2010-09-27: New Ferrari Roadster, extreme Peugeot concept and more news from Lamborghini ...
Over the weekend Ferrari released the first details of the long expected drop-top version of the 599 GTB. It is dubbed the 599 SA Aperta in honour of Sergio and Andrea Pininfarina as well as the legendary coach-builder's 80th anniversary. Accordingly production is strictly limited to just 80 examples and all have already been sold. The 599 SA Aperta will make its public debut at the Paris Motor Show later in the week and the first examples should arrive at the customers before the end of the year. A drop-top of a slightly different order will also be shown in the French capitol; the Infiniti IPL G Cabrio Concept. It is a showcase of the "Infiniti Performance Line" (IPL) and will be used to assess whether the IPL will be launched in Europe.
Lamborghini has sent out two further teasers of the upcoming Supersports Car. At this weekend's Vallelunga round of the Gallardo Trofeo they also debuted the Gallardo Blancpain Edition. Using the underpinnings of the hardcore 'Superleggera', this is a limited edition model in honour of the Trofeo's main sponsor, watch-maker Blancpain.
Peugeot continued their 200th anniversary celebrations with the development of the very extreme EX1 Concept. It is powered by two electric motors that produce a combined 340 bhp and 240 Nm. Peugeot submitted the car to several tests at the Monthlery track where it set several new world records. Interestingly, the EX1 will not be shown at the 'Mondial' but instead will be displayed in the company's show room on the Champs-Elysees in the centre of Paris.
2010-09-23: 2010 Goodwood Revival report and 350-shot gallery ...
This weekend the beautifully restored Goodwood circuit formed the backdrop for the 13th annual Revival; a three day time warp back to the 1960s. The 2010 edition celebrated the 60th anniversary of BRM's first victory and the 50th anniversary of John Surtees' first car race. Both these momentous occasions were at Goodwood. On Sunday there was a moving tribute to the men and women who fought in the Battle of Britain 70 years ago. Two days earlier Bonhams held their familiar auction with a 70% sell through rate and a 3+ million pound revenue. As always the racing on the very quick track was top class with some of the finest drivers dicing it out in and on vintage cars and bikes. The traditional highlight is the Tourist Trophy Celebration race for 1960s GT racers, which this year had a great field valued at a staggering 150 million pounds. Among the drivers entered were eight-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen, former F1 racer and tv pundit Martin Brundle, and legends like Bobby Rahal and Brian Redman. The hotly disputed one-hour endurance race had a surprising but well deserving winner. Many of the same drivers were also out in the St Mary's Trophy for 1950s saloon cars, which were cornered at very astute angles. Further highlights included a race for 1960s sports racers and a new class for early mid-engined Formula 1 cars.
As always we visited the sell-out event and have returned with a detailed report and a mouth-watering 350-shot gallery.
In the coming weeks and months you can expect specific features on cars like the Alan Mann built Lightweight Ford GT40 and the 'barn find' Jaguar E-Type Lightweight.
2010-09-21: Porsche 911 Speedster revived, hardcore Maserati GranTurismo and funky Citroen ...
A day after Lotus revived the Elite, Porsche have now announced the fourth generation Speedster. In honour of the original 356 Speedster introduced in 1954, production of the 997 based Speedster is limited to just 356 examples. What distinguishes the Speedster from the 'regular' Cabriolet is a 60 mm lower windscreen and the double bubble cover for the simple foldaway roof. Like the Carrera GTS, the latest addition to the Porsche line-up features a 3.8 litre flat six engine that produces just over 400 bhp. Available in 'Pure Blue' or 'Carrera White', the very exclusive Speedster will arrive at showrooms in December.
The Maserati display in Paris will feature the GranTurismo MC Stradale. As the name suggests, this is a road going version of the GranTurismo MC racer built for the popular GT4 class. The very hardcore Maserati has a tweaked version of the V8 engine, good for 450 bhp.
Local favourites Citroen have teamed up with clothing brand Lacoste to create a funky concept car for the 'Salon'. Simply dubbed the Lacoste Concept, it is a small cross-over vehicle that seems best at home on or near the beach. The only really relevant element of the design exercise is its three cylinder petrol engine but the press release unfortunately does not include technical details.
2010-09-20: New Lotus Elite and BMW 6 Series concept headed for Paris ...
During the last few months Lotus has been very busy building anticipation for the company's big Paris Motor Show reveal. Many, us included, expected a new Esprit but today we learned it will be a new Elite. In its final 2+2 front-engined coupe guise, the Elite has long since disappeared from the Lotus line-up but that is about to change. Don't expect the new Lotus to hit the streets before 2014. It will nevertheless be worth the wait. Under the shark-inspired body panels, the Elite will house the latest technology. Power will come from the 5 litre V8 engine that is also used in the Lexus IS-F and an optional KERS hybrid system. Combined the two systems will produce a hefty 620 bhp and 720 Nm of torque. The new Elite also features an almost invisible retractable hard-top roof. The car on display at Paris is a design prototype and the final production go ahead has not been given. We would be very surprised if the Lotus Elite will not enter production but Lotus has proved us wrong before.
One of the Elite's potential rivals is BMW's 6 series. The current model is very near the end of its production run and a new one is slated for 2011. To give us all an indication of where the German company is heading, this Concept 6 Series will be shown in Paris. The concept's design is a natural development of the Concept Gran Coupe displayed in Beijing earlier this year and the new 5 series on which the upcoming coupe and convertible will be based.
2010-09-15: Latest Paris Motor Show news and Aston Martin's 2011 Le Mans racer ...
In two weeks time, Paris will be the automotive capital of the world. The bi-annual 'Salon' promises to be very exciting with a large number of production and concept cars expected to star. Porsche will expand the 911 line-up with a new high performance model that slots in between the Carrera S and the hardcore GT3. Like most 997 models this 'GTS' will be available as a Coupe and a Cabriolet version. The flat six is derived from the Carrera S engine but now produces 408 bhp.
Ford will continue the roll-out of the first global Focus with a preview of the range topping ST model. Compared to the previous model it will be powered by a four instead of a five cylinder engine. Power will nevertheless be up from 225 bhp to 250 bhp. The Focus ST will arrive in European and American showrooms in 2011. Rivals Opel will also provide a look into the future with the GTC Paris Concept on which the next Astra hatchback will be based.
Meanwhile, Lamborghini have released the second teaser picture of the upcoming Murcielago replacement.
At last weekend's Silverstone 1000 km Aston Martin announced their plans for the future by confirming the development of an all new LMP1 car. Only six will be built over a two year period and will be made available to select customer teams.
2010-09-14: 2010 Silverstone 1000 km report and gallery ...
This weekend the extensively refurbished Silverstone track hosted the final round of the 2010 Le Mans Series, which doubled as the first race of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC). The inaugural ILMC will also feature Petit Le Mans and a 1000 km race in Zuhai, China. Even though most (class) championships were still up for grasps, most eyes were on the first encounter between Audi and Peugeot since the very eventful 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. The two works teams headlined an entry list that consisted of new fewer than 45 cars. The race was hotly contested with none of the cars making it to the finish without a scratch or a dent.
On Saturday afternoon a staggering 55 late-1960s and 1970s endurance racers competed in the Classic Endurance Racing (CER) event. Among the historic sports and GT cars were a wide variety of Chevron and Lola prototypes as well as fire-breathing BMW M1s and Porsche 935s. Like the feature event, the CER race was also closely disputed with several wheel to wheel battles.
As always we were at Silverstone for the full duration of the Le Mans Series event and have captured the 1000 km race and CER race in full detail. All of this and more can be found in our detailed report and action-packed 230-shot gallery.
2010-09-09: Goodwood Revival preview with Grand Prix winning Ferrari and BRM ...
One of our favourite events each year is the Goodwood Revival, which provides a time-warp experience. In addition to the familiar races, this year's edition celebrates driver John Surtees and manufacturer BRM with vast parades.
Already a multiple World Champion on two wheels, John Surtees attended his first ever car race at Goodwood 50 years ago. He did not just come to watch but immediately participated in a Formula Junior race, finishing a highly impressive second to the great Jim Clark. Surtees quickly became a top runner in single seater and sports car racing. He achieved the ultimate success in 1964 when he won two Grands Prix and with it the Formula 1 World Championship. He became the first and to date, only, World Champion on two and four wheels. The car he used that season was this fabulous Ferrari 158 F1, beating the dominant British Lotus and BRM teams. Only two were built and this car is the only survivor. We were very fortunate to capture the US Grand Prix winning chassis earlier this year during the Goodwood Festival of Speed with 'Il Grande' John behind the wheel. The beautiful Ferrari, complete with its unusual blue wheels, promises to be one of the Revival's big stars.
After a difficult entry into international racing BRM finally scored their first victory at Goodwood 60 years ago in a non-championship event. The struggling manufacturer had to wait another nine years before securing the first Grand Prix win. Responsible for the elusive victory was Jo Bonnier, who crossed the line first at the Dutch Grand Prix in his BRM Type 25. Bonnier's winning car was the 8th of 11 built in total but today is the sole survivor; all others were stripped to create the mid-engined P48s. Fortunately the all-important chassis 258 is exercised regularly and will be part of the Revival this year. It is expected that at least 40 of the 53 BRMs still in existence will be at Goodwood.
You can be there as well to witness some of the world's greatest drivers and cars head off on the tricky Goodwood circuit. Tickets are still available on the Goodwood Website.
2010-09-07: New Bentley Continental GT, Murcielago replacement teaser and 2011 Oreca ...
British luxury manufacturer Bentley have released the second generation of the Continental GT. Visually it is clearly a development of the original launched in 2003 and it is still powered by the twin-turbo W12 engine. This is now good for a hefty 567 bhp. Next year a more frugal and cleaner 4.0 litre V8 engine will be added to the line-up. Bentley's engineers have worked hard to refine the car and as a result it is quite a bit lighter than the outgoing model. The two-door coupe also features a sophisticated audio system with integrated navigation system. The new Continental GT will make its public debut on September 30th at the Paris Motor Show.
The Bentley will have to share the limelight with the replacement of the Lamborghini Murcielago. Surprisingly little information has surfaced on the car but the Italian supercar manufacturer is now starting to stir things up by releasing a teaser picture. It is the first of promised six teaser pictures of what Lamborghini describes as the new Supersports Car.
Following their British rival Lola, the French Oreca have shown the first sketches of their new LMP2 car built to the 'low budget' regulations, which will come into effect in 2011. The Oreca 03 will be available for 345,000 Euro and can accommodate a choice of engines. Penned by David Floury, the exterior follows the successful Oreca 01 design with the exception, of course, of the big fin on the engine cover.
2010-09-06: New Mazda show car, latest HSV Grange, extravagant Ferrari and beautiful Bugatti ...
In recent years Mazda's show cars have been among the finest. Up until now they used the 'Nagare' design language with as our personal favourite the Furai built in 2008. Following a change at the head of the design department, a new language has been created; 'KODO' or 'Soul of Motion'. The first car designed following the new principles is the Shinari Concept, which will make its official debut at the end of the month in Paris. The elegant four-door 'coupe' could very well provide the first glimpse of the RX-8 replacement.
Australia's HSV have released the first details this morning of the latest version of their top-of-the-range model; the Grange. It combines the very potent LS3 engine, which now produces well over 430 bhp, with advanced features like 'Side Blind Zone Alert' and the option to use petrol or LPG fuels. The big four-door machine will be available later in the month.
One of the most extravagant cars lined up at Pebble Beach last month was this unique Ferrari 410 SuperAmerica Ghia Coupe. It was the last Ferrari ever bodied by Ghia and took nearly a year to complete. The 340 bhp machine sports a design typical for Ghia's mid-1950s show cars with a very aerodynamic shape and big fins on the tail. As far as we know this was the first time the one-off Ferrari has appeared in public for at least twenty years.
Compared to the lavish Ferrari, the Bugatti Type 50 on the field sported a very understated design. Responsible for the big Bugatti's fine lines was Jean Bugatti and the body was built by the factory. Finished in a two-tone grey and black, the Type 50 Roadster was one of the most elegant cars in the concours.
2010-09-02: 2010 The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering report and gallery ...
One of the most exclusive events held during the Monterey Peninsula motoring week is The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering. Hosted by the Quail Lodge in the tranquil Carmel Valley, it has a strict limit of just 3,000 tickets. The 'lucky few' who were quick enough to purchase tickets were treated to some spectacular cars as well as fine food and drinks provided by the best local restaurants and vineyards. Among the featured themes this year were 45 Years of the Shelby Mustang and Alfa Romeo Special Coachbuilt. Particularly the Shelby Mustang celebrations attracted some very exciting machinery like Shelby's own Cobra prototype and one of just five open Ford GT(40)s produced. Further highlights included the public debut of the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport, several exciting Lolas, a class full of fantastic Ferraris and a breathtaking McLaren F1. At the end of day the entrants picked the class and outright winners. Fittingly there was a special award presented to Carroll Shelby for his fabulously original Cobra 260.
Our reporters were at the Quail Lodge from the crack of dawn until the final cars left the lawn late in the afternoon. Their efforts have been compiled in a detailed report and a 170 shot gallery.