Archive for the ‘Motorsports’ Category

First Look: BMW M340i and M340i xDrive

Official debut coming at LA Auto Show.

by on Nov.13, 2018

The new BMW M340i and M340i xDrive models will reach U.S. showrooms next spring.

The rush is on. With just weeks to go before this year’s U.S. auto show season kicks off in Los Angeles, automakers are rushing to give us a preview of what they’ll have on hand in the City of Angels.

For BMW, the big news will be the debut of the 2020 M340i and M340i xDrive sedans, and the Bavarians have proffered up this first look at the range-topping model. While we’ll have to wait to get a look at the next-gen M3, these M Performance sedans are impressive in their own right, sharing an updated twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-liter straight six making 382 horsepower and 369 pounded-feet of torque.

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This marks the first time the 3-Series will be offered with an M Performance package, what some have dubbed M-Light. We’ll have to wait for the Los Angeles Auto Show to get all the specs on the 2020 BMW M340i models, but preliminary specs suggest 0 to 60 times of around 4.2 seconds, with top speed electronically limited at 155 mph.

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Mopar Caps SEMA Surprises with 1,000 HP Hellephant

Mopar puts a distinctive spin on a pair of FCA icons.

by on Oct.30, 2018

Looking to blow away a Dodge Demon? Good news! Mopar has you covered with the Hellephant-powered Super Charger.

You can never be too rich, nor have too much horsepower. And for those who thought the Dodge Demon was pushing the limits, Fiat Chrysler’s Mopar division will deliver a high-performance surprise at this year’s SEMA Show.

Taking things into four digits for the first time, Mopar gave a handful of journalists a sneak peek at three customized models it will bring to the annual accessories show in Las Vegas next week – as well as the most powerful, factory-supplied “crate” engine ever to be offered to serious performance fans.

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And you can be sure that anything using the 1,000 horsepower V-8 will be hitting 60 by the time you pronounce its full name, the Fiat Chrysler 426 Crate Mopar Hellephant. (more…)

Project Black S Prototype Shows Infiniti’s Electric Future in Paris

Nissan's luxury brand moving to EVs for 2021.

by on Sep.27, 2018

The Infiniti Project Black S fuses high-performance dual-hybrid technology with brand’s award-winning VR30 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo engine.

Infiniti is ready to storm into Paris next month revealing its progress toward the electrification of its portfolio by 2021 with the new Project Black S prototype.

The prototype, which started as a design study in 2017, features Formula One dual-hybrid electric power train technology adapted for use in an everyday driver. It also showcases the advantages of being part of a large conglomerate as experts from across the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance all played a role in its development.

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“The Project Black S represents the very top end of electrification in the Alliance portfolio, and is another example of Infiniti’s entrepreneurial spirit on its journey to electrification from 2021 onward,” said Roland Krueger, chairman and global president at Infiniti, in a statement.  (more…)

Mercedes-AMG Project One Hypercar Caught Track Testing

Virtual testing can only take you so far.

by on Sep.25, 2018

Much of the initial development work for the Mercedes-AMG Project One was done digitally.

There’s a race underway to see who can do the better, faster job of putting Formula One technology on the road, and Daimler AG wants us to know it’s getting close, providing a handful of images showing off a prototype of the new Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercar undergoing track testing.

Which track? Could it be the legendary Nurburgring? That’s a reasonable guess considering it isn’t all that far away from the company’s Stuttgart headquarters but, for now, the automaker is only hinting that prototypes are being driven on “closed-off test grounds. However, because of their characteristic F1 sound they are hard to keep from the public.”

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The Project One, which actually looks more like a Le Mans prototype than a Formula One racer, has been generating buzz for several years, though we only got a look at a complete mock-up at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year.

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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.

Track News!

“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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