Say hello to the BMW M4 GTS

BMW M4 GTS prototype

Hey, remember that wicked orange BMW M3 GTS? Well, good news, the new M4 is getting the GTS treatment too and here’s the video to prove it.

As you can see the M4 GTS will get a reworked and more aggressive front end, with a pretty big splitter by the looks. At the back there’ll be the obligatory and stupidly sized rear wing. Expect a fair portion of the interior to get chucked out, too, in a bid to shed weight.

It remains to be seen if the 3.0 inline six will get a serious makeover or if the BMW M GmbH boffins will simply turn up the wick on the turbos to create the extra 30kW or so it’s likely to have over the standard car’s 317kW.

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Golf R is best wet weather performance car

Volkswagen Golf R

The Volkswagen Golf R is the best wet weather performance car money can buy. At least that’s the deal according to British mag Autocar who has just published its results from a seven-car comparison.

Included in the test were (ranked in finishing order):

  1. Volkswagen Golf R
  2. Porsche 911 Carrera 4S
  3. Audi RS4 Avant
  4. Nissan GT-R
  5. Range Rover Sport
  6. MINI Cooper
  7. Toyota GT86

In the five tests conducted the Golf R finished no lower than fourth and came first in the Lateral G and Lap Time test. It also came second in the 30–0mph test. The cars were awarded points for each test (lowest score wins) and when they were all tallied up the Haldex V-equipped Golf R won the test by a single point from the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, which came first in three of the five tests (a full table of results is available below). So why didn’t the Porsche win overall?

The 911 finished first in so many tests that it could have won, such is its traction and the water displacement properties of its tyres. In lateral grip tests, however, that was less of an issue and its inherent rear-biased weight distribution unsettled it to the extent that the Golf R nips ahead of it. Strong everywhere – under acceleration, braking and laterally – the Golf R is the ideal way to make a car for wet conditions. It goes, stops and grips like no other.

But, the thing we enjoyed the most from this piece was the intro:

How entirely fitting it was that the day of this test was that day that always comes each autumn. You know the one. It’s Monday morning. You leave the house in darkness. It is pelting with rain. You know that you’ll not return before darkness. There is no question about it: you will need a decent coat, from this very day forward, until the return of spring.

Thank god for Australia!

[Source: Autocar]

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Red Bull Racing’s 10 times table

2014 Hungarian Grand Prix

Red Bull Racing is celebrating its 10 anniversary in Formula 1. To do that, in a rather subtle way for F1’s brashest team, a simple blog post has been published on the team website. A bunch of facts relating to time and 10 are given:

In 10 Seconds…
Our F1 car can travel 494m from a standing start. Given another 10 seconds (and four pit crews!) we could also do four pit stops, changing 16 tyres.

In 10 Hours…
Based on his average speed at the Italian Grand Prix of 235.413 km/h at the Russian Grand Prix, Daniel could travel 2354.13km. That’s approximately from our HQ in Milton Keynes to central Ukraine. Monza also saw Daniel clock the fastest speed through the timing traps of the season at 362.1 km/h. This incidentally, was the highest top-speed through the speed traps during the grand prix and therefore the fastest speed achieved by any of the new V6 turbos in race conditions.

In 10 weeks…
We can design a completely new car. By contrast a major motor manufacturer will typically need three years to bring a new model from design to manufacture.

In 10 seasons…
We’ve so far had seven race drivers (David Coulthard, Christian Klien, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Robert Doornbos, Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo) – with Daniil Kvyat waiting in the wings for 2015 of course. We’ve started 181 races and won 50 of them for a win rate of 27.6%. We’ve had 57 poles, 42 fastest laps and 115 podiums and scored a total of 2,802.5 points. We’ve raced 19,095 race laps and a whopping 96,3852Km and we’ve loved every single one of them (well almost!).

[Source: Red Bull | Pic: Red Bull/Getty Images]

Andreas Preuninger earns his keep

991 Porsche 911 GT3

Now that those embarrassing engine dramas are behind the Porsche 911 GT3 the man responsible for what is otherwise one of the world’s most desirable driving cars has hit the hustings to win your vote.

In this five minute clip, showing the GT3 being thrashed around a racetrack, Andreas Preuninger, Head of GT Cars at Porsche, does an awesome sell job on the car. He tells us the 911 GT3 can bring world peace, cure cancer and win Carlton an AFL premiership. Or something like that.

Thankfully, it seems, the only smoke coming from the back of a GT3 these days is from the tyres.

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No changes for Volkswagen’s WRC “dream team”

Sebastien Ogier, Andreas Mikkelsen, Jari-Matti Latvala

Volkswagen Motorsport has announced it will retain the services of its current driver lineup into the 2015 WRC season.

Sebastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen currently fill the first three positions in the chase for the drivers’ championship; Ogier needs to score only a single point more than Latvala in this weekend’s Rally Spain to successfully defend his world title. Between them they’ve accumulated 38 podiums, including 20 wins, from the 24 rallies Volkswagen has competed in.

Reading the quotes from the drivers below it’s just one big love in at Volkswagen, which is both a sign of great team harmony and that maybe WRC egos are more congenial than those found inf Formula 1.

The talents of Ogier and Latvala are well known, so in 2015 Andreas Mikkelsen will be the driver to watch, we think. His results are becoming more consistent as he gains experience and a maiden WRC win cannot be too far away.

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Audi RS3 sedan spied near quattro HQ

Audi RS3 sedan prototype

This S3 sedan bodied test mule has bee spied in Nekarsulm, the home of quattro GmbH. It’s the best sign yet that Audi is planning an RS3 sedan.

Firm details are pretty scarce right now and the closest thing we’ve got to an official comment on the existence of an RS3 sedan are a few hints from Scott Keogh, Audi of America boss, and Matthew Dale of Audi Australia.

Sedan or sportback, we just can’t wait to hear that inline five-pot in action once more.

[Source: Fourtitude | Thanks to Charlie for the tip]

Dark days ahead for Caterham F1 Team

2014 Singapore Grand Prix

The appointment of adminstrators to Caterham Sports Limited has uncovered a legal stoush between the new and old owners of the Caterham F1 Team and the team’s appearance at the United States Grand Prix is looking increasingly unlikely.

Via the team website Caterham F1’s “buyer” Swedish company Engavest SA has issued a damning statement, which you can read in full after the break. It claims the “seller”, led by Tony Fernandes, has failed to comply with the terms of the sale.

“Since the date of the Agreement, the Seller has refused to comply with its legal obligations to transfer their shares to the Buyer,” the statement reads. “The Buyer has been left in the invidious position of funding the team without having legal title to the team it had bought.

“This is in total contradiction to the Seller’s press release of 3 October 2014 which stated that Mr Fernandes and his Caterham Group had no longer any connection with the Caterham F1 Team.”

Further, the statement adds: “The administrators of Caterham Sports Limited have been appointed on behalf of Export-Import Bank of Malaysia Berhad (Exim), a creditor of Mr Fernandes and the Caterham Group. The Buyer has no connection with Exim. Caterham Sports Ltd was a supplier company to the Caterham F1 Team.”

In the most public sign yet that the F1 team’s immediate operating future is in doubt the statement concludes: “The Buyer is now forced to explore all its options including the withdrawal of its management team. Lawyers have been instructed by the Buyer to bring all necessary claims against all parties, including Mr Fernandes who, as an owner, will run the F1 operation.”

Fernandes has described the Caterham F1 Team statement as “garbage” to BBC Sport and said this via twitter: “If you buy something you should pay for it. Quite simple.”

[Source: BBC]

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VIDEO: This is racing

This is racing, by Drive

One of the ways /Drive can make money these days is with sponsored content. This video, filmed during the 6 Hours of Austin, is just that. Still, there are worse ways to watch a five minute ad for an Italian automotive accessories company.

Eventually this clip will be available in 4K too. The best you can see at the time this article was published was 1080p.

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Golf R wagon preparing for possible Essen launch

Golf R Estate prototype

This Volkswagen Golf R estate spied at the Nürburgring in recent days makes us very happy. This will undoubtedly become the coolest Golf money can buy. Word is it will be launched at the Essen Motor Show in late November.

The all-paw estate is likely to weigh around 100kg more than its hot hatch sibling, meaning performance from the 221kW/380Nm EA888 2.0 litre engine shouldn’t suffer too much. We should be looking at mid 5s for the 0–100km/h dash.

Thankfully the current Golf wagon is a much nicer looking car than the previous generation. And with a makover from R GmbH it looks even better—just look at those phat quad exhaust tips.

Volkswagen Australia, if you do not bring the Golf R wagon down under we will destroy you!

[Source: Auto Express | Pics: Automedia | Thanks to Charlie for the tip]

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Kubica still hopes for “dream” F1 comeback

2014 WRC Rally France

Robert Kubica still holds out hope for a return to Formula 1, saying he will consider more corrective surgery to the arm he injured in a rally crash in February 2011.

Competing in the WRC this season Kubica said: “The arm and hand are okay. From a mobility point of view, there have been some improvements. From a limitation point of view, it’s pretty much the same.

“So I need to have more surgery—and there are possibilities—but it’s a tight season, there are many rallies and they are long events.”

Kubica, who turns 30 on 7 December, has previously said a return to F1 was “nearly impossible”. His most recent F1 race was the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“Formula 1 would be a dream to come back but we have to stay realistic,” Kubica added. “If I decide to try and come back I will have more surgery this winter and maybe with the help of the doctors, and with some luck, it will be possible.”

[Source: BBC]

Caterham F1 Team in a spot of bother

2014 Russian Grand Prix

Caterham Sports Limited (CSL), the Leafield-based company who makes F1 cars under contract for 1 Malaysia Racing Team (1MRT), has gone into administration leaving the Caterham F1 Team facing an uncertain future.

With just over a week until the United States Grand Prix in Austin, administrator Smith & Williamson says CSL owes £20m to outside suppliers and around 200 jobs could be under threat.

“I’m trying to enter into an arrangement with 1MRT whereby they (employees) can stay here at the Leafield site,” said Finbarr O’Connell from Smith & Williamson. “If I can reach an agreement with them then hopefully jobs are not at risk.

“If I can’t reach an agreement then all those employees, 1MRT will have to decide what to do with them, but they won’t be at the Leafield site.”

According to the administrator Caterham team manager Manfredi Ravetto has had “positive discussions” with financial backers hoping to ensure the relationship with CSL can carry on.

If an agreement cannot be reached then it’s possible Caterham F1 Team won’t have any cars to race in Austin and Smith & Williamson will begin to liquidate CSL.

Caterham’s future has been rocky since Tony Fernandes sold the F1 team in July. To add to the dramas faced by the team Kamui Kobayashi said he was “seriously troubled” about the safety of his car going into the Russian Grand Prix.

[Source: BBC]

Driverless Audi RS7 laps Hockenheim

Audi RS7 piloted driving, Hockenheim

Audi has been leading the way in the world of driverless technology and that was further highlighted in a live demonstration during the season-ending DTM round at Hockenheim on the weekend.

With the strangely named Audi piloted driving technology onboard, making it sound like the car has a pilot at the wheel, a driverless RS7 lapped the famed German grand prix track in just over two minutes, reaching a maximum speed of 240km/h. Apparently that’s a world record top speed for a driverless car.

The specially prepared RS7 used a combination of GPS, WiFi, high-frequency radio and 3D cameras to guide itself around the circuit. As you’ll see in the highlights video below the accuracy of the car’s cornering lines is very good and so too the positioning of the car in the pole position grid spot at the end of its lap.

If you think the end is nigh and we’ll all one day have the joys of driving taken away from us, Audi has this to say:

It might sound futuristic, but it’s already at the starting gates. For Audi, piloted driving is one of the top drivers of innovation in the coming years and is a logical, evolutionary step in the development of the car. It’s an evolution that has the potential to revolutionise the experience of driving a car. And one thing is certain: If it is up to Audi’s engineers, the feeling of freedom and the fun of sporty driving will be maintained – because there is a choice. Piloted driving is not a “must”, but rather something you “can” select. Audi will never build robot cars, but instead will always put the driver in the focus of its decisions.

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Listen to the new Cayman four-pot turbo

Porsche Cayman 981.2 prototype

The 981.2 Porsche Boxster/Cayman will be released next year and it will be the first time the models have been sold with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. At least it’ll be a boxer configuration, meaning it should sound better than the ubiquitous 2.0 litre inline four-pots found under the bonnet of most hot hatches these days.

If you don’t believe us then check out the latest video from Bridge to Gantry after the break, where you’ll see a Cayman protype in action at the Nürburgring.

[Source: Bridge to Gantry]

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Button to make endurance switch in 2015?

2014 British Grand Prix

Mercedes AMG, Red Bull and Ferrari (we think) have locked away their drivers for the 2015 Formula 1 season, leaving all eyes are on McLaren to see who will drive for the Woking-based team next year.

With the return of the McLaren-Honda partnership rumours suggest dual world champion and free agent Fernando Alonso has already signed a deal with the Japanese car maker. If that proves true then it seems logical that one of McLaren’s current drivers will be forced to make way for Alonso.

Will McLaren go for the youth and qualifying pace of Kevin Magnussen or the experience and racecraft of Jenson Button? If it is the 2009 world champion Ron Dennis taps on the shoulder the BBC reports Button may look to follow Mark Webber into the World Endurance Championship.

Button’s manager Richard Goddard said: “Jenson is an incredibly competitive racing driver who wants to race. He’s too good to sit at the back of the F1 grid. So he either gets a competitive car in F1 or he goes to get one elsewhere.”

Apprently Button’s management has already held discussions with Porsche and Goddard has described the WEC as “as formidable series that is gaining strength.”

A Webber–Button partnership at the wheel of a Porsche 919; if nothing else you’d reckon WEC organisers would love that to happen.

[Source: BBC]