Audi RS3: The hills are a-five

Audi RS3

We all know the new Audi RS3 won’t be perfect. But we do know, and with absolute certainty, that its five-pot engine will make it one of the best sounding cars in its segment. Don’t believe us, then get busy watching the video after the break. Grrrrrrrrr!

[Thanks to John for the tip]

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Chris Evans to head new Top Gear line up

Hi, my name's Chris and I am a fuckwit!

Chris Evans is a knob. And he’s also going to be the new host of Top Gear.

Speaking about his new role the UK radio and television presenter said: “I promise I will do everything I possibly can to respect what has gone on before and take the show forward.”

Evans is a well known petrol head and has one of the world’s most enviable classic Ferrari collections. He’s also a massive knob.

Showing a sign of intent for the future of Top Gear the BBC has signed Evans on a three-year deal. And they’re pretty happy about it too.

“I’m so delighted that Chris will be presenting the next series of Top Gear,” enthused Kim Shillinglaw, Controller of BBC Two and BBC Four. “His knowledge of and passion for cars is well-known, and combined with his sheer inventiveness and cheeky unpredictability he is the perfect choice to take our much-loved show into the future.

“Chris is a huge fan of Top Gear and has great respect for the craft and work ethic of one of the best production teams in the world. He knows the phenomenal attention to detail it takes to make a single sequence of Top Gear, let alone a whole series. He is already full of brilliant ideas and I can’t wait for him to get started.

“He’s also a total knob-end.”

Okay, maybe Shillinglaw didn’t make that last comment.

Evans has made contact with the show’s three former hosts and says he has the blessing of Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond. As for James May, Evans had this to say: “James called me back straight away. We had a chat, we are going to meet up today or tomorrow to talk about things. Who knows what might happen there?”

While Evans’ co-hosts are yet to be named, the BBC has confirmed production for the next series of Top Gear will start in the next few weeks.

The last episode to feature Clarkson, Hammond and May will go to air in the UK on 28 June and will follow on Australian screens shortly after.

[Source: Top Gear | Pic: twitter]

2015 LM24: Toyota deals in reality

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans

While Nissan is busy peddling the fantasy of suggesting its understandably difficult Le Mans debut was a success, Toyota is dealing only in humility and reality.

The two TS040s spent the majority of the race circulating alone in seventh and eighth places. Late race issues for the #9 Audi elevated the #2 TS040 into P6, but it was still a mammoth eight laps behind the winning Porsche. The #1 crossed the line in P8 nine laps off the pace.

There’s no confused management speak from Toyota, just an open display of disappointment and, thankfully, a firm promise to comeback in 2016 to try and put things right.

Toyota says it is “determined to improve in all areas after a result which was far away from the team’s pre-season expectation.”

After offering its congratulations to Porsche, the Toyota team added it aims to “improve and be back at Le Mans stronger and more competitive in 2016.”

Toyota TS040 Hybrid final placings

6th (-8 laps) #2 – Wurz (AUT), Sarrazin (FRA), Conway (GB)
8th (-9 laps) #1 – Davidson (GB), Buemi (SUI), Nakajima (JAP)

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2015 LM24: Nissan wins award for optimism

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans

Nissan turned up to Le Mans with three of its radical front-wheel drive GT-R LM Nismo machines. Only one finished. And it was 153 laps behind the winning Porsche, the last of the classified LMP1 runners. Only two LMP1 cars failed to finish the race and they were both Nissans. It was a tough day for the Nismo team.

Yet, a quick glance of the post-race headline from Nissan could leave you mistaken for who actually won the race.

“Mission accomplished at Le Mans for Nissan,” it boldly states!

Yeah, erm, sorry guys but we’re pretty sure your mission wasn’t to walk the tightrope between admiration for having a crack and outright embarrassment for being so under prepared, so far off the pace and just downright loopy.

In Nissan’s favour it was always going to be very tough for the GT-R LM to make its race debut in the spotlight of Le Mans. And there is a lot of good will out there for this project. But not a lot from Germany it would seem.

An unnamed spokesman from one of the two German teams labelled Nissan’s effort as “a disgrace”. Further, after confirming with Max Prince from Road & Track that his identity would remain secret he went in off the long run.

“What is their intention?” asked the secret German. “You can come here and do whatever you want, say whatever you want, but when the final minutes come, what will you show? That’s what racing is about.

“Is coming to race just a marketing tool? Just marketing? That’s what pisses me off. In the old days, the technical side was on top. Now, marketing is the top. The technical side is not as important.

“And if it is just marketing that Nissan is doing, then there is something wrong with the sport. If [the car] isn’t showing promise in simulations and testing, it will never fly. Never. They may be embarrassed, but they knew from the beginning, after the Sebring test. Stay home. Even if it’s totally different, it still has to work.”

Ouch!

He thinks the the GT-R LM is a turd. And maybe it is a turd, only time will tell. Right now, based on its lack of performance, which to be fair is mostly due to a lack of preparation, the GT-R LM is one massive turd. Well, three turds actually.

After the break you can read Nissan’s press material and see that, if nothing else, they win the “How to polish a turd” PR award for the week.

Nissan GT-R LM Nismo final placings

40th (-153 laps) #22 – Krumm (GER), Tincknell (GB), Buncombe (GB)
DNF #23 – Chilton (GB), Mardenborough (GB), Pla (FRA)
DNF #21 – Matsuda (JAP), Ordonez (ESP), Shulzhitskiy (RUS)

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Porsche wins 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans

The #19 Porsche 919 Hybrid (Bamber/Hulkenberg/Tandy) has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans and delivered Porsche its 17th win in the endurance epic.

The winning car led for more than half of the race and completed 395 laps (two off equalling the distance record) and finished one lap ahead of the #17 Porsche 919 (Bernhard/Hartley/Webber).

The final podium step in LMP1 was taken by the defending winners in the #7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro (Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer).

LMP2 was won by the #47 Oreca 05 Nissan (358 laps).

GTE Pro was won by the #64 Chevrolet Corvette C7R (337 laps).

GTE Am was won by the #72 Ferrari 458 Italia (332 laps).

A full listing of final placings can be found HERE.

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2015 LM24: LMP1 gallery first 12 hours

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans

The 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans is now into its second 12 hours and the #19 Porsche 919 Hybrid enjoys a reasonably comfortable lead (live timing).

Keeping the lead Porsche honest is a pair of Audi R18s, with the #17 Porsche 919 fighting to stay on the lead lap.

In the early stages of the race the #17 919 held the lead before dicing with the #7 R18. The red liveried Porsche suffered a minor setback after Mark Webber was given a one minute stop-go penalty for overtaking during a yellow flag.

Porsche also enjoyed seeing the #18 919 on the lead or fighting very hard for it, but it lost time after going off track at the Mulsanne Corner and is now 1–2 laps behind the leader, although still showing very strong overall pace.

The #9 Audi R18 has led this race as well and has the honour of setting a new outright lap record when Filipe Albuquerque lapped La Sarthe in 3:17.647. And thereby finally beating the old record set way back in 1971 by the Porsche 917 LH. Remember, too, that 1971 record was before the Mulsanne Straight had its two chicanes to help slow the cars down.

Going into the final 12 hours then, the first six cars remain a constantly revolving combination of Porsche 919s and Audi R18s. It will take a miracle for anyone other than Porsche or Audi to win this race; the closest Toyota is four laps off the pace.

Of course, we’d love to see the Mark Webber #17 car take the win, but the lads have some work to do after Mark’s mistake late in his first stint.

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Ford returns to Le Mans in 2016

Ford GT LM GTE Pro

As expected Ford has announced it will be returning to Le Mans with a Ford GT in 2016. However, it won’t be an LMP1 challenge for outright victory, rather a crack at the LM GTE Pro category.

Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will run the cars for Ford and will enter a pair of cars in both the 2016 World Endurance Championship and the US-based United SportsCar Championship.

The two teams will combine to form a four-car effort for the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans, which will mark the 50th anniversary of Ford’s first win at Le Mans with the legendary GT40.

Driver annoucnements are yet to be made, but with a high profile team like this you can bet the driving talent will be top shelf.

More pics and details after the break.

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Want to buy your own Porsche 919 replica?

Porsche 919 life size replica

Up for sale on eBay at the moment is this life size Porsche 919 replica, which is being offered up for charity by Porsche Asia Pacific.

It’s a rolling chassis only with no drivetrain, otherwise known as a ‘buck’. And right now you’ll need over fifty thousand bucks (US$) to get your name at the top of the buyer’s list.

Here’s some of the blurb from the eBay listing:

The 919 Hybrid. This is the car for Porsche’s return to top-class motor sports at the FIA World Endurance Championship. To be clear, bidders here are not bidding on an actual car, it is a rolling chassis without a drivetrain. In the industry, it is often referred to as a “buck”.

The exclusive limited edition 919 Hybrid 1:1 model car is a full-sized replica of the Porsche 919 Hybrid and is known to be the only 1 out of 13 replicas in the world to be privately owned. Very rarely are these rolling chassis models allowed to leave the factory yet alone be available for sale. The model car also includes the original signatures of the six Porsche 919 Hybrid drivers that participated at Le Mans 2014 and the WEC 2014 — Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley, Mark Webber, Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb. This is a unique opportunity for a collector, Porsche enthusiast, museum or other public place to obtain this piece.

Delivery and inclusive flights and accommodation for the winning bidder is only available to select group of countries in south east Asia, so if you want to win this exclusive offering you’ll have to factor delivery fees to Australia, or wherever you are.

[Thanks to Tiaan for the tip]

2015 LM24: Live coverage guide (Australia)

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi preview

Live streaming, live television, live timing and live audio, here’s how to follow the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Race start: 11pm Saturday (AEST)
Race finish: 11pm Sunday (AEST)

Official race website

Live streaming

Live television (Foxtel Australia, times AEST)

  • SAT 10:30pm – FoxSports 2 (Ch 502, 150 mins)
  • SAT 10:45pm – Eurosport (Ch 511, 45 mins)
  • SUN 1:00am – Eurosport (Ch 511, 120 mins)
  • SUN 7:00am – Eurosport (Ch 511, 945 mins, to race finish)
  • SUN 8:30am – FoxSports 4 (Ch 505, 90 mins)
  • SUN 1:00pm – FoxSports 4 (Ch 505, 630 mins, to race finish)

Live timing

Live audio

Other resources

Let us know in the comments section below if you have any other links or tips and we’ll be sure to update this post.

VIDEO: Onboard around the Le Mans circuit

2012 LM24, Audi R8 e-tron quattro, onboard video

Surprisingly, finding decent onboard footage showing a full lap of the Circuit de la Sarthe is a difficult thing to do. Thankfully for you, we’ve done all the hard work and found three of the best examples on YouTube.

The first clip was filmed onboard the #2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro during the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans. The second was shot behind the wheel with Jon Lancaster in his Oreca Judd LMP2 machine during the test day for last year’s race. For the third video three-time Le Mans winner and all-round good guy Allan McNish talks us through a lap of the 13.629km circuit.

For extra reference we’ve included a track layout below, along with a link to the track on Google Maps.

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2015 LM24: Porsche claims pole position

No18 Porsche 919 Hybrid, pole position, 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans

The #18 Porsche 919 Hybrid will start the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans from pole position. Yesterday’s time from first qualifying of 3:16.887 was enough for the crew of Dumas/Jani/Lieb and could not be bettered in the next two sessions.

It’s a clean sweep for Porsche, too, as all three 919s will start from the first three positions. Mark Webber’s #17 919 will start from P2, also unable to better its time from yesterday, while the #19 919 did improve its time slightly, but remains in P3.

Following the Porsches are the three Audi R18 e-tron quattros, who stayed ahead of the two Toyota TS040 hybrids. The Nissan GT-R LM Nismos were able to improve somewhat and will start from positions P12, P13 and P15.

A table showing all classes and all 56 grid positions can be seen after the break.

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More Ferrari 488 GTB reviews

Ferrari 488 GTB

When Ferrari threw its bash for the press launch of the 488 GTB they saw fit to throw the keys to more than just Chris Harris. So we’ve had a snoop around and found what a few of the usual suspects had to say…

Jethro Bovingdon, Evo: More impressive still is that the chassis not only copes with the power but actually allows you to exploit all of it whenever you so choose. Traction is staggering (the roads were dry for our test) and like the 458 Italia the GTB’s balance is so responsive and yet so calm that you feel free to really enjoy exploring its massive limits.

Steve Sutcliffe, Auto Express: Bottom line, the 488 might be turbocharged and mightn’t sound just as spine tingling as before, but in all other aspects it represents yet another giant leap forwards for Ferrari. It also make you wonder what on earth they are going to come up with next.

Matt Prior, Autocar: The 488 GTB is among the most docile-handling mid-engined cars I’ve driven. It has an astonishingly forgiving chassis, with hardly a hint of understeer early in a corner, and extremely fast but communicative steering, and when it breaks traction, which it does gladly, it adopts a hopelessly easily controlled attitude and then regains grip cleanly and communicatively.

After the break there’s video reviews from those three plus a clip from James May, remember him! Actually, the picture quality of May’s clip is comically bad. The Evo clip is a highlight, starting with a 458 Speciale and F40 for added context.

So, get ready to sit back and enjoy the 30 minutes of 488 waiting for you below.

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2015 LM24: Porsche dominates qualifying 1

Porsche 919 Hybrid

After qualifying 1 at the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans Porsche has claimed a new qualifying record for the current circuit configuration. That’s thanks to Neel Jani in the #18 919 Hybrid who topped the timesheets with a 3:16.887 lap.

Second fastest was the #17 919 which lapped the 13.629km circuit in 3:17.767, while the #19 919 made it a Porsche clean sweep with a best time of 3:19.297.

There are two further qualifying sessions left for Thursday, but with wet weather expected these times may stand. Both the #17 and #18 cars went comfortably under the old qualifying record of 3:18.513, which was set by Peugeot on way to pole position in the 2008 race.

Behind the Porsches were the three Audi R18 e-tron quattros, with the two Toyota TS040s further behind. The best the Nissan GT-R LM Nismos could do on the overall times is place P12, P31 and P32. The #23 GT-R LM was quickest, more than 21 seconds off the pace.

There’s more from Porsche after the break, including a brief video.

A full list of times from the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans can be accessed HERE.

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