2013-12-30: STP's Andy Granatelli tribute with Lotus 56 and March 707 ...
Over the weekend legendary entrant and former STP marketing executive Andy Granatelli passed away, at the age of 90. He was solely responsible for bringing the striking STP day-glo livery to racing, which since the 1960s has been worn by a great number of single seaters and sports cars. As an entrant, he won the Indy 500 in 1969 and again in 1973. For all his efforts as an entrant, promoter and marketeer, he was deservedly nicknamed 'Mister 500'.
As a tribute to the great man, we have today taken a detailed look at some of the most spectacular cars that wore the STP colours during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Perhaps the most famous of all and certainly well ahead of its time was the Lotus 56 Pratt and Whitney fielded in the 1968 Indy 500. The wedge-shaped machine was powered by a turbine engine and also used a Ferguson all-wheel drive system. Driven by the likes of Joe Leonard and Graham Hill, it was the fastest of all cars at Indy that year. Sadly pole-man Joe Leonard was robbed off a certain victory when his turbine engine failed with just ten laps to go. Our 35-shot gallery shows the pole-winning car in action complete with the typical heat haze of the turbine engine. Banned ahead of the 1969 season, the sophisticated machine was replaced by the Ford-engined Lotus 64. For a variety reasons, it proved to be an unmitigated failure and Granatelli's lead driver Mario Andretti instead piloted a Ford-powered Hawk to victory in the race.
Following Granatelli's association with Lotus, he set up an alliance with the newly formed March team in 1970. STP not only backed the works Formula 1 cars but also supported Chris Amon's efforts in the Can-Am March 707 Chevrolet. The absolutely massive machine arrived late and only competed in the final three rounds. Despite being slightly overweight, the STP-liveried 707 impressed with a third-place qualifying debut, followed by three top five finishes. Still mightily impressive, the ex-Amon March 707 was one of the stars of this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed.
2013-12-26: Four very rare racing cars seen on track in 2013 ...
Having visited many of the world's major historic races during the last decade, many of the cars we have seen racing in 2013, we had seen in action before. There are always rare exceptions, which make covering the events more than worthwhile. Today we take a look at four of these very rare machines that starred in 2013.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of all was to see a Ford Mk IV race at the Goodwood Revival where the 50th anniversary of the GT40 was celebrated. The Mk IV is the final GT40 incarnation and was developed and built entirely in the United States. It won Le Mans outright in 1967 and was rendered obsolete soon after due to a rule change. Of the few examples that survive, most are in major collections and are unlikely to race. The particular car we have captured on both sides of the Atlantic this year was completely restored earlier this year.
Also out on track at the Revival was a Ferrari 1512 F1, which was the very first Ferrari to feature a flat 12 engine. We already saw the car in action at Monaco last year but then it was dogged with engine troubles. With the help of the original designer, Mauro Forghieri, these issues have now been solved. In the hands of Joe Collasacco, the 1512 F1 ran well but no risks were taken in the very wet race.
Another V12-engined machine only rarely seen on track is the Maserati 250F T2 'V12' raced with great verve by Max Werner at the Revival. This was one of just two or three 250Fs ever fitted with a V12 instead of the familiar straight six.
One of the great silhouette racers was the Lancia Beta Montecarlo Turbo, which competed in the Group 5 class in the late 1970s and early 1980s. An Italian enthusiast has restored one of these to full running order and we captured it in this 39-shot gallery at Imola and also at a very wet Spa Francorchamps.
2013-12-23: McLaren 50th anniversary with M1A, M8D and MP4/4 ...
McLaren celebrated their 50th anniversary in great style throughout 2013 with the Goodwood Festival of Speed as the absolute highlight. To round off the year, we have taken a very close look at the very first McLaren; the M1A. Built around a spaceframe chassis and powered by a choice of American V8s, it was first raced by the McLaren works team with some success in 1964. In addition to the three works cars, a further two dozen were constructed in 1965 by Elva for customers. These cars were raced on both sides of the Atlantic where they were faced with the altogether more sophisticated Lola T70, which boasted an aluminium monocoque chassis. Of these original McLarens only very few have survived but fortunately, these are regularly raced in historic events. Over the years we have seen six different examples, which are pictured in a 75-shot gallery. Two of these were seen at the Festival of Speed where a large number of important McLarens were in action. Among these was the 1970 Can-Am winning M8D Chevrolet, the all-conquering MP4/4 Honda Formula 1 racer and the 1995 Le Mans winning F1 GTR.
We would also like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers Happy Holidays and the very best for the coming New Year.
2013-12-20: All-new Lamborghini Huracan, latest British sports car and new Kia concept ...
At the end of Lamborghini's 50th anniversary year, the Italian manufacturer released the first details of the all-new Huracan LP610-4. Named after a 19th century fighting bull, it will replace the Gallardo as the very important entry level model. Like its predecessor, the Huracan is powered by a V10 engine, which is good for 610 hp. It drives all four wheels through a new seven-speed, dual clutch gearbox. Ahead of the official launch at the Geneva Motor Show early in March, the Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4 will be previewed to prospective buyers at 130 private events.
Promising to continue the long tradition of minimalistic British sports cars is the Zenos E10, which will break cover at the Autosport International show in January. Designed by two former Lotus and Caterham employees, it features a central backbone chassis, push-rod actuated front suspension and a carbon-fibre body shell. Tipping the scales at just 650 kg, it is powered by a 200 bhp four-cylinder Ford engine. While additional models are also planned, the E10 is slated to enter production late in 2014.
At next month's North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Kia will show a new Sports Concept. This 2+2 coupe was styled at the North American design centre in Irvine, California.
2013-12-18: Mullin Automotive Museum visit with 80-shot gallery ...
At the start of our visit to California in August, we stopped by the recently opened Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard. Housed in an environmentally friendly building, the museum boasts the extensive collection created by Peter Mullin over the last decades. Focusing on French cars of the 1920s and 1930s, it includes spectacular examples of the likes of Bugatti, Voisin, Delage, Delahaye and Talbot Lago. Among the best known cars on display are the ex-Peter Williamson Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic and the Bugatti retrieved from the bottom of the Lago Maggiore some years ago. In addition to cars, the museum also has displays of contemporary paintings, furniture and sculptures. During our visit, there was no specific theme-based display but from early next year there will be special tribute to Bugatti, which will include one of the very rare Type 41 Royales.
Among the cars featured in our 80-shot gallery are a Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic Coupe, Delage D6 3L Grand Prix, Hispano Suiza H6B Labourdette Skiff, Bugatti Type 57 C Gangloff Aravis, Delahaye 145 Chapron Coupe and Talbot Lago T150C SS Figoni & Falaschi Teardrop Coupe.
2013-12-16: Porsche 911 50th anniversary celebration round-up ...
One of the major themes at events around the world this year was the 50th anniversary of the venerable Porsche 911. To end the first fifty years of the legendary German car, we have taken a closer look at some of the best examples we saw in 2013. At Pebble Beach we saw this time-warp example of the first generation 911 as well as one of the first Carrera RSR racing cars.
During the 1990s, Porsche created some of the most extreme 911s, which ultimately won the 24 Hours of Le Mans outright in 1998. The first of these was the 911 GT1 raced by the works team and privateers in 1996 and 1997. Although mid-engined, it did use the centre section of the production 911. That certainly was not the case with the all carbon-fibre 911 GT1 '98, which won Le Mans in 1998, scoring Porsche's 16th and to date final victory. That could change next year as a new top-line prototype is being readied. The continuous trickle of tidbits of information, now also includes the type name of the upcoming LMP1 machine; the 919 hybrid.
During the anniversary year, Porsche also rolled out a new generation of the 911. One of the most exciting cars in the line-up is certainly the 911 GT3. The highly sophisticated machine boasts a seven-speed, twin-clutch gearbox and active steering rear axle.
On the track, the all-new 911 RSR has also proven very successful with a class victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Porsche have announced this weekend that they acquired a controlling stake in Manthey Motorsport and will continue to field a works GTE team alongside the prototype effort in 2014.
2013-12-12: All-new BMW M3 and M4, more on the 2014 Audi R18 and new Rinspeed concept ...
Ahead of the official launch at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January, BMW have released the first details of the M3 Sedan and the M4 Coupe. Both cars share the same underpinnings and drivetrain, which includes a 425 bhp version of the familiar twin-turbo straight six. It comes standard with a six-speed manual gearbox, while a seven-speed, dual clutch gearbox is available as an option.
Hot on the heels of the first glimpse, Audi have now published more details and pictures of the new upcoming R18 e-tron quattro. It uses an evolution of the hybrid drivetrain that consists of a mid-mounted TDI V6 and a front mounted electronic motor connected to the front wheels. What is new is that the flywheel is not only fed by the electric motor under braking but also by a generator mounted in the exhaust system, which uses heat to generate energy. This is a similar technology as will be used in Formula 1 next year. So it is with reason that Audi considers the 2014 R18 e-tron quattro the most sophisticated racing car they have ever produced.
Rinspeed are a set fixture at the Geneva Motor Show, often showcasing the most spectacular concept car of the event. Their 2014 debut will be the XchangE, which can drive autonomously. Thanks to swivelling front seats, the occupants can have a face-to-face meeting at high speed.
2013-12-11: Unique Aston Martin DP212, more Porsche LMP1 and Toyota TS30 images and more news ...
In what is Aston Martin's centenary year, one of the most memorable moments was the victory in the blue ribband TT Celebration race at the Goodwood Revival of the unique Aston Martin DP212. Piloted by owner Wolfgang Friedrichs and Simon Hadfield, it fittingly scored the first ever victory for the marque in the Revival TT Celebration. Particularly Hadfield's drive in the soaked second half of the one-hour race was something very special and actually earned him a test with a current Aston Martin works Le Mans racer. To celebrate this great victory, we have taken a closer look at the one-off DP212. Its detailed history is illustrated by a 57-shot gallery showing the Aston Martin in action at the Goodwood Revival and Le Mans Classic during the last couple of years.
Released early from his tenure with Red Bull Racing, Mark Webber has already had his first test with the Porsche LMP1. Although no further details about the car have been published, which we believe will be dubbed the 919 R Hybrid, Porsche did release additional images.
Following our look back at the Audi R18 e-tron quattro earlier this week, we have also expanded the galleries of two of its rivals; the 2013-spec Toyota TS030 Hybrid and the HPD ARX-03c.
Hyundai meanwhile have officially launched their WRC campaign one month ahead of the competition debut at the Rally Monte Carlo. Signed to drive the new i20 WRC will be top-line drivers like Chris Atkinson, Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville.
One of the latest addition to the quickly growing list of Detroit / NAIAS releases will be this Volvo XC Coupe. This is the second of what will be a set of three concepts on which the next generation Volvo production cars will be based.
2013-12-09: Audi R18 e-tron quattro old and new, and McLaren P1 at the 'Ring more news..
Ahead of a major test at Sebring, Audi have released the first picture of their new-for-2014 Le Mans racer. Confusingly, the new car will nevertheless be dubbed the R18 e-tron quattro just like the existing car used in 2012 and 2013. Due to substantial rule changes, the 2014 car will be fundamentally different with a narrower width and a more potent hybrid drivetrain. Unfortunately, no technical details have been released but we will of course keep our eyes and ears open.
To mark the end of its historic racing career, we have today also taken a final look at the original Audi R18 e-tron quattro. In 2012, it became the first hybrid racer to win a major endurance race and little than a year later, it is a two-time Le Mans winner and World Champion as well as a Sebring winner. We have expanded our article and also added over 50 shots to our exclusive gallery, which now features over 200 shots of this great Audi racer.
Late last week, McLaren revealed a video of their P1 in action at the Nurburgring. In the hands of test-driver Chris Goodwin, it completed a sub seven-minute lap, although McLaren have not been inclined to release the exact time. In addition to the video, we have also added more images to the article.
Volvo meanwhile have published the first details of the V8 to be used in the S60 V8 Supercar, which is due to make its competition debut next year.
2013-12-05: All-new Ford Mustang and first glimpse of Z06 Corvette ...
This afternoon, Ford have launched the all-new Ford Mustang GT at a ceremony in Barcelona. Celebrating the iconic model's 50th anniversary, the sixth generation Mustang breaks new ground as it boasts independent rear suspension and will be available in Europe for the first time. Although still unmistakably a Mustang, the retro styling of the previous generation has been abandoned in favour of an altogether more modern design. One of the other key changes is the return of the fastback roofline. The engine line-up has also changed significantly; the V6 of the entry level model has been joined by a turbocharged four cylinder engine good for around 300 bhp. The V8 in the range topping Mustang GT has been modified in detail and we are promised it produces in excess of 420 bhp. The new Mustang will be available in the summer of 2014 as a 2015-model and a Convertible is expected to follow shortly as well.
Meanwhile, Chevrolet have released a first teaser image of the Corvette Z06, which will break cover at next month's North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. According to the brief press release this will be the most track-capable Corvette ever built.
2013-12-04: Ferrari's stillborn Group B racers and Alfa's final Le Mans winner ...
With the help of Michelotto, Ferrari developed two Group B racing cars during the 1980s. The earliest was the 308 GT/M, which featured an all-new aerodynamic body and a longitudinally mounted, naturally aspirated V8 engine. Ultimately, it was not raced and only three examples were built. Two of these can be seen in our 29-shot gallery. Based on the newly introduced 288 GTO, the subsequent 288 GTO Evoluzione was an altogether more potent machine. It sported a similar design but benefited from a twin-turbo V8, which produced around 650 bhp. Sadly Group B was abandoned before it was properly developed. By that time only six prototypes were constructed. We captured one of these in full detail as can be seen in this 24-shot gallery.
After many decades hidden away in private ownership, the 1934 Le Mans winning Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Brianza Spider has recently been completely restored. It features a unique four-seater Brianza body, which unusually was built on the shorter of the two 8C 2300 chassis.
2013-12-02: 2013 Essen Motor Show report and gallery ...
Over the weekend, the Messe Essen exhibition centre opened its doors for the 2013 Essen Motor Show. The annual event once again offered its unique mix of motorsport, tuners and classic cars. Among the highlights this year was a display of modern and classic DTM racers, a line-up of this year's most spectacular show cars and a selection of around a dozen Maserati competition cars to mark the manufacturer's upcoming 100th anniversary. We were in Essen first thing on the opening morning, which has resulted in the following concise report, illustrated by a 160-shot gallery.
One of the most interesting cars on display was the Radical RXC. Powered by a 380 bhp V6 engine, this is the first Radical with a roof. It can also be specified with a 480 bhp version of Radical's V8 engine.
On the eve of Maserati's 100th anniversary the sad news reached us that on Friday Umberto Panini passed away at the age of 83. He singlehandedly preserved an important part of the manufacturer's heritage by buying the complete factory collection before it was sold at auction. The cars have since been placed in a purpose built museum on the Panini family's beautiful Hombre farm. We visited the museum a few years ago and as a tribute to Umberto Panini, we would like to once again highlight our Panini Maserati Collection article.