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IN THE NEWS: New Audi R8 to Make Debut at Geneva

February 26, 2015

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Ingolstadt/Geneva, February 26, 2015 – No model bearing the four rings is closer to motorsport, none is more striking and more dynamic: at the Geneva Motor Show, Audi will present the second generation of its high-performance R8 sports car. The mid-mounted V10 and newly developed quattro all-wheel-drive system ensure breathtaking performance, especially in the top-of-the-range version with 610PS, which not only powers to 62mph from rest more rapidly than any series production Audi in history but is also the first to be capable of officially pushing beyond 200mph.

The R8 has been newly developed from the ground up – it is more taut, more striking and more focused both on the race track and on the road. Key contributions to the marked improvements over its critically acclaimed predecessor are made by the high-revving mid-mounted engine with significantly enhanced performance, the architecture with its even greater emphasis on lightweight construction principles and the advanced chassis with quattro drive system and fully variable torque control.

“Motorsport is in Audi’s genes, it has always been a permanent feature of our brand’s character,” says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Board Member for Technical Development at Audi. “With the new Audi R8, our engineers are bringing accumulated racing expertise from the race track onto the road. No other model of ours evokes more dynamic emotion. The new R8 V10 plus is therefore the most powerful and fastest series-production Audi of all time.” Thanks to the close cooperation between racing engineers, racing drivers and developers, the Audi R8 has seen a clear performance increase – this benefits both the series production car and the R8 LMS developed on the basis of this.

The engines: 10 cylinders in two versions

The 5.2-litre FSI engine at the heart of the new R8 is available in two versions: one with 540 PS and another producing 610 PS. The range-topping model accelerates in a mere 3.2 seconds from rest to 62 mph and keeps going to its maximum speed of 205 mph. The sound of the naturally aspirated V10 engine, whose maximum torque is available at 6,500 rpm, has become even fuller and sharper.

A seven-speed S tronic transmission and a newly developed quattro drive system transmit the power to the road. The distribution of the drive torque is highly adaptable to prevailing driving conditions – in extreme cases, 100 percent of the torque can be transmitted to the front or rear axle. The new performance mode in the Audi drive select dynamic handling system enables adaptation of the most important ride dynamics parameters to the friction coefficient of the road.

Lightweight construction: only 1,454 kg dry weight

The dynamic spearhead of the range – the R8 V10 plus – has a dry weight of 1,454 kilograms. Despite considerable extra equipment and greater rigidity, the new Audi R8 weighs up to 50 kilograms less than its predecessor.

The multimaterial Audi Space Frame (ASF) ensures low weight and optimum axle load distribution. The combination of aluminium and carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) in the Audi Space Frame opens up new dimensions with regard to weight, rigidity and crash behaviour. The aerodynamic underbody, which integrates a long diffuser, boosts downforce. The chassis, too, with its double wishbone suspension demonstrates how close the new Audi R8 is to motorsport.

Design: flat, wide, muscular

The design reflects the powerful character of the R8. A visual distinguishing feature which also provides enhanced safety comes in the form of the all-LED headlights  or, for an extended field of vision and more brightness, with the laser spot for the high beam – complemented by dynamic turn signals with their scrolling function in the intended turn direction at the front. Dynamic turn signals are standard at the rear.

In the new Audi virtual cockpit, the displays are digital. The most important controls are grouped together in button clusters on the steering wheel, also known as satellites. In the interior, the driver has the impression of sitting in a racing car. The air conditioning controls emphasise the simplicity of the control panel with its floating effect. MMI navigation plus with MMI touch is standard.

New factory for quattro GmbH: production at the “Böllinger Höfe” site

The new Audi R8 is produced at a new quattro GmbH production site that was specially built for the sports car – the “Böllinger Höfe” site in Heilbronn. An elaborate manufacturing technique ensures that Audi-typical quality is delivered.

Specialists: the Audi R8 e-tron and Audi R8 LMS

The second generation of the Audi R8 forms the basis for more models. The latest evolutionary version of the electrically-powered high-performance R8 e-tron sports car achieves a performance figure of 462 PS and 920 Nm (678.6 lb-ft) of torque. It sprints from a standstill to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds. Thanks to new battery cells, the range could be more than doubled compared to the first version of this technological wonder – it now exceeds 280 miles.

The new Audi R8 LMS race car was developed based on the new GT3 regulations due to come into effect worldwide from 2016. This year it will already be put through its paces at the factory. Despite massive performance increases, around 50 percent of its components are the same as the series-production car.

IN THE NEWS: Lotus Announces All-New Evora 400

February 18, 2015

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The new Lotus Evora 400 is the latest pure and focused supercar from Lotus, combining high performance with the legendary Lotus benchmark handling. It is faster and dynamically more capable than the previous Lotus Evora leading to greater agility and a more involving drive.

Maximum speed is 186 mph (300 km/h) and acceleration 0-60 mph is just 4.1 seconds (0-100 km/h in 4.2 seconds). This enables the new Lotus Evora 400 to lap the challenging test track at the Lotus Headquarters in Hethel, Norfolk, a scintillating SIX seconds faster than the previous model.

Over two thirds of the Lotus Evora 400 is new, including its supercharged and charge-cooled mid-mounted 3.5-litre V6 engine producing 400 horsepower and 410 Nm of torque. A new aluminium chassis incorporates a new interior and the lightweight composite body has changed significantly both front and rear.

Following the core values of the company, not only is the new Lotus Evora 400 faster than the previous model, it is also 22 kg lighter, achieved through careful and clever design and attention to detail. This weight reduction is even more impressive considering that the supercar has more power and a higher standard specification than before.

In describing the remit for the new Lotus Evora 400, Jean-Marc Gales, Chief Executive Officer for Group Lotus plc, states, “A requirement for all Lotus cars is to be a benchmark for handling, to be the quickest car from A to B and to provide the driver with a pure and involving driving experience. The Evora 400 is the fastest road-going Lotus that we have ever produced, possessing performance that can only be matched by cars costing significantly more. It delivers supercar looks allied to supercar performance.”

Jean-Marc Gales continues, “We have always said that to make a car better, you must make it faster and lighter. We have achieved this, of course, but we didn’t stop there, as the considerable number of changes in the interior, chassis, engine and body design have warranted emphatically, the title of a new Lotus Evora.

“Our dealer network stands at 168 worldwide, which is still growing to reach 200 dealers by the end of 2015, while our sales volumes have increased by over 50% in the last 10 months. The new Lotus Evora 400 will make its mark as a significant milestone in the history of Lotus. Looking to the future, the Lotus Evora 400 will remain core to our product line up for many years to come, with more exciting derivatives planned within the next few years.”

The new Lotus Evora 400 will enter production for European markets in the summer and deliveries will commence in August this year. North American markets will receive the Evora 400 as a 2016 model year presentation in the Autumn.

Combined production for all Lotus models, the Elise, Exige and Evora, will increase to 70 cars per week by September 2015 and an additional 150 highly skilled operators and craftsmen and women will be recruited in the next four months to accommodate this rise in production.

Prices will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

ON THE BLOCK: Rare Lancia Quartet Anchors 20th Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

February 17, 2015

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A class of exotic rally cars will defy convention, common wisdom and concours orthodoxy at the 20th anniversary Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance on March 15, 2015.

“Rallying is extraordinarily popular across Europe,” said Bill Warner, Founder and Chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. “Today American motorsport fans are seeing the appeal of rallying. A big part of that is because rally cars are spectacular. They’re the triathletes of motorsport.”

The traditions of rallying date to the dawn of the automobile. Rallies are the direct descendants of the original city-to-city races of the early 20th Century and of long distance open road races like the fabled Mille Miglia.

World Championship rallying requires complex strategic and tactical preparation. Most special stages – the scored “races” against time over closed roads – are done day and night in any weather. The key element in rally strategy is tire selection. Competitors face ice, snow, wet and dry pavement – sometimes no pavement at all – and often all these conditions during the same stage. The length of a traditional World Championship rally stage is 60 kilometers – 37 miles.

The grueling 13-round international World Rally Championship season opens in January with the fabled Monte Carlo Rally and concludes in November in Britain with the RAC – Royal Automobile Club – Rally.

“The Monte Carlo Rally is the most famous rally,” said Warner. “It was first run in 1911, the same year as the inaugural Indy 500.”

A quartet of significant, championship-winning Lancia rally cars from the Jacksonville-based Campion Collection will anchor the 20th anniversary Amelia Concours World Rally Cars class.

The Campion Collection’s 1969 Lancia Fulvia was the progenitor of the 1972 Fulvia that won the Daily Mirror RAC (Royal Automobile Club) Rally, final round of the 1972 International Championship for Manufacturers, ancestor of the World Rally Championship. The elegant Fulvia launched a Lancia rally dynasty that dominated the final decades of the 20th century.

In the early 1970s the hyper-exotic Lancia Stratos, three-time winner of the Monte Carlo Rally and the World Rally Championship, was the first car created specifically to win the World Championship. It was superseded by the supercharged Lancia 037 from the infamous, flame spitting Group B era of the 1980s, the final rear-wheel drive car to win the World Rally Championship. In 1985 Campion’s 037 scored a victorious farewell for the breed winning the 792-mile, 69th Targa Florio rally driven by Dario Cerrato.

Group B cars were banned after the 1986 World Rally Championship, but Lancia introduced the Beta Delta Integrale which became the most successful rally car from the Italian marque. The 037 won an unprecedented six World Rally Manufacturers Championships and scored 46 World Championship victories. The record remains unbeaten. This 1988 Delta Integrale, also from the Campion Collection of Jacksonville, FL, was then exported to Australia and won the 1989 Australian Rally Championship driven by three-time Australian Rally Champion Greg Carr.

Sir Stirling Moss, honoree for the premier Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in 1996, returns to reprise his role for the 20th anniversary Amelia Concours celebration. Sir Stirling finished second in the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally, his international rally debut, and won a coveted Coupe des Alpes that summer with a perfect score in the 2057-mile Alpine Rally. Vic Elford, Amelia’s 2012 Honoree, holds the distinction of winning both the Monte Carlo Rally (with a Porsche 911T) and the 1968 24 Hours of Daytona (Porsche 907 prototype) in the same week during 1968!

“Rally cars, like their ancient Grand Prix and Indy 500 ancestors, carry two-person crews,” said Warner. “In a rally, unlike a race, a bad lap can’t be made up because you’re racing against time, not wheel to wheel with other cars. Once a rally stage has begun there are no caution flags, no pit stops. Everything has to be fast and perfect regardless of road conditions, weather, terrain, even local flora and fauna. In a race, sometimes you can out-fox a competitor, but you can’t outwit the second hand of a stopwatch.”

ON THE BIG SCREEN: James Bond Villains Will Give Chase in Jaguar C-X75 Concept, Land Rovers

February 9, 2015

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Monday 9 Feb 2015 12:01  GMT: Jaguar Land Rover has announced its line-up of vehicles set to feature in SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond adventure, from Albert R. Broccoli’s EON Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, and Sony Pictures Entertainment.  These will include the Jaguar C-X75, Range Rover Sport SVR and Defender Big Foot, which have been provided by Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations.

The Jaguar C-X75 will feature in a spectacular car chase sequence through Rome alongside the Aston Martin DB10. The C-X75 vehicles used in filming have been built in collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering facility in Oxfordshire, England.

Scenes including the heavily modified versions of Land Rover Defender & Range Rover Sport SVR have already been filmed in Austria. The Range Rover Sport SVR is the fastest and most powerful Land Rover ever. The highly capable Big Foots were constructed by Special Operations with huge 37-inch diameter off-road tyres to tackle the extreme terrain. They also feature bespoke suspension systems and enhanced body protection.

Managing Director of Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations, John Edwards, said: “This is an exciting partnership for Jaguar Land Rover and an opportunity to demonstrate the fantastic capabilities of the Special Operations team.’’

Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles have been involved in a succession of Bond films. Most recently, in 2012, the rugged Defender 110 Double Cab Pick Up was driven by field agent Eve Moneypenny in the opening sequence to SKYFALL.

IN THE NEWS: Porsche Unveils Race-Ready Cayman GT4

February 4, 2015

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Atlanta. Porsche’s GT family is proud to announce the addition of an exciting new member: the Cayman GT4. This is the first Porsche GT sports car based on the Cayman and features components of the 911 GT3. Clocking a lap time of 7 minutes and 40 seconds on the North Loop of the Nürburgring, the Cayman GT4 earns the same lap time as the 2011 911 GT3 and positions itself as the new benchmark atop its market segment. The Cayman GT4 clearly demonstrates Porsche’s dedication and passion to continue to promote truly industry-leading two-door sports cars in the future – sports cars that are developed at the Motorsport department in Weissach.

The engine, chassis, brakes, and aerodynamic design of the Cayman GT4 are configured for maximum driving dynamics while retaining the versatility and everyday utility that are typical of the two-seater Porsche coupe. Powered by a 385 hp 3.8-liter flat-six engine derived from the 911 Carrera S engine, the Cayman GT4 transmits its power solely through a six-speed manual transmission with dynamic gearbox mounts. Zero to 60 mph is accomplished in 4.2 seconds; its top track speed is 183 mph. The chassis – which features a 30 mm lower ride height and a generously sized brake system – consists almost entirely of components from the 911 GT3.

Ready for the race track: The first Porsche Cayman with added downforce at both axles
The exterior of the Cayman GT4 highlights it as a member of the Porsche GT family and provides a clear distinction to related mid-engine coupes. Three pronounced inlet openings at the front and a large fixed rear wing are part of an aerodynamic package which is systematically designed for downforce. Upon request, the performance capabilities of Cayman GT4 can be taken even further. Available options include the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB) system, full bucket seats made of carbon fiber composite, and a custom Sport Chrono Package featuring a Track Precision app.

The interior of the Cayman GT4 focuses on maximizing the experience of unfiltered driving enjoyment for both driver and passenger. Standard sport seats, which are upholstered in a combination of leather and Alcantara®, offer excellent lateral support. The new Cayman GT4 sport steering wheel guarantees ideal control and direct steering feedback due to its compact dimensions.

Technical aspects of this new GT sports car are based on the 911 GT3. As a mid-engine sports car and a prime example of driving dynamics in its class, it follows the conceptual tradition of such cars as the 904 GTS, 911 GT1, Carrera GT and 918 Spyder.

GT sports cars engineered by Porsche embody the most passionate connection possible between everyday driving and Porsche’s competition heritage and highlight the sporty core of the brand: Intelligent Performance.

The Porsche Cayman GT4 celebrates its world premiere in early March at the Geneva International Motor Show. This vehicle will arrive at U.S. dealers in July 2015. The starting MSRP for the Cayman GT4 is $84,600. MSRP does not include a destination charge of $995.

IN THE NEWS: Ferrari Introduces 667-hp 488 GTB Ahead of Geneva

February 3, 2015

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Maranello, 3 February 2015 – Forty years on from the unveiling of its first ever mid-rear-engined V8 model, the 308 GTB, the Prancing Horse opens a new chapter in its 8-cylinder history. The Ferrari 488 GTB provides track-level performance that can be enjoyed to the full even by non-professional drivers in everyday use. Its response times, nimbleness and on-the-limit driving guarantee a unique sense of exhilaration and unparalleled driving pleasure.

The new berlinetta brilliantly encapsulates Ferrari’s experience in both F1 and the WEC, where the 458 GT holds the World Championship title and has won its category in the last two editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The new model also exploits to the full the know-how gleaned by Ferrari technicians over the last decade through the XX programme which makes extreme track-only cars available to gentleman test-drivers. The data yielded has made a significant contribution to the refinement of the electronic and vehicle control systems so that drivers can make the most of the incredible performance of this new car.

The Ferrari 488 GTB’s new 3902 cc V8 turbo is at the top of its class for power output, torque and response times, making it the new benchmark for this kind of architecture. The engine unleashes 670 cv at 8,000 rpm along with 760 Nm of maximum torque in seventh gear and a response time to the accelerator of just 0.8 seconds at 2,000 rpm. These figures are sufficient to allow the Ferrari 488 GTB to accelerate from 0-200 km/h in an astonishing 8.3 seconds and, when combined with the radical innovations introduced on all aspects of the car’s performance, lap the Fiorano track in just 1’23”.

The gearbox features Variable Torque Management which unleashes the engine’s massive torque smoothly and powerfully right across the rev range, while specific gear ratios deliver incredibly progressive acceleration when the driver floors the throttle. As is always the case, Ferrari’s engineers have dedicated great attention to perfecting the 488 GTB’s sound, creating a new soundtrack that is full, clear and totally distinctive, as expected from any Prancing Horse engine.

The car’s aerodynamics also made a pivotal contribution to performance: its 1.67 efficiency figure is a new record for a production Ferrari, and is the fruit of 50 per cent more downforce than the previous model and reduced drag. The greatest challenge was achieving these two goals simultaneously. Several innovative elements were specifically developed to do so, not least a double front spoiler, base bleed side intakes and, at the rear, active aerodynamics coupled with a blown spoiler. The aerodynamic underbody, which incorporates vortex generators, is highly sophisticated, too.

The Ferrari 488 GTB’s subsystems and electronic controls make its power and performance instantly available and controllable. It is, in fact, the most responsive production model there is, with razor-sharp response times comparable to those of a track car.

The evolved version of Ferrari’s side slip angle control system (Side Slip Control 2 – SSC2) is more precise and less invasive, providing greater longitudinal acceleration out of corners.  Aside from integrating with the car’s F1-Trac and E-Diff, the SSC2 now also controls the active dampers which renders the car’s dynamic behaviour during complex manoeuvres even flatter and more stable.

Designed by the Ferrari Styling Centre, the new car features very sculptural flanks which are the key to its character. Its large signature air intake scallop is a nod to the original 308 GTB and is divided into two sections by a splitter. The wide front spoiler features a double profile to improve the thermal efficiency of the radiators positioned at the sides. At the centre two pylons are combined with a deflector which channels air towards the flat underbody. The broad, low tail is also dominated by aerodynamic solutions, including an innovative blown spoiler which generates downforce without increasing drag. This works in conjunction with an aggressive ramp angle for the diffuser which features active flaps. The greater height required for the diffuser was achieved by repositioning the exhaust tailpipes. The circular LED tail lights have also been redesigned.

In the cabin, the seamless integration of the new satellite control clusters, angled air vents and instrument panel heightens the sense that the cockpit is completely tailored around the driver. Usability was the key word in the design, leading to an extremely sporty ambience that in no way compromises on comfort. There are plenty of classic Ferrari styling elements too, such as the clear separation between the dashboard and tunnel, the multifunctional steering wheel, the control switch bridge and wraparound seats. The graphics and interface of the infotainment screen have also been completely redesigned while the design of the car’s new key takes its inspiration from the car’s cylinder banks and allows keyless starts.

The Ferrari 488 GTB will make its world debut at the International Geneva Motor Show in March, but from today can be seen at www.ferrari.com.

Technical specifications

ENGINE

Type
Overall displacement
Maximum power *
Maximum torque *
V8 – 90° Turbo
3902 cm3
492 kW (670 CV) at 8000 rpm
760 Nm at 3000 rpm in VII gear

DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT

Length
Width
Height
Dry weight**
Weight distribution
4568 mm
1952 mm
1213 mm
1370 kg
46.5% Front – 53.5% Rear

PERFORMANCE

0-100 km/h                        3.0 s
0 -200 km/h                       8.3 s
Maximum speed                > 330 km/h

FUEL CONSUMPTION***
11.4 l/100 km

CO2 EMISSIONS ***
260 g/km

* With  98 RON petrol

**With lightweight options

*** ECE+EUDC combined cycle with HELE system

IN THE NEWS: McLaren 650S Le Mans Celebrates 20 Year Anniversary of Historic Win

January 20, 2015

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Jan 20, 2015 — Every one of the 106 models of the McLaren F1 built has a story to tell, with those wearing a ‘GTR’ badge boasting a lineage back to one of the most famous results in the history of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.  As the chequered flag fell at the end of the 1995 race, five McLaren F1 GTRs crossed the line to finish 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 13th.  In honour of this achievement, five special editions of the McLaren F1, badged the McLaren F1 LM, were commissioned – one for each of the cars that finished.  20 years on, McLaren Special Operations (MSO) has released the first details of a special edition 650S, built to celebrate the anniversary of this result.  Only 50 McLaren 650S Le Mans will be available globally, with a design inspired by the race-winning #59 McLaren F1 GTR. Deliveries will commence later this year.

Designed by MSO in consultation with Peter Stevens, the designer of the iconic McLaren F1, the McLaren 650S Le Mans will be offered as a coupé only, and will borrow a number of styling enhancements from the iconic race-winner, most notably the roof-mounted ‘snorkel’ air intake. This fully-integrated ‘snorkel’ channels airflow to the familiar 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 engine, while also providing enhanced aural drama within the cabin, while the front wings feature subtle louvres to reduce pressure over the front wheels, increasing downforce.  The unique ‘Le Mans Edition’ lightweight wheels – 19-inch at the front, 20-inch at the rear – are styled around the design of the motorsport rims fitted to the 1995 racers. The rims wear the McLaren-developed Pirelli P Zero™ Corsa tyres and are mounted in front of carbon ceramic brakes as standard, with McLaren Orange callipers.

Commenting on the McLaren 650S Le Mans, Stevens explains: “The design of the McLaren F1 rewrote the rulebook. It was intended to offer the ultimate, no compromise road driving experience. The fact that it was transformed into a racer, and a race winner, was true testament to the strength and integrity of the original design, which is something I am very proud of.

“With a mix of subtle design traits, the 650S Le Mans adds a modern twist by blending the iconic lines of the McLaren F1, and heritage features such as the wing louvres and the roof-mounted air intake, with groundbreaking technologies. It is a fantastic homage to that original design, and to the incredible race result achieved by the team in 1995 at one of the most difficult, and most challenging races in the world.”

Power and torque figures for the McLaren 650S Le Mans remain unchanged from the standard production model, producing 650PS (641 bhp) and 678 Nm (500 lb ft) of torque. This sprint from zero to 62 mph is achieved in three seconds and the top speed is 207 mph.

Visual carbon fibre features throughout the limited edition model, including the front splitter and rear bumper. The limited edition coupés also feature MSO-developed extended side blades and the distinctive MSO rear diffuser. The unique look of the McLaren 650S Le Mans exterior is further enhanced by the metallic Sarthe Grey exterior paint colour, inspired by the colour of the race-winning McLaren F1 GTR.  A splash of the famous McLaren Orange in the form of the ‘Le Mans’ logo adorns the wheels and the trailing edge of the extended MSO door blades, while an internal dedication plate on the door card identifies the limited nature of the model.

The interior is swathed in black leather and Alcantara®, while a pair of sports seats are finished in black with contrasting McLaren Orange Alcantara® in the centre. A Le Mans logo is embossed on the headrest of each seat, and on the unique floor mats, paying further homage to the anniversary.

The McLaren 650S Le Mans is available globally, priced at £244,500, and deliveries will commence in mid-2015.  Owners of the McLaren 650S Le Mans will receive an exclusive invitation for the owner plus a guest to join McLaren at a 20th anniversary celebration of the famous victory at the historic Le Mans circuit courtesy of McLaren.

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