Veyron successor to cost $1 million more

Car says Bugatti intends to build 500 Chirons, 50 more examples than the Veyron got. We could see it as soon as next year’s Geneva Motor Show.

Raunchy 2016 Ford GT spotted nude in Detroit

No snow and ice here, folks. No zebra camo, either.

An avid Ford fan just happened to see the highly-anticipated 2016 Ford GT cruising along a highway in the home of the big three, Detroit.

The exposed carbon-fibre Le Mans trainspotter has only been selectively shown off, so to see it in the raw flesg just cruising about town is akin to filming a panther strolling about a suburban street.

Well played, Ford, you have our eyes and ears…

CLICK HERE.

Ring to be made safer; speed limits lifted

A raft of long-overdue changes will be made to the Nurburgring to make the track safer for users while allowing for speed limits to be lifted once more.

The changes should take speed limits from the track at some stage in 2016.

One key area of concern is the 1,640-foot area around Flugplatz which has seen several bumps evolve into dangerous unsettling obstacles over the years of heavy traffic; it will be resurfaced. This is following a huge accident earlier this year in a GT3 race, where a spectator was killed prompting the speed limit enforcement.

Higher grade safety fencing for both cars and spectators will also be installed around the track, and additional guard rails on areas deemed unsafe by the FIA.

OFFICIAL RELEASE: GREATER SAFETY ON THE NORDSCHLEIFE

The Nürburgring’s legendary Nordschleife is to be made even safer, and speed limits are to become a thing of the past as of 2016. At a round table on “safety on the Nordschleife”, capricorn Nürburgring GmbH (CNG) presented a comprehensive set of measures to representatives of the German motor sport association DMSB, the ADAC, the automotive industry, the organisers, teams, drivers and the region, finding wide approval. In the next step, an official application for renewal of the circuit approval, which is set to expire according to schedule at the end of the year, will be submitted to the International Automobile Federation FIA via the DMSB. Read the rest of this entry »

BMW throws stones at Pebble Beach

There is something better in Beemer’s stable than an M4, it would seem - the M4 GTS. The hyper version of the already energetic M4 was previewed at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance at Monterey Car Week, and the frosted GTS drawing more attention than some of the more traditional eye-candy on display for its subtlety as well as its performance cred.

The low-skirted coupe features adjustable aero, a huge carbon-fiber splitter and drift-style rear spoiler, and a lovely anodised orange lick of paint to compliment the frosted matte finish to the body. The rims wont be to everyone’s tastes but they do hide some lovely carbon-ceramic brakes (oddly painted yellow) and are staggered with 19-inches at the front and 20 in the rear.

The rear taillights are OLED (organic light-emitting diodes), which claim a more “precise” light emission, and “full-surface and homogenous illumination”. So, they are flashier than normal ones….

Okay, so far we have a glitter pack with glittery taillights… But then it gets interesting. BMW has installed a new water-injection system, which featured originally on the M4 Safety Car used in this year’s Moto GP championship.

It pumps water from a 1.3-gallon tank straight into the intake manifold to keep the combustion chamber cooler, thus reducing wasted energy from heat and lowering fuel consumption. Unfortunately, we don’t actually know those figures yet, and will have to wait ‘until a later date’ for that info. However, BMW does confirm it will be on sale in the States at some point…

OFFICIAL RELEASE: BMW Concept M4 GTS Premiered at Monterey Car Week.

Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – EMBARGO: August 13, 2015 – 9:00pm EDT/6:00pm PDT…A year on from the launch of the BMW M4 Coupe, BMW M GmbH is presenting an initial preview of a high-performance model for use on the road and on the race track: the BMW Concept M4 GTS – the first M3/M4 special production vehicle to be sold in the US.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jenson Button knocked out and robbed in France

F1 driver Jenson Button and wife Jessica Michibata have been the unfortunate victims of a heist.

The couple were robbed in a vacation home in Saint-Tropez, France, which must have been cased beforehand as it is alleged the thieves pumped knock-out gas through the vents to ensure the couple and their three friends would not interrupt their plans.

The cost to Button is alleged to be over US$465,000 worth of items, including Michibata’s three-stone diamond and platinum wedding ring (reportedly worth $387,000). After marrying only recently, in December 2014, the loss will be very keenly felt.

“The first they were aware was when they woke up groggy the next morning and realized the house had been turned upside down,” said the unnamed source (probably Button’s publicist) told The Sun, which broke the story.

“It was a terrifying experience for them to know these criminals were actually in the room with them.”

Button doesn’t seem to have much luck in this department: he was mugged at gunpoint in Brasil in 2010 after leaving the track on a race weekend.

Lotus Elise and Exige to make a comeback

The Lotus Elise has been sadly missing from US roads for four years now - of course, right when they started to get really, really good - but they are slated for a return with the new Elise and Exige generation. Unfortunately, that isn’t until 2020, but its better than a slap in the face with a wet fish.

The struggle Lotus has faced is getting the iconic sports car in line with US regs, which are stringent on rules surrounding crash structure and airbags; the Exige’s monocoque aluminium chassis and lack of airbags excluding it from the exemptions it enjoyed up to 2011.

The 2020 cars will be designed specifically with said rules in mind to allow it into the US. In the interim, buyers must settle for track-only unregistered versions which will never see an open road. Not that long road trips are the easy domain of the diminutive Lotus…

Top Gear trio worth $250 mil to Amazon

After what has been described by former Top Gear producer Andy Wilman as the most sensible of many offers, Amazon has reportedly offered TG hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May a hardly sensible $250 million.

The Daily Mirror broke the story this week, stating the former Top Gear stars and producer will split the lofty sum in return for three 12-episode seasons, which should debut next fall.

Wilman, who quit the BBC show a month after Clarkson was sacked for punching a staffer, told Broadcast magazine that Amazon’s deal was hinged on “Money, freedom and a love of quality. Those three things are what was attractive.

“Everyone we have talked to has said to us (Amazon) ‘leave you alone to make your show.’ That’s a big one for us – we don’t like interference, we don’t need to be policed.”

Wilman also hinted that some Top Gear-isms such as the studio audience and international challenges will continue, alongside newer elements.

It is believed to be Amazon’s biggest investment to date, set to bring millions to its $99 streaming channel.

Tesla S’s new power mode is ludicrous

Anyone who is anyone has seen, and probably liked, the Star Wars movies. But even those disenfranchised with the franchise would still have giggled and gaffawed at Spaceballs; Mel Brooks’ spoof of the futuristic comedy, complete with Rick Moranis as a vertically-challenged ‘Dark Helmet’. And one of the most famous skits from the movie is the Darth Vader midget decrying the slowness of light speed, and pushing their spacecraft to ‘ludicrous speed’.

Elon Musk must’ve loved Spaceballs.

The Tesla Model S P85D now has a new go-fast mode, taking it past the light-speed quickness provided by its ‘insane mode’ of a full 691hp and wringing another 10 percent out of it. In ‘ludicrous mode’.

This takes it up to 762 horsepower. The 0-60 sprint is now just 2.8 seconds, which is super supercar quick; the quarter mile in 10.9 seconds, and a 20 percent reduction in the time taken to reach 155mph.

“We came up with the idea for an advanced smart fuse for the battery,” explained Musk. “Instead of a standard fuse that just melts past a certain amperage, we developed a fuse with its own electronics and a tiny lithium-ion battery. It constantly monitors current at the millisecond level.

That was combined with upgrading the main pack contractor. The net result is that we can safely increase max amp throughout from 1300 to 1500 Amps. If you don’t know much about Amps, trust me this is a silly big number of Amps to be going through something the size of your little fingernail.”

We’ll take your word for it Elon - and We’ll take and S while we’re at it thanks.

Vale Jules Bianchi

Formula One driver, Jules Bianchi, has sadly succumbed to injuries sustained at last year’s Japanese Grand Prix.

In October last year, the 25-year-old Marussia driver collided with a heavy recovery vehicle on lap 43 at Suzuka. The torrential rain, in part to blame for the accident, also prevented Bianchi from an airlift to hospital, and he was transported (albeit 10 miles) to the nearest hospital for immediate brain surgery.

Unfortunately, the resulting accident was deemed a diffuse axonal injury, similar to that of Michael Schumacher in his skiing accident the year prior.

According to Bianchi’s father, his son had told him once that he never wanted to end up like Schumacher; in fact, he would not want to go on if he could not drive anymore.

Nine months after the accident, Bianchi was still in a coma until Saturday July 18, when he passed on in the hospital near his home in Nice.

In December 2014, the FIA found that Bianchi “did not slow sufficiently” under double yellow flags to avoid losing control and prevent his head-on collision, hitting the rescue vehicle at a speed of nearly 80mph

It also concluded that an enclosed cockpit or additional surfaces on the recovery tractor “would not have mitigated his severe head injuries”.

The FIA did, however, instil the new system of virtual safety cars in 2015, which has been a success this year, because of the accident. As the first fatality as a result of injuries during a GP since Senna, let’s hope Bianchi’s accident is the last…

Nice, France
Saturday 18 July 2015

It is with deep sadness that the parents of Jules Bianchi, Philippe and Christine, his brother Tom and sister Mélanie, wish to make it known that Jules passed away last night at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) in Nice, (France) where he was admitted following the accident of 5th October 2014 at Suzuka Circuit during the Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix.

“Jules fought right to the very end, as he always did, but today his battle came to an end,” said the Bianchi family. “The pain we feel is immense and indescribable. We wish to thank the medical staff at Nice’s CHU who looked after him with love and dedication. We also thank the staff of the General Medical Center in the Mie Prefecture (Japan) who looked after Jules immediately after the accident, as well as all the other doctors who have been involved with his care over the past months.

“Furthermore, we thank Jules’ colleagues, friends, fans and everyone who has demonstrated their affection for him over these past months, which gave us great strength and helped us deal with such difficult times. Listening to and reading the many messages made us realise just how much Jules had touched the hearts and minds of so many people all over the world.’

Bonneville Salt Flats sans salt

Speed Week may be canned for the second year in a row as the Bonneville Salt Flats are only peppered with their namesake (boom-tish).

Th Southern California Timing Association has been scanning the flats for the best place to hold the meet, but like last year, it would seem they are coming up short on salt.

Last year, an immense amount of rain reduced the salt flats to a murky white mush; its cancellation understandable. This year, while rain has been scattered and may play some blame in the lack of surface coverage, it would seem the salt simply hasnt ‘returned’. And there are none among us who can explain that.

Organizers have until August to find a suitable surface, with the event scheduled to start on August 8.