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PostHeaderIcon 2017 Hankook 24 Hours COTA – Race Report

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

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

Continue reading for the full story.

Dubai Success


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

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

Championship Rules


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

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

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

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

Qualifying

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

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


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

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

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

The Race

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Top 10 Results

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

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

PostHeaderIcon Bentley Continental GT3

2018 Bentley Continental GT3

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

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

Continue reading to learn more about the Bentley Continental GT3.

What makes the Bentley Continental GT3 special

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Bentley Continental GT3 Racing History


2014 Bentley Continental GT3 Race Car
- image 514762

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

GT3-spec Competitors


2015 Audi R8 LMS - image 620107

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

References

Bentley Continental


2018 Bentley Continental GT - image 728790

Read our full review on the 2018 Bentley Continental GT.


2014 Bentley Continental GT3 Race Car
- image 514765

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


2012 Bentley Continental GT3 Concept - image 475089

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



Read more Bentley news.

PostHeaderIcon 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


2017 Six Hours of Shanghai - Race Report - image 743530
“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.


2017 Six Hours of Shanghai - Race Report - image 743521
“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.


2017 Six Hours of Shanghai - Race Report - image 743516
“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.

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.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: The Booming SUV Market Is Ruining Racing and it Pisses Me Off!

I don’t know about you, but I love spending the weekend watching some serious racing. Be it turn-left-all-day NASCAR or proper track chasing; I dig just about any motorsport league out there. Yeah, including Formula E, which can be surprisingly spectacular. I also enjoy the Pirelli World Challenge quite a lot, mostly because it features race cars that are closely related to production vehicles. Unfortunately, this competition won’t be the same next year, and it’s all because of the damn SUV craze that’s been going on for a few years.

Nope, I’m not senile just yet. It may seem weird for the SUV market to influence motorsport, but it can happen. In this case, Cadillac’s desire to build more and more crossovers instead of cars is putting an end to its successful run in the Pirelli World Challenge. And it’s not that Cadillac simply decided to call it a day and focus on its DPi program, the ATS-V.R is being discontinued as its road-going counterpart is getting dropped from the lineup in 2019. A rather harsh decision if you ask me, and it’s essentially why I’m pretty mad about it. And why I hate crossovers and SUVs even more.

Continue reading for the full story.

The End of an Amazing Effort. And for What?


2015 Cadillac ATS-V.R - image 577721
“The ATS and CTS are the only production Cadillacs that made it onto the race track”

Cadillac says it’s retiring from the Pirelli World Challenge to focus on its IMSA DPi campaign, where the carmaker has already won the championship in its maiden season. But this isn’t the only reason. The company’s current model strategy is programmed to axe both the ATS and CTS in 2019, and replace them with one model called the CT5. As you may know, the ATS and CTS are the only production Cadillacs that made it onto the race track.

The CTS-V made its debut as early as 2004, winning the title in 2005 and 2007, while the second-generation CTS-V Coupe stepped in as a replacement in 2011. It won two more championships in 2012 and 2013 before it was replaced by the ATS-V.R for the 2015 season. The smaller car debuted with a win in 2015, but missed the championship in the following two seasons, even though it finished second and third in the drivers’ standings.

In all, these two cars took part in 332 races, scored 25 pole positions, and won 33 events. On top of the seven manufacturers’ championships, they also claimed five drivers’ titles. All of them in 13 years. The CTS-V.R and ATS-V.R are by far the most successful race cars Cadillac has ever built. So you can see why I’m pissed off that the ATS-V.R is being retired.


2015 Cadillac ATS-V.R - image 577720
“The ATS-V.R should have lived on. Its achievements deserve another two seasons on the racetrack”

But it’s not just Cadillac’s strategy to replace the ATS and CTS with a single model so it can launch more SUVs. The replacement is set to take place in 2019, so the ATS-V.R might have had another two seasons in the Pirelli World Challenge. And while I can understand that Cadillac wants to focus on DPi racing, for now, it should at least offer the ATS-V.R to private teams. More upsetting is the fact that the Pirelli World Challenge program is being dropped for IMSA, a championship that sees many rule changes each year and a lot of teams and carmakers choose to retire because of them. So while Cadillac is very excited about IMSA DPi right now, there’s no telling how long it will last.

Just look at Porsche, which joined the FIA World Endurance Championship only a few years ago, has a very competitive 919 Hybrid race car, and it’s looking to retire at the end of the year. The same could happen with Cadillac. Sooner than we might imagine. The ATS-V.R should have lived on. Its achievements deserve another two seasons on the race track. But Cadillac doesn’t agree. Because money. I’m so disappointed I can’t even joke about it…

Waaaaait!

I think I got one.

What does it take to bring an Escalade to the track and race it? Nothing, yo mamma is so fat that when she… oh wait. Wrong joke. Oh well, let’s just say that the Escalade sucks!

References


Pops' Rants: The Tesla Model 3 Isn't That Affordable; Toyota Supra Without a Manual? Yikes! - image 726175

Read more Rant news.

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

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

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

Continue reading for the full story.

Any Other Technical Bits?


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

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

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

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

Why Formula E?


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

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

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

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

Who Will Drive And Who Will Lead?


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

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

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

References

Audi R18


2016 Audi R18 - image 670089

Read our full review on the Audi R18.

Audi e-tron quattro concept


2015 Audi E-Tron Quattro Concept - image 646016

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


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

Read more Formula E news.

PostHeaderIcon 2017 IMSA America’s Tire 250 at Laguna Seca – Race Report

Laguna Seca seems to attract great racing like nothing else if last Sunday’s two-hour-and-40-minutes sprint is to be taken into consideration as what we witnessed was an up-and-down dramatic roller coaster that went to the wire across the board and left many googling online dictionaries for superlatives. The Monterey Peninsula again hosted a brilliant showcase of multi-class sports car racing as three classes of cars — Prototype, GT-LM, and GT-D — battled it out. It was a game of differing strategies, late stops for fuel, tight near-misses and daring overtakes. In the end, unexpected contenders rose to the occasion to take the victory in two of the three classes while in the last it was a story of continued consistency.

In qualifying, as ever, Ricky Taylor was head and shoulders above everyone else as he piloted the No. 10 Cadillac sponsored by Konica Minolta to an earth-shatteringly quick 1:16.853, eight-tenths off the next Caddy. The margin was even bigger before Christian Fittpaldi’s late 1:17.682 to beat VisitFlorida.com Racing’s Marc Goosens who only managed a 1:17.730. Dane Cameron and Eric Curran’s No. 31 was fourth quickest while Jose Gutierrez made it two LMP2s in the top five with his time in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsport Ligier. The two Nissan ESM DPIs followed next while the banana-yellow ORECA of JDC-Miller Motorsports was bog last.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Battle for the Pole

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

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


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“The qualifying looked less-than-stellar at the other end of the GT-LM field”

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

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

Prototype

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

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

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


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“A little bit behind, the two Extreme Speed Motorsport Nissans had a difficult weekend”

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

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


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“It was an uphill battle for WTR after their long second pit stop as he had fallen to fifth overall after that moment”

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


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

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

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

Top 5 Prototype class results

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

GT-LM


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

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

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


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“The Prancing Horse had to give way with over 30 minutes to go when Toni Vilander pitted”

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

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

Top 5 GT-LM class results

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

GT-D


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

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

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


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“Balzan and Nielsen now only need to finish at Petit Le Mans to be crowned champions again”

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

Top 5 GT-D class results

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

Full Results

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

What’s Next?

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

References


2018 Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo - image 733363

Read more car racing news.

PostHeaderIcon Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo

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

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

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

Exterior


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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“Perched on top of the tail is the requisite adjustable rear wing, while a new spoiler designed with a flatter, larger surface is underneath.”

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


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“The result of all this tweaking is 8 percent less drag – not bad when you consider downforce goes unchanged.”

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

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


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

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

Nice job, Lambo.

Interior


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

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

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

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

Drivetrain


2018 Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo - image 733362

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

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

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

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

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

Chassis And Handling


2018 Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo - image 733340

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

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

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

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

Prices


2018 Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo - image 733334

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

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

Competition

Ferrari 488 Challenge


2017 Ferrari 488 Challenge - image 697432

2017 Ferrari 488 Challenge - image 697434

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

Read our full review on the Ferrari 488 Challenge.

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup


2017 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup - image 690361

2017 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup - image 690360

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

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

Conclusion


2018 Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo - image 733339

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

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

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

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

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

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

References

Lamborghini Huracan


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

Read our full review on the Lamborghini Huracan.

Huracan LP 620-2 Super Trofeo


2015 Lamborghini Huracan LP620-2 Super Trofeo - image 565281

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

Lamborghini Huracan GT3


2015 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 - image 612288

Read our full review on the Lamborghini Huracan GT3.

Ferrari 488 Challenge


2017 Ferrari 488 Challenge - image 697433

Read our full review on the Ferrari 488 Challenge.

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup


2017 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup - image 690465

Read our full review on the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.

PostHeaderIcon BMW M8 GTE

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

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

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M8 GTE.

PostHeaderIcon BMW M8 GTE

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

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

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M8 GTE.

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