2015-07-03: Mighty Goodwood highlights and the latest news ...
A set fixture of the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed is the Michelin Supercar Run, which sees some of the most exclusive new machines take to the hill. This year, the Supercar Run saw the latest generation of hugely potent track-day specials make its dynamic debut. One of the most evocative of these was the latest addition to the Ferrari XX program; the FXX K. Based on the LaFerrari, it features a hybrid drivetrain that produces well over 1,000 bhp. It is hard to fathom that this type of performance will be unleashed not by professional racing drivers but instead by Ferrari's richest of customers. On par with the FXX K is the McLaren P1 GTR, which also packs around a 1,000 bhp punch. We first saw the mighty track-day special at Geneva and the example running up the hill sported the same classic Harrods livery. Completed just days before the event was the first Aston Martin Vulcan. Again only available for track-days, it features a carbon-fibre chassis and a seven-litre V12 that produces up to 800 bhp. Actually fully road legal, yet also track-bound, is the SCG 003S. The example demonstrated at Goodwood is the same chassis that raced at the Nurburgring and was also driven on the road to Villa d'Este a week later.
Making its world debut at Goodwood this year was the Nissan Juke R 2.0. As the name suggests, this is the second version of the GT-R powered Juke originally created back in 2011. In its latest guise, it has 600 bhp available and in the hands of Jann Mardenborough was quicker than most thoroughbred supercars up the hill. Another debut at the Festival of Speed was the Lotus 3-Eleven, which sadly was not actually driven up the hill. Powered by a 450 bhp V6, the minimalistic machine will be available in road legal or track-ready configurations.
While we were away at Goodwood, the all-new Alfa Romeo Giulia was introduced. The top-of-the-range model will be powered by a 500 bhp V6, so we are confident that it will be as much fun to drive as it beautiful to look at.
2015-06-30: 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed report and 340-shot gallery ...
Over the weekend, a record crowd visited the sun-soaked Goodwood estate in the South of England for the 23rd annual Festival of Speed. The annual high octane garden party once again brought out the best classic, modern and competition cars, which were shown and/or driven up the 1.1-mile hill climb in front of the Goodwood House. The featured marque was Mazda, marked with a massive rotary engine inspired Gerry Judah statue, while among the many anniversary celebrated were the 60th anniversary of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR (with seven of the eight existing cars in attendance), 60 years of Alpine and the Chevron's 50th anniversary. Local lad Derek Bell's fabulous career was marked as well with a separate class that underlined the wide variety of machines he raced. Further highlights included the first public appearance of the fire-breathing Fiat S.76, the Michelin Supercar Run and the Cartier Style et Luxe Concours d'Elegance. Valentino Rossi made his Festival of Speed debut and was welcomed by a very enthusiastic crowd. Complementing the action on the hill was the traditional Bonhams sale. The headlines of the successful auction were grabbed by the Aston Martin Ulster Team Car (GBP 2.9 million) and the Sir Stirling Moss consigned Porsche 718 RS 61 (GBP 1.9 million).
Our photographers were at Goodwood for four days to capture all the highlights in full detail. The result of their labour is this comprehensive report, illustrated by a mouth-watering 340-shot gallery.
In the coming weeks and months, you can expect many features showcasing the highlights in more detail.
2015-06-25: Final 2015 Festival of Speed preview ...
Tomorrow, the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed will kick off. Today was the Moving Motor Show, which allowed us to get a first look of what is to come. What certainly captured our eye is one of just three McLaren F1 GTs. This car was commissioned by a Japanese collector and is one of just two delivered to a customer. Rarely seen, chassis 58F1GT was loaned to McLaren by the owner and will be on display on their stand throughout the weekend. There should be at least three more McLaren F1s on the ground.
An even more impressive sight was a line-up of seven of the surviving eight Mercedes-Benz 300 SLRs. Among them are both Uhlenhaut Coupes, one of which will be driven up the hill over the weekend.
One of the special classes this year is for low budget Formula 1 efforts. Among the most promising of these was the Lec CRP1 of which both examples built are seen together in public for the first time ever.
Also very highly anticipated will be the Fiat S.76, better known as 'The Beast of Turin'. It was a non-runner last year but should roar up the hill this year.
As always, we will capture every detail for our detailed report about this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed, which will be ready early next week.
2015-06-24: Bonhams Goodwood FoS sale preview and new Aston Martin DB9 GT ...
One of the star attractions at this weekend's Goodwood Festival of Speed is the annual Bonhams Sale. Due to cross to the block on Friday is an eclectic mix of sports cars. One of the absolute highlights is a proper Aston Martin Ulster Team Car. Powered by a high-performance 1.5-litre engine, it was named in honour of a 1-2-3 class victory in the Ulster Tourist Trophy at Dundrod. In addition to seven Team Cars run by the factory, Aston Martin built a further 21 replicas for the company's customers to race. In addition to the Team Car on offer at Goodwood, we have added five other examples, including a further four team cars, which are pictured in this 63-shot gallery.
An altogether more modern machine consigned is one of just six CLK-GTR Roadsters. These machines were built on special order by HWA using spare chassis from the CLK-GTR project. The example offered by Bonhams was retained by Mercedes-Benz until very recently and has only covered 8 delivery kilometres. The rare Roadster has a pre-sale estimate of GBP 1.4 - 1.8 million.
In addition to the Aston Martins in the auction, the Festival of Speed will also feature several modern and classic Astons Martins. Among them is the all-new DB9 GT, which will make its world debut on the hill. Compared to the existing DB9, the GT features an uprated, 540 bhp V12 and a substantially updated interior equipment. In addition to the DB9 GT Coupe, a Volante version will also be available.
2015-06-22: Mazda Monday with Goodwood Festival of Speed preview ...
At this weekend's Goodwood Festival of Speed Mazda will be one of the featured marques. To mark the occasion, the Japanese manufacturer has assembled a spectacular line-up of the company's rotary engined sports racers. The headlining machine is undoubtedly the Mazda 787B, which scored the only outright victory for a Japanese car maker at Le Mans back in 1991. The victory for the howling Nigel Stroud designed Group C racer was many years in the making and was the result of a perfectly executed preparation and strategy. We already captured the 787B at several earlier outings as can be seen in this 45-shot gallery.
The very first of the Nigel Stroud designed Mazdas was the 757, which debuted in 1986. Powered by a three-rotor engine, it won its class at Le Mans in 1987 and 1988. Our detailed article depicts the 1988 IMSA class winner, which is also expected at Goodwood.
Mazda's North American arm will bring over several of its cars, which are kept in full running order and are a regular sight at the Monterey Motorsports at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The most successful of these is the purpose-built RX-7 GTO. Powered by a four-rotor engine, this Lee Dykstra designed machine won the IMSA GTO Championship in 1991. The fire-spitting RX-7 GTO was also raced at Le Mans in 1994, where it placed second in class. After the successful 1991 season, Mazda stepped up to the GTP class with the RX-792P. The car was raced in the 1992 and 1993 season but ultimately failed to score an outright victory. The RX-792P is also a regular in the Motorsports Reunion where it has been raced every edition since 2009.
The sight and particularly the sound of these howling machines can really only be experienced in person. To do so, you can still pick up tickets for the Thursday and Friday at the Goodwood website. On Friday, visitors will also be treated to an appearance of 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikonen.
2015-06-19: Ferrari Friday with 312 PB and early sports cars ...
To round off the week, we today take a look at four Ferrari sports cars of which we saw some fabulous examples during the past couple of events we visited.
Arguably the most spectacular is the Ferrari 312 PB, which was developed during the early 1970s for the World Sports Car championship. Effectively an F1 car with all-enveloping body, the flat-12 engined machine proved very successful in sprint events. Ferrari won the World Championship in 1972 and along the way clinched victories in the Sebring 12 Hours and Targa Florio. Following the team's withdrawal at the end of 1973, the 312 PB remains the last sports racer fielded by the Scuderia Ferrari. Over the years, we have seen six different examples of this phenomenal machine, which are pictured in this 96-shot gallery.
One of Ferrari's first successful sports racers was the 166 MM Touring Barchetta. Powered by a two-litre V12, it scored a breakthrough victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1949. Among the 16 examples we now feature is the actual Le Mans winning car. The most recent addition to our 148-shot gallery, however, is the penultimate example, which was originally built for Gianni Agnelli and starred at last month's Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este.
The same V12 engine, with a slightly larger displacement powered this 212 Inter Ghia Coupe, which won best of show at the Modena Trackdays. That particular car has literally come full circle as it is today in the collection of the son of the original owner.
For 1952, the V12 grew further in size for the Ferrari 225 S, which was campaigned by Ferrari customers with great success. Among the most prominent results was a victory in the 1952 Monaco Grand Prix, which was run for sports cars that year.
2015-06-17: Rare Pantera Group 4, beautiful 8C 2300 Zagato and rapid Koenigsegg One:1 ...
Over the last few weeks we have seen some very rare and remarkable cars. Among them was not one but two of the original DeTomaso Pantera Group 4s. Developed in 1972 with the help of ex-Ferrari engineer and driver Mike Parkes, just 12 were built. These were primarily raced by customers, some with a certain level of support from the DeTomaso factory. Among the featured examples is the only Group 4 Pantera actually fielded by the works team. It won the Giro d'Italia, at the Hockenheimring and also the 1975 European GT Championship. Both cars featured star in this 70-shot gallery, which also includes of a variety of Panteras later updated to Group 4 specification.
At last month's Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, an Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Zagato Spider was chosen by the jury as best of show. It was one of several short chassis 8C 2300s clothed by Zagato with this style and features unique, flowing running boards. We also captured the same car at Pebble Beach as well as one of its sisters, as can be seen in our 33-shot gallery.
This morning news reached of a new record attempt by Koenigsegg. The Swedish manufacturer smashed their own 0-300-0 km/h by two seconds with the One:1 introduced at Geneva last year. Its name is a reference to its 1:1 power to weight ratio in hp and kg. We recently saw the car used for the record attempt at the Modena Trackdays and have added another 12 images to our ever expanding gallery of this remarkably machine.
2015-06-15: Le Mans round-up with winning Porsche, impressive Rebellion and new Alpine ...
This weekend saw the 83rd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which attracted a record-breaking 263,000 spectators to the legendary track in the La Sarthe region of France. They witnessed a thrilling battle between sister companies Porsche and Audi at a record-breaking pace. In the opening hours, the two manufacturers looked evenly matched but as night and the temperatures dropped, the Porsche 919 Hybrid gained an edge. Uncharacteristically, Audi also suffered from some mechanical issues, which dropped their three cars slightly down the order. As a result, Porsche scored a formidable one-two victory in the second year of their return to the top level. It is also the German manufacturer's record extending 17th overall victory since their first back in 1970. To honour the winners, we have taken another look at the remarkable Porsche 919 Hybrid.
Although pushed somewhat to the background by the epic battle between Porsche and Audi, the new Rebellion R-One AER also grabbed our attention. Previously powered by the TMG V8, the small Anglo-Swiss team used the AER P60 V6 for the first time at Le Mans. Although they could not quite match the pace of the major manufacturers, the Rebellion R-One put up more than a brave fight in what was the car's very first race.
A few hours before the start of the race, Alpine celebrated the brand's 60th anniversary with the introduction of the Alpine Celebration Concept. Clearly inspired by the legendary A110, the compact coupe was driven onto the grid before the race. The stylish machine will also be shown at several more events in the coming weeks and months. Hopefully the Celebration Concept offers a first glimpse of what is to come from the reborn Alpine brand.
2015-06-12: Ford returns to Le Mans, pole-sitting Porsche and Audi RS 5 TDI ...
American manufacturer Ford has just announced that the company will return to Le Mans in 2016, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Blue Oval's first win, with this striking GT LM GTE. Based on the upcoming and highly anticipated Ford GT road car, the new LM GTE racer will be built by Multimatic, powered by a Roush Yates developed V6 Ecoboost engine and run by Chip Ganassi Racing. To this end, the seasoned American racing team has already run a Ford-engined Daytona Prototype, which uses the same engine, so the new Ford GT LM GTE should be fighting fit when it debuts at Daytona in January. Ganassi will field both full season entries in the IMSA-sanctioned USCC and in the FIA WEC, which includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Ford's announcement comes at the even of this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, which will be started by Bill Ford. The first three cars to start the race tomorrow will be Porsche 919 Hybrids. Lead the way by Neel Jani with a stunning qualifying record for this configuration of the track, this marks the first time Porsche has qualified 1st, 2nd and 3rd for Le Mans since 1988. This has prompted us to take a renewed look at the 2015 evolution of the 919 Hybrid. Compared to the car used last year, it features close to 90% new components and over a single lap none of the rivals can come close. Whether this will also allow the German manufacturer to score the first win at Le Mans since 1998 remains to be seen.
One of Porsche's chief rivals at Le Mans, Audi, used this day to underline the real-live benefits of the technology developed by the current generation, hybrid Le Mans racers by unveiling the RS 5 TDI competition concept. It features a sophisticated turbocharging system with an additional electric compressor that helps boost the power of the 3-litre V6 diesel to a startling 425 hp.
Nissan, meanwhile, offered a first glimpse of the next generation Juke-R, which will be revealed at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in a fortnight.
2015-06-10: 2015 Grand Prix de l'Age d'Or report and 270-shot gallery ...
Under scorching conditions, the Circuit Dijon-Prenois in central France hosted the 2015 Grand Prix de l'Age d'Or this weekend. Organised for the second year by Peter Auto, the event combined three single seater classes with the familiar grids like Classic Endurance Racing and Sixties' Endurance. While many of the hundreds of the cars entered were regulars, there were also some new 'faces' like the ex-Jolly Club Lancia Beta Montecarlo Turbo and the ex-Roy Salvadori Cooper T61 Maserati. The weekend saw some excellent racing, although not always rewarded with a deserved victory. In addition to the action on the track, numerous car clubs also intended the event with a fabulous choice of classic cars.
Our photographers braved the heat to capture the 51st edition of the Grand Prix de l'Age d'Or in its entirety. The result is this comprehensive report, illustrated by a spectacular 270-shot gallery.
2015-06-08: 2015 Modena Trackdays coverage and 150-shot gallery ...
Last week, the undulating Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps hosted the 2015 Modena Trackdays, organised by Uwe Meisner's Modena Motorsports. The German Ferrari specialist celebrated its 30th anniversary in great style by letting loose some fabulous modern and classic, road and racing cars during the two-day event. The cars present ranged from the latest supercars like the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1 and Koenigsegg One:1 to classic competition cars that included numerous Ferraris, Maseratis and also a rare six-cylinder engined OSCA. Other rare machines that took the track were the sole surviving Ferrari 126 C2, the fifth Porsche 936 and a spectacularly driven Isdera Imperator 108i. Also on hand were two all-new high performance Porsches; the 911 GT3 RS, which was driven throughout the event by Jackie Ickx, and the equally impressive Cayman GT4. The event was concluded with a brief concours d'elegance on the start-finish straight where a beautifully restored Ferrari 212 Inter Ghia Berlinetta was picked as the 'best of show'.
We ventured to the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps for the second time in less than two weeks to capture this year's Modena Trackdays in its entirety. The result is this concise report, illustrated by an action-packed 150-shot gallery.
2015-06-04: Porsche 934 and Lola T212 in full detail ...
Less than a fortnight after the dust of the Spa Classic settled, Peter Auto will now stage the Grand Prix de l'Age d'Or at Dijon this weekend. Under absolutely scorching conditions a wide variety of machinery will take to the undulating track. Among them are a pair of lovely machines we have also seen in action at Spa and previous events.
The youngest of these is the Porsche 934, which was built exclusively in 1976 for the Group 4 class. Based on the 911 Turbo or 930 road car, it was the first turbocharged competition car offered by Porsche to customers. It was so quick that IMSA decided to ban the car. It did race in and win the European GT Championship and the TransAm series in North America. Today, the 934 is a rare sight as many were raced for several seasons and continuously updated and modified. Our all-new article features a detailed look at this impressive machine, illustrated by a 50-shot gallery, picturing five different examples.
Winning an altogether different European Championship just a few years earlier was the Lola T212, which was driven to the Two-litre Sports Car championship by Dr. Helmut Marko. A development from the sophisticated T210 introduced a year earlier, the T212 was a winner straight out of the box. Raced by many of the great drivers of the period, the diminutive machine was hugely successful on both sides of the Atlantic. We have today added a 97-shot gallery with five different examples, two of which will be here at Dijon over the weekend.
A full report of the Grand Prix de l'Age d'Or and the Modena Trackdays, which we also attended this week, will follow after the weekend, if we have not melted away ...