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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Racing

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: Off-Season Road Race News

On: Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 4:59PM | By: John Welch

GRRRRRRrrrugly test 2

The advancement of electronic locomotion knows no bounds apparently, as several sports car teams and companies pledge to include some form of energy recovery system on their 2011 racing machines. This includes all of Formula 1, which will see the return of KERS after a one-year hiatus. Two new GT2 cars coming in 2011, the Ferrari 458 GT2 and the reinvention of the Porsche 911 RSR. Though similar to its 2010 sibling, the RSR is fresh as a daisy under the skin.

Finally, what do you consider ugly? Does pure function override decidedly homely appearance for you? Would you prefer your LEDs with or without pontoon fenders? Audi has released images and important data regarding their new R18; we just aren't sure we wanted them to.

Audi R18 To Be Unveiled This Evening

On: Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 3:14PM | By: John Welch

Audi R 15 Plus test 2

The title for this post is slightly misleading. Currently, it is 6:39 p.m. in Ingolstadt, Germany, so you can apply the word 'evening' to whomever or whatever you would like. The important bit is this: Audi has completed work on its new Le Mans contender, the R18, and it is a radical departure from the last three Audi prototypes. The R10 was a success, but according to Audi driver Frank Beila, "(the R10) handles like a truck."

The R15 was so bad (again, 'bad' is a relative term, it was bad only when compared with the equally stunning Peugeot 908; the R15 squished all other LMP1 machines underneath its toothy fascia) that it 'required' an update after only one season . . . a seaon made up of only three races. The R15 Plus was an improvement, shifting away from the crazy aero-backfires that plagued the original R15, but still was not on par with the 908. This doesn't sit well with AudiSport, a team that is very used to winning everything. They want to crush the French badly, and believe that they have found the most effective solution within the ACO's new set of Le Mans protocols.

UPDATE: Official Audi Press Release inside the post . . .

Ferrari Unveils The 458 Challenge

On: Tue, Dec 7, 2010 at 10:17AM | By: Chris Weiss

Ferrari Unveils The 458 Challenge test 1-1

At the Bologna Motor Show, Ferrari has grown its track car family with the new 2011 458 Challenge. Maranello teased the car two months ago, and now we have a look from every angle. The track-spec 458 keeps the output of the 458 Italia, but adds a variety of interior, exterior, and mechanical upgrades.

Ford Completes F-150 Torture Test At Baja 1000 Race

On: Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 2:32PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Ford Completes F-150 Torture Test At Baja 1000 Race test 1-1

Ford utilized an F-150 EcoBoost race truck with the equivalent of 10 years of rugged use to complete a grueling Baja 1000 race in a little over 38 hours; traveling a whopping 1061 miles!

The 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine used to power the race truck performed spectacularly in the harsh terrain and extreme temperature swings of the Baja California Penninsula in Mexico. The truck endured accelerations at full throttle, and stiff decelerations across the mountains at temperatures that ranged between freezing and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.


Chevrolet Makes a Comeback to Indy Car Racing

On: Tue, Nov 16, 2010 at 3:57PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Chevrolet Makes a Comeback to Indy Car Racing test 1-1

Chevrolet is preparing to make a come-back to Indy Car Racing in 2012, interrupting Honda‘s monopoly on producing engine supplies for the American racing series.

Chevrolet is expected to partner with Ilmor Engineering, one of the most successful race-engine design and manufacturing firms in the world, to develop a high performance twin-turbo V6 engine. The Izod Indy Car Series plans to discontinue using V8s and move toward utilizing smaller four and six cylinder engines, beginning in 2012.

Chevy To Return To IndyCar In 2012?

On: Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 10:45AM | By: John Welch

Chevy To Return To IndyCar In 2012? test 1-1

Honda has been the sole supplier of engines to the IRL and Izod IndyCar Series (same thing) since Chevrolet dropped out in 2005. The racing has been reliable, but boring. This morning it is expected that GM will return to open-wheel racing and field a new twin-turbo V6 for IndyCar teams in 2012. It is also expected that Roger Penske will be the first to use the Chevy power train, putting Chevrolet in a good position to win races quickly.

2012 will be the first IICS season run under a new rules package that does away with the current Dallara chassis; replacing it with a . . . Dallara chassis. The Series directors have taken an "open source" approach to the is new chassis however. The basic safety cell, or monocoupe, in each car will be identical, but the aero bits we can actually see are all fair game for designers. Dallara offers an low-cost entry kit; Group Lotus has already signed on to manufacturer a kit for the Dallara, and it is reasonable to think that Penske and Ganassi will both create their own kits. Engine size is limited to 2.4 liters, and can be a four- or six-cylinder design.

Watch the official announcement at 10 am EST at SPEEDtv.com. More from us after Chevrolet becomes the second Izod IndyCar Series engine supplier for 2012.

The NASCAR Camry Coupe V8 at SEMA

On: Mon, Nov 8, 2010 at 10:36AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

The NASCAR Camry Coupe V8 at SEMA  test 1-1

The owner of RK Collection and co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, Rob Kauffman, has teamed up with Toyota Racing development to produce a street-legal, NASCAR-inspired high-performance Camry.

Among many new concepts unvieled at SEMA last week, one of the most interesting cars is the Toyota NASCAR Camry V8 Coupe. The SEMA Show is the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world. The SEMA show is not open to the public, It draws the industry’s brightest minds and hottest products to the Las Vegas Convention Center. As part of the AAIW, the SEMA Show attracts more than 100,000 industry leaders from more than 100 countries. The Camry at this year’s SEMA was not your ordinary sedan by any means; the special two-door Toyota Camry NASCAR Edition was produced by RKC in collaboration with Toyota Racing Development (TRD).

Toyota Tacoma X-Runner RTR Racing Truck: Hauling Takes On More Than One Meaning

On: Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 9:39AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota Tacoma X-Runner RTR Racing Truck: Hauling Takes On More Than One Meaning test 1-1

Toyota’s Tacoma X Runner RTR is a “ready to race” concept  pick-up that will be featured at the 2010 SEMA Show. A high performance vehicle that sprang from a “parts bin build with all but a few components currently available for Toyota products,” according to a recent Automotive News article. The supercharged 5.7-liter V-8 engine is able to pull the RTR from 0-60 in just 3.76 seconds which is remarkable for what Toyota calls an un-calibrated drag truck "that just came out of TRD’s garage," according to Toyota Press Room.

The Tacoma X-Runner RTR achieves its performance with a stock, current-generation Tundra 5.7-liter V8 engine with a six-speed automatic transmission and a Toyota Racing Development (TRD) Supercharger Kit.  The engine has a whopping 504 horsepower and 550 lb.-ft. of torque and runs on premium gas rather than race fuel.

Off Season Endurance Update: Peugeot 90X

On: Tue, Nov 2, 2010 at 10:25AM | By: John Welch

Off Season Endurance Update: Peugeot 90X test 1-1

Endurance racing is exciting. Very exciting. The action and strategy is grind your teeth to dust-exciting during both the LMS and ALMS seasons, and even more so, to a point, during the winter off season. You can expect a newly designed NASCAR stocker once every, what? two decades?! Boring . . . In the modern era you get a fresh Indy Car every 12 to fourteen years. Formula 1 cars are "new" every season but the rules are so restricted that the innovations are minimal at best. Open-form endurance racing produces new ideas, cars and teams nearly every season. If you enjoy motorsports, technology, or "design" in general and endurance racing doesn't quicken your pulse . . . well, you may want to consult a physician. There is a good chance you're stone dead.

Rule changes meant to decrease cost and increase safety are a part of all racing formats in this new decade, an inescapable side effect of a crappy world economy and our increasingly sissified international society. Other forms of motorsports suffer from these changes whereas top flight endurance racing just gets more exciting. Look at the header image that accompanies this article. The Peugeot prototype pictured doesn't immediately seem all that different from the diesels squishing 908's we are used to. The orange arrows point out differences between this so-named "90X" and it's 908 HPDi progenitor. It is NOT the same car, though it is possible they share the same basic carbon fiber passenger compartment. Each of those annoying arrows points to a modification that has been made on the name of rules compliance, or, unlike most motorsport, out right speed. There is a billboard affectionately named "Big Honking Fin" by the Internet, different side pods, goose-neck attachments for the rear wing, a new engine intake and so on. We cover each of those arrows inside this post; hopefully we get our hands on images of the next Audi soon . . .

2010 Sebring Historic Fall Classic: German Mega Gallery

On: Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 10:36AM | By: John Welch

2010 Sebring Historic Fall Classic: German Mega Gallery test 1-1

Sebring International Raceway is open for business all year long. This is Florida, and despite what news media sensationalism would lead you to believe, hurricanes do not disrupt our fun that often. You can book the Sebring course for practice, testing, weddings, company picnics, and of course, Historic Racing.

That term "Historic Racing" is sort of arbitrary; there is no specific factor that makes a race or race car "historic". If it has turned a wheel in sanctioned competiton, it probably carries some historic value for sombody. Personally, I think all race cars are historic in one way or another. As it turns out, Historic SportsCar Racing Limited agrees with me. They put together three days of hard-nosed, surprisingly close racing comprising of 6 classes, two night races, three enduros and, the big draw, two race-winning Audi R8 prototypes. I certainly didn't think I would ever get a chance to photograph these cars at speed. What a thrill!

The races were exciting to the end, the Audis dominating the multi-class racing, while several GT1 Porsche 911 RSRs were the "class" of the GT field. The No. 28, owned by Klaus Graff (driver of the CytoSport Porsche RS Spyder that won two races during the 2010 ALMS season) was especially soul stirring. Listening to this car downshift from sixth to second entering turn 15 was a nearly religious experience. It's the little things that make you wonder why America isn't a little more enamoured with auto racing. The echo from a sequential transmission barking off downshifts is so bizarre and spine tingling it seems to me that one hasn't lived until having witnessed such a mechanical epiphany.

Thankfully, I live in Florida, I work for the AutoShopper, and I get to experience this magic six times a year. I lie awake at night dreaming of Sebring, and I can't wait for you to open this gallery, or watch the attached video, and consider a trip down here yourself, come March 2011. Check back all weekend for more SHFC images; it is simply impossible to fit them all into one post . . .

12 Minutes Of V8 Super Cars That Reaffirms Our Lust For Racing

On: Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 11:42AM | By: John Welch

12 Minutes Of V8 Super Cars That Reaffirms Our Lust For Racing test 1-1

We don't cover the Austrailian V8 SuperCar Series that often in the AutoShopperBlog. Like NASCAR and Formula One, this series is well-covered across the interwebs, and doesn't hit close to home like the ALMS or Rolex Grand Am Series. Just like NASCAR and F1, sometimes we just can't ignore the Aussie V8s.

In case you are totally uninitiated, V8 SuperCars are very close to their production brethren, the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon. Though we have not had anything similar to the (completely badass) Ford Falcon on these shores, you may recognize the Commodore as the late, great Pontiac G8. Don't cry for me, Catalina, though we no longer get the G8, it's chassis lives on as several Holdens, and a Vauxhall or two; don't forget Chevrolet-badged versions sold in Saudi Arabia and China. Hilarious how our own government likes to screw us over in the name of "good relations" with these countries, while at the same time General Motors sells the most ‘American’ of vehicles not to Americans, but to our financial "frienemies". Sooo funny. The world just isn't fair.

Political rant stifled, I must now turn your attention to the video inside this post. It comes from last weekend's Gold Coast 600 (600 Kilometers, not miles) and it features a veteran Holden driver, Jamie Whincup, holding off an upstart Ford rookie, Shane Van Ginsbergern. The two drivers are bumper-to-bumper for a long time, the racing action too good to ignore. Sit back in your office chair, watch out for Eye-Hustlers, and let this video rip; it is sure to be the best ten minutes of your stuffed-shirt, cubicle-dwelling day!