VIDEO: Episode 9 of Project Binky

Episode 9 of Project Binky

You eagerly wait months for an update on the extremely cool Project Binky, then go away for a few weeks and miss the latest episode. Don’t you hate that. Fear not, because here is Episode 9 now. Yes, nine episodes are behind us and we’re still looking at an empty shell!

But, as you’ll see in this update, the level of thought and effort put into this build is truly mind boggling. For example, did they really need to make that already very nifty flip front end automated? No, probably not, but it’s pretty flipping cool that they did!

Then there’s the custom made cooling vents produced with a custom made punch. Damn these guys are awesome.

Continue reading →

I’m back, what next?

Adenauer Forst, Nurburgring

I’m back from my overseas holiday. It was an awesome month away which saw me visit the homes of Mercedes-Benz and Porsche in Stuttgart, Audi in Ingolstadt, BMW in Munich and Volkswagen in Wolfsburg. And, of course, there was that sub-8 minute lap of the Nürburgring, plus the extra 10 laps I drove myself.

You don’t need me to tell you, it was an amazing experience, but it was! It was also a welcome rest from daily AUSmotive duties.

I often find myself in a quandary with the site; not knowing if it’s still providing value to the readers out there; not knowing if it should be bigger with more contributors; not knowing if I should just close it down and make better use of the extra time; not knowing if I should change the site’s focus—should it just be motorsport, should it just be reviews, should it just be news, should it just be something else?

One thing I’ve always wanted to see here is more comments from the readership. It’s a balance, of course, as a sole contributor I don’t want so many comments that it becomes tiresome to manage, but I would love to see more interaction on here as it gives a much better boost to my motivation than numbers on stats page.

Anyway, in the short term I guess I’ll slowly get back into the routine of things. And I will write updates about my travels. But here’s your chance to tell me what you like about AUSmotive, what you don’t like and what you might like to see in the future. Or perhaps you just don’t care. Either way, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below this post or by email.


An update on the mighty Golf R400

Volkswagen Golf R400 Concept

Over the last week or so there’s been some talk about the Golf R400 being signed off for production. This is a good thing, I’m sure you’ll all agree, but it’s not actually new news. It’s over a year ago now that Car and Driver reported that Volkswagen’s powertrain boss Dr Heinz-Jakob Neusser told them the R400 would become a reality.

What is news is that the R400 might actually be an R420. That’s to say instead of boasting 400 horsepower it might actually have 420PS to play with. Dr Neusser is again the source of the latest discussion, as reported by Car.

“We have the Golf more sporty than ever before, since we soon will have the Golf R400—we will do this car,” Neusser confirmed. “We are in fact in development of it right now.”

So where does this R420 bit come from? Cast your mind back to the 2014 Geneva Motor Show and the Audi TT quattro sport concept. Yep, its EA888-based 2.0 litre turbocharged four-pot had 309kW or 420PS.

It may be that Volkswagen will leave Audi to the top-spec version of this revised high-output engine. For now, though, let’s pretend we’re going to see a Golf R420 because, well, it’d just be a bit cooler to comfortably exceed 400 horsepower in a standard production model Golf don’t you think?!

Even cooler is the suggestion that the production-spec Golf R400/R420 will debut at the Frankfurt show this September, with deliveries to follow shortly thereafter.

Bring it!

[Source: Car]

McLaren updates MP4-30 livery

McLaren-Honda MP4-30

McLaren has a new car! Yes, a brand new MP4-30 ready to tackle the world’s best at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Alas, for McLaren, it’s nothing more than a new coat of paint. With all the problems the team is currently having with its much heralded Honda reunification you’d reckon the last thing they’d be concerning themselves with is the livery. Especially when it looks like a re-worked version of last year’s Sauber C33.

The original livery for the MP4-30 wasn’t much chop and this revision isn’t much better. If nothing else, and for McLaren’s sake, let’s hope this new livery brings in some better fortunes for the mechanical bits underneath the bodywork.

Continue reading →

My RingTaxi lap: 7:43 in a Porsche 911 GT3! Porsche 911 GT3

Imagine driving the Nürburgring Nordschleife on the perfect line every corner. Imagine doing that in a new 991 Porsche 911 GT3. It’s got to be as close to motoring heaven as we can get here on earth.

Then, imagine if that was your day job.

If your name is Theo Kleen you don’t have to imagine it because it is your day job. Theo is well known to the Nürburgring community either as a racing driver or as the guy who rents you a car to fulfil your dreams.

Theo and Heide have been running RentRacecar for over 10 years and now, along with Dale Lomas, they’re the team behind the new venture.

BMW’s stranglehold on the RingTaxi business is over and you are the winner because now you can do your passenger lap in a Porsche 911 (GT3 or Turbo S) or a BMW M6.

I was lucky enough to experience the Nürburgring at stupid fast speeds in a 911 GT3. Well, stupid fast is an unfair description because Theo only ever planted his foot flat to the floor when he knew it was safe to do so. He always kept an eye on the traffic ahead—when you’re a pro at the wheel of a GT3 there is nothing faster than you—and only overtook the slower cars when he could, either by way of clear track or if the slower driver had indicated and moved to the right and making space for our GT3 rocket ship to blast by.

Continue reading →

BBC sacks Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson to be sacked by BBC

According to media reports the BBC is ready to sack leading Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson. Two weeks after Clarkson was suspended and subject to an internal investigation the BBC has been able to confirm claims the outgoing host did assault a colleague.

It is believed the BBC investigation found that Clarkson verbally abused long-term Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon for 20 minutes before the “fracas” ended with a short 30 second physical assault from Clarkson.

The dispute reportedly began after a day of filming in North Yorkshire when Clarkson was unable to be given the hot meal he wanted—steak and chips—because the hotel they were staying in had stopped cooking for the night.

Around 12 months ago Clarkson was issued a “final warning” by the BBC after he was found to have used the racially offensive term “nigger” on camera. The footage was never broadcast by the BBC, but was discovered and published by British newspaper The Mirror.

Clarkson’s departure won’t officially mean the end for Top Gear with the BBC set to search for a replacement to join Richard Hammond and James May. Assuming, of course, Hammond and May choose to remain with the program.

Please god, don’t let it be British radio icon Chris Evans. He’s a bigger dickhead than Clarkson could ever be!

Lord Hall, Director General of the BBC, is expected to make an official announcement on Clarkson’s future later today.

There’s interesting times ahead for Top Gear and its fans. We’ll be watching the ongoing developments with keen interest.

[Source: The Telegraph]

UPDATE: It’s official, the BBC has sacked Jeremy Clarkson [read more].

You can pick your nose while drifting!

Mercedes-AMG C63S

Just over a month ago Chris Harris gave us his take on the new Mercedes-AMG C63S. We’re not sure how we missed it, but we’re sorry we did.

It’s Harris by numbers, but they’re numbers that work so well. We’re presented with an in depth look at the car, including the interesting bits under the skin.

Respect to the viewing audience is paid by the length of the video. At a touch over 20 minutes it’s not too long. More importantly, it’s long enough to give us a proper sense of the car.

And, of course, with 375kW/700Nm to play with from the 4.0 litre twin turbo V8 engine it’s pretty easy to make the new C63 go sideways. So easy in fact, you can pick a winner while doing it.

Continue reading →

The disappointment of Europe v America

BMW i8 v Lamborghini Huracan v Ford Mustang v Dodge SRT Hellcat

Take the sophisticated power of a BMW i8 and a Lamborghini Huracan and see how they go against the brawn of a Ford Mustang and a Dodge SRT Hellcat. Imagine you’re doing this and imagine that you’ve got four days and 1300 miles to work out what’s what.

Then imagine you’ve got to publish a video to YouTube that brings your experience to the world, brings us along for the ride.

Imagine how disappointed your friends and family would be if all you came up with was this 3 minute 40 second clip.

We like Car, we think it’s a good publication and while acknowledging they’ve got real magazines to sell we also think they should watch a few Chris Harris videos.

Otherwise they may as well not waste their production resources if this is all they’re going to give us with a tasty set of ingredients like this.

Continue reading →

Adriana ponders Pirelli buyout

Because Adriana Lima

Adriana Lima woke in a sweat this morning with news that Chinese company ChemChina is about to launch a €7.1b deal which will give it a controlling stake in the Italian tyre giant Pirelli.

The deal, agreed to by Pirelli shareholders on the weekend, involves a complicated series of moves that will see ChemChina buyout current investors in order to gain the majority control it seeks. ChemChina’s ultimate goal is to make Pirelli, the world’s fifth-largest tyre maker, a privately owned company.

Pirelli has said there will be no impact on jobs. Although, current chairman and CEO Tronchetti Provera will relinquish his chairman’s position but will stay on as chief executive. ChemChina is expected select a new chairperson.

And what does Adriana Lima really think about seeing the 143-year-old Italian icon slip into foreign ownership?

Oh, we lost you after, “Adriana Lima woke in a sweat…” Yeah, that’s fair enough.

[Source: Reuters | Pic: Pirelli]

VIDEO: Porsche 911 Carrera GTS v BMW i8

Porsche 911 GTS v BMW i8

Dan Prosser from Evo magazine presents a very intriguing challenge here by pitting a Porsche 911 Carrera GTS against a BMW i8 on the track.

We’ll let the cat out of the bag early, the i8 couldn’t match the 911 for outright lap times. In fact, it’s not even close. But can the i8 match the 911 for laughs and entertainment? Beyond that, is the i8 a serious dynamic competitor for the 911?

You’ll have to watch the video to find out.

Continue reading →

Germany, here I come!

Porsche Museum

AUSmotive is about to go into a hiatus of some sort while I head on an overseas holiday for the next five weeks or so. I’ll be flying to Germany later this week and the items on my magical museum tour, in itinerary order, include:

If I get a chance I may post some updates while I’m away, but I can’t be sure if the time or urge will come my way. I return to Australia in early May and I’m going to have an awesome time experiencing some very cool automotive content.

With regards to updates you may best to keep an eye out on Facebook and Twitter.

Fernando Alonso en route to Malaysia

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso could be back on track at the Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend after undergoing recent tests at Cambridge University. The tests conducted measured his short and long term memory as well as his reflexes.

Alonso’s adviser, Luis Garcia Abad, was circumspect in regards to the recent health checks, but did say he expects the dual world champion will be going to Sepang.

“It is private so I cannot confirm or deny it, but I have no doubts he will go to Malaysia as planned,” he said.

It’s understood Alonso will be subjected to a final round of tests by the FIA once he has arrived in Malaysia. Assuming he passes he should be given the all clear to return to competition.

The 33-year-old Spaniard has been recovering from concussion after crashing his McLaren-Honda MP4-30 during testing in Jerez on 22 February.

[Source: BBC]

German Grand Prix dropped from 2015 F1 calendar

2014 German Grand Prix

It’s official, the German Grand Prix has been removed from the 2015 F1 calendar. The move was ratified last Friday by the World Motor Sport Council with this small disclaimer that:

“The German Grand Prix has been withdrawn as the CRH [commercial rights holder] and promoter did not reach agreement.”

A revised 19-race calendar can be viewed after the break.

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

Continue reading →