Archive for the ‘Motorsports’ Category

Racing Pioneer Don Panoz Dead at 83

Entrepreneur liked to "dream of the impossible."

by on Sep.12, 2018

Racing legend Don Panoz, here in front of many of his cars, died after a short illness

He made a considerable fortune helping millions of people stop smoking, though he never gave up the habit himself. Don Panoz then used that money to fuel another addiction: high-speed automobiles.

Not all his efforts were as successful as the transdermal patch, but he continued to venture into unusual territory with projects like the DeltaWing until the end of his life. Panoz passing away on Tuesday after a brief illness at the age of 83.

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Panoz was an unlikely force in the automotive world. A U.S. Army veteran, he started out as a pharmacist, operating two drug stores in Pittsburgh while studying at Duquesne University. In 1961, he and partner Milan Puskar formed what was to become Mylan Pharmaceuticals, the company developing a system for slowly releasing medications into the body through a transdermal patch. The device became best known as a way of delivering nicotine to smokers to help them quit smoking. (more…)

BMW Z4 Takes its Formal Bow in Pebble Beach

Is that a hint of the new Toyota Supra we see?

by on Aug.23, 2018

The new BMW Z4 roadster offers few hints that it shares its roots with the new Toyota Supra.

Sure, we got a look at the concept version of the new BMW Z4 a full year ago, but there were still plenty of skeptics wondering exactly what the Bavarians would come up with when it was time to roll out the production model. Skepticism was, perhaps, in order considering they had to coordinate development of the next-generation roadster with Toyota which is using the underlying platform for its reborn Supra.

Anyone who expected to see a badge-engineered convertible can now breathe a sigh of relief. Almost precisely a year after revealing the concept version, BMW is back in precisely the same place, Pebble Beach, to roll out the production version, and if first impressions – and some hints about the specs – matter, the new Z4 should generate some serious buzz.

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We’ll have to wait another month to get all the specifications, BMW tells us, hoping to play out the anticipation card for as long as possible, but the automaker has one significant detail to reveal, the Z4 M40i edition will rely on an updated version of the familiar 3.0-liter straight-six to get it up to 60 mph in an estimated 4.4 seconds.

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Woodward Avenue Dreaming

Over 1 million turn out, but the cars are the stars at the 24th annual Woodward Dream Cruise.

by on Aug.18, 2018

Bob Chesnicki and his wife have long wanted to make it out for the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise. They finally showed up in this T-Bucket for their 32nd anniversary.

It’s either “the world’s largest car show,” or “the world’s largest parking lot,” said Robert Angel, as he watched a procession of muscle cars, hot rods and sports cars slowly creep by on Woodward Avenue.

Angel was one of an estimated 1.5 million people who lined a 16-mile stretch of the eight-lane boulevard that bisects Detroit and its northern suburbs for the 24th Woodward Dream Cruise, an annual event that was expected to draw cars and spectators from as far away as New Zealand, Australia and the former Soviet Union.

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Angel, a former school teacher, only had to travel from Savannah, Georgia, but waited until he retired to finally get to see the Dream Cruise, he explained, because the school year in Georgia normally started in early August.

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First Drive: 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody

The love child of a Hellcat and a Demon.

by on Aug.08, 2018

Smokin'! The Challenger Hellcat Redeye's Line Lock lets you spin the rear tires before launch.

In barely the time it takes to say its full name, the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody will already be blasting past 60, on its way to a top speed of 203 mph.

Think of the Redeye as “the child that came out of the marriage of the Hellcat and Demon,” suggests Chris Cowland, the otherwise mild-mannered Brit who has overseen powertrain development for some of the fiercest muscle cars ever unleashed on public roadways.

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The new-for-2019 Redeye is the latest in the Dodge performance line-up, offering yet one more variant on the Challenger platform. While not the most powerful version ever – a distinction that belongs to the limited-edition, 2018 Demon – the Redeye has nothing to be ashamed about. As Cowland suggests, it is, indeed, what you’d expect from the lovechild of a Hellcat and Demon, as we found during a day’s driving through the Maine Countryside, wrapped up with lap time on the Club Motorsports track an hour outside Portland.

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New Mustang Hits – With a Bullitt

We follow the tracks of the legendary Steve McQueen chase in the 2019 Mustang Bullitt.

by on Aug.06, 2018

Two icons: the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt emerges from the fog by the Golden Gate Bridge.

(ED: We’ve corrected a few typos and added more on the Bullitt’s six-speed gearbox.)

The streets of San Francisco are eerily quiet on this early morning with the heavy fog that’s rolled in off the Pacific making it possible to imagine traveling back to another time, 50 years ago, when police Lieutenant Frank Bullitt burned rubber going after the bad guys in one of cinema’s most famous chase scenes.

It helps, of course, that we’re riding in the latest iteration of the Ford Mustang Bullitt, the limited-edition pony car meant to celebrate that iconic film and the car driven by star Steve McQueen. Like the original, our coupe is finished in Dark Highland Green, and it’s got a few other touches lifted from the original Bullitt Mustang, including the cue ball shifter knob. But Lt. Bullitt could have only dreamed about having the latest, 475 horsepower version of Ford’s 5.0-liter V-8 under the hood, as well as the magnetic ride control suspension that would make those legendary hilltop jumps a wee bit less jarring.

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Temptation is there, but we’ve been asked to take things a little easy this grey morning. No jumps, no drifting, high-speed turns. After all, there’s no film crew on hand, nor the necessary permits and police escort holding back the crowds. No big deal, we’ve already pushed the limits driving through some of the back roads carving through redwood country south of Fog City.

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Dodge Debuts 10,000+ HP Hellcat

New NHRA Funny Car to make its first race this weekend.

by on Jul.19, 2018

The new Dodge Funny Car aims to pick up design cues from the Charger SRT Hellcat.

While Dodge may have pulled the Demon out of production, it isn’t easing up its assault in the horsepower wars. In fact, it’s got a new Hellcat that it expects will churn out more than 10,000 horsepower when it makes its official debut this coming weekend.

Unlike the Challenger SRT Hellcat Demon, however, there has been no pretense at making the 2019 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat NHRA Funny Car street legal. It’s designed to dominate the quarter-mile adding to the 50 wins and one NHRA Funny Car World Championship the previous Dodge Charger Funny Car racked up.

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“The Dodge//SRT brand is all about performance, and the introduction of the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat NHRA Funny Car body showcases our commitment to performance and excellence at the dragstrip,” said Steve Beahm, who heads up North American passenger car brands, including Dodge, for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

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Dodge Pushing Boundaries Again With Debut of Challenger Hellcat Redeye

“Possessed by the Demon.”

by on Jun.28, 2018

Dodge continues to bring out new variants of its popular Challenger model. The Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye puts out 797 horsepower.

The Dodge Demon may be gone, but it’s certainly not forgotten, and Fiat Chrysler’s muscle car brand is again pushing the limits with another spin-off of its Hellcat line.

While the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye won’t quite match the numbers delivered by last year’s limited-edition Demon, it looks to have little to apologize for considering it will still make 797 horsepower – 90 more than the original Hellcat coupe. That will be enough to launch it from 0 to 60 in just 3.4 seconds, with a top speed of 203 mph.

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“The Dodge Brothers would be proud that we’re leveraging the power and performance of this proven engine to bring a Demon-possessed Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye to an even wider high-performance enthusiast audience,” proclaimed Dodge boss Steve Beahm, during a debut event at FCA’s proving grounds in Chelsea, Michigan.

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Volkswagen EV Racer Charges to Pikes Peak Record

Team wins race, sets new overall and EV mark.

by on Jun.25, 2018

Driving Volkswagen's I.D. R Pikes Peak, driver Romain Dumas set a new time record for electric vehicles on the Pikes Peak race.

Volkswagen and the I.D. R Pikes Peak made history at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb last weekend with its purpose-built, battery-electric racer by winning the overall race and setting a new record or two.

Romain Dumas, who had driven other electric race cars before, but not on Pikes Peak, piloted the the 500-kW I.D. R Pikes Peak to victory over a field of cars with conventional drivetrain technology as well as EVs.

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In doing so, he not only broke the previous record for electric vehicles, but also bettered Sébastien Loeb’s all-time record from 2013 – by a full 16 seconds. Dumas’ new record of 7:57.148 minutes.  (more…)

Tesla Takes its Turn on the Track in Inaugural Race Series

Modified Model S gets a big bump in performance – and cooling.

by on Jun.22, 2018

The modified Tesla Model S sedans can hit 60 in 2.1 seconds, with a 155 mph top speed.

With the introduction of Ludicrous Mode for the Model S a few years back, Tesla threw down the gauntlet, declaring it could match the performance of just about any traditional gas-powered vehicle.

Now, we’ll get to see what the battery-car really is capable of as it anchors the debut of the Electric Car Production Series, a new, FIA-sanctioned race series that will get underway with a race in Jerez, Spain this coming November. There will be a total of 10 races across Europe before the season wraps up in October 2019.

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The Tesla sedans have received a number of modifications, notably to address cooling issues that limit how long the street version of the Model S can be pushed to the limits. Customized by Electric GT Holdings and SPV Racing, the sedans now turn out 778 horsepower and 773 pound-feet of torque, enough to hit 100 kmh, or 62 mph, in 2.1 seconds, with a top speed of 155 mph.

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