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IN THE NEWS: Wallace and Gromit Anti-Pesto Van Joins Beaulieu’s On-Screen Cars Exhibit

October 31, 2014

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The Wallace and Gromit Anti-Pesto Van is the latest exhibit to arrive in Beaulieu’s On Screen Cars display. A plasticine version of this Austin A35 van was created for the film Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

Nick Park, creator of the Wallace and Gromit animations, used to own an A35 and thought it was the ideal model to use in the film because “the van needed to be big enough to transport Wallace’s invention, the Bunvac 2000, while slick enough to go on high-speed chases.”

In the film, Tottington Hall’s Giant Vegetable Competition is fast approaching and Wallace and Gromit are running a vegetable security and humane pest control business, Anti-Pesto. In order to cope with the increasing amount of captured rabbits Wallace invents a brainwashing machine, but a mistake during the operation creates a ‘Were-Rabbit’, a giant rabbit which eats vegetables of any size. It’s down to Wallace and Gromit to capture the rampaging beast before the competition!

The Anti-Pesto Van, which has been loaned to Beaulieu following a call-out for new vehicles for the exhibition, joins a host of other star vehicles.

The ‘flying’ Ford Anglia on display was used during the making of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In the film, the enchanted flying car is stolen a number of times by Ron Weasley, on one occasion to rescue his friend Harry Potter from the Dursleys’ house, and on another to return to Hogwarts after the gate to Platform 9¾ is sealed by house elf Dobby.

Sharing the spotlight with the Anglia is TV favourite, Mr Bean’s lime green mini. This particular car was used in the character’s third series and made its first television appearance on 1st January 1991.

Another TV favourite on display is Del Boy’s beloved Trotter Van. Possibly the nation’s most famous three-wheel vehicle, this Regal van featured in the BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses. It was the sole transport for the Trotter family of Del, Rodney, Grandad and Uncle Albert, until Del Boy later went ‘upmarket’ and purchased a Capri Ghia.

On Screen Cars can be seen as part of a visit to the whole Beaulieu attraction, which also includes the National Motor Museum, World of Top Gear, Beaulieu Abbey, and Palace House and gardens. Visit www.beaulieu.co.ukfor further information.

IN THE NEWS: BMW to Debut 567-hp X5 M at LA Auto Show

October 30, 2014

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Woodcliff Lake, N.J. October 29, 2014 7:00pm EDT/4:00pm PDT…The new BMW X5 M is setting the pace once again in the high-performance Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) segment. When the previous generation arrived in 2009, it was the first time the high-performance character distilled by BMW M GmbH had been transplanted into an all-wheel-drive BMW X model. The result was class-leading dynamics. The new BMW X5 M pulls no punches in writing the next chapter in this success story with another significant step forward in dynamic excellence, distinct M design and outstanding efficiency. The 2015 BMW X5 M will be offered at a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $99,650, including $950 Destination and Handling, and will arrive in US showrooms in the Spring of 2015.

The new BMW X5 M combines the characteristic features of the successful BMW X family – exclusivity, robustness, agility and everyday usability – with the commitment to high performance that defines an M vehicle. The latter is resoundingly highlighted by the vehicles’ impressive performance figures. Both models complete the sprint from 0 to 60 mph in  4.0 seconds in conjunction with the new eight-speed M Steptronic transmission.

Innovative engine technology.
The new M TwinPower Turbo V8 for the BMW X5 M is the most powerful engine ever developed by BMW for an all-wheel-drive vehicle. Boasting innovative M TwinPower Turbo technology with a pair of TwinScroll turbochargers, cross-bank exhaust manifolds, VALVETRONIC and High Precision Direct Injection, the 4.4-liter V8 produces maximum output of 567 hp between 6,000 and 6,500 rpm. That represents a 3 percent increase over the predecessor models. The step up is even clearer when it comes to the power development of the new engine. Peak torque has been boosted by 53 lb-ft which equates to a rise of 10 percent. Its 553 lb-ft can be enjoyed across a broad rev range between 2,200 and 5,000 rpm.

At the same time, fuel consumption of the new BMW X5 M in the European cycle (official EPA values will be available closer to the start of sales) has been cut by 20 percent, CO2 emissions are likewise down by more than 20 percent, to 258 g/km. The two models accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds through the standard eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic. Top speed is limited to 250 km/h (155 mph).

Powerful looks and exclusive equipment.
With its striking use of forms, the looks of the new BMW X5 M foretell its performance potential. With its exterior painted fully in body color, it cuts a low-slung figure on the road, while mixed tires showcase its sporty track width. Additional exterior design modifications, moreover, elevate the M even further than before from the standard BMW X5. Large air intakes at the front end, side gills with a model badge and Air Breathers, signature M exterior mirrors in twin-stalk style, and a typically M four-tailpipe exhaust system gives it a standalone look M fans will immediately recognize. Setting the seal on this exclusive range of features are standard M-specific, forged 21-inch M light-alloy wheels.

The high-quality interior impresses with its well-thought-through combination of sporty features, exclusive materials and flawless workmanship. The M instrument cluster, M leather steering wheel with aluminum gearshift paddles and M gearshift lever – which works in the same way as the familiar M Double Clutch Transmission gearshift lever – are complemented by electrically operated M multi-function seats for the driver and front passenger, an M driver’s footrest and the optional Head-Up Display which, in addition to the standard information, also includes an M-specific display with gear indicator, rev band and shift lights.

New BMW X5 M customers also have the choice between various options exclusive to the M models, such as Merino full-leather trim. And there’s also a choice of two new and exclusive M paint finishes – Long Beach Blue Metallic and Donington Grey Metallic.

A finely balanced overall concept.

At BMW M GmbH, high performance is about more than engine output and top speeds alone. Here, high performance means all of a vehicle’s components working in perfect harmony and the precise interplay of various details resulting in maximum performance, agility, precision, poise and assurance out on the road. This sense of balance is a defining feature of all the vehicles produced by BMW M GmbH and is, needless to say, also present in the new BMW X5 M.

Function-led design.
The function-led design of the new BMW X5 M is immediately clear with athletic, muscular looks betraying their high-performance credentials before they so much as turn a wheel. The four large air intakes and flaps at the front end, and the diffuser at the rear, are fully functional, they are an essential part of the engineers’ drive to optimize aerodynamics and ensure efficient cooling.

Thanks to a clever aerodynamics concept, the airflow is guided so efficiently around the vehicle that drag is minimized and lift is also reduced. The engine, powertrain and brakes are all kept sufficiently cool, even when placed under extreme loads on the track. Elements which look like pure design accents when they first catch the eye, in fact, fulfill functional tasks. For example, the M-specific Air Breathers behind the front wheels reduce turbulence in the front wheel arches.

Optimum temperature management.
The high-performance engine under the hood of the new BMW X5 M requires a high-performance cooling system in order to guarantee the optimum operating temperature in all conditions – i.e. normal everyday driving, stop-start traffic and extreme action on the race track. A highly efficient, newly developed combination of low-temperature and high-temperature radiators, which also handles the cooling of the turbochargers, charge air and transmission oil, maintains an optimum temperature, even with all components working flat out.

New Eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic.
The new BMW X5 M sends its engine power to the wheels via the newly developed eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic, which closely follows the operating philosophy of the M Double Clutch Transmission used by other M models. With its instantaneous responses, rapid gear changes and direct reaction to load changes, the torque converter automatic transmission links up seamlessly with the new higher-torque turbocharged engine and showcases its talents. At the same time, its wider ratio spread allows it to offer a clear drop in fuel consumption over the six-speed transmission offered in the previous generation, as well as an increase in driving comfort and improved performance.

The new eight-speed M Steptronic transmission allows drivers to sit back and enjoy automatic shifts or change gear manually using the gearshift paddles on the M leather steering wheel. And for the perfect getaway, the driver can activate the Launch Control system adapted from use in racing vehicles. Here, the driver keeps their foot on the brakes and pushes the accelerator down almost to the floor, which prompts the system to dial in the ideal getaway rpm. Releasing the brakes prompts Launch Control to let the vehicle off the leash, and it accelerates off the line with maximum propulsion.

The driver can also use the three-stage Drivelogic function to choose whether to prioritize fuel economy, comfort or Sport performance. This functionality is available both in automatic and manual shifting modes.

Intelligent all-wheel drive.
BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive and Dynamic Performance Control play a key role in the outstanding dynamics of the new BMW X5 M. The xDrive system employs an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch to allow fully variable distribution of drive between the front and rear axles – from 100 percent at the rear to up to 100 percent at the front. This ensures the best possible traction in all road conditions. In the interests of greater agility, xDrive normally operates with a rear-biased torque split-in the BMW X5 M.

Dynamic Performance Control oversees the continuous distribution of torque between the rear wheels – both under load and on the overrun – regardless of engine output. Working in combination with the xDrive all-wheel-drive system, the result is a whole new bracket of dynamic flair, agility and traction. The vehicle follows the course set by the driver far more accurately, whatever the road surface, and the system also reduces the amount of wheel work required of the driver: the steering responds more directly and far fewer corrections are necessary. Moreover, the inherent propensity of conventional all-wheel-drive vehicles to understeer is eliminated. An improvement in traction is also impressively noticeable (on road surfaces with differing friction levels, in particular), and active safety is markedly enhanced as a result. The driver can see how Dynamic Performance Control is operating on the display, with arrows at all four wheels visualizing where the engine power is currently being sent.

An open door to controlled drifts.
Among the other highlights of the overall concept behind the new BMW X5 M is Dynamic Stability Control (DSC). The control functions of DSC have been Optimized over previous versions of the system to improve driving dynamics further still. The extra functions which have become part of DSC enhance active safety (Brake Standby, Brake Drying, Fading Compensation) and comfort (Start-Off Assistant, parking brake with automatic hold function).

Dynamic Stability Control allows the driver to choose from three modes: DSC on, MDM (M Dynamic Mode), DSC off. While DSC on counteracts understeer and oversteer to great effect with selective brake activation and torque reductions, MDM allows greater wheel slip – to give keen drivers the chance to execute some mild drifts. However, the driver aids will also intervene to assist the driver in this mode if a predefined limit is exceeded. Deactivating DSC (through DSC off) gives the driver the chance to fully explore the vehicle’s limits on the track and nudge the vehicle into power oversteer (i.e. a drift) using the accelerator. In this mode, the system will only intervene in extreme situations involving significant shifts in lateral acceleration.

The new M TwinPower Turbo engine. A V8 with even more torque, backed by an emotionally rich soundtrack.

To say the newly developed engine of the new BMW X5 M has a pounding heartbeat would be something of an understatement. After all, the 4.4-liter V8 uses innovative M TwinPower Turbo technology – consisting of cross-bank exhaust manifolds, a pair of TwinScroll turbochargers, High Precision Direct Injection and VALVETRONIC – to push torque and output to higher levels still. This unrivalled combination ensures that a strong wave of torque is maintained from low revs and allows direct and rapid responses, linear power delivery and customary M soundtrack.

Maximum performance meets outstanding efficiency.
The peak output of the new M turbocharged engine powering the BMW X5 M is, at 567 hp, three percent higher than that of its predecessor and is available between 6,000 and 6,500 rpm. At the same time, the engine’s peak torque has been boosted by around 10 percent to 553 lb-ft, which can be enjoyed across an extremely broad rev band – from 2,200 to 5,000 rpm. The extraordinary power development of this M turbocharged engine allows the new M version of the BMW X5 to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in a mere 4.0 seconds. The top speed of both is electronically limited to 155 mph.

The outstanding efficiency of the new M TwinPower Turbo engine is illustrated by its 20 percent lower fuel consumption and emissions in the in the European cycle (official EPA values will be available closer to the start of sales) compared to its predecessor. All of which means that the range of the two vehicles on a single, identically sized tank of fuel has increased by 26 percent to 475 miles) in each case (European cycle).

Optimized responses.
The turbocharged V8 engine fitted in the BMW X5 M delivers impressive performance with lightning-fast responsiveness.  The key factors here are the engine’s High Precision Direct Injection (2900 psi injection pressure), state-of-the-art VALVETRONIC system and cross-bank exhaust manifolds, which send two converged exhaust gas streams to drive the two TwinScroll turbochargers through four separate exhaust ducts.

The new engine features a closed-deck crankcase with an extremely rigid construction. This enables higher cylinder pressures to be achieved, paving the way for improved power output. A forged, torsionally stiff crankshaft is used to transfer the impressive torque, its low weight contributing to a significant reduction in rotating masses and thus a further sharpening of the engine’s responses.

From race track to road.
In the development of every model at BMW M GmbH, a familiar maxim applies: it must be “fit for the Nordschleife”. The aim in the development of BMW M cars is to master the world’s most challenging race track at race speed without a hitch. The extreme lateral and longitudinal acceleration generated when lapping the Ring places huge demands on the engine’s oil supply. But sophisticated oil sump and suction snorkel geometry allows the new BMW X5 M to safely operate up to 1.2 g lateral acceleration.

The cooling system for the new BMW X5 M is similarly track-ready, as highlighted the first time you set eyes on the vehicles by the large air intakes in the front end. A combination of low-temperature and high-temperature radiators ensures that the optimum temperature is maintained for engine cooling fluid, charge air, engine oil and transmission oil – even when venturing into high-performance territory.

The exhaust system has been modified to satisfy the sporting ambitions of the new M models. A distinctively familiar BMW M engine note resonates out across the whole rev range via electrically controlled flaps, which open or close according to demand, and sounds even sportier and richer than that of its predecessor. Selecting one of the preconfigured driving modes, moreover, engages a finely balanced set-up that also provides acoustic feedback on the engine load at any one time.

The chassis. Hitting the heights of agility, precision, poise and assurance.

The new BMW X5 M once again sets the pace in the high-performance Sports Activity Vehicle segment thanks to extensive chassis upgrades. These combine to provide outstanding performance together with unbeatable directional stability and excellent traction, along with the type of neutral self-steering typical of M vehicles, in particular when accelerating out of corners and approaching with the dynamic limits.

To this end, the double-wishbone front suspension features revised kinematics. A modified upper wishbone (increase in camber, optimized camber progression and steering pivot axis) allows a further increase in cornering force potential and agility. At the same time, M-specific elastokinematics with more rigid bearings improve wheel guidance and therefore directional stability – both at the front suspension as well as  the Integral-IV rear suspension (an independent suspension system with anti-squat and anti-dive geometry). Firmer suspension spring tuning and a 10-milimeter drop in ride height team up with the Active Roll Stabilization to bring about an effective reduction in body roll, pitch and yaw. In addition, the BMW X5 M and BMW X6 M come standard with self levelling rear air suspension. Dynamic Damper Control with electronically adjustable dampers – the driver can select from three modes (COMFORT, SPORT and SPORT+) at the touch of a button – ensures the perfect balance between dynamic flair and ride comfort.

Mixed tires for optimized handling.
Another central element in the driving characteristics of the new BMW X5 M are the special tires, whose development closely followed that of the front and rear axle design. In the high-performance segment, tire choice for the front axle focuses – alongside lateral stability and brake forces – primarily on steering precision and feel. By contrast, the engineers’ attention in the development of the rear tires centerd on traction, lateral stability and directional stability. In order to meet these part-contradictory, part- complementary demands, the BMW M GmbH engineers have developed two sets of mixed tires for the new BMW X5 M. The interconnected development of tires, steering and axles endows the new vehicles with assured handling properties and good rolling comfort. Both models are fitted standard with low-weight non-runflat 21-inch forged wheels (front: 10 J x 21, rear: 11.5 J x 21) shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sport UHP tires (front: 285/35 R21 Y, rear: 325/30 R21 Y).

M Servotronic steering with individual adjustment.
One of the most important interfaces between driver and vehicle is the steering. Here, BMW M GmbH’s high-performance models have set the benchmark from day one when it comes to providing a direct steering feel, precise feedback on the driving conditions and a finely-tuned balance when exploring the dynamic limits. Continuing this tradition, the M Servotronic steering in the new BMW X5 M comprises M-specific gear ratios and an intelligently composed overall set-up. This rack-and-pinion system with electric power assistance uses no energy when the vehicle is travelling straight ahead. The Servotronic function familiar from hydraulic systems, which controls the degree of steering assistance according to the vehicle’s speed, is another integral element. Furthermore, drivers can choose from three steering settings (COMFORT, SPORT, SPORT+) – at the touch of a button in the center console or by storing their preferred settings in the M Drive buttons – to adjust the steering characteristics to personal tastes or the situation at hand.

High-performance brakes borrowed from motor sport.
The remarkable high performance potential of the BMW X5 M is backed up by the M compound brakes with large six-piston fixed calipers at the front and single-piston floating callipers at the rear. Excellent stopping power, precise feel, low weight and increased resistance to heat are their headline features. The brake discs in compound systems – which were originally developed for racing – use a cast iron, ventilated and cross-drilled rotor mounted to an aluminum hat. The surface of the brake pads is 50 percent larger compared with those on the predecessor models. At the same time weight is down by 1.6 kilograms, helping to reduce unsprung and rotating masses. This also contributes to the improved acceleration, responsiveness and handling of the BMW X5 M. The compound brakes signal their performance capability visually as well. All the brake discs are perforated and inner-vented, and the brake callipers are painted in Dark Blue metallic, in typical M fashion, and marked at the front wheels with the M logo.

The design. High performance, even when standing still.

The outstanding performance of the new BMW X5 M is also showcased through its M design signatures. The proportions provide an instant showcase of its muscular power and elegance, not to mention its impressive versatility.

The new BMW X5 Mhas been designed for use on the road. It combines the raised seating position of an all-wheel-drive BMW X model with the outstanding overall concept balance of a BMW M vehicle. In order to visually reinforce the further improved on-road attributes of the new M models, the whole body is painted the same color. In combination with a 10-millimeter reduction in ride height and the wider track created by the use of mixed-size tires, the vehicle has a lower, more powerful stance, cut an even sportier figure even when stationary, and as a result enjoys a very distinct personality when compared with its BMW X5 sibling.

Visually striking yet fully functional front end.
The front-end design of the BMW X5 M is likewise a clear departure from that of the respective standard model and follows the classic “form follows function” maxim. The large air intakes and voluminous “kidneys” of the radiator grille, with the now customary M double-bar look, are mandated by the high cooling air requirements of the powerful engine, transmission and high-performance front brakes. Despite the large amount of cooling and more stringent pedestrian protection requirements, the designers have managed to integrate foglamps into the front end of the vehicles. The new M model borrows its headlights from the BMW X6, complete with headlight washer system. Elsewhere, the special flaps low down in the outer air intakes –adapted from those on racing vehicles – reduce lift and emphasise the optimized aerodynamics of the two new models.

Powerful rear end with racing accents.
The rear end of the BMW X5 M also differs significantly from its standard sibling, exuding a stronger aura and majoring on bold, sporty accents. This approach is underlined in particular by the wide rear tires (which are a different size from the fronts), the distinctive M rear aprons painted in body color and the hallmark M four-tailpipe exhaust. The diffuser element (likewise in body color) adapted from racing vehicles helps to ensure aerodynamically optimized airflow at the lower edge of the rear bumper moulding, allowing the new M model to highlight once again the impressive functionality of its design features.

Sporting ambience and flawless ergonomics.
As with all vehicles from the BMW brand, the design of the interior prioritizes intuitive, quick and error-free usability. And M GmbH also makes its own distinctive mark here. For example, the BMW X5 M comes with a newly developed, ergonomically optimized M leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles, while the M gearshift lever has an equally distinctive design. The instrument cluster, M Drive menu in the information display, displays in the optional Head-Up Display and special multifunction switch with M Drive buttons on the steering wheel also fit the M template.

The sporting ambience on board the new BMW X5 M is accentuated by the exclusive, electrically operated M Multifunction seats for the driver and front passenger – in fine-grain Merino leather with contrast stitching and embossed M logo in the backrests – and by the leather-covered BMW Individual instrument panel. Door sill strips with model lettering, aluminum interior trim strips and the standard Alcantara anthracite roof liner lend the interior an additional touch of exclusivity.

High-quality standard equipment and options.

The new BMW X5 M comes with an extensive range of exclusive equipment from the factory which illustrates their character as high-performance Sport machines that can be used every day. Customers can also dip into a large selection of optional equipment with which to make their vehicle even sportier, for example, or to satisfy the most exacting requirements in terms of comfort. Standard-fitted exterior features painted in body color and fitting the classic M profile are a key factor in the striking appearance of the new BMW X5 M. These include a front apron with large air intakes, a double-bar kidney grille, familiar M twin-stalk exterior mirrors, side gills with the M logo and Air Breathers, a rear apron with integrated diffuser and a four-tailpipe exhaust system in chrome. It is fitted with standard forged 21-inch BMW M light-alloy wheels in Orbit Grey and with mixed non-runflat Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.

High-quality interior with an exclusive allure.
Elegance and impressive functionality are also defining features of the interior of the new BMW X5 M. As well as the new M leather steering wheel with integrated aluminum gearshift paddles and M multi-function seats in Merino leather for the driver and front passenger (with electric adjustment and memory function), the M-specific standard equipment also includes a Nappa leather dashboard, an Alcantara anthracite roof liner, aluminum interior trim strips, door sill finishers with model lettering, knee pads on the center console and an M footrest for the driver.

Likewise included as standard equipment for the new BMW X5 M are an alarm system, power tailgate, automatically dimming rear-view and exterior mirrors, a headlight washer system, 4-zone automatic climate control, a Harman Kardon surround sound system,  Park Distance Control rear-view camera. Xenon and adaptive headlights are also part of the standard equipment for the BMW X5 M. These items are in addition to the driver assistance systems familiar from the regular BMW X5 and the mobility services from BMW ConnectedDrive. Among the highlights here is the new-generation Navigation system Professional, which boasts even greater capability and sharper graphics and incorporates 3D elements into its map display.

In keeping with its high-performance pretensions, the new M model also comes as standard with an M-specific instrument cluster – complete with displays showing the gear selected, system status (engine dynamics, Dynamic Damper Control, M Servotronic), M Drive mode and a compass, the M Drive menu in the information display and M-specific buttons on the M leather steering wheel. Over and above the information projected by the standard system, the optional Head-Up Display for the new BMW X5 M also features a special M display including a digital speed display, gear display, rev band and Shift Lights.

Accurate analysis of driving style with the M Laptimer app.
BMW M GmbH has developed the BMW M Laptimer app for smartphones so customers can access extensive analysis of their personal driving style on the track. With the smartphone linked up to the vehicle, the BMW M Laptimer app can be operated using the iDrive Controller. The app records the vehicle’s speed, lateral and longitudinal acceleration, the gear currently engaged, steering angle and accelerator position. This data can subsequently be used to precisely analyze the driver’s actions and reactions at the various points around the track via graphic displays on the customer’s smartphone. Another feature allows two recordings on the same track to be compared corner-by-corner. The readings used here can be either the driver’s own or data shared by other drivers via email or social networks.

The all new 2015 BMW X5 M will make its World debut at the 2014 Los Angeles International Auto Show and arrive in US showrooms in early 2015.

IN THE NEWS: Valerie Thompson Sets 217-MPH Personal Best at Texas Mile Festival of Speed

October 29, 2014

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Woodcliff Lake, NJ – October 29, 2014. . .Valerie Thompson, seven-time land speed record holder and one of the world’s fastest BMW racers, returned to Beeville Texas October 24 – 26 for this year’s second Texas Mile top speed competition. Thompson broke her personal best top speed of 212 mph, set at the March 2013 Texas Mile, with a blistering run of 217.7 mph on her record-setting CTEK Battery Charger sponsored BMW S 1000 RR.

The Texas Mile is a bi-annual motorsports festival created in 2003 for high-performance vehicle enthusiasts, welcoming a wide variety of racing vehicles, including race cars, modified street cars, land speed racers and motorcycles. Event organizers claim it is the fastest and most challenging 1-mile track in the world. The October event set a new record in number of competitor entries and spectators.

Thompson made seven runs during the three-day extravaganza of speed, each over 200 mph, making her one of two females with a best top speed on a motorcycle. This is Thompson’s last motorcycle competition of the year, but will race a land speed racecar with The Maxx2Racing Team at the Mojave Air and Space Port Runway ‘Invitation Only’ event on November 1.

“We’ve enjoyed a successful year thanks to my sponsors and team members. We had to do a complete bike inspection at Go AZ Motorcycles after setting a new record at Bonneville, so we had a real thrash just to make this event. I thank Kerry Alter for his awesome tune ups and my crew chief, Ray Garcia, for making all the right calls at the track,” said a smiling Thompson. “Our goal was to go 215, so I’m delighted by our results. We added Magic Bullet to our fuel which I know really helped our performance,” added Thompson.

This was Thompson’s third time racing at the Texas Mile and according to her, “it just gets better and better.” Thompson’s CTEK Battery Charger sponsored team provided free battery maintenance services for competitors and event attendees throughout the three-day speed festival.

For complete video, visit http://youtu.be/VlIXD1ctGaM

IN THE NEWS: LIMITED-EDITION 570-hp Audi R8 Competition to Debut at LA Auto Show

October 28, 2014

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HERNDON, Va., October 28, 2014 – Audi of America announces the debut of the powerful 2015 R8 competition at the upcoming 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. The R8 competition redefines the iconic R8 as the pinnacle of Audi performance with 570 hp and racing-inspired, lightweight matte carbon elements.

“The limited-edition Audi R8 competition is the closest road car to our R8 LMS ultra race car that has won virtually every race around the world,” said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America. “It is designed for the driving enthusiast and we’re excited to bring 60 units as a limited-edition to the U.S.”

The high-performance R8 competition features a 570hp 5.2L V10 mated exclusively to a seven-speed S tronic and a sport exhaust system with black high-gloss tailpipes. This combination results in a 0-60 mph time of 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 199 mph, making it the fastest R8 ever offered.

The R8 competition is engineered to push the limits, sharing the same naturally aspirated V10 FSI engine as the Audi R8 LMS race car which has won Daytona and Nuerburgring 24 hour races as well as all other major GT races around the globe. The award-winning GT-engine represents the pinnacle of durability, requiring its first major service after approximately 13,000 miles under race conditions or approximately one full race season. Competitor engines require a major service after one 24 hour race.

Further enhancing the unmistakable Audi R8 competition design are striking matte carbon exterior elements consisting of a fixed rear spoiler, engine bay, mirror housings, flics, side blades, front spoiler and rear diffusor. The combination of the carbon elements lower the weight of the R8 competition and also provide greater downforce. Gloss black wheels with 305 cross-section rear tires and ceramic brakes with anodized red brake calipers provide a stunning contrast to the matte carbon fiber elements. Inside, drivers will find a matte carbon fiber treatment including the center console and illuminated “R8 competition” door sill inlays. The R8 competition is an Audi exclusive line vehicle, which allows the driver to pair a variety of interior and exterior colors and choose from a selection of wheel finishes for a striking look designed to meet driver needs and tastes.

A total of 60 units will be produced at the R8 production facility in Neckarsulm, Germany. Customers can begin ordering the Audi R8 competition as of early November with deliveries expected as of the beginning of 2015.

Sir Ben Ainslie, Ross Brawn, Paul Hollywood Among Starters in Bonhams London to Brighton Challenge

October 27, 2014

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Great British Bake-Off celebrity baker, Paul Hollywood, will be officially starting the 2014 Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run this Sunday, alongside Olympic legends Sir Ben Ainslie and Sir Steve Redgrave and multiple world-championship wining F1 team boss Ross Brawn. They will be tearing up the red flag on the start line of the run, commemorating the day that motorists could drive without a man walking ahead of them with a red flag and the raising of the speed limit from 4 to 14mph.

Paul will be driving a two-seater 1904 De Dion Bouton powered by a single-cylinder 6hp engine kindly loaned by the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu. “It’s going to be great fun,” commented Paul, “I’ve always wanted to do the Run ever since my granddad used to talk about it, so I’m really looking forward to the journey. I’ve got a real passion for cars and taking this trip with lots of other people who also clearly have a similar passion is going to be something really, really special.”

Paul was delighted to have an opportunity to get to grips with the unusual controls on the De Dion under the expert guidance of Ian Stanfield, Senior Engineer at the National Motor Museum’s restoration workshop. “It’s very different from today’s cars,” said Paul. “You control just about everything with your hands and that takes a bit of getting used to.”

For more details of the Veteran Car Run, visit www.veterancarrun.com.

ON THE BLOCK: Rare Bentley Headlines Silverstone NEC Sale

October 21, 2014

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An incredibly rare and special 1954 Bentley R Type Continental Fastback, one of just three right-hand drive automatic examples produced, is set to headline Silverstone Auctions’ final sale of the year at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show on the 15th and 16th of November.

The late D Series car, estimated at between £800,000 and £900,000, is presented in impeccable, close to concours condition having benefitted from major works over the last few years.

Chassis number ‘BC9D’ was ordered on the 31st March 1954 by Mr. Alan G Clark. Clearly a discerning customer, Mr. Clark specified the car with an automatic gearbox and a number of special features including electric window lifts, flat petrol tank, Smiths ventilation and heating system and two RD 8187 Foglamps in place of the standard centre lamp. Being the late D Series it also benefits from having the larger 4.9-litre engine.

Like many of these Bentley models, the chassis was produced at the Rolls-Royce factory in Crewe while some 170 miles to the south, the lightweight, aluminium coachwork was being handcrafted by H. J. Mulliner & Co. The current owner has maintained the car to the highest standard regardless of cost.

The car is offered for sale with an extensive history file for major works undertaken to it during the last few years. This includes a full respray in Shell Grey complimented by a mid-blue hide interior and dark blue Wilton carpets.

Commenting on the impressive car, managing director of Silverstone Auctions, Nick Whale, said: “This car is a beautifully styled masterpiece, offering gracious classic motoring with just a hint of modern convenience. It is beautifully presented and testament to the pampered existence it has lived.”

The Bentley joins an eclectic offering at the two-day sale taking place at the NEC, Birmingham, which contains more than 100 classic and modern sports cars and 12 historic motorcycles spanning some 58 years.

The full list of cars on offer can be viewed at http://www.silverstoneauctions.com/nec-classic-motor-show-sale-2014.

For more information on the Bentley please visit http://www.silverstoneauctions.com/1954-bentley-r-type-continental-fastback-4629.

IN THE NEWS: Jaguar Heritage Driving Experience Lets Public Drive Legendary Jaguars

October 16, 2014

jag_heritage_dtype_1955_02

(Whitley, Coventry – 16 October 2014). Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations today announces the launch of the Jaguar Heritage Driving Experience. This range of exciting driving experiences gives participants the unique opportunity to take the wheel of cars including Le Mans-racing legend Jaguar D-type, legendary E-type and Jaguar’s most potent sports car ever, the F-TYPE R Coupé. Details of the new Jaguar Heritage Driving Experience may be reviewed at: www.jaguarheritagedriving.com

From November 2014 the Jaguar Heritage Driving Experience opens at an established 200-acre testing facility, Fen End, in Warwickshire, where visitors will be offered the chance to drive some of these icons of Jaguar’s rich product history.

Many of the vehicles in the collection will be driven by members of the public for the very first time, having been prepared for high octane test action following Jaguar’s recent purchase of over 500 outstanding British heritage cars from a private collector.

“This is the first experiential offering from our new division and is the first time in Jaguar’s history that we have made a collection of vehicles of this calibre available for ‘arrive and drive’ experiences. It’s an extremely exciting new project that underscores the very essence of what Special Operations is all about – celebrating heritage with our eyes firmly on the future.”  -

Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations Managing Director, John Edwards

The collection includes many iconic Jaguars, charting over 100 years of beautiful, fast cars from pre- and post-war road racers and Le Mans champions, to later sporting saloons and grand tourers. A variety of drive packages will be available, allowing visitors to experience a particular era or to journey through Jaguar’s history right up to present day heroes such as the F-TYPE R Coupé .

Example packages include:

Jaguar Experience (ranging from £95 to £250):

From passenger rides to driving alongside a seasoned professional (including some recognisable faces from the world of motorsport), visitors can choose from individual models – including an XK150 or Mark 2 saloon – or selected pairings such as the Series 1 and Series 3 E-type. There’s also the option to drive heritage cars alongside their modern counterparts, such as an E-type with a factory-fresh F-TYPE.

Le Mans Experience (£750):

Re-live the experiences of legends such as Mike Hawthorn and Duncan Hamilton for half a day, with drives in the iconic C and D-types that dominated the world famous 24-hour endurance race in the 1950s.  This package will also feature drives in the XKSS and F-TYPE R Coupé, and includes lunch.

Grace and Pace Experience (£2,000):

A full day of driving Jaguar Heritage legends, from post-war racers to sports saloons, coupés, roadsters and much more, including the new XFR and F-TYPE R Coupé models.  The Grace and Pace day will also feature opportunities to drive creations from the company’s Special Operations division, and includes chauffeur-driven transfers in classic Jaguar saloons to a lunch venue.

The first visitors to Jaguar’s Heritage Experience days will also be invited to exclusive guided viewings of the ‘Perfect Ten’ exhibition, installed at Fen End for a limited period following its recent launch at the Jaguar XE reveal at Earls Court, London. The ‘Perfect Ten’ is made up of iconic Jaguars selected by a distinguished panel including design director Ian Callum, Lord March of the Goodwood Estate and AC/DC front man Brian Johnson.  The selection includes the ultra-rare SS100 and the one-of-a-kind and priceless XJ13. More on the creation of the Jaguar ‘Perfect Ten’ can be seen in this short film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Evq7wcq09H0

The facility at Fen End will also feature a new branded merchandise outlet – where the recently launched Heritage ’57 Collection is available to purchase. Full details of the new collection may be found here: https://shop.jaguar.co.uk/heritage

For more information visit www.jaguarheritagedriving.com, email bookings@jaguarheritagedriving.com or telephone 0333 577 0156.

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