All posts in “Motorsport & Racing”

Ken Block’s Audi S1 Hoonitron

I am sure we all remember the legendary Audi Sport Quattro S1 we’ve seen attacking the Pikes Peak Hill Climb event, also known as the ‘Race to the Clouds’ as the finish line is so high up on the mountain it is usually above the cloud deck, and it is that very special car that inspired the looks of the latest development from Audi, the S1 e-tron specifically created for drift artist Ken Block … so this car is called the Hoonitron.

This is a one-off creation from Audi that will be featured in the upcoming video Ken Block is producing over the next few months, and being basically an S1 e-tron, we are looking at an all-electric car, powered by two electric motors, the Quattro name reveals it already, this is an all-wheel-drive car with oodles of power sitting on a lightweight carbon fiber chassis.

The Audi S1 Hoonitron is built to full FIA safety standards while the designers still managed to translate the raw design style of the classic Sport Quattro into the present day for the exterior styling of this 21st century S1 Hoonitron, note that development of this one-off was conducted at Neckarsulm by Audi Sport themselves, keep in mind the impressive Audi RS e-tron GT is built at that location too.

“Audi gave me the opportunity to test it for a few days in Germany,” says Ken Block. “I’m familiar with a wide variety of cars using internal combustion engines and transmissions, but there were a lot of new things for me to learn here. Spinning into a doughnut at 150 km/h directly from a standstill – just using my right foot – is an all-new experience for me. Our work was focused on getting the car and I used to each other. My thanks go to the whole Audi Sport squad for their outstanding teamwork.”

The futuristic design with a clear inspiration from the classic Sport Quattro was created by Audi Design in Ingolstadt, Marc Lichte, Audi’s chief designer, and his team commented: “When we first heard about this project, the whole team was thrilled immediately: we had the opportunity to develop a car that combines an icon of our brand with the future, the challenges were tremendous: “It was about creating a modern, all-electric interpretation of the S1 Pikes Peak. The timeline was extremely tight: while our design process normally takes one to one-and-a-half years, we only had four weeks from the first drawing to the final design. We were constantly in touch with Ken Block and his team and engaged in intensive exchanges.”

Back in the day, it was Audi that motived Ken Block to get into rallying in the first place, so having the brand you admire from the start create a bespoke car just for you is simply magic, so Block and his team will be creating a new episode in his Gymkhana series, this time using the S1 Hoonitron … therefore the working title for his latest video currently is ‘Elektrikhana’.

Ken Block: “The S1 Hoonitron combines a lot of what Audi was already famous for in the nineteen-eighties, for instance, the car’s spectacular aerodynamics have now been translated into a totally modern form. I think it’s cool that the Audi designers have been inspired by their own past and uniquely transferred the car’s technologies and appearance into the present.”

I for one am looking forward to checking out Elektrikhana when it’s published online, I’m sure it will be as least as impressive as Block’s previous work …

The Nissan Z GT500 race car

NISMO, or the Nissan Motorsports International Co. Ltd, just unveiled their latest track weapon together with Nissan Motor Co. Ltd in Yokohama, Japan, the Z GT500, shown at the world-famous Fuji Internation Speedway, this new race car will compete in the 2022 season of the Super GT Series, as a move to enter the Nissan Z sports car in the very competitive Super GT Series as part of their NEXT transformation plan announced in May 2020.

Nissan has been carving out its path since the early Seventies when they entered motor racing in the United States, with straight wins in the SCCA C Production Series competing in an S30 240S. The Z32 300ZX would claim multiple victories in the IMSA Series during the Nineties while the Z33 evolution competed in the JGTC/Super GT Series in the 2000s, during which they ultimately claimed the Series Championship.

Nissan COO Ashwani Gupta said: “The Nissan Z GT500 symbolizes Nissan’s spirit of taking on challenges and bringing excitement to life. Through our racing efforts, we continue to innovate our cars and we race to win with the same daring we have displayed so many times over the years.”

The matt black Nissan Z GT500 presented looks very impressive, with a rather angular styling of the rear diffuser and a massive ‘hanging’ rear wing to create downforce at speed during the Super GT track stints, while at the front we find a very aggressive styling on the bumper with massive fins on the side to keep the steering wheels firmly pushed down into the track, also note the massively wider fenders both front and rear that are connected together with a clear carbon-fiber, very purposeful side sill.

President and CEO of NISMO Takao Katagiri said: “We are entering the 2022 Super GT series with our all-new Nissan Z GT500 car and our huge passion for motorsports. We hope that our fans will continue to passionately support the Nissan and NISMO motorsport teams.”

McLaren Daniel Ricciardo Edition 720S

I guess McLaren Automotive Limited has been looking at other supercar builders, as there is yet another ‘special edition’ based on the McLaren 720S, some manufacturers really milk a certain platform to the max when it comes to releasing one-off, few-off, or limited editions, just to have more return on investment on the initial design, or just because the successor isn’t quite ready yet, whichever is the case here, there is a new McLaren Daniel Ricciardo Edition 720S, and only three will be built.

Let’s first take a look at the McLaren 720S, unveiled at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show as the successor to the McLaren 650S, the second model in the McLaren Super Series, with the M840 T engine, a 4-Liter twin-turbo V8 unit delivering 720 PS (or 710 hp) at 7,500 rpm, hence the 720S designation, and torque comes to 770 Nm at 5,500 rpm, acceleration to 100 km/h from standstill only takes 2.9 seconds while 200 km/h is reached within 7.8 seconds, the top speed is 341 km/h or 212 mph.

It took a little over a year for McLaren to introduce the 702S Spider as their new convertible flagship model in December 2018, unlike the coupe’s twin-hinged butterfly-style opening doors, the Spider comes with dihedral opening doors, with an increase in weight of just 45 kg over her closed counterpart, the 720S Spider was just marginally slower but did come with new 10-spoke wheels and additional color options, do note that with the top down the top speed is reduced by 16 km/h.

The McLaren 720S Spa 68 Collection, only three were built

March 2020 marked the release of the McLaren 765LT, the ‘Long Tail’ track-focused version of the 720S with increased power output and modified bodywork, but we should stick to the McLaren 720S in this article, so let’s take a look at the McLaren 720S Spa 68 Collection, a bespoke MSO order by McLaren Brussels to commemorate 50 years since Bruce McLaren secured the first Grand Prix victory for McLaren, featuring a Bespoke Anniversary Orange paint job to match the car that won the 1968 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.

The McLaren 720S Le Mans Edition, one of 50 made, this one is finished in Le Mans Orange

Up next, the McLaren 720S Le Mans Edition, celebrating 25 years since the iconic McLaren F1 GTR‘s first win at the Le Mans 24 Hours, the 720S Le Mans will have only 50 cars produced worldwide, only available in two colors, Le Mans Orange, or Sarthe Grey, while these also came with a functional roof scoop inspired by the McLaren F1 GTR, bespoke 5-spoke LM wheels, and full carbon-fiber racing seats.

The McLaren 720S in bespoke MSO Gulf Oil livery

McLaren MSO department did bring out another special version, the 720S Gulf Oil livery, to celebrate their new partnership in 2020 when McLaren went on to using Gulf oils exclusively for their new cars as their lubricant supplier, a very limited number of customers could have their supercar hand-painted in the famous Gulf Oil livery, including the 720S model, a perfect match to the trademark Gulf shades of light blue and bright orange.

Now McLaren comes up with another very limited production version of their 720S, the Daniel Ricciardo Edition 720S from MSO, again a special commission model, just like the Spa 68 one above, but this time a request from McLaren Melbourne and Sydney, as a celebration model for Daniel Ricciardo, the race-winning McLaren Formula 1 driver.

“We’re delighted to see the first of this exclusive series arrive in Australia, as at home on the tarmac around Albert Park as its namesake Daniel Ricciardo. Complete with the Australian flag adorning the front haunches, this special edition model is the perfect celebration of our Perth-born racer – we’re excited to see it out on Australian roads.” George Biggs, Commercial Executive Director, McLaren Automotive.

There will only be three units of the McLaren Daniel Ricciardo Edition 720S made, and they are only available in Australia, hence come in RHD configuration only, each of them will be finished in Papaya spark and Burton blue, the exact colors we’ve seen on the McLaren Formula 1 2021 MCL35M race car, and each of these orange 720S will come with the number ‘3’ on the side, a nod to Ricciardo’s racing number.

“One of the great privileges of driving for McLaren is getting behind the wheel of many of the marque’s exhilarating supercars and while each offers something unique, the 720S is the absolute benchmark.” Daniel Ricciardo, Formula 1 driver, McLaren Racing, who has his signature featured on the carbon-fiber sills of each of the three Daniel Ricciardo Edition 720S.

Why the Gemballa Marsien Is Billed as the Ultimate Adventure Sportscar

Marc Phillip Gemballa, son of the late Uwe Gemballa, has channelled his father’s spirit into a sports car unlike anything else on the road today. He is only 27, but his company, a tuning house called Marc Phillip Gemballa GMBH, has already given us its first creation. It is called the Gemballa Marsien, a performance machine that blends everyday utility and off-road capabilities into one package.

1985 Porsche 959 Paris-Dakar Rally CarVia Carscoops.

The Marsien draws its inspiration from the 1980s Porsche 959 rally monsters, arguably some of the greatest race cars to have ever competed at the famous Paris-Dakar rallies. What Marc has done is to take a 992 Generation Porsche 911 Turbo S and infuse it with serious off-roading DNA, resulting in what might be described as an all-terrain supercar.

Powertrain and Transmission

At the heart of the Gemballa Marsien is the same twin-turbo flax-six that powers the 911 Turbo S. In this case, though, the powerplant has been tuned by German powerhouse RUF to produce 750-hp—about 100-hp more than the 911 Turbo S.

There is a second stage upgrade that further bumps this output to 830 horses with enhanced turbochargers, a revised ECU mapping and transmission setting.​ Akrapovic was contracted to develop a custom-made titanium exhaust system that not only delivers a unique note but also helps boost the engine power output.

Gemballa Marsien kicking up a dust trailVia Marc Philipp Gembala.

This power is fed to all four wheels via an 8-speed PDK transmission. When equipped with road tires, Marc claims his car can sprint to 62 mph (100 kph) in a scant 2.6 seconds and continue on to a 208 mph top speed. In off-road mode, the Gemballa Marsien is restricted to a still-impressive 130 mph maximum speed.

Chassis and Suspension

The Gemballa Marsien sports a bespoke suspension system that was developed in partnership with KW Automotive, a leader in aftermarket suspension system technology. It features significant changes from the stock 911 Turbo S chassis, including a brand new double-wishbone front suspension. The setup also incorporates an intelligent active damper control and adjustable ride height system, perfect for the Marsien’s dual nature.

Gemballa Marsien showing impressive ground clearanceVia Marc Philipp Gembala

At the touch of a button, a hydraulic lift system can raise the Gemballa Marsien from 4.7 inches to 9.8 inches. The increased ground clearance ensures that the off-road supercar can venture off paved surfaces and tackle more challenging surfaces with relative ease.

In addition, the suspension was remapped and now supports Gravel, Mud, Snow and Sand driving modes. The Gemballa Marsien is offered with two sets of specially designed forged aluminum wheels. There is a set shod with Michelin Ultra High Performance (UHP) tires for road use and another with All-Terrain tires for when the Marsien is driven off-road.

Exterior and Interior Design

It might be based on the 911 Turbo S, but the Gemballa Marsien boasts an ultra-modern and timeless design that immediately sets it apart. First, all of the bodywork is made from lightweight F1-grade carbon fibre that can either be painted over or presented in its raw exposed form, depending on the customer’s request.

Apart from the Marsien’s overall beefy profile, other notable elements of the exterior design include massive wheel arches and prominent vents on the hood and along the sides of the car. You also have a huge spoiler and custom tail-lights, which contribute to the Marsien’s unique appearance.

Gemballa Marsien interiorVia Marc Philipp Gembala.

In Gemballa’s own words, the interior design ‘echoes the elegance of the exterior.’ An extensive suite of customization options is available, affording the client the opportunity to create a truly personalized feel for the cabin.

You can opt for a full leather or Alcantara interior, finished with materials of the highest quality. The raised middle console is inspired by the Carrera GT and offers easy access to various infotainment features and other vehicle control functions.

The bucket seats are specially designed with carbon fibre trim to reduce weight without compromising too much in the way of comfort. There are also other notable interior details, like the carbon fibre door sills with bright yellow entry guards and GT-style door lashes.

The Gemballa Marsien Is Only the Beginning

Gembala Marsien kicking up dust in desertVia Marc Philipp Gembala.

The marketing ad campaign shows the Gemballa Marsien strutting its stuff on the endless sand dunes of the Al Faya desert, located just outside Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The location is a sensible choice for the company. It is not out of place to expect that a good chunk of Marc’s clients will come from the oil-rich region—bored billionaires seeking the ultimate thrill in the form of a dune-bashing desert toy just like this one.

Unsurprisingly, the Gemballa Marsien does not come cheap. Interested clients can expect to part with around $600,000 for the complete build, and that does not include the price of the donor Porsche 911 Turbo S sportscar. It is clearly not for everyone, something Marc knows only too well. The production run is limited to forty units, including ten special launch edition models, and more than half of them have already been sold according to the company.

It took two years of intense research and development to come up with the Gemballa Marsien, and Marc hopes this will mark the start of an epic journey for his young company. To be clear, Marc Gemballa is in no way associated with his late father’s company, Gemballa GmbH, which still exists. He is intent on carving his own path, starting with his vision of what an off-road capable supercar should look like. Marc Phillip Gemballa is confident that there is a market out there for specially designed vehicles like the Marsien, limited series cars with a fresh new design and cutting-edge technology.

These are early days yet, and the jury is still out on whether Marc’s company will stand the test of time. That will partly depend on whether the Gemballa Marsien can deliver on its promise as the ultimate adventure sportscar.

Sir Frank Williams Passes Away At 79

Those of us that follow Formula 1 woke up to the news today that Frank Williams, the namesake of the Williams Grand Prix Engineering Formula 1 team, has passed away at the age of 79.

Frank WIlliams and Patrick Head
Frank WIlliams and Patrick Head Patrick Head (L) and Frank Williams at the carpet warehouse that became the first HQ of Williams Grand Prix Engineering

Working out of a former carpet warehouse, Williams Grand Prix Engineering was born in 1978 after the financial struggles and near bankruptcy of his first attempt at Formula 1, Frank Williams Racing Cars. After being bought out by Candian Walter Worf in 1976, he left the team in 1977 with Patrick Head, his chief engineer, and formed the now legendary team with little more than a bank loan and promises to pay from winnings and sponsorships to cover the loan. Less than a year later, Clay Regazzoni drove an FW07 to victory at the 1979 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

A young Frank Williams during the FWRC days
A young Frank Williams during the FWRC days Frank Williams with the plight of a team owner in the 1970s

1980 saw the team win the drivers and constructors’ titles, supporting Alan Jones in a modified FW07. Between 1981 and 1997, WGPE went on to field some of the most technically advanced cars the sport had ever seen, such as the FW14B which introduced computer-controlled active suspension, in doing so powering six more drivers to the drivers’ championship and winning the constructors championship eight more times. However, not everything would go to plan during these wild years of success, as tt was during this time period that the day that changed Frank Williams’ life forever occurred.

On the 8th of March, 1986, Williams had been at the Circuit Paul Ricard in the South of France to watch the FW11 chassis undergo high-speed testing, but was registered to run in the London Half Marathon on the 9th of March. As such, after the testing had finished, Williams, with team sponsorship manager Peter Windsor, drove a Ford Sierra 1600 car at speed to get to the Nice Cote d’Azur Airport when he lost control on a left-hand bend, went over a low stone retaining wall, and landed in a field 8 feet below the road on the driver’s side. Williams suffered a spinal fracture just below his neck and partially severed his spinal cord, rendering him a tetraplegic. He nearly died a few times in the tense 48 hours after the accident, but after urgent repatriation and an emergency tracheotomy in the UK, he survived.

Frank Williams and Nigel Mansell, 1986
Frank Williams and Nigel Mansell, 1986 After recovering from his accident, Frank Williams was right back in the paddock before the season was over. Seen here with future champion Nigel Mansell

Frank Williams ultimately oversaw 114 grand prix wins as team principal. He was active with both the F1 team and the business side of Williams until 2012, when he stepped down from the board of directors and nominated his daughter Claire for the vacancy. From 2013 to 2020, he was a co-team principal with Claire, running more of the engineering side of things while his daughter oversaw the drivers and business delivery side. When Williams Grand Prix Engineering was bought out by Dorilton Capital Group in 2020, both Frank and Claire stepped down, ending the Williams family tenure of the team.

Ultimately, Frank Williams oversaw 50 years of competition as a team principal, and his team and company dominated the sport for nearly two decades. He survived bankruptcy, he navigated the politics of Formula 1 with skill, grace, and determination, and he didn’t let the fact that he was tetraplegic get in the way of his desire to push for every win, and have the best of the best drive and engineer for him and the team. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1986 after his recovery from his accident, and was made a Knight Commander of the OBE in 1999.

Sir Francis Owen Garbett Williams, CBE, born April 16 1942, will be sorely missed, and left a lasting legacy in the sport he loved so dearly.

Comments and Honours by teams and drivers on hearing of his passing:

Official Formula 1:

Williams Racing:

George Russell, the last driver personally signed to the team by Frank Williams:

Nico Hulkenberg (the Hulk), signed to Williams Racing in 2009:

A visit to the 2021 Essen Motor Show

I know there is the world-famous SEMA show in Las Vegas, the ultimate event for tuning and customization, but over here in Europe, we have the Essen Motor Show, an annual show (the 2020 version was canceled thanks to the global pandemic) that combines sports cars, tuning & lifestyle, motorsport and classic cars all in one event, and tens of thousands of visitors from all over Europe and even from further away make the trip to Germany in late November to enjoy this impressive, mostly indoor event.

The 2021 edition was the first one after a year of absence, and sadly some strict safety and hygiene rules still exist to date, like wearing a face mask at all times, and I think this has scared away some exhibitors this year, I was able to visit the preview day as a member of the press, and it was obvious not all halls were open this year, and the halls that were in use still had some vast spaces open … it seems the organization really had a hard time filling up the space.

But that didn’t keep me from walking around the Essen Messe for hours and admiring some really amazing cars, all sorts of cars, and that’s what I like about this event, it’s not just about tuning, or classics, or any other segment of automotive interest, it’s about all of them, please enjoy some of the impressions I managed to capture today in the extensive image gallery below:

First up a series of racecars, or race-inspired concepts:

A classic Ford GT
Very menacing looking, black Ford GT racecar
A genuine Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 FL2 racecar prepared by Reiter Engineering GmbH
Amazing looking Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II
A very wild looking VW Golf
Audi RS3 concept

How about something really different:

the odd ones at the 2021 Essen Motor Show

The massive Mercedes AMG G63 6×6
A classic rat rod, usually there are more on show in Essen
You can’t have an Essen Motor Show without a low rider … or two
A classic Mercedes 500 SEC on an airbag suspension
And then you find a genuine tractor pulling monster at the Essen Motor Show

Tuning mayhem:

A large amount of tuning is always shown at the Essen Motor Show, from the Nissan GTR over the Supra to just about any other make out there:

This extremely wide VW Golf 2 was in fact a mid-engine conversion
Really wide and low riding Nissan GTR
You simply can’t beat an RWB Porsche …
This satin white Wiessmann looked really amazing
It seemed the theme for this Essen Motor Show was widebody …
The Pandem kit does look very impressive, especially with that rear wing
A nice first-gen Honda NSX, in the USA this would be an Acura NSX I guess.
Low, wide, and white … beautiful Porsche on display
If you have it, flaunt it … even if that means leaving the rear bumper in your garage
Ultra wide old school VW Golf in Candy Apple red.
Wide body BMW 3-Series looking mean in this very dark metallic green
I do like the split rear wing on this widebody beauty
How low can you go? Audi R8 V10 on ‘bags’
Nope, the Stradman didn’t have a car in Germany, but it would match his LB-Works Limited Roadster.
Clean and mean, just another Nissan GTR at Essen
If you decide on adding a wrap to your car, get it right the first time and stand out from the crowd
This white Nissan GTR almost looks like it came straight from the track
I just noticed the rear fender and couldn’t resist taking a photo of this Porsche
Prior Design widebody Lamborghini Urus in ‘Lizard Lime’
Really nice Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster in matt black
Not sure what the 384 km/h stood for, but it was a special shade of red indeed

Movie cars

Usually, one or two movie cars are on display at the show, but this year there was a bundle of them

Who doesn’t remember the Dodge Charger from the Dukes of Hazzard series?
A few cars driven by Dominic from the Fast and Furious franchise
Three more cars from the earlier Fast and Furious movies
I just loved this Mustang from Gone in 60 seconds
The red Coyote, from Hardcastle and McCormick
I guess we all know where this car was used in, right?
The Mad Max movie car …
You can’t have a show with movie cars and don’t have this famous DeLorean on display.
Who you gonna call?

The final few, the odd ones:

Absolutely stunning Koenigsegg Regara on display at the 2021 Essen Motor Show, I love that interior.
BMW M4 drift car build, note the exhaust coming out where the rear window used to be!
Who needs a windshield right? Very special looking Mercedes shown here
Classic cars? You’ve asked for it, check out this amazing looking beauty

I had an absolute blast visiting the Essen Motor Show, I did miss a few of the regulars, and for once I walked away without buying one or more scale models for my collection, it’s only a two-hour drive for me, and this show is usually worth it, this year might have suffered a bit from the global pandemic that just doesn’t seem to go away any time soon, so I was already happy they didn’t cancel the show this year, let’s hope the 2022 edition will be back in full force next year.

The new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport

Porsche only just revealed the new 718 Cayman GT4 RS at the Los Angeles Auto Show, but there is even more news in their 718 range, simultaneous Porsche also unveiled their latest mid-engined race car, the 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport, with the 4-Liter six-cylinder boxer engine taken directly from the 911 GT3 Cup race car, pumping out 500 PS in the 718 Clubsport version, an increase of 75 PS compared to the previous GT4 Clubsport edition.

Depending on the track and series-specific regulations, the new 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport can achieve lap times that are over two percent quicker than the previous model. The homologated vehicle is track-ready straight from the factory in Weissach and can be used in SRO racing series around the world without the need for additional modifications, pricing starts at 196.000 Euro or 229.000 Dollars, not including specific taxes.

“We have incorporated our experience of the last three years of running the previous GT4 Clubsport as well as customer wishes into the development of the new car,” said Michael Dreiser, Manager of Sales and Distribution at Porsche Motorsport. “Faster lap times combined with a further improvement in driveability offer our customers a competitive product for the upcoming racing seasons in GT4 class racing competitions around the world.”

The first Cayman GT4 Clubsport was introduced back in 2016 already based on the 981 generation, to offer customers a very competitive race car, in just two years a total of 421 were built, for 2019 a new model based on the 718 Cayman GT4 debuted, of which about 500 would find clients, mostly thanks to the low running costs of these GT4 race cars in the hands of customer teams.

This tradition is continued with the brand new 2022 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport, the 4-Liter boxer engine replaces the previous 3.8-liter six-cylinder unit, and it is about 18% more powerful with its 500 PS at 8,300 rpm thanks to an optimized air intake, also note this new engine car sustain up to 9,000 rpm while it comes with a torque of 425 Nm at 6,600 rpm, resulting in a broad speed band, making the car easier to handle for amateur drivers, but still powerful enough for professional race car drivers.

Upgrades include the use of two-way adjustable shock absorbers with improved characteristics, in addition to adjustable sword-type anti-roll bars front and rear. Vehicle height, camber, and toe are also adjustable. Furthermore, three different spring rates for front and rear axles are now available. Special NACA ducts in the bonnet are designed to direct the airflow more efficiently to the large racing brake-ing system fitted with 380-millimeter steel brake discs.

The 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport comes with a further extended front spoiler lip compared to the road car for additional downforce, while vents on the wheel arches were inspired by the 911 GT3 R model and vertical fins on the front bumper create an air curtain for the front wheels, naturally, the entire underbody is closed for this race car and it doubles as an optimization for the rear diffuser.

The ‘hanging’ rear wing, also called swan neck, comes with a 20mm long Gurney flap, with an additional pair of adjustment ranges added for more personalization during racing.

The Pagani Huayra R … on the street?

Yes, you are reading that title right, it seems someone was able to get the track-only Pagani Huayra R and drive it on public roads, in the middle of a city no less, the sound this race version of the Pagani Huayra makes is just tremendous, make sure to use headphones when you view the video below:

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The above video was made during the 2021 edition of the Supercarownerscircle event in Zagreb, Croatia, where we see the Huayra R driving on the city streets, but also doing some acceleration runs on the Velika Gorica Airport, where it looks like there is no reverse gear as they need to push the car back as it can’t make the turn on the narrow runway.

Power in the Pagani Huayra R comes from a V12, 6-litre NAracing engine, designed from the ground up in partnership with HWA AG specifically to meet the Atelier’s need to equip its new creation with the lightest, most powerful, and efficient track-ready V12 ever created with peak performance on the track up to the red line of 9000 rpm while the dry weight of the Huayra R is just 1,050 kg with a maximum power output of 850 hp at 8250 rpm, only 30 units of the Pagani Huayra R will be built, at €2,600,000 each, before taxes.

Back in August 2021, at the Monterey Car Week, Pagani celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Huayra, but they only showcased some key elements of the Huayra R, it seemed the car wasn’t ready yet for a public unveil, and let’s not forget the video where Tim shows us around a 1:1 scale mockup of this race-track only version … it seems they managed to get the first production prototype ready for Zagreb now …

Porsche 911 (992) GT3 Cup: An In-depth Look


The world caught its first glimpse of the new 992-gen Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car back in December 2020, at about the same time that we were treated to a teaser of the yet-to-be-released production road car. 

Ironically, more details were revealed about the race car than the road car at that point. Thus, we originally found ourselves relying on the Cup car – which we knew would make 510 hp and run on synthetic fuel – to give us clues on what the street-legal GT3 was going to look like, and not the other way around. But even then, most of the information remained vague. 

Fast forward to mid-February 2021, with Porsche finally pulling back the curtains and officially unveiling the 2022 Porsche 911 GT3 via digital livestream on YouTube. Rather quietly – under the shroud of all the fanfare surrounding the road car – Porsche also got the ball rolling for the 992-gen GT3 Cup car, delivering the first 23 examples to customers.

New Era, Better Cup Car

As is the case with any automobile (and especially one of the 911 GT3’s caliber), development of the production car – and by association, the Cup car – was years in the making. Jan Feldmann was appointed Project Manager for the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, making him ultimately responsible for bringing the many different departments together needed to produce a pure-bred race car.     

The very beginnings of this project can be traced back as far as 2018, with things really beginning to take shape by early 2019. The undertaking was huge, but the message was simple: “build a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car that had better performance, a more aggressive design, and greater durability than any other before it.”

We all know that these types of challenges are nothing new to Porsche, who seem to be on a perpetual winning streak of building a better car than the ones made before it. However, this particular Cup car did present a unique obstacle for Feldmann and his team, as Porsche sought to have it run on synthetic fuel rather than conventional gasoline. The immediate goal here was to achieve a significant drop in carbon emissions, which the new Cup car has proven to be possible.

It also serves as a laboratory for the potential trickle-down of eFuels to production road cars. Producing a competitive race car that uses eFuels is surely going to have huge implications for the company down-line; Porsche have already hinted that this manner of powering some of their production cars (alongside EVs) is at the forefront of their future developments. The company’s altruistic stance on this is reflected in their desire to make eFuels accessible for all manner of combustion-powered machines.    

As the seventh iteration of this one-make race car, the new 992 GT3 Cup will be carrying on a great legacy. Since 1990, Porsche has produced 4,251 units of this world-class machine; all of which have been built alongside Porsche’s production road cars at Zuffenhausen, and will continue to be in the case of the 992.

To The Races

Early adopters of the new Cup cars were invited to a private testing session to give the race car its first real shakedown on March 8, 2021. Considered to be one of the world’s most unforgiving race tracks (one which demands everything from a car’s chassis) Sebring International Raceway would host this event. Keeping in the mindset of “if it’ll survive here, it’ll survive anywhere”, the car performed remarkably in every metric and duly impressed the Porsche brass and customers alike.    

This was not just a preamble for the cars, but for the drivers as well, who would then compete on the same track just 9 days later at the 12 Hours of Sebring – the inaugural event for the 2021 Porsche Carrera Cup North America season. Since then, the competition has made its rounds to Circuit of the Americas, Watkins Glen, Road America and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The full schedule can be viewed here. 

Also, a special shout out to my fellow Canadian, Parker Thompson of JDX Racing, who continues to compete for a top 3 position in the series. He won the most recent event which took place at Indianapolis, where he also set the fastest lap of the race. All the best, Parker!

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Rolling

“Being able to introduce the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car in our own debut as Porsche Carrera Cup North America is a great honor. It is among the first of many key elements that makes Carrera Cup special for our customers here. While we will have multiple unique details which set the Carrera Cup North America apart, like a bespoke paddock experience and Michelin Pilot race tires, the most obvious and quickly recognizable to the fans will be the latest and greatest Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car. Not only is this special on this continent, but it is also special worldwide. People will be able to watch the future of Porsche one-make racing for the first time at our series’ debut at Sebring on March 17 – 19.” – Brian Blocker, Series Director of Porsche Carrera Cup North America

Engine & Performance

The Stats

The new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car continues to fashion a 4.0L naturally-aspirated engine, which is the same as that used in its predecessor as well as the 992 GT3 road car. In its latest evolution, the engine produces 510 hp @ 8,400 rpm – up from 485 hp @ 7,500 rpm in the outgoing race car – and 347 lb-ft of torque @ 6,250 rpm. 

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Pit Lane

Arguably more significant than the 25 hp bump, is the fact that the water-cooled flat-6 engine runs on synthetic fuels – a feature that could revolutionize how motorsport race cars and production road cars look going forward. Porsche also claims that the engine is more robust than ever and requires less routine maintenance than the forgone “Mezger” engines used in the previous cars. This means that the car should be good for 100 hours of track-duty, before requiring any maintenance checks.      

The Components

Unlike the road-going car, the GT3 Cup race car opts for a single intake system instead of the more ‘blingy’ individual throttle bodies, as a matter of simplicity for race engineers and mechanics. The car also comes with three interchangeable exhaust systems which allow for compliance within different race series’ rules and decibel limits.

The 4.0L naturally-aspirated flat-6 engine is mated to a 6-speed sequential transmission, which is electronically controlled using steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The most notable improvements to the drivetrain, which include new driveshafts, make for a much more durable race car. 

Porsche says that the GT3 Cup car’s transmission only needs inspecting once every 60 hours of racing, with the comprehensive servicing/rebuilding interval being double that. More time on the race track. Less time in the garage. A clearer path to victory.  

Chassis & Suspension

The new 992 GT3 Cup has significantly enhanced safety features compared to the outgoing 991.2 equivalent, with extra reinforcements added to make the safety cell – which ultimately protects the driver – much stronger. The net increase to total weight is about 35 kg, though it is important to note that the car has shed mass other areas to help mitigate the additional encumbrance. 

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Rear

This is achieved by using more aluminum than ever before, with roughly 70% of the new Cup car’s components being made of the lighter material (and the rest with steel). A generous serving of carbon fiber can be found on panels such as the doors, engine cover and rear wing, while all windows are made out of polycarbonate.  

Overall, the 992 Cup weighs 2,778 pounds – up from its predecessor’s 2,701 pounds – which isn’t insignificant in race car terms; however, it now comes with the extra protection and heightened safety standards that are part and parcel of building a car that is now faster than ever before. 

One of the biggest changes to the new GT3 Cup car is via its suspension geometry with the introduction of a double-wishbone suspension setup in the front. This design is inherited from the mid-engined 911 RSR race car, and is also a characteristic shared with the new 992 GT3 road car, which also debuts with this same feature.

This change is significant in that the shock absorbers are only affected by axial forces, and no longer to lateral forces. In essence, this will improve handling performance and allow for more precise road manners and enhanced turn-in capabilities. The rear end continues to utilize a 5-point multi-link suspension system which also borrows its valve design from the 911 RSR. The new GT3 Cup car will also feature fully electro-mechanical power steering for the first time, which will improve the car’s reaction to driver inputs while providing greater feedback. 


As expected, the new 992 GT3 Cup also features improved aerodynamic performance compared to the outgoing race car, with the new adjustable ‘swan neck’ rear spoiler being the most visually-telling change in this regard. 

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Rear Wing

This design – also adopted for use on the 992 GT3 road car – is an improvement on the more traditional shape, allowing for greater downforce while simultaneously reducing drag. New NACA-style air ducts at the front of the car also help to channel airflow throughout the body and assist with engine and brake cooling.  

The overall footprint of the car has also been increased, with a wider body and larger overhangs improving downforce but also making for bigger dimensions. However, as part of the total package, these changes work in tandem with the rest of the car in striking an optimal balance which ultimately makes for a faster, better and safer car. 

Stability & Traction Control Systems

While driver assistance systems such ABS and traction control are optional on the GT3 Cup, they are pre-programmed into every car’s onboard ECU; they can be toggled on or off using a unique digital code. 

However, the majority of these driving aids are prohibited in professional categories of competitions such as the Porsche Carrera Cup North America – pro-am and amateur racers are typically given more leniency when it comes to racing with assists turned on.  

Brakes & Tires

The new 992 GT3 Cup car utilizes Brembo steel brakes for stopping power, forgoing the more exotic (but less reliable) carbon-ceramic setup which is an option in the road-going GT3. The brake calipers utilize a special “quick release” mechanism, which allows for faster brake pad changes during pit stops. Brake bias can also be adjusted on the fly from the cockpit using a rotary knob located on the switch panel.  

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Rear Quarter

Thanks to wider fenders and a larger body, the new race car can also accommodate a beefier wheel / tire combination than before – by default, this equates to 12” wide wheels in the front and 13” wide wheels at the rear, each wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport race tires.

Design, Styling & Interior

Speaking in greater detail about the car’s increased width, the new 992 GT3 Cup is built upon the wider platform of the 911 Turbo production car, rather than the narrow-bodied variants as was the case for the previous Cup car iterations. Add to that, even wider fenders after the fact, and you have a front and rear track which has been widened by 1.8” and 1.1” respectively.  

The car’s body panels are made of either aluminum or carbon fiber; considerations have been made for reductions not just in weight, but in cost as well. For example, panels that are more susceptible to taking damage during customary track incidents – such as bumpers and fenders – are made from the less expensive aluminum.   

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Interior

Inside, the GT3 Cup is fitted with a 10.3” center monitor which displays important information to the driver. The steering wheel is transplanted from the GT3 R and has carbon fiber paddle shifters attached. The dashboard can also be customized to the driver’s preferences.


According to Porsche Motorsport, the new 992-gen Porsche 911 GT3 Cup “is now delivered with a complete accessory kit, which includes, for example, all special tools and wishbone spacers required for track adjustment.” 

As for the price? Each Cup car will cost the equivalent of €225,000 (roughly US$275,000).

This of course, does not include any of the costs associated with funding a race team or the other post-purchase expenses required to keep the car running and staying competitive. Deliveries began in February 2021, with testing and the first 5 Porsche Carrera Cup North America races already having been concluded at the time of this writing. The series will be making its next stop at Virginia International Raceway, before wrapping up at Road Atlanta.

Specifications Summary


Configuration Flat-6
Location Rear, Longitudinally-mounted
Construction Aluminium Alloy Block and Head
Displacement 3,996 cc / 243.9 cu in
Bore / Stroke 102.0 mm (4”) / 81.5 mm (3.2”)
Valvetrain 4 Valves / Cylinder, DOHC
Fuel Feed Fuel Injection
Lubrication Dry Sump
Aspiration Naturally-aspirated
Power 503 bhp / 375 kW @ 8,400 rpm
Torque 470 Nm / 347 ft-lbs @ 6,150 rpm
Redline 8,750 rpm
BHP/Liter 126 bhp / liter

Chassis & Drivetrain

Chassis Aluminium and Steel Monocoque
Front Suspension Double Wishbones
Rear Suspension Multi-link
Steering Electro-mechanical Power Steering
Front Brakes Ventilated discs, 380mm (15”), 6-pot caliper
Rear Brakes Ventilated discs, 380mm (15”), 4-pot caliper
Gearbox 6-speed Sequential
Drive Rear-wheel Drive


Weight 1,260 kg / 2,778 lbs
Length / Width / Height 4,585 mm (180.5”) / 1,920 mm (75.6 in) / N/A
Wheelbase / Track (fr/r) 2,459 mm (96.8”) / N/A / N/A
Fuel Tank 110 Liters (29.1 Gallons [US] / 24.2 Gallons [Imperial])
Wheels (fr/r) 12” x 18” / 13” x 18”
Tires (fr/r) 30/65 – 18” / 31/71 – 18”

Porsche 911 (992) GT3 Cup Photo Gallery

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Front Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Side Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Rear Wing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Steering Wheel Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Rear Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Bonnet Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Rolling Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Rolling Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Rolling Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Rear Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Pit Lane Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Side Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Rear Wing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Top View Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Tire Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Rear Quarter Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Rear Quarter Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Door Card Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Interior

Video Gallery

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Official Press Release

Porsche Premiere. Newest Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Race Car to Make Testing Debut with Newest One-Make Series.


Porsche Motorsport Weekly Notes

The Porsche Carrera Cup North America will be a leader in many ways entering its debut season in 2021. Among the firsts for the entrants into the new championship – the highest of the one-make series on the Porsche Motorsport Pyramid North America – will be the privilege as the earliest to test and race the newest Porsche 911 GT3 Cup competition car worldwide. Porsche will host an open test for all full-season entrants in the series at Sebring International Raceway on March 8 – 9. The private test will include the first 23, 2021 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars produced and delivered worldwide, as well as a limited number of previous generation cars. Following the two-day private event on the 3.74-mile, 17-turn race course in Sebring, Florida, entrants will make the international competition debut for the first race variant of the type 992 generation of the iconic 911 platform on March 17 – 19 during the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring weekend.

North America holds the honor of being the first to see the most produced factory race car in the world in Central Florida. It will be followed by its Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup premier March 30 at Zandvoort in The Netherlands. Other Carrera Cups will follow.

The seventh cup-car iteration will carry forward a great legacy. Since its 1990 forerunner, Porsche has built 4,251 units of the globally successful one-make cup racer. Of its immediate predecessor alone, 1,410 cars rolled off the 911 assembly line in Zuffenhausen, Germany: 673 vehicles from the 991.1 generation and 737 from the 2017-launched 991.2 generation.

Producing 510 hp (375 kW), the new-for-2021 machine exceeds the output of its immediate predecessor by approximately 25 horsepower. Moreover, the new GT3 Cup car can run on synthetic fuels, which significantly lowers CO2 emissions under racing conditions. The completely new Cup 911 race car is expected to cut lap times, depending on the track layout, by an astounding one-percent – an almost unheard of gain made year-to-year. Delivery to teams will begin in February 19 with the first production allocation scheduled to be delivered to North America.

The groundwork for the latest model was laid in 2018. Concrete development began in early 2019. The main development goals of the team led by project manager Jan Feldmann were to further improve performance, achieve a more aggressive design and greater durability with less outlay in terms of time and maintenance. The result is reflected in many aspects of the new racing vehicle, which, like its predecessor, is built on the production line in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen alongside the 911 road models.

One of the most striking features of the new 911 GT3 Cup is its optimized aerodynamics and the overall more muscular appearance. This is partly thanks to the wide, turbo-spec lightweight body that is being used for the first time in the Cup car. This improved aerodynamic efficiency ensures more stable handling, particularly in high-speed corners.

Optional vehicle functions such as ABS or traction control are already stored in the car’s onboard ECU. They can be activated via a digital code. In the Porsche Carrera Cup North America as well as the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, the majority of these driving aids are switched off in the professional classes. The focus of Carrera Cup and Supercup is on the talent of the drivers not the race car.

While the rear axle in the new Cup car essentially remains unchanged compared to the production 911 model, the front wheels are now controlled by a double wishbone suspension and Uniball bearings – like in the Porsche 911 RSR, the top racing model in the Porsche lineup. Through this, the shock absorbers/dampers are no longer exposed to lateral forces, only axial forces. This ensures more precise turn-in behavior and gives the driver a better feeling for the front axle. The shock absorbers have also inherited the cutting-edge valve technology from the Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP race car and 911 RSR. Fully electro-mechanical power steering has been introduced into the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup for the first time this year as well. While the car remains true to its Porsche roots in feel and performance, drivers who have experienced even the most recent generation of “Cup car” will have to adjust to the new, more precise handling of the newest generation. This puts a premium on the first test session at the fast, and bumpy, central Florida race course.

In terms of the engine, the 911 GT3 Cup remains true to the naturally-aspirated principle. In its racing version, the four-liter, water-cooled flat-six engine develops 510 hp (375 kW). The engine is connected to the sequential, six-speed gearbox with gear changes being made via a paddle shift on the steering wheel.

Entrants will take delivery of their new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars beginning February 19. To help maintain a level playing field for all customers, regardless of their designated delivery slot, teams will not be allowed to test the cars on track prior to the Porsche Motorsport North America-managed Sebring test on March 8. To learn more, please visit

10 Incredible Cars From Monterey Car Week

Photography by Kristina Cilia

Monterey Car Week is just over a month in the past at this point, and still, something about the 2021 edition just seems to have left a great feeling in the air. It may have been the return of the event after the 2020 edition was canceled, or it could have been that given the extra year, the presentation and detail of all the cars were given just that much more time to be made perfect. Whatever the reason, we’re not going to deny reveling in it.

Over the entirety of the car week, there were several cars that could have been labeled as incredible, amazing, exceptional, and the like. However, unlike other car sites out there on the internet, we kind of like the slightly more off-kilter cars here, the less-famous but still amazing cars that get lost in the myriad of Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and the like.

As such, for this list, we’re going to show you 10 incredible cars from the Monterey Car Week that you may not have given a second glance during the extensive coverage during the event. Each of these cars is special, historically important, or just plain awesome, and each really does deserve a mention.

De Tomaso Pantera

1972 De Tomaso Pantera

De Tomaso is a brand name that is not the first to the lips of many American automotive enthusiasts when mention is made of Italian sports cars. Founded by Argentinian-born Alejandro de Tomaso in Modena in 1959, the first decade of its existence was in building specialized racing cars, including Formula One chassis for Frank Williams. During this time, they also produced a limited number of road cars, including the Vallelunga and the Mangusta during the 1960s.

This manufacture of sports cars was enough to garner interest from Ford, after their row with Ferrari in the same decade. In 1971, Ford bought up an 84% stake in the company and started to provide V8 engines for the newest model, the Pantera.

It was during this period, from 1971 to 1974, that the De Tomaso Pantera became the hottest mid-engined sports car of the early 70s. The first year saw 1,007 Panteras sold through Lincoln-Mercury dealerships, and these first cars used a Ford 302 V8. They also had literally no rust proofing, and the manufacturing quality was, in a word, shoddy.

Therefore, in 1972, Ford became far more involved in the manufacturing side of things. A new model came from this, the Pantera GTS, which was built both as a homologation car for Group 3 regulations in Europe as well as a reinforced car to handle the new Ford Cleveland 5.8L V8 that was installed, producing 350 HP. However, for the US, the engine was tuned only to about 270 HP, and the car was still badged as just Pantera.

DeTomaso Pantera

In 1974, America finally got the full-fat Pantera GTS, with the engine turned up to 350 HP. Sadly, this was also the final year that Ford would import the Pantera, so original 1974 Pantera GTS’s, like the ones in the pictures, are exceedingly rare to find in good condition. Ford sold back their share of the company to de Tomaso in 1975, however, they kept the engine supply deal, and provided the Cleveland, and later Windsor, V8 throughout the remainder of the Pantera’s lifetime.

What makes the De Tomaso Pantera incredible is that by 1974, you had a mid-engined, 5-speed, Italian sports car that had a gearbox from ZF and an engine from Ford. Now, as many American muscle car fans will know, the 5.8L Cleveland V8 is an absolute gem of an engine in the eyes of tuners. These days, it’s not rare to see a Pantera or Pantera GTS chucking out an easy 400 HP, which in the 1970s put them in competition with the first Lamborghini Countach models in terms of power.

Porsche 911 R

Porsche 911 R parked next to a 356 A Coupe

To say that Porsche has stuck to their guns regarding car design is like saying the sky is blue. So as the company from Stuttgart pushed ever onward into the 21st century, they kept adding newer and fancier tech to their 911 flagship. All-wheel-drive became the standard, semi-automatic gearboxes were introduced as options and then became the standard, and some, but not all, Porsche enthusiasts felt that the true spirit of the 911 was starting to be lost.

Then came 2016, and with it, the Porsche 911 R. A limited production series of only 991, the 911 R was everything that those same enthusiasts wanted. The car was released with a standard spec, which was rear-wheel-drive only, powered by a 4.0L flat-six that punched out 493 HP, which was coupled to the rear wheels through a 6-speed manual. The only options? You could have the radio and air conditioning deleted to save extra weight.

Porsche 911 R

Without those two items removed, the 911 R was still very lightweight at 1,370 kg (3,020 lbs) and screamed to 60 MPH from a standstill in 3.7 seconds if you were precise with your shifts. This was from extensive use of lightweight aluminum in the construction of the car, as well as some bits being made out of carbon fiber. This also made it quite expensive, with each unit at $190,000.

But what it gave for that money was about as close to Porsche nirvana as the company has ever offered in the 21st century. A tail-happy, powerful, manually shifted, ridiculously fast 911 that loves the road and the track in equal measure. A 911 that flexes its muscles and shows that a rear-wheel-drive, rear-engine car can still corner so hard your head will roll off your shoulders before the rear tires give up.

That is, simply, what makes it incredible. It’s pure classic 911, but in the 21st century.

1956 Maserati A6G54 Zagato Berlinetta

1956 Maserati A6G54 Zagato Berlinetta

We all know that throughout the 1950s and 1960s, some of the rarest, most collectible, and frankly most expensive Italian sports cars were produced. Multiple GT’s from Ferrari and Lamborghini were made, and still command attention on the auction circuit to this day. However, many overlook the contributions that a little company formed by 4 brothers, all with the last name Maserati.

The history of the A6 generation of Maserati road cars, when the company was under the management of “Commodore” Adolfo Orsi, is extensive and worthy of an entire article on its own. Suffice it to say, from 1947 to 1955, the A6 inline-six engine, in a variety of configurations, powered Maserati racing cars to multiple top finishes in road rallies, including the Targa Florio and the Mille Miglia.

Based on these successes, the 1956 A6G 2000, more commonly known as the A6G54, grand tourer was announced to the public. Under its long hood, it hid a 2.0L, triple twin-choke Weber carbureted inline-six that put out a strong 160 HP. Four body styles were offered: a three-box Carrozzeria Allemano coupe penned by Giovanni Michelotti, of which 21 were made; a Coupe and a Gran Sport Spyder by Frua, of which 6 and 12 were made respectively; and a competition-fastback berlinetta coupe, designed by Zagato, of which 20 were made.

Of them all, the Zagato Berlinetta was the best suited for racing, and many of the Zagato versions were raced by wealthy privateers in road racing events. During this time, many of these cars were damaged and needed restoration and a few were lost to crashes that damaged the cars beyond repair. A very select few, however, were never raced, and one of those models made an appearance at the 2021 Concours d’Elegance during Monterey Car Week, as shown in the picture above.

Due to the exceptional rarity of original condition cars, well maintained and only needing partial touching up and restoration work here and there, these cars are exceptionally expensive at auction, in the rare cases they are even offered at auction. In fact, during the 2018 Monterey Car Week, during the Pebble Beach auctions, a 1956 A6G54 Zagato Berlinetta that had raced in the 1956 Mille Miglia, which was the 11th overall produced and had been extensively restored, moved across the block to a new owner for $4.515 Million USD. 

1934 MG P-Type Midget

1934 MG P-Type Midget

The 1934 MG P-Type Midget is, for lack of a better term, “not famous.” However, it is still an incredible car because of the effect that it, along with a few other cars, had on the entirety of British sports cars throughout the following decades.

The P-Type Midget is a tiny car, with a wheelbase of only 87 inches and a track of only 42 inches. It is powered by an 847cc inline-four engine that produced a whopping 36 HP, and could scream long the English B-roads at a mind-altering 74 MPH. Okay, we’ll admit, it’s not the fastest car to ever exist in the 1930s, not by a long shot, but it was mass-produced, with just over 2,500 cars made.

While not being the most expensive or fastest sports car, the biggest effect it had came from its body profile, which was that of a long bonnet (hood), a rearwards cabin, and a very short tail. If this sounds like a recipe for pretty much every roadster produced from the 1950s onwards, that’s because it is.

1952 MG TD and a replica 1958 Porsche 718 RSK

Multiple cars took the profile of the Midget and put it to use, that of a short, agile car with a long hood, a short cabin, and minimal overhang. It even influenced the design of the best-selling roadster of all time, the Mazda MX-5, throughout its now 30 years of production.

This is because the Midget, in all its forms, was designed not to be the fastest in a straight line. At the time in the 1930s, English back roads were narrow and twisty, with only a few sections with decent straights, and that’s where the Midget was built to live, and is where every roadster has since.

BMW 507 Roadster

BMW 507 Roadster

In the 1950s, BMW was enjoying immense success after restarting production after the devastation of World War 2. The 501 and 502 sedans were selling well, despite being very expensive for the average German, with most of the sales coming in the form of exports to other countries.

An importer of these BMWs for the US, Max Hoffman, had an idea of creating a US-centric model, a classically styled roadster that would show off BMW’s excellent engines, and would shame the cheap-and-cheerful MG and Triumph roadsters that were starting to gain traction with those in the sunny parts of America. After a few aborted designs, designer Albrecht von Goertz designed the BMW 503 Coupe, and the 507 Roadster.

What Hoffman had not accounted for, however, was the difficulty of making a lightweight, powerful roadster purely for export across the sea. As the aluminum body needed to be hand-hammered to shape, and then attached to the chassis. BMW’s newest engine, the 3.2L  M507/1 V8, was the heart of the car and produced just about 150 HP.

Originally intended to be a mass-production, thousands-imported-per-year car, the difficulty in making the car, the massively expensive overseas shipping, and the fact that the car was meant to be a challenger to the Mercedes-Benz 300SL saw the car fail spectacularly. Intended to sell in the US at a 1950s expensive $5,000, it finally ended up on North American shores at $10,000, or just under $95,000 in 2021 dollars.

Throughout its entire lifetime, only 252 units were made from 1956 to 1959. Many people desired the car, but very few could afford it. Elvis Presley had one. Hollywood stars John Derek and Ursula Andress had one each. These were some of the highest-earning musicians and actors of their time, and even then these were expensive cars.

However, von Goertz’s design was solid, his lines were classic, and BMW quietly stashed away the design in their vaults for over 40 years, until in 1999, the BMW Z8 was revealed as a production model. Designers Henrik Fisker and Scott Lempert drew heavily from the 507, and the Z8 officially recognized the 507 Roadster as its predecessor car.

2013 Porsche 918 Spyder

2013 Porsche 918 Spyder

Not all the cars during Monterey Car Week that are incredible are old or classic. A perfect example of this is the 2013 Porsche 918 Spyder, one of the holy trinity of high-performance, hybrid-powered supercars that cemented the term “hypercar” into the common vernacular.

Combining the howling grunt of a 4.6L mid-mounted, racing-derived V8 with the torque and immediate power of two axle-bound hybrid motors, the 918 Spyder has monstrous 887 HP on tap. Thanks to the availability of 100% torque at 0 RPM from the electric motors, the 918 Spyder launches to 60 MPH in 2.8 seconds and keeps going well beyond 200 MPH.

This performance-oriented hybrid technology was not common before 2013, with only race cars and a few concepts really fiddling around with it. But when 2013 brought us the Ferrari LaFerrari, the McLaren P1, and the Porsche 918 Spyder, the supercar landscape was changed forever.

The biggest impact that the 918 had on future developments in hypercar hybridization is that it combined both schools of thought about how to deploy hybrid power on a supercar, that of a motor attached to the transaxle, and that of a motor driving the axle alone. It also helped bring regenerative braking, something seen only on Formula 1 cars and LMP1 race cars to that point, onto the road.

Mercedes CLK-GTR

Mercedes CLK-GTR

In the mid-1990s, endurance racing was in a bit of a strange place. The Group C era had ended in the early 1990s, and the Le Mans Prototype (LMP) categories had not yet been created. This left a void at the very top end of 12 hour and 24 hours races, and so the FIA created the GT1 category to both be its own type of racing, as well as the top class in endurance series.

To say that some of the most famous cars to race came out of this category is not overstating the fact. The McLaren F1 GTR, the Porsche 911 GT1, and many others were quickly developed for the new category, but none were as straight-up crazy as the Mercedes CLK-GTR. It was a car of many firsts for Mercedes, including being the first midengined car completely developed in-house, as well as carrying the most powerful naturally aspirated V12 that Mercedes-AMG had produced to date.

Mercedes CLK-GTR

That 6.9L V12 put down 612 HP to the rear wheels and was mated to a semi-automatic 6-speed transmission. The body of the car was the first time that Mercedes had made the entire shell out of carbon fiber, and the safety cell was a combination of carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb for extreme strength. This would prove to be quite valuable, as during the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans, the CLK-GTR driven by Peter Dumbreck moved out of the slipstream of a Toyota GT-One as it crested a small hill in the track and simply took off, flipping over the guard rails into the forest beside the track.

This was discovered to be a massive aerodynamic miscalculation, as the car itself only had a coefficient of drag of 0.25, which is extremely slippery. However, with the cockpit of the car and the sealed sides of the car, it also formed the shape of a wing, hence even getting a small amount of disruptive air under the front of the car turned it from being sucked to the road to being airborne.

The CLK-GTR, then, is incredible because it showed that even in the modern age of Formula 1 and GT racing, you had to pay attention to aerodynamics. If you ever wondered why top-class endurance cars went from being relatively similar to road cars to having ducting, gaps, and small aerodynamic vents everywhere, it was to prevent another car from taking off while racing.

1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia 1300 Ti

La Carrera Pan Americana racers highlighted at Laguna Seca during the RMMR 2021

Before the supercar era started properly with the Porsche 959 and the Ferrari F40, the ability to go down to your local car dealer and buy a “race car for the road” was a much simpler prospect. Many of the major races, including some rallies, distance races, and especially touring car races, were filled with slightly modified road cars that put up some serious competition to dedicated racing machinery.

None, however, reached the popularity and fame of the Alfa Romeo Giulia GT, and the several models that were based on it. The little executive sedan was designed with the wheels pushed out to the four corners of the car, to give cabin room. The car was light at 1,000 kg (2,205 lbs), with aluminum and steel combined to make the body and chassis. But what made it spectacular was the absolute gem of an engine under the hood.

In the Giulia 1300 Ti, the 1.3L twin-cam inline-four was fitted with a sing down-draft carburetor for 81 HP. This may not sound like much, but with the wheels out to the ends of the car and the light weight, the little Italian would corner eagerly, accelerate hard, and could even sustain powerslides that would make a modern-day drifter weep tears of joy.

The Giulia 1300 Ti is incredible because it, and its brethren, convinced Alfa Romeo to spawn one of the greatest light-GT cars ever made, the Giulia GTA. A performance powerhouse, the GTA had a 1.6L twin-cam inline-four that put out 170 HP, in a coupe version of the Giulia that was intentionally stripped of any excess weight. It dominated touring car racing for almost a decade, and it was all because the original Giulia sedans, either intentionally or not, proved to be touring car masters.

1953 Kurtis Kraft 500S

1953 Kurtis 500S Dodge

Kurtis Kraft is a name that probably only the most hardcore racing history fans know about. However, this company, founded by Frank Kurtis in the late 1930s, would have a lasting impact throughout the world of racing.

The basis of the company was to produce lightweight, affordable midget sports and racing cars that were easy to drive and were power-dense. Light weight was achieved through the use of aluminum for the chassis, and fiberglass body panels. Power-density was achieved by pairing the car with the famous Offenhauser inline-four racing engine.

1953 Kurtis 500S Dodge

Where the Kurtis 500S comes into the picture is that between 1950 and 1960, the Indianapolis 500 was part of the FIA world championship, hence the 500S (500 Sport) nomenclature. These cars were fitted with the Offenhauser 4.4L inline-four, running at a compression ratio of 15:1, which meant that it was more than a liter per cylinder and power crept up through the 700 and 800 HP milestones. In a car that weighed 820 kg (1,800 lbs) with the engine in, these little midgets turned into little rocketships.

In fact, a Kurtis 500S won the 1950, 1951, 1953, 1954, and 1955 editions of the Indianapolis 500, and almost every winner between 1947 to 1964 was powered by a “Big Offy” Offenhauser engine. What makes that incredible is that, in 1953, the Kurtis 500S cost “only” $4,985, with the engine included. To put that in perspective, that comes out to just under $51,000 USD in 2021, while IndyCars these days are worth several million dollars.

1968 Ford GT40 Mk I No 6 (Gulf Livery chassis #1074, M1 0001)

1968 Ford GT40 Mk I No 6

If ever there was a car that defined the ultimate in American sports car design, the Ford GT40 is that car. Low, long, and powered by either a 4.7 or 7.0L V8, the GT40 succeeded in its mission of winning Le Mans and showing one Enzo Ferrari that the company from the USA could indeed race and win on the big stage.

The FIA, which at that time controlled the regulations around endurance racing, changed the rules around engines in 1967 for 1968, no longer allowing unlimited size engines to participate in endurance racing. This caused the official GT40 program to close down, as the Mk II and Mk IV GT40s had been produced to dominate the unlimited class. However, Gulf Oil executive vice president Grady Davis had bought one of the original GT40’s, chassis #1049, and had entered as an independent for the Daytona and Sebring endurance races in 1967. When Ford shuttered the GT40 program, he saw an opportunity to make Gulf Oil very popular.

Through JW Automotive Engineering, under the management of the experienced John Wyer, Gulf Oil bought out the GT40 racing team, and all remaining chassis. By introducing a 4.9L Windsor V8 into the car, and renaming the production to Mirage Mk I, Gulf Oil was able to enter 3 GT40s as Group 4 cars into the 1968 and 1969 endurance seasons.

The changes were very minor, with a slightly raised roof that added about another inch of headroom, and the 4.9L Windsor V8 was tuned to 425 HP. Other than that, the original shape of the GT40 remained. This was also a very important car, as it was one of the first time carbon fiber, in a very rudimentary form, was used to reinforce the body shell of the car. Chassis 1074 also served as the camera car for Steve McQueen’s epic Le Mans film, and it is the only Gulf Oil car to win both as a Mirage (1967 24 Hours of Spa) and a GT40 Mk I (1968 12 Hours of Monza).

The Lotus Emira GT4

Not too long ago we’ve witnessed the dynamic launch of Lotus’s last ever ICE model, the Emira will go into history as the final Lotus to come with an internal combustion engine, the car was officially unveiled 48 hours before the famous Goodwood Festival of Speed opened its doors, which was the first time we could enjoy the Lotus Emira at speed for the Hill Climb event.

To make the Lotus Emira even more attractive, clients can choose between a 3.5-liter supercharged V6 pumping out about 400hp or opt for a more economical turbocharged inline-4 from AMG with 360hp, both can be ordered with a 6-speed automatic transmission or a more engaging 6-speed manual with Torsen type limited-slip differential, but obtaining one might be challenging as sales only started in September before that, clients were asked a ‘reservation’ fee of £2,000 ($2,800) to secure their spot on the list for an RHD model, keep in mind the Emira is the first Lotus new model in almost 10 years, and it will be the final petrol-powered Lotus ever, all for about £60,000 ($83,000).

And now Lotus, with help from RML Groups unveils the next step … the Emira GT4 race car following a recent partnership with Extreme E racing team JBXE, after more than 70 years of innovation both on the track and on the open road, the Emira GT4 is the start of a new era in GT racing for Lotus, albeit still a concept, the Emira GT4 will become a hand-built, competition-spec GT4 race car to continue the Lotus motorsport story.

This new car will replace the Lotus Evora GT4 to compete in the British GT, Dubai 24hrs, Barcelona 24hrs, European GT, Sepang 12hrs, and the Pirelli World Challenge to continue the legacy, as just about every modern Lotus road car had a competition counterpart, so the Emira only continues on a path set by her predecessors a long time ago, clients that want to race the Emira GT4 will receive a hand-built performance car with full homologations, lightweight track components and all required equipment to comply with safety regulations on the track.

The Lotus Emira GT4 will be fitted with the 3.5-Liter V6 Toyota engine that has proven its worth in racing already, combine that with the composite body in an advanced GT4 aerodynamics design, this lightweight, but powerful new Lotus GT4 will be very competitive on the track.

Richard Selwin, Race Programme Manager, Lotus, commented: “The all-new Emira GT4 is an exciting next step following the hugely successful launch of the Emira road car. We have worked hard with the team at RML Group to ensure this next-generation of Lotus GT car will deliver race-winning performance.”

The new Lotus Emira GT4 will be officially launched during a special event at the Hethel test track, a famous 2.2-mile circuit that has been witness to the development of some of the world’s most famous race cars, and let’s not forget Lotus Engineering, which is the consultancy division of the business, became a technical partner to JBXE, the Extreme E race team led by F1 world champion Jenson Button.

There will be a very limited number of Lotus Emira GT4 built for the 2022 racing season, with the aim to really start building larger numbers of this new Lotus race car for the 2023 championship rounds, interested in adding this Emira GT4 to your race team? In that case, you should get in touch with the Lotus motorsport department to secure one as soon as possible.

Lotus Emira GT4 tech spec and target performance data

Engine Toyota V6 2GR-FE
Cubic Capacity 3.5-litres
Power 400bhp*
RPM 7,200rpm
Supercharger Harrop TVS 1900
Transmission 6-speed xTrac with paddleshift + limited slip differential
Fuel cell capacity 96-litres FIA-approved fuel cell
Electronics Motec-supplied dashboard with data-logging + bespoke motorsport loom
Suspension Front and rear double-wishbone / Öhlins coil-over dampers / anti-roll bars
Brakes Alcon discs and calipers + Bosch Motorsport ABS
Tyres Pirelli GT4 265/645×18 (front) and 305/680×18 (rear)
Safety equipment FIA-compliant roll cage, six-point harness and fire extinguisher
Dimensions Length 4,410mm / height 1,290mm / track 1,664mm
Dry weight 1,260kg

The 2022 Ford GT Heritage Edition

Let’s travel back in time … to April 3, 1964, at the New York International Auto Show, where Ford unveiled a new prototype of what would become one of their most important cars for years to come … the 1964 Ford GT prototype, chassis GT/101, that became America’s only Le Mans-winning supercar from 1966 to 1969 … only to repeat that feat again in 2016 with the next generation of that 1964 prototype.

In 2021 only one of the 1964 Ford GT prototypes still exists, chassis GT/105, and she is still boasting the same livery as 57 years ago, and this car was the perfect candidate to park next to the brand new 2022 Ford GT ’64 Prototype Heritage Edition during Monterey Car Week where Ford debuted this special edition of the current Ford GT as she enters her final year of production.

“This is the first Ford GT Heritage Edition that goes beyond celebrating race wins – this one goes deep, and honors the earliest of Ford supercar heritage,” said Mike Severson, Ford GT program manager. “The Ford GT ’64 Prototype Heritage Edition is a modern interpretation of the original, with no mistaking what this car is paying tribute to.”

The new 2022 Ford GT ’64 Prototype Heritage Edition is finished in the classic Wimbledon White paint complete with Antimatter Blue graphics, including an over-the-roof triple racing stripe as a tribute to the five original GT prototypes. Being a 21st-century supercar, this new Ford GT comes with exposed carbon fiber components and 20-inch Antimatter Blue-painted carbon fiber wheels, a touch unique to Ford GT, as well as an exposed glossy carbon fiber front splitter, side sills, mirror stalks, engine louvers, and rear diffuser. The standard Brembo® brake calipers get a silver with a black graphics finish while black lug nuts finalize the modern look.

On the inside, the color-match with the blue exterior details comes in the form of blue Alcantara carbon fiber seats with silver stitching and embossed GT logo, the instrument panel is done in Ebony leather whit Lightspeed Blue Alcantara,  the pillars and headliner are finished in Ebony Alcantara. Antimatter Blue appliqués on the instrument panel, door register bezels, and seat X-brace are coordinated with the bespoke wheels.

“There are a lot of milestone moments in the history of Ford GT that we’ve celebrated, but the team was unanimous in believing the original prototype was the right vehicle this time around,” Severson said. “That 1964 prototype unleashed the creative genius of the Ford Advanced Vehicles team and paved the way for the Ford GT program. It put all of this in motion.”

Back in the Sixties only 5 Ford GT prototypes were built, GT/101 and GT/102 got scrapped after Le Mans and Monza crash testing, which lead to much-needed improvements for the next three cars, GT/103, GT/104, and GT/105 … GT/103 would win at Daytona® in 1965 with Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby behind the wheel, at that same race GT/104 came in third with Bob Bondurant and Ritchie Ginther. While both GT/103 and GT/104 have been repainted today, the GT/105 is the only one that still wears her original livery from the Sixties.

This new 2022 Ford GT ’64 Heritage Edition isn’t the first highly limited edition model in this production series, which started in 2006 with the 2006 Ford GT Gulf Livery Heritage Edition as a commemorative edition for the GT40’s back-to-back 24 Hours of Le Mans titles in 1968 and 1969, a total of 343 units were produced in this first Heritage Edition series.

The second special edition came in 2017 with the 2017 Ford GT ’66 Heritage Edition to celebrate the Ford GT40 MK II No. 2 that Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon drove at 1966 Le Mans, only 27 units were ever built, a year later we saw the 2018 Ford GT ’67 Heritage Edition that was built to honor the Ford GT40 MK IV No. 1 race car that was victorious at Le Mans in 1967, only 39 units of this 2018 model were built. Probably one of the most iconic Heritage Editions is the one of fifty 2019 Ford GT ’68 Gulf Livery Heritage Edition that was an homage to the Ford GT40 MK I No. 9 race car that won the 1968 Le Mans endurance race.

In 2020 Ford released another 50 unit limited edition as the 2020 Ford GT ’69 Gulf Livery Heritage Edition honoring the Ford GT40 MK I No. 6 race car that took the 1969 Le Mans victory, while the 2021 Ford GT ’66 Daytona Heritage Edition is still in production at the time of writing, this one is a tribute to the Ford GT MK II No. 98 race car, and now we get the ultimate 2022 Ford GT ’64 Heritage Edition that is the sixth one in this series.

You can now get your name on the order list for the 2022 Ford GT, if you’re an approved Ford GT customer, production of this model is set to start in January 2022.

Potential First Production Aston Martin Racing Valkyrie Le Mans Hypercar Reavealed?

While the recently announced Aston Martin Valkyrie Spider is the talk of the town, there was one specific image that Aston Martin put on their Twitter that may have dropped a heavy hint about 2022’s plans for the prestigious marque.

If the image or tweet doesn’t load, here is the picture in full:

2021 Aston Martin Valkyrie lineup

2021 Aston Martin Valkyrie lineup

From front to back, you have the beautiful Aston Martin Valkyrie Spider, the original Aston Martin Valkyrie Coupe, and then…. wait, wasn’t the Aston Martin Pro Le Mans Hypercar program originally canceled, and then announced it was delayed until the 2023 season?!

Taking a closer look…

It’s lowered. It has a hypercar-spec shark fin. It has a rear spoiler that is raised and solid. It has aerodynamically shaped wheels, which look to have at least some carbon fiber. It’s a full AMR Valkyrie Pro!

While Aston Martin has not announced anything yet for 2022, the Hypercar class, new for this year with Toyota and SCG running their models, is going to be quite heavily populated in 2022. Peugeot is returning with the 9X8, ByKolles producing the PMC Project LMH, and Ferrari recently announcing their intention to join the class in 2023, based on the successor to the LaFerrari. Aston Martin originally announced they would be producing the Valkyrie Pro LMH for 2023, but almost all pictures so far have been of prototypes or computer renders, and most of them are only about the customer race car program.

This picture, however, is real photographic evidence that they might be moving up a year. Especially considering how much Aston Martin and Ferrari are close competitors on the Formula 1 circuit…

The discussion on this tweet from Aston Martin has, naturally, been focused almost entirely on the race car in the background, so while this is just a rumor right now, could this be the first appearance of a WEC Hypercar class Valkyrie Pro LMH for 2022? Only time will tell!

The 911 GT2 RS Clubsport 25

I’m sure we all remember the Ferrari 599XX from 2009, a track-only version of the famous Ferrari 599, but one that couldn’t be entered into endurance or GT racing, this kind of race car was only eligible to be used during Ferrari track days, when the owner of the car could count on the support of actual Ferrari mechanics present at the track, complete with a pit crew and even engineers gathering data for research and development … only a select group of VIP customers could even buy this car. But that wasn’t even the first kind in the ‘XX’ series, in 2005 some clients were invited to buy the Ferrari FXX, the was developed into the FXX Evoluzione by 2008 … but the best came around in 2015 when Ferrari launched the LaFerrari for road use, and the Ferrari FXX K as a track-toy for the ultra-rich.

Lamborghini joined this select club with their Essenza SCV12 in 2020, we’ve been able to enjoy it on the famous hill climb during the last Goodwood Festival of Speed, thundering loud, a race car pur sang, but just like the Ferrari XX series, only possible to enjoy on closed tracks, not in an actual FIA race … and now it seems the Porsche marketing team took that idea and executed it onto their flagship model, the famous 911, more specifically the GT2 RS model.

Porsche unveiled the limited edition 911 GT2 RS Clubsport 25, only 30 units of this track-only model will be made, as a celebration of the 25th anniversary of Manthey-Racing GmbH, being a joint venture in design and development between Porsche and Manthey, but none of these will be able to be driven on the open road, based on the 911 GT2 RS Clubsport, this new limited edition is powered by the 3.8-liter flat-six twin-turbo engine, pumping out  700 PS (or 515 kW) to the rear wheels only through the seven-speed Porsche dual-clutch gearbox (PDK).

The exterior design for this new 911 GT2 RS Clubsport 25 shows various elements from familiar and future Porsche racing cars, the technology, and aerodynamics seen on this car bridge the gap between the 991 and 992 model generations of the 911, with inspiration from Manthey’s 911 GT3 R, which Nürburgring fans fondly dubbed “Grello” thanks to its distinctive green and yellow finish, but in the end, Grant Larson from Style Porsche added some final optical touches, remember Larson designed some legendary racing cars like the 911 RSR, 911 GT3 R as well as the modern 935 and many more.

Similar to the Porsche 935, the new 911 GT2 RS Clubsport of the 991 model generation is used as the base for this limited edition version, the centrally-positioned radiator is one of its defining features to resemble the 911 GT3 R, the totally new front bumper comes with a central intake for optimum airflow, this special edition also boasts a closed underbody and a carbon fiber front lid in a new design where the two large vents, separated by a center divider, channel hot air over the roof to the rear wing while the center-mounted NACA duct pulls fresh air to the cockpit.

The suspension for this new 911 GT2 RS Clubsport 25 uses parts sourced from the modern 935, with massively wide center-lock 18-inch wheels that boasts large offsets so this car features a significantly wider track than the regular 911 GT2 RS Clubsport, to cope with that wider track the fenders on this car had to be redesigned thoroughly, a massive rear wing is an integrated unit into the rear of the body, it serves as a wrap-around separation edge, a design element that distinguished Manthey’s first MR.

“With the 911 GT2 RS Clubsport 25 special edition, which we designed and developed in conjunction with Porsche Motorsport, we’ve reached another milestone in the 25-year history of Manthey. It’s a perfect example of our guiding principle ‘Closer to Perfection,’” states Nicolas Raeder, Managing Director of Manthey-Racing GmbH. “With every modification, technological function always takes priority. That’s why the 911 GT2 RS Clubsport 25 has its very own character, which also reflects our brand values: straightforward and meticulous, flexible and uncompromising.”

The taillights meet current rules and are shared with the 911 GT3 Cup, while the headlights are derived from the Le Mans-winning 911 RSR, but have been further developed for this model specifically, they now have integrated turn signals and are particularly efficient in illuminating the track, while a bespoke rear diffuser is a perfect surrounding for the newly developed exhaust system, with its dual tailpipes that draw attention to themselves even without the engine running.

Three exclusive Mercedes-AMG GT3

Fifty years ago a bright red Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.8 AMG won its class and took second place overall in the famous Spa-Francorchamps 24-hour race, driven by Hans Heyer and Clemens Schickentanz, creating the foundation of what would become the most important Mercedes tuner ever, AMG was still a very young brand in those days, the classic race at the Ardennes circuit resulted into the first major success.

As an homage to that legendary red saloon from 1971, Mercedes-AMG created a limited edition GT3 race car in a similar red body, called the “50 Years Legend of Spa”, these are not your ordinary GT3 cars that are entered into this years 24 Hours of Spa race, there are three cars in this “50 Years Legend of Spa” special edition builds, and they are based on the three GT3 generations that have been available since 2010.

Production of the “50 Years Legend of Spa” GT3 cars is limited to a single unit of each model, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, the 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT3, and the current evolution version of the Mercedes-AMG GT3, all three cars are finished in the famous red paint, but these ready-to-race unique cars show a special 50 style cartouche to fit their number and come with a range of sponsor decals to mimic the looks of the 300 SEL 6.8 AMG from 1971.

Do keep in mind these three very special Mercedes-AMG GT3 cars come without FIA homologation, the full 650 hp from their 6.3-Liter engine is unleashed through an unrestricted exhaust while the interior boasts a Graphite Metallic Matt finish with the instrument cluster on a carbon fiber panel, complete with the 50th-anniversary plaque and the signature of Hans Werner Aufrecht who founded AMG originally.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 “50 Years Legend of Spa”

Production of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG ended back in 2015 already, but this commemorative edition for the Legend of Spa series is a brand new, 2021 car. So how is this possible you might ask? Simple, Mercedes-AMG still had one, and only one, bodyshell in their warehouse, they took this final car and built it into this brand-new competition gullwing, hence creating a one-of-a-kind 2021 SLS AMG GT3, truly a unique car in every sense of the word.

Mercedes-AMG GT3 “50 Years Legend of Spa”

The second GT3 in the series is based upon the now discontinued 2016 model year for the Mercedes-AMG GT3, it is still a new car, but from the first model generation in this case, complete with the famous red color and sponsor decals fitted, and there is something really special about this celebration edition too … the spaceframe used for this “50 Years Legend of Spa” is number 100.

The second Mercedes-AMG GT3 “50 Years Legend of Spa”

The third car in this series is also a Mercedes-AMG GT3, but the more recent 2020 edition, and apart from the special performance exhaust fitted to these commemorative “50 Years Legend of Spa” versions, this specific car is identical to the ones that will compete in the 2021 edition of the 24 Hours of Spa that is being held this weekend.

With the design of this modern GT3 race car, she represents both the past and the future in one go as a tribute to the DNA and the history of AMG as a brand, or as Jochen Hermann, technical managing director, Mercedes-AMG GmbH puts it: “The special editions recall one of the most important milestones in AMG’s corporate history. The 24-hour race at Spa in 1971 stands as an example for the spirit of our brand: daring to take on the impossible, overcoming challenges and convincing with performance!”

“I am very happy that we have been present with our Customer Racing Programme in the Belgian endurance racing classic without exception since 2011. This year, my joy is even bigger as I will be on-site for the race myself. I am curious what the public response to our special editions will be like. Technically and optically, they are highlights, there is no doubt about that. And the exclusivity of the three cars is really extraordinary!”

Specific characteristics and pricing of the “50 Years Legend of Spa”

Bespoke Interior Features
Special chassis paint: Graphite Metallic Matt
Seat with “50 Years Legend of Spa” logo
Red seat belts
AMG logo in door panels and entry strips painted red
Badge with original signature of Hans Werner Aufrecht
“50 Years Legend of Spa – One of One” badge
Instrument panel in visible carbon with matt finish

Bespoke Exterior Features
Special paint “50 Years Legend of Spa”
Special paint rims
Performance exhaust system without silencer
Optimized engine performance
Limited car cover with “50 Years Legend of Spa” logo
Delivery on slicks

Pricing (before VAT)
SLS AMG GT3: 650.000 Euro
GT3 (MY 2016): 500.000 Euro
GT3 (MY 2020): 575.000 Euro

A one-of-a-kind Porsche 911 to honour Mexico’s greatest racer

There are not too many professional drivers in the world that can show two Formula One Grand Prix wins, a victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and four triumphs in the 24 Hours of Daytona, 50 years ago … Pedro Rodriguez is probably the most successful driver Mexico ever had, sadly he lost his life at the Norisring street circuit in Nuremberg, Germany on 11 July 1971 after he managed to secure the championship win for Porsche in 1970 and 1971 in the World Championship of Makes, called the World Endurance Championship (WEC) today, Pedro held 11 titles in this series.

To commemorate this amazing Mexican driver, Porsche Latin America together with Porsche Mexico commissioned a bespoke build from Zuffenhausen … a tribute version of the Porsche 911 Turbo S, with the help of Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur, this one of a kind 911 was put together, the Porsche 911 Turbo S ‘One of a Kind’ Pedro Rodríguez to be unveiled at a Sportscar Together Day at the Centro de Alto Rendimiento Pegaso, in Toluca, Mexico.

A total of 8 of those 11 victories in the World Championship of Makes were behind the wheel of the famous Porsche 917 KH racecar, in the very distinctive, but immensely famous, Gulf Oil livery, the combination of Gulf blue and bright orange that adorned numerous racecars over the years, with the Porsche 917 KH being among the most famous cars from Germany ever, so this tribute 911 just had to wear this dress again, 50 years later.

This one-of-a-kind Porsche 911 Turbo S tribute will remain a unique car forever, Porsche actually locked this specific configuration in their configurator, nobody else in the entire world will be able to order a Porsche 911 Turbo S exactly like this, with these specific options. “This car has unique elements that no other car in the world can have,” says Camilo San Martin, Director of Porsche Mexico.

This specific Porsche 911 Turbo S comes with custom-designed wheels in a glossy black finish and aluminum center-locking bolts, but the light blue body also features a racing cartouche, populated with the number 2 in this case. Another amazing detail is the custom plaque fitted onto the B-pillar of this car, showing the silhouette of the famous Porsche 917 KH for this occasion in the colors of the Mexican flag accompanied by Pedro Rodriguez’s name and signature.

As yet another tribute to a unique, irreplaceable driver, an idol of the past and a legend of today, the names of the eight races he won with the 917 KH are engraved under the rear spoiler, while more attention to detail can be found on the door sills, when you open the door the carbon fiber trim on these sills contains an illuminated version of the plaque from the B-pillar … simply amazing.

The interior of this unique Porsche 911 Turbo S Pedro Rodgriguez tribute is just astonishing with a graphite blue upholstery in soft leather with contrasting stitching in bright orange to match the outside livery, and while these might just be small details, you’ll find the 917 profile as embroidery on both headrests again, in orange naturally, and Rodriguez’s signature embossed into the armrest between the seats, and additionally on the carbon fiber dashboard trim.

And that’s not even all of the bespoke elements for this special car, even the key for this Porsche 911 Turbo S was color-coded to the Gulf blue exterior … and shows the signature of the two-time world endurance champion as well. To complete the extensive options list of this one-off, there is a bespoke luggage set that comes with the car, finished in Graphite Blue leather with orange stitching and details, so it matches the interior upholstery perfectly.

Interested in adding this car to your collection, despite the fact you will not be able to order a second, similar one from Porsche directly? Fear not, this Porsche 911 Turbo S “One of a Kind” Pedro Rodríguez will be auctioned off later this year with all proceeds going to various charitable causes.

Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport takes on the illustrious hill climb at Goodwood

After being canceled in 2020, this year we have yet another Goodwood Festival of Speed, an amazing venue in the UK that brings together the best of the best when it comes to supercars and hypercars … both classic, new, and prototypes, open to the public from July 8 to July 11, Bugatti just couldn’t be absent from the world-renowned motorsport event, set to be the largest of its kind, Bugatti will entertain the many visitors with no less than three different cars, and one of them will be driven by Andy Wallace, Le Mans winner and an official driver for Bugatti.

Two of the Bugatti will be static showpieces, but the 1,500 hp Chiron Pur Sport will be taken onto the Michelin Supercar Paddock stage every single day, but Andy Wallace will also take this yellow beauty onto the famous hill climb circuit during the event, where this limited edition Bugatti, only 60 units will be made, should feel right at home as the Pur Sport was specifically designed as the ‘most agile’ version among the Chiron series, extreme power and torque (1,600 Nm) to be taken onto winding and challenging roads.

With an acceleration figure of only 2.3 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h and a top speed of 350 km/h, the Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport with her 1.9 meters wide rear wing will certainly bring joy to the public during these four days, this performance not only comes from the massive quad-turbo W16 engine but is also thanks to innovative, 3D printed titanium exhaust pipes with the addition of lightweight magnesium wheels that can be fitted with those famous ‘aeroblades’.

And let’s not forget the Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport was named Robb Report’s Best Hypercar for 2021 only a few weeks ago … this is a true hypercar that will rarely be seen driven as hard as during the hill climb at the 2021 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

As mentioned earlier, there are three cars from Bugatti at this year’s Goodwood FoS, and our review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the amazing Bugatti Baby II, a 75 percent scale, all-electric Type 35 racer, highly limited to only 500 units as a celebration of their magnificent past, the original Type 35 was built almost 100 years ago, in 1926, and back then the car was created with state-of-the-art technology, just like the homage today.

To celebrate the company’s 110th anniversary, the Baby II is a tribute to Ettore Bugatti’s masterpiece, a car built together with Jean Bugatti for Ettore’s youngest son, Roland as a present for his fourth birthday, the new Bugatti Baby II is a rear-wheel drive, the all-electric model that can seat both adults and children … for additional safety the Baby II comes with a ‘Speed Key’ that will unleash up to 10kW of power and can push the Baby II to a top speed of 68 km/h.

But probably the ultimate evolution of the Bugatti Chiron is put on display behind glass, the stunning, white Chiron Super Sport that was created purely to reach the highest top speed possible as an ultimate grand touring car is present at Goodwood too, and the numbers are mindblowing, to say the least … an 8-Liter W16 engine, 1,600 PS, quad-turbocharged, 0 to 200 km/h in just 5.5 seconds, in a mere 12.1 seconds the driver can reach 300 km/h … and then we get to the top speed … 440 km/h!

Lengthened by 25 cm compared to the ‘normal’ Bugatti Chiron, the Super Sport brings the longtail design to Molsheim for improved stability at those impressive speeds, production of this ultra-fast hypercar will start soon with deliveries intended to happen by early 2022 … at €3,200,000 each … and that’s before VAT mind you.

The Bugatti Centodieci faces the Bugatti EB 110

Remember our article on the two unique Bugatti EB110 cars we published a while ago? Where we talked about probably the two rarest EB110 models in modern automotive history, a blue EB110S LM and a silver EB110S SC GTS-1 … two bespoke race cars built by Bugatti and based on the EB110 SS, only one of each were ever made, making each one unique on her own because they were built with a different purpose in mind. The blue car was specifically built for Le Mans, hence the EB110 LM naming, and she did enter the 1994 edition of the 24h of Le Mans, with a rumored power output of more than 700 PS.

Earlier this year the silver EB110S SC GTS-1 returned to a race track in Dyon after being dormant for 25 years, but not to compete, but to be part of a photoshoot, after that the car would join its blue EB110S LM in the UK, to be taken care of by the specialists at H.R.Owen Bugatti for their annual maintenance, and it seems they haven’t been returned to their owner’s garage just yet … Bugatti Automobiles had the great idea to take their new limited edition model, the Centodiece, which is an homage to the EB110SS, to the Nardò track in Italy and come face to face with these two bespoke built race cars from the past … a meeting of two icons.

The Bugatti Centodiece will be entering production in 2022, but before that happens the prototypes will be taken for multiple test drives, both on the open road, and on the track, and that’s why Bugatti returned to the famous Nardò circuit in southern Italy, a proving ground often used by not only Bugatti but many renowned supercar and hypercar manufacturers, this test track in Apulia has seen many prototypes roar their engines for final dynamic checks before going into production.

The 6.2-kilometer track at Nardò combines several right-left-right corners to be taken at high speeds that allow a perfect refinement of the chassis, this track is very demanding on both driver and car, that’s why it’s a preferred venue, but Lars Fischer, Head of Chassis Testing and Application at Bugatti, takes the testing even further by not only keeping the new Centodiece on the track, but also taking it onto the rounds around Apulia, to get a better understanding of the chassis tuning in real-world traffic, and on roads that aren’t as smooth as a race track.

A team of 20 engineers and drivers took the Bugatti Centodiece to Italy to finalize the new model, experts in chassis tuning and development together with engine, transmission, and bodywork specialists all work together during these grueling tests under the Italian sun, this allows them to verify the car’s performance under high outside temperature while taking her onto the high-speed course at Nardò.

The Bugatti Centodieci will be made by hand right at the atelier in Molsheim, this model is an homage to the legendary EB 110 and it’s also a symbol of Bugatti’s coachbuilding expertise, back in 1998, the EB 110 was a milestone on the road to reviving the Bugatti brand in Molsheim, and now they face each other on the Italian race track, but in nearly 30 years a lot has changed, the EB110 came with 610 PS while today the Centodiece will add almost 1,000 PS to that figure, while the EB110 didn’t have a lot of electronics fitted, the Centodiece has systems that alter the chassis dynamics in real-time.

But for Loris Bicocchi, who was already a test driver in the early 90s, and was effectively involved in the development of the EB 110 from scratch, the biggest difference isn’t the power output or the electronics … it’s the tires, the grip level of modern tires like those on the Centodieci is extremely high, he says, and this allows for high lateral acceleration, now Bicocchi is helping the Bugatti team to develop the Centodiece, especially the chassis setup … so he came full circle, working on the EB110 and now on that cars homage 30 years later.

But only a very select few will be able to enjoy all this hard work, Bugatti will only build 10 units of the Centodiece, deliveries will start in 2022, and they are all sold already … at €8,000,000 each, that’s about US$ 9,500,000 …

Peugeot Unveils The 2022 9X8 Prototype Hypercar Racer

Peugeot has over the past couple of years, after the prototype hypercar class was announced for the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship, been teasing and revealing little bits here and there about their contender.

2022 Peugeot 9X8 Hypercar

2022 Peugeot 9X8 Hypercar
Today, however, in a massive press launch event, the covers have been pulled back and the new racecar, dubbed the 9X8, has arrived on the scene. The car will be powered by a combination of a 2.6-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 pushing out 680 HP via the rear wheels, and a 200 kW, 900 Volt axle-drive motor putting the equivalent of about 270 HP through the front wheels.

2022 Peugeot 9X8 Hypercar

2022 Peugeot 9X8 Hypercar

It is an awesome-looking beast, a low, sleek, slippery car that just screams aggression and speed, ready to pounce and claw its way through the field like the Lion that is Peugeot’s badge. And, for the eagle-eyed, it seems to be missing something found on almost all other race cars.

2022 Peugeot 9X8 Hypercar

2022 Peugeot 9X8 Hypercar

Indeed, through some intensive collaboration between Rebellion Racing and Peugeot, as well as countless hours in computer-aided fluid dynamic simulations and good, old-fashioned wind tunnel testing, the 9X8 does not have a traditional rear wing.

2022 Peugeot 9X8 Hypercar

2022 Peugeot 9X8 Hypercar

Instead, using a complex and confidential “system of aerodynamic features,” the 9X8 will go wingless. It is shaped and molded to develop almost the entirety of its downforce across the body surfaces of the car, in conjunction with ground effects through the underbody, and the rear “scoop,” as it is called, is there to create as smooth a surface as possible for the air coming over the car to create a venturi effect to aid with the air coming under the car.

2022 Peugeot 9X8 Hypercar

2022 Peugeot 9X8 Hypercar

However, as Peugeot Motorsports Director Jean-Marc Finot puts it, “Don’t ask how, though! We have every intention of keeping that a secret as long as we possibly can!”

Bentley Continental is the fastest car on sustainable fuel

Unfortunately setting a new record wasn’t an option at the latest Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in the Time Attack 1 class, due to icy conditions at the summit of Pikes Peak, the course was shortened to finish at an altitude of 12,780 ft instead of the normal 14,115 ft, which rendered all ambition to set a new record impossible to realize, but the Bentley Continental GT3 Pikes Peak still managed an incredible feat despite a let engine issue.

In the end, the Bentley Continental GT3 Pikes Peak, jointly developed by a collaborative team of Bentley, Fastr, Roger Clark Motorsport, M-Sport, and Rhys Millen Racing, took second place in the grueling Time Attack 1 class and 4th place overall with former King of the Mountain Rhys Millen (NZ) behind the wheel, in a time of 6:36.281, a full 12 seconds faster than her closest competitor … if it wasn’t for a boost pressure issue just a few corners from the end, they would have been 16 seconds faster, which would have meant a first-place finish in her class.

It is wasn’t for the removal of the last third of the normal course, with a finish at Devil’s Playground, things might have looked considerably different for the Bentley Continental GT3 Pikes Peak, according to Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, Paul Williams: “We know we had the pace today both to win our class and to break the Time Attack 1 record. The weather sadly wasn’t with us though, with the shortened course meaning our assault on the record was never a possibility. While that’s a bitter pill to swallow, I’m proud to have entered such a strong renewably-powered racecar – the fastest at the event – and equally proud of the team that’s delivered this project. This is the first step on Bentley’s renewable fuel journey, and there will be many more opportunities to come. Perhaps we’ll even come back to Pikes Peak next year…”

This 2021 entry into the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb was their third stint in recent editions, with highly successful record runs in a specially-prepared Bentayga that took the ‘Production SUV’ record), and another Continental GT that set the ‘Production Class record’, this year’s entry is the first of a long-term renewable fuels program created to develop the use of genuinely sustainable fuels to future Bentley clients.

The 750+ bhp Continental GT3 Pikes Peak is the first step from Bentley into a renewably powered racecar, this trend will continue as part of their Beyond100 strategy to evolve into the world’s leading sustainable luxury mobility company, including their future racecars.

Let’s enjoy some more photos of this amazing Bentley Continental GT3 Pikes Peak during her Hill Climb at Pikes Peak 2021: