2013-06-20: All new Aston Martin Vanquish Volante and Rebellion's Lola-Toyota ...
2013-06-17: Ferrari's first Le Mans winner, all-new BMW 4-Series and two new racers ...
Aston Martin have launched the all-new Vanquish Volante
. As the name suggests, this is the drop-top version of the Vanquish that was launched last year. Like its fixed-head counterpart, the new Volante is powered by the latest 'AM11' V12, which is good for 565 bhp. This is mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox, while the car also boasts carbon-ceramic disc brakes. Thanks to the lightweight aluminium construction, the new Vanquish Volante
can accelerate to 100 km/h in just 4.1 seconds and has a top speed of 295 km/h. It is expected to arrive at Aston Martin showrooms towards the end of the year.
Before switching to the recently announced Rebellion R-One
, the Rebellion team will compete in this weekend's 24 Hours of Le Mans with the tried and trusted Lola B12/60 Toyota
. Based on Lola's original LMP1 coupe design, the car has evolved dramatically during the last few years. In its latest guise, it has proven to be the fastest non-works prototype racer. In 2012 this was awarded with the FIA WEC privateer world championship. During the first sessions of this week's race the Lola B12/60 Toyota
proved very competitive again.
Our photographers have arrived at the track and will start with our coverage of the event on Friday with the first galleries of practice and qualifying, so keep an eye on this page.
2013-06-14: Porsche 962 CK6, Morgan LMP2 and Zytek Z11SN ...
With the start of the 2013 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans rapidly approaching, we have today taken a very close look at the first post-War winner and the first Ferrari to grab victory in the legendary endurance race. This is, of course, the equally legendary Ferrari 166 MM Touring Barchetta
. Introduced at the 1948 Turin Motor Show, the Touring bodied machine was instantly nicknamed Barchetta
; Italian for little boat. Although primarily intended as a production model for privateers, the Scuderia Ferrari also raced the two-litre engined machine. In 1949, it was virtually unbeatable as it not only won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it also scored victories in the Mille Miglia and 24 Hours of Spa. Courtesy of our new car layout, we can now present the 166 MM Touring Barchetta
in more detail than ever before with the individual history
of 15 different examples and an action-packed 127-shot image gallery
. Among the chassis featured are both the Le Mans and Mille Miglia winning 0008M and the Spa winning 0010M.
Over the weekend, BMW revealed the first details and images of the all-new 4-Series
, which replaces the 3-Series Coupe as a separate model in the German company's range. At the time of the launched the featured 435i Coupe
will top the line-up. This is powered by a 300 bhp version of BMW's twin-turbo, six-cylinder petrol engine. All eyes are now on the Motorsport department in anticipation of the high performance M4.
This morning in Australia, Volvo announced its intention to field two Polestar-prepared S60s
in next year's V8 Supercar championship. The cars will be run in the hotly contested series by the seasoned Garry Rogers Motorsport team.
British specialists Prodrive, meanwhile, have released more images of the MINI RX
, which is intended to compete in rally cross events and the X-Games. Based on the World Rally Car, it is around 10% lighter and 50% more powerful.
2013-06-12: New Porsche LMP1 Le Mans racer and other news ...
Although the Porsche 962C has gone into history as one of the all time great endurance racers, there was still room in the design for improvements. Well known for racing their own modified Porsches, like the Le Mans winning 935 K3
, Kremer Racing addressed several of these issues when they created the 962 CK6
. This boasted a more sophisticated and much stronger aluminium honeycomb chassis and the CK6 could also be run with a separate rear wing on tracks that required more downforce. The final versions of the CK6 even featured a carbon-fibre composite monocoque chassis. Although they were an improvement over the original design, the Kremer-Porsches still struggled against the much better backed works teams like TWR Jaguar and Sauber-Mercedes. The car nevertheless proved successful, particularly in Japan. As a warm-up to this 24 Hours of Le Mans, we have taken a closer look at this Kremer Porsche, resulting in a 60-shot gallery
featuring five different examples.
We have today also added detailed articles on two of the leading LMP2 cars due to take the start in little over a week; the Morgan LMP2 Nissan
and the Zytek Z11SN Nissan
. Both of these are powered by the 4.5-litre V8 engine developed for endurance racing in partnership by Zytek Motorsport and Nismo. Another similarity is that the chassis of these cars are a direct evolution of designs introduced several years ago. On Saturday, no fewer than five Morgan LMP2s
will start the race while three Zytek Z11SNs
are entered, including one with backing from the Caterham Formula 1 team.
2013-06-10: Le Mans cars old and new from Alpine, Austin-Healey, Bizzarrini and Rebellion Racing ...
Already some time under development, Porsche's highly anticipated LMP1
finally broke cover today. It was captured at the first test on the German manufacturer's own Weissach track. Although few technical details have been released, it is well known the car will use a petrol-hybrid drivetrain. The car is also not developed by the Porsche Motorsport department but actually by the company's Research & Development department because its purpose stretches well beyond returning Porsche to top sport in endurance racing. The car is also a rolling test-bed for future technologies and fits in the philosophy of development through racing. Works drivers Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas will extensively test the Porsche LMP1
this year ahead of its competition debut in 2014.
At Tokyo Toy Show, Toyota have released this very funky Camatte57s
concept car. According to the Japanese manufacturer, the three-seater is a sporty, open-top family-focused car. The body is constructed from 57 separate, removable parts that can be finished in every colour combination imaginable. Power for the compact Camatte57s
comes from a mid-mounted electric motor.
Every year, a handful all-new supercars are announced, of which only very few make into production. Whether that will be the case with the Dutch Vencer Sarthe
or the Mexican VUHL 05
only time will tell. The former is a very traditional supercar with sharp lines and a mid-mounted V8 engine. It was first shown to the public at the Top Marques Show in Monaco last month. Due to make its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, less is known about the VUHL
. Judging from the two teaser pictures released this week, the car will be an open two-seater also with the engine mounted amidships.
This weekend the Le Mans fortnight was kicked off with the official test. Audi dominated, while in the LMP2 class Alpine made its return to Le Mans, exactly forty years after the marque's debut. This has prompted us, in our ongoing coverage of the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans, to take a look at that very first Alpine, which raced at Le Mans in 1963. Dubbed the M63
, this slippery, Gordini-engined machine was designed to win the Index of Performance and Thermal Efficiency Index. It proved quick straight out of the box, setting the fastest ever time for a one-litre car at Le Mans during test, literally hours after it was completed. The race was not quite such a success and for a variety of reasons none of the three Alpines made it to the finish. All that was forgotten a year later when the subsequent M64 won its class. Our detailed feature
includes images of three of the five M63s built.
Another slippery machine that raced at Le Mans during this period was the aptly named Austin Healey Le Mans Sprite
. Fitted with an unusually angular body, it finished first in class at Sebring and Le Mans in 1965. Our 14-shot gallery
includes pictures of the two cars that scored those class wins.
Roaring around Le Mans a year later was this Bizzarrini 5300 GT Corsa
. Based on the fibreglass and independently sprung 5300 GT America, this probably is the fastest front-engined Bizzarrini ever made. Sadly the competition effort was badly funded with most attention going to the mid-engined P538
, while in fact the 5300 GT proved quicker. In more recent years, the ex-Le Mans 5300 GT Corsa
emerged from a shed in rather derelict condition. As you can see in our 15-shot gallery
, it has since been restored to full running order.
Over the weekend the ambitious Rebellion Racing team announced the new-for-2014 Rebellion R-One Toyota
. Due to comply with the heavily revised LMP1 regulations, this impressive looking machine will be developed and build by Oreca.