V8SC wants Bathurst 12 Hour promotional rights

Nissan GTR GTR wins 2015 Bathurst 12 Hour

A bit over twenty years ago the management of Australia’s premier touring car category banned cars like the Nissan GT-R. In fact, they banned anything that wasn’t a Ford Falcon or Holden Commodore. It now appears that current V8SC management wants to welcome the likes of the GT-R back with open arms and the first step to doing that is to buy the promotional rights for February’s Bathurst 12 Hour race.

A report on Speedcafe suggests James Warburton, V8SC CEO, is willing to buy the rights from current promoters for as much as $4 million.  Currently the promotional rights are shared between James O’Brien (Yeehah Events) and the Bathurst Regional Council.

With the fast approaching demise of local manufacturing V8SC needs to broaden its horizons, and fast. It’s been suggested that V8SC is seeking to accept GT-style racecars as part of its Gen2 rules to be adopted in 2017.

Tensions between V8SC and the Bathurst 12 Hour were heightened this year when a new V8SC broadcast agreement with Foxtel effectively banned its drivers from competing at the 12 Hour, thanks to a compulsory V8SC test session that had been organised for the same weekend.

This arrangement upset a lot of 12 Hour fans, including AUSmotive.

V8SC claims it offered to buy the broadcast rights for the 2015 Bathurst 12 Hour in a deal which would have cleared the date clash by combining the pre-season test and the 12 Hour race into a weekend-long event and seen the race telecast live on Foxtel.

Although there’s no quotes attributed to either side, it’s reported that James O’Brien denies this offer was ever made.

As it stands the 2016 Bathurst 12 Hour will be held over the weekend of 5–7 February with television coverage on Channel 7.

The increasing success of the Bathurst 12 Hour is a double-edged sword for fans who have followed the race since the introduction of GT3 cars. The bigger the race gets the more it loses its boutique and casual appeal.

Whatever happens in the future and whoever promotes the event, we hope the current charm and appeal of the 12 Hour race is not lost forever.

[Source: Speedcafe | Thanks to Stu for the tip]

Mercedes rubbishes Red Bull rumour

It was another dismal weekend of racing for Daniel Ricciardo at the British Grand Prix. He was forced to retire on lap 22 with electrical problems.

He more than anyone would have enjoyed the recent report from Autocar suggesting Red Bull Racing could cast Renault aside in favour of a new partnership with Aston Martin Racing. The most obvious benefit of such a union would be the connection Aston Martin has with AMG and the hope that Red Bull could use the seemingly unstoppable Mercedes-Benz engine.

Alas, any such hope has been dashed after Niki Lauda, Mercedes AMG F1 non-executive chairman, rubbished the rumour in no uncertain terms.

“There’s not even a discussion. No discussion at all,” implored Lauda. “I haven’t heard anything from them and we never talked about it. I have breakfast every morning with Helmut [Marko] so I should know.

“We never thought about it because we have four teams running our engines, so we don’t even have capacity.”

More damning comments came from an unnamed Mercedes AMG F1 spokesperson who slammed Red Bull’s treatment of current engine partner Renault: “Red Bull have been asking [for engines] since February 2014—they ring up every week! If you see how they’ve treated Renault they are not a good partner to have…”

Oh well Daniel, there’s always 2016. At least that’s the final year of the Renault contract. Fingers crossed for 2017, maybe?!

[Source: Motorsport.com]

UPDATE: It seems Niki and Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG team principal, aren’t on the same page. Wolff telling Autosport that he’s “leaving the door open” to discussing a deal with Red Bull.

Chris Harris does the Nürburgring 24 Hour

Chris Harris, Aston Martin GT12, 2015 Nurburgring 24 hour race

Chris Harris and his cameraman Neil Carey take us deep into the world of the 2015 Nürburgring 24 Hour race. The star of the show is the production-based Aston Martin GT12.

“Watching a car being driven fast around here is one of the great spectator experiences,” claims Harris.

I believe him.

I’m yet to watch an N24, but I have seen cars be tested within an inch of their life during Industry Pool sessions. It is a pleasure to watch. Witnessing a grid full of GT3 cars fighting for every inch of tarmac would be awe inspiring.

Enjoy this clip. It’s a good one. And how awesome does that GT12 sound!

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Contractor killed at Volkswagen factory

Volkswagenwerk Kassel, Baunatal

A contractor has been killed at the Volkswagen Kassel factory in Baunatal, north of Frankfurt. Volkswagen has confirmed the 22-year-old man was part of a team installing a new robot which grabbed him and crushed him against a metal plate.

An ongoing investigation is underway with early findings claiming human error is to blame rather than a fault with the robot itself.

[Source: The Guardian | Pic: baunatal-info.de]

2016 MINI Clubman revealed

2016 MINI Clubman

Here’s the new F54 MINI Clubman in all of its full mega pixel glory. It will launch in Australia late this year.

We finally see the end of that poxy single-sided rear door that afflicted the first Clubman made under BMW’s stewardship of the MINI brand. The cost of that change has been to make the new Clubman a lot bigger and to give it four proper doors. The barn-style rear doors, which hark back to the days of the Classic Mini, have been kept.

Built on BMW’s versatile UKL1 platform, all of the new Clubman’s key dimensions have increased. Compared with the impossible to love MINI 5 door, the new Clubman is 270mm longer and 90mm wider. Its wheelbase has also been extended by 100mm.

The usual BMW/MINI engine range will be found under the bonnet in Cooper, Cooper S and Cooper D designations. And for the first time in a MINI, the Cooper S and Cooper D Clubman will be available with an optional 8-speed auto.

Pics and press guff await after the break.

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2015 MINI JCW hatch – Australian pricing & specs

F56 MINI John Cooper Works

MINI Australia has released pricing and specification details for the new JCW hatch, which will go on sale locally later this month. And it is packed with standard kit!

MINI JCW standard equipment (Australian market)

  • 170kW/320Nm 2.0 litre four-cylinder TwinPower Turbo
  • 18-inch light alloy wheels
  • Dynamic Damper Control
  • John Cooper Works Sports Seats
  • LED headlights with LED daytime running lights
  • Head-Up Display with enhanced JCW specific content (gear indicator, rev display and shift lights)
  • Professional Navigation with 8.8-inch split screen monitor
  • DAB+ Digital Radio
  • Park Assist with front and rear Park Distance Control
  • Reversing camera
  • Extended Bluetooth with armrest and music streaming
  • MINI Visual Boost functionality
  • MINI Driving Modes
  • MINI Excitement package

List pricing starts at $47,400 for the standard 6-speed manual and from $49,950 for the 6-speed Steptronic auto.

In addition, MINI TLC service packs offering up to five years of coverage start at $980.

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Daniel gets a Ferrari rumour for his birthday!

Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo

Today is Daniel Ricciardo’s birthday. Happy birthday Dan, would you like to drive for Ferrari in 2016?

Ricciardo has spoken candidly about his future ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix, so, let’s see what the man himself has to say.

“I won’t go into too much detail, but first and foremost, not talking about contracts, but what I want is to win and I guess that is a lot of my frustration this year as we are not in a position to win,” Daniel said.

“Obviously with contracts it is not as easy as saying ‘I’ll go to Ferrari and that is that’, there are things in place and from my understanding of contracts it is not likely that I can get out.

“But at the same time I really feel that Red Bull can make a change for next year and can get back up the front. We have the people in the team and the ingredients to do it, it is just making that next step.

“On the Ferrari thing it is nice to be recognised by a team like that, I guess I’ll take it as a compliment and see what happens.

“I will probably never rule anything out completely, because I don’t have experience with contracts. I haven’t been in F1 all that long. I am sure things can change; anything can change.

“Dietrich (Mateschitz, Red Bull owner) said some things in the press as well, and you never know what is going to happen. As I said, it is unlikely but yeah …”

The question about a move to Ferrari was posed to Daniel following ongoing speculation that Maurizio Arrivabene, Ferrari Team Principal, is ready to dump Kimi Raikkonen at the end of this season.

Sensing the apparent departure it’s been reported several drivers have approached Ferrari to offer their services. When Arrivabene was asked if a potential shortlist of drivers included Daniel Ricciardo he said no, but added: “Perhaps he does not have my number.”

Was that a subtle invitation to Daniel there? Either way we can’t imagine his bosses will be overly happy with Daniel’s willingness to talk about leaving Red Bull before his contract expires.

And no surprises for guessing that Sebastian Vettel is very happy with his current (under performing) teammate.

[Source: Fox Sports]

Webber reveals Vettel’s “Multi-21” legal threat

Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing

At the end of Mark Webber’s appearance on Australian Story (ABC TV) a graphic appeared warning there would be “carnage” when his autobiography was released. Mark’s book, Aussie Grit, was released in Australia today and in it he reveals how Sebastian Vettel escaped punishment from the Red Bull Racing hierarchy.

First, here’s was Mark had to say on Australian Story on Monday night:

So we got off the podium [Malaysia 2013] and yeah. He [Vettel] just come over. Just, “We need to talk,” you know. He said, “I’ve just fucked up. I fucked up, mate. I fucked up so bad,” you know. I said, “Mate, well,” I said, “Well, let’s just talk, let’s talk next week.”

I don’t know who spoke to him between Malaysia and China but we had a discussion in China and the discussion didn’t go well. And yeah, he just said that yeah: he had massive respect for me as a driver and, and not much as a person. So that really affected the relationship, obviously. At the time, we would hardly stand the sight of each other.

We now know who spoke to Vettel about the Multi-21 fiasco between Malaysia and China. That’s if we’re to believe this claim made by Mark in his new book:

When Ann (Neal, Webber’s partner) later pressed (Christian Horner) about why the team had never reprimanded Seb or issued any punishment for the ‘Multi 21’ incident, he admitted that the team had received a two-page letter from Seb’s lawyer a few days after the Malaysian race stating that they were in breach of his contract by giving him an ‘unreasonable instruction/team order’.

So, when running back to the team for support didn’t work, Sebastian was happy to get his lawyers to provide protection.

Just when you think Vettel might be likeable, along comes another story—and let’s not forget, it is only one side of the story—to make you think what an absolute tool the guy can be.

[Source: Fox Sports]

2016 Audi A4 revealed

2016 Audi A4

Audi has released images and early details of its all-new A4 saloon and estate. The new B9 model range goes on sale in Europe in a few months and will launch in Australia in 2016.

At initial launch the A4 will be available with three petrol engines and four diesel options. Audi claims fuel consumption has been reduced by 21% across the board.

For the first time you’ll be able to choose an S tronic transmission in a front-wheel drive A4 (S tronics were previously only available with a quattro drivetrain). Manual transmissions will be available for overseas markets, but with final specs for Australia yet to be confirmed we won’t be holding our breath waiting for word that a manual A4 will be easy to come by down under.

Audi has redesigned the suspension with a five-link setup front and rear (see pictures below), claiming an increase in ride comfort and “accentuated sportiness”.

Of course, the new model is bigger and lighter than the outgoing B8 range. Audi says the interior of the new A4 is longest in its class and that it offers the most shoulder room for front seat occupants as well. Weight reduction is modest with a maximum of 15kg saved compared with the old model.

There’s a bunch of photos waiting for you below, including some cool cutaways, plus a comprehensive press kit available for download.

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McLaren F1 GT wallpapers

McLaren F1 GT

Only three road going McLaren F1 GTs were ever made. This was done to homologate the F1 GTR ‘Longtail’ for racing. The car you see here is chassis #58F1GT and will be on display at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend.

We thank McLaren for sharing these images with us and even though the ‘Longtail’ is not the most pleasing aesthetic result this is, after all, still a McLaren F1. That makes us happy and is a perfect way to end the working week.

For more on the McLaren F1 GT take a look at this entry on the McLaren website, which reads in part:

Constructed, like the rest of the bodywork, from carbon fibre, the F1 GT’s tail is clearly its most remarkable feature – but it’s by no means the only modification that was made for the 1997 season. The nose was extended to provide further aerodynamic downforce; the wheel arches were flared over the larger 18-inch alloys; and to top it all off (quite literally), the roof-mounted snorkel was enlarged to feed the 6.1-litre V12 with air. Altogether, the GT is over 600mm (two feet) longer than a standard McLaren F1 road car, as well as being over 100mm (four inches) wider.

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Alfa Romeo Giulia QV launch coverage

2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia

If you’re still loving the revelation of the 2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia QV here’s a selection of images and a video from yesterday’s launch.

Full details are yet to be revealed but we can see that a 6-speed manual will be available. Hooray for Alfa! We also know the rear tyres on the hot QV model will be 285 section, with 245 at the front.

You should click the link below for access to a gallery of 85 launch images. Let’s hope the new Giulia drives as good as it looks and that the model is a success for Alfa.

[Pics: Quattroruote | Thanks to Craig and John for the tips]

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MSO reveals Prost-inspired McLaren P1

McLaren P1 Prost

We’re going to start this post with a little rant. Such is the aura and legend of “the great” Ayrton Senna that you could be forgiven for not knowing that a little bloke by the name of Alain Prost won three of his four world championships with McLaren.

“Oh did Allan Prost drive for McLaren too? I thought only Senna did,” quips some kid who never saw either of them race.

For me, a proud fan of The Professor, the lack of wider recognition given to Prost’s achievements at McLaren has always sat uneasily in the shadow of the perennially increasing legend of Ayrton Senna.

So to see that McLaren Special Operations has prepared a one-off P1 “Prost” for this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed is both a surprise and very welcome. Hitherto you could be excused for thinking McLaren was willing to airbrush Prost’s steady tricolour helmet design from the history books in favour of the flash of Senna’s brash yellow.

Thankfully, though, we now see before us an incredible P1 inspired by Prost’s racing colours and we couldn’t be happier to see it. Thank you McLaren, thank you.

There’s more photos of the P1 Prost after the break and click here for more on McLaren’s Flat out and fearless campaign.

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Alfa Romeo shows off the new Giulia

Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa Romeo is celebrating its 105th birthday and to do so they have given us the first look at the very, very appealing new Giulia. The company logo has been modernised and the company museum in Arese has re-opened and is ready for Alfisti from all over the world to come and enjoy.

Back to the new Giulia you see before you. We’ve only got a handful of details at this stage and along with the car’s seductive looks we think you will be very interested to learn more.

For now, though, we know the Giulia Quadrifoglio will boast a six-cylinder turbo petrol engine producing 380kW (510hp). No less than the engineers from Ferrari have been involved in the engine’s development.

Sounds pretty good, right. Well this new flying Alfa is rear-wheel drive and with a double-clutch transmission can reach 100km/h in 3.9 seconds. Who needs an M3?

The new Giulia features a long wheelbase for composed handling, which is further complemented by mutli-link rear suspension and double-wishbones up front.

There’s a few techy gadgets like an Active Aero Splitter to manage downforce. The car’s weight is split evenly 50:50 and it has a power to weight ratio of less than 3kg/hp.

Lightweight materials such as carbon fibre (prop shaft, bonnet and roof) and aluminium (engine, brakes, suspension, doors and front quarter panels) have been used to help keep the weight down. There’s even carbon ceramic brakes for the hottest of Giulias.

As well, Alfa claims the Giulia has the best torsional rigidity in its class.

Yeah, we want to see more too. For now though we’ve got a handful of pics a cheesy promo video and a press release and they’re all yours after the break. Alfa, colour us interested!

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Alfa Romeo updates its logo

New Alfa Romeo logo

Old Alfa Romeo logos

Updated, modernised and refreshed, take a closer look at the new Alfa Romeo logo. This new 2015 version will soon be emblazoned on the famous Alfa grille of all new models. The older versions of the logo below show you how the logo has changed over the years.

For more on the logo and the history of Alfa Romeo check out this blog originally published by automotive journalism student Barry Hartley.

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