All posts in “Motorsport & Racing”

McLaren 720S GT3X

We all know there are a lot of restrictions when it comes to road cars, but also purebred racecars have limits imposed on them, when McLaren Customer Racing created their 720S GT3, it had to comply with FIA GT3 regulations … but what would happen when you can create a track car with no limits?

Then you get the McLaren 720S GT3X, where the X comes with no motorsport restrictions whatsoever, this is a new, track-only car based on the 720S GT3, but she isn’t homologated for racing, the hand-built, 4.0-Liter V8 twin-turbo engine delivers 750PS in this ‘X’, while taking advantage of the chassis and aerodynamic characteristics of its latest-specification, race-winning 720S GT3 to optimize the owner’s driving enjoyment on circuits during track days for instance.

A six-speed sequential motorsport transmission is fitted to a bespoke M840T engine that comes with a blueprinted cylinder head, strengthened pistons, ‘Diamond Like Carbon’ (DLC) coating, add the lightweight performance exhaust system and the result is an overall weight of only 1,210kg (2,668lbs) for this stripped-down track car, with the ‘push-to-pass’ button on the steering wheel, an extra 30PS over the available 720PS boosts power to an impressive 750PS.

Development of the GT3X saw a focus on pure engineering, innovative aerodynamics, and efficient design, taking the car for many thousands of kilometers on tracks all over Europe and the Middle East. Without having to deal with regulations, the 720S GT3X is a true performance-optimized evolution of the bespoke GT3 racecar. The aerodynamically optimized body has been developed using ‘Computational Fluid Dynamics’ (CFD) combined with F1 wind tunnel testing.

On this new McLaren 720S GT3X the body gets hand-finished in metallic MSO Carbon Black paint, a pinstripe in heritage McLaren Orange (reminding is of the famous winning McLaren Formula 1 cars in the 1960s) is added to the lower edges of the ground-hugging body shape and the outer rim of the gloss black center-locking wheel rims, a really nice touch is the large ‘X’ on top of the canopy.

While there was no requirement to do this, McLaren did install an FIA-approved race seat made from carbon fiber and Kevlar, in the GT3X the pedals and steering wheel can be adjusted for the driver, and to share in the fun of taking a racecar around the track, there is an option to fit an extra safety-compliant passenger race seat complete with a six-point harness, McLaren even altered the roll cage to accommodate this second seat.

Due to GT3 balance of performance requirements, the 720S GT3 car has to run with a considerably reduced power output than the road-going 720S Spider and Coupe variants. The brief for the GT3X project was to unleash the full potential of the 720S GT3 car using a massively increased power output to fully exploit the aerodynamics and chassis dynamics of the car. Additionally, the car is now able to carry passengers for the first time, thanks to the re-design of a new bespoke roll-cage and passenger seat installation. Brake cooling has also been improved to cope with the additional demands of increased speed and the mass of a passenger.

The 720S GT3X now offers a unique opportunity to experience a fully-fledged GT3 car. The lap time is significantly reduced from the GT3 benchmark through both the huge standard power increase and the additional 30bhp from the push-to-pass button. The end result is a car that offers a truly unique experience.”
Ian Morgan, Director, McLaren Customer Racing

Do keep in mind this amazing McLaren 720S GT3X can’t be ordered at a regular McLaren dealership, you will have to turn to one of only 11 official McLaren Motorsport Retailers worldwide, as part of the purchase and ownership package, McLaren Automotive can provide dedicated technical track support for each owner. This program is carried out by the customer support engineers from the in-house McLaren Customer Racing division – the team that has designed and developed the model alongside the 720S GT3 global customer race program.

Ferrari Announces Season 2 Of The Ferrari eSports Championship

Ferrari announced today the return of their Ferrari eSports Championship, a dedicated spec series that is raced online, for a second season. Registration opens today, March 16, 2021, with the first qualifying session in early April.

The series, open to European residents only due to flight and travel restrictions this year due to the global pandemic, is run on the well-known and well-loved Assetto Corsa simulator, produced by Kunos Simulazioni. After confirmation of registration, participants will be able to download two dedicated cars for the competition, with many hours of input from official Ferrari drivers, including Charles LeClerc.

2021 Ferrari eSports Championship Charles LeClerc
Charles LeClerc testing the cars for this years Ferrari eSports Championship

These two cars will be the Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo, returning from the 2020 season, and the new dedicated championship car, the Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo.

2021 Ferrari eSports Championship 488 Challenge Evo
Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo

Qualification rounds last from April until the end of July, with one day per month dedicated to “The Hotlap Challenge.” Using one of the four cars available, including the two provided by Ferrari as well as the in-game Ferrari 599XX Evo and the Ferrari FXX-K, registered participants have four chances, if they attend all the hotlap challenges, to place in the top 24 times for that car.

2021 Ferrari eSports Championship cars 599XX Evo
Ferrari 599XX Evo

Those qualifiers are then put into the 488 Challenge Evo for a series of four elimination races until the 96 qualifiers are reduced to 48 finalists by mid-August.

Those 48 finalists will then take part in the actual championship series in September, with once-weekly full duration races lasting from a sprint (1 hour) to endurance (3 hours) depending on the race venue.

The top 24 drivers by points after those four rounds will qualify for the grand final, which will occur in December. The grand final consists of three races, with three different cars (the two official 488’s and the 599XX), and the driver with the most points at the end of all three is crowned the champion.

2021 Ferrari eSports Championship cars FXX-K Evo
Ferrari FXX-K

Running alongside the drivers’ qualification rounds from April to July is a new entry for 2021, namely the livery design championship. This allows creative people from across the globe to download a template, apply their own special touch to it artistically, and then submit it for review by official Ferrari representatives who will choose the 48 best liveries, and assign them to drivers for the official competition rounds.

So what’s in it for the participants, we hear you asking?

The champion driver will be invited down to Maranello, to the Ferrari factory, to join both the Ferrari Driver’s Academy and Ferrari eSports Team, and represent Ferrari at multiple online racing events. These events can include participation in the Virtual Formula 1 eSports Championship, World Virtual Endurance Championship, and other official racing series. As part of their prize, they also get to drive an actual Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo around Fiorano, to understand how the actual car handles compared to the virtual car, and carry that knowledge back into the games.

All in all, not a bad thing to race online for!

In Memoriam: Murray Walker, The Voice Of Formula 1

Many of us that love supercars and hypercars today, grew up watching the incredible machinery of various racing championships duking it out on the track. British Touring Cars, World Touring Cars, and of course, Formula 1, brought us many wheel-to-wheel battles that got our young hearts beating faster, and much of it was commentated over by one legendary voice.

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Murray Walker, whose mildly high-pitched, English-accented voice, graced our ears with excitement and brought many of the amazing parts of many races to vivid life with his color commentary. His enthusiasm was infectious, and he famously never sat down to commentated on a race, because he knew that he would make a racket knocking his chair over when he would leap to his feet when something happened.

Although his commentary career with Formula 1 lasted an incredible 23 years, from 1978 to 2001, in that time he became a household name. Coming from a background in advertisement and marketing, where he would both create slogans for products and do their voice-overs for radio and television commercials, he did in fact have a background in motorsports commentary.

With his father Graham, from 1949 through to 1962, Walker would provide the color commentary on many motorcycle hill-climb events, as well as British Motorcycle Grand Prix racing and, most notably, the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy (TT) motorcycle race. He moved on from commentary as a primary focus following the death of his father in late 1962, who himself had taken part in the Isle of Man TT, winning the Lightweight class in 1931.

Murray Walker in the commentary booth
Image courtesy of Formula 1 Media

It was in 1978, however, when asked by the head of BBC Sport to fill in for a bit as their regular color commentator was having contract negotiations, that Murray Walker became the voice of Formula 1. Alongside the legendary James Hunt, who had battled Niki Lauda to win the 1976 F1 Championship, his excited, bubbly commentary underlined by Hunt’s serious, somber expert knowledge made them instantly the most loved commentary team.

It was in the 1980s when one of the most famous of his Walkerisms, as his often stutters or famous sayings became known as was born. There, you sat in front of the TV as the parade lap finished, the cars slotting into their grid boxes. And then his voice would grow more excited as he counted:

One light… two lights… THREE LIGHTS!… FOOOOOUR LIGHTS!….. FIVE LAPS! Pause! GO GO GO!

You could not help but jump up and cheer on your favorite driver as those three famous GO!’s were called out. And you couldn’t help but be as moved as he was when Damon Hill became the World Champion in 1996.

Murray Walker
Image courtesy of Formula 1 Media

When he retired in 2001, his commentary partner of the time, former F1 driver Martin Brundle, stated that there would be no other color commentator like him in a generation. While he did often make guest appearances and commentary on the Isle of Man TT and some Formula 1 broadcasts, he slowly withdrew from the public’s eye.

And so it was that on a quiet Saturday, his wife Elizabeth by his side, on March 13, 2021, he slipped from this Earth. He was the commentator of a generation, and we will not see his like for a while.

JOTA McLaren 720S GT3

McLaren Customer Racing today confirms that renowned Sportscar racing team JOTA will contest a McLaren 720S GT3 in this year’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS championship with an all-McLaren Factory Driver line-up of Ben Barnicoat, Rob Bell and newly-promoted Oliver Wilkinson.

JOTA has a strong reputation in Sportscar racing, with two LMP2 class wins at the Le Mans 24 Hours. In 2017 the team challenged the factory LMP1 entries for victory, eventually finishing second and third overall. The 2021 GT World Challenge Europe campaign marks a return to GT competition for the UK-based team.

The JOTA McLaren 720S GT3 – image courtesy of Khyzyl Saleem

JOTA will field a McLaren 720S GT3 in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance and GT World Challenge Sprint categories, both of which qualify as points-scoring rounds for the overall championship. The 720S GT3 made its debut in the series last year and enters the 2021 season in world-class form, having won the Gulf 12 Hour race in January.

Wilkinson made his debut as a McLaren Professional Driver in 2020, scoring a string of outright and Silver Cup podium finishes, leading to a top ten placing in the standings alongside Lewis Proctor at McLaren Customer Racing team Optimum Motorsport. In addition, he contested selected GT World Challenge outings with Bell and Joe Osborne in the Optimum 720S GT3. Earlier this year he received full British Racing Drivers’ Club member status in recognition of his efforts, a hugely prestigious honour for British racing drivers.

The McLaren 720S GT3

Wilkinson will now join Barnicoat, fresh from his victory in the Gulf 12 Hour race with a McLaren Customer Racing team 2 Seas Motorsport 720S GT3 and is reunited with Bell, who finished third in the 2019 British GT Championship with the McLaren Customer Racing team Balfe Motorsport 720S GT3.

“It’s tremendously exciting for us to have JOTA onboard for 2021, with three McLaren Factory Drivers also involved in the programme. The team’s vast experience and success in endurance racing and professionalism will, I’m confident, allow them to compete at the highest level throughout 2021 in the 720S GT3. I’m also delighted to see Oliver Wilkinson step up to a full McLaren Factory Driver programme this year, supported by both Rob Bell and Ben Barnicoat, and I look forward to watching his progression.”
Ian Morgan, Director, McLaren Customer Racing

The McLaren 720S GT3

“The last time I was involved with a McLaren motorsport program was as a director of McLaren Cars from 1994- 97. It was the era in which we famously won the 24 Hours of Le Mans at our first attempt. We also took multiple race wins and two titles in the BPR Global Endurance championship. I am an enormous fan of the McLaren brand and thrilled to return with JOTA for the 2021 season. Both McLaren and JOTA have similar DNA in the sense of a great depth in engineering capability and a winning mentality. Both my partner, Sam Hignett, and I have worked enormously hard to make JOTA not just a winning team but also a fun one to be around, so I think the collaboration between McLaren and JOTA together with three Factory Drivers will become a major force in GT racing.”
David Clark, Co-Owner, JOTA

“I’m extremely happy with my new appointment as a McLaren Factory Driver. It’s been my goal since starting my driving career, so a big thank you to McLaren for believing in me. The season should be brilliant and I’m extremely excited about teaming up with JOTA.”
Oliver Wilkinson, McLaren Factory Driver, McLaren Customer Racing

The Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS season gets underway at Monza in Italy on April 16-18.

One of 24 1986 Ford RS200 Evolution On Auction Block

When one thinks of supercars, the mind automatically wanders towards names like Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, and the like. It generally, at least until the 21st century, did not wander towards Ford. Yet, in the 1980’s, a special, unrestricted class of rallying known as Group B (or GrpB) thrust rallying supercars into the spotlight. The legendary Audi Sport Quattro S1 GrpB, the Lancia Delta S4 GrpB, and, in 1986, the Ford RS200 Evo GrpB. And one of the 24 Ford RS200 Evo homologation specials has made it to auction!

1986 Ford RS200 Evo side

The rules were pretty simple: build at least 200 cars that were road-legal homologation specials of the rallying supercar, and you could enter under the Group B regulations. In the group, the only restrictions were really wheel size and the amount of fuel that could be carried. This ended up allowing cars with more than 500 HP and all-wheel-drive to race across the roughest, toughest terrain the world had to offer, at times hitting over 160 MPH on long straights.

1986 Ford RS200 Evo

Unfortunately, halfway through 1986, after a string of both driver, co-driver, and spectator deaths, the class was immediately suspended, and then later canceled. The next class that was in development, Group S, was also immediately canceled. This left teams that had joined the class in 1985 and 1986 high and dry, and the extremely restrictive Group A regulations were introduced a few months later, meaning the rally supercar was dead.

1986 Ford RS200 Evo

This specific car, converted from a standard RS200 to the uprated RS200 Evo’s that ended the production run, features a 2.1-liter BDT-E high-pressure turbocharged inline-four developed by Cosworth, producing a mindblowing 600 HP. It also howled like an absolute demon when pushed hard, the turbo screaming, the blowoff valve twittering away, and the engine growling nastily under it to produce the howl.

1986 Ford RS200 Evo engine bay

This is fed to all wheels through a rally-spec transfer case after going through a front-mounted five-speed manual transmission, which has straight-cut gears with no synchros, meaning you really need to be precise with your rev-matching.

1986 Ford RS200 Evo engine

This specific car also has only about 500 miles on the odometer, and the engine was completely stripped down to bolts and rebuilt in 2018 by Geoff Page Racing in England, a specialist engine refurbishing and build shop. It features a motorsports grade Holly fuel pump and fully braided stainless steel lines for fuel, brakes, and all hydraulics.

1986 Ford RS200 Evo interior

In another special setup, the RS200 Evo also features three limited-slip differentials: front diff, rear diff, and mid-mount transfer case diff. This ensures that the car, even when going at a fair clip, corners as if it was on rails. This is also one of the hardest cars to drive well, exactly because of that reason. Many drivers don’t expect the car to rotate around its cornering circle quite as rapidly and directly as it does.

1986 Ford RS200 Evo suspension

It’s not a supercar because of exotic materials, a pleasant interior full of luxury, or for its ability to waft along comfortably. It’s not any of those things. It’s a supercar because it can quite literally out-drive, out-corner, and out-accelerate most modern supercars, with only hypercars being a match.

1986 Ford RS200 Evo turbo
That is one bigass turbo…

The RS200 Evo is currently on the block at $280,000 with 9 days left on the auction. A full 257 image gallery is available on BringATrailer.

Aston Martin Safety Cars

At the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix we will not only see the return of Aston Martin to Formula One racing with two cars, but for the first time in F1 history we will be seeing an Aston Martin as the Official Safety car and a second one as the Medical car, the first based on the Vantage while the DBX will be seen in the event of an emergency.

The Aston Martin Vantage Safety car will not be a factory standard model however, it is a custom built version with a modified chassis and improved aerodynamics, developed by the in-house team at Aston Martin’s Headquarters in Gaydon, the UK, this one-off will be driven by Bernd Mayländer (DE) who has been at the helm of the F1 safety car for over twenty years, the Aston Martin will remain on standby in the pit lane throughout the race.

In case of a problem on the track, and the safety car takes the lead, the slower speeds can cause the race cars tires to decrease in temperature, so the pace car has to able to reach high speeds quickly, this special Aston Martin Vantage has it’s power increased to 535PS from the 4.0-Liter twin-turbo V8 … she’s able to reach 60mph in only 3.5 seconds.

The Vaned grille coupled with a new front splitter creates 155.6kg of downforce at 200km/h; more than 60kg than the production Vantage produces at the same speed.  Modifications to the suspension, steering and dampers have also been undertaken, with further detailed underbody bracing modifications to increase front structural stiffness.  All this, together with a comprehensive aero kit and a switch to lower profile Pirelli tyres, the Aston Martin Vantage Official F1 Safety Car has all the credentials to handle a F1 circuit.

The return of two Aston Martin F1 race cars from the Cognizant Formula One Team comes with a new livery, 2021 Aston Martin Racing Green, specifically created to celebrate their return to F1 after 60 years, the front splitter is emphasized in Lime Essence, a shade we’ve already seen on the Vantage that competed in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).

The otherwise luxurious leather seats of the Vantage have been replaced by FIA-approved racing seats, complete with six-point safety harness, a pair of displays show a live feed of the race and individual car position of the competitors, the necessary switches for the lights and siren for instance have been placed on the central console. The Aston Martin Vantage Safety car even comes with outside cameras so they can broadcast a live feed from this car on the track.

The official Medical Car for the 2021 season is based on the Aston Martin DBX, the larger SUV comes in the same livery combining Racing Green and Lime green, powered by the same 4.0-Liter twin-turbo V8 engine, in the DBX she pumps out 550PS and 700Nm which allows the DBX Medical car to reach 62mph in 4.5 seconds with a top speed of 181mph.

Whilst the interior trim is fully representative of a customer vehicle, the central rear seat has been removed, and the remaining four have been replaced with sport bucket seats, each equipped with a 6-point safety harness.  These provide seating for the driver, Alan van der Merwe and Dr Ian Roberts – the FIA Formula 1® Medical Response Coordinator, as well as a Local Doctor, leaving one spare.

The development of both these Official Safety Car of Formula 1® and Official Medical Car of Formula 1® was carried out by the engineering team at Aston Martin.  Both vehicles have endured significant testing, which included high-speed durability assessments and aggressive circuit driving at the Aston Martin facility at Silverstone, totting up almost 15,000km collectively.  The vehicles have also been tested in a dyno climate chamber to ensure they will perform in all race conditions.

Aston Martin fans will be able to see the Aston Martin Vantage Official Safety Car of Formula 1® in action for the first time during the three-day pre-season test at Bahrain on 12-14 March, and then again during the opening round of the FIA Formula One® World Championship, at the same venue two weeks later.

US car to win the 24h of Le Mans?

Remember our Ford GT Heritage article from last week, where we mentioned the 2006 edition to be a celebration livery of the classic Ford GT40 that managed to win the grueling 24 of Le Mans race not once, but four times in a row between 1966 and 1969 … unfortunately that would mark the last time a car made in the USA won the French endurance race.

But all that might be changing for the 2021 edition of the 24h of Le Mans, Glickenhaus Racing already has a car on the test track, called the SCG 007 LMH, and they intend to enter two of these new generation hypercars into the most famous endurance race in Europe … and things get even better, Glickenhaus also has at least one customer put in an order for an SCG 007 LMH too, so we might be seeing three or more of these cars battle it out on the Circuit de la Sarthe in June this year.

The SCG 007 LMH is powered by a 3.5-Liter, twin-turbo V8 engine, and what is really amazing is the fact they only started this new engine for the first time in early February, and only a few weeks later it’s fitted onto the first SCG 007 chassis, and driven on the famous Vallelunga track in Italy for initial testing and fine-tuning.

The Glickenhaus SCG 007 LMH at Vallelunga – Photo credits

Both Romain Dumas and Franck Mailleux took stints on the Vallelunga track to prepare the new SCG 007 LMH to be entered into the 2021 FIA Endurance Championship, but it seems they will have to pass on the first race of the season on April 4: the 8 Hours of Portimao in Portugal. According to Dailysportscar, Glickenhaus will probably not be able to get the SCG 007 LMH homologated in time for Portugal as they can’t get the required 30-hour test-run done before April 4, and this is a final requirement for homologation to compete, and the worst part in this is … it isn’t even due to the cars not being ready, but due to the current regulation because of COVID-19, it is impossible to get the required parties together in time.

But Jim Glickenhaus made it abundantly clear when he stated: “there will be two SCG 007 LMH cars at the start of the 24h of Le Mans on June 12, no question about that”

The first chassis that performed the initial shake-down testing in Vallelunga after Podium Advanced Technologies developed and assembled the car at its facility in Italy will undergo further high-speed testing on the Monza track over the next days, and the second SCG 007 LMH is already being built at this time, Glickenhaus intends to have their second car ready for testing at Vallelunga by mid-March.

If all goes well we’ll be seeing at least two cars entered by Glickenhaus Racing, and possibly a third one from a private party, into the 2021 edition of the 24h of Le Mans, where these SCG 007 LMH will compete against the new hybrid LMH from Toyota, the V8 powered A480 from Alpine … it won’t be until 2023 before Ferrari joins the LMH ranks with their entry.

And the best is yet to come … as part of the homologation process, Glickenhaus will have to build a street-going version of this SCG 007 too, and rumor has it, the SCG 007 Stradale, with a similar powertrain to the racecar, will be available soon too, listed at a $2,100,000 base price … I for one can’t wait to see one of those drive up at a local Cars and Coffee event.

Alpine F1 for 2021

I don’t know about you, but I rather like the Netflix series Formula 1: Drive to Survive, I’ve seen both season 1 and season 2 and now I’m eagerly awaiting to start viewing season 3 when they release it on March 19 … and while I don’t normally watch the races when they happen, I do enjoy watching these behind the scenes series on Netflix.

So I might not be an avid F1 fan, but I’m a car guy, so I keep up with what’s happening anyway. Earlier this week I saw Mercedes releasing their new car for the 2021 season, the Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance, the first car to use the ‘E PERFORMANCE’ designation. The new car will be driven by Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, entering their fifth season as team-mates, a second year for the black base livery on the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team car it seems.

But today there is other breaking news, if you’ve followed the previous seasons of Formula One, you will have seen those bright yellow cars from the Renault F1 team … well, those are gone for 2021, it’s now called the Alpine F1 team, and their A521 race car comes in a blue, white, and red livery, which are both the official Alpine colors, but also the colors on the French national flag.

The A521 will use a Renault E-TECH 20B 1.6-Liter V6 engine, the car is an evolution of the R.S.20 that ran the 2020 F1 championship in the yellow Renault livery but with serious modification to the rear in line with the new aerodynamic regulations from the FIA, the new Alpine F1 will be driven by Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso.

The first-ever Alpine F1 Team car will make its on-track debut on March 3, 2021, with Esteban Ocon at a filming day at Silverstone Circuit, two weeks ahead of official pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit.

The Ecurie Ecosse C-type, a reincarnation of the legendary Fifties racing Jaguar

In 1952 a young Ian Stewart, pioneer driver for Ecurie Ecosse, would visit Jaguar Cars in Coventry to collect his brand-new C-type. He would drive the car to its first race on Jersey to confront stiff competition from Aston Martin and Frazer Nash. The race was won at a gallop and in doing so he opened the first chapter in Ecurie Ecosse’s international motor racing career.

Considerable success on the racetrack ensued for Ecurie Ecosse, their trophy cabinet bursting at the seams with 59 podium places secured across the seven C-type chassis raced by the team. Through clever tuning by legendary team manager ‘Wilkie’ Wilkinson and meticulous planning by founder David Murray, they proved how capable the Jaguar C-type could be on the international stage and began a legacy that would take the Scottish national team to countless wins, including their crowning glory at La Sarthe.

The Jaguar C-type was a technological masterpiece. The first race car honed in the wind tunnel, first to use fuel ‘bag’ tanks (a technology borrowed from the aviation world) and the test bed for Dunlop’s revolutionary disc brakes. A steel space frame chassis formed the rigid backbone of these cars, clad in a lightweight, thin-gauge, streamlined aluminum body designed by Malcolm Sayer and powered by a silky smooth Jaguar ‘overhead cam’ straight-six engine. Stirling Moss once said: “I always really rated the C-type – for me it was a far better car than the D.”

Ecurie Ecosse have created a new car to pay homage to their past success. Current Ecurie Ecosse patron Alasdair McCaig said of their new car: “How better to celebrate the historic success of the Ecurie Ecosse C-types than to manufacture a batch of cars in their honor? The seven priceless chassis raced in period still exist today, coveted by their lucky owners, occasionally seeing the light of day for race or concours events. We are paying homage to these cars by creating a numbered sister car to each one. Meticulous in their detail, like their forebears, hand-built in Coventry and tuned by Ecurie Ecosse technicians.”

Ecurie Ecosse have retained all the key elements that contributed to the roaring success of the 1950s Jaguar racer while, in the true spirit of co-founder ‘Wilkie’ Wilkinson, making considered improvements. The aerodynamic shape remains, still crafted from thin-gauge aluminum alloy and mounted to a steel space frame chassis, but wider and stiffer than before, laser-cut for accuracy. The sonorous Jaguar straight-six XK engine remains too, although capacity has been increased to 4.2 litres and fuel injection fitted to bring power up to 300bhp.

The suspension and disc brakes have been uprated to cope with the additional performance and a five-speed gearbox added to maximize acceleration and top speed. The detail of the car is breath-taking, with the hand-crafted aluminum bucket seats clothed in supple blue leather by Crest, hand-airbrushed Ecurie Ecosse shields adorning the car’s flanks, and Tag Heuer ‘Master Time’ stopwatches on the dashboard. The first car is complete and available for viewing and test drive at their Henley-on-Thames dealership, Hofmann’s.

The M1 was the first BMW Motorsport car in the Eighties

These days everybody knows the BMW M3, the BMW M5 or the smaller BMW M2 … some of these even come in upgraded Competition versions, but all of these BMW Motorsport models that we know today had their origins back in the Eighties … with the M1, the first production car from BMW’s in-house Motorsport division.

1980 BMW M1 AHG – photo copyright BringATrailer auction site

At one point BMW even had Automobili Lamborghini SpA working on their new mid-engine super car … but sadly this didn’t go beyond a few prototypes being developed at Sant’Agata, the actual production models for the BMW M1 were assembled by Baur in Stuttgart, Germany.

1980 BMW M1 AHG – photo copyright BringATrailer auction site

Back in the early Seventies, BMW wanted to create a new model to enter into FIA Group 5 racing, and regulations required 400 cars to be sold to customers for road use, the BMW M1 was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. The fiberglass bodies would be made in Italy and shipped to Germany for final assembly, where both road cars and bespoke race cars would be built side by side … a total of 450 BMW M1 would be built.

1980 BMW M1 AHG – photo copyright BringATrailer auction site

And now you might have a chance to own a piece of BMW Motorsport history in the shape of a bright white, 1980 M1 with AHG upgrades. This specific M1 (chassis WBS00000094301090) was delivered as a regular street version in late 1979, as a 1980 model, but only a few years later BMW dealer AHG added their ‘Studie’ package.

1980 BMW M1 AHG – photo copyright BringATrailer auction site

The AHG modifications included a power increase to 350 hp on the factory M88, 3,454cc in-line six cylinder engine, an impressive body kit inspired by BMW’s own Procar racers, complete with flared fenders, stunning 16″ BBS multi-piece wheels (8″ at the front, 9″ at the rear), a new exhaust, a bespoke, full black leather interior, and to make the look complete, a typical BMW Motorsport livery with the red and two-tone blue stripes.

1980 BMW M1 AHG – photo copyright BringATrailer auction site

Only 10 BMW M1 would be built with the AHG Studie package, which makes this already rare car, even more interesting, this BMW M1 ended up in the United States of America probably in the Nineties, but the current owner didn’t acquire it until 2014, today she is for sale at auction through a dealer in Costa Mesa, California … she holds a Montana title.

1980 BMW M1 AHG – photo copyright BringATrailer auction site

With still 10 days to go on the BringATrailer auction, this amazing 1980 BMW M1 has been bid up to $350,000, interested in placing a bid? Just go to the auction site, register, and try to put the winning bid in at BringATrailer 1980 BMW M1 auction

The Praga R1R, an actual race car for the road

We see many cars being advertised as a street-legal race car, and most of those are ‘dialed-down’ versions of the cars we encounter on the race track, but the Praga R1R is different … the R1R is an actual race car. Praga just added the necessary items that allow this racer to be driven on the open road … so this is probably as close as you can get to an actual race car that is legal to drive on the public roads.

Praga might not ring a bell to must of us, but they based in the Czech Republic, and have been for over 100 years. Founded in 1907, they have been designing, developing and producing not only race cars, but also road cars, airplanes, trucks, buses, motorcycles and go-karts that have been sold worldwide.

The Praga R1R is the ultimate track day car, you can do lap after lap at top speed on the track on Sunday, and still drive it home without a trailer. This is true racing technology for the road, be it a twisting mountain road in the Swiss Alps or the avenue in Monaco, the R1R feels at home on all of them.

The R1R is actually the first road car Praga has built since 1947, and they took their race-winning R1 as a base to add the required technology to make it a road car. Safety equipment was added, but also a suspension specifically tuned for the public roads, all while retaining the racing heart of the original.

There was no need to make the Praga R1R feel like a race car, because it was a racer from the start, they just added a certain degree of comfort and made a race car cope with everyday road driving. The teardrop design of the cabin was created for optimum aerodynamics, and the entire design of the R1R, complete with that massive rear wing actually generates more down force over 200 km/h than the overall weight of the car. This means you could theoretically drive this car upside down in a tunnel, but more importantly it offers amazing cornering capabilities.

Giti Tire Attacks the Nürburgring With a Pair of Audi R8s & a Pair of VW Golfs

Third Year’s the Charm

The 24 Hours of Nürburgring is one of the most challenging motorsports races in the entire world. The track itself is a fabled place for motorsports fans and the proving ground for manufacturers of sports cars and race cars alike. The 24-hour race that is held every year is the ultimate test of engineering, teamwork, and racing skill.

Automakers aren’t the only manufacturers who use the Nürburgring as a proving ground. Tire companies also do. One company that will take their product to the extreme at the upcoming race is Giti Tire. This will be the third year that the company has competed in the race, and it hopes this to be the most exciting year yet. 

The Cars Racing

The company has four cars set to compete in the race. The first is an Audi R8 LMS Ultra that comes with a 5.2-liter V10 engine that makes 570 hp. The car will be driven by Henzel Bernhard, P. Lefterov, and F. Schickler. The second is another Audi R8, this one a GT4 car, that has a 5.2-liter V10 engine tuned to 495 hp. It will be driven by Rainey He, Sunny Wong, Andy Yan, and Li Fei. 

In the past, the company has used the Lamborghini Huracán for the 24 Hours of Nürburgring. This time around, the company thought it would be better to utilize the Audi R8 instead. “The Audi R8 offers a great combination of power, reliability, and technology that goes together very well with how Giti positions its tires,” said a representative of Giti Tire. These are the two cars that many racing fans, spectators, and others in the industry will be focused on. 

Giti tire Audi R8Giti tire Audi R8

The VW Golfs will also run the race. One of the golfs will be an all-female team, including the drivers and crew. According to Giti Tire, this is the first time in the race’s history that this has happened. 

“The 24 Hours Nürburgring race is a great natural choice for [us],” said a Giti Tire representative. “From one vehicle in 2017 to two in 2018 and four this year, Giti is truly committed to making an impact on the race and further utilizing the results and lessons to continue making both our racing and everyday driving tires the best they can be.”

The Tires to be Used

Speaking of the tires used, the company plans to use its GitiCompete GTR1 tires for the race. Those tires are a track-only variant that have proved to be very popular among a wide variety of racers. The GitiCompete GTR1 tires have been used at a wide variety of well-known motorsports events and races, including the 24 Hours Nürburgring race, as well as Formula 3 Asian series, and Pikes Peak Hill Climb among others. 

The latest iteration of the GTR1 tires come after years of research and development. The top grade compound has been designed for racetracks. It should help the Audi R8s compete well in the 24 Hours of Nürburgring race this year. While race is an important test for Giti Tire, the company isn’t just concerned with racing. The lessons it learns on the track will trickle down to road-legal variations of its tires, ensuring the best performance for all kinds of vehicles. 

It will be exciting to see how the Audi R8s and the VW Golfs put out on the racetrack by Giti Tire perform at the race. The race will occur this weekend in Germany. 

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Please Join Formula One, Aston Martin

Within the past decade or so, Formula One evolved in car design through aerodynamics and engine packaging. Gone are the days of the mighty V12 of the 1990’s and here is the world of turbochargers and energy recovery. Many have argued that current engine regulations have taken the fun out of the sport and limited participation to the ones that can afford the R&D costs.

I’m not going to take anything away from Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes-Benz Petronas team, but I’m just tired of seeing him on the podium. Don’t even get me started on Finger Boy!

There is a solution to everything: there is a revision of the regulations come 2021 with hopes of attracting new constructors to join in on the fun. And it seems like it has attracted a maker across the Pond.

There have been reports that Aston Martin is keen on joining in Formula 1 under Team Red Bull Racing. While they’re currently working with Renault who’s supplying McLaren, and Renault this season, Red Bull hasn’t been doing great this season with issues in Bahrain, an engine issue during FP3 in Shanghai, and a third-place finish in Spain. reports that Aston Martin is paying attention to the new rules, especially with the focus on a simpler turbocharged V6 engine and the removal of the MGU-H unit.

They are aware that they must be competitive before talking with Team Red Bull and hopefully, things will get sorted out by 2019,

“We’re looking at 2021, so it’s somewhere down the road,” Palmer told Autosport.

“But if we can’t pass the ‘it’s OK for Red Bull test’ then that probably means we’re not passing the ‘it’s competitive’ test, and it has to be competitive.

“There’s approximately nine months’ work in front of us to convince ourselves one way or the other.

“You’ve got simulation tools and single cylinder work, and that gives you a pretty accurate correlation between the testing world and the simulation world.”

We look forward to seeing Aston Martin join the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz onto the podium. Carry on!

Racetracks So Thrilling You’ll Be Scared

Seeing how fast a car can move and how violently your eyeballs can shake has long been an obsession of people’s. However, it is an obsession that has been restricted to a) those that have made it into racing into their profession, b) those that frequent Germany’s autobahn, c) those that are rich enough to build their own track and d) idiots.

However, there is one more way to get the ultimate driving thrill and that is to head to one of the many racetracks that litter this world, but not just any old racetrack, one of the world’s most dangerous.  There is enough data in the way of race structure, route density, societies you pass through, courses you take on and, sadly, lives taken to know which racetracks are the most dangerous, and these are them.

5. Calder Park, Melbourne

Calder Park Raceway has made it onto this list because, as a complex, it offers enough in the way of fear as anywhere else, starting with the dragstrip; the home to drag racing and hot rod stand-offs. But that is just part of it. There is also a road circuit that can be configured to make several different courses, some of which could see you have to go here for fast towing, and the world-famous Thunderdome, which is a high-speed banked oval sure to separate the brave from the wannabes.

4. Nurburgring, Austria

This is arguably the most notorious racetrack in the world, which is partly thanks to Top Gear, partly thanks to Gran Turismo and partly thanks to the fact it is fourteen miles of winding, narrow country roads that come together to create the ultimate test of a person’s nerve and car’s ability. To give you some idea of just how scary this track is, it was taken off the professional circuit simply because it was deemed too dangerous for competition. Yet, somehow, you can still turn up there and take your own car for a spin. Now, a lot of people call this hell because, well, you are driving the world’s most notorious track alongside other amateurs. It’s nerve-jangling. Luckily, there are ways to get the thrill without the same level of risk; either you get in the passenger seat and endure the most terrifying and fastest taxi ride of your life or you learn how to drive this ring safely at their driving safety center. Whatever you choose, the hairs will stand up and you will pray to a god you didn’t believe in before.

3. Paris-Dakar Rally

We couldn’t have a list of terrifying racecourses and not mention the godfather of all races, the Dakar Rally. On paper, this is a simple A to B adventure. In reality, it is a race that covers some of the harshest terrains anywhere in the world. It is ferocious. It is unrelenting. It is incredible. Now, you’re right, this is not technically a track and the routes people take tend to differ according to certain external factors, such as car and political current affairs, but it is still a race and one that you can enter, so it makes our list. To give you some idea of just how dangerous this race is, it had to be moved to South Africa in 2009 as a result of safety concerns, and rightly so because in the thirty years before this move, 45 deaths were recorded. That’s a dangerous record to have

2. Baja 1000

The thing that we need to mention about the Baja rally is the track itself, which is by no means dangerous. It’s not simple, but it isn’t a matter of concern. What makes this racecourse so unsafe is, in fact, the spectators. This is partly to do with the where they stand in order to get a  good look at what the drivers are doing, but mainly because kidnappings are so frequent. In fact, barely any competitive race has gone down without a kidnapping or two occurring, most of which involve firearms as a result of the gang warfare that has plagued this place for years. Of course, the most memorable kidnapping in the race’s history was when a driver – that’s right, a driver! – was kidnapped by former police officers and held hostage for ten days. Now, that is a driving fear that not many people ever give a thought to.

1. Isle of Man TT

It doesn’t matter what you have read, what you have seen or what tracks have made you fear for your life first-hand; no track in the world is as terrifying than the Isle of Man TT. This is the ultimate test of a motoring abilities. We’re talking about motorcyclists hitting speeds of 180+ miles per hour on a track that is made up of single country lanes, surrounded by high stone walls, incredibly steep walls and even houses. 180+ mph. Now, nothing is going to be able to sell just how brave and skilled you need to be to tackle this course – even if Closer To The Edge comes close – but to give it to you in cold hard facts, 252 riders have now died since its inception in 1907. It is a course that takes years to perfect, walking it, driving it, knowing exactly what gear to be in at what point as you approach a summit you can’t see or a hidden dip. It is unforgiving and anything less than perfect could see the worst outcome happen. This takes the podium. No questions about it.

And there you have it, our top five most dangerous tracks/races in the world. Of course, we are not saying this is a definitive list. No way. So, if you have endured a tougher track or one that could be classified as lethal, then do tell us about it. The world needs to know where the most dangerous events lie.