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Posted on July 29, 2014 by Chris Bruce
Jay Leno puts eight wheels on display this week for Jay Leno's Garage from a quartet of retro-inspired BMW motorcycles. They are the creations of husband and wife team Larry and Carol Romestant, who build each one in their home garage.
Larry is a former aerospace engineer who loves BMW bikes, especially the K models. Now, he's combining his passion with a real talent for fabrication to build his own cycles with his wife. With Larry and Carol the only ones working on these projects, it takes them six to nine months to build each one. In addition to the old-school looks, the motorcycles are supposed to be a bit more user friendly than stock. For example, one of them ditches the standard five-speed gearbox in favor of a six-speed unit to be a little more comfy when cruising at high speeds.
Since there isn't enough time to take all four of them for a ride, Jay picks his favorite to test out on the open road. Scroll down to see which one he chooses.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Posted on by Autoblog Staff
First Drive: Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Prototype
It's quick - 0-60 in under four seconds. It's fast - top speed is estimated at around 186 miles per hour. And, rather surprisingly considering its status as a prototype, it drives pretty darn well. With a heart of gold borrowed from the Nissan GT-R mated to all-wheel-drive hung off a luxurious sedan chassis, this is one vehicle we openly beg and plead enters production. Soon.
Polaris Slingshot enters the fray on three wheels
The fact that it only has three wheels on which to stand means the government classifies the Polaris Slingshot as a motorcycle. That means you'll need an appropriate license to operate it, and it probably means you'll need to wear head and/or eye protection. But with an enviable power-to-weight ratio to go along with what's sure to be a thrilling drive experience, those may be small prices to pay. Speaking of which, this sucker will start just shy of $20,000.
Rain an equalizer at Hungarian Grand Prix
How thankful we are that rain doesn't keep these open-cockpit Formula 1 cars in the paddock. The 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix proved once again that changing weather conditions are one rather natural way of adding some excitement to the race track. Check out our full race recap for all the details of what went down in Hungary.
- Translogic takes a look at the 2014 Cadillac ELR
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Posted on July 28, 2014 by Michael Harley
It only takes about half a lap of the Millbrook Proving Grounds for me to become convinced that Infiniti must build this car.
The sedan I am piloting around the English circuit is a working prototype of the Q50 Eau Rouge Concept that made its world debut at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show earlier this year. As a refresher, the exquisitely painted, burgundy metallic, four-door show car is based on the production Q50, enhanced with Infiniti Red Bull Racing-inspired carbon-fiber bodywork, aerodynamic upgrades and - as we would come to learn at the Geneva Motor Show a few months later - fitted with a beastly twin-turbocharged engine shared with the parent company's spectacular Nissan GT-R.
Despite lacking the concept's gorgeously expensive paint, the vinyl-wrapped red prototype seen here is much more appealing than the static concept, as it is mechanically complete - it can be driven - thus explaining why I have traveled one-third of the way around the world to test this enthusiast-tuned, one-of-a-kind machine at one of Europe's premier testing facilities.
The Q50 Eau Rouge, named after the signature high-speed corner at Belgium's famed Spa-Francorchamps race circuit, is an intriguing program for a number of reasons. First, the Japanese luxury brand has never offered a flagship sport sedan of this magnitude. Second, the push came from Johan de Nysschen - the man tasked with turning Infiniti around who recently announced his departure from the company at the end of the month. Lastly, the working prototype was built by a small team in England, thousands of miles from Infiniti's Hong Kong headquarters, which allowed the program to move unimpeded by coagulating corporate culture. While launching the Eau Rouge program isn't as extreme as renaming all of its models, it would be easy to argue that this is a very radical move for the often-conservative Japanese automaker.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Posted on by Jonathon Ramsey
Three Free Practice sessions left us thinking Lewis Hamilton looked good to claim another victory for Mercedes AMG Petronas and close up the Driver's World Championship race, but the first qualifying session for the 2014 Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix threw out that script. A fuel leak in Q1 set Hamilton's car aflame and he never set a time. His chassis damaged beyond repair, the team built him a new one and he started from pit lane. That same session also claimed Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen, when a bad call about whether to go out again dropped him down to 17th and out for the day.
Without a real challenge, that put Hamilton's teammate-slash-nemesis Nico Rosberg on pole in the other Mercedes, followed by a resurgent Sebastian Vettel in the first Infiniti Red Bull Racing, Valtteri Bottas in the first Williams and Daniel Ricciardo in the second Red Bull. Fernando Alonso waved the scarlet in fifth for Ferrari but figured he could be in third place by the end of the first lap. Felipe Massa put the second Williams in sixth, followed by Jenson Button in the first McLaren, Jean-Eric Vergne getting up to eighth for Toro Rosso, Nico Hülkenberg in ninth for Force India and Kevin Magnussen in the second McLaren.
When rain poured on the 4.381-kilometer Hungaroring before the race, every script up and down the field got rewritten, and they would continue come in for revision almost every one of the 70 laps.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Posted on by Noah Joseph
With more victories under its belt than any other manufacturer, you could say, in a figurative sense at least, that Porsche owns countless numbers of race tracks around the world. But here we're not talking about figuratively owning a track - we're talking about literally buying one. And Porsche has just bought Kyalami.
Kylamai, for those unfamiliar, is a grand prix circuit near Johannesburg in South Africa. Between 1967 and 1985, and again in '92 and '93, it was home to the South African Grand Prix, and has since hosted a variety of local and lower-level international races, but apparently fell on hard times. As a result, the track's owners - listed as Universal Property Professionals - put it up for auction. Bidders had to deposit four million Rand (about $380k) to participate, but after just 50 seconds, the auction was over.
The winning bid was placed - via telephone from the local press launch for the Macan - by Porsche South Africa CEO Toby Venter, who bid a reported 205 million rand (about $19.5 million) to take over the complex. The German automaker's South African division reportedly intends to keep the track open for racing, but could also be expected to use the facility for testing, customer track days and such moving forward.
It would not be the only track, after all, owned by a Porsche - even if the South African option is owned and operated independently of the German automaker and its holding company. The factory at Leipzig has its own test track on premises, there's another one in the works for the company's new US headquarters in Atlanta, Porsche Engineering owns the Nardo high-speed test track in Germany and there's probably a few more we're forgetting about, not to mention facilities like Ehra-Lessien which Porsche effectively owns through its 50+ percent stake in the Volkswagen Group.
Porsche also has a number of customer experience centers opening at tracks around the world - including LA, Atlanta, Silverstone and Le Mans - and given the new acquisition, we wouldn't be surprised to see it set one up at Kyalami as well.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Posted on July 27, 2014 by Noah Joseph
American fans of Formula One racing have a new team to root for as the Marussia F1 Team has named Alexander Rossi as its official reserve driver for the remainder of the season.
The 22-year-old native of Auburn, California, has advanced through the single-seater ranks since winning the Skip Barber Western Regional championship and placing third nationally in 2006. He won the Formula BMW Americas title in 2008 and proceeded to Formula Renault 3.5 and GP2 where he competes currently, winning races in both series. For the past three seasons he's driven for Caterham, racing for its GP2 team and acting as test driver for its F1 team. Once the team was sold, however, Rossi jumped ship. He's driving for the championship-winning Campos Racing team in GP2 and just announced his signing with Marussia on Thursday.
The move is only a minor step up for Rossi as the Marussia team is only two points ahead of Caterham this season, but will hopefully lead to the young Californian getting some seat time in an official test session or two - if not being called up to replace Max Chilton or Jules Bianchi in the race seat at some point before the end of the season or maybe getting promoted to a full-time drive for next year's championship.
Rossi is the first American to break into F1 racing since Scott Speed, who left the series in 2007. The last American driver to win a grand prix was Mario Andretti back in 1978.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Posted on by Chris Bruce
Lexus has been keeping development of the production version of its LF-LC concept tightly under wraps. Last we heard, that halo GT car had received the green light for production, but that was over a year ago. Since then, things have been pretty silent. Finally though, fresh rumors about the luxury coupe are starting to leak out, pointing toward the model's powertrain lineup.
According to unnamed sources speaking to Motor Trend, the production LF-LC will eventually sport three very intriguing engine options. The base model will reportedly use a naturally aspirated V8 providing around 450 horsepower - very similar specs to the upcoming RC F. The next step up will allegedly be the upcoming hybrid powertrain shared between BMW and Toyota pumping things up to around 500 hp. Finally, a top-of-the-heap F version will use a twin-turbocharged version of the RC F's 5.0-liter V8 to bring output to 600 hp. The insiders even claim that the hybrid and the twin-turbo V8 could find their way into other Lexus products like the LS and possibly even a more beastly RC.
None of this speculation sounds too outlandish. Lexus could get more capacity out of the RC F's tuned V8 by shoving it into other models, and rumors are flying about performance cars spawned from BMW and Toyota's partnership. Given Lexus' recent embrace of turbocharging, even the twin-turbo V8 doesn't seem too dubious. That said, with no hard facts to back up the rumormill, we'll have to keep waiting to see what the LF-LC shows up with.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Posted on July 26, 2014 by Brandon Turkus
Anyone that's been to a race at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway knows this to be true: The scoring pylon, which sat at the start-finish line and showed the positions of drivers as they lapped the oval has been horribly, terribly outdated, making it quite difficult to read. Considering this, the new, 92-foot-tall, $1-million, LED-adorned scoring tower that's just been erected is a huge improvement. Just compare the above image of the new tower with the inset image of the older model to see what we mean.
The new tower will see its race debut this weekend, as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rolls into Indy for the Brickyard 400. The new tower should be a big improvement over the 20-year-old pylon it replaces, allowing race organizers to better communicate with fans. That means fans will know whether there's a green, yellow or red flag, as well as what the separation is between drivers. It's even capable of video and animation, as shown in the video below.
Next on the docket for IMS is an upgrade to the equally antiquated digital video screens at the circuit. Scroll down for a walkthrough of the upgrade process from Doug Boles, the president of IMS.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Posted on by Chris Bruce
Fiat is all set to ride some waves with its new 500L Vans Concept debuting at the Vans US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, CA, on July 26. Inspired by the famous shoe company known to skaters and surfers the world over, the hatchback is packed with seaside style and is ready to show it off at the beach.
The first thing that jumps out about the concept is its grille. It's unlike any other 500L and sports four rings of LED driving lights that are open in the centers. "We added the circular LED DRLs to add a sense of purpose and adventure to this concept," said a Fiat spokesperson to Autoblog via email. Below them are two more foglights, and combined together they should be able keep a party going long into the night after a day of surfing.
Beyond a ton of lighting, the Vans Concept has some extra panache thanks to its three-tone color scheme. It starts with dark blue outlining the car along the bottom, white for the main portion of the body and a lighter shade of blue for the hood, mirror caps and tops of the doors. The roof gets the shoe company's' traditional checkerboard pattern, and there's a rack up there to hold two surfboards and extra gear.
The interior is an even bigger tribute to Vans with the company's stickers from over the years used to decorate the dashboard. Like its shoes, the seats are made from canvas, and the famous waffle sole tread pattern covers the pedals and storage bins.
This concept is more about style than speed, though. According to Fiat spokesperson Angela Bianchi, the drivetrain is left entirely stock with a 160-horsepower, 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and a six-speed manual gearbox. The 500L will be on display throughout the event from July 26 to August 3, and will be joined by the rest of the brand's vehicles. Scroll down to learn more about Fiat's trip to the beach.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Posted on July 25, 2014 by Brandon Turkus
McLaren, Ferrari and Porsche have all come out with their hybrid-powered hypercars, vehicles that boast the bleeding edge of what is possible with today's road-car technology. The next step, at least in the case of McLaren and Ferrari, is to push that bleeding edge just a hair further, with even faster, more focused versions of the P1 and LaFerrari. At the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, McLaren will be the first to give us a glimpse of that boundary-pushing machine.
The British automaker has announced that the P1 GTR Design Concept will make its global debut smack dab in the middle of Monterey's legendary car week, with the veil lifting on Friday, August 15 at 6:00 PM EST.
McLaren doesn't go into many specifics here, simply calling the P1 GTR a track-focused variant of the P1, which we kind of already knew. Based on what we can see from the lone teaser sketch, the new model will have a much more dramatic aerodynamic presence than the street model, with a massive rear wing and a huge rear diffuser. Sandwiched between those two items are a pair of exhaust tips that wouldn't look out of place on the deck of your average battleship. Carbon fiber should feature prominently, with a few exposed sections of the stuff visible in the teaser image.
Production is slated to begin promptly after the final P1 street car rolls off the Woking production line, sometime in June 2015. Of course, we'll have much, much more on the P1 GTR when it makes its debut at Pebble Beach. Keep an eye on this space come August 15. Until then, scroll down for the official press release from McLaren.Permalink | Email this | Comments