2015-12-30: Two German racers that dominated in America ...
Traditionally, the American motorsport authorities have been relatively protective of domestic manufacturers. This was not so much to help them but also to keep the costs down for the competitors. During the 1970s, however, there was virtually no stopping Porsche until the German manufacturer tried to homologate the all-new turbo-engined 934 for the 1976 season. IMSA simply said no to the car fearing it would dominate to an even larger extent as the naturally aspirated cars, requiring all competitors to step up and buy the new Porsche. Realising that the 934 was the way forward, IMSA did allow the 934.5 to be raced during the 1977 season. As the name suggests, it was part 934 and part 935, as it featured a much larger rear wing than before. Eventually Porsche only built ten examples, as the company's customers quickly switched to full 935s. Many of these ten were later also upgraded to 935 specification to prolong their careers. Today, it is a very rare sight but over the years we did manage to capture three genuine examples, which are pictured in this 78-shot gallery.
Another fantastic German racer developed specifically for the American racing scene is the Audi 200 Quattro Trans-Am. Loosely based on the road-going 200 Quattro, this all-conquering machine featured a turbocharged five-cylinder engine and the all-wheel drive system made famous by the Audi rally cars. Run by Bob Tullius' Group 44 team, the cars were raced with great verve by Hurley Haywood, Hans-Joachum Stuck and Walter Rohrl. Even during the 1988 season, the Audis were dialled down with higher minimum weights and tighter restrictors but even in this guise, the 200 Quattro won Trans-Am races. The SCCA eventually decided to ban all-wheel drive altogether for 1988, which meant the 200 Quattro only raced in North America for a single season. Five were built and two survivors are pictured in great detail in this 41-shot gallery.
2015-12-28: Two great Group C racers ...
One of the most evocative of all Group C cars was undoubtedly the Lancia LC2. Introduced in 1983, it was the only serious competition for the Porsche 956. Very much a collaborative effort, the LC2 featured a Dallara designed chassis and an Abarth-tuned, Ferrari-based twin-turbo V8. Thanks to its efficient aerodynamics and hugely powerful engine, the Martini-liveried Lancia often matched the Porsches on raw pace but reliability issues often let the Italian thoroughbred down. The 956 could also rely on the strength of numbers with many privateers running the German cars, while the LC2s were only raced by the factory team. Of the nine examples built, we now feature six different chassis, many of which are still raced in historic events. In fact three are even pictured in our 113-shot gallery running in the rain.
While Porsche and Lancia fought for overall honours, the 'junior' Group C2 field was far more diverse. Dominating the 1985 season was the Cosworth-engined Tiga GC85 run by Spice Engineering and driven by Gordon Spice and Ray Bellm. A wholly conventional car, the GC85 was the most recent evolution of the original Tiga Group C car. In 1985, the featured example was driven to a class win at Le Mans and also won the C2 World Championship. Now owned by Brunn Racing, it has recently been comprehensively restored and was first raced at Paul Ricard earlier this year. Fittingly, it was driven to a class victory.
2015-12-24: Very expensive gifts for under the Christmas tree ...
Although 2015 is not quite over yet, the upcoming auctions in late January and early February are already grabbing our imagination. The one machine consigned that we would really like to see wrapped under our Christmas tree is the Ferrari 335 S Scaglietti Spyder. One of four built in 1957, it is one of the very first Ferraris powered by a twin-cam V12 engine. The mighty four-litre engine is good for close to 400 bhp and the potent package is tightly wrapped in a beautiful Scaglietti body. The car on offer, chassis 0674, placed second overall in the 1957 Mille Miglia. Since 1969, it was part of the late Pierre Bardinon's magnificent Mas du Clos collection. It has been consigned by his estate to the Artcurial Motorcars Retromobile sale. The fantastic fantastic Ferrari has a startling pre-sale estimate of Euro 28-32 million.
Packing a Mw of power, the Koenigsegg One:1 was touted as the very first Megacar when it was introduced at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. It also has a 1 hp / kg power to weight ratio, which explains the name. The mighty Koenigsegg combines the neck-snapping power with sophisticated active aerodynamics and suspension, and diligent weight saving. As a result, the One:1 is adept through corners as it is in a straight line. When the car was launched, Koenigsegg stated that, in addition to the prototype, six examples would be built for customers. These were almost immediately sold out, and eventually Koenigsegg decided to let the prototype go as well. This example is now available again, with a reported asking price of $6 million. It is featured alongside two of the other examples in our expanded, 80-shot gallery.
2015-12-21: McLaren Monday with four different single seater and new Jannarelly sports car ...
The McLaren Formula 1 team have had a dreadful season as it struggled to get new engine supplier Honda's V6 up to speed. That was in stark contrast with the previous time the Japanese and British manufacturer's teamed up; between 1988 and 1991, they absolutely dominated the World Championship. To mark these achievements, McLaren wheeled out two of the championship winning, Honda engined F1 cars out for this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed. The most recent of these was the 1991 vintage McLaren MP4/6 Honda. Powered by a new V12 engine, it propelled Ayrton Senna to his third championship in four years time. At Goodwood, the MP4/6 was driven up the hill by several of McLaren's works drivers including Jenson Button.
For the 1989 season, the all-conquering twin turbo V6 was replaced by a new naturally aspirated V10, which powered the McLaren MP4/5. The Honda-engined machine was used to great effect by Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna but ultimately, it was the Frenchman who became clinched the title. The MP4/5 Honda was driven at Goodwood by McLaren's talented youngster Nyck de Vries.
Of an altogether earlier vintage was the McLaren M10A Chevrolet, which was raced at this year's Monterey Motorsports Reunion. McLaren's first F5000 car, it was the car of choice during the 1969 season. The featured example was recently restored and boasts McLaren's legendary papaya orange livery.
At the Goodwood Revival, Bruce McLaren's career was celebrated with a fabulous demonstration of the cars he raced until his untimely death in 1970. Among the was the very first M2B Ford completed. The type was McLaren's first F1 car and it scored several points scoring finishes in 1966. The featured example was recently restored by Hall & Hall, and is today part of a fantastic American McLaren collection.
This weekend, two French enthusiasts announced the birth of a new, mid-engined sports car. Dubbed the Jannarelly Design-1, it is powered by a V6 engine that is mounted transversely ahead of the rear axle. Due to enter production in Dubai next summer, the first 20 examples will be offered for $55,000 a piece.
2015-12-18: Ferrari and Fiat Friday with 1965 Le Mans winning 250 LM and fire-breathing S.76 ...
Among all the great cars we have seen during 2015, the 1965 Le Mans winning Ferrari 250 LM really stands out. It was at the very top of the list of cars we were looking forward to seeing in the flesh as it is the very last Ferrari to ever win Le Mans outright and is also preserved in highly original condition in the Indianapolis Motorsport Hall of Fame. Chassis 5893 was brought out to mark the 50th anniversary of Ferrari's final Le Mans win and shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. It was certainly not the only 250 LM we have seen this year, so we have also expanded the galleries of 5907, which raced at the Goodwood Revival and Dix Mille Tours, 6119; the second LM on display at Pebble, 6313, which is the most raced 250 LM of the last couple of years and 6217; shown in action at the Monterey Motorsports Reunion in 2014.
One of the most impressive and loudest cars to return to action this year was undoubtedly the Fiat S.76. This fire-breathing machine is powered by a massive, 28-litre four cylinder engine and is aptly nicknamed the 'Beast of Turin.' It was already shown as a static display at Goodwood last year but now made its debut on the hill. To provide some extra insight in why we believe the S.76 was the absolute star of the Festival of Speed we have also added a pair of videos showing the beast get back to life.
Maserati, meanwhile, announced the company's return to international racing with the Granturismo MC GT4. Based on the popular Trofeo model, it features an engine detuned to just 430 bhp to meet the strict GT4 balance of performance regulations. At least 20 GranTurismo MC GT4s are expected to take to the track in 2016 in racing series around the world.
2015-12-16: The remarkable Kojima KE007, the new Mercedes-AMG SLC and Rinspeed's i8 ...
Going in to the season finale of the 1976 Formula 1 World Championship, the Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji, the title fight between Niki Lauda and James Hunt with just one point in it was the big story. The focus changed to the all-new Kojima KE007 after driver Masahiro Hasemi set the fourth fastest time in his first ever F1 practice session. Unlike the earlier Maki, the Kojima Engineering developed and built KE007 proved instantly and unexpectedly competitive. The team's weekend soon became a lot more difficult after Hasemi crashed heavily in practice 2. Hastily repaired, the Kojima lined up for the race and Hasemi officially recorded the fastest lap of the race, although this was later disputed by the Fuji Speedway officials. It turned out to be only outing for the KE007 and it was eventually left to rot in a used-car lot. Fortunately, the current owner tracked it down and has had it completely restored. Seeing the Kojima KE007 in action at the Goodwood Festival of Speed was of the absolute highlights of the year for us.
Mercedes-Benz have face-lifted the SLK and also changed the model's name to SLC to underline its relation with the C-Class. Topping the range is the Mercedes-AMG SLC 43, which is the only six-cylinder engined model. Its twin-turbo V6 produces for 367 hp and 520 Nm of torque, which gives the SLC 43 the same level of performance as the SLK 55 AMG it replaces.
At the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Swiss specialists Rinspeed will reveal the Etos show car. Based on BMW i8 underpinnings, it features a bespoke exterior and interior. A self-driving car, the Etos features a folding and retracting steering wheel. Following its appearance in Las Vegas this January, it will be shown two months later at the Geneva Motor Show.
2015-12-14: Lola T70 at 50 and the all-new Mercedes-AMG SL 65 ...
Fifty years ago this year, the Lola T70 first saw the light of day. The legendary sports racer was the first major car developed by late Lola-founder Eric Broadley after he left the Ford GT40 project. Built around a sophisticated monocoque chassis constructed from steel and aluminium, the T70 would evolve into a Can-Am Championship winner with John Surtees in 1966 and ultimately a Daytona 24 Hours winning machine as late as 1969. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original Mk1 T70, we have taken a detailed look at six different examples. Pictured in a 101-shot gallery, these machines are still raced with great success in historic events on both sides of the Atlantic.
Today, the all-new Mercedes-AMG S 65 has broken cover. The drop-top version of the recently launched S-Class Coupe, this range-topping model is powered by the well honed twin-turbo V12 engine, which produces 630 hp and a staggering 1000 Nm of torque. The new S 65 Cabriolet will be available from April of 2016 with the first expected to be delivered to the owners in May.
2015-12-12: Ferrari 290 MM hits the top 2015 auction results ...
With this week's record shattering RM Sotheby's Driven By Disruption sale in New York, the 2015 auction season has closed on a high. A new record for the year was set when the Ferrari 290 MM was sold for just over $28 million. The Top 25 of 2015 is dominated by Ferraris with the barn-find California and a 250 LM also featuring in the top three. Placing fifth was the unique Ferrari 250 GT SWB Bertone Berlinetta at $16.5 million. The first non-Ferrari on the list was the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato also sold this week in New York. It changed hands for $14.3 million, making it the most expensive British car ever sold at auction. The first German car on the list is the Le Mans winning Porsche 956 that was sold by Gooding at Pebble Beach for just over $10 million.
The 2016 season also promises to start on a high judging from the cars consigned for the Scottsdale auctions. Retromobile will also be very interesting as Artcurial have consigned the Ferrari 335 S that is offered directly from the late-Pierre Bardinon's Mas du Clos collection and is estimated to sell for Euro 28 - 32 million.
2015-12-09: The versatile Jaguar XJR-14 design, and new Lotus Exige Sport and Hyundai WRC racer ...
Built ahead of the 1991 season to comply with the new F1-inspired Group C regulations, the Jaguar XJR-14 had big shoes to fill. It was designed by Ross Brawn and featured a Ford-sourced, 3.5-litre V8. Thanks to its sophisticated aerodynamics, it won the World Championship that year. For 1992, the XJR-14 was fielded in North America where it did win a few races but ultimately proved too fragile. The only fully functional XJR-14 has been raced regularly this season by its new owner, which was one of the absolute highlights of the year for us.
Although not raced as a Jaguar XJR-14 again, the basic chassis design was first used for the Mazda MXR-01 and was later used for the Porsche TWR WSC95 of which two were built ahead of the 1995 season. The first one actually featured one of the tubs that had originally raced as a Jaguar. Not actually raced in 1995, the two cars were entered by Joest Racing for the 1996 Le Mans. It was the ex-XJR-14 that famously won the race and the very same car repeated that feat in 1997. Although introduced seven years earlier, the design was further updated to become the Porsche LMP1/98, which was fielded by the works team alongside the GT1 cars at Le Mans but with little luck. The second chassis has been preserved in its final guise in the Porsche Museum, while the two-time Le Mans winner has been restored to its more successful configuration and is proudly displayed in the Joest Museum.
Continuing their subtle revamp of the company's line-up, Lotus have this morning revealed the Exige Sport 350, which replaces the similarly engined but 51 kg heavier Exige S. In addition to the weight saving all around, the Sport 350 also boasts a slightly stiffer suspension to further improve handling.
For their third year back in the World Rally Championship, Hyundai Motorsport have developed a new i20 WRC, which is based on the latest i20 road car. The South Korean company has retained the driving services of Dani Sordo, Hayden Paddon and Thierry Neuville, while development driver Kevin Abbring will also contest in select rounds of the 2016 World Rally Championship, which will kick off in January with the prestigious Monte Carlo Rally.
2015-12-07: A look back at the Chantilly Arts & Elegance with five stars ...
It is already December, which means it is time for us to look back at some of the highlights of the past year. Certainly among them, despite being only the second ever edition, was the Chantilly Arts & Elegance. Today we have featured five of the many stars that were on display at the Chateau de Chantilly just north of Paris.
Certainly grabbing a lot of attention was the Ferrari 250 GTO on display. One of the finest examples, this car won the Tour de France outright in 1964 and was recently repainted in its original livery. As can be seen in our 25-shot gallery on chassis 4153GT, we had this GTO several times already in its Ecurie Francorchamps colours.
Entered in the same class was the very first Ford GT40 road car. It was featured in many period articles and was later in its life used on the road extensively with one owner clocking up over 100,000 miles. Back on its original Borrani wire wheels, chassis GT40P/1013 is now in Belgian hands.
Taking the prestigious 'Best of Show' was this Mercedes-Benz 500 K Spezial Roadster brought over for the occasion by the Louwman Museum. Known as the 'butcher's car', this Spezial Roadster is one of the most stunning Mercedes-Benzes in the world.
Also entered by the Louwman Museum was this very early Type 18 Bugatti. Clothed with a Skiff body built by Labourdette, it was originally owned by the legendary aviator Rolland Garros. Subsequently owned and raced by Ivy Cummings, the five-litre Bugatti was nicknamed 'Black Bess'.
Also very hard to miss was the beautifully restored Voision C28 Aerosport. This particular example was the prototype and featured an Hermes interior. Not treated particularly well during its life, the spectacular Voisin was brought back to its former glory by the current owner.
2015-12-04: McLaren 675LT Spider, new Volvo S90 and Renault's F1 'return' ...
Following the the 675LT Coupe that debuted earlier this year, McLaren have now launched the 675LT Spider. Like its fixed head counterpart, the Spider is strictly limited to 500 examples and celebrates the F1 GTR Longtail, which was raced during the 1997 season and is the ultimate evolution of the F1 racer. The Spider features the same 675 hp version of the familiar twin-turbo V8 and a striking body kit. McLaren have also created a deep golden colour that is exclusive to this model.
As part of a five-year, $11 billion investment program, Volvo has developed the all-new S90 due to be launched at the NAIAS in Detroit. Topping the range of this executive saloon is the S90 T8. This plug-in hybrid combines a supercharged and turbocharged petrol engine that powers the front wheels with a rear-mounted electric motor.
The big F1 news last night was the final confirmation that Renault will be back as a manufacturer next year through buying back the ailing 'Enstone team', which raced as Lotus the last couple of seasons. To mark the occasion, we have taken another look at the very first Renault F1 car, the RS 01. This car pioneered the turbocharged engine in F1 during the late 1970s. Often succumbing to reliability issues, the Renault RS 01 was at times referred to as the 'yellow tea-pot', especially by the British press. Hopefully, Renault will draw inspiration from the liveries used by their early F1 racers.
Speaking of liveries, Peugeot has revealed the final colour-scheme to be used by the 2008 DKR16s in the upcoming Dakar rally.
Following up on our 935 K3 update from earlier this week, we have now tracked down another car and added chassis 000 0027. One of the very last ones built, it was raced by the Interscope team between 1981 and 1983.
2015-12-02: Revised Porsche 911 Turbo and more on the legendary 935 K3 ...
At the upcoming North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Porsche will introduce an updated version of the current generation 911 Turbo. With all regular production 911s now powered by a turbocharged engine, it was time to underline that the actual Turbo model is a bit more special. As before, it features a 3.8-litre engine equipped with two variable turbine geometry turbos. Revisions to the inlet ports in the cylinder head, new injection nozzles and higher fuel pressure have raised the power by 20 hp to 540 hp for the 911 Turbo and to 580 hp for the 911 Turbo S, which is also fitted as standard with carbon-ceramic brakes. Both the Turbo and the Turbo S are also available as convertibles.
While processing the revised 911 Turbo models, our thoughts couldn't help but wander to the great Turbo-engined competition cars. One of our absolute favourites of these is the Kremer developed 935 K3, which is the most successful of all 935 variants, and the only one to win Le Mans outright. While many more existing cars were upgraded by their respective owners, Kremer only constructed around 13 K3s from scratch using bare shells supplied by Porsche. With today's addition of the ex-Barbour Racing 1980 Sebring 12 Hours and IMSA GT Championship winning chassis 000 0009, we now feature nine different examples. We have also added more images of two examples that competed in select CER rounds this year: chassis 009 0005 and the ex-Bob Akin 000 0013, which raced in period with both Jagermeister and Coca Cola colours.