“HSV, I salute you”

Chris Harris, with his VB, vegemite and bogan ute

For those about to ute, he salutes you!

Earlier this year Chris Harris took some time off and came to Australia. Turns out he got himself a little bit of play time at the wheel of a 430kW/740Nm HSV GTS Maloo while he was here. All that power being sent to an unladen pair of rear wheels, an empty race track, what do you think happened next?

And Chris, for next time, a male sheep is called a ram. Of course, he would be a wether if his ghoulies had been snipped.

[Thanks to Stu for the tip]

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The all-new 2015 NSX is coming soon

2015 Honda NSX

Has it been three years already! We first saw the Acura/Honda NSX concept back in 2012 (and a revised version in 2013). With great fanfare we were promised the production model would arrive in 2015. Well, guess what, it’s almost 2015 and that means the production-ready NSX is almost here.

With the four new teaser images Acura has supplied (which we have digitally altered to provide even more of a tease) we can get a glimpse at some of the final bodywork, which has changed during its three year gestation. There’s flutes in the bonnet which will do what exactly?

Presumably those front flutes will provide relief to the electric gubbins at each front wheel. Remember, the NSX will boast a fancy Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system, able to generate positive or negative torque at the front wheels.

The 3.5 litre V6 engine is mid-mounted and there now appears to be quite pronounced Audi R8-like side air intakes to capture and feed air into the induction system.

All will be revealed when the new NSX is launched at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on 12 January (13 January Australian time). You can watch the press conference live at youtube.com/Acura.

More after the break, including a short teaser video.

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David Coulthard is the 2014 Champion of Champions

David Coulthard, 2014 Race of Champions

David Coulthard is the Champion of Champions after taking out the singles event at the 2014 Race of Champions held in Barbados on the weekend.

The 43-year-old Scot defeated 20-year-old Pascal Wehrlein, DTM racer and Mercedes F1 reserve driver, in the final. Jamie Whincup was representing Australia, along with Mick Doohan, and made it to the final four. He was knocked out by Coulthard in the semis. Whincup caused an upset when he eliminated defending champion Romain Grosjean in the earlier rounds.

The Nations Cup event was taken out by Tom Kristensen (Denmark) and Petter Solberg (Norway), representing Team Nordic. They defeated Team Scotland (David Coulthard and Susie Wolff) in the final.

This year the cars driven by the all-star cast included an Audi R8 LMS, Ariel Atom Cup, Volkswagen Polo RX (rallycross), Stadium Super Truck, KTM X-Bow and the ROC car.

Selected video highlights can be seen after the break.

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Hayden Paddon keeps his job with Hyundai

2014 WRC Rally Australia

Kiwi driver Hayden Paddon will extend his WRC career with Hyundai Motorsport in 2015 driving a minimum of nine rallies. In 2014 the 27-year-old and co-driver John Kennard competed in six WRC events, with a best result of P6 in Rally Australia.

“I am very excited to continue working with Hyundai Motorsport with an expanded programme, starting with round 2 in Sweden,” Paddon said. “I learnt a lot and built some really good partnerships within the team this year and it was an obvious choice for us to develop more and chase better results in 2015.”

Paddon clearly impressed team boss Michel Nandan during his limited running this season, explaining his feedback to engineers has been very helpful.

“He had a great first WRC season with us, putting in some eye-catching performances and helping us a lot in the development of our team and car,” Nandan said of Paddon. “He gives excellent technical feedback and works very well as part of a close-knit team with the engineers and mechanics.

“He has already proven himself more than capable of rallying with the best drivers in the world and his personal development was evident as he reduced the gap to his more experienced colleagues.”

Australian driver Chris Atkinson drove for Hyundai at Rally Mexico and Rally Australia in 2014 and it’s unclear what role he will play with the team next year.

Spanish ace Dani Sordo is confirmed for at least 10 of the 13 rounds in 2015, so opportunities for Atkinson may be thin on the ground.

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Standing out for all the wrong reasons

What a douchebag

We all know that advertisers often like to extend the truth in order to sell product. That’s all well and good, but when you have douchebag trying to put his expensive Finnish luggage in the “boot” of a Porsche 911, well, that’s just plain stupid.

Even better is the tagline: “For those who know that standing out and shouting are two different things.”

[Thanks to Wayne for the tip]

Punter shows BMW how to design a car

BMW M135i with M235i front

The front end of the F20 1 Series is awful. The M135i makes a small improvement, but it’s still no match for the much easier on the eye treatment on the M235i.

Which begs the question, why didn’t BMW just get it right the first time? And why have they left it so long to fix up the problem?

Clearly there’s one guy who couldn’t wait any longer and he went and put an M235i front end on his M135i. Regardless of the cost we can’t imagine he would ever regret taking that step. It just looks so much better!

There’s a few more pics after the break, including an ugly duckling before pic.

[Source: BimmerPost]

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“It doesn’t try to be a 911″

Mercedes-Benz AMG GT

Harris at the wheel of the of the new AMG GT on an empty Laguna Seca. Hell yeah!

Filmed back at the car’s original launch and recently posted to his new (and free) YouTube channel we get some technical insight into the car’s construction. We’re presented with the theory on why this car should be good and then…

We get the practice. And, in a nutshell, that’s what makes Chris Harris so good at his job. He takes the time to explain things before putting them in action.

He’s certainly been more animated in other reviews, but if you want to find out if the AMG GT is better than a 911 without having access to either then this is probably as close as you’re going to get.

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2015 Audi RS3 Sportback revealed

Audi RS3 Sportback

Audi UK has gone first with details of the new RS3 Sportback and it’s very good news too. Powered by the charismatic 2.5 litre inline five cylinder turbo engine the new RS3 pumps out 270kW (367PS) and 465Nm to all four wheels via its quattro all-wheel drive system. That’s a 20kW/15Nm increase over the previous-gen RS3.

Coupled to a 7-speed S tronic transmission the RS3 sprints to 100km/h in only 4.3 seconds. Sub 4.5 second 0–100 times in a family hatchback!

And that’s not the best news, either. No, the best news is, as first reported on AUSmotive back in October 2012, the RS3 will be offered for sale in Australia. Expect it to hit your local Audi dealer in late 2015.

Featuring the expected RS cosmetic enhancements the new RS3 looks great with its aggressive front grille and spoiler. Large oval-shaped exhaust tips set-off the back very nicely and perhaps the only disappointment is the new style 19″ alloy wheels.

For now we only have four images to work with, but no doubt more will be coming from Audi AG very soon. We’ll bring those to you when we can, along with all the detailed press material we can get our hands on.

UPDATE #1: Audi AG press release added below.
UPDATE #2: 13 new pics now available after the break.

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The first video for the new MINI JCW

MINI JCW with Tony Hawk and Guerlain Chicherit

MINI is a brand that is a triumph of marketing. That’s been the case since BMW bought the British icon over a decade ago. More often than not MINI’s marketing has been very good. There’s been a lot of hits and not many misses.

Watch this video for the new JCW hatch, featuring skate guru Tony Hawk and ski/rally guru Guerlain Chicherit, and see if you think this is a hit or a miss.

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Fernando loves Ayrton, Jenson loves Alain

Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button announced as McLaren drivers for 2015

It’s now official, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button will race for McLaren–Honda in 2015. Kevin Magnussen doesn’t totally miss out and will remain with McLaren in the role of reserve and test driver.

Reliving the glory days of the last time McLaren and Honda competed in Formula 1 Farnando Alonso has confirmed his love of Aytron Senna.

“I have never hidden my deep admiration for Ayrton Senna,” Alonso said. “My favourite driver, my idol on track, my reference.

“I still remember, as a kid, the posters in my wardrobe, my toy cars in which I dreamed I would one day emulate Ayrton, and the kart that my father built for my older sister, and that I ended up falling in love with. That kart had the livery of one of the most legendary partnerships in the history of Formula 1, McLaren-Honda, the car that Ayrton drove, the same partnership to which I am now honoured to join, to take part in the next Formula 1 world championship.

“I am joining this project with enormous enthusiasm and determination, knowing that it may require some time to achieve the results we are aiming for, which is no problem for me.”

Meanwhile Jenson Button said it was Alain Prost who inspired him to become a racing driver. And in doing so he just became a lot cooler.

“Like Fernando, I am certain that McLaren and Honda will achieve great things together,” Button said. “I feel sure that, working together, all of us will pull incredibly hard to create a brilliantly effective winning team.

“I admired Ayrton Senna enormously, but, for me, it was the exploits of his McLaren-Honda team-mate Alain Prost that inspired me most as a boy. The way he stroked those beautifully brutal red-and-white cars to grand prix wins and world championships was to my mind poetry in motion, and I have tried to emulate his driving style ever since.

“Being a part of new-look McLaren-Honda is a wonderful opportunity for all of us, and I am very pleased to have been invited to do my bit. In fact, I am absolutely raring to go.”

You can read the full statement from McLaren-Honda after the break.

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2015 MINI JCW details announced (official)

F56 MINI John Cooper Works

MINI UK has quickly responded to the overnight leak of information for the new John Cooper Works hatch by publishing a short press release. You can see that after the break, along with more 2560px images.

In side profile the new JCW looks pretty good and dare we say it, we’re even starting to soften our views on that god awful front body kit. A 2.0 litre engine knocking out 170kW/320Nm is nothing to sneeze at, even if we suspect it’s marketing reasons only from preventing the hottest MINI hatch from having more power to play with. And four-pot Brembo brakes are a nice touch too.

There’ll be more info in a few weeks when Detroit lights up and we’ll bring you up to speed then as well.

UPDATE #1: 15 page press kit now available for download (165kb PDF).
UPDATE #2: 11 new pics added below.

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2015 MINI JCW details leaked

F56 MINI John Cooper Works

Apparently MINI is not set to release details on its new John Cooper Works model until next week, but Australian media has reportedly led the way in giving the world an early look at what is the fastest MINI ever made.

Here’s the key stats:

  • 2.0 litre turbocharged engine
  • 170kW between 5200–6000rpm
  • 320Nm of torque, available from 1250–4800rpm
  • 0–100km/h in 6.1 seconds (6-speed auto)
  • 0–100km/h in 6.3 seconds (6-speed manual)
  • 6-speed manual transmission available
  • 1205kg (+15kg for auto)
  • Electronic diff lock
  • Increased track
  • 17″ alloys standard, 18″ optional

The F56 JCW will make its show debut in Detroit next January. Expect it to be on sale locally in late 2015.

[Source: Drive.com.au | Thanks to Andrew for the tip]

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Button v Magnussen: The final countdown

2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

McLaren is expected to announce its 2015 driver pairing tonight (Australian time). We can all pencil in Fernando Alonso for one seat. But what about the other?

Button or Magnussen?
34-year-old or 22-year-old?
266 starts or 19 starts?
126 championship points or 55 points?
£12 million or £500,000?

These are the questions facing Ron Dennis and his board. It’s believed a decision has been made. We’ll just have to wait and see what it is.

[Source: BBC]

Renault Megane RS275 Trophy-R – Australian pricing

Renault Megane RS275 Trophy R

Renault is bringing the Megane RS275 to Australia and we’re getting a fair whack of the limited edition model, too. Out of the 250 to be sold worldwide, 50 will be coming down under—Australia is one of the highest selling markets for Megane hot hatches.

As the image above suggests this car has lapped the Nürburgring Norschleife in under 8 minutes and lays claim to being the fastest front-wheel drive production car around the famed track money can buy. And to buy it in Australia you’ll need 61,990 monies.

For those monies you’ll get one RS275 Trophy R, with its race-tuned Ohlins suspension, super sticky Michelin rubber, crackly Akrapovic exhaust system and the weight saving benefits of throwing out the rear seat. Yep, the Trophy R is an out and out two-seater.

Also included in the asking price is the Nürburgring Accessory Kit, of which a Brembo brake kit, lightweight lithium-ion battery and six-point harness belts are the most notable items.

Australian deliveries of the RS275 Trophy R are scheduled for January 2015, so best get down to your local Froggie dealer soon if you want to be one of the 50 coolest hot hatch kids on the block.

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