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2006-07-31: More P4/5 images, electric Elise, stunning Delage racer, exceptional Aston and more ...
Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina Two weeks ago, James Glickenhaus was kind enough to let us preview the first images of his amazing Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina. Although these shots were just of the wooden styling buck, they gave the first glimpse of James' grand scheme that many of us have been speculating about for months. This weekend designer Pininfarina released the first images of the actual car. Pininfarina and Glickenhaus will officially unveil the P4/5 at the upcoming Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance..
Over the last few days the British Grand Prix track hosted the annual Silverstone Classic, which this year celebrated Aston Martin's historic racing efforts. One of the highlights was the demonstration run with one of only two Aston Martin DBR2s built. Recently purchased from a U.S. owner, it was the first time this car had been seen in its home country for many years. Expect an action-packed report from the Silverstone event right here later this week.
With consistently-climbing fuel prices, the mainstream manufacturers are looking for alternative power sources. Most of these hybrid or electric cars available today are boring family sedans, but things are about to change with the introduction of the Lotus Elise-based Tesla Roadster. Deliveries of the electric engined two-seater should start next summer.
In a very successful collaboration, Delage and coachbuilder Figoni & Falaschi created a striking coupe for the 1936 Le Mans Race. Sadly the race was cancelled and instead of racing, the unique coupe set about setting that summer's concours season alight, receiving admiring looks wherever it appeared. It was not quite as successful at Le Mans the next year and the body was scrapped and replaced by a more conventional roadster. For years the curvaceous lines were lost, but thanks to the talented Belgian coachbuilders d'Ieteren our generation can throw an admiring look at the small French car. Earlier this month, we were among the lucky people to see the reconstructed Delage D6-70 Figoni & Falaschi Competition Coupe in action at the Le Mans Classic seventy years after the beautiful lines were first penned. The shape is quite a contrast to the modern prototype racers like the recently revealed Lavaggi LS1.
  2006-07-24: Six wheeled wonder, British Motorshow highlights, striking new Radical ...
Tyrrell P34 Experimentation in Formula 1 was at an all time high in the 1960s and 1970s; some of it led to revolutions, but most of it to disappointment. After others had tried turbine engines and four wheel drive, the previously very conventional Tyrrell jumped on the bandwagon with the very unusual P34 six wheeler. What was even more unusual, the experimental Tyrrell P34 was an instant success scoring a win and a variety of podium finishes. The two examples featured in today's update are still successful in historic races and are pictured at Monaco and Silverstone. A quick look at the P34 shows that by the mid-1970s single seater racers were miles apart from other racing cars, but in the time of the Talbot Lago T26C Biplace Sport things were very different. With minimal changes the T26C won both a Formula 1 Grand Prix and the 1950 24 Hours of Le Mans.
At a new location the bi-annual British Motorshow opened its doors to the public last week. The new releases on show in London are clearly aimed at the performance market with the wraps being taken off cars like the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IX FQ-360 and the Seat Leon Cupra. Celebrating Stirling Moss' legendary Mille Miglia win, Mercedes Benz added the McLaren SLR '722' to their line-up. Although recently announcing their Le Mans plans, Peugeot has not fully abandoned rallying and unveiled the 280 bhp 207 Super 2000 for customers to race in national championships.
After the stellar debut of the Judd engined Radical SR9, the first works SR9 took first took to the track in similar fashion at last week's Nurburgring 1000 km race. Combining a quick pace with a beautiful livery, the AER engined Radical was an immediate crowd favourite.
2006-07-19: First details of Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina revealed ...
Ferrari P4/5
When James Glickenhaus set out to have his Ferrari Enzo rebodied by Pininfarina he could not have imagined the huge impact his 'project' would have. Ever since he released the first details on several message boards early in 2006, the story was picked up by magazines all around the world. It might have been Glickenhaus' movie directing background, but the following months the story felt like a genuine thriller for enthusiasts alike. While he released sparse details, all that was known about the shape was that it resembled the Ferrari 330 P3/4 sportscar also owned by Glickenhaus. This caused even more talk as the P3/4 is generally considered one of the best looking machines ever to grace the world's racing tracks. Many magazines used this information for the computer generated renderings, which a select few knew were far off the finished product. Sadly we were not able to join the global speculation game as Jim let us in on his little secret and showed us the finalized design back in January 2006. It has been difficult to keep quiet about the most exciting new car release of this year. July 25th was set by Glickenhaus as the date the first images would be revealed, but sadly today the first image was leaked. In light of this James has graciously allowed us to publish the first images of the styling and information of his glorious Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina. Expect more details to be published here in the next few days. The full set of images will be available from July 29th.
  2006-07-17: Le Mans Series: Nurburging 1000 km report and slideshow ...
Nurburgring 1000 km
After the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans last month, the Le Mans Series were given four weeks to rebuild their cars and in some cases spirits. With the exception of the disappointing Lister team, all of them were ready in time for this weekend's Nurburging 1000 km; the third of the five-round Le Mans Series. In addition to the regular runners, a second Radical made a very promising debut. Back in the 1950s and 60s the Nurburgring 1000 km was a highlight on the motor racing calendar and this year's edition surely lived up to that legendary status. There was plenty of close racing and drama on and off the track to make the race very memorable. Despite lasting the full six hours, many cars were still fighting for positions in the closing stages of the race. The LMP2 class was a very close fight, which ended in tears of joys for one team and tears of misery for the other.
Somewhat unusual was the introduction of the new LMP1 Lavaggi LS1 racer in the paddock at the eve of the race. We'll look more closely at that car here before it makes its racing debut at Donnington next month.
Despite the heavy vacation traffic to the Southern parts of Europe we made it in time to enjoy a sun-soaked weekend on the Nurburgring track-side. This resulted not only in a nice sun tan, but also in the thoughts and pictures captured in our exclusive report and 150-shot slideshow.
2006-07-12: Le Mans Classic report and slideshow ...
Le Mans Classic Less than three weeks after the 24 Hours of Le Mans, we drove back to the 13.6 km French track. This time it was for the Le Mans Classic; a celebration of the rich heritage of the most legendary endurance race. Approximately 400 racing cars from between 1923 and 1979 took to the track, divided into six groups between Saturday 4 pm and Sunday 4 pm. The previous two editions of this bi-annual event were considered by many as the highlight of the season. Despite being held on the same weekend as the Goodwood Festival of Speed, this year's edition saw an even more impressive entry list for the race, and packed manufacturer and club stands. Highlights included the presence of the three Ford GT40 Mk IIs that filled the podium exactly forty years ago. Two of them raced and all three paraded before the race to celebrate Ford's first Le Mans victory. Goodwood had to make do with a similarly livered, but different GT40 Mk II. A Le Mans Classic is Harry Leventis' Aston Martin DBR1, which took the company's only overall win in 1959 and was driven by AM CEO Dr Ulrich Bez. One of the most legendary cars to ever race at Le Mans is the Gulf livered Porsche 917 and to the delight of everybody, Jean-Marc Luco brought his 1971 second place finishing example and again finished second in his race.
We spent three days around the track to capture the Christie's auction and all the on-track action. Our findings can be found in a detailed report and a 240-shot slideshow.
  2006-07-03: Gullwing, Lotus 33, stunning Ferrari, new XKR and turbine Le Mans racer ...
Mercedes Benz 300 SL The Mercedes Benz 300 SL is without a doubt one of the most recognizable cars ever produced thanks to the typical 'Gullwing' doors. These vertically opening doors were a necessity because of the high sills of the light and rigid spaceframe chassis. In Formula 1, the spaceframe chassis was abandoned for the first time in 1962 when Lotus launched the revolutionary type 25. Two years later it was replaced by the 33, which featured a more powerful engine and considerably fatter tires. Combining light weight, low drag and high rigidity, the Lotus 33 dominated the 1965 season. A lot more old-fashioned than the 300 SL or the Lotus 33, the Ferrari 375 MM was nonetheless a regular race winner.
Jaguar impressed the world last year with the advanced aluminum all-new XK. At the British International Motorshow later this month, the plagued British company will complete the lined up with the supercharged XKR model, in both Coupe and Convertible form.
A few weeks ago, the 24 Hours of Le Mans was won for the first time by a car equipped with an 'alternative' engine. It was by no means the first time non-petrol powered car took up the challenge though. The featured Howmet TX was one of these and came equipped with a helicopter-derived turbine engine. It will return to Le Mans later this week for the first time since 1968 and will be offered by Christie's in their Le Mans Classic sale. More conventional is the Lola B05/40 Zytek, which was driven to a second in class in the most recent Le Mans. It is seen here in action at Spa and Le Mans.