Former Top Gear hosts transform to Amazon Prime

Clarkson, Hammond and May sign with Amazon Prime

Former Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May have signed an exclusive deal with Amazon’s online streaming service.

Long-time executive producer Andy Wilman’s services have also been secured for the show which will premiere in 2016.

So much for that Netflix rumour.

Currently an annual subscription to Amazon Prime costs £79 in the UK and $99 in the United States. In the absence of a presence in the Australian market Amazon Prime could choose to license the program to another broadcaster.

Speaking to the Radio Times Andy Wilman explained the decision to sign with Amazon: “They’ll give us the freedom to make the programs we want—and you know how we love that freedom—there’s a budget to produce programs of the quality we want and this is the future. So it’s exhilarating to be part of that future.”

Wilman expanded further, giving an early glimpse of what to expect from the new show: “It’s a motoring show and there will be themes people will be familiar with.

“But I can’t tell you how good it feels to get the chance to produce something from scratch. We’re all really excited. No one telling us what we can and can’t do, just us hopefully producing great programmes. It feels really liberating.”

Clarkson, Hammond and May on their new show

Clarkson: “I feel like I’ve climbed out of a bi-plane and into a spaceship.”

Hammond: “Amazon? Oh yes. I have already been there. I got bitten by a bullet ant.”

May: “We have become part of the new age of smart TV. Ironic, isn’t it?”

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V8 Supercars takes over Bathurst 12 Hour

2015 Bathurst 12 Hour

It’s happened. V8 Supercars will take over the promotional rights to the Bathurst 12 Hour race. Here’s the first few paragraphs of the announcement:

In a landmark agreement for GT Racing in Australia, Supercars Events, in partnership with Bathurst Regional Council, has acquired the rights to manage the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour Event at Mount Panorama from 2016, bringing its specialist major events expertise to the growing fixture.

Supercars Events (operating as a business of V8 Supercars), Yeehah Events and Bathurst Regional Council agreed to the acquisition this week with the collective vision of growing the international race significantly into the future.

“Yeehah Events’ James O’Brien and his team have done a fantastic job to establish the event and we are very proud to be able to add our expertise to take it to the next level,” V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton said.

The Bathurst 12 Hour race has become not only a credible GT3 event attracting an enviable overseas competition base, but just as importantly, it has become a great alternative for motorsport fans not wanting to battle the crowds of the traditional V8 Supercars race in October.

As race fans we just have to hope this is good news and not a threat to the success of the event or a precursor to jacked up pricing.

Most Facebook comments to the V8 Supercars page are less than forgiving:

Tania Fragar Another one bites the dust for the public and FTA. This event is the best car race of the year even without the V8 drivers. It’s one we can afford to go to free pit access and family friendly and has world class cars and drivers.

Gary Jay What about the years after 2016, Supercars, still free to air.? Or will you blow off more supporters for TV cash?

Keith Hellyer Well thats certainly the end of the Bathurst 12hr as we know it. V8’s will do its best to capitalise by putting prices through the roof and amalgamate the 2. I stopped following the v8s because of the way they ruined it over the years. Please dont ruin the 12hr!

On the plus side, here’s a best case scenario:

Mark Pickering The first step towards GT3 becoming the biggest category in Australia – we all know Gen2 is a dog … At least this way Warburton and co and transition to GT3 slowly but surely …

[Source: Bathurst 12 Hour]

Just in case the F12 wasn’t already special enough

Ferrari F12berlinetta

The Ferrari F12 berlinetta is a beautiful thing. It’s stupidly fast, it drives like a dream and it’s stunning to look at. Thankfully, Ferrari reckons they can make it even better.

First, Ferrari plans to strip a massive 200kg from the F12 and then give it an extra 30bhp. That would give the mighty V12 a peak power output of 760bhp (566kW). The net result will be the F12 Speciale.

It’s expected the model will only be limited by the number of people willing and able to buy one. A launch date could be as soon as the Geneva Motor Show next March.

A heavily revised aero package may restrict the Speciale’s top speed compared with the berlinetta, but the Speciale will get there quicker.

Could this be the last normally aspirated Ferrari V12 ever made? Regardless this is going to be a very special car indeed. Start buying those lotto tickets people!

[Source: Autocar]

Just how good is the Civic Type R?

Honda Civic Type R

The all-new Honda Civic Type R had an extremely long development cycle. It’s now been launched and has to go about living up to the hype Honda has generated.

Here Steve Sutcliffe from Auto Express takes the Type R to the tight Llandow Circuit in Wales to see how it compared with the Seat Leon Cupra 280 and the Renault Megane RS275 Trophy.

That’s all well and good, nobody would be surprised if the Type R was the quickest of that trio. But what if the Audi RS3 and BMW M3 are added to the list?

[Thanks to John for the tip]

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“The Mustang is a happy car”

Chris Harris drives the Ford Mustang GT

When Chris Harris posts up a new video a lot of eyeballs will watch it. This is mostly because he’s very good at what he does. First and foremost he knows what he’s doing behind a steering wheel. He keeps the hoons happy with a bit of sideways action. He keeps the tech guys happy with great details.

With that said and despite Harris’ best efforts the Mustang holds no appeal to me at all. In this clip Chris spends a lot of time criticising aspects of the car and then loves it. I kind of understand what he means when he says, “the Mustang is a happy car”. And I also get that a car can be greater than the sum of its parts.

But I just can’t help thinking the best a Mustang could hope to be is a quick and sordid affair. For me, it could never be a long term relationship.

So, yeah, Chris Harris has a lot of influence in the car land. He even got me to watch 10 minutes of Mustang GT. Unless I’m watching Bullitt by chance, that’ll do me for another few years.

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Ferrari 488 Spider revealed

Ferrari 488 Spider

Ferrari has given us this single image of its new 488 Spider. Based on the 488 GTB, the new Spider will make its public debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show (17–27 September).

The 488 Spider uses the same 3.9 litre twin turbo V8 as the GTB, good for 492kW/760Nm. Just like the old 458 Spider, the new model features a retractable hard top roof. You’d better hold on to your toupée because this thing can match the 488 GTB on the way to 100km/h in three seconds flat. And it needs just 8.7 seconds to hit 200km/h, only 0.4s slower then the GTB.

Ferrari’s press release and a brief video can be seen below and you can also see more at the Ferrari website. For now, there’s no official image showing the 488 Spider with its roof up. You get a bit of a sneak peek with the unpainted bodywork in the videos on the website, but that’s all at this stage.

UPDATE: Huzzah, six new pics have been added below!

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BMW Australia heavily discounts M3/M4 LCI models

BMW M4

BMW Australia is now taking orders for M3 and M4 LCI (life-cycle impulse) models and has taken the knife to pricing, while adding additional standard features as well.

When originally launched down under list pricing for the F80 M3 was $156,900 and the F82 M4 was priced from $166,900. Those prices have now been reduced to $139,900 and $149,900 respectively. Meanwhile, the M4 convertible has also been discounted to $161,900.

Additional standard equipment includes items such as head-up display, adaptive LED headlights, internet connectivity, tyre pressure monitor, full leather merino upholstery and more.

Shawn Ticehurst, BMW Group Australia Head of Product and Market Planning, is very happy with this news.

“More value, more technology and more refinement. That is what we are delivering with this update to the BMW M3 and BMW M4,” Ticehurst said.

“The growth of the BMW M range has been a fantastic success story for our brand, particularly in 2015. And over the first seven months of this year, we have already surpassed our total sales result for 2014.”

We wonder how happy those buyers will be who paid an extra 15-large for lesser equipped M3s and M4s?

Funnily enough, the M3 and M4 are now priced just below the Mercedes-Benz AMG C63 range.

The facelifted models will be on sale locally from October. There’s more detail below.

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Golf R400 production to be limited, due in 2017

Volkswagen Golf R400

Thanks to a story emerging from France we can expect the Golf R400/R420 to be based on the facelifted Golf VII. This means we could be waiting until 2017 to see Volkswagen’s hottest ever hot hatch.

It’s also suggested the R400 will be built in strictly limited numbers, although we’re not sure how many or how few there could be. Unsurprisingly pricing rumours are saying the R400 will be more expensive than the Audi RS3, which retails for around €53,000 in Germany. It’s going to be expensive, but very fast!

And we’re still no closer to solving the R400 v R420 riddle as to the car’s final peak power output. Or, for that matter, whether the car will boast a crazy 2.0 litre four-cylinder turbo or the growing talk of a mad as a hatter 2.5 litre five-pot.

[Source: L’Automobile Sportive via World Car Fans | Pic: BTG]

Come as you are

Jeff Suhy's Citroen DS

Jeff Suhy one of the guys who helped bring the 1990s grunge phenomenon Nirvana into your world. He’s now pottering about in a delightful Citroën DS. In a small way, with this Petrolicious video, maybe Suhy is once again helping to spread the word of an equally influential icon.

The video’s YouTube description provides a great intro:

Whether it was the hydraulic suspension, the safety features (such as an engine that, on front impact, was designed to slide under the car instead of into the driver’s solar plexus), or the self-leveling headlights that turn with the front wheels, the Citroen DS was remarkably ahead of its time. Indeed, the car was a a true product of the Space Age, when auto manufacturers found themselves awash in technologies that they were itching to use in the wake of World War II. Citroen was ultimately rewarded handsomely for its innovative efforts, selling more than one million DSs over the model’s twenty-year-lifespan.

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Steve McQueen: The man and Le Mans

Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen, racer and actor, was the king of cool and he’s the latest motorsport icon to be featured on the silver screen. Check out the trailer to Steve McQueen: The man and Le Mans after the break.

Steve McQueen: The man and Le Mans is the story of obsession, betrayal and ultimate vindication. It is the story of how one of the most volatile, charismatic stars of his generation, who seemingly lost so much he held dear in the pursuit of his dream, nevertheless followed it to the end.

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480 cylinders, 20.832km

Ferrari F12 berlinetta gathering at the Nurburgring

Ferrari assembled 40 owners of the immensely desirable F12 berlinetta and took them to the Nürburgring Nordschleife for a private track day. It was the largest gathering of F12s in Germany.

These photos and brief video can’t really begin tell you how much fun that would have been. They can’t put you in the moment.

They can’t replicate the experience of first nervously exiting the TF gates and shooting towards the famous Bilstein bridge at Antoniusbuche. It can’t make you feel your heart flutter as you decide when to lift the accelerator at Quiddlebacher Hohe so you can make it around Flugplatz. Or the thrill and sensory delight of firing down Füchsrohre.

But they’re the best we’ve got. And hopefully those words helped more than the rather modest video from Ferrari. They took 40 F12s to the Ring and that’s all they could come up with?!

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It can wait

It can wait campaign, AT&T

US telecommunications provider has been running the “It can wait” campaign for five years. When the campaign first began it focused on the lives of real people affected by accidents caused while texting and driving.

To mark the campaign’s fifth anniversary AT&T has launched this long-form ad that is expertly filmed and reinforces the original message.

[Via: Creativity Online | Thanks to Stu for the tip]

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