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2010-06-30: 2010 Goodwood FoS: revolutionary Lotus 49 and stillborn Alfa Group C racer ...
Lotus 49 Cosworth In the spring of 1967 Jim Clark successfully debuted one of the most influential Grand Prix cars in Formula 1 history; the Lotus 49. It was the first car to sport the Cosworth DFV engine that would continue to be a force in F1 until the 1980s and in later guises also introduced the sport to wings and sponsorship liveries. At its first outing, the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, Clark scored a dominating victory. The chassis he used for this historic win was long believed to be lost but was finally rediscovered in the 1990s by Lotus expert and author Michael Oliver. It had been used to build a 49 for American customer Pete Lovely and sold to him as a new car. Last year the ex-Clark chassis was acquired by a new owner, who immediately sent it over to Classic Team Lotus for a complete rebuild to its original specification. This huge task was completed in time for this year's Monaco Historic Grand Prix where the owner drove the car with a replica of Clark's helmet. This Lotus 49 will be one of the stars of this weekend's Goodwood Festival of Speed. Our 24-shot gallery also includes pictures of two of the other existing 49s, both shown in action at Goodwood in previous years.
One of the main themes of this year's event is Alfa Romeo's centenary. Of the well over a hundred Alfas expected this surely SE 048SP is one of the least known. We did not know about it until we found it in a corner of the Alfa Romeo Museo Storico a few years ago. A lot of mysteries surround the car, which was originally designed to house the company's rarely seen V10 engine but actually seems to sport a Ferrari V12 at the moment. It is unlikely that we will see the car on the hill but it will be well worth looking it up in the paddock.
Further highlights that we omitted to mention earlier this week are the very rare Porsche 550 Coupe from the Collier Collection and Porsche's only Grand Prix winner, the 804 F1. Legendary Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason will once again sample one of Audi's Auto Union Type Ds.
Tickets are only available online and can be ordered from the official Goodwood website.
  2010-06-28: 2010 Goodwood FoS: very quick Jaguar XKR and lovely Aston up for auction ...
Aston Martin Mark II Sports Saloon On Thursday this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed (FoS) will kick off with the new 'moving motorshow'. A few months ago we already published a detailed preview and now it is time to look ahead to the must visit event some more.
Founding sponsor, Bonhams, will hold their annual auction on Friday and have an eclectic mix of machinery on offer. Browsing through the 96-lot catalog, there was one car that really stood out; this Aston Martin Mark II Sports Saloon. Presented in a very nice condition, it is one of only a handful of survivors of this particular model as, unfortunately, many owners preferred the more desirable 'Ulster' body style. That's very hard to imagine when looking at the beautiful E. Bertelli coupe coach-work. The lovely Aston is estimated at a very reasonable 110,000 - 130,000 Pounds. Jaguar will celebrate their 75th anniversary with the XKR 75, which will make its debut at Goodwood. Compared to the 'standard' model, it packs an additional 20 bhp for a total of 530 bhp.
Hundreds of cars are expected to be driven up the hill or displayed on the various stands. Some of the many highlights include a highly original Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Spider, the unique Ghia Gilda, the all-conquering Mercedes-Benz W196 and a Ferrari 312 PB. Many of the top running Formula 1 teams will also make an appearance and Bruno Senna is expected to drive a McLaren MP4/8 Ford, which his legendary uncle, Ayrton Senna, raced in his final season at McLaren and used to score the epic win at a rain-soaked Donnington in 1993. Click here for ten more reasons to visit the FoS or visit the official website to order your tickets. If for some reason you can't make it out to Goodwood, keep your eye on Ultimatecarpage.com for our familiar in-depth coverage.
Today Gordon Murray finally revealed his revolutionary T.25 city car at the Smith School's World Forum on Enterprise and the Environment in Oxford. Like 'his' legendary McLaren F1, the very small car features a 1+2 seating configuration. It is nevertheless compact enough to fit three of them in a single parking spot. Hopefully this machine will also make it out to Goodwood, as we would love to take a closer look.
2010-06-24: 2010 Villa d'Este winning Maserati A6GCS/53 Frua Spider ...
Maserati A6GCS/53 Frua Spider The much coveted 'Coppa d'Oro' was won at the 2010 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este by this Maserati A6GCS/53 Frua Spider. It received the 'Best in Show by Public Referendum' price for both its stunning beauty and the fabulous restoration that had literally been completed days before the event. Originally completed in 1956, this particular A6 was a little more special than most other Maserati road cars built in that period. It was one of only a handful of examples built on the competition A6GCS chassis, which featured a slightly lower mounted engine. At least seven were commissioned by Maserati's dealer in Rome Guglielmo Dei; four of which were clothed by Pinin Farina and the other three by Frua with Spider bodies. The Villa d'Este winning car was the very last of these and did not actually find an owner until the end of the decade. It has since been in American ownership and has only changed hands on very few occasions. The current owner, legendary Maserati collector John F. Bookout, acquired it in 2002. The recent restoration in Italy was supervised by Maserati authority Adolfo Orsi and took well over a year. Sadly the proud owner could not accept the Coppa d'Oro in person as he was left stranded on the wrong side of the Atlantic due to the volcanic ash clouds.
We did make it out to Northern Italy and have captured every detail of the lovely machine. This has resulted in a detailed article, illustrated by an 18-shot gallery.
  2010-06-21: World Championship winning Jaguar XJR-8 and IMSA race winning Jaguar XJR-16 ...
Jaguar XJR-8 One of the highlights of the recent 24 Hours of Le Mans was the Group C support race held on Saturday morning. The 10-lap sprint was won by Justin Law in this Jaguar XJR-8. Two days earlier he had also secured pole position in torrential conditions. The car used by Law is no stranger to winning as it helped Raoul Boesel secure the 1987 World Sportscar Championship with four victories. The highly successful XJR-8 was a development of the XJR-6 first raced for Jaguar by TWR during the 1985 season. The car combined a sophisticated carbon fibre chassis with a heavily developed version of Jaguar's V12 road car engine. After a difficult start, the Silk Cut liveried machines managed to end Porsche's stronghold on the championship. In 1987 the Jaguars won eight of the ten rounds but unfortunately one of the two races missed was the 24 Hours of Le Mans. That was rectified a year later when the latest XJR-9 won the most important of all endurance races.
Law has raced the XJR-8 successfully since the summer of 2008, when he set the fastest time of the weekend at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. He repeated that prestigious feat a year later, beating contemporary Formula 1 cars. We have captured the Jaguar XJR-8 twice at Goodwood and of course at Le Mans last week.
Another spectacular Jaguar out on track at Le Mans was this XJR-16. Built for the 1991 IMSA Series, it was driven to four victories by Davy Jones in this highly competitive championship. Unlike the V12-engined XJR-9, the XJR-16 uses a twin-turbocharged V6 engine, which also found its way into the XJ220 road car.
2010-06-17: All new Panoz Abruzzi and a first glimpse of the sophisticated Morgan EvaGT ...
Panoz Abruzzi 'Spirit of Le Mans' During last week's 24 Hours of Le Mans, American entrepreneur Don Panoz unveiled his latest creation. Dubbed the Abruzzi 'Spirt of Le Mans', the car combines influences of Grand Tourers of old with high tech materials. The Panoz' styling, for example, is inspired by the classic tear drop shapes of French cars of the late 1930s. Like cars of that era, the 600+ bhp Abruzzi is intended to be a road car that could be driven to a track and then raced with limited modifications. What further sets the car apart from its contemporaries is the use of the latest composite materials. Known as the REAMS (Recyclable Energy Absorbing Matrix System) the revolutionary material is lighter than conventional carbon fibre, dent-resistant and most importantly recyclable. Production of the ambitious machine is limited to just 81 examples, which reflects the number of Le Mans races held between 1923 and 2013 and is also a reference to the start number 81 used by the 2006 GT2 class winning Panoz Esperante. The owners will only be able to take delivery of their Panoz Abruzzi at the Le Mans track.
At the upcoming Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, Morgan will take further steps into the 21st century with the all new EvaGT. It uses the familiar lightweight aluminium chassis design pioneered on the Aero 8 and BMW's latest direct-injection, twin-turbo straight six engine. With its four-seater, fixed head layout, the EvaGT is aimed at a new market for Morgan; the young families. Unfortunately only a single sketch has been released but we will surely keep you up to date as more information is revealed.
  2010-06-15: 2010 Le Mans: full report and 270-shot gallery ...
2010 24 Hours of Le Mans Report and Gallery This weekend the 78th edition of the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans was disputed. The build up to the race actually started a week earlier with scrutineering in the centre of the town. During the week two days were reserved for practice and qualifying and on Friday the drivers were paraded through the city centre. All that was quickly forgotten after the French flag was waved at 3 pm on Saturday to signal the start of the race. The fight for the outright win was the fourth installment of the epic battle between Peugeot and Audi with a far from predictable outcome. Behind the top runners, the GT2 class was particularly hotly disputed with machines from Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, Corvette, Aston Martin, Jaguar and Spyker all chasing the much coveted class win. In a real race of attrition punctures, accidents and engine failures were more far frequent than in most recent editions and greatly affected the final results.
During the week drastic rule changes were also announced, which meant that the current generation of LMP1 and GT1 cars had their final outing at Le Mans. The 2011 spec prototypes will be allowed to run hybrid systems and will sport a mandatory to improve stability. The last of the era of the big bangers was finished in great style with a new distance record.
We were in town and at the track for all events and sessions. All this can be found in our full report, which is illustrated by an exclusive 270-shot gallery.
2010-06-10: 2010 Le Mans: images from scrutineering, practice and qualifying ...
2010 24 Hours of Le Mans On Sunday afternoon the proceedings of this 24 Hours of Le Mans kicked off with the 'pesage' or scrutineering of the first car on the Place des Jacobins in the heart of the city. This gave the fans and the assembled press the chance to get a first look at the teams. Autograph hunters assembled in droves to get their copy of the entry list filled with autographs of every driver. The best of part of two days were filled ensuring that every car complied with the strict technical regulations.
After a relatively quiet Tuesday, the cars got the first taste of the track at 4 pm on Wednesday for a four-hour practice session. About halfway through Romain Grosjean lost control in the Porsche Curves and had a substantial impact with the barrier. Despite the accident his Matech-Ford was repaired again for the evening session. This was the first of three two-hour qualifying practices but with rain expected for Thursday the pressure was on to get a good time in. Peugeot made their intentions very clear by filling the first places with Sebastien Bourdais setting the fastest time. His lap of 3:19.7 was quicker than last year's pole despite tighter restrictors, which were intended to cut 60 bhp off the power of the diesels. Fourth was for the privately entered Oreca Peugeot, followed at a considerable distance by the three new Audis. In LMP2 the two HPDs dominated with the Europe based Strakka Team beating the American Highcroft squad by just over a second. The 'best of the rest' Zytek was a further 4.8 seconds back. The Young Driver Aston Martin proved superior in the GT1 class, which will not return to Le Mans in 2011. Its place as the premier GT class will be taken by GT2, which this year featured the Corvette C6.R, Jaguar XKRS and BMW M3 for the very first time. One of the latter sports a unique livery created by artist Jeff Koons and is the manufacturer's 17th 'art car'. Top honours nevertheless went to the Risi Competizione Ferrari, which outpaced the two Corvettes and the fastest Porsche by quite a margin. Unfortunately one of the AF Corse Ferrari had a heavy accident and may not be able to start the race.
We arrived at Le Mans just as the first car entered the scales at the Place des Jacobins and we have been shooting all activities since. The first results can be found in an exclusive 90-shot gallery. A full report of the race will follow early next week.
  2010-06-08: 2010 Le Mans: inside the McLaren F1 GTR that won in 1995 ...
McLaren F1 GTR As the final piece of our build-up to this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans race, we take a look at the car that won fifteen years ago; the McLaren F1 GTR. Conceived as the ultimate road car, the McLaren F1 was never intended to go racing. The only reason the competition car came about was the insistence of the customers, who urged McLaren to prepare the F1 for the 1995 season. With only minimal time and funds available, the changes to the car were mainly restricted to mandatory safety features, some weight reduction and the addition of a rear wing. Reportedly the BMW sourced V12 engines used stock internals throughout the first season. Painted in very colourful liveries, the GTRs absolutely dominated the BPR Series for production based GT cars. Seven examples were then entered in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race where there was much stiffer competition from purpose-built prototype racing cars. In absolutely torrential conditions, five of the McLarens held the lead at one point. In the end it was the Ueno Clinic backed example that managed to score a spectacular debut victory for McLaren. The GTR's reign eventually came to an end when the likes of Porsche and Mercedes-Benz started fielding bespoke racing cars in the McLaren's class. The win at Le Mans was probably the last one for a road car based machine we will see in a very long time.
To celebrate the 15th anniversary of this incredible success, we have completely redone our F1 GTR article. It describes the car's unusual birth and its numerous racing successes. The piece is illustrated by a 24-shot gallery with images of four different examples, including the Le Mans winner.
Watch this space for a full preview of the race with footage from the scrutineering in town and the practice and qualifying sessions.
2010-06-04: 2010 Le Mans: the legendary Porsche 935/78 'Moby Dick' ...
Porsche 935/78 'Moby Dick' During the second half of the 1970s, Porsche built racing cars for two classes; the 935 (Group 5 for production based GT cars) and the 936 (Group 6 for prototypes up to 3 litre). The various incarnations of the 935 dominated its class while the 936 won the 24 Hours of Le Mans outright in 1976 and again in 1977. Over the winter of the 1977/1978 Porsche's brilliant engineer Norbert Singer had another good look at the latest draft of the Group 5 regulations and figured that he could turn the 911 Turbo based 935 into a contender for the outright victory at Le Mans. The rules stipulated that only the cockpit section of the original car had to be used, so Singer chopped off the front and rear third of the car and replaced the standard chassis structures with purpose built spaceframes. The new 935 also benefited from the latest engine developments, which included water-cooled, four valve per cylinder heads. Displacing just over 3.2 litre, the twin-turbocharged engine was very conservatively rated at 750 bhp by Porsche; 850 bhp was closer to the truth. To improve the top speed on the long Le Mans straights, Singer fitted the car with ultra-wide bodywork, which earned the car the nick-name 'Moby Dick'.
The Porsche 935/78 'Moby Dick' made a victorious debut at the World Championship round at Silverstone despite various problems during testing. Le Mans started well with a third place starting position but problems with the engine dropped the car back to 8th. The car was only given two more outings after that with no notable results. With just four races under its belt 'Moby Dick' was retired to the Porsche Museum as the manufacturer decided to temporarily withdraw from racing at the end of the year. Singer did see his point proved a year later when a Kremer prepared 935 won Le Mans outright
Despite ultimately failing to live up to the expectations, 'Moby Dick' has achieved a legendary status and remains as one of the most extreme and powerful production based racing cars ever constructed. Earlier this year we caught up with the only 935/78 that ever raced. With the help of the fine people at the Porsche Museum, we can now present a detailed gallery to illustrate our article, which reveals many of the tricks Singer used to create this ferocious machine.
  2010-06-02: 2010 Le Mans: the new Audi R15 plus TDI ...
Audi R15 plus TDI Having won eight of the last ten editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi is naturally one of the favourites to win this year's race. In 2009 the German team struggled with the revolutionary and also controversial R15 TDI, which did not live up to the expectations despite a debut victory at Sebring. At Le Mans it particularly suffered from a lack of top speed. Over the winter the problems have been addressed, which has resulted in the R15 plus TDI. There are still hints of the predecessor in the new car's design but some fundamental changes were made to the aerodynamics. The intricate 'channel' system, which saw much of the airflow run through the car instead of over it has been abandoned for the most part on this much more conventional design. What remained was the V10 TDI diesel engine that was part of the original R15 package. The very compact unit displaces 5.5 litre and still produces in the vicinity of 600 bhp and more importantly in excess of 1050 Nm of torque.
The official debut of the R15 plus came two months ago with a victory in the Le Castellet 8 Hours. A few weeks later the mighty Peugeot team joined the fray at Spa for a clash of the titans. Both rivals brought three fully equipped cars and Peugeot showed that the victory at Le Mans last year has not led to complacency. Running the Le Mans aero-package, the new Audi was competitive throughout the weekend and especially the top speed figures were encouraging. We captured the new Audi at these races and have created a 24-shot gallery to illustrate a detailed article on the development of the latest endurance racer from Ingolstadt.
At Le Mans Audi will field three R15 plus TDIs; the #7 for Allan McNish, Rinaldo Capello and Tom Kristensen, the #8 for Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer, and the #9 for Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Mike Rockenfeller. It looks like we may have another classic fight on our hand and it would take a brave man to bet against Audi.