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Posted on October 20, 2014 by Noah Joseph
We've seen the coupe. We've seen the convertible. We're still waiting on word of the next variant, but before it arrives, Audi has revealed the racing version of the new TT.
Set to form the backbone of the inaugural Audi Sport TT Cup, the competition-spec sports coupe is closely based on the production version packs the same 2.0-liter turbo four and six-speed dual-clutch transmission as the road-going TTS, delivering the same 310 horsepower, but with a push-to-pass boost of an extra 30 hp.
It's also got an active differential, and while the full specifications have not yet been revealed, it's clear that Audi has also outfitted the TT racer with more aggressive aero, track-spec rolling stock and a stripped-out cockpit (complete with the Audi PS1 Safety Seat from the R8 LMS Ultra) to get weight down to from 2,700 pounds in stock production form to 2,480.
The Audi Sport TT Cup will kick off next season in Germany as a support series to the DTM championship with a grid of 24 cars - including 18 permanent spots and six reserved for a changing roster of guest drivers. Aspiring racers will be coached by former DTM and endurance driver Markus Winkelhock and the trophy winner will get a shot at a GT3 race seat.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Posted on by Noah Joseph
Filed under: Motorsports
"There's a million countries that would like to have an F1 race," said the sport's commercial director Bernie Ecclestone to The Independent recently, "but they can't afford it." Las Vegas wouldn't fall into the latter category, but while not exactly a country unto itself, it is apparently at the top of the former list.
According to a report in the British newspaper, negotiations to bring Formula One back to Vegas after a 32-year absence are in advanced stages. Track designer Hermann Tilke has reportedly visited the city with an eye towards setting up a street circuit that would incorporate a run down the famous Las Vegas Strip. Just when it might happen, however, remains unclear.
The development comes amidst a resurgence of F1 racing in North America. As recently as 2009, there was not a single grand prix on our fair continent after the Canadian Grand Prix was dropped from the calendar. But that race returned in 2010, joined by a new US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, starting in 2012. And while the proposed race in the New York/New Jersey area seems to have stalled, a new race is set to join next year's calendar in Mexico.
If the Vegas GP shapes up, we'd be looking at four races in North America alone - a vital market for the series, its sponsors and participating automakers where NASCAR (which races at the nearby Las Vegas Motor Speedway) is the far more popular form of motorsport and even IndyCar arguably has a bigger following.
The last time the F1 circus visited Las Vegas was for the lackluster Caesars Palace Grand Prix, which was held on an uninspired track set up in the casino's parking lot in 1981 (when it was joined on the calendar by Long Beach) and 1982 (in parallel with races in both Long Beach and Detroit). The new race would have to offer a more engaging layout, but as far as locations go, Vegas certainly has the infrastructure to deal with the influx of tourists who'd come to town for the spectacle.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Posted on by Noah Joseph
An E36 BMW 3 Series might be a good choice for a lot of purposes - a long road trip, a track day, rallycross, impressing your friends... but a full-on rally? It's rear-drive when the best rally machines are front- or all-wheel drive. But that didn't stop Pritt Koik and Alari-Uku Heldna from entering their stripped-out E36 in the Viru Rally in Estonia... or from getting some big air time when they did.
Fortunately the jump was not just caught on video... it was caught on video from three angles: two from the side of the rally stage and one from inside the cockpit. Check out all three below to see how this particular BMW got back into the aircraft business.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Posted on by Chris Bruce
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation are taking the unusual step of issuing a followup press release urging owners of certain recalled vehicles "to act immediately" to fix their cars and trucks. The problem in question concerns the repair campaigns for rupturing Takata airbag inflators issued in June and covers a long list of models from Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Acura, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, Infiniti, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Oldsmobile and Pontiac.
While NHSTA doesn't specifically say why the recall is vital in the new release, Toyota's own explanation in its newly announced renotification campaign earlier today sheds some new light on the topic. According to the Japanese automaker, in testing, Takata found a possible link between the rupturing airbag inflators and high humidity. NHTSA is advocating that all owners pursue repairs immediately if they haven't already done so already. This is especially crucial for those drivers especially in Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii because of the humid conditions there.
We don't need to tell you how dangerous an inadvertent airbag deployment could be - even in a stationary vehicle - but adding to the Takata issue is fears that the deployment could lead to shrapnel being sprayed into the cabin.
If you're unsure whether your vehicle is covered under this campaign, NHTSA has a new VIN lookup tool for all recalls recently that could be handy in this situation. Scroll down for the full list of potentially affected models and the agency's statement - there are upwards of nearly five million vehicles that could be affected.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Posted on by Chris Bruce
Toyota is re-notifying owners and expanding its Takata airbag inflator recall for some regions. The renewed campaign covers 247,000 examples of the Toyota Corolla, Matrix, Sequoia, Tundra and Lexus SC430 that are located in southern Florida, along the Gulf Coast, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, Saipan and American Samoa. All of the models come from the 2001-2004 model years and have potentially faulty Takata-made inflators on the front passenger side. According to the company, testing shows the problem warrants "immediate action," and its press release says, "this action intensifies Toyota's efforts to reach customers and remedy previously recalled vehicles, and a small number of newly included vehicles."
According to Toyota, it submitted some recalled inflators to Takata for testing, and it found a high probability of rupturing in high humidity areas. The automaker said it had no reports yet of injuries or fatalities related to the problem.
This is Toyota's third inflator recall this year. In June, it called in for repair the same vehicles from the 2003-2005 model years in high-humidity areas, and it conducted a separate campaign nationwide for the parts in additional models. In April 2013, it also announced a fix campaign for 1.73-million vehicles worldwide for the same issue.
To fix the problem, Toyota will send a letter to owners this week, and dealers will replace the inflator. If the part isn't ready, dealers will deactivate the passenger side airbag and will advise owners that no one should sit there until repaired. Scroll down to read Toyota's full release.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Posted on by Brandon Turkus
Filed under: Recalls
2014 will forever be known as the year of the recalls. General Motors has been the biggest culprit, with over 70 recalls to date, but there have been plenty of other notable recalls competing for our attention.
Now, CNN Money is reporting that 2014 has seen a total of 544 recalls, or about two a day, so far. Those recalls have afflicted 52 million vehicles, or about one in every five on US roads. Disturbing as that figure may be, it's made worse by the fact that 2014 has easily eclipsed the previous record of 30.8 million units back in 2004. With another ten weeks left in the year, there remains a solid chance that this year will double the previous total.
While it's easy to chalk up the plethora of recalls to falling reliability, there's a much more obvious reason that so much is going wrong so often. "We all want our cars to do far more than they did in the past," Stericycle VP Mike Rozembajgier told CNN. "It takes a lot of gadgets to make that happen, and that adds to complexity."
With our demand for more and more technology in our cars, it seems likely that 2014 will be far from the last year of huge recalls.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Posted on October 19, 2014 by Chris Bruce
Chevrolet has a seriously packed booth ready for this year's SEMA show. Not only does the company already have the Camaro SS Special Edition, Silverado Toughnology and Colorado Sport, but it is now announcing five more concepts to be on display.
Among this quintet of concepts is the Chevy SS Sport that wears some Australian inspiration. Sure, it has the grille kit, fog light bezels and rear spoiler out of the Chevrolet Accessories catalog, but the 20-inch wheels, floor mats and cargo tray all sport the logo for Holden, General Motor's division Down Under. Power is left alone for this Aussie-inspired muscle sedan with the stock 415 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque 6.2-liter V8.
The Impala Blackout gets a monochromatic look to fit its name with a black grille surround, rear spoiler and mirror caps. It uses the sedan's standard 3.6-liter V6 with 305 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque.
Chevy also has two takes on the Sonic for SEMA. The Performance concept benefits from a cold-air intake and higher-flow exhaust for the 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and a suspension kit to chop the ride height. On the outside, it gets some Synergy Green paint and upgraded trim.
The aptly named Accessories concept shows off what's available from Chevy's aftermarket catalog with white headlight and taillight rings and black replacement parts for the grille, mirror caps and rear spoiler. It also gets the suspension kit.
Finally, the Cruze RS Plus wears a custom paint job in Wildfire Metallic with matte black stripes, and the interior gets some ambient lighting, illuminated door sills and upgraded amplifier and subwoofer. Under the hood, Chevy equips the 1.4-liter turbo engine with a cold-air intake and "performance-enhancing stage kit," but total power isn't mentioned. Scroll down to read the company's full release for these SEMA concepts.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Posted on by Noah Joseph
Between the Mustangs you'd find in Formula D and the Fiestas in the Global and World rallycross championships, there's no shortage of Ford drift cars on the scene. But at the upcoming SEMA Show in Las Vegas, the Blue Oval automaker intends to show off a different kind of drift machine.
Created in collaboration with driftmeister Vaughn Gittin, Jr., this custom F-150 has been designed for "on- and off-road capabilities, as well as drifting and jumping." It's got a suspension with components from Kibbetech King and Air Lift Performance to give it 12 inches of travel and comes packed with 5 Recaro seats. Other details remain limited, but if the rendering above is anything to go by, it ought to be pretty awesome.
Alongside the Gittin truck, Ford will also be showcasing another F-150 designed together with freestyle motorcross rider Brian Deegan, packing the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine and a long list of enhancements. Between these two trucks, Ford hopes to extend its winning streak for the Hottest Truck award that it's taken four years running now. Feel free to read more in the press release below.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Posted on by Greg Migliore
Ford has issued a small - but significant - recall for one of its spotlight cars: the 2015 Mustang.
The recall affects just 53 cars, with 50 in the United States and three in Canada. Ford said the passenger side safety belt buckle tension sensor may not have been calibrated properly by the supplier. This could lead to "misclassification" of the passenger seat occupant, and could cause the airbag to deploy improperly.
A Ford spokesperson didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement, the automaker said it is not aware of any accidents or injuries, and dealers will replace the buckle assembly at no cost to customers. The cars affected were built at Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan from Aug. 18 to Oct. 2.
Along with the aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford F-150, the Mustang is one of the most important launches for the Blue Oval this year. The Mustang, which has fresh styling, a new suspension and uses turbocharging, is attempting to retrench Ford's position as a leader in sports cars against strong competition from traditional Detroit rivals Chevy and Dodge.
Scroll through Ford's statement for more details.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Posted on October 18, 2014 by Brandon Turkus
Infiniti doesn't have much in the way of motorsports heritage. Sure, its logo is currently plastered all over the open-wheelers of the Red Bull Racing Formula One team, but that's little more than a series of stickers - the turbocharged V6 hybrid still comes from corporate cousin Renault.
Perhaps realizing that, the company is dipping its toe into the motorsports pool in a much bigger way (albeit in a far smaller series). The Nissan-owned luxury brand will campaign its Q50 sedan in the notoriously rowdy British Touring Car Championship with a new factory team, called Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing.
The team works with British veterans' charity Support Our Paras, and actually will employ a number of injured vets as part of the team, according to the report on Motor Authority.
The Q50 BTCC car needs to comply with the series rules, which call for a turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine. It's the manufacturer's choice on whether the mandatory six-speed sequential gearbox distributes power to either the front or rear axles. The car itself is being developed by Pro Motorsport and will likely see its track debut this year.Permalink | Email this | Comments