new M5 was the addition of the M xDrive AWD system, a first for the nameplate, and the MotoGP Safety Car retains the system for extra grip on track.”

One of the big headlines for the new M5 was the addition of the M xDrive AWD system, a first for the nameplate, and the MotoGP Safety Car retains the system for extra grip on track. Handling is helped thanks to the inclusion of M-tuned suspension pieces, while inside, there are new buckets seats plucked from the BMW M4 GTS.

“A MotoGP Safety Car faces enormous challenges,” said BMW M GmbH President, Frank Van Meel. “It is vital to lead a field of unique, high-performance race prototypes through all sorts of conditions. Innovative motorsport technology is an essential part of this. The new BMW M5 forms the perfect basis for a safety car, as its technical features ensure perfect handling, even at the limits of driving dynamics – on the road and on the racetrack.”

References

BMW M5


2018 BMW M5 - image 727588

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW M5.

BMW M4


2016 BMW M4 GTS - image 649558

Read our full review on the 2016 BMW M4 GTS.

PostHeaderIcon McLaren 720S GT3

2019 McLaren 720S GT3

Launched in 2014, the McLaren Super Series included a batch of spectacular sports cars. Alongside the base 650S model, the British firm also launched the higher performance 675LT and the race-spec 650S GT3. Light, fast, and packed with the latest technology, the Super Series became McLaren’s most successful car. However, the British carmaker decided to replace it after only three years on the market. Its successor is called the 720S and boasts improvements in just about any department. It’s been six months since the 720S was unveiled at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show and McLaren announced that a race-spec GT3 version is also underway.

The new 720S GT3 will replace the 650S GT3, a vehicle that scored titles in all major motorsport series, including the Asian Le Mans Series, Australian GT championship, the Bathurst 12 Hour, Blancpain Endurance Cup and Pirelli World Challenge. But it won’t happen right away. Much like the 570S GT4, the 720S GT3 will have a trial season in 2018 and will completely replace the 650S in 2019, when it will be launched for customer teams.

In addition to the new race car, McLaren also announced plans to introduce a new racing program and a one-make GT series for customers. It’s also planning to appoint a network of motorsport retailers which will sell road and track products alongside each other. But more about all of this below.

Exterior

  • Built around MonoCage II carbon structure
  • Carbon-fiber body
  • Redesigned bumper with big splitter
  • Vented front hood and fenders
  • Carbon side skirts
  • Large rear wing
  • Race-spec diffuser

2019 McLaren 720S GT3 - image 747148
“The GT3-spec vehicle is built around the same MonoCage II carbon-fiber structure of the road car”

While the 650S GT3 was launched with an actual car, the 720S GT3 is not yet ready to show itself to the world. Apparently McLaren was in a bit of a rush to unveil the car and rolled out some of the details with only two design sketches. Granted, they’re well made and seem to portray a production-ready car, but the final design could see a few changes.

The GT3-spec vehicle is built around the same MonoCage II carbon-fiber structure of the road car, while the outer shell is also made from lightweight composite and carbon-fiber. However, the exterior is significantly different due to the bespoke aerodynamic package that McLaren created specifically for this model.

“The entire bumper is made from exposed carbon-fiber, as is the big splitter”

The race car looks very familiar up front, but there are plenty of changes to talk about. For starters, the entire bumper section underneath the nose was redesigned. The intakes are taller, wider, and sport a different shape. The entire section made from exposed carbon-fiber, as is the big splitter that nearly touche the ground. The bumper’s aerodynamics are further enhanced by a pair of upswept canards on each side. Due to their placement, the latter forced McLaren to remove the small vents on the fenders.

The front hood now has a new center section with big intakes that improve drivetrain cooling. Much like all modern race cars in the GT3 category, the fenders also have vents just above the front wheels. It doesn’t get more aggressive than this!


2019 McLaren 720S GT3 - image 747149
“The rear end is quite radical to look at, and it's not just the massive wing”

Changes are less significant onto the sides, but the GT3 sports more massive side skirts, aerodynamically optimized mirrors, and redesigned panels where the front fenders meet the doors. While the road car has a small, angled vent just behind the fender, the race car has a taller opening that’s almost vertical. We can also see a bigger vent in the side skirt, added to feed more air into the engine and the rear braking system.

The rear end is quite radical to look at, and it’s not just the massive wing that changes the car’s appearance. The 720S already sports an aggressive diffuser in standard spec, but McLaren redesigned the unit for track duty. The new diffuser includes no fewer than nine vertical slats and looks as if it’s ready to rake the tarmac of the track. The bumper was heavily modified too, with the rear wheels now being completely exposed toward the back. Mmm, sexy!
The exhaust pipes were moved a bit higher in the fascia and brought close together. On the standard model, they’re far apart, with pipes mounted to the inner side of the taillights. The decklid includes additional vents, while the carbon-fiber center section that holds the red light and tow hood appears to float into the fascia.

All told, the 720S GT3 is by far the most menacing race car McLaren has built to date.

Interior

  • Driver-focused cabin
  • Racing, FIA-approved seat
  • Full roll cage
  • Multi-function steering wheel
  • Lightweight configuration

2018 McLaren 720S - image 709271

Note: Interior of the standard McLaren 720S pictured here.

“The cabin should include an all-new race seat equipped with a six-point race harness”

McLaren had nothing to say about the car’s interior, but much like the 650S GT3, driver safety should be one of the key areas McLaren focused while developing 720S GT3. Protection offered by the already solid carbon-fiber MonoCell chassis will be enhanced with the addition an FIA-approved roll cage, probably lighter than the one in the 650S GT3, but drivers should also benefit from increased leg and headroom, which is more than welcomed during those long, 24-hour endurance events.

The race car should also come with an all-new race seat equipped with a six-point race harness. Naturally, the seat will be built to FIA standards and mounted to the chassis. The dash will be stripped off any unnecessary equipment, while the standard instrument cluster will make way for a custom display that will show vital parameters, including speed and fuel consumption. A new, Formula One-inspired steering wheel and a center stack packed with buttons, knobs, and switches should round off the cabin.

Drivetrain

  • Race-spec 4.0-liter V-8 engine
  • Around 500 horsepower
  • Six-speed sequential transmission
  • Adjustable dampers
  • Coil-over springs
  • New ECU

2018 McLaren 720S - image 708587

Note: Standard McLaren 720S drivetrain pictured here.

“The 720S GT3 will draw juice from the same engine as the road-going model”

Just like its predecessor, the 720S GT3 will draw juice from the same engine as the road-going model. And by “same” I mean that it will have the same displacement and numbers of cylinder, because everything else will be revised for track duty. The engine in question is a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 that debuted in the 720S. Although larger than the familiar 3.8-liter unit, the 4.0-liter powerplant is a development of the former.

No word on output, but it’s safe to assume that the GT3 car won’t be as powerful as the road going model. For instance, the 650S GT3 had 493 horsepower, a 148-horsepower decrease compared to the road car. The 720S GT3 should have a similar output, but it all depends on the curb weight. Should the new GT3 be lighter, expect output to be lower as well. One thing’s certain, don’t expect it to be as powerful as the road car, which cranks out a whopping 710 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque.

The V-8 will mate to a six-speed sequential transmission and will use new ECU for turbo boost and shift control. Chassis upgrades will include adjustable dampers and coil-over springs front and rear. Unfortunately, that’s all McLaren was willing to share as of this writing, but it’s worth noting that the overall, the GT3 car isn’t radically different from the road car in terms of drivetrain and chassis components.

Prices

McLaren race cars don’t come cheap and they usually fetch more than their road-legal counterparts. The 650S GT3 was priced at £330,000 back in 2015 and it’s safe to assume that the 720S GT3 will retail for more than that. My best guess is that it will fetch in excess of £360,000, which converts to around $480,000 as of November 2017. Production is likely to be limited to no more than 20 or 30 units.

Competition


2016 Mercedes-AMG GT3 - image 707726
“The Mercedes-AMG GT3 is a certainty for 2019, as is the Ferrari 488 GT3”

Since it won’t hit the track as a customer car until 2019, it’s difficult to estimate what kind of competition this car will have, mostly because vehicle that are being raced today might not be around a year from now. In 2017, the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup was populated by race cars like the Mercedes-AMG GT3, Audi R8 LMS, Bentley Continental GT3, Ferrari 488 GT3, Lamborghini Huracan GT3, Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3, BMW M6 GT3, Aston Martin Vantage GT3, and the Porsche 911 GT3 R. While some may get replacements by 2019, a few of these cars will carry on to compete against the McLaren 720S GT3.


2016 Ferrari 488 GT3 - image 654718

The Mercedes-AMG GT3 is a certainty for 2019. Built around the AMG GT coupe, the GT3 packs a large amount of aerodynamic upgrades and a race-spec version of the the company’s twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 engine. The Ferrari 488 GT3 is another race car that will carry on for at least two more years. While Merc finished the season second behind Aston Martin in the Pro class, Ferrari won the Am division. Next up is the Bentley Continental GT3, which just got a complete redesign for 2018. Lighter, more aerodynamic and powered by a new engine, the Conti begins next season as the overall champion. A new Vantage GT3 based on the fresh, second-generation model should also follow now that Aston Martin has unveiled the GTE car. McLaren will face competition from the same cars in the Pirelli World Challenge series in the United States.

New Racing Program and Network


2019 McLaren 720S GT3 - image 747147
“McLaren is opening the Driver Development Programme to find young motorsport talent”

The 720S GT3 will meet its customers through a new network of motorsport dealers that will retail road and track products alongside each other. Owners will also be able to compete in a one-make GT series in what McLaren describes as an attempt to “bring customers even closer to the action than ever before.” The new series that will race in 2018 at iconic European racing circuits and is aimed at owners who already have extensive track driving experience and are looking to take their first steps in the racing world. All participants will be guided by McLaren motorsport experts.

Finally, the brand is opening the Driver Development Programme to find young motorsport talent. McLaren has already selected four promising British drivers from an existing stable, who will compete during the 570S GT4 in 2018. The project aims to identify and develop talent for future McLaren factory drivers. Each will be assigned a professional mentor from McLaren’s team of drivers, fitness and nutrition assessments, PR, marketing, and sponsorship support.
Drivers will be regularly assessed and evaluated before being promoted to higher levels. The International Driver Development Programme will kick off in 2019.

Brief McLaren GT3 History


2013 McLaren MP4-12C GT3 - image 489747
“McLaren returned to GT racing in 2011 with a race-spec version of the MP4-12C sports car”

McLaren returned to GT racing in 2011 with a race-spec version of the MP4-12C sports car. The 12C GT3 was raced for five years (until 2015) and won 19 races, also scoring further 19 podiums. The 2011 season was rather brief, with only a handful of cars produced, but the 12C GT3 raced at the Spa 24 Hours and the Macau Grand Prix. In 2012, McLaren readied 25 more race cars for a full racing season in the FIA GT1 championship. It scored its first win at the Circuito the Navarra in Spain. It’s final race was at the Three Hours of Sepang in January 2016.


2015 McLaren 650S GT3 - image 557794

The 650S GT3 came in to replace the 12C GT3 in 2015, but 12C owners were offered the chance to upgrade to 650S specifications. As of 2017, the 650S was entered in more than 100 events, scoring 15 overall wins, two class wins, and more than 20 additional podiums. By far its most important achievements were winning the 12 Hours of Bathurst and the Blancpain Endurance Series teams’ championship in 2016.

Conclusion


2019 McLaren 720S GT3 - image 746625

It’s definitely to early to make any predictions here, but the 720S GT3 should become at least as successful as its 12C- and 650S-based predecessors. It’s lighter, it has a new engine, and improved aerodynamics, so there isn’t much that could go wrong. Sure, anything is possible in motorsport and the competition is hot in both the Blancpain and Pirelli series, but McLaren has enough experience to deliver a potent and reliable car to its customers. That fact that it comes with a racing program makes it that much better.

  • Leave it
    • Still a rendering
    • Not available until 2019
    • Stiff competition

References

McLaren 720S


2018 McLaren 720S - image 708563

Read our full review on the 2018 McLaren 720S.

McLaren 650S


2015 McLaren 650S GT3 - image 557792

Read our full review on the 2017 McLaren 650S GT3.

PostHeaderIcon Aston Martin Vantage GTE

2018 Aston Martin Vantage GTE

After no fewer than 12 years on the market, the first-generation Vantage was finally replaced by a brand-new car. Revealed in November 2017, the second-gen Vantage joins the DB11 in Aston Martin’s new lineup of cars that use completely new underpinnings and a fresh design language. Alongside the road-going coupe, Aston Martin also unveiled the Vantage GTE race car, which will compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Built by the same team that developed the outgoing V8 Vantage GTE, the new race car replaces the company’s most successful competition car of all-time, credited with 37 of the team’s 51 international race victories, including two Le Mans 24 Hour class wins. With extensive optimization of the powertrain, chassis, and aerodynamics, Aston Martin hopes that the new Vantage GTE will be at least as successful as its predecessor.

Although it was just revealed, the race car is under development for many months and has already completed more than 8,000 miles of testing, a 30-hour run at the Navarra track in Spain, as well as a rigorous durability program at Sebring in Florida. Aston Martin says it will keep most of the 2017 driver lineup for the new Vantage GTE. This includes Le Mans GTE Pro class winners Darren Turner and Jonny Adam, as well as the Danish duo and 2016 FIA WEC GTE Pro world champions, Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen. In addition, AMR has recruited ex-GP2 race winner and now Formula E racer Alex Lynn.

Continue reading to learn more about the Aston Martin Vantage GTE.

Exterior

  • More aggressive design
  • Revised aerodynamics
  • So many vents!
  • Huge rear wing
  • Biggest diffuser seen on an LMGTE car
  • Looks stunning from every angle!
  • That color!

2018 Aston Martin Vantage GTE - image 746669
“The new Vantage GTE adds a ton of steroids and a rear wing to the road car”

Much like its predecessor, the new Vantage GTE adds a ton of steroids and a rear wing to the road car. And with the new street coupe now more aggressive design-wise, the race car is an incredible display.

The new Vantage is a significant departure from the old model from just about every angle. Up front, it has a massive grille that goes all the way down to the splitter and sleeker headlamps that give it a menacing look. The sculpted hood adds even more muscle. The race car has an even pointier nose, while the grille mesh of the road was replaced by a couple of horizontal slats, giving the race model an open grille design that’s rather common in motorsport.


2018 Aston Martin Vantage GTE - image 746665
“The engine hood retains the shape of the standard model, but two massive vents were added on each side”

In the interest of aerodynamics, Aston Martin separated the lower corners of the grille to make two additional vents, added two more openings toward the sides, and fitted a wider, longer splitter. The engine hood retains the shape of the standard model, but two massive vents were added on each side to improve cooling of the modified V-8 engine.

Moving onto the sides, we can clearly see that the GTE inherited the redesigned profile of the road car, including the big C-shaped strake on the front fender, the sculpted side skirt, and the beefed-up rear haunches. And as you’d expect from a race car, the GTE package enhanced everything. The side skirts are massively wider and include the traditional side-exit exhaust, while the wheel arches are wide both front and rear. The quarter window was covered and now hosts the fueling cap, while the standard side windows were replaced by polycarbonate, lightweight units. The side mirrors are also now, featuring an aerodynamically optimized design.


2018 Aston Martin Vantage GTE - image 746676
“The rear section of the new Vantage is as sexy as they get”

The rear section of the new Vantage is as sexy as they get. The extremely thin taillights follow the sinuous shape of the deck lid, while the tall bumper makes room for a unique diffuser. There’s a big plane section in the middle, flanked by a couple of vertical fins on each side. Above these, the bumper hosts massive vents that include stop lights, exhaust pipes, and a mesh grille. The race car retains everything, but the lower bumper was stripped off to make way for a huge diffuser that extends several inches from the body. Atop the trunk lid, Aston Martin fitted a tall wing to further improve aerodynamics. A race-style red light is mounted in the bumper to increase visibility on wet tracks.

All told, the new Vantage GTE is a show stopper and should become a crowd pleaser in its first WEC season.

Interior

  • Loads of carbon-fiber
  • Bespoke display
  • New, race-spec center console
  • Cosworth technology
  • Carbon steering wheel
  • FIA-approved roll cage

2018 Aston Martin Vantage GTE - image 746678
“The GTE's interior has very little in common with the production car”

It rarely happens for carmakers to publish photos of race car interiors, but I’m happy to report that Aston Martin released two high-res shots of the cockpit. As you might have already guessed, the GTE’s interior has very little in common with the production car. While the new road-going Vantage boasts a sporty interior with plenty of luxury features, the GTE was overhauled to meet the safety rules laid by the FIA for the World Endurance Championship.

The first thing that catches the eye is the roll cage that spreads over the lower doors and the roof. The standard dashboard was replaced by a carbon-fiber shell, while the instrument cluster looks nothing like the fancy display from the road car.


2018 Aston Martin Vantage GTE - image 746680
“The lightweight, heavily bolstered seats that keeps the driver in place during hard cornering”

The center stack is gone too, replaced by a carbon console, apparently made by Cosworth, packed with loads of buttons, switches, and knobs. The center console is also made from carbon-fiber, much like almost everything else inside the cockpit.

The steering wheel is also made from this lightweight material but comes with Alcantara grip sections. Each gives the driver access to six different buttons, which le lower section of the steering wheel includes six bright colored knobs. I wonder what the pink one does… Finally, we have the lightweight, heavily bolstered seats that keeps the driver in place during hard cornering. Aston Martin had nothing to say about the technology behind all those panels and screens, but it’s safe to say that the Vantage GTE is ready to kick some Ferrari and Porsche butt on the race track.

Drivetrain

  • Twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8
  • Engine based on Mercedes-AMG unit
  • Around 500 horsepower
  • Ohlins suspension system
  • Alcon braking system
  • Bespoke Michelin tires

2018 Aston Martin Vantage - image 746487
“Under the hood of the Vantage GTE lurks a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 engine”

Under the hood of the Vantage GTE, lurks a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 engine. The mill is based on the V-8 found in the road car, which in turn is borrowed from Mercedes-AMG. Yup, it’s a revised version of the 4.0-liter that debuted in the Mercedes-AMG GT sports and later found its way in other AMG models, including the C63, E63, and GLC63. Of course, the engine in the race car was modified for track duty, so the two units don’t share too many components.

However, it’s safe to say that the powerplant is related to the 4.0-liter V-8 that motivates the Mercedes-AMG GT3. The engine was further optimized to the Vantage GTE’s aerodynamics, and Aston Martin reports that its drivers say the car is easier to control on the limit than the previous model. Again, not much info is offered here, but the British firm says that the Vantage GTE now uses an Ohlins suspension system, an Alcon braking system, and a set of bespoke Michelin tires.

There’s no word on output either, but the car could hit the track with anywhere between 450 to 550 horsepower, depending on its curb weight.

Competition

The new Vantage GTE will compete in the LMGTE category of the FIA World Endurance Championship, which includes both professional and amateur divisions. LMGTE-Pro is for factory-backed teams, while LMGTE-Am is for gentleman drivers. A final list of competitors for 2018-2019 has yet to be announced, but it’s safe to assume that last year’s cars will continue with minor changes. The Vantage GTE will go against at least three competitors: the Ford GT, the Ferrari 488 GTE, and the Porsche 911 RSR.

Ford GT


2016 Ford GT Le Mans - image 633800

Introduced in 2016, just in time to celebrate 50 years since Ford’s first win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the GT is a heavily modified version of the road-going supercar. Upgrades are very similar to the Vantage GTE and include a more aggressive splitter, a vented front hood, wide side skirts, and a big wing atop the decklid. But unlike the Vantage, the Ford GT comes in a mid-engined configuration. It also uses a smaller, 3.5-liter V-6 engine. The EcoBoost unit is turbocharged, and it’s based on the same unit used by Ford in its IMSA Daytona Prototype race car in 2014. Output is rated at around 500 horsepower and enables the GT to hit top speeds in excess of 200 mph. The GT has already won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in its class in 2016, but also scored 1-2 finishes at Fuji and Shanghai. In 2017, it won at Silvestone and Shanghai, and finished second at Le Mans. With Chip Ganassi Racing at the helm, Ford ended the season in second place, behind Ferrari, but above Porsche and Aston Martin.

Read our full story on the 2017 Ford GT Le Mans.

Ferrari 488 GTE


2017 Petit Le Mans - Race Report - image 737481

Built around the 488 GTB that replaced the iconic 458 Italia, the 488 GTE also joined the motorsport scene in 2016. With a more menacing stance, revised aerodynamics, and new technology, the 488 GTE is the quickest and most advanced race Ferrari has ever built (excluding prototypes of course). The 488 GTE is also a mid-engined racer, but it still uses a V-8 engine. When Ferrari replaced the 458 Italia’s naturally aspirated 4.5-liter V-8 with the twin-turbo, 3.9-liter V-8 in the 488 GTB, the racing division did the same for the GTE. The road car’s unit pumps an impressive 660 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque, but the race car hits the track with less than that, mostly because it’s lighter and output for WEC cars is decided based on the power-to-weight ratio. The GTE is currently the car to beat in LMGTE-Pro. In 2016 it scored three wins and five podiums in nine races, winning the championship against Aston Martin. In 2017 it had a similar run and won the title ahead of Ford by a comfortable margin.

Read our full review of the 2017 Ferrari 488 GTE.

Vantage GTE Racing History


Aston Martin Vantage GT2 - first official images - image 240713
“The GTE's racing program began back in 2008, when the class was called the GT2”

The GTE’s racing program began back in 2008, when the class was called the GT2. The most powerful V8 Vantage ever made at the time of its release, the Vantage GT2 was offered as a customer car for use in the FIA GT Championship, American Le Mans Series, Le Mans Series, and 24 Hours of Le Mans. Power came from a modified version of the standard 4.3-liter V-8, which had displacement increased to 4.5 liters and received numerous competition components, including cylinder heads, con-rods, valves, camshafts, a racing exhaust system, and dry sump lubrication. The GT2 was raced until 2013 by either factory-backed or privateer teams and was entered in 85 events. The car scored two overall wins and three class wins. Notable results were obtained at Brands Hatch, Silverstone, but the GT2 made appearances on just about every famous race track around the world.


2012 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE - image 439541
“The GT2 was upgraded and relaunched as the GTE in 2012”

In 2012, Aston Martin returned to a GT based program and relaunched the Vantage GT2 as the GTE. The Brits made big upgrades to the car and fixed the serviceability that prevented the GT2 from reaching its full potential. It created a new modular construction with a series of detachable bars in the front structure, allowing the engine to be pulled straight out of the car. This reduced engine changes from up to four hours to less than hour. The rear suspension and subframe have also been modified, while the fuel cell has been repositioned within the roll cage to reduce the risk of damage in an accident. Aston Martin also made changes that improved cooling and aerodynamics, so the GTE was a significantly better car.


2016 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE - image 666595
“With a total of 37 wins, the GTE is Aston Martin's most successful race car to date”

This became obvious on the race track, where the GTE returned better results. Raced in around 200 events, the GTE scored 37 class wins, achieving success at Silverstone, Fuji, Shanghai, and Spa-Francorchamps. It also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice. Although it didn’t win the LMGTE manufacturers’ title in its six-year run, it scored 13 class wins and an additional 18 podiums. It came close to winning the title in 2013 and 2016, though. In 2016, the GTE won the teams’ championship in LMGTE-Pro, and in 2017 it scored a similar performance in the LMGTE-Am class. With a total of 37 wins, it’s Aston Martin’s most successful race car to date.

Conclusion


2018 Aston Martin Vantage GTE - image 746677

A quick glance at the history above is enough to notice that the new Vantage GTE has a big pair of shoes to fill. With new aerodynamics, a better and lighter chassis, and a new engine that has already demonstrated its solid reliability with Mercedes-AMG, it’s tempting to believe that the second-gen GTE will surpass its predecessor. But it’s not as easy as its sounds, because the other automakers compete in this class are also making big improvements to their cars each year. Ferrari is basically dominating the LMGTE category, while Ford and Porsche have the means to win just about any race and, with a bit of luck, the championship. It’s too early to describe the new Vantage GTE as a solid contender to the championship, but it could definitely do what its predecessor didn’t: beat Ferrari to the LMGTE title.

  • Leave it
    • Tough competition
    • Big shoes to fill

References

Aston Martin Vantage


The 2018 Aston Martin Vantage Comes to Strike Fear in Porsche and Mercedes Purists Everywhere - image 746607

Read our full review on the 2019 Aston Martin Vantage.


2016 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE - image 666593

Read our full review on the previous generation 2017 Aston Martin Vantage GTE.



Read more Aston Martin news.

PostHeaderIcon Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro

Earlier this year, Aston Martin unveiled the Valkyrie, an insane hybrid hypercar rocking four-digit output figures and the combined go-faster know-how of Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing, among several others. Designed to take on the best of the best in the world of superlative road-going performance, the Valkyrie hasn’t even hit production yet and Aston is already gearing up for a newer, faster version. Dubbed the Valkyrie AMR Pro, it’s a track-only variant of the Valkyrie that eliminates any remaining conciliations for street duty, pumping up the speed potential to ever-greater heights. Created as a collaborative effort between Aston and Red Bull, the Valkyrie AMR Pro once again takes direction from English Formula 1 mastermind Adrian Newey, offering more extreme aero, an all-business interior, more power, and less weight. The result is one serious speed machine, with Aston bragging it’ll have what it takes to challenge modern F1 and LMP1 racers in terms of lap times.

That’s a mighty impressive boast, especially for a platform that traces its roots to something you can drive on the road. Indeed, this is Aston’s idea of “ultimate,” the top of the mountain in the land of fast. This is what you get when you give Aston Martin and Red Bull an extreme performance car plus a blank check for track use. We know you wanna know more about it, so read on for the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro.

Exterior

  • Takes road-going variant to even greater extremes
  • Bigger wings front and back
  • Extra vents and blades
  • More downforce
  • Smaller, 18-inch wheels

2019 Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro - image 745561
“Compared to what we’ve seen of the road-going Valkyrie, the track-only variant doesn’t appear to be a huge departure in terms of aesthetics.”

While Aston has yet to reveal the Valkyrie AMR Pro in the sheet metal, the British brand did give us a glimpse by way of an exterior rendering. Compared to what we’ve seen of the road-going Valkyrie, the track-only variant doesn’t appear to be a huge departure in terms of aesthetics. You still get the ultra-wide, ultra-low stance of a hardcore performance machine, plus big aero, a teardrop-shaped greenhouse, and plumped-up fenders stuffed by large-diameter wheels with flat exterior covers. A scoop on the roof once again leads to a rear fin that matches up to the rear wing.


2018 Aston Martin AM-RB 001 - image 722973

Note: Road-going Aston Martin Valkyrie pictured here for comparison.

However, while the same general shape is still there, the AMR Pro manages to turn the whole thing up to 11. Aston says it tweaked the aero to create more downforce, starting with larger wings in the front and in the rear. We also notice new wing blades behind the front wheels, which presumably help to vent the hot air around the brakes without impacting the front-end downforce dynamics. Just ahead of the windshield is an additional vent for the nose. There’s also no headlights seen anywhere on the front fenders, and you can bet there’s no turn signals in the tail either.

Finally, Aston says the active aero systems were tweaked and tuned for more hardcore track duty, while the wheels were downsized to 18 inches in diameter to mount the uber-sticky Michelin rubber (more on that in a bit).

Interior

  • Simple and barebones approach
  • Basically a carbon fiber cocoon
  • Fixed racing buckets replace street car’s adjustable seats

2018 Aston Martin AM-RB 001 - image 722968

Note: Road-going Aston Martin Valkyrie pictured here.

“The seating position is in the sort of reclined, feet-up posture you’d expect from a modern race car”

Unfortunately, Aston has yet to give us even a rendering of what to expect inside the AMR Pro’s cabin, but based on what we’ve seen from the road-going variant, there are a few assumptions to be made.

First off, let’s look at the “standard” Valkyrie. Climb into this thing, and you’ll find yourself wrapped in a cocoon of carbon. It’s a tight fit, but then again, it needs to be considering this machine’s ludicrous performance potential. A square steering wheel provides inputs for the various onboard systems, with vital info relayed through a small screen mounted in the center of the “wheel.” A complementary info screen is mounted on the dash, while two side screens project rear video feeds in place of the traditional side-view mirrors (aero is king, after all).

“A square steering wheel provides inputs for the various onboard systems, with vital info relayed through a small screen mounted in the center of the “wheel".”

In addition to all the carbon, the road-going Valkyrie gets Alcantara and metal trim pieces painted in gold. A six-point harness is offered for track duty, and should comes as standard equipment in the AMR Pro.

Finally, the seating position is in the sort of reclined, feet-up posture you’d expect from a modern race car, and Aston says it’ll equip molded racing bucket seats in place of the road car’s adjustable units.

Drivetrain

  • More power and torque from hybrid 6.5-liter V-12
  • Top speed approaching 250 mph
  • No major changes to the powertrain set-up
  • Cosworth-derived engine

2018 Aston Martin AM-RB 001 - image 709768

Note: Road-going Aston Martin Valkyrie pictured here.

“Like the road-going Valkyrie, the AMR Pro’s ’12 will be electrically boosted thanks to a hybrid system inspired by the world of Formula 1.”

Mounted in the middle of the Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro will be a naturally aspirated 6.5-liter V-12 powerplant from the legendary British motorsport engineering company Cosworth. Like the road-going Valkyrie, the AMR Pro’s ’12 will be electrically boosted thanks to a hybrid system inspired by the world of Formula 1. However, the racing car will trump its streetable sibling with even more power and torque. We have yet to receive exact figures, but we’re guessing the road-legal Valkyrie will lay down around 1,130 horsepower, so it wouldn’t be too crazy to expect 1,300 or even 1,400 ponies from the AMR Pro.

“We have yet to receive exact figures, but it wouldn’t be too crazy to expect 1,300 or even 1,400 ponies from the AMR Pro.”

That’s pretty nuts if you ask us, but it gets better. With the extra output, we think the AMR Pro will hit 60 mph in less than 2.5 seconds, while Aston says it’ll top out
“close” to 250 mph. It’ll also weigh less than the road car, so a power-to-weight ratio greater than one-to-one might be within reach.

Accomplishing this incredible feat is a new engine tune and high-flow emission control system. Finally, the Rimac Energy Recovery System is identical, but gets an update with reprogrammed control systems.

Chassis And Handling

  • Lighter carbon fiber bodywork
  • Polycarbonate sheets instead of glass
  • Carbon fiber wishbone suspension
  • Formula 1-inspired carbon-carbon brakes
  • LMP1-spec Michelin tires
  • 3.3 G’s of cornering force
  • 3.5 G’s of braking force
  • Lap times similar to a modern F1 car

2019 Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro - image 746170
“Aston managed to cut a few pounds thanks to even lighter carbon fiber construction for the bodywork, even though the road car’s composite body is already pretty damned light”

As you might expect, the Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro manages to sacrifice a few extraneous pounds in the name of more speed. First on the chopping block are those superfluous features designed for basic street comfort, like the heater and infotainment system. Next, the glass windshield was tossed in favor of a polycarbonate sheet, which gains a lightweight heater element in place of the standard de-mister. Polycarbonate was also used for the side windows.

Additionally, Aston managed to cut a few pounds thanks to even lighter carbon fiber construction for the bodywork, even though the road car’s composite body is already pretty damned light. There’s also a lightweight exhaust system (not to mention louder as well), while the suspension was updated with new uprights and carbon fiber wishbones.

“Aston claims the Valkyrie will be able to pull as much as 3.3 G’s in the corners and stop with 3.5 G’s of force. Red Bull ran the numbers in its simulators, and apparently the car will manage lap times equivalent to those of an F1 or LMP1 car.”

Hauling it down are brakes inspired by Formula 1, with race-spec carbon-carbon construction. Michelin tires are used for stick, and run the same specification as the LMP1 cars that compete in the World Endurance Championship.

Amazingly, Aston claims the Valkyrie will be able to pull as much as 3.3 G’s in the corners and stop with 3.5 G’s of force. And that is a mighty claim indeed! What’s more, Red Bull ran the numbers in its simulators, and apparently the car will manage lap times equivalent to those of an F1 or LMP1 car.

Holy crap.

Prices


2019 Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro - image 746169

Aston says only 25 of these mad machines will be built, with deliveries commencing in 2020. All 25 are already spoken for. How much each customer paid is still under wraps, but if we were to guess, $3 million to $4 million is probably about right.

Those folks lucky enough to snag one will get to participate in “an intensive and comprehensive driver development program” that’s customized to their skill level and racing experience. The program includes access to the same resources as Aston Martin Red Bull’s pro drivers, such as time in the simulator, on-track training, and even a physical fitness regimen.

And since the AMR Pro doesn’t appear to be eligible for any specific racing series, customers will be offered a chance to, uh, actually drive their car in a series of track events all over the world.

Competition

Ferrari FXX K


2015 Ferrari FXX K - image 581000

Like the Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro, the Ferrari FXX K is a track-only variant of a simply insane road-going hybrid hypercar, and like the AMR Pro, the FXX K has what it takes to melt your face into a puddle. The exterior is pure spaceship, with lots of active wings and seemingly endless downforce, while an engineering degree is required to operate the cockpit controls. And that’s important, because actually driving this thing is not an activity for the careless. Mounted behind the carbon seats is a 6.3-liter V-12 and electric motor combo that produces as much as 1,036 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque.

Read our full review on the 2015 Ferrari FXX K.

Mercedes-AMG Project One


2020 Mercedes-AMG Project One - image 730644

If it’s a true Formula 1 experience that you’re after, minus the politics of course, then Mercedes-AMG has a solution. The Project One was designed with the specific goal of bringing F1-style performance to the street, coming equipped with a turbocharged and hybrid 1.6-liter V-6 that’ll spin to 11,000 rpm. Output is rated at more than 1,000 horsepower. The engine is even constructed in the same factory as Merc’s F1 powerplants. The rest of the spec was built to complement that insane ‘six, with big wing, AWD grip, multi-stage ESP, carbon ceramic brakes, and multi-link pushrod suspension.

Read our full review on the Mercedes-AMG Project One.

Conclusion


2019 Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro - image 745562
“At the end of the day, we’re just very happy something like this exists.”

All told, the Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro looks to be one helluva toy. The performance promises it makes are borderline unbelievable, so much so we’re tempted to start calling BS. However, this is Aston Martin and Adrian Newey we’re talking about, and if this thing can run with a modern F1 car, then dammit, they’ll know it.

At the end of the day, we’re just very happy something like this exists. It shows just how far you can take go-fast technology, pushing an extreme into uncharted territory. Adrian Newey’s take is spot on –

“While it is endowed with extraordinary performance, it has always been vitally important to me that the Valkyrie functions well as a true road car, and that naturally comes with some constraints,” Newey says. “However, with the track-only Valkyrie AMR Pro we have the freedom to create an extreme evolution that makes no such concessions. While the core elements of the road and track versions are shared, every aspect of the AMR Pro – aerodynamics, chassis, powertrain and weight – has been optimized to significantly extend the performance envelope. It offers a level of track performance significantly beyond any previous two seat closed roof car.”

We can’t wait to see what it can do in real life.

  • Leave it
    • An outrageously expensive toy
    • Ineligible for any race series
    • Already sold out

References

Aston Martin Valkyrie


2018 Aston Martin AM-RB 001 - image 722966

Read our full review on the 2018 Aston Martin Valkyrie.



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PostHeaderIcon Multi-Car Pile-Up Creates Chaos At Macau GP Qualifying Race

Multi-car pile-ups don’t always happen in racing, but when they do, they make for spectacles as long as nobody involved gets hurt. But even with those expectations, nothing can prepare you for what happened at the FIA GT World Cup qualifying race in Macau where a huge pile-up occurred on the opening lap of the race, affecting 16 of the 20 cars on the field.

I’ve been watching motor racing for the better part of two decades and I’ve never seen anything like it. According to Sportscar365, the crash happened on the very first lap of a qualifying race after fourth-place running Daniel Juncadella hit the wall towards the exit at the notoriously tight Police bend. Rafael Marciello was running fifth at the time of Juncadella’s boo-boo managed to squeeze his car past the crashed Mercedes-AMG GT3, but every car behind it wasn’t as lucky. Defending GT World Cup champion Laurens Vanthoor was running sixth when he clipped the back of Juncadella’s car and started a chain reaction of one car hitting another one after the other. Luca di Grassi’s Audi R8 LMS even ended up with its rear section pointing to the sky after being hit by a BMW from behind.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, the race was immediately red-flagged as cranes sprung into action to clean up the mother-of-all-pile-ups. Thankfully, no one suffered any injuries from the pile-up and the qualifying session ended up restarting a few hours later where Edoardo Mortara claimed pole position ahead of today’s actual race.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Maybe something should finally be done about Macau’s street circuit?

“Defending GT World Cup champion Laurens Vanthoor was running sixth when he clipped the back of Juncadella’s car and started a chain reaction of one car hitting another one after the other.”

I get it. As long as the Macau Grand Prix has been around, its street circuit has become a big part of its charm. That’s not lost on me, but so is the alarming number of crashes and accidents that happen on this track.

We can laugh about that 16-car pile-up because nobody got hurt, but it wasn’t even the most significant thing to happen over the weekend. Motorcycle racer Daniel Hegarty lost his life after crashing against the barriers at the same track. That kind of tragedy isn’t new to the Macau GP, but all the same, it’s something that shouldn’t happen under any circumstances.

Five years ago, Portuguese motorcycle racer Luis Filipe de Sousa Carreira and Hong Kong driver Phillip Yau Wing-Choi both crashed and died in their respective races. Similar deaths also occurred in 1994 and 2005 and the number of crashes and accidents over the years that didn’t result in deaths have literally been far too many to count.

Just last year, Laurens Vanthoor, the same guy involved in this 16-car pile-up, clipped the inside curb at the Mandarin Bend at 155 mph, sending his Audi R8 LMS on a wild ride that ended with the car on its roof and sliding at full speed towards the start-finish line. That race was red-flagged too and because of FIA race rules, Vanthoor won the race, becoming the first racer in history to win a race with his car on its roof.

“The race was immediately red-flagged as cranes sprung into action to clean up the mother-of-all-pile-ups.”

Jokes aside, there are some extremely narrow sections of the track that need improvement. There’s plenty of history and evidence that says crashes don’t end well for those who are involved in them. I’m all for keeping the integrity of the circuit, but the changes that can be made in the name of safety should happen, especially if it could save some lives in the future.

References


2017 Hankook 24 Hours COTA - Race Report - image 745359

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PostHeaderIcon 2017 Hankook 24 Hours COTA – Race Report

Up until last weekend, the Rolex 24 hours at Daytona was the only professional twice-around-the-clock race in the United States but all that changed after COTA hosted such an event for GT and touring cars as Dutch organization Creventic made its North-American debut after organizing a number of successful series in Europe.

Before delving into what went on at the Circuit Of The Americas at the end of last week when the second ever professional 24 Hours race was held in the U.S., let’s look a bit at Creventic’s history. The Dutch organization which was behind this event, although it was sanctioned by the SCCA, is not new in the motorsport scene. In fact, their first hit came 11 years ago with the very first Dubai 24 Hours when they realized the potential of the Middle Eastern market and the appetite to race at the Dubai Autodrome which was also a host of the FIA GT at the time.

Continue reading for the full story.

Dubai Success


2017 Hankook 24 Hours COTA - Race Report - image 745359
“The race in Dubai grew to the point where it’s a staple of the endurance racing calendar”

The race in Dubai grew to the point where it’s a staple of the endurance racing calendar and, along with the Bathurst 12 Hours and Daytona 24 Hours, the kick starter of the season. On the back of that success, Creventic looked to build a series of endurance races for the cars they welcomed at Dubai on other European tracks. As such, the 24H Series was created and catered for 12-hour and 24-hour-long events. The series expanded and two more championships were added in the last couple of years: the 24H Touring Car Endurance Series and the 24H Proto Series. Last weekend’s race, though, was only part of the inaugural “Championship of Continents” and was run to 24H Series rules.

Championship Rules


2017 Hankook 24 Hours COTA - Race Report - image 745351
“The rules are much more liberal than what you’re used to seeing in your average IMSA-sanctioned or SRO-sanctioned races”

The rules are much more liberal than what you’re used to see in your average IMSA-sanctioned or SRO-sanctioned races. If you’ve ever tuned in to the Nurburgring 24 Hours race or the VLN championship also held on the Nordschleife, you will be in the know as to what kinds of cars are allowed in this series. Basically, you’ve got from GT3 machinery to slower touring cars and “endurance specials.”

In short, A6 is the class dedicated to GT3 cars, and it has been split more recently into A6-Pro and A6-Am, with the latter being different because the driver lineups are made up of mostly gentleman drivers and the whole crew must not go quicker than their set delta time. A6-Pro doesn’t have a delta time that the drivers should worry about. Just below you have the SP3/GT4 class for GT4 machinery (naturally) and other modified “endurance specials” that are balanced to fight the GT4 cars. Then there’s SP2 for Supercup-spec 991s and other modified exotica such as the MARC Cars Australia Mazdas and Fords with their beefed up V8s. Other slower Porsche 911 Cup cars are welcome within the confines of the 991 class while touring cars run in three classes: TCR, A3, and A2. While the TCR class is self-explanatory, the other two categories pit against each other varied machinery from small Clios and Toyotas, to slightly modified BMWs, Hondas, and many others in between.

All in all, what you got if you visited COTA last weekend was a colorful 40-odd cars grid including top-of-the-line GT3 cars from Mercedes-Benz, Audi or Porsche as well as a couple of Honda Civics and a funky Peugeot RCZ. As for American flavor, there was plenty with a number of local teams joining in addition to an ex-GTE Corvette C6.R ZR.1 entered by V8 Racing from the Netherlands. Risi Competizione were also slated to run but could not find customers to fill the seats of their two 488 GT3s. Callaway Competition’s C7.R GT3 was a car that should have made its North-American debut but that didn’t happen either, although GM did give it its blessing since the Cadillac program has ended. We might, though, see such Corvettes in PWC or IMSA GTD in 2018.

Qualifying

“IMSA regular Jeroen Bleekemolen returned to German outfit Black Falcon for this race and promptly set the fastest time in qualifying”

IMSA regular Jeroen Bleekemolen returned to German outfit Black Falcon for this race and promptly set the fastest time in qualifying, a 2:06.461 around the Austin, Texas, circuit. Manthey Racing’s No. 13 Porsche lined up second just ahead of Herberth Motorsport’s identical Porsche. The car ran briefly in the session due to some problems so the team was quite pleased with the third fastest time. The 2017 Dubai 24 Hours champions were looking to complete the circle by also taking the `Champions of Continents` crown with a victory at COTA. Meanwhile, 2017 24H Series GT champion team Hofor Racing was quickest in A6-Am. Seventh overall and second in A6-Am was the Leipert Racing Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo which was ahead of the V8 Racing Corvette.


2017 Hankook 24 Hours COTA - Race Report - image 745330
“PROsport Performance continued their tour de force by taking pole in the 991 class”

PROsport Performance continued their tour de force by taking pole in the 991 class, which they have consistently dominated all through 2017. Espenlaub, Putman, and Foster were 1,5 seconds quicker than the second-placed Apo Sport Porsche. The No. 85 crew was another one of the “Champions of Continents” contenders. MARC Cars edged out the not-yet-homologated Mercedes-Benz AMG GTR GT4 of Winward/HTP in SP2. An Aston-Martin was quickest in SP3 but it wasn’t the works Aston-Martin Lagonda entry, but the Speedworks one. That, though, is a different Vantage. The polesitters ran a GT4 car while the works team had a GT8 model they qualified third.

There were a number of incidents during qualifying, including a big accident for the No. 41 Brookspeed Porsche Cayman GT4, which caused one of the two red flag periods.

The Race

“Due to noise restrictions in place in the Austin area, the race could not be run 24 hours without interruptions”

Due to noise restrictions in place in the Austin area, the race could not be run 24 hours without interruptions. As such, Creventic and the SCCA decided to split the event in two: 14 hours of racing rolled by on Saturday with the final 10 being run on Sunday. As per usual with the Creventic split races, the cars are parked in parc ferme after the first bit of running and anyone who decides to work on their car during the night receives a hefty 10-lap penalty. The following day, the race resumes via another rolling start with the cars positioned in the order in which they finished the first part and with the gaps intact.

The first part of the race can be described as “business as usual” for Herberth Motorsport, which took over the lead from Black Falcon and was out front after 14 hours. The No. 911 car of Daniel Allemann, Robert Renauer, Ralf Bohn and Alfred Renauer was already a lap ahead of the No. 3 Mercedes of Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Luca Stolz and Abdulaziz Al Faisal. The two cars, though, fought on track on a number of occasions. Third was the ROFGO Racing Gulf-livered AMG GT GT3 with number 31 of Roald Goethe, Stuart Hall, Nicolas Minassian and Jamie Campbell-Walter. Their gearbox, though, was in bad shape and the crew changed it which threw them 10 laps away from the top guys.


2017 Hankook 24 Hours COTA - Race Report - image 745334
“The first part of the race can be described as "business as usual" for Herberth Motorsport”

As such, third in A6-Pro when the race resumed was the No. 13 Manthey Racing Porsche while Car Collection Motorsport led A6-Am with the No. 34 car. The sister No. 33 R8 LMS had problems and dropped back through the pack. So much so that it’s out of the top three in class. It may not seem like much but, then again, the second-placed Corvette of V8 Racing was already 10 laps down after 14 hours. Hofor Racing were already out of the race after a serious accident for the No. 1 Mercedes, a truly unexpected turn of events for the team that moved from A6-Am to A6-Pro.

PROsport Performance led in the 991 class with the No. 85 while MARC Cars Australia led SP2 with the No. 210 Mazda-bodied car. Brookspeed led in SP3 with a Porsche Cayman while the No. 158 BMW led the CUP1 class which is dedicated to BMW M235i cars. Team Altran Peugeot led in TCR and another Peugeot, that of Team Eva Solo/Jonsson Consulting, leads A2 ahead of the two works Hondas.


2017 Hankook 24 Hours COTA - Race Report - image 745352
“PROsport Performance never relinquished the lead in the 991 category and went on to comfortably bag the win”

As per the rules, after the 12-hours mark, teams had to make a long stop to replace brake pads. Herberth Motorsport did their stop just as the No. 34 Audi, which I’ve mentioned already as being hit by problems, was being extinguished after a fire. That was, in fact, the only Code 60 neutralization of the day and it helped Herberth bridge an even larger gap which was two laps by the end of the final 10 hours. Black Falcon Motorsport finished second overall, but the `Champions of Continents` were the crew of Team Herberth Motorsport. Third overall was the No. 13 Manthey Racing Porsche in which young Norwegian Dennis Olsen starred.
Car Collection beat V8 Racing in A6-Am by finishing fourth overall with their sole surviving R8 LMS.

PROsport Performance never relinquished the lead in the 991 category and went on to comfortably bag the win. They finished sixth overall while second in class was American team Freem USA which had just acquired its Porsche 991 GT3 prior to the event. With both Mercedes-Benz AMG GTR GT4 cars slowed by teething reliability problems, MARC Cars Australia walked away with a 1-2 in the category. Team Altran Peugeot won in TCR, the French car finishing just ahead of the SP3-winning Brookspeed Porsche No. 41 – the same car that was (almost) trashed in qualifying. Second in this class was the Aston-Martin Lagonda-entered Vantage which was slowed down by problems and lost the lead before half distance. Team Eva’s Peugeot beat the two Civics in A2. Only seven cars were listed as official retirements.

Top 10 Results

Pos No. Class PIC Team Divers Car Laps
1 911 A6-Pro 1 Herberth Motorsport Allemann / Bohn / Renauer / Renauer Porsche 911 GT3 R 608
2 3 A6-Pro 2 Black Falcon Keating / Bleekemolen / Al Faisal / Stolz Mercedes-AMG GT3 606
3 13 A6-Pro 3 Manthey Racing Smith / Walls / Proczyk / Olsen Porsche 911 GT3 R 601
4 34 A6-Am 1 Car Collection Motorsport Kirchhoff / Edelhoff / Grimm / Vogler Audi R8 LMS 590
5 31 A6-Pro 4 ROFGO Racing Goethe / Hall / Campbell / Walter / Minassian Mercedes-AMG GT3 584
6 85 991 1 PROport Performance Putman / Espenlaub / Foster Porsche 991 Cup 581
7 18 A6-Am 2 V8 Racing Braams / Huisman / Abresch / Vandierendonck Chevrolet Corvette C6-ZR1 576
8 17 A6-Pro 5 IDEC Sport Racing Lafargue / Lafargue / Enjalbert Mercedes-AMG GT3 574
9 10 A6-Am 3 Leipert Motorsport Schlotter / Schjerpen / Jasper / Rice / Lagrange Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo 567
10 50 991 2 Freem USA Stutterd / Fillmore / Grove Porsche 991-II Cup 563

Check out the full results from COTA. – http://www.racer.com/images/2017/Oct_2/Misc/24H_results.pdf

PostHeaderIcon Bentley Continental GT3

2018 Bentley Continental GT3

Bentley has just introduced the third-generation Continental GT, which rides on a new platform (shared with the Porsche Panamera), uses a new W-12 engine, and employs design cues from the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept car. Just like its predecessor, the new Conti GT is set to gain a range of versions, including a V-8-powered and higher performance Speed and Supersports variants. But while these are still under development, the new Continental GT has already made its public debut in motorsport clothes. Meet the second-generation Continental GT3, developed to replace the first-gen race car after four successful years on the race track.

Slated to hit the motorsport scene for the 2018 season, the new Continental GT3 uses the aluminum structure of the road car and most of its design cues. But much like its predecessor, its lighter, tipping the scales at “significantly less” than 2,866 pounds, and features a more aerodynamic body. The new Conti GT3 has big shoes to fill — the first-gen car scored 120 podiums and 45 wins across 528 races — and will attempt to do so starting with the opening round of the 2018 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup at Monza in April. Meanwhile, let’s have a closer look at what it brings to the table.

Continue reading to learn more about the Bentley Continental GT3.

What makes the Bentley Continental GT3 special

  • Based on production model
  • Aggressive bumper with race-spec aero
  • Vented engine hood
  • Wider fender flares
  • Side sill extensions
  • Massive rear wing
  • Race-spec diffuser
  • Lighter than street model
  • FIA-aprroved seats and roll-cage
  • Twin-turbo V-8 engine
  • 550 horsepower

2018 Bentley Continental GT3 - image 743814
“The new GT3 benefits from the coupe's redesigned body lines”

Obviously based on the third-generation Continental GT, the new GT3 benefits from the coupe’s redesigned body lines. Sportier, decidedly more modern, the new Conti GT is a more production friendly version of the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept car and its new styling cues work well with the aerodynamic package of the race car. Up front, the GT3 looks like a Conti GT on steroids. However, the beefed-up elements retain the basic form of the production parts. The bumper for instance, has the same three-piece layout with the wide, trapezoidal vent in the middle. Granted, it’s far more aggressive than the stock bumper, but it’s nice to see that Bentley made efforts to keep the race car as closely related to the production model as possible.

But while the bumper finds its roots in the production car, there are several race-spec features that set it apart, such as the large splitter, the side-mounted canards, and an additional center element finished in green. Speaking of which, the main grille and the sides of the bumper also sport green accents. What’s more, most of the new aero elements in the bumper are made from exposed carbon-fiber. The wider fenders and the vented hood with quick-release pins rounds off the race-ready front fascia.


2018 Bentley Continental GT3 - image 743816
“Onto the sides, the GT3 is a more significant departure from the standard model”

Onto the sides, the GT3 is a more significant departure from the standard model. Not only the fenders are significantly wider, but the side skirts also gained big extensions and extra vents. There’s a big intake in the front fender, as well as additional vents atop the wheels. The standard mirrors have been replaced by thinner, aero-optimized elements. The quarter windows have also been covered and now host the fueling caps.

Around back, the Conti GT3 is a beautiful display. If you’re a fan of GT3-spec racing that is. The upper fascia is the only feature borrowed from the road car, including the new oval taillights. Above, the deck lid has a new hump with a vent toward the rear glass, but the real highlight is the massive wing. The posts are mounted on the rear fenders, while the actual wing sits pretty high above the deck lid, even when compared to other GT3 cars. Below, a massive twin diffuser with big vertical fins replaces the production bumper. Just like the front end, the rear fascia is highlighted by bright green details on the dark gray and black paint.


2018 Bentley Continental GT3 - image 743817
“Under the hood, the massive 6.0-liter W-12 in the road cars has been replaced by a new development of the 4.0-liter V-8”

As usual, there are no photos or information about the interior, but it’s safe to assume that the layout is based on the production model, but enhanced by motorsport-specific features. While the dashboard likely retains the production shape, all luxury amenities like leather and aluminum trim are gone. Race-spec features should include an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, FIA-approved seats, lightweight door panels from carbon-fiber, and a full roll-cage.

Under the hood, the massive 6.0-liter W-12 in the road cars has been replaced by a new development of the 4.0-liter V-8 in the previous Continental GT3. The unit sports a redesigned dry sump,intake, and exhaust systems. Bentley says that unrestricted power is “in excess of 550 horsepower,” but the final output will depending on the weight of the race-prepped vehicle.

The race car has already started a six-month test program ahead of the 2018 season and will complete test sessions in the United Kingdom, France, and Portugal. Upcoming development work also includes full 24-hour endurance race simulations.

Bentley Continental GT3 Racing History


2014 Bentley Continental GT3 Race Car
- image 514762

Unveiled at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Continental GT3 had its first race in December the same year, starting in the 12 Hours of Yas Marina. 2014 saw the GT3 race its first season and the British coupe won its first race in May, at the 3 Hours of Silverstone. The year’s second important success came in June, at the 3 Hours of Paul Ricard. The following year saw the Continental GT3 enter various competitions, with several races around the world and notable results at Nogaro, Monza, Oschersleben, Zolder, Paul Ricard, Spa, Zandvoort, and Nurburgring. The GT3 won the 2015 Blancpain Sprint Series championship with drivers Vincent Abril and Maximilian Buhk and came just three points shy of winning 2015 Endurance Series. It 2016, the British coupe entered the Bathurst 12 Hour race and joined even more racing series around the world. It was Bentley’s most successful campaign, capturing the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup.

GT3-spec Competitors


2015 Audi R8 LMS - image 620107

Starting 2018, the Continental GT3 will go against a wide range of GT3-spec race cars. In the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup, competitors will include the Audi R8 LMS, Ferrari 488 GT3, Lamborghini Huracan GT3, McLaren 650 GT3, Lexus RC F GT3, Mercedes-AMG GT3, and the Porsche 911 GT3 R. The list remains similar on the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, but the Bentley will also encounter the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 and the Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 on race tracks around Europe.

References

Bentley Continental


2018 Bentley Continental GT - image 728790

Read our full review on the 2018 Bentley Continental GT.


2014 Bentley Continental GT3 Race Car
- image 514765

Read our full review on the previous generation 2014 Bentley Continental GT3.


2012 Bentley Continental GT3 Concept - image 475089

Read our full review on the
2012 Bentley Continental GT3 Concept.



Read more Bentley news.

PostHeaderIcon Is Ferrari Really Serious About Quitting Formula One?

Liberty Media’s plan to reshape Formula One in the competitive image it wants is already getting some blowback from some of the sport’s top teams and, to no one’s surprise, Ferrari is right in the middle of it. Worse, Ferrari isn’t just up-in-arms over Liberty’s plans. To be more specific Ferrari is up-in-arms over the engine proposals set for 2021 – so much so that it’s actually threatening to quit the sport entirely if the proposals are enacted. Yep. Imagine Formula One without Ferrari in it. You can’t? Well, neither can I because that’d be like Major League Baseball not having the New York Yankees or the NBA suddenly finding itself without the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s unfathomable to think about and yet, Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne has made no bones about his plans to take the Prancing Horse out of the sport if the new proposals did not “deliver a platform that was beneficial to Ferrari’s brand and its marketplace.”

The big issue that has Ferrari questioning its motivations to continue racing in Formula One involves the aforementioned engine proposal. And, in a weird twist, it’s not the only high-profile team to voice its objections. Mercedes-Benz and Renault are also concerned about the engine proposal and while neither has threatened to quit the sport entirely like Ferrari just did, it speaks to the significance of the issue that these three teams are in unison in voicing their displeasure over the proposal. For his part, Marchionne isn’t mincing his words regarding the automaker’s position. “I understand that Liberty may have taken these into account in coming up with their views, but I think it needs to be absolutely clear that unless we find a set of circumstances, the results of which are beneficial to the maintenance of the brand, and the marketplace, and to the strengthening of the unique position for Ferrari, Ferrari will not play.”

Continue reading for the full story.

What’s the issue with the engine proposal?


2015 Ferrari SF15-T - image 614590
“Liberty Media’s proposal involves dramatically changing the physical and functional makeups of the current 1.6-liter turbo V-6 hybrid engine”

I’ll be the first to say that I still don’t fully understand the intricacies of the proposal, but judging from the reactions of Ferrari, Mercedes, and Renault, it’s all tied into the increased costs that the three automakers (they also happen to be three of the four engine manufacturers of the sport together with Honda) will have to incur in the development of a new engine concept.

Essentially, Liberty Media’s proposal involves dramatically changing the physical and functional makeups of the current 1.6-liter turbo V-6 hybrid engine. While the proposal does call for keeping the current architecture, it also proposes to remove one of its two hybrid elements, increase the power of the other, introduce driver-controlled hybrid features and deployment, and standardizing specific parts that will be used in the development of the engine.

“Mercedes, Renault, and now Ferrari are all in agreement that such a step would actually trigger immense costs”

It is somewhat ironic that part of the proposal’s objective is to “reduce costs,” when both Mercedes, Renault, and now Ferrari are all in agreement that such a step would actually trigger immense costs, not just in building the engines themselves, but in researching and developing the tech that will allow it to adhere to Liberty Media’s rules for the sport. Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff explained it in simple terms, telling the BBC that the engine proposal “will trigger immense costs just for the sake of having a new concept.”

His counterpart in Renault, Cyril Abiteboul, even agreed, saying that the new proposal would force engine manufacturers (Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault, and Honda) to make substantial development and financial commitment without an understanding of the broader picture of what F1 would look like past 2020.”

Granted, a meeting of the minds has been set for the next week between Liberty Media, the FIA, and the team bosses. Marchionne addressed this in his conference call with Ferrari shareholders, saying that the Italian automaker will walk into the meeting “with the best of intentions.”

Here’s to hoping those best intentions bear fruit because the thought of Formula One without Ferrari in it is going to be a crucial blow to the sport.

References



Read more Ferrari news.


2015 Ferrari SF15-T - image 614597

Read more Formula One news.

PostHeaderIcon Porsche 908

Introduced in 1968, the Porsche 908 was created as Stuttgart’s more-focused shot at competition success in the FIA’s Group 6 Prototype-Sports Cars class. The car is simple and completely stripped of any fluff whatsoever. Outside, the 908 gets a short, flat body made from fiberglass (both coupe and spyder variants were created), as well as simplified aerodynamics. The driver sits very far forward, his or her feet hanging ahead of the front axle to make room for the 3.0-liter flat-eight engine. With as much as 350 horses on tap, the 1,100-pound 908 was basically like a big racing kart, beating its heavier, more powerful competition on the twisty, more narrow tracks of the sports car series.

Continue reading to learn more about the Porsche 908.

Exterior

  • Includes both a coupe and spyder version
  • Very simple, flat design
  • Rear stability fins added in 1971
  • 15-inch wheels

1970 Porsche 908 - image 727852
“The 908 is like a smooth, short, slap of speed, a wedge that cuts into the atmosphere with purpose and poise”

Like just about any other successful, self-respecting race car, the 908 is all business, all the time. You won’t find an ounce of fat or fluff on it, all the way down to the exterior styling. Simplicity is the name of the game here, simplicity and lots of flat, straight lines. The 908 is like a smooth, short, slap of speed, a wedge that cuts into the atmosphere with purpose and poise.

The nose rises up in a single sweeping motion, housing the wheels underneath a single body panel stretching towards the rear of the vehicle. The flanks take a 90-degree turn at the shoulder line, falling straight towards the pavement in a single, uniform panel. Towards the rear, the tail flicks upwards, forcing the air to push the rear end into the ground.


1970 Porsche 908 - image 727829
“In 1971, the 908 was modified to include twin rear fins.”

The whole thing was made from fiberglass, which keeps the curb weight remarkably low. Although the first 908 models (also known as the 908 LH) used a hardtop coupe body style, a design that created the kinds of low of drag preferred for high-speed tracks, the more popular 908/02 (produced from 1969 and onwards) used a more lightweight, open top spyder body style. Long tail versions were also in use, both for coupe and spyder iterations, offering even more high-speed capability. The standard vehicle length was measured at 190.5 inches.

In 1971, the 908 was modified to include twin rear fins, a feature that undoubtedly increased the vehicle’s lateral stability significantly.

Finally, the wheels are measured at 15 inches in diameter, a relatively small size compared to the mammoth rollers used on modern performance vehicles. Keeping them in place is a center lock device.

Interior

  • Simple layout
  • Tight squeeze in the driver’s seat
  • Seating position hangs the driver’s feet ahead of the axle

1970 Porsche 908 - image 727841
“Like the car’s exterior, the 908’s interior is about as basic as simple as they come”

Like the car’s exterior, the 908’s interior is about as basic as simple as they come. You only get what’s needed to go fast, which, as it turns out, isn’t a whole lot. Pilots are secured in place thanks to a racing harness and fixed-back racing seat, while gripping a thin-spoke, flat-bottom steering wheel. To the right is the shifter knob, while a single rearview mirror is placed to the left on top of a tall, thin spoke. A large tachometer is mounted just behind the steering wheel, while a few other gauges are placed in close vicinity to provide all the pertinent info. The rest of it is a crisscross of metal bars and supports, surrounding the driver in a spider web of metal.

“The driver is so far ahead in the chassis, his or her feet actually hang ahead of the front axle.”

Interestingly, the driver’s position is very much towards the nose in the chassis, thus allowing the heavier engine to be placed more towards the middle of the car and evening out the weight distribution. In fact, the driver is so far ahead, his or her feet actually hang ahead of the front axle. The design also places the driver a bit to the right in the chassis, which helps the car slinging around right-hand turns with more agility (the 908 tackled tracks where the majority of turns were to the right, for example, the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the Circuit de La Sarthe in France).

Drivetrain

  • Naturally aspirated 3.0-liter flat-eight
  • 350 horsepower
  • Topped out at 170 mph
  • Later equipped with a turbo 2.1-liter flat-six

1970 Porsche 908 - image 727844
“The real party piece for the 908 is placed right behind the driver’s seat, where Porsche mounted a naturally aspirated 3.0-liter (2,990 cc) flat-8 engine”

The real party piece for the 908 is placed right behind the driver’s seat, where Porsche mounted a naturally aspirated 3.0-liter (2,990 cc) flat-8 engine. This was the original lump found in the 908/01, /02, and /03, offered as a follow-up to the preceding Porsche 907, which got a 2.2-liter (2,200 cc) flat-eight engine making about 270 horsepower. By contrast, the new flat-eight engine produced peak output of 350 horsepower at 8,400 rpm, a substantial increase by any measure.

Standout features include air-cooling, plus 2 valves per cylinder. While the Porsche engine was similar in many respects to contemporary F1 engines, the 908’s 3.0-liter flat-eight produced about 50 horsepower less than the GP cars. However, this lower peak output was offset with greater long-term reliability, with the 908 managing to put in the time during lengthy endurance stints compared to the F1 equivalent’s relatively short sprints.

“While the Porsche engine was similar in many respects to contemporary F1 engines, the 908’s 3.0-liter flat-eight produced less power”

Further standout features included mechanical fuel injection and dual overhead cams. Critically, the engine weighed less than 400 pounds, an important characteristic considering the 908’s primary role as a lightweight corner carver, as opposed to a brute force, straight-line super star like the Ford GT40. However, with a long enough strip of pavement in front of it, the 908 could still reach a top speed of 170 mph. Routing the power to the rear wheels was a five-speed manual transmission.


1970 Porsche 908 - image 727846
“With a long enough strip of pavement in front of it, the 908 could reach a top speed of 170 mph.”

Later lightweight open-top versions of the 908 saw its top speed decreased slightly, due to the increased drag created by no roof. The later 908/03 version also got a power increase, up to 370 horsepower. Even later, the 3.0-liter eight-cylinder was replaced by a 2.1-liter turbocharged flat-six with the 908/04 model, and some examples produced upwards of 500 horsepower or more thanks to the forced induction.

Chassis And Handling

  • Weighed just 1,100 pounds
  • Aluminum tube frame chassis
  • Fiberglass body
  • Short wheelbase iteration came later

1970 Porsche 908 - image 727830
“Under the fiberglass body panels, the 908 uses aluminum tube frames for the chassis.”

Under the fiberglass body panels, the 908 uses aluminum tube frames for the chassis. One of the 908’s greatest strengths was its incredibly low weight. Even in its race ready configuration, the 908 managed to tip the scales at just 1,430 pounds. The racer got further help in 1969 thanks to a rule change to the Group 6 prototype class, wherein Porsche managed to cut out as much as 220 pounds by removing the of roof and long tail body work. It was changes like this that ultimately made the 908 the preferred choice when taking on tight tracks, at least compared to the larger, more powerful Porsche 917, which was better suited to high speeds and longer straights.

This characteristic was reinforced when Porsche introduced the 908/03, shortening the wheelbase and giving the car an even nippier attitude. What’s more, the open-top 908/03 weighs in at just 1,100 pounds, a substantial 800 pounds less than the Porsche 917K.


1970 Porsche 908 - image 727831
“The open-top 908/03 weighs in at just 1,100 pounds, a substantial 800 pounds less than the Porsche 917K.”

Helping the 908 stop are disc brakes, while a rack-and-pinion steering system helps pilots turn the thing. In the corners, the suspension set-up utilizes double wishbones in front, including coil springs, hydraulic shocks, and an anti-roll bar. Meanwhile, the rear gets reversed lower wishbones, plus top links, twin radius arms, coil springs over hydraulic shocks, and an anti-roll bar.

Prices


1970 Porsche 908 - image 727833

With its long, successful career in motorsport, it should come as no surprise that the Porsche 908 has become quite the collectible automobile. Some examples easily reach into the seven-figure range, with desirability depending on factors like individual vehicle condition and history.

The particular example draped in yellow that you see here is a 1970 Porsche 908/03, the same car that was driven by Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood at the 1970 Nurburgring 1000 KM for a second-place overall win. It’s one of only 13 examples built in 1970. One lucky collector snagged it at the 2017 edition of the RM Sotheby’s auction in Monterey for $3.575 million.

Competition

Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 (33TT3)


1970 Porsche 908 - image 740385

Alfa was quite active in sports car and prototype racing in the ‘60s and ‘70s, most notably with the Tipo 33 racer. As the Italian brand’s racer, active between 1967 and 1977, the 33TT3 generation was the 908’s primary competition, introduced in 1969 as a followed-up to the 33/3 from 1967. Like the 908, the Alfa Romeo 33TT3 also got a 3.0-liter V-8 engine. Output in the Alfa comes to 440 horsepower at a screaming 9,800 rpm, a substantial wallop considering the car’s feathery 1,500- pound curb weight. What’s more, the Tipo also secured some screen time in Steve McQueen’s Le Mans. All told, the 33TT12 managed to take the win for Alfa in 1975 in the World Championship For Makes.

Ferrari 312 PB


1970 Porsche 908 - image 740384

Ferrari introduced the Ferrari 312 PB in 1971 to participate in the Group 6 Prototype-Sports Car class, then continued on into 1972 and 1973 in the Group 5 Sports Car class. Originally dubbed simply the 312 P, the car was renamed “PB” to help differentiate it from the previous 312 P model. The Ferrari 312 PB came equipped with an aluminum monocoque and steel spaceframe, as well as double wishbones in front. Power was generated by a mid-mounted 3.0-liter flat-12 powerplant, which fed the rear wheels by way of a five-speed manual transmission. Similar in layout to the flat-eight of the Porsche 908, the Ferrari engine differed thanks to water cooling and four valves per cylinder. The Ferrari was also more powerful, but weighed more than the rival Porsche at a little over 1,400 pounds. The model was hugely successful in 1972, winning every single race it entered in the World Sportscar Championship.

Conclusion


1970 Porsche 908 - image 727828

While throwing gobs of power at a racer is usually a relatively easy, simple solution to going faster, the more difficult (but ultimately, superior) method is to make it handle brilliantly. Simply, add lightness, and all that.

That’s what we like about the 908. In some ways, it’s like the Lotus Elise of Porsches – low weight, no fluff, great handling, and capable of winning even when down on power. Although it took some time to perfect, the 908’s subsequent winning career is proof enough of its ability.

“That’s what we like about the 908 – low weight, no fluff, great handling, and capable of winning even when down on power.”

This is the sort of philosophy we want to see from Porsche’s future models – pure driving enjoyment, with a focus on cornering, not straight-line power. Indeed, this approach is already seeing a focus from folks like Andreas Preuninger, the head at Porsche’s GT division, who called for an “end to the horsepower wars” back in 2015.

All told, this is what sports cars are supposed to look like.

  • Leave it
    • Underpowered compared to competition
    • Rough start to career
    • Absurdly dangerous to drive

History And Background

  • Saw racing success after lengthy development
  • Raced against icons like the GT40
  • Took wins at the 1000 KM of Nurburgring in three separate decades

1970 Porsche 908 - image 727827
“The Porsche 908 was introduced in 1968 as response to the FIA’s rule change for Group 6 Prototype-Sports Cars”

The Porsche 908 was introduced in 1968 as response to the FIA’s rule change for Group 6 Prototype-Sports Cars. Preceded by the Porsche 907, the 908 was essentially a more serious continuation of an original design created by Ferdinand Piech, also known as the grandson of Porsche founder Ferdinand Porsche.

The rule changes saw engine displacement limited to 3,000 cc, similar to the engine spec used in Formula 1, thus giving the typically low-power (and low weight) Porsches a real shot at success in competition.

Thus, the 908/01 was born. Equipped with a 3.0-liter flat-eight engine, the 908 was capable of outmuscling the preceding 907, which came equipped with a 2.2-liter flat-eight making just 270 horsepower compared to the 908’s 350 horses. Interestingly, the 908 was the first Porsche sports car designed to use the maximum engine size permitted under homologation standards, signaling Stuttgart’s renewed commitment to winning.


1970 Porsche 908 - image 727843
“Equipped with a 3.0-liter flat-eight engine, the 908 was capable of outmuscling the preceding 907, which came equipped with a 2.2-liter flat-eight making just 270 horsepower compared to the 908’s 350 horses.”

Although showing promise right out the box with a win at the 1000 KM Nurburgring in its debut year, the preceding 907 managed to prove itself as the more successful model than the developing 908, winning more consistently over the course of the 908’s breakout year.

One of the 908’s biggest threats came from America – indeed, the Ford GT40 was on a rampage in the late ‘60s, outpacing the 908 thanks to its larger, meatier V-8. The more powerful Ford secured numerous wins on tracks where it could really open the taps, most notably the huge straights of the Circuit de la Sarthe, ground zero for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Although it was postponed from June to September due to May Day protests in France, the 1968 running of the famous endurance event saw the 908 challenge the GT40 for dominance. Although Long Tail variants of the Porsche managed to grab top qualifying spots and run at the front for the outset of the race, Porsche’s technical problems saw several of the 908’s drop out, handing the win to Ford, followed by a 907 Long Tail and the one and only 908 that managed not to break over the course of the endurance event.


1970 Porsche 908 - image 727838
“At the 1968 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 908 challenged the GT40 for dominance.”

The 908 experienced ever more problems in 1969 at the 24 Hours of Daytona, wherein each of the three Porsche 908/02’s entered failed to complete the race. In the following 12 Hours of Sebring, the Ford GT40 once again secured a win, beating the three competing 908/02’s.

It was around this time that the Porsche 917 arrived, and considering the 908’s track record, most assumed it would be retired to the history books. Amazingly, the exact opposite happened – the 908 started to win, sweeping the podium in the BOAC 500 at Brands Hatch, beating the Ferrari 312P in the process. The 908 scored follow-up wins at such prestigious events as the 1000 KM Spa, 1000 KM Monza, and Targa Florio, and even managed to grab an impressive 1-2-3-4-5 finish at the 1000 KM Nurburgring. By the end of the 1969 racing season, Porsche had managed to secure the International Championship for Makes.


1970 Porsche 908 - image 727831
“Around the time the Porsche 917 arrived, most assumed the 908 would be retired to the history books, considering its rough career thus far.”

Porsche also managed to make a better showing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans that year, and although Ford once again grabbed the win, the 908 was near the front for much of the race, with Hans Herrmann snagging second-place in his 908. As the story goes, towards the end of the race, the 908 was running down its brake pads, and the Ford managed to sneak by under braking, giving the Blue Oval the win.

The follow-up 908/3 debuted in 1970, which was smaller than the preceding /02. As such, Porsche ran it as a preferred option on tighter, more twisty tracks over the much heavier Porsche 917. What’s more, Porsche continued to develop the 908, creating a new lightweight open-top spyder iteration that ultimately proved to be the more popular option over the course of the 908’s career. Based on the Porsche 909, the lightweight spyders offered team less weight than the already feathery coupes.


1970 Porsche 908 - image 727829
“Porsche continued to develop the 908, creating a new lightweight open-top spyder iteration that ultimately proved to be the more popular option over the course of the 908’s career.”

The 908 continued its streak of success on the track, managing to secure wins in the Nurburgring 1000 KM and the Targa Florio in 1970. At this time, the 908/02 also saw a win at the 12 Hours of Sebring, driven by the King of Cool himself, Steve McQueen. The actor/race driver was so impressed, he even decided to use the 908 as a camera car in his iconic film Le Mans.

In 1971, Porsche added a twin set of aero fins to the back end, significantly altering the car’s look in the process. That year, the 908 once again retuned to the Targa Florio. Although two of the entries failed to finish race, both crashing out on the first lap, the 908 still managed to set the fastest lap record. The following race was at the Nurburgring, where the 908 managed to sweep the podium in convincing fashion. As a result, Porsche ended up once again securing the International Championship for Makes, giving Stuttgart three straight titles between 1969 and 1971.


1970 Porsche 908 - image 727832
“Porsche ended up once again securing the International Championship for Makes, giving Stuttgart three straight titles between 1969 and 1971.”

By 1972, the rules had changed once again. The 908 was placed in the Group 5 Sport Car class, wherein the minimum weight was drastically increased, reducing the 908’s inherent advantage by a huge margin. What’s more, the Porsche saw heavy competition from a variety of powerful competitors. Rivals like Alfa Romeo and Ferrari suddenly held the advantage, and as a result, the 908 was sold to privateer racers while Porsche shifted its focus to development of the 917 for Can AM racing. Even still, Reinhold Jest managed a third-place finish at the 1972 24 Hours of Le Mans with a three-year-old 908.

By 1975, the 908 get a new turbocharged engine, similar in set-up to the lump found in the 934 GT. The 936 was also introduced around this time, slated for competition in high-profile races like Le Mans. In response, a variety of 908 owners decided to update their car with 936 bodies.

“By 1972, rivals like Alfa Romeo and Ferrari suddenly held the advantage, and as a result, the 908 was sold to privateer racers while Porsche shifted its focus to development of the 917 for Can AM racing.”

Between 1976 and 1981, the 908 participated in the Group 6 Two-Seater Racing Car class. And although the 908 was succeeded by the Porsche 936, some 908s were in competition straight into the ‘80s, coming equipped with a smaller turbo 2.1-liter flat-six engine. Incredibly, the 908 even managed to get a win at the 1000 KM of Nurburgring in three separate decades, nearly unheard-of accomplishment in the fast-paced world of top-shelf sports car competition.

References


1966 Porsche 906 - image 677949

Read our full review on the 1966 Porsche 906.


1969 - 1971 Porsche 917K - image 648494

Read our full review on the 1969-1971 Porsche 917k.


Trucks & SUVs Are The New High-Dollar Collectables - image 740178

Read more auctions news.

PostHeaderIcon Volkswagen Teases Electric Race Car For 2018 Pikes Peak

A few years ago Volkswagen revealed that it wants to transform itself into one of the leading producers of electric vehicles. This statement was further emphasized after the “Dieselgate” emissions scandal. Now, the German firm is making another big step toward electrification by including its racing division into these plans. Specifically, Volkswagen Motorsport is working with the company’s Technical Development center in Wolfsburg on an all-electric prototype car for next year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb race.

An event that has become a popular venue for carmakers and privateers experimenting with electric drivetrains, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb will see Volkswagen debut it’s most daring race car yet. And the German firm doesn’t want to join the event just for kicks; it’s also planning to set a new record for electric cars on the 12.4-mile-long course. “The Pikes Peak hill climb is one of the world’s most renowned car races. It poses an enormous challenge and is therefore perfectly suited to proving the capabilities of upcoming technologies,” explained Dr. Frank Welsch, Member of the Board responsible for Development. Although data is still under wraps, Volkswagen released a teaser photo of the car. But more on that below.

Continue reading for the full story.

What Do We Know about this New Race Car?


Volkswagen Teases Electric Race Car For 2018 Pikes Peak - image 739788

Nothing much to be honest. Volkswagen says that the car will be equipped with “innovative battery and drive technology,” but it doesn’t give additional details. However, it does say that this Pikes Peak prototype will be used to develop future technologies for production models. So Volkswagen wants to do what everyone else does: use extreme motorsport to gather feedback for future development, which is the way to go when it comes to high-performance electric cars.

Design-wise, the EV appears to be as extreme as they get. The teaser shows an aerodynamic body with a canopy-like cabin, a massive splitter in front of the nose, and a large wing atop the rear deck. The race car also appears to have a central fin, which makes it similar to Le Mans prototype cars. Needless to say, this one’s going to be exciting to look at.

“The new race car will enable Volkswagen Motorsport to return to Pikes Peak after more than three decades”

The new race car will enable Volkswagen Motorsport to return to Pikes Peak after more than three decades. The German brand last participated in the mountain race in 1987 with a twin-engined Golf which barely missed finishing the race.

References


What You Need To Know About The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb - image 721176

Read more Pikes Peak International Hill Climb news.


2018 Volkswagen Jetta SE: An Overview - image 738485

Read more Volkswagen news.

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

Read more Formula E news.

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.

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2014 Chevrolet Corvette Z51 Coupe 2-Door 2014 CHEVY CORVETTE STINGRAY LT Z51 COUPE 7-SPD NAV 14K #133134 Texas Direct
$1,075.00 (10 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Mar-1-2018 17:06:57 PST
Buy It Now for only: $44,980.00
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2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe 2-Door 2017 CHEVY CAMARO 2SS 50TH ANNIV AUTO LEATHER NAV 7K MI #139832 Texas Direct
$40,980.00
End Date: Tuesday Feb-27-2018 9:09:51 PST
Buy It Now for only: $40,980.00
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2017 Ford F-150 FX4 Crew Cab Lariat Sport FX4 4X4 Ecoboost Custom Lifted Truck New Wheels Tires Nav
$36,100.00 (34 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Feb-27-2018 13:31:20 PST
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1965 Ford Mustang 1965 Ford Mustang Shelby GT 350 Clone Built 289 Tremec 5 Speed Power RackPinon
$39,100.00 (13 Bids)
End Date: Monday Feb-26-2018 13:08:59 PST
Buy It Now for only: $64,995.00
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2018 Ford F-150 Lariat New 18 Ford F150 Lariat 5L V8 32V 4x4 Pickup Work Truck Tuscany White Leather
$40,100.00 (91 Bids)
End Date: Monday Feb-26-2018 15:43:59 PST
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2013 Ford F-150 2013 FORD F150 4X4 FX4 CREW ECOBOOST SUNROOF NAV 56K MI #F52490 Texas Direct
$3.25 (3 Bids)
End Date: Wednesday Feb-28-2018 6:15:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $30,980.00
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2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Coupe 2-Door 2015 CHEVY CORVETTE Z06 2LZ AUTO NAV RED LEATHER 9K MI #605032 Texas Direct Auto
$55,100.00 (18 Bids)
End Date: Monday Feb-26-2018 13:15:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $63,480.00
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1955 Chevrolet Other Pickups AWESOME 1955 CHEVROLET PICK UP TRUCK SHORT WHEEL BASE RESTORATION PROJECT
$4,628.00 (25 Bids)
End Date: Wednesday Feb-28-2018 15:42:15 PST
Buy It Now for only: $13,000.00
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1965 Ford Mustang Coupe 1965 mustang coupe
$10,000.00
End Date: Monday Feb-26-2018 15:54:38 PST
Buy It Now for only: $10,000.00
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2017 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Coupe 2-Door 2017 FORD MUSTANG SHELBY GT350 526HP 6SPD RECARO NAV 1K #524087 Texas Direct
$38,211.00 (14 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Feb-24-2018 9:19:08 PST
Buy It Now for only: $54,780.00
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2016 Ford Mustang GT Premium 2016 GT Premium Used Certified 5L V8 32V Automatic RWD Coupe Premium
$16,766.00 (23 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Feb-25-2018 13:33:59 PST
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2015 Ford F-150 2015 FORD F150 LARIAT CREW 4X4 FX4 NAV 20'S LIFT 42K MI #D15374 Texas Direct
$39,980.00
End Date: Wednesday Feb-28-2018 6:30:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $39,980.00
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1953 Chevrolet Other Pickups chevy 3100
$2,550.00 (8 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Mar-1-2018 17:20:17 PST
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1965 Ford Mustang 1965 Ford Mustang Coupe 302 Automatic Power Brakes Air Condition Power Steering
$12,000.00 (4 Bids)
End Date: Wednesday Feb-28-2018 14:02:01 PST
Buy It Now for only: $21,995.00
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1991 Ford Mustang LX Coupe 1991 Mustang LX Coupe
$11,400.00 (40 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Feb-25-2018 10:22:17 PST
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2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible 2-Door 2016 CHEVY CAMARO 2SS CONVERTIBLE AUTO NAV HUD 20'S 2K #189154 Texas Direct
$1.00 (1 Bid)
End Date: Friday Mar-2-2018 11:45:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $34,980.00
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2007 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 2007 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 61,565 Miles LeMans Blue Metallic 2dr Car 8 Cylinder
$26,500.00
End Date: Tuesday Mar-6-2018 22:24:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $26,500.00
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2002 Chevrolet Corvette 2D Coupe 2002 Chevrolet Corvette
$11,400.00 (15 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Feb-24-2018 16:48:10 PST
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1967 Ford Mustang coupe 1967 ford mustang project
$2,050.00 (19 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Feb-25-2018 17:38:58 PST
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2017 Chevrolet Camaro 2SS Ex-GM Show Car untitled Callaway Camaro 630HP full GM warranty w/Special Options
$74,491.00
End Date: Saturday Feb-24-2018 11:17:53 PST
Buy It Now for only: $74,491.00
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1967 Ford Mustang GT 1967 Mustang GT Fastback Project 390GT S-Code 4-Speed Dark Moss Green
$17,950.00
End Date: Monday Feb-26-2018 18:53:53 PST
Buy It Now for only: $17,950.00
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2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible 2-Door 2015 CHEVY CAMARO 2SS CONVERTIBLE LEATHER NAV 20'S 34K #116139 Texas Direct Auto
$15,900.00 (30 Bids)
End Date: Friday Feb-23-2018 19:34:05 PST
Buy It Now for only: $23,480.00
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1972 Chevrolet Other Pickups Custom 1972 Chevrolet Pickup Truck
$5,000.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Feb-27-2018 18:48:56 PST
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1993 Ford Mustang LX Convertible 1993 Ford Mustang LX Convertible,168 Actual Documented Miles, MCA Gold Winner!
$11,211.00 (10 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Mar-1-2018 16:30:00 PST
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