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And Car Reviews

Sick Of Your Geo Already?

On: Fri, Sep 11, 2009 at 2:13PM | By: John Welch

Sick Of Your Geo Already? test 1-1

GM is rolling out an ambitious 'rebate' plan next week. Try full rebate. If you find you don't like your new GM vehicle, for any reason, in the first sixty days of ownership, you can return it for a full refund. The marketing blitzkrieg features a folksy Texan and fresh product. Actually, most of it is 'fresh' only if you were smart enough to avoid that Transformers 2 turdcicle. We dummies have all laid eyes on the Chevy Beat already.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

On: Fri, Sep 11, 2009 at 12:02PM | By: John Welch

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly test 1-1

The Good: Turbine-powered race cars. They're good, promise. In 1967 and 1968 several took to the track attempting to break the piston-engine stranglehold on motor racing. Howmet Corporation, a metal fabrication company, built two Le Mans style protoypes and entered them in the 24-hour races at Le Mans and Daytona. Howmet manufactured intricate aluminum parts used in military turbines and saw a turbine-powered sports car as an excellent marketing tool. And so, the Howmet TX was born. The advantages of the turbine were obvious: it produced (the equivalent of) 325 brake horsepower, yet due to its aluminum construction it weighed in a feathery 170 lbs. Unfortunately the Howmet team suffered mechanical issues and were never able to finish a race.

Required Viewing: This Weekend's Racing

On: Thu, Sep 10, 2009 at 3:58PM | By: John Welch

Required Viewing: This Weekend's Racing test 1-1

It's a fairly slow weekend coming up, September 11th through the 13th. There's the omni-present NASCAR and Formula One races, split between Speed and ABC/ESPN. There is a Speed World Challenge race that will be broadcast on Friday, during work, of course. I'll set that DVR as soon as I get home. Still waiting for Discovery HD to begin showing their HD rally coverage, and there is no ALMS or Grand-Am. Both series are gearing up for the final races of the season.

Friday, September 11th

8:00am       SPEED: Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix practice, Monza

12:00pm     SPEED: NASCAR Sprint Cup practice, Richmond

2:00pm       SPEED: SCCA SPEED World Challenge, Elkhart Lake, Wis.

7:30pm       ESPN2: NASCAR Nationwide Series race, Richmond

3:00am       ESPN2: NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, Indianapolis, Ind.

Saturday September 12th

8:00am      SPEED: Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix qualifying, Monza

11:00am    SPEED: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying, Madison, Ill.

2:30pm      SPEED: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, Madison, Ill.

7:30pm      ABC: NASCAR Sprint Cup race, Richmond

Sunday September 13th

6:00am       SPEED: GP2 Series, Monza

7:30am       SPEED: Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix, Monza

4:30pm       SPEED: Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix, Monza


Source: Racer.com

GM Finalizes Opel/Magna Deal

On: Thu, Sep 10, 2009 at 12:40PM | By: John Welch

GM Finalizes Opel/Magna Deal test 1-1

Opel employees were able to breathe a sigh of relief this morning, as it appears GM has agreed to sell a 55% stake in Opel/Vauxhall to Magna and its Russian partner Sberbank.

GM had reservations about selling to Magna, not wanting to release intellectual properties to its Russian partner. A deal has been reached, and apparently the patent drawings for the Ecotech engine are safe. German workers and government officials strongly supported take over by Magna because the Canadian firm has pledged to keep all Opel manufacturing plants in Germany open, saving as many German jobs as possible. The other company in the running for Opel, RHJ International, made no such claims. The German government was less then willing to put in the required national funds if these jobs were not secure.

GM released a statement, making it clear that the deal is not final (are they ever?!), stating deals with labor unions and the German Parliament still need to be ironed out.

"This has shown that the patience and single-mindedness of the federal government has paid off," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had uncharacteristically stuck her neck out in favor of Magna, lobbying in both Washington and Moscow.

Hopefully this will bring closure to this facet of New GM's reorganization, and they can get to work turning the G8 into an Impala already . . . (never gonna happen, I know, I know . . )

Source: The New York Times


Rally Insanity Part Deux; Riakkonen Rolls

On: Thu, Sep 10, 2009 at 11:56AM | By: John Welch

Rally Insanity Part Deux; Riakkonen Rolls test 1-1

After posting the 'Rally Insanity' video yesterday I took a minute to peruse the other videos that came up in the original 'search'. The 2009 Rally Finland was the first big-league rally event that F1 ace Kimi Raikkonen has participated in. It is widely believed that Raikkonen will leave Ferrari after this season to go rallying full time. His first race didn't end so well, and the video after the jump says it all.

Rally Insanity

On: Wed, Sep 9, 2009 at 4:04PM | By: John Welch


Kimi Raikkonen took part in the 2009 Rally Finland, but it was a lesser known Ford driver who stole the show. E. Novikov took his life in his own hands for our entertainment, and seeing as we get ZERO World Rally Championship coverage in this country, it is completely up to me to provide you with this wild almost-crash from the Rally Finland. Enjoy!

-Thanks, Justin, you big turd . . .

More MP4-12C Goodness

On: Wed, Sep 9, 2009 at 3:58PM | By: John Welch

More MP4-12C Goodness test 1-1


Mmmm, it comes with a TWIN TURBO 3.8 liter V8, ala the Ferrari F40 and the Koenigsegg. Very tasty. Also, it appears they have modified the styling of the front fascia, though now it just looks like a really badass Tesla. If it wasn't a McLaren that might ruin it for me . . .

Source: BBC.com

2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, Yes Please!

On: Wed, Sep 9, 2009 at 1:04PM | By: John Welch

2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, Yes Please! test 1-1

The Mercedes-Benz Gullwing was an absolute classic. Perfectly proportioned, race-bred and shamefully German in the most Teutonic sense. Mercedes has resurrected the Gullwing with its new SLS AMG, a faithful recreation if ever there was one. Instead of following the lead of American manufacturers, who are digging up the sixties for their retro-rods, Mercedes has reached all the way back to the mid-fifties for its stylish reflection of the past.

Jaguar Enters ALMS GT2, Finally

On: Wed, Sep 9, 2009 at 11:03AM | By: John Welch

Jaguar Enters ALMS GT2, Finally test 1-1

Announced in January, the Rocket Sports Racing Jaguar XKR GT2 was scheduled to debut mid-season, but a series of technical issues have delayed the car's maiden race. Joining a host of exotic machinery already planning on running the Petit Le Mans, the Jaguar is the ninth manufacturer-supported car racing in the GT2 class; there are fourteen cars entered. The ridiculous amount of fantastic competition now racing GT2 might make one forget about the now-defunct GT1 class.

All The Dirt On The New McLaren MP4-12C

On: Tue, Sep 8, 2009 at 2:48PM | By: John Welch

All The Dirt On The New McLaren MP4-12C test 1-1

We've all heard rumors about McLaren's new super car, known internally at McLaren as the 'P11'. Now we have some solid information on the car. For instance, it will be named the MP4-12C, a nod to the code McLaren uses to name its F1 cars. We also know that the car is powered by a mid-mounted, McLaren-built V8, and that it will feature a seven-speed, paddle-operated gear box. My beef? The early renderings of the car look like a Ferrari kit-car. Hopefully the exterior design undergoes some updating before the car is actually released. A full report can be found here.

Jay Leno (aahhggkk) was given a look at pre-production bits earlier this year. He has written a fairly shtick-free article outlining his experience. Highlights: the carbon fiber monocoup is so light Jay was able to pick it up without the forklift's assistance. That's mighty impressive. The price is also fairly impressive, McLaren aiming for a sub $200K base price. Fix that nose and I'll start knocking over Brinks trucks in earnest.

Source: The Times Online