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Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Racing

Koenigsegg Agera: Another Potential World-Record-Breaker?

On: Tue, Aug 17, 2010 at 9:10AM | By: Chris Weiss


Koenigsegg Agera: Another Potential World-Record-Breaker? test 1-1

Koeniggsegg is developing its Agera supercar, which it's expected to put into production this year. A successor to the CCR--a previous world fastest production car record holder--may be challenging the current world's fastest car--the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport--and the next-generation Shelby Supercars Ultimate Aero TT for the coveted title. According to Top Gear, the company's leader, Christian von Koenigsegg expressed some interest in vying for the title.

Last month, over July 4 weekend, Bugatti driver Pierre Henri Raphanel drove the 1,200-hp Veyron Super Sport to a blistering, record-shattering 267 mph. Unlike the unofficial 253 mph mark Bugatti had set in 2006, Bugatti made this one stick, with the Guiness Book of World Record staff on hand to put the run in the books.

While achieving the world speed record is a huge accomplishment, it puts a pretty big target on the back end of the Bugatti. Days after the feat, Shelby Supercars teased its own upcoming Ultimate Aero TT, indicating that it plans to give Bugatti a run for its money.


RedLine TimeAttack 2010: Sebring International Raceway

On: Mon, Aug 16, 2010 at 6:23PM | By: John Welch


RedLine TimeAttack 2010: Sebring International Raceway test 1-1

Sebring is as historic a race track as there is in the world. True, it isn't Le Mans or Monaco, and Americans would most likely name Daytona, Indianapolis, or Talledega before they would Sebring; the fact remains, this former B-17 training facility is hallowed ground.

I love Daytona, very much, but it just doesn't have the same panache as Sebring. The luxury-suites at Daytona are named for companies like General Mills, Lowes, and Fed-Ex; the suites on the front stretch of the Sebring race course are named after Audi, Panoz, and Chapparal. There is an unmistakable difference in historic quality between the two tracks and the events they entertain. Daytona is an enterprise for generating cash-flow, Sebring International Raceway is a beacon of purity in an otherwise tainted marketplace . . .

And the RedLine Time Attack Series fits right in with the philosophies of Sebring, real or completely dreamed up by myself as I struggled to suppress my child-like giddiness, almost vomiting as I ran a trembling finger over the Armco barrier on Sebring's front straight. From this position I was looking at cement that has stood the test of time. Unaltered for nearly 60 years, the front stretch at Sebring is a sight any American-born sports car enthusiast has to take in, at least once, before they die. The RedLine Time Attack event, held between August 13th and 15th, afforded me more access to more parts of Sebring than I have ever had before, and for that I am thoroughly grateful to the event organizers and participants. I hope my home state and fellow Floridians were able to make them feel welcome, as I will be bitterly disappointed if the event does not return to Sebring next year. After viewing the images and reading the stories the AutoShopper was able to collect during this stunning production car-based race, you too will be champing at the bit for the 2011 RedLine Time Attack at Sebring International Raceway, in the middle of nowhere, Florida . . .


Grand Thrown Down At Watkins Glen, Ganassi Takes Number Seven!

On: Mon, Aug 9, 2010 at 4:47PM | By: John Welch


Grand Thrown Down At Watkins Glen, Ganassi Takes Number Seven! test 1-1

The race was going quickly . . . very quickly. By the middle of the first hour it appeared that the Crown Royal 200 at the Glen was going to go the distance caution free, something that has never happened at Watkins Glen. With no yellow flags to slow and bunch the field, the race leaders were running a blistering pace. The No. 01 Ganassi BMW averaged a startling 120.679 mph on its way to the 7th victory of the season for Ganassi.

Tying the Rolex Series record for wins in one season is a big deal (especially considering there are two races left, with no signs of weakness from the Ganassi bunch), but the margin was paper thin. Scott Pruett brought the attractive (for a DP) BMW/Riley across the line 2.722 seconds ahead of the Wayne Taylor Dallara driven by Max ('The Ax') Angelelli. These two cars rubbed fenders all day, but, as usual, Scott Pruett came out on top.


The Road Racing Weekend

On: Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 6:05PM | By: John Welch


The Road Racing Weekend test 1-1

Sports cars aplenty this weekend, the American Le Mans Series is sharing the track with the IzodIndyCar Series, and the Rolex Grand Am Series will tackle Watkins Glen on Saturday, before NASCAR rolls in for their annual trip to the Glen. Grand Am won't start qualifying until noon-forty-five tomorrow, while the ALMS handled qualifications today.

There is lots of news involving prototypes and driver swaps and wrecks and general sports car zaniness. Let's dive right in with more Lola news.

Roush/Yates Engines has signed a contract to provide Lola Cars with purpose-built EcoBoost engines for new 2011 Lola chassis. The liter twin-turbo V6 will be built at the Roush Yates factory in Mooresville, North Carolina. The Ford EcoBoost LMP engine is designed to be a low maintenence, high mileage alternative to more exotic power plants from HPD (Honda Performance Development) and others. Lowering costs even further, this engine will be offered as a standard installation unit for Lola's 2011 LMP2-ish contender, the B11/40. If the 2011 engines function well and prove to be popular alternatives for LMP2-spec prototypes, Roush Yates may begin development on a Ford Coyote-based power plant. The Coyote, if you're not familiar, is the instantly legnedary 5.0 mill stuffed into 2011 Mustang GTs.

This isn't the first time a Yates engine has found its way into a Lola chassis. The Kremer Team ran Yates V8s in their Lolas in 2000, taking wins at Spa Francochamps and Kyalami. Both companies are excited about next season, and I am getting excited about all these turbo-equipped prototypes we may see next season.

More roadracingcrack inside the post . ..


 

Why Did the 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake Sell for $5 Million?

On: Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 4:01PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Why Did the 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake Sell for $5 Million? test 1-1

The 1966 Cobra “Super Snake” was one of the most inspiring automobiles ever designed. On September 7, 1965 CSX 3015 was shipped to Ford Advanced Vehicles Department, just before Carroll Shelby transformed CSX 3015 into the 'Super Snake' Shelby. Shelby was already a world-famous race driver by 1959, when he won LeMans for Aston Martin.

The 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake was a race car adapted for street use. Cobras combined Ford V-8 engines and lightweight British AC Ace bodies to create some of the most sought-after domestic cars ever made.

The Super Snake has an outrageous 427cubic inch, 800hp twin Paxton supercharged V8 with a super three-speed automatic transmission. Shelby drove the Cobra in a running of the "Turismos Visitadores" in Nevada. In February 1968, Road & Track referred to CSX3015 as ''The Cobra to End All Cobras.''

The one-of-a-kind muscle car started life as one of 23 Cobra competition roadsters and was made legal for the street with the addition of mufflers, bumpers, and other requirements. The roadster's aluminum body was upgraded with flared fenders that extended over gumball tires.


Daytona Construction Well Underway, Piece of Track With Every Daytona 500 Ticket

On: Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 11:25AM | By: John Welch


Daytona Construction Well Underway, Piece of Track With Every Daytona 500 Ticket test 1-1

As soon as the last Sprint Cup car disappeared into the Daytona International Speedway garage on the evening of July 3rd, the tarmac surrounding the 2.5 mile landmark began to tremble. It knew its time as the racing surface in Daytona was up. On July 5th, the tarmac realized its worst fears. Crews began disassembling the catch fence surrounding the track, trucking in construction equipment, and making the final preparations for the new track surface.

Now we crawl into August (I say 'crawl' because that is the fastest we can travel when outdoors in Florida; it’s very hot and an elevated heart rate will cause one's head to explode) and The AutoShopperBlog has a few DaytonaConstruction updates for you. Brothers operating cranes, tarmac for free, and month-one progress inside the post . . .


New Pictures of Ferrari 458 Challenge Go Live

On: Wed, Aug 4, 2010 at 10:09AM | By: Chris Weiss


New Pictures of Ferrari 458 Challenge Go Live test 1-1

Ferrari introduced its track-only version of the 458 several weeks ago, but until this week, we were left with but one picture of what the car looks like. Finally Ferrari has released a few live action shots of the 458 Challenge and it looks just as good from the back as it does the front. The cherry red trackster posed for a couple of shots during testing at the Vallelunga circuit.

Revealed at Ferrari's annual dealer meeting in mid-July, the Ferrari 458 Challenge is an all-performance, track-only version of the 458 Italia. Ferrari chose to transfer the 570-hp V8 engine from the 458 Italia without any tuning, instead focusing on fine-tuning the gear ratios and calibration of the dual-clutch F1 transmission to deliver higher torque at lower revolutions. Ferrari also made the 458 Challenge the first of its track cars to sport an E-Diff electronic differential.

The 458 Challenge also benefits from Ferrari's in-house-developed F1-Trac system, which features two settings for wet and dry conditions, providing maximum grip through both. The E-Diff and F1-Trac systems work together to deliver acceleration out of corners. Like the F1-Trac, the ABS system includes two settings: low grip and high performance. All the controls for those three systems are available to the driver on the steering wheel.


The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: 1st Anniversary Edition

On: Mon, Aug 2, 2010 at 3:19PM | By: John Welch


The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: 1st Anniversary Edition test 1-1

The Good: Last year we began preparing to launch The AutoShopper Blog right around this time. The first images were saved on July 30th, the first article written on August 1st. Though it wasn't the first article posted, the first article I wrote was a recap of the Rally Cross portion of the 2009 X Games.

I was blown away. The idea of a home-grown Race of Champions-type Rally Balls-Off made me giggle in my sleep. It was better than the RoC: no silly dune buggies, the rally cars are different brands and there were prominent jumps that the drivers had to negotiate. Two of them! The course weaved through the L.A. Coliseum, out into the parking lot, then back into the arena for jump-tastic, fascia-destroying 70-foot launches in the middle of the bowl. It was a perfect concoction of familiar drivers and short-attention span laps that would capture the skateboard-centric mind and possibly open a new form of racing to a new group of potential fans. After all, what could be more extreme than slinging a 2,500 lb. vehicle around gravel-strewn corners right next to 300-foot drop offs? That happens at every World Rally Championship race. Totally gnar-bonetubularRadical, Yo. I was so keyed-up I failed to notice the deplorable ESPN camera work or the obvious lack of scrutineering and serious scoring. That is the "Good" portion of today's article, last year's X Games Rally.

 . . . And now for the BAD . . . duhn-dun DAaaahhhh . . . The coverage and execution of the 2010 X Games Rally. The Ugly? ESPN/ABC motor sports coverage in general. Two words: "Sorely Lacking" . . .


Lola Produces Prototypes Under New 2011 Regulations

On: Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 2:34PM | By: John Welch


New Lola Chassis test 2

I might have written a little piece on the ALMS Northeast Grand Prix last weekend. In that article I may have stated that Lola will no longer build Coupes. I was wrong; they will no longer build short wheelbase coupes, like the Dyson Mazda, but they will produce a long wheelbase Coupe; think Drayson-Judd. Also, try not to confuse Dyson with Drayson, annoyingly similar team names, I know.

The new Lola Coupe, the B11/80, will feature the same ACO mandated "blow-over" fin as the B11/40 open top prototype. This fin is intended to interrupt a car's momentum if it gets up on two wheels and is trying to turn over, possibly crushing the driver. These regulations were spurred by an accident at Monza in 2008. Stéphane Ortelli's Courage is seen here nearly beheading Allan McNish as it flips and rolls, causing a broken ankle for Ortelli and Gawdawful signage space on the backs of post-2010 LMPs. Funny thing is, this sort of incident has NOT happened since. Scott Sharp's crash at Petit Le Mans last year was caused by hitting an errant Porsche 911 while cresting a blind hill at 140 mph, so it doesn't count. Before going into the new Lola Coupes, I offer video of Ortelli and Sharp, flippity flipping their prototypes into oblivion, inside yon post . . .


MINI To Take The Countryman Rally Racing

On: Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 11:45AM | By: John Welch


MINI To Take The Countryman Rally Racing test 1-1

The WRC (The FIA World Rally Championship, if you prefer)  has seen its number of factory-sponsored competitors dwindle in the last few years. Hyundai, Peugeot, Mitsubishi, and even the mighty Subaru have all left the sport since 2007, leaving only Ford and Citroen to duke it out in the hills of Acropolis, the snows of Finland, the rains and gravel of Great Britain.

Like every struggling motorsport organization, the WRC decided to change its rules and attempt to attract more manufacturers through lower costs. Naturally aspirated engines are now strongly advised, and turbocharged engines cannot measure more than 1.6 liters. It will be difficult to push this size engine to the 300 or more reliable horsepower the old 2.0 units were making, but in a few years we should see the return of air restrictors as engineers find ever increasing gobs of power.

One of the manufacturers willing to take on the small bore turbo challenge is MINI, and they aren't taking their rally campaign lightly. Teaming up with Prodrive, the company is responsible for building many successful race cars, Subaru's championship winning WRC team included. Utilizing the nearly-new Coutryman model, MINI and parent company BMW plan to live up to the brand's already prestigious racing history. Their last international rally win coming at the 1967 Rally Monte Carlo; the team is anxious to get a car built and testing underway.

MINI will run a limited schedule in 2011, and look for a full campaign from 2012 on. Their deal with the FIA is for 3 to 4 years, and if successful they will commit to the WRC further.


Lime Rock SlugFest; CytoSport Scores Second Victory

On: Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 11:46AM | By: John Welch


Lime Rock SlugFest; CytoSport Scores Second Victory test 1-1

So maybe the title of this article is slightly misleading. Saturday, at Lime Rock, CytoSport/Muscle Milk was able to hand the Porsche RS Spyder its second post-Penske victory, but its first over-all victory this season. What in the huh am I talking about? Lime Rock Park saw one, combined LMP class (a very dismal field of five cars) take to the tarmac. CytoSport took its first victory at Sebring, but because the prototypes were still separated into LMP1 and 2, it was only a class victory. Seriously, that race featured a duo of Peugeot 908s; it was over before it began.

Ahem, technically its first victory, Klaus Graff and the CytoSport crew made it as exciting as the limited car count would allow. Raining and slippery during qualifying on Friday, Patron-Highcroft was able to use their tractable HPD V8 to great effect, taking the pole handily over the rest of the field. Saturday's race, however, was completely dry, the changing conditions giving the upper hand to more powerful turbo and 10-cylinder cars. The start was gnashed-teeth exciting, the Dyson Mazda, Intersport Lola and Drayson Lola-Judd all cramming into Turn 1, a piece of real estate barely the width of a country lane. The Dyson Mazda came out of the turn in the lead; followed by Lord Drayson's Union Jack-splattered Lola, Jon Field's Lola coming up in third position.

The Dyson Lola coupe dominated the first few rotations, a sight for sore eyes. Lola will not build any more LMP Coupes, so this may be the last season we see this gorgeous design scooting around American tracks. The Dyson team is to be applauded for taking risks: switching from the proven RS Spyder to the Lola, squeezing nearly 700 bhp out of a 2-liter four pot, laughing in the face of E85, and going straight for IsoButanol. These moves have done much to endear this team to me, and they deserve a victory as much as anyone on the grid. Alas, Saturday, July 24th was not that day . . .