Ferrari announces entry to Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) programme

2023 is going to be a good year. The FIA World Endurance Championship and North American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will have a new class open to Hypercars with a hybrid powertrain.

Porsche has announced that it is working towards having a racing prototype for the 2023 season as has Audi, Honda and most recently the team that every racing Championship wants – Ferrari.

Following a period of study and analysis, Ferrari has kicked off the development of the new LMH car to include in recent weeks the design and simulation phases.

Fifty years after its last official participation in the premier class of the World Sports Car Championship in 1973, Ferrari will take to the track in the Hypercar class of the FIA World Endurance Championship, which it proactively helped to establish.

Ferrari President John Elkann commented: “In over 70 years of racing, on tracks all over the world, we led our closed-wheel cars to victory by exploring cutting-edge technological solutions: innovations that arise from the track and make every road car produced in Maranello extraordinary. With the new Le Mans Hypercar programme, Ferrari once again asserts its sporting commitment and determination to be a protagonist in the major global motorsport events”.

It will be fantastic to see these might manufacturers battling it out for an overall win at Le Mans again.

Geneva 2015: What to expect?

The time of year has come around for all petrol heads. Much like Christmas for a child, the 85th edition of the Geneva Motor show is ten days of motoring goodness. Here are a number of the hotly anticipated cars expected to make an appearance at the show on 5th -15th March.

Abarth:

963187_79053abarth

Abarth 659 Biposto and a number of updates to the 500 range and new kits and accessories.

Alfa Romeo:

962847_150223_AR_4C-Spider_05

The Alfa 4C gets the wind in your hair treatment with a Spider version. With its new look, both models get a new voice box in the shape of an Akrapovic exhaust system.

Aston Martin:

962441_Aston Martin Vulcan_01

Vulcan is Aston Martin’s new track weapon. Fitted with a hearty 7.0Litre V12 pushing over 800bhp to the rear wheels and limited to 24 examples.  Expect these beasts to be sold out before even catching a glimpse of them in the metal.

960370_Vantage GT3_04

Another racer for Aston, the Vantage GT3 Special Edition, is a road and track car limited to 100 examples, heavily inspired by the marque’s success in Motorsport. The GT3 has clearly been on a diet, losing 100kg over the V12 Vantage S thanks to extensive use of carbon fibre in and around the car.

Audi:

963659_r8150092

The supercar which promised to take on the Italians at their own game is back with an update. The R8 gets updated looks, loses some weight (50kg) over its predecessor capable of hitting 62mph in 3.2sec and topping out at 205mph. The V10 engine comes in two guises, standard packing 533bhp and the V10 Plus with 602bhp.

958226_19_8823

Making its official appearance to the public is the RS3 Sportback, to be hitting the roads by Summer 2015. Deemed the most powerful five cylinder engine ever produced by Audi RS with 362bhp and 465Nm to play with, it is a good thing it is fitted with Audi’s Quattro four-wheel drive system.

BMW:

bmwm4safetycar4

BMW have updated a few of its models including the 1-Series and the 6-series but what everyone wants to see is the M4 MotoGP safety car.

Bugatti:

la_finale

Veyron La Finale is the very last one to roll off the factory line. Already sold to a lucky chap in the Middle East  this vast array of numbers wasn’t something people were used to when it was first introduced back in 2004. But now, let’s see the successor.

Ferrari:

954271_trequarti_post

Turbocharging has made a comeback to the ‘Cavellino.’ The 488GTB can be said to be the successor to the F40, the last turbocharged mid-engined Ferrari and a replacement to the fantastic 458 Italia. 661bhp and 760Nm are created by the 3.9Litre Turbo V8 able to hit 125mph in 8.3 seconds.

Ford:

fordfocusrs_01

The much-anticipated Focus RS is the 30th incarnation to wear the RS badge. Fitted with all-wheel drive and torque vectoring will help the driver push the 316bhp to its limits. Ken Block, driver of the legendary Gymkhana series was a consultant during the development of the RS.

All-New Ford GT

50 years after Ford’s GT40 took all three spots on the podium at the 1966 24Hours of Le Mans, Ford have revealed the new GT powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.5Litre EcoBoost V6 said to give the car the one of the best power-to-weight ratios of any production car.

Honda:

952111_280115hon

Honda are back in F1 with an engine partnership with McLaren F1 and an icon has been reinvented. The NSX is making its rounds 25 years after the original was first premiered. A twin-turbocharged V6 which is a nod back to the original is fitted with a nine-speed DCT box.

956733_110215-honda-

The Civic Type R is getting its debut fitted with a 2.0Litre VTEC Turbo engine allowing drivers to hit a top speed over 160mph. To help drivers deal with the level of speed, the Type R has been fitted with 350mm drilled Brembo brakes up front.

Koenigsegg:

The Swedish company has managed to keep it all very hush-hush in terms of leaks of new cars. A teased sketch of the rear of potentially the Agera RS and supposedly Koenigsegg is bringing another hypercar to Geneva hopefully to take on the three hybrid hypercars from the likes of Porsche, McLaren and Ferrari.

Lamborghini:

Again very little has been given away by Lamborghini, spy shots of what looked like an Aventador SV have  been seen across the internet but all details are being kept close to heart before the official reveal however their teaser video promises to reveal the most ‘reactive’ Lamborghini yet.

Land Rover:

961787_MY16_Range_Rover_Evoque_EXT_DET73

The stunning Land Rover Evoque gets some cosmetic surgery up front (not that it was ugly in the first place) and gains Jaguar-Land Rover’s new Ingenium engines promising up to 68mpg and under 110g/km of CO2.

Lotus:

lotus evora 400 front 1

£70,000 worth of Lotus will be officially unveiled at Geneva, 16% more powerful, 22kg lighter and 400bhp gives you the new Lotus Evora 400.

McLaren:

963092_McLaren 675LT_studio_13

The Longtail is back. The Mclaren 675LT focusses on less weight and more power.It will shoot to 62mph in 2.9secs. McLaren will make five ‘Hero’ specification Longtails  which consist of never offered colours Silica White, Delta Red, Napier Green and Chicane Grey. The McLaren Orange completes the set.

960648_McLaren-F1GTR_P1GTR-Cadwell-073

Some individuals don’t in the saying that enough is enough. A few of those people clearly work at McLaren as they have taken the insanely quick P1 and upped the power to make the P1GTR. 986bhp, 50kg lighter, wider and lower than the standard P1 and some serious spoilers creating 10% more downforce are all the ingredients to make this GTR.

Mercedes:

Three noteworthy models are being launched by Mercedes. We have reworks of two classics and a GT3 racer.

960428_15C94_03

Maybach is back as a sub-brand and the first model is the remake of the classic S600 Pullman, 50 years on. At a length of 6.5 metres expect to have a driver to wait with the car as prices start around €500,000 for the unarmored version. I doubt it will be a slouch if it needs to get out of any hairy situations as it is fitted with a V12 biturbo with 830Nm available from as low as 1900RPM.

961701_78999mer

If off-roading is more your thing, the G-wagen is the one for you. Elements of the 6×6 have been fitted to the G to create the G500 4×4 squared.  New powerful engines, wider track and higher ground clearance (450mm) promises to tackle nearly any environment you throw at it.

963558_15C157_05

The GT3 race series is about to get a little more interesting, Mercedes are to launch the AMG GT3 race car. Even though the road car is fitted with a 4.4 biturbo V8, the GT3 will use a fettled example of the naturally aspirated 6.2 V8 from the SLS AMG GT.

Porsche:

954462_Embargo_23_00_01_3_February_2015_Cayman_GT4_front_three_quarter

A manual hardcore Cayman is coming. The Cayman GT4 is built with components from the 911 GT3, perfect for racing and with an engine derived from the 911 Carrera S, it is good for 380bhp helping position it as a benchmark.

The second model is a secret but quoted ‘is another exceptional Porsche that sets new standards on the racetrack.’ Could it be the 911 GT3 RS?

Vauxhall:

954338_Corsa VXR Front

A hot hatch that is set to attack Ford’s Fiesta ST sales. The Vauxhall Corsa VXR   is fitted with a 1.6Litre turbo charged petrol engine pumping out 202bhp and up to 280Nm of torque to the front wheels. The VXR averages 245Nm from revs as low as 1,900rpm, which is a significant change from the outgoing car.

First three-cylinder petrol engine for Audi A1

audi_160215The Audi A1 is now getting a frugal three-cylinder petrol engine thrown in among the other engines available. This little three-pot promises CO2 at 97g/km and a combined mpg of 67.3 which is only a little way off the most frugal engine; the 1.6 litre TDI which has also been tinkered with to retain its crown of greenest engine by reducing its CO2 from 99g/km to 92g/km and increasing its miles per gallon from 74.3mpg to 80.7mpg.

The 1.0 litre three-cylinder engine is replacing the older 1.2 litre four-cylinder engines, which were available at the car’s launch.

Power is increased in the little three cylinder; to 94bhp providing the car with ample torque, 118 lb ft. Linked to a five speed manual gearbox or Audi’s seven-speed S tronic twin clutch gearbox means getting to 62mph in a shade under 11 seconds.

audi_160215a

The engine will be made available in SE and Sport trims. Those two trim levels don’t only get a new engine but Sport trim gets includes Audi’s new music interface and preparation for SD card-based navigation. The sports suspension has been revised increasing its dampening, but owners may choose to swap it out all together and replace it with the more supple SE suspension at no extra cost.

Prices for the SE and Sport fitted with the new three-cylinder start at £14,315 and £16,290 respectively with deliveries set for Summer 2015.

First Drive: 2013 Audi A3

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

 

Audi, BMW, Volkswagen and Mercedes have been battling it out to be the best German automaker for years and this year Audi has released their 2013 A3 setting the bar rather high for the other manufacturers to follow. The car is noticeably bigger than the previous model but you only feel it when you walk around it.

 

As soon as you sit in the semi bucket seats, not factory standard you automatically feel like you belong in the driver’s seat. It is a place, which will be comfortable for driving for hours on end. Arranging the driving position is a breeze, as steering column can be moved up and down as well as closer or further away from the driver.

Gadgets are abundant on this car from the screen that neatly pops in to the dash when not in use all the way to Audi MMI system that lets you to play with pretty much every setting on the car.

 

S-Tronic Gearbox needed a little getting used to at first, smooth up and down changes in D and if there is need to overtake downshift with the flappy paddle. When I first drove it, the auto box didn’t  hang on to gears and will up change at around 2000 revs to save fuel that annoyed me when I wanted to push the car.  Drop the gearbox in to Sport mode and this quiet car completely changes. It feels like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde made a car. The gear changes are more savage holding onto gears as long as possible pushing you to blip just below the red line. In Sport the engine noise can be heard in the cabin however is not intrusive to the driver.

After sitting idle in the car did I realize that the Audi MMI let me personalize my driving experience, determining how long I wanted the lights to stay on after I locked the car, volume of the radio at start-up and so on. As being a bit of a tech freak, I went through all the options available.

 

Driving a car like this puts you in a false sense of security that the roads are actually smooth and supple even though they are ridden with potholes, right up to the point you hit one and damage your new alloy wheels. I’m normally for the larger option wheels on most cars but I feel with this car, the ride will change for the worse if you opt for the larger option wheels. One thing I missed were the Xenon headlights which do not come as standard, and was overlooked on the options list.

 

A word of warning, if you intend on purchasing such a car, go with a budget set and with options marked out as the amount of options on the list can be time-consuming and you will soon see the price rising extensively. Other than that, it’s a great car and will surely stand the test of time.



Stats:

Power output: 105 bhp

CO2 emissions: 102 g/km

Fuel efficiency: Combined 72.4 mpg

Front wheel drive

New Audi S3 – First Look

This week in the motoring world, people have been drooling over the new releases by the british car manufacturers, McLaren and Jaguar, with the P1 and F-Type respectively.

but let’s be true to ourselves here. Not many of us will be able to afford the F-Type and I can guarantee that only a handful of people will seriously consider the hyper car.

so this brings me to the Germans and their hot hatch capabilities. I present to you the all new Audi S3 with a whopping 300bhp. what makes this car stand out for me….. its subtlety.

Seeing it on the street, most people wont look twice at it. its only aesthetic giveaways, silver door mirrors and the quad exhausts. really and truly there are more cues to pick up on, however only trained eyes and avid enthusiasts will know the difference between the S3 and a simple A3.

18 inch wheels come as standard on this S3, as do Xenons and LED daylight running lights which can be linked to the satnav for some odd reason…. something about catering for the driving environments. I thought road was the only driving environment.

interior wise, Audi never disappoint, lots of leather with S3 embroided into the seats and whilst keeping themselves true to their rally pedigree they have fitted a flat-bottomed steering wheel. The silver wing mirrors and the Quattro system have become synonymous with ‘S brand’.

to the engine…. what people are most looking forward to hearing about.

2.0L TFSI engine churning out 296BHP enabling it to hit 62mph in 5.1 secs.

sounds like a hot hatch, looks like a hot hatch, does it drink like a hot hatch?

Well as technology has been progressing, more than ever in these past five years, the S3 claims to do 40mpg which is pretty frugal for a hot hatch.

The car is a little lighter, sits a little lower than the previous model and Audi have fettled with the exhaust so you don’t sound like a hooligan driving around town at low revs.

The Mk7 Volkswagen Golf

The new Golf is here. We have seen it evolve for over 7 generations and here is the new Mk7 Golf. Cars have got lighter, more fuel-efficient, larger, more powerful and safer and this car is no different.

Volkswagen, means ‘people’s car’ or ‘car of the people’ and not many people know, but it started in the late 1930’s in Nazi Germany founded by Ferdinand Porsche himself, to take on the luxury car makers and produce a ‘people’s car’. Nowadays, it is one of the biggest if not the biggest car maker in the world.

The Golf has been in people’s hearts since it was introduced to the public in 1974, filling various car segments from family car to hot hatch. It has always been a car that wasn’t in your face, very inconspicuous and has always punched above its class when it came to quality in and out of the cabin. That is something that I love about this car. You need to be around it every day to discover its quirky design cues. Something I hope to do in the near future.

The Mk7, shares its architecture with the new Audi A3 which will be surely shared among the other lines such as Seat, Skoda’s, more VW’s and Audi’s. We are looking at a larger version of the modern-day Golf being 56mm longer 13mm wider than its predecessor yet Volkswagen has managed to shed 100kg from it. Obviously it will be released in a petrol and Diesel engine, the petrol being a 1.2l with 84bhp and 1.4l with 138bhp. These will both do over 55mpg and less than 115g/km of CO2 (claimed by VW). Now the diesel, which will do extremely well here in Malta, will have a 1.6l with 104bhp and a 2.0l unit with 148bhp. Both claim to do over 65mpg and less than 107g/km.  In the near future, we will be seeing a plug-in hybrid and GTI version.  Something the teccies will love is that, all cars will be fitted with a 5-inch touch screen which lets you slide through screens like an iPhone.

Can it be considered an icon? I definitely think so… even Volkswagen themselves have marketed it in such a way with the legendary television advert where cars sound like a Golf, look like a Golf but are not a Golf.

Do you trust your car?

When driving your vehicle, do you have full trust in its abilities, its safety, sturdiness and readiness to keep you alive and going in the right direction on the black?

Audi has revealed a somewhat interesting concept at the CES show this year called ‘Traffic Jam Assistant’.

This piece of tech will know when the driver is in start-stop traffic and will take full control of the steering, acceleration and the braking. (I’m not always comfortable being a passenger in a car, so I can’t see myself letting a computer drive my car.)

The system uses the front-mounted adaptive cruise control sensors combined with wide-angle video cameras to detect lane markings, other vehicles, barriers and pedestrians, and can control the vehicle without any driver intervention up to 37 mph. Eight ultrasonic sensors also keep tabs on what’s in front of and at the sides of the vehicle, with the front sensors not only tracking the vehicle ahead.

this isn’t a completely new concept though, as rival Mercedes-Benz showed it off in their flagship S-Class model last year.

Audi have been busy at CES revealing not only the above but also a new Audi Connect system, a touchpad integrated MMI knob, a new entertainment system along with a couple of new systems for entertainment and safety.

 

This traffic Jam assistant will be seen on Audi’s Flagship the A8.