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Archive for the ‘race cars’ Category

PostHeaderIcon 2017 12 Hours of Sebring – Race Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Lexus RC F GT3

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

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

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

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

PostHeaderIcon Drivetribe Takes A Spin In The Audi R18 LMP1: Video

Prototype racers are on another level. The technology and engineering that goes into these machines is simply baffling, making them not only unbelievably fast, but incredibly reliable as well. These aren’t some point-and-squirt drag racers that need a complete engine overhaul every 1,320 feet. Don’t get me wrong – I have massive respect for Top Fuel cars, but compared to an endurance prototype, you could call them a little… delicate. After all, competitors in the top class of the World Endurance Championship are expected to run at 200 mph for hours on end, all while dodging traffic through variable track conditions. Audi knows all about that kind of action, as evidenced by its dominating performance in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in which the Four Rings has collected a record-setting 13 wins in the past 17 years. But now, Audi has decided to exit the WEC to instead focus on Formula E, leaving us with this – the R18 LMP1. Drivetribe recently had a go behind the wheel, and documented the experience with this 8-minute, 11-second video.

After a little history and background, Drivetribe’s Jethro Bovingdon gives us a break down of the specs, from the diesel hybrid powerplant and AWD system, to the materials and suspension under the skin. Bovingdon then straps into the fighter jet-like cockpit, fires it up, and puts it around Audi’s test track in Neuburg, Germany.

Understandably, Bovingdon doesn’t go 10/10’s, but getting an insider’s perspective and hearing about the experience is a treat nonetheless. “Even on a freezing day on treaded tires, it beats a GT3 car on slicks for braking and cornering, and accelerates in the lower gears like a P1 GTR running nitrous,” Bovingdon explains enthusiastically. “It’s simply the purest, most exciting driving experience I’ve ever had.”

PostHeaderIcon Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Unveils New Livery, Battle Damage To Follow

If you like watching 600-horsepower rally cars going wheel to wheel on loose-surface racetracks with huge jumps and lots of contact, then odds are you’re excited for the upcoming 2017 season of the Red Bull Global Rallycross championship. Carrying the momentum after a dominant performance in 2016 is the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team, which just revealed a duo of race-ready Beetles decked out in fresh racing liveries at the Chicago Auto Show. Once again taking the helm will be two-time title winner Tanner Foust, as well as defending champ Scott Speed.

“We’ve been working really hard to improve our cars over the off-season,” said Speed, “and I can’t wait to get to racing so we can defend our title again.” Speed managed to secure an impressive back-to-back championship win last year, and will once again pilot the No. 41 Beetle. No. 41 is covered in green, red, and white, and features prominent branding from sponsors Oberto All Natural Beef Jerky and Circle K, both of which appeared on the car previously, but now enjoy a more permanent spot on the Beetle’s body panels.

Meanwhile, former Top Gear USA co-host and Scott’s current teammate Tanner Foust will once again pilot the No. 34 Beetle, which is draped in long-time sponsor Rockstar Energy Drink’s black and yellow livery. Foust managed a record-breaking 25 consecutive Heat wins last year, as well as a second-place championship finish. This will be his 12th consecutive year with backing from Rockstar.

“It feels like the 2016 season ended a long time ago,” Foust said, “so I’m really eager to get back behind the wheel of this ferocious machine. Last year we had a lot of great results, and I’m confident that with all our hard off-season effort we can be up at the front of the field again in 2017.”

The 2017 season of the Red Bull Global Rallycross championship will feature 12 events taking place at venues across the U.S. Look for the season opener on April 29th in Memphis, Tennessee.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona – Race Report

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

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

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

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

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Dakar Rally 2017 – Day 1 On The Books!

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

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

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

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

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Nissan GT-R Nismo GT500

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

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

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

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

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

PostHeaderIcon Alfa Romeo Eyeing Return To Formula 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Ford Fiesta WRC

Ford ushered in a new generation of the Fiesta for 2017, with a focus on new looks, lots of interior amenities, new drivetrain options, and a desire to be the absolute best hatchback out there. As is the usual case with sporty little hatchbacks that go through a generational change, the new model is also making its way into sporting events, and in this case, we’re talking about WRC. The model you see here is M-Sports fighter for the 2017 FIA WRC season, and it comes complete with all of the goodies afforded by new FIA regulations that allow more power, better performance, new technology, and a unique look for each car.

According to the accompanying press release, 95 percent of this WRC racer has been designed from scratch and, while it’s based on the road-going Fiesta, there is little about this car that is stock. It’s got 380 horsepower on tap, new fully adjustable suspension, and at least 35 liters or 1.23 cubic feet of energy-absorbing foam over the current model. M-Sport’s Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, Said, “Entering a new era in the FIA World Rally Championship, there is a real sense of excitement throughout the team, and rightly so as I believe we have created something extremely special in the new Ford Fiesta WRC. Having driven the car myself, I can honestly say that it is one of the most impressive we have ever produced. It’s exciting to drive; it sounds fantastic, and it looks absolutely sensational.”

With that said, M-Sport has clearly put a lot of work into its WRC racer for the 2017 season, so let’s dive on in a take a better look at it.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-AMG GT4

Unveiled in 2014, the Mercedes-AMG GT is the company’s latest halo sports car and replaces the SLS AMG in the lineup. However, the AMG GT is smaller than its predecessor and aimed at a slightly different market niche, having been developed as a competitor for the Porsche 911. The sports car was also used to introduce AMG’s brand-new engine, a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8. Launched in GT and GT S variations, the two-door gained higher performance GT R (coupe) and GT C (roadster) models, as well as a GT3-spec race car version in 2016.

For 2017, Mercedes-Benz is preparing a second race car based on the AMG GT, this time around in GT4 specification. Although the brand has yet to say when this car will be ready to hit the track, it will be eligible for various GT4 racing series in the FIA calendar, including the GT4 European Series and the British GT Championship. If you’re not familiar with the GT4 class, it’s a less powerful, more affordable version of GT3 and it’s mostly dedicated to amateur drivers. The cars are also equalized in order to allow driving skill to become key.

“The development of the Mercedes-AMG GT4 is another important step in the continuing expansion of our Mercedes-AMG motorsport program. The excellent feedback of our Customer Sports teams concerning the AMG GT3 and the increasing interest for GT4 race cars strengthened us in our decision. We are delighted to address an even larger target group of amateur and professional drivers and teams in the future with it,” said Tobias Moers, chairman of Mercedes-AMG.

Most details are still under wraps and we have just a couple of photos to run buy, but I’ll be back with an update as soon as Mercedes-AMG spills the beans. Meanwhile, check out my speculative review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-AMG GT4.

PostHeaderIcon Ferrari 488 Challenge

Unveiled in 2015, the Ferrari 488 GTB replaced the successful and still very potent 458 Italia in the lineup. Although the new sports car isn’t radically different than its predecessor, it created a small revolution in Maranello’s lineage of entry-level supercars by introducing the turbocharged engine. Arguably the most important upgrade, the force-fed, 3.9-liter V-8, replaced the iconic, naturally aspirated 4.5-liter V-12. Like its predecessor, the 488 received a convertible version (Spider), as well as two racing variants for international motorsport series, GTE and GT3. For 2017, the 488 also replaced the 458 Challenge in the company’s one-make racing series.

Unveiled at the Ferrari World Finals event in Daytona in December 2016, the 488 Challenge is the sixth model to participate in the one-make series. Set to celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2017, the Ferrari Challenge was established in 1992 and has so far, used Challenge-spec versions of the 348, F355, 360, F430, and 458. Having hosted over 1,000 races, with over 1,000 drivers taking part in up to three series organised on three continents, the Ferrari Challenge series has proved to be an ideal starting point for drivers looking to compete in international GT and prototype championships. Needless to say, it’s not surprising that Ferrari was so quick to replace the 458 Italia with the faster and more aerodynamic 488 GTB in the one-make racing series.

The new Ferrari 488 Challenge will make its North American track debut in January 2017 at the Daytona International Speedway. The Ferrari Challenge North America season will also include races at Sonoma Raceway, Circuit of the Americas, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Lime Rock Park, and Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ferrari 488 Challenge.

PostHeaderIcon Cadillac DPi-V.R

Cadillac’s much rumored return to prototype racing has become reality in late 2016, when the American luxury brand unveiled its new race car for the IMSA series. Dubbed DPi-V.R, it’s Cadillac’s first prototype race car in 14 years and will compete in IMSA’s new DPi class starting early 2017.

The new category replaces last year’s Prototype class in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and brings revised regulations to the series. One of the most important changes is that the IMSA now allows automakers to produce their own designs, meaning prototypes can have their own identities instead of sharing almost identical body shells. Mazda has already taken advantage of this with the RT24-P, which uses the company’s Kodo styling language, but Cadillac has also used cues seen on its road cars for the DPi racer.

“The DPi-V.R race car was an exciting new canvas for the Cadillac design and sculpting team,” said Andrew Smith, Global Cadillac Design executive director. “The studio embraced the opportunity to interpret the Cadillac form language, line work and graphic signature for this premier prototype racing application. Every detail of the final design was selected to support the car’s on-track performance and unmistakable Cadillac presence.”

Cadillac will join the 2017 IMSA series with three cars, two run by Action Express Racing and one by Wayne Taylor Racing. The No. 5 car of Action Express will be driven by Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi, while the No. 31 vehicle will be handled by Dane Cameron and Eric Curran. Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 will be driven by Jordan Taylor, Ricky Taylor, and Max Angelelli, but former NASCAR star Jeff Gordon will join in for the first race of the season.

The 2017 IMSA is set to commence on January 28 at Daytona and will include events at Sebring, Long Beach, Circuit of the Americas, Watkins Glen, Road America, and Laguna Seca. The final race will take place on October 7 at Road Atlanta with the 10-hour Petit Le Mans.

Continue reading to find out more about the Cadillac DP1-V.R.

PostHeaderIcon Mazda RT24-P

After a few seasons of racing gasoline-powered prototypes in North America, Mazda switched to a diesel engine based on the 2.2-liter SkyActiv-D unit found in its production cars. That didn’t go very well, so the automaker returned to the 2.0-liter gasoline four-pot in 2016, when it continued with the same Lola chassis. With IMSA Prototype class rules revised for 2017, Mazda ditched the old Lola underpinnings in favor of a Riley chassis and redesigned the bodywork of its race car. With rules now more permissive as far as designs go, Mazda came up with a race car that uses many of the Kodo styling cues seen on the company’s production cars.

The new race car will compete in the new DPi class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The category replaces last year’s Prototype class and introduces revised regulations to the series. The new Riley chassis was designed and built by Multimatic, while the engine was carried over from last year’s race car.

“This is a huge moment for Mazda Motorsports and the entire Mazda family,” said John Doonan, director of Mazda Motorsports North America. “To have a car which features Mazda design language at the top level of our motorsports program is meaningful for us as a brand. We believe we have the right team, the right drivers and the right chassis to win races and championships.”

Mazda Motorsports will tackle the 2017 season with two vehicles. Car No. 55 will be driven by Jonathan Bomarito and Tristan Nunez, while car No. 77 will be piloted by Joel Miller and Tom Long. The season will commence in Daytona on January 28, while the final race will take place in Georgia on October 7.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mazda RT24-P.

PostHeaderIcon Renault Sport Trophy Series Scrapped After Only Two Seasons

The Renault Sport Trophy racing series made its debut in 2015 to much fanfare. One year later, the series will only finish out the 2016 season before it’s officially cancelled. The decision to cut the cord on the series comes at a point in time wherein Renault, considered as one of the most engaged and actively involved automakers in motor racing, is in the middle of reconfiguring its racing programs.

The French automaker has already exited the Formula Renault 3.5 series and with the abrupt closure of the Renault Sport Trophy, it’s once thriving Renault Sport Series program is down to Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup. That said, the series departures doesn’t mean Renault is giving up motor racing entirely. Far from it, actually, because the automaker has increased its involvement in Formula E and has even jumped back into the Formula One fray as an actual team instead of just an engine supplier for the first time in six years.

Clearly, Renault is as involved in motor racing as it has always been; it’s just shifting its priorities from running its own make-series to heading back to the glamour and prestige of Formula One while also doubling down on its commitment to Formula E.

While it’s hard to make sense of the rationale in starting a hyped racing series like the Renault Sport Trophy and then cutting the cord before it can even get off the ground, it’s just as hard to argue against that decision when Renault is boosting its involvement in Formula E and Formula One.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Ford Fusion Sport Ballistic Concept by Webasto Thermo and Comfort North America

The SEMA auto show traditionally attracts a who’s who list of aftermarket companies and, in some occasions, these tuners collaborate with automakers to build some nifty concepts that consumers would probably otherwise not see in any other auto show. Such is the case with this particular concept vehicle prepared by Webasto Thermo and Comfort North America for Ford’s resident four-door sedan for the masses, the 2017 Ford Fusion.

Known mostly for building roof air-conditioning and heating systems, Webasto stepped out of its element in designing and developing this particular program. There’s a full menu of upgrades to the Fusion, from the exterior, interior, powertrain, and right down to the sedan’s chassis. The result may not be evident based on the single rendering of the car so far, but the modifications are impressive enough to give the Fusion a sportier and more performance-oriented identity.

Like most SEMA offerings, Webasto’s Fusion Sport Ballistic concept is unlikely to translate into a production unit anytime soon. But it does provide unique possibilities for the Fusion that owners and prospective customers probably didn’t know it had. It may not have the status and appeal that other Blue Oval models have, but it is more capable than most people think. This concept proves that, and then some.

Continue after the jump to read the full review.

PostHeaderIcon Audi RS3 LMS

Launched in 2013, the A3 Sedan is the latest iteration of the compact hatchback that Audi introduced way back in 1996. Essentially identical to the five-door save for the extra bodywork at the rear, the sedan features the same interior and drivetrains. The four-door gained a performance-oriented S3 version in 2015, while the range-topping, RS3 was unveiled at the 2016 Paris Motor Show.

While the RS3 Sedan was rumored for quite a few years and was somewhat expected to debut in 2016, its official launch brought a huge surprise from Audi, in the form of the RS3 LMS. Named after the race-spec, already iconic R8 LMS, the RS3 LMS is the first factory-built race car based on the A3 sedan and was developed specifically for the TCR series.

If you’re not familiar with the competition, it’s a new touring car championship that debuted in 2015. Promoted as a cost-effective spin-off of the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), the TCR series is sanctioned by the FIA and based on a three-pillar concept that includes national and continental championships, along with the global TCR International Series. All three tiers function under the same technical regulations.

The Audi RS3 LMS will compete in the top-tier TCR International Series, which has been disputed by several brands in 2016, including Alfa Romeo, Ford, Honda, Opel, Peugeot, Seat, Subaru, and Volkswagen. The beefed-up sedan will debut in the 2017 season as a customer race car backed by Audi Sport, the company’s motorsport division.

“With the Audi R8 LMS, Audi Sport customer racing, in a very short time, managed to build a successful customer sport program alongside the factory commitments in the WEC and the DTM. The Audi R8 LMS has since become the market leader in its segment. We have the same plans for the Audi RS 3 LMS, which offers customers an attractive opportunity to get started in fascinating Audi racing,” said Stephan Winkelmann, managing director at Audi Sport.

Continue reading to learn more about the Audi RS 3 LMS.

PostHeaderIcon Hyundai i20 WRC

Introduced in 2008 as a replacement for the Getz, the Hyundai i20 was redesigned for 2014, when it received a brand-new exterior design with more angular features and a new, turbocharged three-cylinder in addition to revised version of the previous engines. Unlike its predecessor, the second-generation i20 also spawned a race car, marking the company’s return to the World Rally Championship.

Updated for each new competition season since its introduction in 2014, the i20 WRC has been once again re-engineered ahead of the upcoming 2017 World Rally Championship. Although not yet ready to hit the difficult gravel and tarmac courses of the WRC season, Hyundai brought a pre-production version of the new race car at the 2016 Paris Motor Show.

Much like its predecessors, the i20 WRC is a heavily modified version of the road car, featuring an aggressive aero kit, an FIA-approved interior, and a race-spec engine and transmission. According to Hyundai, prototypes have been tested since April across numerous locations in Europe and in a variety of different conditions. Testing is set to continue toward the end of the year in order to get the car ready ahead of its debut at Rallye Monte Carlo in January 2017.

“The 2017 WRC regulations have allowed all teams to start from a blank page, which has offered us an exciting engineering challenge. The changes will raise the level of entertainment in WRC on stages around the world with wider and more powerful cars. We have been putting our experience from two full seasons of WRC into practice, as we aim to build on our successful 2016 campaign,” said Hyundai Motorsport team principal Michel Nandan.

The final version of the 2017 Hyundai i20 WRC will be revealed by the end of 2016.

Continue reading to learn more about the Hyundai i20 WRC.

PostHeaderIcon Audi RS3 LMS Comes Track Ready with 330 Horsepower on Tap

Audi is offering a fresh racing car for apex-oriented customers with the new track-ready RS3 LMS, transforming the updated four-door sedan into a bona fide competition vehicle. The RS3 LMS joins the Audi R8 LMS in the automaker’s lineup of out-of-the-box grid stars.

The Audi R8 LMS was first introduced in 2009, offering privateers a chance to rocket around in genuine GT3 style at events like the 24 Hours of Nurburgring. However GT3 racing is expensive, and as an alternative, the RS3 LMS arrives primed and ready for the TCR International Series, which is considered a more cost-effective entry to the world of touring car racing.

Drawing on experience gained in such high-profile series as the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and Germany’s Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM), the RS3 is outfitted with all the usual go-faster goodies. The suspension was massively upgraded, while large wheels and enormous brakes were fitted in the corners. The fenders were hugely flared, and new aero keeps it planted.

Inside, it’s all business, all the time, with a back-to-basics layout, carbon-fiber steering wheel, and digital instrumentation.

Behind the polished rings on the grille, you’ll find a 2.0-liter four-cylinder TFSI engine that’s turbocharged to 330 horsepower. Acceleration looks like 4.5 seconds to hit 62 mph from a standstill, while top speed is rated at roughly 150 mph. Interestingly, that’s quite a bit slower than the road-going RS3, which uses a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine to make 400 horsepower and hit 62 mph in 4.1 seconds, with a top speed of 174 mph.

But don’t worry – this thing will still melt your face in the corners, and as such, it needs to be safe. That means it’s got an FIA-spec fuel tank, safety cell, PS3 safety seat, FIA-approved window nets, and a rescue hatch in the roof.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Hyundai Showcases Latest i20 WRC at Paris Motor Show

It’s been four years since Hyundai launched the first i20 WRC ar the 2012 Paris Motor Show, and the Korean automaker returned at the same event to showcase the fourth iteration of the rally-spec race car. Developed by the company’s Motorsport division located near the Nurburgring track, the new i20 WRC follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, but makes use of revised aerodynamics and the WRC’s updated regulations.

Set to make its debut in the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship, the new i20 WRC is not ready to hit the gravel just yet, but the prototype shown in Paris is almost ready for production and gives a good glimpse at the upcoming race car. Several new features are noticeable at first glance, starting with the redesigned grille, the larger front splitter, the new headlamps with red accents, and the significantly wider front wheel arches. Onto the side, the massive side skirts form a single piece with the rear wheel arches, while the rear end is highlighted by a large roof wing and a big diffuser under the bumper. The roof scoop, the lightweight wheels, and the aerodynamically enhanced side mirrors round of the exterior.

Needless to say, the 2017 i20 WRC is the most menacing rally car Hyundai has built since its Motorsport program set shop at the Nurburgring.

Under the lightweight shell lurks a revised version of the turbocharged, 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine found in the previous model. Thanks to the new regulations, Hyundai was able to increase output from 300 to a whopping 380 horsepower. The race car also generates more downforce and uses an active central differential, which, according to the company, enables the i20 WRC to compete with longer and wider vehicles.

The final version of the 2017 i20 WRC will be unveiled in December, about a month before the new car makes its official debut at the Rallye Monte Carlo on January 20.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Colin McRae's 1997 Subaru WRC Imprezza For Sale

The partnership between car and driver is something that sticks in our mind for life, and a prime example of such a partnership is Colin McRae and the Subaru World Rally Team. McRae may be gone, leaving this existence far too early, but his spirit will forever live on in WRC. But, there’s another way his spirit lives on, and you could own a piece of McRae’s amazing WRC history with the Subaru Impreza that you see here.

This car is a 1997 Subaru WRC Impreza that was driven by none other than Calin McRae during the 1997 FIA World Rally Championship. It’s currently in stock in Mohr Klassik’s showroom in Boblingen, Germany with a price tag of €280,000. That translates to about $313,000 at exchange rates as of September 2016. This car saw four World Cup race heats in 1998, then from 1999 to 2008, the car saw use in several World and European Championship rallies under private ownership. Its last run was in the Rally Legend in San Marino in 2008, after which it was fully restored to the condition you see here.

After undergoing a full restoration, the car has been in the hands of various collectors ever since, seeing very little time on the road, primarily for short testing. According to Mohr Klassik and the images, the car is in perfect condition and ready for use. For the record, this beauty is powered by a 2.0-liter that delivers some 300 horsepower and nearly as many pound-feet in torque. It weighs right around 2,500 pounds.

Keep reading for the rest of the story

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