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Archive for the ‘race cars’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes Displays 1983 Dakar Rally-Winning 280 GE at 2018 Detroit Auto Show

The Mercedes-Benz booth at the 2018 North American International Auto Show proved to be a busy place thanks to the all-new 2019 G-Class. Part of the fun was historic G-Class vehicles from Mercedes’ storied past. One of them was this, the 1983 Mercedes 280 GE built to run the Paris–Dakar Rally. Its driver was Jacky Ickx and co-driver Claude Brasseur. The duo battled the 6,200 miles over grueling, off-road terrain between Paris, France and Dakar, Senegal – a town on the westernmost tip of Africa.

The G-Wagen was mostly stock but came with a few extras to help win the rally. Meatier all-terrain tires, an off-road bumper, and extra lights were added, while the rear glass was painted over with sponsor logos. A large spoiler hangs off the G-Wagen’s rear, perhaps helping control dust.

The win proved extremely important for Mercedes. The G-Wagen was only four years old in 1983 and the Dakar Rally was only five. Both Mercedes and the rally have become legendary over the decades and into modern times. The 1983 race was also the first and only time an automaker to win the Dakar overall with two vehicle classes. Mercedes other contender was a 1936 AK-series medium-duty truck.

References

Mercedes-Benz G-Class


2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Blitzkriegs Detroit! - image 758358

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Blitzkriegs Detroit!


2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Blitzkriegs Detroit! - image 758356

Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes G-Class


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 743625

Read more Mercedes-Benz news.

PostHeaderIcon Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi

Mid-mounted twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 diesel

This coming January, lovers of dirt-flavored racing will once again turn their attention to the Southern Hemisphere as the infamous Dakar Rally hits South America for the tenth year running. 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the event, once again promising a grueling 10,000 km (6,214 miles) of racing over some of the most difficult terrain Mother Nature can produce. The outlined route will lead teams through Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina, challenging competitors with steep sand dunes, craggy boulder fields, twisting tarmac, and impossibly high mountain passes. This is one of the ultimate tests of man and machine, but Peugeot looks ready for anything. The French automaker took top honors in the Dakar earlier last year, giving it back-to-back victories between 2016 and 2017. Now, the French automaker is looking for a three-peat with this – the updated 3008 DKR Maxi. The “brand-new racing lion” might carry the same name as the road-going Peugeot 3008, but it’s far removed from what you get in dealers, bringing the heat thanks to a host of impressive motorsport cues courtesy of Peugeot Sport, all aimed at ultimate victory over terra firma.

The Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi has undergone extensive testing in Morocco, Portugal, and France to prepare for the 2018 Dakar event, logging more than 18,000 test km (11,185 miles) over the past year. What’s more, Team Peugeot Total has once again assembled a dream team of talent for the driver’s roster, including names like Peterhansel, Loeb, Sainz, and Despres. Still – the Dakar is unpredictable at best. Will the new 3008 DKR once again have what it takes to snag another win?

Continue reading to learn more about the Peugeot 3008 DKR.

Exterior

  • Bespoke performance design
  • Massive underbody protection
  • Carbon composite exterior panels
  • Magnesium single-piece wheels
  • Plenty of vents and cooling pieces

2018 Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi - image 755418

No doubt about it, the Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi is a beastly machine. Really the only similarities we see between this pure-bred off-road monster and the compact crossover that gave it its name is the headlight design. The rest of it is unadulterated performance.

Up front, we find a fascia that’s slim and wide, stretched from corner to corner to accommodate an extremely wide track and cut high to allow the vehicle to smash up and down steep inclines without a moment’s hesitation. The underbody protection is massive, with thick metal plates installed to ward off any persistent chunks of nature and keep vital mechanical bits intact. Prominent vents in the nose aid in airflow, while the sizable fender flares are done in bare carbon fiber.


2018 Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi - image 755415
“The majority of the 3008 DKR's exterior is made from carbon and composites, keeping it as lightweight as possible despite the burly protective metal plating, huge suspension, and meaty tire and wheel package.”

Indeed, the majority of the 3008 DKR’s exterior is made from carbon and composites, keeping it as lightweight as possible despite the burly protective metal plating, huge suspension, and meaty tire and wheel package. Speaking of the rollers, the knobby rubber you see in the corners is attached to wheels carved from a single piece of magnesium, with the final sizing measured at 8.5 inches for the width and 17 inches for the diameter. When viewed in profile, we see the 3008 DKR’s Red Bull livery in its full glory, complemented by a highly raked windshield, a slim intake on the roof, and large intakes just above and ahead of the rear fenders. The overall body shape appears squat and flat, with broad body panels encompassing a plumped-up rear end. The stance is tall, very tall in fact, but the impressive track width keeps it looking stable, even when flying sideways at maximum attack. The cabin and engine compartment are also centrally placed, helping to give this racer its optimum weight distribution.

In back, the Peugeot 3008 DKR is all fins, with row upon row of louvers in place to help dispel hot air from the mid-mounted powerplant. This view also gives us a decent look at the rear diff and suspension components, which are laid bare under thin strips of carbon body components. From this angle, the 3008 DKR’s shell-like exterior is plain to see.

Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi Exterior Dimensions

Height 1,799 mm (70.8 inches)
Length 4,312 mm (169.8 inches)
Width 2,400 mm (94.5 inches)
Front Overhang 623 mm (24.5 inches)
Rear Overhang 689 mm (27.1 inches)
Wheelbase 3,000 mm (118.1 inches)

Interior

  • Carbon cockpit
  • Digital readouts everywhere
  • Tons of buttons, knobs, and switches
  • Fixed-back carbon seats for driver and co-driver
  • Netting on the door panels for quick storage
  • Alcantara for the steering wheel
  • Spare parts and tools to keep it in the running

2018 Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi - image 699981
“Step inside the Peugeot 3008 DKR, and you'll find yourself stuffed into carbon cockpit laden with switches, knobs, buttons, and digital readouts”

Step inside the Peugeot 3008 DKR, and you’ll find yourself stuffed into carbon cockpit laden with switches, knobs, buttons, and digital readouts. As you can probably imagine, this thing is stripped down to the absolute bare-bones essentials, but when it comes to a race as demanding as the Dakar, that actually includes quite a lot. For example, a few spare tires and a decent toolset are included to keep the machine running should something break while traversing the wilds.

Drivers sit in the left-hand position, gripping an Alcantara-clad steering wheel with a quick-release hub and yellow top-center mark. Behind the wheel is a small screen to display the current selected gear and basics like road speed. Complementary screens are located the the left of the wheel and to the right in the center console. Bare carbon is used for just about everything here, including the seats, which are fixed-back buckets mounted low in the cabin. Netting was added to the inside of the doors to give the driver and co-driver a quick and easy storage spot, while two tall levers for the gear shift and handbrake are within easy reach from the driver’s seat.


2018 Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi - image 699971
“The control scheme is complicated, looking more like what you get in a jet aircraft than a car.”

The control scheme is complicated, looking more like what you get in a jet aircraft than a car. All of it’s necessary though, because when you’re charging through the stages (some of which are several hundreds of miles in length, by the way), you’ll need quick access to any and all systems to tweak and tune for top performance potential.

Drivetrain

  • RWD rather than AWD
  • Mid-mounted twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 diesel
  • 340 horsepower
  • 590 pound-feet of torque
  • 124- mph top speed
  • Six-speed sequential gearbox
  • Almost 106 gallons of fuel on board

2018 Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi - image 699999
“In the middle of the machine, the 3008 DKR gets a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engine for motivation.”

Considering this is a bad ass off-roader we’re talking about, it may come as a surprise that the Peugeot 3008 DKR isn’t 4WD, but rather RWD. Yep, just two driven wheels here, which actually comes with its own advantages in the Dakar rulebook, including a smaller number for the all-important minimum weight requirements (two-wheel drive cars can be lighter due to their reduced traction capabilities).

In the middle of the machine, the 3008 DKR gets a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engine for motivation. The cylinders are set at a 60-degree angle, while the engine is mounted longitudinally. Standout features include four valves per cylinder, dual overhead cams, and direct fuel injection, as well as a tiny 38 mm (1.5-inch) restrictor plate to keep power levels in check.


2018 Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi - image 699963
“Peak output is rated at 340 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque.”

Put it all together, and peak output is rated at 340 horsepower and 800 Nm (590 pound-feet) of torque, calculating out to roughly 114 horsepower per liter. Redline is set at 5,000 rpm. All that go is sent to the rear axle by way of a six-speed sequential gearbox.

Top speed for the Peugeot 3008 DKR is rated at 200 kph, or 124 mph, which might not seem all that fast. Still, that’s 200 kph over just about any kind of terrain imaginable, so yeah – it’s quick.

In preparation for the 2018 event, the 3008 DKR comes with new front and rear track rods, as well as new driveshafts, both of which help to accommodate the new vehicle’s wider track.

Finally, there’s a mammoth 400-liter (105.7-gallon) fuel tank to supply the oil burner with go juice.

Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi Engine, Drivetrain, And Performance Specs

Engine twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 diesel
Drivetrain Layout mid-mounted, RWD
Horsepower 340 hp
Torque 590 pound-feet
Transmission Six-speed sequential
Redline 5,000 rpm
Top Speed 124 mph

Chassis And Handling

  • Custom tubular space frame chassis
  • 20 mm wider track for straight-line stability
  • Wishbone suspension front and back
  • Over 18 inches of suspension travel
  • 14-inch brake discs

2018 Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi - image 699979
“With the wider track, the 3008 DKR's suspension was enhanced to help make the most of the more planted stance. It also offers an incredible 18.1 inches of suspension travel.”

Underneath all those burly-looking composite body panels, the Peugeot 3008 DKR uses a custom tubular space frame chassis made from steel for superlative strength. As previously mentioned, the racer’s track was widened this year, with an extra 10 cm added to both the left and right for an extra 20 mm total. The end result is more confidence when traveling at high speeds, although the tradeoff can be felt with muddier low-speed maneuvers. Team driver Sebastien Loeb had this to say –

“I think the car is much more stable now that it is wider, and so it feels a bit different to drive. In the very narrow and technical parts that does mean it’s more cumbersome of course, but in terms of stability and driving it’s definitely a step forward. The car has less of a tendency to roll its suspension now, so that gives you more confidence to attack and get it sideways. I’d say the strongest point of the Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi is the off-road ability it has. With its wide track and wheels, it can go more or less anywhere. It’s maybe not so agile on stage-type roads: that’s more the territory of four-wheel drive cars. But the advantage of our car is the fact that it can tackle anything, especially in the dunes.”


2018 Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi - image 699973

With the wider track, the 3008 DKR’s suspension was enhanced to help make the most of the more planted stance. That includes new upper and lower wishbones both front and back. Both ends also
come with coil springs, twin dampers, and anti-roll bars. What’s more, the 3008 DKR offers an incredible 460 mm (18.1 inches) of suspension travel.

A hydraulic power steering system helps it all turn, while the brakes are ventilated discs with a 355 mm
(14-inch) diameter at both ends, plus sizable four-piston calipers. Finally, the tires are measured at a substantial 37 inches by 12.5 inches and come courtesy of by BF Goodrich.

Competition

Mini John Cooper Works Rally And Buggy


2018 Mini John Cooper Works Rally And Buggy - image 747080

Prior to Peugeot’s success between 2016 and 2017, Mini was on a roll at the Dakar, collecting a series back-to-back wins between 2012 and 2015. Now, Mini is once again in the hunt for victory, and it’s bringing an updated iteration of its championship-winning AWD Mini John Cooper Works Rally to the fight. In addition, Mini is looking to beat Peugeot at its own game with the new RWD Mini JCW Buggy. Indeed, the British brand isn’t messing around, committing a full seven vehicles to the 2018 effort. But will it be enough to halt the momentum of the 3008 DKR?

Read our full review on the 2018 Mini John Cooper Works Rally And Buggy.

Conclusion


2018 Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi - image 699976
“All told, Peugeot has a lot going for it, but still – the Dakar is no ordinary race.”

Peugeot has already announced that 2018 will be the final year it participates in the Dakar Rally, citing a dispute over recent rule changes as motivation for the exit. However, it’s more than obvious the automaker wants to go out on a high note, as a third back-to-back win would help cement its position as one of the Dakar’s most dominant brands.

To help it secure that coveted top podium spot, the team roster in 2018 goes unchanged, including last year’s winner Stephane Peterhansel with co-driver Jean Paul Cottret. Nine-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb will also rejoin the effort alongside co-driver Daniel Elena, as will two-time WRC champion and previous Dakar winner Carlos Sainz with co-driver Lucas Cruz. Rounding it out will be five-time Dakar Motorbike champion Cyril Despres and co-driver David Castera.

With a lineup like that, the Peugeot crews boast 19 individual Dakar victories and 148 stage wins (when taking into account both four- and two-wheeled entries). As a brand, Peugeot has six Dakar Rally titles to its name, the first of which it snagged in 1987 thanks to the 205 T16 Grand Raid, and a win in 2018 would do well to pad its motorsport resume even further.

All told, Peugeot has a lot going for it, but still – the Dakar is no ordinary race.

“The modifications we have made resulting in the 3008 DKR Maxi have proved to be effective up to now, but the Dakar remains a question mark, thanks to the sheer variety of terrain and challenges to overcome, while the recent Rallye du Maroc reminded us once again that our rivals are extremely strong,” said Peugeot Sport Director Bruno Famin.

Indeed – weather, variable terrain, even an errant rock chip could spell DNF for any one of Peugeot’s entries. That said, the brand is giving its team every possible advantage, and we’ll just have to wait and see if it pays off.

The 40th Dakar Rally will take place between January 6th and 20th. Stay tuned to TopSpeed for more.

  • Leave it
    • * Strong competition from every side, especially from Mini
    • * Unpredictable racing conditions
    • * One of the toughest events in the world
    • * RWD might prove a hindrance on certain stages

References

Peugeot 3008


2017 Peugeot 3008 - image 676814

Read our full review on the 2017 Peugeot 3008.


maker logos - image 752299

Read more Peugeot news.

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 A Timeless Christmas Commercial From Mercedes-AMG

Car-related Christmas commercials are generally good fun, especially when it’s not a hard sell, in-your-face ad about year-end closeout deals or other pitch. One of my favorite light-hearted commercials came from Mercedes-Benz in 2012. It features the SLS AMG GT3 racecar and its development team. The commercial begins with engineers and pit crewmembers tirelessly working under the SLS’ hood. It appears the AMG team is making corrections to the big 6.2-liter V-8, perhaps tweaking it to hit that sweet 600-horsepower mark. The SLS then burns rubber out of the pits and onto the rack where the pit crew seems oddly obsessed with making the car hit 180 degrees Celsius. Strong German accents bark orders at the driver not to hit the curbs, presumably to save the SLS’ forged aluminum control arms.

The mystery comes to a close when the car pulls back into the pits, and the hood is opened. There, sitting perfectly inside the SLS’ long engine bay, is a tray of Christmas cookies decorated with Mercedes emblems, AMG logos, Reindeer, and shooting stars. A taste reveals the cookies were perfectly baked by the all-aluminum V-8, confirming the $456,000 non-streetable SLS AMG is the most exciting oven ever devised.

References

Mercedes SLS AMG


2011 Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 - image 387184

Read our full review on the 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3

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 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

Read more car racing news.

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


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“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


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“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.


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“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.


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“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.


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“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 2017 Six Hours of Shanghai – Race Report

Toyota brought to China a new update to their aerodynamic package in a last-grasp attempt to push the championship battle all the way to the Bahrain finale, but Porsche’s steady run meant the Japanese fell, yet again, in the “close but no cigar” category – and not for lack of trying. It was strange and — while some blamed pollution for making their vision fuzzy — hard to believe, but after FP2 it started to sink in: Toyota were dominating in Shanghai. And not with half measures – properly!

The No. 7 TS050 of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose-Maria Lopez led every free practice session and then, in qualifying, nobody could topple Conway and Kobayashi. The duo managed a shattering 1:42.832 average, almost half a second quicker than what Andre Lotterer and Neel Jani could achieve aboard the No. 1 Porsche. Toyota’s other car was third, some 0.6 seconds adrift while the other Porsche filled up the second row after a botched run for Earl Bamber who got delayed by a P2 car and then spun on his hot lap.

Continue reading for the full story.

Qualifying


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“Bruno Senna and Julien Canal made things even tighter in LMP2 by taking the class pole in the No. 31 Vaillante Rebellion ORECA”

Bruno Senna and Julien Canal made things even tighter in LMP2 by taking the class pole in the No. 31 Vaillante Rebellion ORECA. That’s because securing the pole gives you one point which means that, even before the race had gotten underway, the gap between the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing crew and the No. 31 trio was down to nine points. It’s notable that this was the case in LMP1 as well, with the No. 7 Toyota, the title contender in the driver’s championship. Anyway, Senna and Canal’s 1:49.217 average was merely two tenths quicker than that of second-placed G-Drive Racing No. 26 ORECA (Leo Roussel/Nico Mueller). Meanwhile, The “Mighty 38” started the race from fourth in class.

“Somewhat unexpectedly, both GTE classes fell in the hands of Aston-Martin Racing”

Somewhat unexpectedly, both GTE classes fell in the hands of Aston-Martin Racing. First, in GTE-Pro, it was the Dane Train No. 95 Vantage which was quicker while, more predictably, the No. 98 took pole in GTE-Am. It was the sixth pole of the season for Lamy and Dalla-Lana, the two hoping for a third win in a row in China. They also kept alive a streak of pole positions at the Asian venue.

The Race

“Toyota rolled out a new aero update to its high-downforce package for this race”

Following Porsche’s announced departure from the FIA WEC, Toyota decided to freeze any development for next year’s car while they weigh in on their options. This allowed the Japanese outfit to roll a new aero update to its high-downforce package which debuted at the opening round, all the way back in March. The improvement was visible in race pace (tire wear and such) and Toyota Gazoo Racing was leading 1-2 at the end of the first stint. However, the No. 8 took new tires besides there being a driver change, so it dropped to third after the stop. The No. 7 also had trouble, Lopez tagging the No. 26 G-Drive LMP2 car 15 laps into the six-hour race.

Porsche was even worse off after 60 minutes with the No. 1 car limping around with throttle problems. The Briton got back underway after rebooting the system, but the car was still a hefty 90 seconds behind the Top 3 after its first scheduled stop. Down in P2, it was the pole-sitting No. 31 which led the way while Porsche grabbed the lead from Aston-Martin in GTE-Pro thanks to the No. 92 car. Ferrari and Ford entries also looked at ways to capitalize on their pace in the first half of the race. The No. 98 Vantage, though, faced little opposition and was still out in the lead after an hour.


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“Porsche was unable to challenge Toyota, so the two TS050s ran back to back”

The next couple of stints came and went without much to report at the front. Porsche was unable to challenge Toyota, so the two TS050s ran back to back with no more than 15 seconds of cushion between them at half distance. The No. 2 Porsche which led the championship ran third but over a minute behind. At that point in the game, if the No. 7 would’ve won and the No. 2 would have finished no higher than third, the battle for the title would have continued into the season finale – just barely!

LMP1 Results

Pos No. Drivers Team Car Laps
1 8 Buemi / Davidson / Nakajima Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 – Hybrid 195
2 2 Bernhard / Bamber / Hartley Porsche LMP Team Porsche 919 Hybrid 194
3 1 Jani / Lotterer / Tandy Porsche LMP Team Porsche 919 Hybrid 194
4 7 Conway / Kobayashi / Lopez Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 – Hybrid 188

“Vaillante Rebellion continued to flex its muscles in LMP2 as it retained its lead”

Vaillante Rebellion continued to flex its muscles in LMP2 as it retained its lead. Also still in the lead after three hours was the No. 98 Aston-Martin. Drama hit around the stroke of the second hour when the No. 92 GTE-Pro Porsche of Kevin Estre, which had consistently been in the lead since after the start retired with an engine failure. It wasn’t, however, the only retirement recorded in the first 180 minutes. A three-car accident between the No. 37 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA of Tristan Gommendy and two GTE-Am Ferraris claimed the No. 54 Spirit of Race 488 GTE. The other two cars managed to limp back to base. Clearwater Racing were gutted after the event as it meant their car could finish no higher than fourth in class which, in turn, meant that Aston-Martin Racing took over the lead in the team’s championship in that category.


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“Estre and Christensen’s retirement opened up a battle in GTE-Pro between the No. 67 Ford, the No. 91 Porsche and the No. 51 Ferrari”

Estre and Christensen’s retirement opened up a battle in GTE-Pro between the No. 67 Ford, the No. 91 Porsche and the No. 51 Ferrari which had a grandstand view of the two ahead at times. The Porsche was the quicker car, but Fred Makowiecki lost the lead to a determined Andy Priaulx who had to carve his way through the pack in the Chip Ganassi Ford GT. After the exchange, it was Harry Tincknell’s job to keep Richard Lietz at bay. The Briton kept ahead by aggressively double-stinting the car’s tires, knowing they had little to win out on track since the GT lacked top end speed.

As everyone made their way into the final 60 minutes, it looked like a Toyota 1-2 is a certainty – but when is it, really? The team’s proverbial (by now) bad luck struck again, with barely 30 minutes left, when Lopez crashed into the No. 91 Porsche of Lietz as he tried to pass the GTE-Pro car in Turn 13. The Argentine was leading the race at the time but, after the crash, he had to crawl to the pits with damaged suspension. This obliterated all of Toyota Gazoo Racing’s chances as the No. 8 soldiered on to win but, more importantly, Porsche finished 2nd and 3rd with the No. 2 runner-up.

Top 5 LMP2 Results

Pos No. Drivers Team Car Laps
1 31 Canal / Prost / Senna Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07 – Gibson 183
2 36 Lapierre / Menezes / Negrao Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine A470 – Gibson 183
3 13 Beche / Heinemeier Hansson / Piquet Jr. Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07 – Gibson 182
4 38 Tung / Jarvis / Laurent Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07 – Gibson 182
5 25 CEFC Manor TRS Racing Gonzalez / Trummer / Petrov Oreca 07 – Gibson 182

“The result made Brendon Hartley, Earl Bamber and Timo Bernhard world champions, same accolade going to Team Porsche LMP”

The result made Brendon Hartley, Earl Bamber and Timo Bernhard world champions, same accolade going to Team Porsche LMP. It is the first title for Bamber and the second for both Bernhard and Torro Rosso F1 driver Hartley. It also marks an amazing feat for Porsche as the German brand has taken both titles in the last three years as well as winning Le Mans in the last three years: a genuine hat-trick of hat-tricks!

Down in P2, things got not-so-easy for the No. 31 during the second half. For starters, Am driver Julien Canal’s pace was nowhere near enough to keep Ho Pin Tung behind him so the switch was made well into the third hour and the championship-leading No. 38 moved ahead. Tung’s fighting stint in which he clawed back Canal’s 40-seconds lead proved in vain asa the team had to stop for a splash late on, while Rebellion didn’t. What is more, Tun collided with an oblivious Nico Mueller in Turn 1. This meant that, in the end, Senna, Prost, and Canal won ahead of the No. 36 Signatech Alpine crew and the sister No. 13 Rebellion. Fourth was all that remained possible for Tung, Laurent, and Jarvis.

Top 5 LMGTE-Pro Results

Pos No. Drivers Team Car Laps
1 67 Priaulx / Tincknell Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford GT 170
2 91 Lietz / Makowiecki Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR 170
3 51 Calado / Pier Guidi AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE 170
4 66 Mucke / Pla Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford GT 170
5 95 Thiim / Sorensen Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage 170

“Ferrari finished third in the class with the No. 51 which was enough to seal the deal in the manufacturer’s standings”

As I’ve already mentioned, Toyota’s chances were dashed after Lopez crashed into Lietz’s Porsche. The latter party didn’t fare much better either since Richard was in full attack mode to try and pass Tincknell. He, though, had to drive around with some damage which meant a drop in pace. This helped Priaulx and Tincknell to grab the win easier and, in turn, reignite their championship hopes. Ferrari, meanwhile, finished third in the class with the No. 51 which was enough for the Italian manufacturer to seal the deal in the manufacturer’s standings, beating Ford. This was the only other title that was decided in Shanghai.

With the two Ferraris kicked out of the fight after the incident with the No. 37 ORECA, Aston-Martin’s Dalla-Lana, Lamy and Lauda only had to keep it on the island to win. That’s precisely what they did and, by the end of the six hours, their gap was a gigantic two minutes over the second-placed Gulf Racing UK Porsche. Dempsey-Proton’s No. 77 finished third making the best out of the attrition since the old 991 GTE had none of the pace to be challenging for the podium otherwise.

LMGTE-Am Results

Pos No. Drivers Team Car Laps
1 98 Dalla Lana / Lamy / Lauda Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin V8 Vantage 166
2 86 Al Qubaisi / Barker / Foster Gulf Racing UK Porsche 911 RSR (991) 165
3 77 Ried / Cairoli / Dienst Dempsey – Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR (991) 164
4 61 Mok / Sawa / Griffin Clearwater Racing Ferrari 488 GTE 158
NC 54 Flohr / Castellacci / Molina Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GTE 37

What’s Next?


2017 Six Hours of Shanghai - Race Report - image 743527

The final round of the FIA World Endurance Championship will take place in Bahrain between November 16th and 18th. Many titles are still up for grabs, such as both in LMP2, all available in GTE-Am and the driver’s and team’s titles in GTE-Pro. So it’s certain we’ll have an “end-of-an-era” thriller in the desert heat!

PostHeaderIcon Chevrolet ZR2 Race Development Truck

2017 Chevrolet ZR2 Race Development Truck

Chevy brought two custom Colorado ZR2 pickups to SEMA this year with some heavy modifications that make them even better off-road. One was built in collaboration with American Expedition Vehicles and meant for over-landing while this, the Colorado ZR2 Race Development Truck, is built for high-speed desert running. In fact, many of the upgrades on this truck were first tested on Chad Hall’s Colorado ZR2, which ran in the “Best In The Desert” race series.

The list of modifications isn’t overly extensive, showing just how capable the Colorado ZR2 is from the factory. The truck’s crown jewel is its DSSV spool valve shock absorbers from Multimatic. DSSV shocks were developed for supercars and F1 race teams, so its adoption for an off-roader was unconventional. The factory truck also has better ground clearance than a regular Colorado, along with bespoke bodywork that improved approach and departure angles. Adding to its capability are front and rear electronic differential lockers – something not found on any other Colorado. Still, Chevy improved on the ZR2’s design for hard-core racing.

Continue reading to learn more about the Chevrolet ZR2 Race Development Truck.

What makes the Chevrolet ZR2 Race Development Truck special

  • 1.5-inch body lift
  • Long-arm front suspension
  • Long-travel DSSV shocks
  • Skid plates for rear shocks
  • Skid plate for rear differential
  • 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler MT/R tires
  • Cold-air intake for 3.6-liter V-6
  • Performance exhuast

2017 Chevrolet ZR2 Race Development Truck - image 741890
“The list of modifications isn’t overly extensive, showing just how capable the Colorado ZR2 is from the factory”

Chevrolet started off with a stock Colorado ZR2 with the 3.6-liter V-6 and crew cab. They then added a 1.5-inch body lift to help fit larger, 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler MT/R tires. The stock wheels were retained, but wheel spacers and longer wheel studs were added to widen the truck’s already wide stance. Underneath, the rear DSSV shocks got skid plates for added protection from trail damage. A skid plate was also added to the rear differential. An upgraded steel driveshaft was added, too.

Suspension enhancements make the biggest difference, however. A long-arm suspension kit was added to the independent front suspension, and long-travel versions of the DSSV shocks were added. The shocks also have a slightly modified tuning to better handle high-speed runs in the sand.


2017 Chevrolet ZR2 Race Development Truck - image 741888
“An off-road air intake was added, as well, helping filter out dirt and sand”

An off-road air intake was added, as well, helping filter out dirt and sand. On the other side of the V-6, Chevy added a performance exhaust system. There’s no word on how these changes affected power output, but we’d certainly guess the 3.6-liter makes more horsepower and torque.

All told, the Colorado ZR2 Race Development Truck is a beast for high-speed desert running, while staying close to the factory ZR2 anyone can buy. Chevy undoubtedly is preparing for battle against Ford’s upcoming Ranger Raptor – a mid-size pickup with parts styled after the F-150 Raptor. It seems Chevy is definitely ready to throw some punches.

References

Chevrolet Colorado


2017 Chevrolet Colorado - image 686537

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado.


Chevy Colorado ZR2 Takes L.A. By Storm with Supercar Suspension - image 695944

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.


2017 SEMA Show – Preview - image 741107

Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

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

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PostHeaderIcon 2017 Six Hours of Fuji – Race Report

As it’s almost always the case in the shadow of Fuji-san, there was rain and fog all through last weekend when the FIA WEC visited the former Formula One venue for its six-hour-long race. This prompted multiple interruptions and luck-favored the local stars. Fellow Moto GP fans will understand how us, endurance racing devotees, felt this weekend because they too endured a rain-soaked Japanese GP. For us, it was an important weekend because Porsche was virtually on the cusp of becoming World Champion with another win at Fuji. Toyota needed to win — and would have liked even more a one-two — to keep mathematical hopes alive with two more races left to run, in Shanghai and Bahrain.

This race was also important as many people thought that, being at home, Toyota might feel encouraged to make an announcement on their future in the WEC. As we know, Porsche will cut short their involvement at the end of this season, electing not to take part in the upcoming “super season.” This will leave Toyota, if they choose to continue, as the only works hybrid LMP1 entrant — Peugeot choosing not to join the ranks of P1 in 2019 as they look forward to ramping up their Global RX presence.

Continue reading for the full story.

Uncertain Future for the Prototype Class


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“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


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“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.


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“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.


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“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 Take A Ride Around Laguna Seca In An Acura NSX GT3 Race Car: Video

When Acura revealed the second-generation NSX at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, we were smitten. Sporting a hybrid 3.5-liter V-6 boosted by two turbochargers and no less than three electric motors, the new NSX carries the torch of its predecessor as a high-tech ground-bound spaceship capable of warp speed on the track. As such, we think it made perfect sense for Acura to offer a competition-spec iteration. Honed by Honda Performance Development, the NSX GT3 builds on the baseline of its street-going sibling with more aggressive aerodynamics, a stripped down interior, hardcore suspension bits, and nearly 600 horsepower at the rear axle via a six-speed sequential transmission. The advanced AWD system was ditched to meet homologation standards, and the result is a car that’s more raw, more brutal, and more in your face than ever before. It’s the perfect fit for tackling a beast like California’s Laguna Seca race track, as evidenced by this onboard footage from our friends over at Racer.

Shot from the driver’s helmet point of view, the five-minute clip was taken during testing for the 8 Hours of California endurance race set to take place this weekend. At the helm is Acura factory driver Ryan Eversley, who wheels the NSX around the challenging circuit with precision and unflappable poise, blasting around slower traffic with relative ease. All very impressive stuff, and we can’t wait to see where the Acura team will end up when the checkered flag flies this weekend.

References

Acura NSX


2016 Acura NSX - image 669483

Read our full review on the 2017 Acura NSX.


2017 Acura NSX GT3 Race Car - image 725151

Read our full review on the 2017 Acura NSX GT3 race car.

PostHeaderIcon Take A Ride Around Laguna Seca In An Acura NSX GT3 Race Car: Video

When Acura revealed the second-generation NSX at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, we were smitten. Sporting a hybrid 3.5-liter V-6 boosted by two turbochargers and no less than three electric motors, the new NSX carries the torch of its predecessor as a high-tech ground-bound spaceship capable of warp speed on the track. As such, we think it made perfect sense for Acura to offer a competition-spec iteration. Honed by Honda Performance Development, the NSX GT3 builds on the baseline of its street-going sibling with more aggressive aerodynamics, a stripped down interior, hardcore suspension bits, and nearly 600 horsepower at the rear axle via a six-speed sequential transmission. The advanced AWD system was ditched to meet homologation standards, and the result is a car that’s more raw, more brutal, and more in your face than ever before. It’s the perfect fit for tackling a beast like California’s Laguna Seca race track, as evidenced by this onboard footage from our friends over at Racer.

Shot from the driver’s helmet point of view, the five-minute clip was taken during testing for the 8 Hours of California endurance race set to take place this weekend. At the helm is Acura factory driver Ryan Eversley, who wheels the NSX around the challenging circuit with precision and unflappable poise, blasting around slower traffic with relative ease. All very impressive stuff, and we can’t wait to see where the Acura team will end up when the checkered flag flies this weekend.

References

Acura NSX


2016 Acura NSX - image 669483

Read our full review on the 2017 Acura NSX.


2017 Acura NSX GT3 Race Car - image 725151

Read our full review on the 2017 Acura NSX GT3 race car.

PostHeaderIcon Ken Block And The Hoonigans Play With An Escort Cosworth Rally Racer: Video

Ken Block and his fellow Hoonigans certainly have no shortage of lust-worthy vehicles at their disposal. But the question is, with monsters like the Hoonicorn (both versions) lurking in the shadows, what’s a spin master like Block got for daily fun? Well, how about a badass 1991 Escort Cosworth, prepped for duty in Group A rally racing? Oh, and by the way, it’s also street legal. In this 12-minute, 47-second video, we get a walk around on the car, an in-depth look under the hood, and some interesting specs along the way, all delivered via the Hoonigans’ characteristic off-the-cuff banter. However, that isn’t all. Long story short, the Hoonigans feel like there aren’t enough AWD turbo cars ripping fat donuts and killing tires. You can see where this is going.

To fill that need, it’s time to let loose with around 400 horses at the Hoonigan HQ back lot. Just hearing this thing fire up is a treat, with the usual pops and bangs of a healthy race car shooting out the large side exhaust. Things get real serious when the head-hoonigan-in-charge slides into the hot seat and does what he does best. Adios rubber. Foot down, smoke up.

1991 Escort Cosworth In Pictures


Ken Block And The Hoonigans Play With An Escort Cosworth Rally Racer: Video - image 737887

Ken Block And The Hoonigans Play With An Escort Cosworth Rally Racer: Video - image 737892

Ken Block And The Hoonigans Play With An Escort Cosworth Rally Racer: Video - image 737895

Ken Block And The Hoonigans Play With An Escort Cosworth Rally Racer: Video - image 737897

Ken Block And The Hoonigans Play With An Escort Cosworth Rally Racer: Video - image 737899

References


Ken Block Announces the Hoonicorn V2: A 1,400-Horsepower Monster - image 691807

Read more about the Hoonicorn cars.


Ken Block Turns an Industrial Park into a Playground in Gymkhana NINE - image 688201

Read more Ken Block news.

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.


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“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


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“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 Petrolicious Profiles The Ferrari 250 LM: Video

“I could stare at that car forever,” begins Remo Ferri, owner of the gorgeous 250 LM you see here. One look is all you’ll need to understand – this Ferrari is mechanical, an instrument for speed shaped into art. Lift the rear clamshell, and the feeling of craftsmanship is palpable. There’s a certain kind of purity to it, a characteristic most obvious when sitting in the stripped-down cockpit with the loud pedal pinned. This is a car that only offers what you need to go fast. Plucked from the ‘60s-era of sports car racing, the 250 LM was one of Ferrari’s first mid-engine sports cars. The body is made from aluminum, and with 320 horsepower properly routed to the rear axle, it could reach a top speed of 180 mph, a staggering figure for its day, and enough to clinch a win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1965. This is also one of the most expensive cars in the world, but it’s about a lot more than just money. In this sub-six-minute video, Petrolicious dives straight to the heart of the matter, taking the audience for a ride through stunning cinematography and passionate narration, all while the sound of that V-12 rampaging down the straight creates copious aural intoxication.

The passion of the car’s owner is infectious, and over the course of the video, it becomes obvious why this is considered one of the most valuable cars in the world. Never mind the limited production, never mind the pedigree, never mind the badge. Just look at it, take in its curving lines, absorb the sound it makes, and it’ll all become crystal clear. This is one of the greatest Ferraris ever made, and indeed, one of the greatest cars ever created.

References

Ferrari 250 LM


1964 Ferrari 250 LM Fetches $14 Million at Auction - image 534121

Read more about the 1964 Ferrari 250 LM.

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2014 Ford Mustang GT Coupe 2-Door 2014 FORD MUSTANG GT 5.0 TECH LEATHER BLUETOOTH 14K MI #239101 Texas Direct Auto
$4.25 (2 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Jan-25-2018 8:15:00 PST
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2012 Ford Mustang GT Coupe 2-Door 2012 FORD MUSTANG GT FASTBACK 5.0 6-SPD SPOILER 36K MI #281725 Texas Direct Auto
$1.00 (1 Bid)
End Date: Thursday Jan-25-2018 7:59:05 PST
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2012 Ford Mustang GT Coupe 2-Door 2012 FORD MUSTANG GT 5.0 AUTO LEATHER HID LIGHTS 41K MI #218165 Texas Direct
$14,100.00 (83 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Jan-23-2018 10:30:00 PST
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2015 BMW i8 Base Coupe 2-Door 2015 BMW I8 HYBRID GIGA WORLD AWD NAV HUD 20'S ONLY 15K #392350 Texas Direct
$65,600.00 (25 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Jan-18-2018 19:59:45 PST
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2012 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Coupe 2-Door 2012 CHEVY CORVETTE Z16 GRAND SPORT 3LT Z51 NAV HUD 28K #108598 Texas Direct
$37,230.00
End Date: Monday Jan-22-2018 7:23:07 PST
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2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe 2-Door 2017 CHEVY CAMARO 2SS CLIMATE SEATS SUNROOF NAV HUD 8K! #197736 Texas Direct
$1.00 (1 Bid)
End Date: Wednesday Jan-24-2018 15:45:00 PST
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2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe 2-Door 2015 CHEVY CAMARO SS2 COMMEMORATIVE SUNROOF NAV HUD 3K #211182 Texas Direct Auto
$1.00 (1 Bid)
End Date: Thursday Jan-25-2018 8:30:00 PST
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2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Coupe 2-Door 2017 CHEVY CORVETTE Z16 GRAND SPORT LT COUPE AUTO 3K MI #115791 Texas Direct
$53,202.00 (14 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Jan-20-2018 17:45:00 PST
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2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Coupe 2-Door 2017 CHEVY CORVETTE GRAND SPORT COLLECTOR 888 NAV 9K MI #300888 Texas Direct
$69,730.00
End Date: Wednesday Jan-24-2018 15:45:00 PST
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1957 Chevrolet Other Pickups 1957 Chevrolet 3100 Pickup
$9,500.00 (22 Bids)
End Date: Monday Jan-22-2018 21:28:16 PST
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1965 Ford Mustang 4 SPEED 1965 Mustang Fastback A-CODE 4 SPEED Factory Air conditioning
$12,000.00
End Date: Saturday Jan-20-2018 12:26:14 PST
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2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible 2-Door 2017 CHEVY CAMARO 2SS CONV CLIMATE SEATS NAV HUD 6K MI! #107077 Texas Direct
$40,480.00
End Date: Thursday Jan-25-2018 7:53:58 PST
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1965 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe 1965 Corvette Coupe original red car, numbers matching
$26,750.00 (25 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Jan-21-2018 8:57:17 PST
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2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible 2-Door 2016 CHEVY CAMARO 2SS CONVERTIBLE LEATHER NAV HUD 22k #166875 Texas Direct Auto
$34,730.00
End Date: Wednesday Jan-24-2018 15:30:00 PST
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2016 Ford F-150 2016 FORD F-150 CREW 4X4 LIFTED LEATHER REAR CAM 9K MI #D74031 Texas Direct Auto
$38,980.00
End Date: Saturday Jan-20-2018 14:15:56 PST
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1967 Ford Mustang Coupe 1967 Ford Mustang Coupe
$3,000.00
End Date: Monday Jan-22-2018 17:31:10 PST
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2014 Ford Mustang Base Convertible 2-Door 2014 FORD MUSTANG V6 PREM CONVERTIBLE AUTO LEATHER 58K #240287 Texas Direct Auto
$15,230.00
End Date: Tuesday Jan-23-2018 14:30:00 PST
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2017 Ford F-150 FX4 Crew Cab Lariat Sport FX4 4X4 Ecoboost Custom Lifted Truck New Wheels Tires Nav
$42,600.00 (29 Bids)
End Date: Friday Jan-19-2018 15:31:03 PST
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2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible 2-Door 2014 CHEVY CAMARO 2SS RS CONVERTIBLE LEATHER NAV 33K MI #281386 Texas Direct
$25,480.00
End Date: Thursday Jan-25-2018 8:11:50 PST
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2014 BMW i8 Base Coupe 2-Door 2014 BMW I8 AWD HYBRID PURE IMPULSE NAV HUD 20'S 2K MI! #X64774 Texas Direct
$2,025.00 (17 Bids)
End Date: Friday Jan-19-2018 15:00:00 PST
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2014 Chevrolet Camaro LT Coupe 2-Door 2014 CHEVY CAMARO LT RS AUTO SPOILER 20" WHEELS 36K MI #273768 Texas Direct Auto
$17,980.00
End Date: Thursday Jan-25-2018 7:46:54 PST
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2014 Chevrolet Camaro LS Coupe 2-Door 2014 CHEVY CAMARO LS 6-SPEED CD AUDIO ALLOY WHEELS 33K #157886 Texas Direct Auto
$16,288.00
End Date: Thursday Jan-25-2018 8:15:00 PST
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2015 Ford Mustang GT 2015 Ford Mustang GT Convertible
$20,101.00 (2 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Jan-20-2018 16:42:59 PST
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2016 Ford Mustang GT350 2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350
$45,100.00 (30 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Jan-21-2018 16:35:38 PST
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1967 Ford Mustang fastback GT 1967 Mustang Fastback GT S Code
$51,000.00 (37 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Jan-21-2018 18:10:37 PST
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2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z51 Coupe 2-Door 2015 CHEVY CORVETTE STINGRAY Z51 2LT AUTO NAV HUD 4K MI #112474 Texas Direct
$32,600.00 (43 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Jan-20-2018 10:15:00 PST
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2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Coupe 2-Door 2016 CHEVY CORVETTE Z06 1LZ S/C HUD REAR CAM 4K MILES #613401 Texas Direct Auto
$68,480.00
End Date: Saturday Jan-20-2018 9:20:31 PST
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2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Coupe 2-Door 2016 FORD MUSTANG SHELBY GT350 5.2L 6-SPEED TECH NAV 5K #521566 Texas Direct
$53,730.00
End Date: Wednesday Jan-24-2018 15:30:00 PST
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2016 BMW M4 Base Coupe 2-Door 2016 BMW M4 EXECUTIVE 6-SPEED CARBON ROOF NAV HUD 22K #338388 Texas Direct Auto
$3,050.00 (20 Bids)
End Date: Friday Jan-19-2018 15:00:00 PST
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2016 Ford F-150 2016 FORD F150 CREW FX4 4X4 5.0 6PASS REAR CAM 20'S 23K #E10945 Texas Direct
$3,250.00 (26 Bids)
End Date: Friday Jan-19-2018 15:00:00 PST
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